Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Colorado House ready to vote on controversial teacher reform bill

This article from Colorado shows the critical impact of Democrats for Education Reform.  We don't have to win over all Democrats or even a majority – in many places, we simply have to win over a handful to turn the tide and reach a majority to pass MAJOR reform:

A controversial teacher bill took another step forward in its legislative journey Monday as it narrowly passed the House appropriations committee to set up a vote today on the House floor.

But Monday's 7-6 approval in committee of Senate Bill 191 was fraught with emotion, a recurring theme as the bitterly fought legislation linking teacher evaluations to student academic growth and changing the way teachers get and keep nonprobationary status makes its way through the legislature.

"This is the most difficult bill that I've dealt with since I've been down here," said Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, whose parents are teachers.

"There is a lot of emotion on this bill from both sides," said Ferrandino, who broke down in tears before voting for the bill.

Ferrandino, who credited special-education teachers for getting him through school, said he understands "how hard teachers work."

"To go against them and hear their reactions and come down on a different side was very hard," he said.

Ferrandino and Rep. Jim Riesberg, D-Greeley, were the only Democrats in committee to vote for the bill.

All Republican committee members supported it, repeating the party-line theme of the bill's progress. Senate Republicans two weeks ago voted in a bloc along with a handful of Democrats. Republicans in the House education committee voted together.

For this morning's vote on the House floor, supporters believe they have at least six Democrats who support the bill — including Speaker Terrance Carroll of Denver, co-sponsor; Rep. Christine Scanlan, D-Dillon; and secondary sponsor Joe Rice, D-Littleton.

They believe they also have votes from Ferrandino, Karen Middleton of Aurora and Kathleen Curry, I-Gunnison.

If all 27 Republicans stay together, that would be enough to pass the heavily amended bill on second reading in the House


Colorado House ready to vote on controversial teacher reform bill

By Jeremy P. Meyer
The Denver Post

Posted: 05/11/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT

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