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Friday Churn: Half a loaf

What’s churning:

One of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s three top education policy goals is to improve early childhood education and welfare, and he and ECE leaders thought one way to help do that would be reorganization of state agencies that serve children.

The vehicle for doing that was Senate Bill 12-130, a seemingly routine and even bureaucratic measure that would have combined various agencies from the departments of health and human services into an Office of Early Childhood and Youth Development.

The bill passed the Senate but was killed by the Republican-controlled House State Affairs Committee in late April. Members of a conservative Colorado Springs church had raised a ruckus about the measure being big-government intrusion into family life, and that apparently swayed at least some committee members. (The bill’s prime House sponsor was a moderate Republican, Rep. Tom Massey.)

On Thursday Hickenlooper responded by announcing creation of the Office of Early Childhood within the Department of Human Services. The new office will oversee seven existing programs currently scattered across four parts of the department. (See this news release for details.)

Two other agencies, a Head Start office and the Early Childhood Leadership Commission, will relocate their operations to human services office space. SB 12-130 also included various agencies in the Department of Public Health and Environment, but those will remain where they are.

A director will be hired for the new office.

The administration’s early childhood efforts have been marked by other rocky patches. Last year the state lost its bid for $60 million in federal Early Learning Challenge funds, although Colorado is eligible for a “consolation round” that could yield $30 million – see this item for details.

A good read from elsewhere:

Coming soon: Student test scores often drop after new achievement tests are introduced, as several states are finding out, according to this EdWeek item. Mark your calendars for 2015, which is when Colorado may get new tests to replace the temporary TCAP tests, which aren’t that different from the now-retired CSAPs. Or the switch could come later if the legislature can’t come up with money for new tests.

The EdNews’ Churn is a roundup of briefs, notes and meetings in the world of Colorado education, published during the summer as news warrants. To submit an item for consideration in this listing, please email us at EdNews@EdNewsColorado.org.

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