Press release by:
Republican Sen. Nancy Spence, of Centennial, was profoundly disappointed to learn that the Colorado teachers union is impeding the advancement of a bill that would make the state’s next Race to the Top application more competitive.
At stake is up to $175 million of federal grant money as part of the Obama Administration’s Race to the Top program. In order to make Colorado more competitive for the second round, a bi-partisan coalition of businesses, community leaders and lawmakers are backing Senate Bill 191, which would tie teacher performance directly to student achievement.
“This will reform our teacher tenure system so that non-probationary status is earned only when a teacher demonstrates strong and consistent performance,” Spence said. “Tenure will also be a privilege that can be lost based on consecutive years of ineffectiveness.”
In opposition to SB 191, the Colorado teachers union has said it won’t sign on for round two of Race to the Top. But the Obama Administration has made it very clear union buy-in matters as much or more than the nature of the state’s reforms. Without union support, Colorado very well may lose the second round, even though the state’s policy reforms are strong.
“The teacher union tantrum over this bill threatens $175 million for Colorado schoolchildren and classrooms,” Spence said.
That doesn’t seem to matter much to union members, who are using taxpayer funded Association Leave Days to head to the Capitol to lobby against SB 191. “It’s certainly not right taxpayer money is being used to undermine the public education system,” Spence said. “K-12 must not be as underfunded as the teachers union claims if they are going to this much trouble to block a bill and a grant application that would wholly benefit Colorado schools.”