Colorado Supreme Court Stands Behind Landmark Educator Evaluation Law

March 12, 2018 Denver – In a significant victory for Colorado’s students, educators, and education leaders, the Colorado Supreme Court today upheld a key component of the state’s landmark educator evaluation law, SB10-191. The ruling reversed an earlier, flawed Colorado Court of Appeals decision.

In Masters v. School District No. 1, the state’s largest teachers’ union challenged Denver Public Schools’ implementation of a critical provision in Colorado’s 2010 law known as the Great Teachers and Leaders Act, or Senate Bill 10-191. The law, among other important teacher evaluation improvements, provides school principals with the authority to choose who staffs their schools.

“To meet the diverse needs of students statewide, it is essential that principals have the authority and flexibility to hire who they want on their instructional team,” said Scott Laband, President of Colorado Succeeds, a non-partisan coalition of business leaders committed to improving K-12 education. “Colorado’s educator effectiveness legislation (SB 191) has already prompted profound changes in districts, schools, and classrooms across the state. Today’s ruling will ensure this progress continues and that every child in Colorado learns from a high-quality teacher.”

As a “friend of the court,” Colorado Succeeds warned in an amicus brief how, if the lawsuit succeeded, Colorado’s educators would be required to reinstitute an absurd system where a school must either (a) force a principal to accept a teacher into his or her school, regardless of whether the school is a best fit for the teacher, or (b) continue to pay the teacher their full salary and benefits to stay at home. The brief also showed how the lawsuit threatened the state’s democratic process and jeopardized the legislature’s ability to promote innovation.

Colorado’s business community joined education, civic, and non-profit leaders to help pass SB 191 in 2010 to fix weaknesses in Colorado’s teacher evaluation and tenure systems. Many of these groups came together again to urge the Colorado Supreme Court to hold firm on ensuring education leaders have the hiring freedom they need and deserve.

“In business, we recognize how critical it is for leaders to hire and assemble strong teams that are mission-aligned and driven by the same vision,” said Pat Donovan, Colorado Succeeds board chair and Revolution Foods Vice President – National Partnerships. “The business community is thrilled with the State Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Colorado school leaders’ ability to hire the staff that will support the students and objectives in their school community.”

About Colorado Succeeds
Colorado Succeeds is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of Colorado business leaders who join forces to ensure our education system works better and smarter for all people of Colorado. We believe Colorado is the best place to live and work, and we want it to stay that way. This great state can only continue its tradition of excellence when all of our children are educated to their greatest potential and all of our businesses have the talented and innovative workforce they need to thrive. We believe great schools are good business. We know when Colorado Schools improve, everybody wins. Learn more: www.coloradosucceeds.org.

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