Lawmakers review teacher tenure bill in Vail |

Lawmakers review teacher tenure bill in Vail

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado – Rep. Christine Scanlan and Sen. Mike Johnston visited Vail Tuesday afternoon to talk about the state’s recently passed teacher tenure bill.

Scanlan, D-Eagle County, and Johnston, D-Denver, are co-sponsors of Senate Bill 191, which some observers have hailed as bold education reform. The lawmakers met with a small group of teachers, parents and residents in the Vail municipal building.

The bill changes the way teachers get and keep tenure. In the Eagle County School District, 52 percent of teachers currently have tenure.

“Ultimately, success for adults in teaching and school leadership only happens when we see success for kids,” said Johnston, who grew up in Vail.

Scanlan and Johnston took time to review the law and answer questions about the details.

Beginning in 2013, teachers statewide will be rated “highly effective,” “effective” or “ineffective.” Those who receive an “ineffective rating” two years in a row will lose what is commonly called tenure. Evaluations will determine which teachers are effective. Half of a teacher’s evaluations will be based on student growth while half of a principals’ evaluation will be linked to student and teacher growth.

Scanlan stressed that Colorado Student Assessment Program scores will not be the only measure of student growth.

“We very strategically put in language saying it has to be multiple measures,” she said.

Those measures could including a statewide database of quizzes and tests that are geared toward uniform state standards.

A council of teachers, parents, students and school officials, including Eagle County Superintendent Sandra Smyser, is charged with ironing out the definitions of student growth and effective teaching. Their first set of recommendations will come out in March, Johnston said.

At a time when school districts statewide have been forced to lay off teachers, the bill gives schools the latitude to keep the most effective teachers, even if they do not have the most seniority.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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