This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters
Colorado’s K-12 schools got a major funding increase. Younger students should get more help with math learning, and older students should have more ways to get a free college education.
And long-standing areas of education policy debate — how to more fairly distribute money among schools and how to determine what makes a good school — will get the focused attention of dedicated task forces that could recommend changes to future lawmakers.
When the 2023 Colorado General Assembly concluded its work this week, education stood out as an area of relative consensus and modest progress, in sharp contrast to heated debates over gun control, crime, housing, and tax policy that saw progressives frustrated and conservatives alike disappointed and disillusioned.
Education had its contentious moments as well. Republicans argued that a bill to expand mental health assessments in schools risked trampling on parental rights. Legislators scaled back a bill to give far more protections to students facing expulsion. A bill to promote universal screening for dyslexia, a common learning disability, never even got a hearing.
But overall, advocates across the spectrum rated education a bright spot this session.
“It is pretty remarkable when you can peel away the drama of the session,” said Jen Walmer, Colorado state director of Democrats for Education Reform. “There were real wins for kids.”