by Brita Darling
As most schools recently began their new year, the Educational Success Task Force was finishing its major interim work. The task force was created in 2011 and charged with reviewing research concerning academic transition points for students in K-12 and higher education and recommending strategies for identifying and providing developmental education services to ensure that students are successful at navigating through these transition points. The task force includes legislative members and officials from school districts and the executive branch, as well as education advocates.
The task force, co-chaired by Sen. Keith King; Dr. Geri Anderson, associate vice president and provost of the Colorado Community College System; and Dr. Judy Skupa, deputy superintendent for Thompson School District, considered five bill drafts for approval as interim committee bills. After considering each bill, hearing public testimony, and conducting a straw poll of the entire task force, the legislative members of the task force voted to advance the following three bills to Legislative Council Committee for its approval at the Council’s October 15 meeting:
Bill A directs the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education, in consultation with the local district junior colleges, area vocational schools, the department of education, and local workforce development programs, to implement a pilot program of 20 career and technical education certificate programs. The certificate programs are designed to be completed within 12 months and will combine basic education in information and math literacy with career and technical education. Community colleges, junior colleges, area vocational schools, and local adult education programs may choose to offer the certificate programs. The certificate programs will be piloted through July 2018.
Bill B requires each school district and institute charter school to adopt a policy concerning academic acceleration for students by July 1, 2014. Academic acceleration allows a student to progress through an education program at a rate faster or at ages younger than the student’s peers. The bill lists various interventions for academic acceleration and sets forth provisions that a school district or institute charter school may wish to include in its academic acceleration policy.
Bill C requires the commissioner of the Department of Education to assign a uniquely identifying student number to each person enrolled in an adult basic education program or a high school equivalency certificate program who has not previously been assigned a state-assigned student identifier in Colorado.
The task force’s bills that receive approval from the Legislative Council Committee will be introduced as interim bills in the 2013 legislative session.
With the beginning of the new legislative session, the task force will lose three of its six legislative members, including Senator King, Senator Bacon, and Representative Massey. At the conclusion of the September 19 meeting, task force members expressed their appreciation to Senator King for his service as task force co-chair.
The task force is charged with reporting its progress to the Education Committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate no later than Jan. 31, 2013, and may prepare a report for the State Board of Education and the Colorado Commission of Higher Education concerning any additional findings and recommendations of the task force. While the task force’s subcommittees may continue to meet during the legislative session, there are no further meetings of the entire task force scheduled at this time. The task force will be repealed in July 2013.