Colorado Succeeds and its members have had tremendous success advancing The Agility Agenda this year at the Capitol. As we near the end of the 2019 legislative session, this is where some of our priority issues stand:
Expanding Work-Based Learning Opportunities: The Career Development Success Program started as a pilot program in 2016 to encourage high school students to complete work-based learning opportunities. We are excited to report that the program has received a nearly $3 million increase in this year’s budget. With additional funds, a wider array of workforce credentials will be eligible, and more districts will receive incentive payments for career development programs to reinvest back into expanding opportunities for more students. Thirty-seven districts participated last school year.
Removing Barriers in High School for Greater District Innovation: Limiting where students can learn doesn’t acknowledge that learning happens everywhere. Per pupil funding should not be based on simply how many hours a student is in the school building. Legislation championed by Senators Jeff Bridges (D) and Representative Shannon Bird (D) cleared its last hurdle this week and is on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature. Colorado Succeeds member, Board of Advisors, Sean VanBerschot, President and Partner at Prosono, testified in support of the legislation.
During his testimony, he pointed to the Education Leadership Council’s report, vetted by thousands of Coloradans, that recommended the state support more out of school learning opportunities for students. For those districts selected, this bill would eliminate seat-time reporting requirements, and allow all students participating in high-quality experiential learning to be counted as full-time students. Succeeds also supported legislation this session advancing at the Capitol that would allow local school districts to experiment with different types of accountability measures to supplement required, statewide measures of school accountability. This legislation could allow districts to test additional measures of career and postsecondary readiness.
Increasing Access and Rigor in High School: Offering students the ability to earn college credit in high school adds value to the traditional model. That is why we are supporting legislative efforts to modernize and expand concurrent enrollment this session, which includes provisions to build more agile educators by funding more master’s degrees in content areas so that more educators can teach concurrent enrollment courses to students and be better equipped for deeper learning instruction. This legislation is awaiting full consideration by the House.
Colorado Succeeds also supported legislation to provide opportunities for more low-income and minority students to participate in advanced placement classes. Tom Brinegar, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at PEAK Resources, Inc. and member, Board of Advisors, testified in support. This legislation is headed to the governor’s desk for his signature.
Building Stronger Pathways to Success for All Students: Colorado Succeeds supported legislation introduced this session that would reward college credit for work experience. Joel Pennick, Vice President at JE Dunn and member, Board of Advisors testified in support and explained that credit for past work experiences could help decrease remediation and reduce the time until graduation.
400,000 Colorado adults have earned some postsecondary credit but have not earned the corresponding credential. Helping individuals further earn credits would allow more Coloradans to up-skill and be strong contributors to our economy. While this bill passed the House Education Committee by a unanimous vote, it has been held up in the House Appropriations Committee.
Ensuring A Strong Start f All Colorado Students: Colorado Succeeds supports legislation to expand full-day kindergarten for more students in Colorado. This proposal would allow an additional 14,000 children to access full-day kindergarten.
Succeeds also supports legislation that strengthens the READ Act, which allocates over $40 million to school districts to ensure students receive evidence-based reading instruction, focused on developing foundational reading skills.
As we count down the clock, please stay tuned for a full legislative recap from Colorado Succeeds. If you’re interested in connecting in the off-session to learn more about how you can engage in policy and advocacy let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org