GOV. RITTER SIGNS LANDMARK EDUCATION BILLS
ARVADA — Gov.
Bill Ritter today signed four education bills into law, two of which – the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids and the School Finance Act – establish landmark reforms and represent significant advances for Colorado students from pre-school to college.
"These bills represent some of the most important work the legislature did this session," Gov. Ritter said during a signing ceremony at
. "It truly was the 'education session.' These were bipartisan bills, because the education of our young people and the future of Arvada High School 's economy should not be about partisan politics. Colorado
"These bills also address the fundamental need to push beyond business as usual. All across
, students, teachers and parents are working really, really hard to learn and to teach. Colorado
"But we have a 25 percent high school dropout rate," Gov. Ritter said. "We rank 45th in the country for the percentage of native-born residents who earn college degrees. And as a nation, we are one of just two industrialized countries in the world whose college-completion rate is actually declining. We can do better. We must do better. With these new bills, we will do better."
The bills signed today:
Senate Bill 212,
Colo. Achievement Plan for Kids (Romer & Penry/Witwer & Scanlan): Considered Gov. Ritter's signature education bill of the session, this measure creates for the first time in and possibly the country a truly aligned preschool-to-college educational system. It will establish new standards and new assessments so that students have the skills and the knowledge to succeed in today's 21st century, ultra-competitive global economy. It eliminates traditional walls between Colorado 's pre-K, K-12 and higher-education systems. Colorado
"This bill levels the playing field for
students so that every child is prepared as they move through school and into the workforce," Sen. Romer said. "The better prepared students are, the better chance they have to excel in a growing global economy." Colorado
House Bill 1388, 2008 School Finance Act (Windels/Pommer): The annual public school funding bill emphasizes early education and enacts several of the recommendations from the Governor's P-20 Education Council, co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien, by:
- Wiping out the 3,800-child waiting list for the Colorado Preschool Program. This will now allow 6,254 at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds to attend quality preschools. This is the largest expansion of preschool in the state's history.
- Expanding full-day kindergarten classes to 7,000 more children in the upcoming school year and to more than 22,000 students over five years.
- Providing $35 million to local school districts so they can build new and expand existing classroom space to accommodate increased full-day kindergartens.
- Creating a $1 million grant fund for alternative teacher compensation plans
"Real education reform, as demonstrated with these bills, means creating a long-term vision and being willing to make strategic investments," Gov. Ritter said. "The education investments we're making in 2008 will pay untold dividends in terms of higher graduation rates and a brighter economic future for
Colorado's students, Colorado's businesses and 's communities." Colorado
Gov. Ritter signed two additional education bills today as well:
HB 1021, Early Kindergarten Gifted Children (Peniston/Spence): This bill ties the expansion of preschool and kindergarten together with initiatives for gifted students. It provides early access to kindergarten or first grade for students who are younger than age 6 and have been identified as "highly advanced gifted."
HB 1364, Interdepartmental Data Protocols (Benefield & Massey/Windels): This bill is a product of the Governor's P-20 Education Council. It creates a streamlined P-20 data system that connects different departments' data systems for the purposes of improving research and policy.
Achievement Plan for Kids (CAP4K) Fact Sheet Colorado
Requires State Board of Education (SBE) and
Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) to establish definitions of school readiness and postsecondary and workforce readiness. Colorado
· While not requiring specific "seat time" requirements, CAP4K calls for establishing clear definitions of school readiness and postsecondary and workforce readiness for the first time in
· The school readiness definition should address a child's ability to engage in and benefit from elementary school. At a minimum the adopted definition should include physical well-being, motor development, social and emotional development, language and comprehension development and cognition and general knowledge.
· Requires the SBE and CCHE to jointly adopt a formal definition of postsecondary and workforce readiness. In the future, all high schools will offer at least one Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Program and all students must enroll in a program.
· In creating these definitions, the SBE and CCHE will 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 refines instructional standards from Preschool to Year 1 of college.
· CAP4K calls for the expansion of CDE's Model Content Standards to span all grades, from preschool through grade 12, and requires that these standards are anchored by and aligned with definitions of school readiness and postsecondary and workforce readiness.
· Standards must be developed for, at a minimum: reading, writing, math, science, history, geography, the arts, physical education, world languages, economics and civics.
· 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 their 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 (Carnegie Units) or course titles. All curricular pathways must ultimately lead to postsecondary and workforce readiness.
Requires development of school readiness assessments and modifications to 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.
· The plan calls for each student enrolled in a public preschool or kindergarten program to receive an individual readiness plan that addresses the knowledge and skill areas in which the student needs assistance in making progress toward school readiness.
· 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.
· Also central to the plan is the creation of a school readiness assessment so that achievement gaps can be identified earlier and preschool and kindergarten can be expanded and improved to ensure that every child starts 1st grade prepared to succeed.
· This section also requires the maintenance of a high level of accountability and continuous compliance with federal law.
· Expects the SBE to describe the level of English language competency a student must demonstrate to be postsecondary and workforce ready.
· Requires the SBE to determine the criteria for an endorsed diploma to indicate that a student has achieved postsecondary and workforce readiness. SBE shall also adopt criteria a school may use to grant endorsements to graduating students who have shown extraordinary academic achievement or exemplary demonstration of workforce readiness, or outstanding accomplishments in a variety of subject areas.
· Requires the Colorado Department of Education to establish a pilot program for the purpose of evaluating standards and collecting data regarding student performance on nationally recognized postsecondary and workforce planning, preparation and readiness assessments. SBE shall use data collected in this pilot program to help create the standards and assessments that will be adopted and administered statewide following the completion of the pilot program.
Amends cche admission & remediation policies to permit students to qualify for college admission by demonstrated proficiency, 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.
Creates support for the stages of planning and design necessary to implement a fundamental and systemic change in
's education system. colorado
· Recognizes that creating a seamless system of standards, expectations and assessments is a multi-faced and complex project that will require multiple stages of planning and design, and implementation will likely continue over years, and will require the reallocation of state resources and the identification and allocation of new resources.
· The Department of Education and the Department of Higher Education, upon request, will provide support to local education providers in implementing postsecondary and workforce readiness standards.
· Requests the Colorado Department of Education in consultation with the Colorado Department of Higher Education to contract with a research entity to conduct a study of the costs of reviewing, adopting and implementing the standards and assessment realignment.