13th 2010
Bipartisan SB 191 Would Improve Schools, CEA Leaders Line Up to “Kill” the Bill

Posted under Denver & Education Politics & Innovation and Reform & Principals & State Legislature & Teachers

The Colorado state legislature has been in session for three months now (only one more to go!), and finally we get to the excitement of debating a truly significant education reform bill. With Democratic state senator Michael Johnston at the forefront, the newly introduced Senate Bill 191 (PDF) would overhaul our state’s teacher evaluation and tenure system for the better.

Here’s a strong flavor of what the legislation proposes to do:

Key provisions of the bill include annual teacher and principal evaluations, with teacher evaluations to be based 50 percent on student growth and principal evaluations based two-thirds on student growth and the demonstrated effectiveness of a principal’s teachers.

The bill also would require that tenure be earned after three consecutive years of effectiveness as determined by evaluations. Tenured teachers could be returned to probation if they don’t have good evaluations for two years. The bill also would require the mutual consent for placement of teachers in specific schools and establishes procedures for handling teachers who aren’t placed. It also specifies that evaluations can be considered when layoffs are made.

From all evidence I’ve seen the bill looks like a reasonable, commonsense way to make sure Colorado teachers are measured based on how they help students learn and that poorly-performing teachers are not protected by the system for years and years. And I very much like the fact that the accountability will be shared by teachers and principals. The formula of jointly investing educators and instructional leaders in the measured success of students promotes true classroom professionalism and excellence.

SB 191 is co-sponsored by 9 Democrats and 9 Republicans in the state legislature. The bill has the backing of the liberal-leaning Denver Post editorial board and the Democrat-appointed Commissioner of Education who notes it should improve Colorado’s chances to win Race to the Top dollars. Also on board are a host of community and advocacy groups like “the Colorado Children’s Campaign, BizCares, the Urban League, Padres Unidos, Metropolitan Organization for People, A+ Denver and Colorado Concern, among others.”

But to nobody’s surprise, SB 191 has one powerful and determined opponent. The Colorado Education Association yesterday exclaimed:

We don’t agree with the Post or the Commissioner and we will do everything we can to kill Sen. Johnston’s bill. Teachers want a fair, credible evaluation system, not the one we have today. That’s why we are committed to working through the Governor’s Council to get a new system.

If SB 191 becomes law, then CEA has less power over the watered-down Blue Ribbon Panel approach to reforming evaluations and tenure — and less opportunity to scare teachers with the bogeyman of bad principals. Let’s hope that lawmakers have the courage to take on this important challenge in the 30 days we have before they’re out of session.


6 Responses to “Bipartisan SB 191 Would Improve Schools, CEA Leaders Line Up to “Kill” the Bill”

  1. Elisa Cohen on 13 Apr 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    As a parent of a public school students who have thrived with great teachers and great principal but who have also suffered with ineffective teachers and principals, I’m doing what I can to show legislators the power of the “Union of Parents and Students.” Parents, teachers, and community organizations have put together an online petition to support SB 10-191.

    I really like the way this bill gives principals incentives to support teachers, because principal evaluations are based on how well the students in his or her building are growing.

    If you want to join the voices of other citizens who support this bill, sign the petition at http://www.greatteachersandleaders.org.

  2. Remainders: D.C.’s school budget surplus angers union | GothamSchools on 13 Apr 2010 at 8:24 pm #

    [...] Colorado is dealing with a proposed bill that would dilute tenure protections. [...]

  3. Eddie on 14 Apr 2010 at 10:27 am #

    Elisa, Thank you for your comment and for bringing this organized effort to our attention. All the best…

  4. Ed is Watching » Choice AND Tenure Reform: But Could I Skip School with Reformer’s Disease? on 14 Apr 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    [...] good as it is, we are wise to remember that Senator Johnson’s widely-supported tenure reform bill SB 191 will not be a magical silver bullet to end all the woes of [...]

  5. Ed is Watching » iVoices: THE Week for Sen. Michael Johnston’s Tenure Reform SB 191 on 19 Apr 2010 at 11:51 am #

    [...] session has been kind of humdrum. Until now. Yes, this week is THE week. Senate Bill 191 — the proposal I’ve told you about that will overhaul our state’s evaluation and tenure system for the better — will be [...]

  6. Bipartisan SB 191 Would Improve Schools, CEA Leaders Line Up to “Kill” the Bill | Colorado Education Association on 03 Feb 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    [...] Re-posted from Ed Is Watching blog This entry was posted in Colorado Education Association. Bookmark the permalink. ← About the Postcard or Email Message You Received: Political Refunds from CEA & (maybe) Your Local Colorado Teacher Membership Opt-Out Periods Coming in August and September → LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

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