Special educators attending CEC’s Annual Convention in Denver last week, received a rare opportunity to ask two elected officials questions about a variety of education issues, such as: linking teacher evaluations to student performance, how funding cuts are impacting students with disabilities, and the need to increase focus on students with gifts and talents.
Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and Colorado State Senator Mike Johnston (D-Denver) spent much of their time engaging with the audience, sharing how federal and state policies are shifting to place a greater emphasis on teacher effectiveness and highlighting the importance of continued investment in education programs, particularly IDEA.
At a time when funding for education programs continues to be threatened, Congressman Polis highlighted his leadership to achieve full funding of IDEA through the Defending Special Education Students and Families Act, legislation he introduced in September, 2011. A strong voice for children and youth with disabilities and gifts and talents, Rep. Polis passionately discussed the need for greater investments in early childhood programs and the need to challenge our nation’s three million students with gifts and talents. As the former superintendent of two charter schools and member of the Colorado State Board of Education, Rep. Polis is intimately aware of the critical impact teachers and schools have on the lives of students. Read Rep. Polis’s full education platform here.
Colorado State Senator Johnston – author of Great Teachers and Leaders, Colorado’s teacher evaluation law – reflected on his career as a teacher, principal and his experiences in working with students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Great Teachers and Leaders, better known as SB-191, has captured the attention of policymakers across the country, often noted for its strong teacher-student performance connection. Read more about SB-191 and Sen. Johnston.
Want more policy news from CEC’s Convention? Check back in the coming days for additional recap!