Simla Elementary School kindergarten teacher Holly Koehn helps out student Skylar Griffin at the Big Sandy School Monday, February 25, 2019. (Mark Reis, Special to The Colorado Sun)

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Colorado’s controversial teacher evaluation system could get an overhaul this year, with less weight given to standardized test scores and more focus placed on helping teachers improve.

For years, revamping teacher evaluation has been a top legislative priority for the state’s teachers unions and school districts, but supporters of education reform and test-based accountability balked at proposed changes.

Now, supporters of accountability say there’s a proposal they can get behind that also addresses educators’ concerns about the current system.

Senate Bill 70, sponsored by state Sen. Jeff Bridges, a Greenwood Village Democrat, would reduce the weight given to measures of student academic growth from 50% to 30% of an educators’ evaluation, provide more training for people who conduct evaluations, encourage local innovation, and put more emphasis on teachers’ professional development.

The bill also suspends the use of standardized test scores in teacher evaluation until the 2023-24 school year to give schools more time to recover from the pandemic and develop new systems.

Critically, the bill has the support of Gov. Jared Polis.

Jen Walmer, state director for Democrats for Education Reform, called it a comprehensive solution to long-standing complaints about Colorado’s teacher effectiveness law.


Erica Meltzer, Chalkbeat

Bureau Chief — Chalkbeat Colorado Email: