These are all of the Education bills proposed in the 2020 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.
None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, arguments for, and arguments against are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. The long description is hidden by design, you can click on it to expand it if you want to read more detail about the bill. If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.
Prime sponsors are given after each bill, with Senate sponsors in () and House sponsors in . They are color-coded by party.
Some bills will have text highlighted in pink or highlighted in orange or highlighted in yellow. Pink highlights mean House amendments to the original bill; orange mean Senate amendments; yellow highlights mean conference committee amendments. The bill will say under the header if it has been amended.
Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Mega, Major, Medium, Minor, and Technical. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!). Technical bills are here to round out the list. They are non-substantive changes.
Click on the House bill title to jump to its section:
HB20-1005 Enhance Safe2Tell
HB20-1007 Diverse Kindergarten Through 12th Grade Educator Workforce Report
HB20-1011 Helping Others Manage Early Childhood Act
HB20-1062 Colorado Student Free Expression Law
HB20-1005 Enhance Safe2Tell (Fields (D), Lundeen (R)) [Michaelson Jenet (D), Van Winkle (R)]
From the School Safety Committee
Fiscal Impact: Negligible
Goal: Tweak Safe2Tell program by requiring more standardized procedures, altering flow of calls received by program, and mandating advertising to public.
Removes requirement for Safe2Tell to provide educational materials to preschools. Requires all texts and calls to be received initially by a crisis operator and then routed appropriately if they are not a crisis (opposite of current setup). Requires Safe2Tell to align its processes and procedures for tips via all communication methods, and conduct an annual advertising campaign regarding the program. Bill also allows attorney general to disclose to law enforcement personnel any materials or information gained through the program to prevent imminent physical harm to someone.
Additional Information: n/a
By definition time is limited in a crisis, so it makes sense to route calls through crisis operators first and then triage as necessary rather than the other way around. It also makes sense to ensure that the process for receiving a tip is the same regardless of the communication method by which it was received. Finally, Safe2Tell finds that advertising is effective in boosting usage of the program, but that it is stretched to do so. Mandating it legislatively should give it more ability to secure additional advertising funding.
Usually crisis operators are more highly trained and you have fewer of them. Unloading all calls onto them first may cause workflow difficulties and make it harder for them to deal with actual crises.
HB20-1007 Diverse Kindergarten Through 12th Grade Educator Workforce Report (Fields (D)) [Coleman (D)]
Fiscal Impact: Negligible
Goal: Study ways to increase the diversity of our educator workforce.
Directs the departments of higher education and education to convene a working group to investigate barriers to the preparation, recruitment, and retention of a diverse educator workforce and to recommend strategies for overcoming these barriers. Report due to the legislature by October 2021. Requires the existing state report on outcomes of teacher preparation programs to include percentage of graduates who passed assessments on their first attempt and to disaggregate the data by gender, race, and ethnicity. Requires this report to be posted online.
Workgroup must include but is not limited to:
- Representative of department of higher education
- Representative of department of education
- Deans of teacher preparation programs at state institutions of higher learning
- Directors of alternative teacher programs
- Public school teachers eligible for student loan relief
- Principals or school leaders, including schools with a diverse workforce
- Graduates of teacher preparation programs
- Subject matter experts
- Non-profits with expertise in this area
Workgroup can consider:
- Data and recommendations from a 2014 report titled Keeping Up With the Kids: Increasing Minority Teacher Representation in Colorado
- Effective strategies to build a strong local pipeline for diverse students who may be considering becoming educators
- How educator preparation programs may inhibit or promote success for diverse candidates
- Strategies for lifting people engaged in the profession but not licensed into licensure
- If partnerships between districts and institutions that both serve minority populations will help
- Effective strategies, including financial incentives, to retain existing diverse educators, including in hard-to-staff schools
Auto-Repeal: July 2022
Students benefit from being exposed to a diverse group of educators, and in particular, minority students can benefit greatly from having an educator with a similar background. Numerous research has confirmed this, to cite just one example, a study found that black students who had just one black teacher by 3rd grade were 13% more likely to end up enrolling in college than those with none and those with two black teachers were 32% more likely. There are many more examples of similar data. In addition, some of our boys grow up in households with no male role model. A male teacher, particularly at a young age, can make a big difference in these boy’s lives by demonstrating a positive male role model. This is the world we live in, so instead of closing our eyes and pretending the background of the teacher does not matter, we need to find ways to get a more diverse group of educators. In Colorado, 77% of all teachers are women and 67% of all teachers are white women. That does not match the diversity of our state at all. 47% of all public school students are non-white. We know some of the problems, including the licensing test where just 38% of black candidates and 54% of Hispanic candidates eventually pass the test, as opposed to 75% of white candidates. But we certainly do not know all of them, so a taskforce like the one created by this bill can take a deep dive into the issue and come up with recommendations.
Racial profiling is wrong, no matter the direction. Instead of viewing our teachers as male or female or black or white, we should view them as people and try to find the best people we can to teach our kids, regardless of gender or race. We should not try to hire the best black man or Hispanic woman we can find for the job, we should try to hire the best teacher. What lessons are we teaching our children if we teach them that their gender or their race is one of the most important factors for earning a job in any profession, much less one with so much interaction with our kids?
