Education debates were relatively quiet under the Gold Dome this week, but we anticipate this won’t last for long. Several of Stand for Children’s priority bills are expected to be debated in the next week or two, and our government affairs team is busy informing legislators and stakeholders about the unintended consequences of passing particular pieces of legislation. To read about education issues occurring at the Capitol from a teacher’s perspective, check out our blog.
Under the Gold Dome
On March 14, the House Education Committee defeated HB16-1162 by Rep. Clarice Navarro (R-Pueblo). The bill would have required a 7-day notice be issued to the public if a school district was considering a salary increase for superintendents, principals, or vice principals at failing schools. If the district decided to grant the salary increase, another 7-day notice would have been required to allow public testimony. The bill failed on a party-line 5-6 vote.
The House Education Committee is expected to discuss HB16-1099 by Rep. Joseph Salazar (D-Thornton) in the next week or two. The bill seeks to repeal the mutual consent provision of SB 191 and initiate “forced placement” of teachers. If this bill were enacted, districts that undergo a reduction-in-force (RIF) due to budget changes or lower school enrollment would be required to “force place” teachers at a new schools regardless of whether the school or teacher felt comfortable with the placement. Mutual consent offers RIF’d teachers professional development, priority access to the hiring process, and a salary for 18 months while they look for a new position. Forced placement is a bad policy for schools, teachers, and students. Staff at Stand for Children are closely monitoring this bill and have been expressing our concerns to legislators. To learn more about mutual consent from a teacher’s perspective, click here.
In the next couple of weeks, the Senate Education Committee will hear SB16-005 by Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins). Currently, students in grades 3 through 9 must be tested in English and math once each year; this bill would eliminate those tests for ninth graders. Stand for Children has significant concerns with this policy, particularly because it is important to track how a student is progressing as they transition between middle and high school. In order to receive federal funding, Colorado must test students at least once in high school—if we eliminate ninth grade testing, kids will have to be tested in tenth grade instead.