Advocates for Public Education Policy (A4PEP) is a statewide coalition of individuals and grassroots organizations that promotes leaders and policies to ensure that public schools work for all, not just the well-connected.
A4PEP has as its core the belief that our society depends on a well-educated population, which is achieved by putting students’ and teachers’ needs first. A4PEP was created in response to what students, parents, and educators felt were the adverse effects of failed “education reform” policies overly based on corporate interests.
A4PEP’s key principles which formed the basis for this scorecard are as follows:
A stable, fair, and accessible public education --
* Sustainable public schools.
* Integrated and inclusive neighborhood schools.
* Culturally relevant, engaging, and comprehensive curricula.
* Community-wide, targeted interventions for each child.
* Transformative parent, family, and community engagement.
The opportunity to have skilled, passionate, caring educators --
* Professionally licensed educators.
* Educators with high expectations for every student.
* Educators with cultural competence and deep knowledge of content, pedagogy, and child development.
* Educators who are effectively prepared, mentored, supported, and retained.
An education system that is responsible to all students --
* Accountability and transparency.
* Public taxpayer dollars used only for public schools.
* Community-driven, democratically elected school boards.
* Multiple measures to gauge student, school, and district progress.
This is how we rated the Legislature as a whole on A4PEP’s principles (the percentage is based on the extent to which the outcome for the bills in each category was what A4PEP desired; i.e., bills we supported passing and bills we opposed being defeated):
100% A stable, fair, and accessible public education
60% The opportunity to have skilled, passionate, caring educators
80% An education system that is responsible to all students
GUIDE TO THE LEGISLATIVE SCORECARD
On the Scorecard, check mark means the legislator voted how A4PEP wanted (supported or opposed the bill, as was A4PEP’s position); X means the legislator did not vote how A4PEP wanted; and E means the legislator was excused from the vote. Some bills were killed in committee and did not have a 2nd or 3rd Reading in the House or the Senate – which is why some bills show very few legislators’ votes. More information about the bills and votes can be found on the Colorado General Assembly website, www.leg.colorado.gov.
These are the bills used in the Legislative Scorecard:
SB 003 – Support – Educator Loan Forgiveness Program
Makes changes to the teacher loan forgiveness program and revises the eligibility criteria. Repays up to $5,000 of qualified educational loans for up to 5 years for educators employed in qualified positions; targets educators employed in hard-to-fill positions due to geography or content area, as identified by CDE.
SB 009 – Support – Financial Incentives for Rural Educators
Removes the current limit on the number of stipends to students enrolled in teacher preparation programs who agree to teach in a rural school or rural school district and increases the amount to $4,000 from the current amount of $2,800.
SB 066 – Support – High-Cost Special Education Trust Fund Grants
Creates the high-cost special education trust fund to be used for high-cost special education trust fund grants to public school special education administrative units that have made significant expenditures in providing special education services to a child with a disability.
SB 102 – Support – Innovation School Operating as a Community School
Defines "community school" and permits a public school to include in its innovation plan that it will operate as a community school.
SB 129 – Support – Regulation of Online Schools
Directs CDE to collect information and report each school year concerning students who withdraw from enrollment in an online school after the annual count date, including whether the student enrolls in another school, completes a high school equivalency examination if the student was enrolled in grade 11 or 12, or otherwise continues or completes elementary or secondary school during the school year in which the student withdrew. Requires the new authorizer of an existing multi-district online school to obtain a new certification. Requires an online school that is on performance watch to remain on performance watch if it changes authorizers.
[SB 247* – Support – Educator Performance Evaluation System Requirements]**
Reduces the percentage of educators’ evaluation which must be based on student academic growth from 50% to 30%; the remaining 20% must be based on other measures as determined by the district board of education. Creates a working group consisting of the Commissioner of education, 6 legislators appointed by legislative leadership, and several members appointed by the Governor who represent teachers, administrators, parents, students, and education policy experts to review the implementation of educator performance evaluation systems in Colorado and in other states and countries, identify best practices in performance evaluation.
HB 1036 – Support – Annual Stipends for Certified School Professionals
Adds nationally certified school psychologists as school professionals eligible for annual stipends awarded by CDE. Clarifies that school counselors who receive stipends must meet the same requirements as for teachers and principals.
HB 1066 – Support – Counting Special Education Students in Graduation Rates
Clarifies that a student who is enrolled in special education services must be counted in the school's, district's, and state's graduation rate in the year in which the student completes high school graduation requirements.
HB 1112* – Oppose – Child Safety Accounts
Creates a scholarship program to pay for the education and eligible expenses of students affected by or involved in safety incidents at public schools, utilizing a transfer of the state share of per-pupil revenues for the district. Requires a transfer of funds for each affected student into an account for the parents. Gives a tax credit to organizations that donate to the state fund.
HB 1120 – Support –Youth Mental Health Education and Suicide Prevention
Allows a minor 12 years of age or older to seek and obtain psychotherapy services with or without the consent of the minor's parent or guardian. Requires the department of education, in consultation with the office of suicide prevention (office), the youth advisory council, and the suicide prevention commission, to create and maintain a mental health education literacy resource bank. Requires the state board of education to adopt standards related to mental health, including suicide prevention.
HB 1123* – Oppose – Income Tax Deductions for 519 Accounts K-12 Expenses
Allows an income tax deduction for a contribution to a 529 account for tuition expenses in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school.
HB 1134 – Support – Identification and Interventions for Students With Dyslexia
Directs the commissioner of education to convene a working group to analyze state and national data and practices concerning identification and support of students with dyslexia and to recommend dyslexia screening tools and processes, a statewide plan for identifying and supporting students with dyslexia, and educator training in recognizing and providing interventions for students with dyslexia. Directs CDE to establish a pilot program to assist local education providers in using READ act assessments to screen for dyslexia and in providing interventions for students who are identified as having dyslexia.
HB 1190* – Support – Repeal of Mill Levy Equalization Fund
Repeals the mill levy equalization fund through which the general assembly appropriated money [in HB 17-1375] to the state charter school institute for distribution to institute charter schools.
HB 1249* - Support – Safety and Accountability in School Contracts
Requires school districts, before entering into a professional services contract with personnel costs of $200,000 or more, to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of contracting for the services rather than using district personnel to perform the services; to hold at least one public hearing conducted prior to soliciting bids to provide professional services and before entering into a contract for professional services; to allow competitive bidding for the contract; and to allow an opportunity for affected employees to counter the competitive bid. Requires contractors to provide proof of liability insurance equivalent in amount and scope with that provided by the school district for the contracting activity.
HB 1258 – Support – Allocate Voter-Approved Revenue for Education and Transportation
Upon voter approval of the referendum proposed in HB 19-1257, requires 1/3 of the money to be allocated to each of the purposes approved by voters. The money appropriated for public schools must be distributed on a per pupil basis and used by public schools only for nonrecurring expenses for the purpose of improving classrooms, and it may not be used as part of a district reserve. The money for roads, bridges, and transit must be transferred to the Highway Users Tax Fund and allocated allocated with 60% to the state highway fund, 22% to counties, and 18% to cities and incorporated towns. Includes a conforming amendment to ensure that the allocation for the Referendum C money does not apply to any new revenue resulting from the 2019 referendum. [This became Proposition CC.]
HB 1262 – Support – State Funding for Full-Day Kindergarten
Provides funding through the School Finance Formula for students enrolled in full-day kindergarten to be funded in the same amount as students enrolled full-time in other grades. Prohibits districts from charging tuition for full-day kindergarten, unless the state ceases to fund full-day kindergarten. Prohibits funding from the Colorado Preschool Program for full-day kindergarten. Directs any district not currently providing full-day kindergarten to submit a plan to CDE for how it might phase it in.
*These bills were defeated.
** No votes were recorded for this bill, so it does not appear on the scorecard for individual legislators. However, it was defeated, so it appears in the score for the Legislature as a whole.