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Reflection of Senate Bill 191

Prompt: Write a paper of 500 – 700 words that demonstrates your understanding of Senate Bill 10-191.  Within this paper, discuss exactly two elements of the bill that you really support.  Tell me why you support those two elements and what your best hopes are for Colorado education with regard to those two elements.  Then, discuss exactly two elements of the bill about which you have concern. Tell me why you have the concerns and what your worst fears are about those two elements with regard to Colorado education.  Please read this prompt carefully and answer each element.  Do not simply recant your experiences thus far as a teacher with this bill.  Put on your “school leader hat” — even if you don’t have one yet! A few of you are not currently in education positions, but you can still respond to this 2 x 2.

AGREE

“FOR THE PURPOSES OF QUALITY STANDARDS, EXPECTATIONS OF STUDENT ACADEMIC GROWTH SHALL TAKE
INTO CONSIDERATION DIVERSE FACTORS, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO SPECIAL EDUCATION, STUDENT MOBILITY, AND CLASSROOMS WITH A STUDENT POPULATION IN WHICH NINETY-FIVE PERCENT MEET THE DEFINITION OF HIGH-RISK STUDENT AS DEFINED IN SECTION 22-7-604.5 (1.5)”

Being at a Severe Special Needs Magnet School, this wording is very important to many of my teachers. The academic growth for student tested as gifted versus the academic growth of as a student tested as special needs can have a wide range.  At my school, there are teachers who are drawn to the students with special needs. Therefore, those teachers tend to receive more students with special needs than other teachers teaching the same grades.  This situation skews the data for all teachers involved: the teacher with many students with special needs and the teacher with no students with special needs. This same situation can occur with teachers who have a talent for working with students tested as gifted. Also, when you receive students who have had a very mobile lifestyle, their elementary career is also diverse.  Many students find it difficult to keep up with their peers because of the inconsistency in their schooling. There is hope with the common core that mobility will become less of an issue in the future.

“Probationary teachers receive at least two documented observations and one evaluation that results in a written evaluation report pursuant to subsection (3) of this section each academic year.  PROBATIONARY TEACHERS SHALL RECEIVE THE WRITTEN EVALUATION REPORT AT LEAST TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE LAST CLASS DAY OF THE SCHOOL YEAR”

In the last 5 years, my teaching career has taken me to 3 different schools in three different cities, in two countries. The evaluation process at each school was very different.  Schools need to be consistent with this. Observations and evaluations need to be done in a timely manner. The observations for all teachers but especially for new teachers is critical for professional growth. I also think that new and veteran teachers should be required to watch other classroom teachers as part of this. Observing colleagues allows us to discover best practices and tips. As we know with students, the timing of observation and feedback is tremendously important to help with professional growth.

DISAGREE

“A system of performance evaluation TO EVALUATE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF LICENSED PERSONNEL is crucial to improving the quality of education in this state and declares that such a system shall be applicable to all licensed personnel in the school districts and boards of cooperative services throughout the state;”

Is there a study on this? Is there a study that states that great test scores will improve the quality of education?  I would think quality professional development and more planning time would increase the quality of education. The Association of Supervision and Curriculum has argued since 1952 that teachers will be more affective if they can spend more time planning.  A great teacher knows it isn’t always about the class time, much learning happens because of the planning behind the lesson. My biggest fear is that other initiatives will stop being formulated to help improve education and governments will only concentrate on the effectiveness of licensed personnel.

“ON OR BEFORE MARCH 1, 2011, TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE STATE BOARD CONCERNING THE INVOLVEMENT AND SUPPORT OF PARENTS OF CHILDREN IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, TO THE EFFECT THAT PARENTS
SHOULD ACT AS PARTNERS WITH TEACHERS AND PUBLIC SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS;”

This statement really bothers me because many schools have a hard time find parents to volunteer in the classroom or become members on school boards.  Many times the ones that do get involved, get involved for the wrong reasons, spying on their children, bringing personal agendas to the board, etc. Many schools also do not want parent involvement. I am not sure how to remedy this problem. In many cases, I believe getting the students involved will be more successful than their parents. When I have worked on committees with students, I have been very impressed with their professionalism and responsibility. They take ownership and desire to help the system improve. My biggest fear is that parents will not be involved with schools and there is no way to ignite the passion for public education. Most parents I know who take an interest with their child’s education end up choice-ing their students into another school.

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