Colorado Panel Urges Reforms, End to Tenure
Colorado Springs--Gov. Richard D. Lamm's Task Force on Excellence in Education has added its voice to the chorus of Colorado commissions recommending the replacement of the state's teacher-tenure law with an evaluation system that is objective, fair, effective, and involves teachers.
But since the state legislature has already deleted the tenure repeal from an evaluation bill currently in the Senate, observers suggest that it is unlikely that this recommendation will fare any better than its predecessors.
The 34-member task force, which included representatives from all the major education associations in Colorado--teachers' unions, school boards and administrators' associations, as well as the state education department--recorded a "remarkable degree of consensus" in arriving at 46 different recommendations, according to its report.
Cautioning that "more alone will not be better," the task force none-theless recommended an increase in the amount of money the state spends on education and urged an increase in educators' salaries so they will be "competitive."
It also urged the legislature and Governor to appoint a commission to evaluate the state's finance system for education before the 1985 legislative session. Clearly disapproving of the current system of providing dollars based on attendance figures, the task force said a finance system should be designed to promote "quality."
In recommendations that spanned almost every facet of education, the task force, which met over a period of six months, repeatedly called for strengthening requirements for everything from high-school graduation to hiring superintendents.
It suggested a number of ways to strengthen the schools' academic program, urging districts to discourage extracurricular activities that take time from academic subjects, the legislature to insist on make-up days for any time missed for activities such as teacher meetings or pep rallies, and institutions of higher ed-ucation to strengthen their entrance requirements as an incentive to high schools to increase graduation standards.
But the task force warned districts not to continue what it said was neglect of the 60 percent of the state's students that do not continue their education after high school. It recommended that districts establish boards to review the total curriculum, paying careful attention to the needs of the non-college-bound and to developing improved vocational programs.
It also suggested that classes in grades K-4 be reduced to a maximum of 15 students and that the state consider mandating schooling from age 4 to age 16.
Noting that education is an integral part of society and that significant changes must evolve slowly, the task force declared that it was avoiding Band-aid solutions, but wanted instead to present a set of interrelated recommendations that would establish an agenda for educational change.