The official website for Colorado Senator Mike Johnston (D-Denver)

SB 10-191: Great Teachers & Leaders

Here is an explanation from Senator Johnston on what the law does:

In 2011, the CBS Evening News reported on the progress being made in Colorado:

In February 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law HB 12-1001, the rules for measuring teacher performance, as designed by a state council of students, parents, and educators, and approved by 99 out of 100 Colorado legislators.

The Details

Component 1: Defining “Effectiveness”

There is wide consensus that effective teachers and principals are the most important variables for determining student success. Defining effectiveness can be a difficult task, so SB 191 empowers the Governor’s Council for Educator Effectiveness (a stakeholder group of educators, administrators, and community members) to promulgate the fair, transparent, timely, and valid metrics that will gauge teacher effectiveness. The Governor’s Council currently is meeting bimonthly and will produce a report by March 2011.

Component 2: Teacher Evaluations

The next step in the human capital process is ensuring that all students are afforded access to the best teachers. Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, 50 percent of teacher evaluations will be based on the effectiveness metrics developed by the Governor’s Council and the Colorado Department of Education. Teachers who receive three consecutive years of effectiveness will earn non-probationary status (the Colorado equivalent of tenure). At the same time, non-probationary teachers who are rated ineffective for two consecutive years will return to probationary status.

Component 3: Principal Evaluations

Although effective teachers are the most important variable for ensuring student success, effective principals are a close second. This makes intuitive sense: You cannot have a great symphony without a high-caliber conductor. SB 191 takes this into account by changing principal evaluations as well, basing 50 percent of those evaluations on student growth and the effectiveness of the principal’s teachers. This provides a strong incentive for principals to not only work toward student achievement in their buildings but also to provide support for teachers who need it and leadership opportunities for teachers who are excelling.

Component 4: Mutual Consent

SB 191 further ensures teacher and principal success by eliminating the practice known as forced placement in favor of a system of mutual consent. Prior to SB 191, non-probationary teachers who had been dismissed from one school would often be directly placed into another school, often against teacher and principal wishes. This system was not helpful to teachers (who often want to work in a building where they are wanted) or to principals (who want to diligently assemble their own teams). SB 191 requires that all hiring decisions be based on mutual consent; that is, both the teacher and the principal must agree that the hire is the right fit. For non-probationary teachers who are unable to find a position, they are offered multiple opportunities to find a position, and a school district has the option to place the teacher on unpaid leave over the course of two years.

Component 5: Career Ladders

Finally, SB 191 recognizes that there are gaps in the teacher career ladder. Besides taking an administrative position, highly effective teachers are often without options if they want to remain in the classroom while assuming leadership roles. SB 191 empowers the Governor’s Council to create rewarding career ladders for these educators, ensuring that highly effective teachers will have compensated opportunities to become leaders in their field by recording and disseminating their best practices to educators across the state.

For more information, print or download our SB 191 fact sheet: