4 Education Bills in 2021 Business Leaders Should Know About

Colorado Succeeds is supporting numerous bills aligned to Vision 2030 that are moving rapidly through the legislative session. Multiple legislators have advanced priority legislation to expand experiential learning opportunities, give access to learning recovery coursework, and create more opportunities on the 5th day of the school week for students attending districts on a four-day schedule. Of note:

1. Strengthening Opportunities for Students to Participate in Quality Career Connected Learning (SB21-119

Legislation introduced by Senators Jeff Bridges (D) and Paul Lundeen (R) to strengthen the Career Development Incentive Program, currently supporting over 50 school districts to expand career-connected learning offerings, passed its first hurdle in the Senate Education Committee. So far, this program has incentivized nearly 24,000 students to receive high quality career connected learning. Colorado Succeeds supports this legislation because it:

  • Requires districts to conduct more outreach to all students, including underrepresented students, about industry credentials so that more families are empowered to learn about these opportunities.
  • Provides focus and clarity for students about the 10 most in-demand, highly utilized programs of study that lead to an industry-recognized credential with labor market value. These 10 pathways must also be connected to Guaranteed Transfer pathways or at least statewide articulation agreements. This means fewer dead-ends for students and more seamless pathways for transfer of credit to further postsecondary attainment.  
  • Requires greater transparency about how underserved students learn about the program and the outcomes for participating students. 

2. Ensuring Greater Access to Learning Recovery Coursework This Summer (SB21-013)  

It is critical to provide more options for students and families to address learning loss and turn this summer and fall into a time for learning recovery. That is why Colorado Succeeds supports Senator Rhonda Fields’ legislation (SB21-013), which passed out of Senate Education Committee last week, to address student learning recovery needs. 

This bill would expand the course offerings available through the Colorado Digital Learning Solutions (CDLS), the state’s authorized supplemental education program. It provides school districts, BOCES, and charter schools access to high quality online courses. Each online course is facilitated by a Colorado-certified instructor.

CDLS has developed an array of quality learning recovery courses with a focus on transitions from elementary to middle school as well as middle to high school. If passed, the legislation would allow more districts to offer already made, 4-5 week boot camps for those students who have experienced the biggest learning loss over the summer. Districts could use their own instructors or leverage online instructors from CDLS.

We appreciate Senator Fields’ legislation because it would also encourage school districts to partner with nonprofit entities and community-based organizations to expand the availability of, and students’ access to, online learning recovery courses. Leveraging community partners, like a Boys & Girls Club or YMCA that offers learning recovery courses (via CDLS) in coordination with a district, shows promise as an opportunity for students to thrive and feel welcomed this summer and fall.  

3. Creating More Opportunities for Students on the 5th day of the Week (HB21-1006)

Colorado Succeeds also testified in support of this bill, which would authorize a program for fifth day programs in school districts operating on a four-day school week.  These programs are providing meaningful hands-on experiences that not only parallel students’ learning experiences in the classroom but provide additional life and career skills that are important for future success.

Importantly, the fifth day also creates a space where a business can build out partnerships with school districts.  For example, the 2020 Succeeds Prize winner, Manufacturing Industry Learning Labs (The MiLL), near the Colorado Springs airport, has an innovative approach to leveraging the fifth day for students. Peyton and Widefield School Districts have partnered on a full-blown career technical education center where they share programs with several districts, some private schools, and even a community college. There’s a payoff for kids in Peyton who spend their fifth day learning career-connected skills, like how to fashion wood furniture, computer design, and construction – all certifications that are highly valuable in an industry hungry for workers. Colorado Succeeds supports more districts leveraging the fifth day in this way.

4. Supporting Successful High School Transitions (SB21-106)

Finally, Colorado Succeeds continues to champion the Successful High School Transitions legislation, which passed out of the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 6-1. The legislation is currently sitting in the Senate Appropriations Committee where action is expected in April. Click here to join the growing list of 30 plus organizations in support.

Follow Colorado Succeeds and the Government Affairs team on Twitter for continued updates on this priority legislation geared toward making Vision 2030 a reality.

 

Kelly Caufield

Vice President of Government Affairs
Colorado Succeeds

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