Joined by bipartisan bill sponsors andColorado's education leaders, Gov.Bill Rittertoday announced the introduction of landmark education-reform legislation, the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids.
The bill calls for a complete redesign and realignment ofColorado's educational systems from pre-school to college. It would mesh rigorous course content standards with meaningful proficiency assessments with standardized college admission requirements.
"It's time to push hard against the status quo and create a bold new vision for education inColorado," Gov. Ritter said. "It's a vision that assumes everyColoradostudent deserves the opportunity to live up to his or her God-given potential. It's a vision that allows us to thoroughly prepare everyColoradostudent for college or the 21stcentury workforce. And it's a vision that creates a seamless education system from pre-school to college."
The Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids (CAP4K), is co-sponsored by Sens. Chris Romer, D-Denver, and Josh Penry, R-Fruita, and Reps. Christine Scanlan, D-Dillon, and Rob Witwer, R-Genessee. The complete bill is available atwww.colorado.gov/governoror byclicking here.
The bill would:
·Task the State Board of Education and Colorado Commission on Higher Education to establish definitions of school readiness and college and workforce readiness.
·Expand and refines model content standards for all grades from pre-school to the first year of college (standards currently only exist for grades 3 through 10), and align those standards with the content and skills needed for success after high school.
·Require the development of school readiness assessments and modifications to the existing assessment system to align with postsecondary and workforce readiness standards.
·Amend college admission and remediation policies to permit students to earn qualifying credit by proficiency, not by "seat time" or course titles alone.
"There are thousands of dedicated, hard-working educators all acrossColorado. I applaud and honor every single one of them," Gov. Ritter said. "But our high school dropout rates are too high. Too many college freshmen require remedial training, and too many college students drop out before getting their diplomas.
"I know we can do better," the Governor added. "This bill puts every student on a track to postsecondary education, if that's their chosen path. And not just one path, but multiple pathways to college and career. It moves away from an emphasis on 'seat time' and instead focuses on student learning.
"The bill requires unprecedented collaboration between the State Board of Education and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education to create a seamless system of public education, standards and expectations. It also honors the historic partnership between the state and local school districts.
"We absolutely are not backing off of rigor or accountability. Rather, we are encouraging more thoughtful and meaningful accountability while giving educators the confidence to be innovative, to try new things, and to help every student climb the rungs to success in the 21stcentury.
"I am not asking educators to change what's already working, or to create a one-size-fits-all solution. I am asking that we as a state commit to doing all we can to ensure that every kid can graduate from high school and move confidently toward achieving his or her dreams.
"Our children deserve nothing less than a world-class education. AndColoradodeserves nothing less then the best-trained and best-educated workforce in the world."
Additional elements of theColoradoAchievement Plan for Kids legislation:
Tasks the State Board of Education and theColoradoCommission on Higher Education with establishing definitions of school readiness and postsecondary and workforce readiness.
·While not requiring specific "seat time" requirements, CAP4K establishes clear definitions of school readiness and postsecondary and workforce readiness for the first time inColoradohistory.
·Requires the State Board of Education and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education to jointly adopt a formal definition of postsecondary and workforce readiness.
·In creating these definitions, the State Board of Education and the Commission on Higher Education would be required to consult and collaborate with citizens, early childhood education providers, teachers/faculty, counselors, school/college administrators, board members, parents, students, and employers.
Expands and refinesColorado's instructional standards from kindergarten to the first year of college.
·CAP4K calls for the expansion of CDE's Model Content Standards to span all grades, K-12, and requires that these standards are anchored by and aligned with definitions of school readiness and postsecondary and workforce readiness.
·Requires that the newly adopted standards are comparable in scope, relevance, and rigor to the highest national and international standards that have been implemented successfully and are consistent with the achievement goals of the legislation.
·Directs local school boards to revise instructional standards to meet or exceed those established by the State Board of Education and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.
·Permits and encourages local school boards to create multiple curricular pathways to accommodate students' varying interests. In doing so, school boards are not required to base decisions on traditional conventions, such as seat time (i.e., Carnegie Units) or course titles. But, all such curricular pathways must ultimately lead students toward postsecondary and workforce readiness.
Requires the development of school readiness assessments and modifications to the existing assessment system to align with postsecondary and workforce readiness standards.
·Gov. Ritter's plan calls for the development of new or realignment of existing assessments, such as CSAPs and ACT.
·Central to this plan is the creation of greater relevance for students, parents, and teachers in the state's assessment system and a requirement that assessments administered in high school can be used for guidance and college admission purposes.
·This section also requires the maintenance of a high level of accountability and continuous compliance with federal law.
·Requires the State Board of Education to determine the criteria for an honors-style diploma as well as permits the creation of additional yet-to-be-determined endorsements to recognize outstanding achievement in a variety of subject areas.
Amends CCHE admission & remediation policies to permit students to qualify for college admission by demonstrated proficiency, and not by seat time or course titles alone.
·CAP4K charges the Colorado Commission on Higher Education with amending its policies to allow students to qualify for admission and placement into credit-bearing college courses by way of demonstrations of proficiency, not simply seat time or course titles.
·Creates postsecondary and workforce readiness standards that can be used to guarantee admission to certain postsecondary institutions.