Capitol Week in Review brings you news of bills we are tracking around our priorities of advancing educational equity and racial justice in Colorado and making our schools and communities safer and more supportive.
HB23-1001, Expanding Assistance For Educator Programs, which supports student teachers toward the goal of diversifying the teacher workforce, is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Education Committee on March 6.
HB23-1024, Relative And Kin Placement Of A Child, which establishes measures to support reunification of a child or youth with their family when the child or youth has been temporarily placed with a relative or kin outside of the family home, passed unanimously in the House Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee and was referred to the Committee on Appropriations.
HB23-1064, Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, which makes it easier for active-duty military spouses to transfer their teaching licenses without further testing, thereby allowing them to teach in Colorado classrooms faster, passed out of the Senate.
HB23-1089, Special Education Services For Students In Foster Care, which designates students in out-of-home placements as residents of the school district of their school of origin to increase stability and learning success, is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee on March 9.
HB23-1100, Restrict Government Involvement In Immigration Detention, passed out of the House. For years, Colorado taxpayers have been picking up the bill of the federal government by allowing the state to contract a private company to house or detain individuals for federal civil immigration purposes. This bill would prevent any such further contracts and begins a review process of these contracts over the next two years. It passed out of the House on third readings, 41-22.
HB23-1109, School Policies and Student Conduct, was heard in the House Education Committee and laid over for a vote. This bill aims to strengthen due process rights for students, particularly as pertains to behavior off school grounds and outside of school hours. It also increases the training for expulsion hearing officers, including training around disabilities and trauma-informed care and interventions.
HB23-1145, Hearing Timelines Juveniles in Adult Facilities, which aligns Colorado law’s hearing timelines for juveniles held in an adult facility while awaiting trial with the timelines in the federal “Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act”, is scheduled to be heard in the Senate on March 6.
HB23-1172, Child Welfare And Juvenile Court Jurisdiction, a bill brought by Denver Area Human Services that seeks to provide improved care for children in foster care while maintaining parent rights, was introduced in the Senate.
HB23-1187, Alternatives In Criminal Justice System And Pregnant Persons, which requires the court to consider alternatives, such as probation, to pregnant or postpartum defendants if the risk of incarceration outweighs risk to the public, passed out of the House 44 – 19.
HB23-1188, Individualized Learning Schools And Programs, which authorizes a public or charter school to offer an individualized learning program or become an individualized learning school, was rescheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee on March 23.
HB23-1198, Teacher Externship Program for Science Technology Engineering and Math Disciplines, which creates a statewide program to provide kindergarten through twelfth grade teachers work-based learning opportunities, is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee on March 8.
HB23-1207, Stipends For National Board-certified Educators, which allows cash stipends (up to $3200) for teachers, social workers, librarians and administrators serving in low-performing, rural or high needs school districts, is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee on March 8.
HB23-1211, Collect Data Language Translation Services Special Education, which requires the department of education to track the provision of language translation services related to IEPs and include such data as part of its annual “SMART Act” hearing, is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee on March 9.
Hundreds of Colorado students are expelled from schools every year for low-level nonviolent conduct or based on mere allegations. This disproportionately impacts children of color and students with disabilities.
On Thursday, the House Education Committee heard HB23-1109, School Policies And Student Conduct. This is a bill that promotes restorative practices, ensures reduced legal system involvement, fosters fairness in a system that otherwise considers students guilty until proven innocent, and creates accountability for unregulated and untrained expulsion hearing officers. After hours of testimony, the bill was laid over for a vote on March 16.
Expelling students exposes them to a greater likelihood of delinquency or criminal system involvement and is therefore more expensive and less effective than keeping students in school. We’re so grateful to the parents, educators, and community leaders who joined us to testify in support of this legislation. We stand for safe and supportive schools and communities for all students and are proud to advocate for this bill alongside so many students, educators, and legal experts.
Here’s what they had to say:
“If we don’t make the change now to have skillful and well-versed advocates making informed decisions for our students and their families then we are accepting a system that funnels students out of the classroom and into the juvenile and criminal legal system.” Tina Carroll, educator, parent, and Stand Advocacy Fellow
“…young people will someday become adults and if we continue to treat them like marginalized members of society, we may pay a higher price in the end. If someone had taken the time to see me as more than a problem to get rid of, I might have had an easier road to get to where I am now.” Jesse Rula, educator, parent, and Stand Advocacy Fellow
“As a high school counselor, I am forced to witness and triage the fallout of failed exclusionary discipline on practically a daily basis. Our best, most obvious solution is to focus on… addressing the harm done to individual and community…while focusing heavily on the rehabilitation of the perpetrator.” Lauren Kinney, school counselor and Stand Advocacy Fellow
Expelling students exposes them to a greater likelihood of delinquency or criminal system involvement and is therefore more expensive and less effective than keeping students in school. Email the House Education Committee and ask them to support HB23-1109.
What We’re Reading
‘I spent over $6,763 on phone calls’: Colorado lawmakers debate bill to offer free phone calls to inmates