May 7, 2015

 Testing Compromise Bill Makes Changes in the Final Hour


The 120-day legislative session finished late in the day on Wednesday, May 6. You can almost hear a collective sigh of relief across the state. We will have a full session recap next week, but I wanted to provide you some context for the assessment conversation that is on everyone's mind.


On the final day both the House and Senate agreed to a testing compromise. This legislation represents countless hours of hard work, including significant lobbying, working with strategic partners and harnessing expert member voices. CASE established a Testing and Data Privacy Working Group that met in the summer and fall of 2014 to advise CASE Past President Lisa Esc├írcega and other committee members who served on the 1202 Task Force. In the end, the final bill reflects the 1202 Task Force recommendations--at least those recommendations on which the committee could agree. There was a lot of progress made in the final hours.


That said, it is unlikely to satisfy most school and district leaders, but House Bill 1323 maintains elements of a system that we can continue to work to get right. It introduces some important elements that bring some flexibility into what happens next. For example the bill opens up some much needed experimentation in district pilot programs and allows a year of breathing room on the turnaround clock and the use of student data in teacher/principal evaluations.


This Chalkbeat article provides an excellent and thorough summary of House Bill 1323. We want to know what you think. We don't expect you to pull punches. Please tell us what you like, and what you think still needs to be addressed by clicking here. I will take comments and incorporate them (anonymously, if you like) in a future communication to all members.


This issue will continue to be at the forefront of our work at CASE, and we will maintain a strong presence in discussions at the State Board, the 2016 legislature, with the Colorado NCLB Waiver and in federal ESEA Reauthorization talks.


We will also be sending out a legislative summary next week. We need a little time for the dust to settle, and for conversations and perspective to help our organization navigate a very complex external environment. CASE advocacy efforts are not "one and done." We need your voice in the mix as our efforts are long term.


Help us recapture the narrative about what is truly important in public education in Colorado.


Bruce Caughey



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