High-Performing Schools and Students

Great schools are carefully built by educators, community members and policymakers who understand that education is an essential investment in our collective future. The Children’s Campaign is committed to supporting and advancing a number of educational policies including rigorous academic standards, meaningful assessments of students’ learning, performance evaluation systems that support educators and improve practice, and accountability systems that provide a holistic picture of school and student success. These elements work together in a supportive system to improve readiness for college and career for every student in Colorado, regardless of zip code.

children in a classroom raising their hand

 

Recent Policy Successes

Local School District Accountability: SB19-204 (Story & Arndt/Bird) created grants to support innovative local accountability systems that supplement and inform the state accountability system.

Educator loan forgiveness: SB19-003 (Zenzinger & Coram/McLachlan & Wilson) expanded and funded a loan forgiveness program for teachers serving in hard-to-fill positions due to geography or content area.

School and District Accountability: HB18-1355 (Pettersen & Sias/Gardner & Moreno) clarified parts of the education accountability system and provided communities with the opportunity to be more involved in understanding the improvement-planning process.

Addressing Educator Shortages: Several strategies to address teacher shortages have been advanced in successful legislation in recent years, including HB18-1309 (Coleman & Wilson/Hill), which created the Partnership for Rural Education and a “grow-your-own-educator” framework to award grants to prospective teachers in exchange for a three-year teaching commitment.

Language Choice in Early Literacy Assessments: HB 17-1160 (Hamner & Wilson/Fields & Priola) created additional flexibility for English Language Learners in kindergarten through third grade so that they can take reading assessments in their native language while still developing proficiency in English.

Meaningful Academic Standards and Assessments

In 2008, the legislature established the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids (CAP4K) to create new standards and assessments and align expectations from preschool to post-secondary education. CAP4K required the revision of academic standards and design of a new state assessment system, including a school readiness assessment. The Colorado Academic Standards were fully implemented in the 2013-2014 school year, and the first year of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment was administered in Spring 2015.

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The Children’s Campaign supports Colorado’s rigorous Colorado Academic Standards and aligned assessments that give parents and taxpayers a picture of how our schools are performing for every child. History has shown us that without policies that explicitly ensure all students have access to the same high standards and opportunities to measure levels of understanding, we will not have a fair and equitable education system that supports all students.

Learn more about Colorado’s Academic Standards and aligned assessments on the Colorado Department of Education’s website.

In January, 2017, the Children’s Campaign partnered with Climb Higher Colorado and Stand For Children Colorado on the report Statewide Testing in Colorado: Where it Came From and Why It Matters. Read the full report or an executive summary.

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School and District Accountability

The Education Accountability Act of 2009 (Senate Bill 09-163) created an education accountability system that tracks the overall performance of every public school and district throughout the state by authorizing annual reviews and implementing improvement plans and accreditation categories. The Children’s Campaign believes there is value in a fair accountability system that ensures equity and transparency and allows performance comparisons to be made between students, schools, and districts within the state.

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Learn more about the state’s accountability system, including recent changes that addressed accountability during the 2018 legislative session. To learn more about the Children’s Campaign’s recent advocacy in this area, please reach out to Leslie Colwell at leslie@coloradokids.org.

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Stay In the Know

Our KidsFlash Blog is here to help fellow Coloradoans stay informed about important issues related to the well-being of Colorado’s Children.

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