JUNE 4, 2014

Doing something about being devalued

In This BriefCASE


As educators, we often feel devalued by the media and the political process/partisan battles. But the minute you step inside a school, you feel the importance of the work and the difference educators make in the lives of our children and young adults.

We educate the next generation of leaders no matter where they came from, what special needs they might bring with them or where they are in the learning continuum. That we serve all kids is the bedrock of why public education matters.

It defines why we think often about our CASE mission: to empower Colorado education leaders through advocacy, professional learning and networking to deliver on the promise of public education.

This year, school superintendents arrived at the Capitol armed with stories of their commitment and optimism about the actual work we do in schools across Colorado. They engaged with their local reporters and stirred up grassroots support. They rolled out a common message about why we need to invest in our schools.

And there is so much more work to be done.

This spring, I found myself thinking, before addressing a gymnasium full of elementary kids at Sanchez Elementary in Lafayette: “If only the critics could see this wonderful school, feel the energy of the children and experience the commitment of the staff.”

“If only” was my common refrain as I crisscrossed the state delivering awards to so many outstanding school and district leaders (visit our website for a complete list of CASE annual award winners and a little bio on each one). We can all work together to ensure that our critics have a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities we face.

As educators we sometimes do not prioritize connecting with our community, the press, politicians and business leaders as we are consumed with the essential mission and daily “woof and warp” of our schools. And, when we don’t accomplish that connection, the public turns elsewhere to get their information. They get it from disturbing headlines and sound bites that are a mismatch with the reality in your schools. So, as you wrap up this year and contemplate the next, remember just how important these connections in your local communities can be.

Bruce Caughey


Doing something about being devalued

Make yourself heard by participating on a working group

Teacher evaluation lawsuit dismissed by judge

Getting ready for the 2014 Summer Convention

SB 165 provides districts more time to adjust measures of student learning weighting

Center for Colorado's Future releases video

Make yourself heard by participating on a working group


CASE will be establishing two key working groups with the guidance of CASE Lobbyist Elisabeth Rosen. These groups will help CASE to stay ahead of emerging issues in advance of the next legislative session. We need various professional perspectives from our membership as well as a mix of urban, rural and suburban school district voices. The commitment to serve on these working groups is to attend three meetings and participation may be either in-person or by phone.

  1. Testing and Data Privacy Working Group facilitated by CASE President Lisa Escarcega —This year, we worked hard to modify House Bill 1202 to study assessments and, potentially, data privacy issues. This issue will be of growing importance as Colorado transitions to new state assessments and those tests are used for high stakes decisions on school, teacher and principal performance. We are seeking a working group to assist CASE members serving on the Task Force this summer and also to develop language for possible follow-up legislation in 2015. The CASE Testing and Data Privacy Task Force will hold its first meeting on June 24 at 1 pm and future meeting dates will be set at that time.
  2. CASE School Finance Working Group
    —As we have written about throughout the 2014 session, we need to chart a forward focused, multi-year path to improving K-12 school funding that includes a comprehensive view of the needs of all Colorado school districts. We have set in place a foundational language in the CASE School Finance Principles (click here), which will help guide this effort. The CASE School Finance Working Group will convene later this summer.

If you would like to be part of this conversation, send a quick email expressing interest to Barb at balbright@co-case.org.


Teacher evaluation lawsuit dismissed by judge


A lawsuit filed against Denver Public Schools (DPS) interpretation of SB 191 provisions on mutual consent hiring was dismissed by Judge Michael A. Martinez in a 14-page order. The judge disagreed with the union claim that DPS had wrongfully terminated teachers. CEA has promised that it will appeal the ruling.

The 2010 provision known as mutual consent hiring changes the process formerly known as forced placement of teachers. While this is not much of an issue in small, rural districts, mutual consent hiring has been a contentious issue in larger districts because it ensures that the principal in the accepting school really wants to hire the displaced teacher. Essentially the school and teacher can decide mutually if it is a good fit.

The lawsuit was part of a two-part union strategy to change this provision of the law. The other approach was the introduction of HB 1268 (Non-probationary Teacher No Indefinite Unpaid Leave). Under pressure from CASE and other groups HB 1268 was successfully killed in the first committee.

While there are problems with implementing SB 191, we felt this bill and this lawsuit did not provide any better solutions. “CASE looks forward to working for better approaches to implementing SB 191, and had either of this two-part effort been successful, it would have been a step backwards,” said CASE Executive Director Bruce Caughey.


Getting ready for the 2014 CASE Summer Convention


As teachers and leaders try to catch their breath after the school year, we are just ramping up for our biggest event of the year. We are planning, registering and hustling to put on the 45th Annual CASE Convention, and hope you are planning to join us. The speaker lineup is all-star with Joseph Grenny and Tasha Eurich, among others. Our professional learning staff and department leaders have chosen 75+ outstanding breakout sessions—chosen from many submissions—to help spread best practices among you and your peers. We have four pre-conference sessions to meet your individual profile. So, register now, before Early Bird prices are discontinued by clicking here.


SB 165 provides districts more flexibility


In the 2014 legislative session, additional flexibility was passed for districts/BOCES regarding the 50 percent measures of student learning/outcomes portion of the evaluation for the 2014-15 school year only.

District flexibility for the 2014-15 school year comes when determining how much weight the measures of student learning/outcomes standard counts in the educator’s final evaluation rating. For example, when the professional practices (Quality Standards 1-5 for teachers and specialized service professionals or 1-6 for principals) and measures of student learning/outcomes portions (Quality Standard 6 for teachers and specialized service professionals or 7 for principals) of the evaluation are combined, districts are able to weight the measures of student learning/outcomes rating anywhere between 0-50 percent.

To learn more about this change and other SB 191 implementation information, read the CDE Fact Sheet titled SUPPORTING Fair Implementation of SB 191.


Center for Colorado's Future releases video


Charlie Brown, a featured speaker at the CASE Winter Leadership Conference in February, just shared the link to a 4-minute, entertaining "TED talk" video that explains the high level findings of their state fiscal sustainability study. The video is intended to make the public aware of the financial hazards that Colorado will increasingly face in the years ahead. Charlie wanted CASE members to be aware of this work, which captures the challenges we face in terms of navigating additional (and much needed) K-12 funding. Watch the video here.


Questions or Comments?
Contact CASE by phone 303.762.8762
or email case@co-case.org


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