This Week at the Capitol: March 4

Current Events & News, Elections, Legislation, Teachers & Principals | 03/04/2016

Amy Pitlik
Government Affairs Director

Amy is Stand for Children's Government Affairs Director

This past Super Tuesday, Colorado had the opportunity to caucus for presidential candidates, giving the country further indication of who will ultimately win the Democratic and Republican nominations. Bernie Sanders took home a victory from the Democrats, but the Republicans do not have a clear winner since a straw poll was not held this year. To learn more about Colorado’s caucus system, click here.

Under the Gold Dome

HB16-1131 by Rep. Terri Carver (R-Colorado Springs) was discussed before the House Education Committee on March 2. The bill would repeal the requirement for Colorado to participate in PARCC assessments, and seeks to allow the Colorado Department of Education to recommend multiple options for future assessments. Staff at Stand for Children is concerned about the cost of creating an entirely new assessment system and we believe it would create confusion and instability for Colorado’s educators. A number of educators testified during the bill’s hearing about their experiences with PARCC and several asked that the committee not to make any changes just one year after implementing a new test. With students preparing to take PARCC this spring, we are excited to see how students have improved from last year. The bill was laid over, and the committee will take a vote on Monday.

On February 29, HB16-1016 by Rep. Dave Young (D-Greeley) passed the House Education Committee with a party-line 6-5 vote. The bill seeks to apply multiple measures of student academic growth when measuring the performance of public schools and educators. While we believe that Colorado should do more to support teachers in developing student learning objectives (SLOs) as part of the multiple measures included in their evaluations, we have concerns about using SLOs to revamp school and district frameworks.

SB16-104 by Sen. Nancy Todd (D-Aurora) was heard before the Senate Education Committee on March 3. The amended version of the bill would provide stipends for teacher candidates who student teach in rural districts. It would also give financial assistance for teachers who seek national board certification or a master’s degree to teach concurrent enrollment classes. Ultimately, the bill passed 6-3.

Looking Forward…

On March 7, the House Education Committee is scheduled to hear HB16-1234 by Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs). The bill would direct the Colorado Department of Education to look at methods for and costs of creating a new state assessment. While Stand for Children acknowledges that there were some implementation issues with PARCC, we believe that the assessment adequately measures a student’s progress and more time should be given before any changes are made to our statewide assessments.

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