Date: 03/12/2009

BILL SUMMARY for HB09-1065


Votes: View--> Action Taken:

04:55 PM -- House Bill 09-1065

Senator Spence, sponsor of House Bill 09-1065, presented the bill to the committee. The bill extends the Quality Teachers Commission and creates an educator identifier pilot program. She provided a handout from the Rose Community Foundation that indicates the foundation has identified the development of a unique educator identifier system as a top priority in 2009 (Attachment G).


Senator Spence described the formation and work of the Quality Teachers Commission. She talked about the goal of closing the teacher quality gap and the genesis of the idea of the educator identifier system.

05:02 PM

Senator Spence continued, talking about why the educator identifier system is important for Colorado, speaking to the importance of reliable data on the teacher workforce and the importance of being able to link teachers with the students they instruct in order to learn which teachers are the most effective in increasing student achievement.

She said the identifier system will track teacher demographic and licensure information, as well as other items related to the teacher workforce. She said it will allow sound, data-driven policy decisions. Senator Spence said 14 states have a teacher identifier and said that in 2006, three states talked to the Quality Teachers Commission to relate their experiences. She described what the commission heard from those states.

05:10 PM

Senator Spence continued with her discussion about the experiences of other states that have unique teacher identifiers.

05:14 PM

Senator Spence explained that there would be testimony only on the bill today and that action and amendments would be considered next week. She talked about the possibility of using federal stimulus dollars for implementation of the program.

05:16 PM

Senator Spence responded to committee questions, including a question about the data that will be collected using the identifier. She reiterated that the purpose is to address the achievement gap by addressing the teacher gap.

Senator Spence responded to a committee question about her intent with regard to use of the data. She said the data can be used to link students to teachers to find out how much progress students are making. She said it is not expected to be used in a punitive way against teachers.

05:22 PM

The committee discussed movement of students from one teacher to another and how the data might be used with other tools to determine teacher quality. They also discussed decisions made by school districts and how the data might be used at a statewide level.

05:29 PM

The following persons testified:

05:29 PM --
Robert Reichardt, representing himself, testified in support of the bill. He said the bill is about creating a system for state policy leaders to learn about equity issues in education across the state and about creating data systems that districts can use. He said the bill seeks to link data about teachers to their students and allows policy makers to see whether systems are working. Mr. Reichardt talked about what the data has shown in other states. He said creating the system gives tools to small and mid-sized districts to provide on-going feedback to teachers. He talked about how districts in the state that already collect this data are using the data. Mr. Reichardt said that without a teacher identifier, state policy makers are flying blind about whether policies are working.

05:37 PM

Mr. Reichardt continued, explaining that he has questions about some portions of the bill, saying the might restrict districts that already use similar systems and might discourage participation. He also expressed concern about provisions disallowing use of data to sanction educator preparation programs. Mr. Reichardt also expressed concern that the program is a pilot.

05:40 PM

Mr. Reichardt responded to committee questions, including a question about how other states have used teacher identifiers to "weed out" bad teachers or programs. He talked about what districts who are already using identifiers have done and about what other states have done.

He also responded to a committee question about his concerns around sanctions, clarifying his point of view. Committee discussion around sanctions ensued.

05:47 PM

The committee and the witness discussed how data might be used at the school level, and whether and how data should be shared at that level. Mr. Reichardt responded to another committee question about linking student and teacher data and the need for the state-level system. Committee discussion around the sanction language and the data collected continued.

05:56 PM --
Dan Daly, representing the Colorado Education Association (CEA), testified in support of the bill in its current form. He provided a handout containing excerpts from the findings of the Quality Teachers Commission (Attachment H). Mr. Daly said the fear about the bill is that it will be used to compare teachers to teachers in other districts without consideration of other factors such as class size, etcetera. He said the best teachers will not want to go into difficult teaching situations if the data is used in that way. He talked about bipartisan support for the bill and talked about the importance of specific teacher protection offered in the bill. Mr. Daly said the bill strikes an appropriate balance in disallowing sanctions.


