Tenure bill passes out of committee

Senate Education Committee members voted 7-1 Friday to move Senate Bill 199 on to the Legislature.

Sen. Evie Hudack, D-Westminster, provided the lone dissenting vote. Hudack, a former English teacher, said she didn’t vote for the bill because it would cost money to implement, and no permanent funding source was named in the measure. She also said she felt an education-reform bill should focus on helping teachers more than getting rid of ineffective ones.

“I find it very offensive as a former teacher of 20 years to be saying the reason our children are not performing well is because we have bad teachers, and the whole solution is to get rid of tenure and have tenure reform,” she said before declaring her nay vote.

Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins, said he believes the bill does offer support for teachers.

“I see the carrots rather than the sticks,” he said.

Senate Bill 191 would maintain current tenure laws that keep a teacher probationary, or without tenure status, for the first three years they teach at a school. Instead of remaining nonprobationary indefinitely, though, Senate Bill 191 would allow schools to place a tenured teacher on probationary status again if the teacher demonstrated two years of ineffectiveness. The definition of ineffectiveness would be decided by the state board of education if the bill becomes law this year.

The bill demands stricter teacher-evaluation guidelines and would make evaluations a yearly event for tenured teachers. Currently, Colorado teachers with tenure are evaluated at least once every three years.

An amendment to the bill Friday pushes back some timelines in the bill and makes 2014-15 the first school year that teachers could be eligible for monitoring to see if they should retain nonprobationary, or tenured, status.


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