From Bills to Action, What You Need to Know about Ongoing Education Task Forces

Over the last legislative sessions, Colorado Succeeds has championed the establishment of several task forces bringing together diverse stakeholders to study education issues ranging from school transportation to workforce readiness and formulate recommendations. Here is what you need to know about the ongoing task forces from the 2022 and 2023 legislative sessions.

The Big Blur Task Force

Colorado currently has nearly ten different programs aiming to prepare learners for the workforce or postsecondary education by allowing them to earn free college credits and quality credentials in high school. Established in the 2022 legislative session to develop and recommend policies and rules to support these programs’ equitable and sustainable alignment, the Secondary, Postsecondary, and Work-Based Learning Integration Task Force resumed this summer, after meeting last summer through December.

The task force will publish its final report at the end of the year. In the meantime, you can read the interim report published last December or attend task force meetings open to members of the public.

Stackable Credentials Pathways Steering Committee

Last year, Colorado Succeeds contributed to the passing of SB22-192, which subsequently created the Stackable Credentials Pathways Steering Committee. This initiative bridges the gap between education and careers to establish high-quality credential pathways in high-demand industries, facilitating seamless transitions for learners into the workforce.

Through this work, the committee seeks to break down degree programs into stackable credentials, empowering learners to advance in their degree pathways as smoothly as possible and enter or advance in the workforce. With a focus on cybersecurity, programming & developing, healthcare, education, and behavioral health, we’re collaborating with industry experts, institutions of higher education, and the Colorado Department of Higher Education to ensure pathways align with industry needs.

Moreover, this initiative would benefit students and create a roadmap for a resilient workforce in the ever-changing job landscape.

The School Transportation Modernization Task Force

Last year, across the state, districts reported bus driver shortages ranging from 15% to 40%. Recognizing that transportation is a significant barrier to students accessing high-quality education options, especially career-connected learning opportunities, Colorado Succeeds supported the establishment of the task force that will explore transportation challenges that create barriers for students to access the educational program of their choosing.

The task force will make recommendations for sustainable funding and facilitate the development of transportation talent pipelines and competitive compensation to recruit drivers to improve public school transportation services for students through a report by December 2024. The task force will kick off in the coming weeks, and Colorado Succeeds will represent businesses partnering with schools to provide career pathway programs.

The School Finance Task Force

Colorado’s school funding formula has remained largely the same for nearly 20 years. A special school finance committee of legislators worked for five years to evaluate the formula without making a final recommendation last year. This year’s legislature took a different approach. Included in this year’s school finance act, the legislature charged a group of 17 stakeholders to “examine and make recommendations concerning making the school finance formula simpler, less regressive, and more adequate, understandable, transparent, equitable, and self-centered.” The task force is expected to begin meeting this summer, and Colorado Succeeds will represent as an organization with expertise in business and kindergarten through twelfth-grade education.

The Accountability Task Force

HB23-1241 brought together a diverse coalition of K-12 stakeholders to create a task force charged with evaluating our state’s accountability system, created in 2009, has remained thematically unchanged since then.

With 26 members representing school officials at varying levels from throughout the state and advocacy organizations, the group is charged with studying the academic opportunities, inequities, promising practices in schools, and improvements to the accountability and accreditation system. The group will begin meeting later this month and is responsible for issuing an interim report by March and a final report to the legislature by November 15, 2024.

As the task forces continue their work over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to provide updates. Be sure to follow us on our social media channels for the latest updates.

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Amadou Dieng