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Colorado Considers 'Parent Engagement Director'

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A Colorado bill that would establish a new Director of Parent Engagement in the state to coordinate government-mandated parent-engagement requirements is making headway in the House after passing in the Senate on April 10.

Sen. Evie Hudak, a Democrat and former teacher who co-sponsored the Senate bill, says the legislation would coordinate the "piecemeal" efforts at parent engagement under the No Child Left Behind Act and state laws.

"This bill is a follow-up to one passed four years ago, which established the State Advisory Council for Parent Involvement in Education. At the time, there was no money for the committee ... so members had no reimbursement for their expenses. It's been hard to get people to come to meetings," she explained.

SB 13-193 would provide $150,000 to fund the director's position, and provide reimbursement for travel to meetings, she said. It would also help fund training on how to get more diversity representation among parents on the council's parent leadership, student achievement, higher education, and policy committees. "They've been struggling to get Title I, [English-learner] and minority parents involved," she said.

On April 29, the House Education Committee forwarded the bill by a vote of 7-6 to the House Appropriations Committee, which will hear it May 3. According to the EdNews Colorado website, "Committee Republicans were skeptical of the need for the bill and its cost. Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, even attempted to amend the bill to include the text of his defeated House Bill 13-1172, which proposed a parent-trigger law and an A-F grading system for schools. That went nowhere."

Hudak acknowledges that the Senate bill passed without any Republican support. With a Democratic majority in the House and a Democratic governor, she believes the bill ultimately will be successful.

Note: This post was updated with a new date that the House Appropriations Committee will consider the bill.

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