EdNews Parent Backgrounder: Senate Bill 10-191

There may not have been actual blood, but plenty of sweat and tears spilled during an acrimonious debate in spring 2010 over how best to improve the quality of teaching in Colorado.

However you feel about it, the passage of Senate Bill 10-191, the much-debated educator evaluation and tenure bill, put Colorado in the national spotlight for taking bold steps aimed at weeding out bad teachers and promoting good ones.

The law’s passage caused an uproar among some teachers, especially the 40,000-member Colorado Education Association, because it will significantly change how teachers are evaluated and how they keep their jobs when it’s fully rolled out in 2014-2015. For the first time, half of a teacher’s evaluation  will depend on student academic growth over time on standardized and other types of tests. The law will do the same for principals.

The law will require new teachers to have three positive evaluations before they gain non-probationary statusand also – for the first time – require non-probationary teachers to return to probation after two unsatisfactory evaluations.

Those provisions, concern about appeals processes and cost were the main reasons the CEA vehemently fought the law’s passage. The union and some legislators were also concerned that the law doesn’t address the responsibilities of parents and students. Some teachers view it as another way to blame them for the inadequacies of public education.

If that’s not enough info for you, see a bulleted list of key elements of the law here.