April
24th 2012
House Bill 1333 Options for Teachers Generates Tweets, Clears First Committee

Posted under Denver & Edublogging & Education Politics & Independence Institute & PPC & State Legislature & Teachers

Last week I brought your attention to Denver teacher Ronda Reinhardt’s story of the union denying her ability to opt out. She was excited to see a legislative solution proposed, a bill that succeeded yesterday at its first official hearing yesterday, passing Colorado’s House Education Committee:

House Bill 1333, sponsored by Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, and heard in the House Education Committee, would give school districts 30 days to cancel a teacher’s payroll deductions for vunion [sic] dues after receiving written notification from the teacher.

Under collective bargaining agreements ruling many larger school districts, teachers only may cancel their membership within a two-to-three week “opt-out window” at the beginning of the school year. If they miss the window, they’re obligated to pay dues for the rest of the year.

Two groups came forward to testify against this commonsense legislative proposal. The only argument made by both the Colorado Association of School Boards and the Colorado Education Association was that giving teachers more options somehow would violate “local control.” Yes, they seriously hung their case on the claim that the state has no compelling interest whatsoever in ensuring basic rights for teachers. Would CEA make the same case against a state policy that provides classroom instructors with due policy tenure protections? You make the call!

One group celebrating the 7-6 party line vote is the Professional Association of Colorado Educators (PACE), an affiliate of the national non-union professional organization known as the Association of American Educators. PACE membership director Tim Farmer and three PACE member teachers all voiced their support in testimony before the committee, surviving a gauntlet of skeptical questions.

Being at the hearing yesterday in disguise, I was able to watch the proceedings up close and personal. Rather than recapping all the fun, crazy twists and turns here, I urge you to check out my Twitter stream. I’ve posted a couple screenshots below for your enjoyment (from top to bottom, these excerpts of events are in reverse chronological order):

The hour-long hearing truly was an interesting and illuminating exchange. You can catch the April 23 audio online, near the beginning of the six-hour segment. HB 1333 faces a sprint to the finish line, as the legislative session ends in 15 days. Stay tuned!

5 Comments »

5 Responses to “House Bill 1333 Options for Teachers Generates Tweets, Clears First Committee”

  1. Sunana on 24 Apr 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    The one comment I read that rains on the parade of all this promise is this, that was posted at the EdnewsColorado website.

    “Republicans have a one-vote majority in the House this session, while Democrats have a five-seat majority in the Senate. In an election year when future control of the legislature is at stake, HB 12-1333 is expected to have little or no chance in the Senate if it passes the House.”

    I gotta say, if the pressure’s on one D to vote in favor of teacher choice, that’s do-able – But 5? I have little hope that even with a lot of noise that these five D’s will be voting against their union masters. Just sayin….

  2. Eddie on 25 Apr 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Actually, it would take all Senate Rs (15) plus only 3 Senate Ds to pass HB 1333. Still, your skepticism may be well-placed.

  3. Ed is Watching » AFT Union Pins Fading Hopes on State Intervention to Save Power in Dougco on 11 Jul 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    [...] would see state intervention in this dispute as a violation of “local control” in the same way they saw a legislative proposal that would allow teachers to opt in or out of a union any time with 30 days [...]

  4. Ed is Watching » Indiana Teacher Case Should Unsettle Colorado Union Foes of Member Options on 23 Jul 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    [...] ability to opt in or out of union membership with 30 days notice. Yes, they hung their opposition on the pathetic “local control” argument. And they have to be hoping the issue just goes [...]

  5. Ed is Watching » Two Michigan Teachers Set Free of Union; Thousands More in Limbo on 07 Mar 2014 at 11:58 am #

    [...] a legislative proposal came forward two years ago to give teachers more freedom and flexibility. House Bill 12-1333 ultimately died in the state [...]

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