06:05 PM

Mr. Daly spoke to earlier committee questions around the sanction language. He asked the committee to respect the work of the Quality Teachers Commission and reject attempts to undermine protections for educators under the bill. He also spoke to earlier questions about what data would be collected.

06:07 PM

Mr. Daly responded to committee comments and questions, including a comment about what is in the best interest of children and a question about how teachers are evaluated. Discussion between Mr. Daly and President Groff around the sanctions language, specifically the language added in the House, ensued. Senator Romer joined the conversation, talking about use of data at the district and school level. Mr. Daly talked about the data that would come out of the system, saying it is not new data, and explaining that the bill seeks to link data.

06:19 PM

Senator Bacon asked a clarifying question to the discussion around sanctions and sharing of data between districts. Committee discussion ensued.

06:25 PM

The committee continued to talk about what data would be collected, and whether any of that data is new data. In addition, there was discussion about what constitutes a sanction and the competition for federal "Race for the Top" grants.

06:30 PM

The committee discussed specificity in the bill and the data collected. The committee also discussed revisiting the issue after a period of time to determine how well the system is working. There was discussion around what data can be used by districts under the provisions of the bill.

06:41 PM --
Scott Groginsky, representing the Quality Teachers Commission, testified in support of the bill. He provided a handout containing the January 2009 report of the commission and the commission's 2008 recommendations related to educator identifiers (Attachment I). Mr. Groginsky described the commission's duties and its recommendations around educator identifiers.


06:50 PM

Mr. Groginsky responded to committee questions, including a question about the language in the bill, and whether the commission supports the bill in its current form. He said the commission does support the current language. Committee discussion on this topic continued. Mr. Groginsky responded to the question about what the data collected using the identifier includes. Senator Romer commented about the bill in relation to "Race for the Top" grant moneys.

06:56 PM

Committee discussion around "Race for the Top" ensued, with conversation about whether the language in the bill hinders the chance of those grants coming to the state. The committee returned to the discussion around what the data is and how the data is used.

07:02 PM

07:02 PM --
Richard Wenning, Colorado Department of Education (CDE), testified in support of the bill. He said the CDE is uncomfortable with the sanction language because it restricts a district's ability to use data from the identifier. He said the issue of how the data is used should be left up to the district. He spoke to the federal grants and the federal stabilization package, talking about eligibility for those funds.

07:08 PM

Dr. Wenning responded to committee questions.

07:11 PM --
Lindsay Neil, representing the Colorado Children's Campaign, testified in support of the bill. She said no teacher should have their performance judged by a single indicator. She spoke to earlier committee discussion about cross-district comparisons of data, saying the Children's Campaign does not support limiting the use of the data. Ms. Neil said there are many uses for the educator identifier, too many to be predicted at this time.

07:15 PM --
Jane Urschel, representing the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB), testified in support of the bill. She expressed concerns around limiting the use of data. She talked about using data to improve student achievement. Dr. Urschel talked about how long it takes to help a student who spends a year with a bad teacher. She said the bill is linking teacher performance to student achievement. She proposed language around how the data could be used.

07:21 PM --
Bruce Caughey, representing the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), testified in favor of the bill. He said CASE cannot support the bill in its current form due to the language around use of data. He talked about looking at outputs rather than inputs, and a focus on teacher effectiveness.

07:25 PM --
Brad Jupp, from the Denver Public Schools (DPS), testified in support of the bill. He related the experience of DPS over the past ten years. He talked about uses for the data that would be collected. He said the state can take a lead role in helping districts. He talked about the importance of taking a step forward in teacher effectiveness.

07:32 PM

Mr. Jupp responded to committee questions, including a question about how to alleviate fears around the educator identifier.

07:36 PM

Senator Bacon said the bill would be brought back for action only on a date to be determined.

The committee adjourned.