Earlier this year, Chalkbeat Colorado brought its annual Legislative Preview to the Morgridge College of Education where panelists discussed Colorado education policies and topics expected to arise in the January legislative session.

On Thursday, Oct. 15, Chalkbeat journalists circled back with legislators and educators to revisit these topics in an online event co-hosted by the Morgridge College of Education.

Returning panel members included:

  • Erica Meltzer, moderator and Chalkbeat Colorado bureau chief
  • State Rep. James Coleman, D-Denver
  • State Sen. Paul Lundeen, R-Monument

And new panel members included:

  • Mark Sass, State Director for Teach Plus Colorado and a high school social studies teacher in the Adams 12 Five Star School District
  • Taylor Davis, CEA fellow and music teacher in the North Park School District in Jackson County

Over 140 attendees joined as panelists discussed education challenges around remote learning and education access that have surfaced with the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges discussed included equitable access to education and resources, what school leaders and policymakers should prioritize, school evaluation and accountability systems, standardized testing, and more.

Watch the full livestream of the event below or on our Facebook.

Cecilia Orphan, PhD, assistant professor in the Morgridge College of Education’s Higher Education Department, was recently quoted in an article by Chalkbeat Colorado. The article, “Colorado hopes a new higher ed funding formula will make a difference for students. It might not be easy,” dives deep into the latest update to Colorado’s education funding formula, which uses seven criteria to judge community and state colleges and universities. Dr. Orphan and colleague Dr. Denisa Gándara, a Southern Methodist University assistant professor of higher education, both shared their worries about how competition created by the funding model affects students.

“Orphan said funding by outcomes in some states reduced coordination among schools because they were competing to attract certain groups of students. But she applauded Colorado higher education leaders for showing that they are willing to work together with state policymakers to rally around shared goals.

‘With the recent change to focus more explicitly on racial equity and first-generation students and students from Colorado, that is really exciting,’ she said.

Colorado kicked off its annual legislative session on Wednesday, Jan. 8. Prior to the session, Chalkbeat Colorado brought its annual Legislative Preview to the Morgridge College of Education for a collaboration and lively panel discussion on what to expect from Colorado’s upcoming legislative session on Friday, Jan. 3. Chalkbeat Bureau Chief, Erica Meltzer, moderated the discussion and was joined on the panel by State Rep. James Coleman, State Rep. Colin Larson, State Sen. Paul Lundeen, and State Sen. Nancy Todd.

According to Chalkbeat’s breakdown of the panel, here is what we can expect for the legislative session, which kicked off on Wednesday, Jan. 8.

  • Lawmakers have heard from Colorado voters loud and clear: No new taxes for education.
  • Without new money, one area where lawmakers seem poised to make changes is strengthening teacher preparation programs.
  • School accountability is here to stay.
  • Lawmakers want to see school funding distributed in a more equitable manner. But if some students get more money, that means others will get less.
  • Gov. Polis’s $27 million preschool expansion plan faces an uphill battle in the legislature.

You can read Chalkbeat’s full recap here and watch the recorded livestream video below (or on Facebook) of the morning panel discussion.


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