What We Championed in 2022

photos of Stand Advocacy during the 2022 legislative session

At Stand for Children Colorado, we advocate for policy solutions in the areas of early literacy, high school success, and safe and supportive schools and communities. 

This legislative session, we prioritized bills to ensure principals and administrators are trained in the science of reading, to remove barriers to expanding and diversifying our educator workforce, to fund Colorado schools equitably, and to update policies for safer and more supportive schools and communities.  

We deeply believe that policy making is most effective when the voices of those impacted are at the center of decision making. This legislative session parents, educators, and community members sent 5,500 emails to lawmakers and delivered 16 testimonies at the Capitol. 

Read on to learn more about our top five priority bills!  

HB22-1376 Supportive Learning Environments for K-12 Students 

HB22-1376 updates Colorado’s policies and practices to improve school climate for students. Those updates include:  

  • Updating restraint and seclusion policies and ending practices that have been shown to harm students. 
  • Requiring better data collection on disciplinary incidents and indicators of school climate. 
  • Promoting best practices and proper training for school security staff.  

The bill passed out of the House and the Senate and has been sent to the Governor for signature! 

In Chalkbeat’s recent article, Stand Executive Director, Krista Spurgin said, “This is a game-changing first step in making sure we know what experiences our students are having in school, including restraints, including discipline… There is work ahead of us, but the data we’re collecting here will give us a transparent view of how we need to support our schools and our teachers and our students differently.”  

“There is a need for a holistic approach to education, where the wellbeing and growth of teachers, caregivers, support staff and scholars are just as important as standardized test scores. Caregivers need resources to assist with addressing problematic behaviors, and as numerous studies have shown, the emotional quotient is as imperative as an intelligence quotient.” Pamela Kaspar, Parent and Stand Advocacy Fellow

HB22-1220 Removing Barriers to Educator Preparation 

HB22-1220 will remove barriers in educator preparation to support teacher candidates entering the workforce by: 

  • supporting teacher candidates by paying them for their student teaching work,  
  • removing financial barriers by paying for teacher exam fees,  
  • expanding pathways to licensure by allowing multiple ways to demonstrate competency. 

We are proud to have championed HB22-1220 this year because we see it as a pathway to increasing teacher diversity in Colorado. We believe that removing financial barriers and increasing pathways to licensure will ensure a more diverse educator workforce, which is critical for all of Colorado’s students to experience just and supportive schools. 

The bill passed out of the House and the Senate and has been sent to the Governor for signature! 

“The traditional pathways to teaching are creating artificial barriers to BIPOC teacher candidates from entering the profession in greater numbers. Unpaid student teaching is another barrier that reduces the diversity of the teaching force, requiring some students to take on second and third jobs in their attempts to satisfy the requirements of their programs. Addressing these issues would remove some of the barriers that are keeping Colorado schools from diversifying their teaching staff.” Brooke Sassi, Literacy Interventionist    

HB22-1202 At-risk Student Measure For School Finance 

HB22-1202 makes important updates to the way schools are funded in Colorado, giving us an opportunity to ensure the students who need support the most can get.

The school finance formula allocates targeted investments for our students and communities living in poverty and experiencing the most barriers to opportunity using the at-risk factor in the funding formula. HB22-1202 expands the at-risk factor by identifying students at-risk based on enrollment in public benefit programs and census block data. These updates help make sure we fund our schools more equitably. 

HB22-1202 was signed into law by Governor Polis! 

“The reality is that different students have different needs. [HB22-1202] expands the way we identify those who may need more targeted support to be successful in their education and will ensure that we fund our schools more equitably.” Tina Carroll, parent and Stand Advocacy Fellow 

SB22-004 Evidence-based Training In Science of Reading 

SB22-004 will ensure principals and administrators who oversee K-3 teachers will be trained in the science of reading. Over 30 years of research shows that there are scientifically backed ways to teach students to read. Principals and administrators should be trained with the most up-to-date, research-based knowledge of how students learn to read so that they can support teachers in effectively utilizing the science of reading in their literacy instruction.   

The bill passed out of the Senate and the House and has been sent to the Governor for signature!  

“Teachers are working hard to apply Science of Reading in their classrooms. Having administrators and principals trained in Science of Reading as well creates a collaborative, supportive school environment where readers thrive.” Megan Bobroske, 2nd Grade Teacher  

SB22-099 Sealing Criminal Records 

SB22-099 will automatically seal the criminal records of individuals who are convicted of a non-violent offense if the person has completed their sentence, completed a waiting period of several years, and has not committed another criminal offense.  

Nearly a third of Colorado’s population is currently listed in state databases as having a criminal record. Many have no criminal history beyond a single, low-level, and non-violent offense. Removing barriers to housing and employment equips everyone with the opportunity to provide for their families and become more productive citizens. When people are better positioned to care for and provide for themselves and their children, all Coloradans benefit.   

The bill passed out of the House and the Senate and has been sent to the Governor for signature! 

“I have seen how friends and family members cannot find homes to live in because of having criminal records. Many come out of prison with high hopes, ready to make a better life for themselves and when they try to get a job, they are turned down because of their past…We need to allow them to make a better life for themselves, and by passing this bill we will do just that.” Natalie Perez, Parent and Stand Advocacy Fellow  

At the Capitol 

We are incredibly grateful to the parents, educators, and community leaders who testified at the Capitol this session. Thank you for sharing your perspectives and experiences to ensure that lawmakers act in alignment with the needs of those most impacted.  

Don’t miss these powerful testimonies in support of our top priority bills!  

We Need a Holistic Approach to Education Stand Advocacy Fellow, Pamela Kaspar, testifies in support of HB22-1376 

Create Environements for People to Thrive Stand Advocacy Fellow, Natalie Perez, testifies in support of SB22-099   

Removing Insurmountable Barriers Stand Advocacy Fellow, Theresa Newsom, testifies in support of HB22-1220 

We Need Diversified Educators Asia Zanders, U.S. Government and Social Studies teacher and parent, testifies in support of HB22-1220 

Traditional Pathways Are Creating Barriers Brooke Sassi, Literacy Interventionist, testifies in support of HB22-1220 

I’ve Never Seen Growth Like This Before Molly Veliz, instructional coach and early literacy teacher, testifies in support of SB22-004 

Real Results For My Scholars Laura Haller, special education teacher, testifies in support of SB22-004 

Why I’ve Seen Massive Early Literacy Gains in My Classroom Megan Bobroske, 2nd grade teacher, testifies in support of SB22-004       

In the Media  

We are proud to have been featured in Chalkbeat’s reporting this legislative session and are grateful for their work keeping Coloradans informed of some of the most pressing issues facing Colorado’s students, educators, and families.  

New limits on student seclusion, restraint pass Colorado legislature [Chalkbeat]  

Executive Director Krista Spurgin celebrated the passage of HB22-1376 saying, “This is a game-changing first step in making sure we know what experiences our students are having in school, including restraints, including discipline… There is work ahead of us, but the data we’re collecting here will give us a transparent view of how we need to support our schools and our teachers and our students differently.” 

Colorado bill seeks changes to school discipline, less use of seclusion and restraint [Chalkbeat] 

Executive Director Krista Spurgin shared why Stand championed HB22-1376 saying, “We want to set kids up for success…If kids are constantly getting in trouble or being told they’re a troublemaker or even getting arrested, you start to see that cycle repeat itself.” 

Colorado bill to improve school climate, limit seclusion and restraint advances [Chalkbeat]  

Parent and Stand Advocacy Fellow, Pamela Kaspar, testified in support of HB22-1376 sharing her experience with her son’s suspensions not being documented, “Had that documentation been provided for us, it would have painted a very grim picture of what the school’s discipline policy looked like, and we would have picked a different school for him sooner.” 

Her 11-year-old son, Tristin, also testified saying, “I hope this bill passes…So then kids like me, who are afraid of having the same experience as I did, they don’t have to, and they can have a school that is justice.” 

Science of reading training may be required for Colorado principals [Chalkbeat] 

Instructional coach and literacy teacher, Molly Veliz, joined Stand to share her testimony in support of SB22-004 saying, “School leaders make decisions about budgets, hiring, curriculum, spending, on and on. If they don’t fully understand, or even believe in the science of reading, that thinking impacts their decisions.” 

2nd grade teacher, Megan Bobroske, also joined Stand to testify in support of SB22-004 saying, “Principals and administrators need to be aware and knowledgeable in best practices in literacy instruction, in order to support, mentor, lead, and coach their teachers well.” 

For More Information  

Read the following articles to learn more about our top priority bills!  

More than a million Coloradans could have criminal records automatically sealed under proposed bill [Colorado Newsline] 

Student teachers are rarely paid. Colorado lawmakers, school leaders want to ensure they’re compensated. [Colorado Sun] 

Three ways Colorado school funding could change this year [Chalkbeat]

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