Colorado Senate passes bill giving schools pathway back to accountability standards

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Published Wednesday, March 2, 2022
by Robert Davis | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) - The Colorado Senate on Tuesday passed a bipartisan bill that aims to provide schools with a pathway to returning to the state's accountability standards that were removed during the pandemic. 

Senate Bill 22-137 would delay the accountability standards for one more year as the state works to create a new reporting system for the number of schools that voluntarily participated in standardized testing last year.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada, and Don Coram, R-Montrose, and Reps. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, and Mary Young, D-Greeley, now heads to the House of Representatives for further consideration. 

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"If we want the state's accountability system to work properly, we need to apply it appropriately, with an onramp that takes us smoothly back to the efficiencies and effectiveness that we enjoyed pre-COVID," Zenzinger said in a statement. 

Colorado's accountability system is set by the state Department of Education and must be approved by its federal counterpart. The system sets the standards of performance for standardized testing in each school district. Districts that do not meet the standards can be placed in performance management programs and lose funding. 

State lawmakers passed a bill last year that paused Colorado's accountability system because of learning loss that was measured due to increased remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to a statewide assessment performed by the CDE, Colorado students showed "significant" learning loss in subjects such as math and reading between 2019 and 2021. The results were particularly pronounced among students in rural school districts. 

"[This bill] gives us a thoughtful transition and allows us to preserve the integrity of our achievement data with an accurate perspective that considers the number of students who were missing from the tests a year ago," Zenzinger said.

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The Kiowa County Press is an independent newspaper published in Eads, Kiowa County, Colorado, and to the world at KiowaCountyPress.net.


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