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Tuesday Churn: Decision day

What’s churning:

The Legislature Council, a group of House and Senate leaders that handles statehouse administrative matters, meets this afternoon to pass judgment on bills that have been proposed by over-the-summer study committees.

That list includes five education-related bills proposed by two committees.

Here’s the rundown:

The Educational Success Task Force has proposed four bills, the most interesting of which would require all high school students to take the Accuplacer test at least once between 9th and 12 grades. Committee website with links to bill texts, text of Accuplacer bill & previous EdNews’ coverage.

The Legislative Task Force to Study School Discipline has recommended a single bill, a measure that would overhaul state law on school disciplinary measures in an effort to reduce use of expulsions, out-of-school suspensions and police referrals. Committee website & bill text

Legislative Council members can reject bills if a majority feels they are outside the scope of a particular study committee’s assignment. Most bills are approved and sent on to the next session of the legislature, but surprises can happen. Even if the committee rejects a bill, an individual legislator is free to introduce it, but in that case it counts against the five-bill limit for individual lawmakers.

The meeting starts at 1:30 p.m. in room 0112 in the Capitol basement.

The Independence Institute asserts in a press release that its new study finds “More than seven out of eight local Colorado K-12 agencies do not fully comply with a 2010 state law requiring online financial transparency.”

Devan Crean and Ben DeGrow of the free market-oriented group surveyed district websites to assess compliance with House Bill 10-1036, whose provisions went into effect this year.

The text of the study notes, however, “Lack of compliance may be explained in part by the challenge of interpreting the law itself.”

The study also found, “The larger the school district, the more likely it is to be in compliance. Twelve of Colorado’s 20 largest districts — those with 10,000 or more enrolled students — make up half of the districts fully compliant with 2011 transparency requirements. The other eight are almost compliant.”

Asked about the report, Jane Urschel, deputy executive director of the Colorado Association of School Boards, noted, “There are 30 districts where the superintendents are doubling as the principal. Five years ago, it was two or three where that was the case. I think this is what is happening – many districts are trying to make choices in choosing the highest priorities for use of their time. They aren’t ignoring the law intentionally.”

Read the full report here. It includes district-by-district ratings and suggestions for changes in state law.

Update: On Nov. 10 the Independence Institute posted a correction on its website regarding erroneous information in the report about the Elizabeth and Mapleton districts.

A new study of charter management organizations is out from Mathematica Policy Research and the Center for Reinventing Public Education.

EdWeek reports that the study “finds overall that their middle school students’ test scores in reading, mathematics, science, and social studies aren’t significantly better than those of students in regular public schools.” Read story.

According to the organizations’ news release, “The report highlights a range of organizational models and educational strategies that produce achievement effects that are more often positive than negative, but that vary substantially among CMOs.” The report “also finds that high-performing CMOs tend to emphasize school-wide behavior policies and intensive teacher coaching.”

You can see the news release here and download the report here.

What’s on tap:

The governor’s Education Leadership Council meets from 9 a.m. to noon at the carriage house of the Governor’s Mansion. Agenda

The Legislature Audit Committee will consider requests for new audits, including an audit of online education programs. That’s scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

Legislative Council meets at 1:30 p.m. in room 0112 of the Capitol to consider bills approved by study committees, including several of interest to education. Agenda

The Denver school board’s finance and audit committee meets from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m at 900 Grant St. The agenda includes approval of the district’s contract with Pepsi and a request to amend all charter school Facility Use Agreements to specify why a charter’s FUA may be terminated.

Aurora school board members meet at 6 p.m. at 1085 Peoria St. The agenda includes a brief swearing-in ceremony for new board members and an hour-long workshop on the district’s strategic plan, VISTA 2015.

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