2017 Education and Workforce Bills

We focus on education as one of our pillars for a strong economy because preparing our students—our workforce of the future—is essential to our success as a region. In fact, it’s a critical issue that we’re focusing on as a Chamber.

Have a question about a position we’ve taken? Call us at 303-620-8088 or email us at publicpolicy@denverchamber.org.

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  • STATUS Key
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Bill # Title Summary Position Justification Materials Pillars Status
HB17-1062 Making Certain State Assessments Optional

This bill allows each school district to choose whether to administer the state social studies assessments, the ninth-grade math and English language arts state assessments and the 10-grade assessment. The bill also removes the requirement that the Colorado Department of Education must apply for a waiver to administer the ninth-grade math and English language arts state assessments to satisfy federal requirements.

The Chamber has long supported the development of the Colorado Academic Standards and the use of smart assessments in our schools. Colorado is now in the process of implementing the standards and assessments that the Chamber believes will equip our students with the skills needed to succeed in a 21st-century workplace. Repealing these standards and assessments will add significant unnecessary cost and delay implementation of the high standards we need for our students.

HB17-1117 Repeal Assessments in Ninth Grade and Social Studies

This bill directs the state department of education to eliminate the ninth-grade assessments in English language arts and mathematics and the state social studies assessments.

The Chamber has long supported the development of the Colorado Academic Standards and the use of smart assessments in our schools. Colorado is now in the process of implementing the standards and assessments that the Chamber believes will equip our students with the skills needed to succeed in a 21st-century workplace.

HB17-1180 Tuition Assistance for Certificate Programs

This is a technical bill that clarifies the definition of “tuition assistance” to include tuition, fees and course materials and makes tuition assistance available to income-eligible students enrolled in short-term career and technical education certificate programs that are generally ineligible for the federal Pell Grant program.

Our economy depends on working together to ensure that our youth are prepared to enter the talent pipeline. It’s important that we equip our students with 21st-century skills, prepare them for the future needs of businesses and for the jobs our economy depends on.

HB17-1181 Required State Assessment for Ninth-grade Students

This bill replaces the current ninth-grade state assessment requirement in math and English and instead requires local education providers to administer a ninth-grade assessment that is more closely aligned with assessments given to 10th-grade students, which in Colorado are the PSAT and SAT tests.

This bill offers reasonable reform to ninth-grade testing while preserving smart assessments in our schools.

HB17-1184 Modern Technology Education in Public Schools

This bill directs the state education board to incorporate the use of technology skills into the academic standards for every subject deemed appropriate, directs the Department of Education to create a
publicly available resource bank of materials pertaining to computer science programs and creates a grant program in the department to help fund computer science courses.

Our economy depends on working together to ensure that our youth are prepared to enter the workforce. It’s important that we equip our students with 21st-century skills, prepare them for the future needs of businesses and for the jobs our economy depends on. This bill provides for consistency in academic standards and access to materials and resources to accomplish this.

HB17-1201 Science Technology Engineering Math Diploma Endorsement

This bill authorizes an education provider to grant a STEM endorsement to high school students who meet specific STEM graduation requirements and demonstrate a high level of proficiency in STEM courses.

This bill encourages student participation in STEM courses, a field that currently holds 23% of all Colorado jobs and continues to grow. Our economy depends on us working together to ensure that our youth are prepared to enter the talent pipeline. It’s important that we equip our students with 21st-century skills, prepare them for the future needs of businesses and for the jobs our economy depends on.

HB17-1287 Achieving A Vision For Education In Colorado

This bill creates a legislative steering committee, an executive advisory board and a statewide advisory board for the purpose of creating a strategic, statewide education plan and vision for Colorado.

Our economy depends on youth who are prepared for the talent pipeline. We must equip our students with 21st-century skills to meet the future needs of businesses and for the jobs our economy depends on. This bill aims to create a statewide vision, a strategy and an action plan for education and the associated funding sources so that all students, regardless of the school they attend in Colorado, can meet the needs of our workforce.

HB17-1375 Distributing Mill Levy Override Revenue to Schools

Beginning in the 2019-20 budget year, this bill requires that school districts that authorize a charter school and collect revenue from mill levies in addition to the total program mill level either adopt a plan for distributing revenue for all schools or distribute 95 percent of the per pupil amount to the charter schools. The bill also creates the mill levy equalization fund consisting of money the general assembly may appropriate for charter schools.

The bill seeks to remedy key funding disparities that charter public schools face. Tax revenue collected from all taxpayers in a school district should benefit all public school students in that district and be distributed equally. It is important that all students have the opportunity for a quality education and are prepared to fill current and future jobs. Equitable funding is imperative to providing a quality education.

SB17-061 Additional Funding for Charter School Operating Costs

The bill requires that a school district distribute 100 percent of the per pupil mill levy revenue it receives from local property tax mill levies. The bill goes into effect in 2018 and does not require that a district pay a charter school retroactively.

The bill seeks to remedy key funding disparities that charter public schools face. Tax revenue collected from all taxpayers in a school district should benefit all public school students in that district and be distributed equally.

SB17-067 Educator Effectiveness 50 Percent of Student Academic Growth

This bill eliminates the requirement that at least 50 percent of a teacher’s and principal’s evaluation be determined by the academic growth of their students. It dilutes provisions of SB10-191 by allowing school districts to use student academic growth as a measure in educator evaluations but only up to 20 percent of the total assessment.

This proposal would remove a key provision of SB10-191, which created an evaluation system to develop greater accountability for educators and principals. The Chamber has long supported education as one of its pillars for a healthy and thriving economy.

SB17-101 Ninth and 10th-grade Assessments in Public Schools

This bill allows school districts to choose whether to administer state assessments in English language arts and math for ninth-grade students or one of the two college entrance exams selected by the Colorado Department of Education. The bill also allows school districts to choose between two college entrance exams to administer to 10th- and 11th-grade students.

The Chamber has long supported the development of the Colorado Academic Standards and the use of smart assessments in our schools. Colorado is now in the process of implementing the standards and assessments that the Chamber believes will equip our students with the skills needed to succeed in a 21st-century workplace. Repealing these standards and assessments will add significant unnecessary cost and delay implementation of the high standards we need for our students.

SB17-114 Accountability for School Districts and Schools

This bill repeals the state education board’s authority to remove a school district's or school's accreditation based on poor performance for five consecutive school years.

Our economy depends on us working together to ensure that our youth are prepared to enter the talent pipeline and high-performing schools are a critical component of accomplishing this. We support a high-performing education system and this bill weakens our ability to hold school districts and schools accountable for their performance.

SB17-272 Measures of Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

The bill adds a new accountability measure for determining the postsecondary and workforce indicator, an indicator set in statute to help determine graduation readiness, based on the percentage of students who demonstrate college and career readiness. Local school districts would choose from the menu of graduation demonstration options (such as AP, IB, industry credentials and concurrent enrollment courses) in developing this indicator.

Our economy depends on working together to ensure that our youth are prepared to enter the workforce. It’s important that we equip our students with 21st-century skills, prepare them for the future needs of businesses and for the jobs our economy depends on. This bill encourages student participation in career-focused programs, increasing the likelihood that they graduate from high school.