We seem to already know what to do here, if part of the activity of the group involves reading another report on the same subject. Let’s get going on making needed changes, not take time for more study.
HB20-1011 Helping Others Manage Early Childhood Act (Pettersen (D), Story (D)) [Wilson (R), Buckner (D)]
From the Early Childhood and School Readiness Legislative Commission
Fiscal Impact: Around $400,000 a year for two years beginning in FY2021-22
Goal: Improve early childhood care provided outside of established licensed facilities and provide avenues for these caregivers to potentially become licensed centers or preschools.
State is to contract with a third-party entity to conduct a public awareness campaign targeted at families, friends, neighbors who provide early childhood care and the diverse network of early childhood caregivers in the state to ensure they are aware of what is expected of children when they enter kindergarten and what resources are available. State is also to develop a series multi-county workshops for early childhood providers to provide additional information on skills to perform their jobs and career pathways, including licensing and procedures. Finally state to develop regional workshops that instruct how to open an early childcare center or preschool, including licensure, and on the Colorado SHINES rating system.
Public awareness campaign has several target dates and must be fully in place no later than the start of the 2021-22 academic year. County workshops to be held throughout 2021-22 academic year. Regionals in the summer of 2022. Adequate childcare must be provided by the state for all workshop participants.
Auto-Repeal: Sunset review September 2023
One of the most neglected part of our early childhood education efforts is reaching the friend and family networks that actually do a lot of the care for our pre-school age children. The workshops build upon that network with escalating efforts to try to bring the additional licensed providers we desperately need in this field.
Most parents know what children are supposed to be able to do when they enter school, we shouldn’t waste money on a program to tell them something they already know
HB20-1043 Income Tax Credit For Early Childhood Education Fix (Todd (D), Priola (R)) [Buckner (D), Wilson (R)] TECHNICAL BILL
An amendment to a bill last year authorizing tax credits for early childhood educators made implementation of the bill dependent on if a nicotine tax measure contained in a different bill was passed or not by the voters. But that nicotine measure bill never got out of the legislature, which this amendment did not envision, so the bill did not get enacted. That was not the intent, the intent was to enact the bill if the nicotine tax measure did not become law. It didn’t, so this bill fixes the intent in the last session and implements the early childhood educator credit.
HB20-1062 Colorado Student Free Expression Law [McLachlan (D)]
Fiscal Impact: None
Goal: Clarify that freedom of press standards for K-12 publications apply whether it is printed, broadcast, or online and prohibit retaliation against school employees for acting to protect this right.
Clarifies that freedom of press standards for K-12 publications apply whether the publication is printed, broadcast, or online. Prohibits retaliation against any public school employee solely for actions to protect a student engaging in this right or refusing to infringe upon this right.
Additional Information: n/a
Part of this bill is just updating laws to reflect the times. A student publication that is broadcast or disseminated online is still a student publication and deserves the same 1st amendment protections. During the teachers’ strike last year some high school students were told to stop documenting what was happening inside their schools. And of course no employee should face retaliation for acting to protect these fundamental rights.
Broadcast and online media can be published nearly instantly, as opposed to printed media, and so the dangers of material that either contributes to an unsafe environment (including bullying) or is inappropriate (we have decency standards for media) rises. It therefore should not be treated in the same manner.
SB20-015 Student Access To Transportation To Other Schools (Hill (R)) [Humphrey (R)]
*This has been assigned to the Senate kill committee, State Affairs*
Fiscal Impact: None overall, but individual districts may be impacted
Goal: Allow school districts to pay to transport kids who qualify for school lunch aid or have special needs into their district from any other district in the state without approval of the home district.
Allows school districts to supply transportation or reimburse parents for transportation for kids who are not in the district and are either eligible for free or reduced-cost lunch or have special needs. It does not require the approval of the student’s home district.
Additional Information: n/a
This bill can help parents choose the best school for their child with special needs without worrying about paying for getting the kid to school. It can also help those who don’t have the means to send their kid to private school or to choice into a school that is not near them, but do not want to use their local school to find a school that best suits their child and potentially increase the diversity of other schools. Choice will help us get the best possible outcome for all of these kids. And it is entirely optional: no school has to pay to transport a child into their district. The choice is up to the school. As for not requiring the approval of the home district, it is time to stop allowing districts to veto the choice of parents and other districts in the state so they can get more money from having a higher number of pupils.
This bill could allow one school district with declining enrollments to poach kids from other districts to increase their state funding. While it may be optional for the district transporting the child in, it does not require the approval of the district that is losing the child. It will also advantage districts who already have large amounts of resources to afford the transportation, furthering the disadvantage schools with fewer resources already have. It could have devastating impacts on schools with high numbers of children that qualify for school lunches, encouraging downward spirals of some kids leaving prompting parents to pull more kids out. And it could encourage turf wars between districts, as they battle back and forth. We could particularly see this play out in athletics, where the wealthy districts poach top athletes (something that already happens to some degree, but would be made worse by this bill).