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Standards alignment meeting hosted at Adams State

Posted: Friday, Apr 17th, 2009

Right, Anna Mae Lindsay from Trinidad State Junior College discusses the importance of new standards with retired Denver teacher Rosie Connor, Adams State College Extended Studies representative Kateri Reeves, and Marsh Elementary teacher Kelly Murillo as part of a regional meeting to realign standards in the state of Colorado.

New bill hopes to take out CSAP



ALAMOSA — Adams State College played host this week to a regional meeting for educators both old and new, from preschool to college, to discuss how to align Colorado’s educational standards from preschool to post-secondary.

Colorado’s Preschool to Postsecondary Alignment Act (SB 08-212/CAP4K) was passed in 2008 to “move Colorado to the next generation of standards-based education to prepare students for the knowledge and skills required for the twenty-first century,” according the bill summary prepared by Jett Connor, lead consultant on CAP4K.

The focus of the bill was to “corroborate in creating a new seamless system of public education standards, expectations and assessments from preschool and postsecondary education, or technical trade schools, or the workforce without the need for further remediation.” The state board and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education were given the task to “negotiate a consensus and adopt a description of postsecondary and workforce readiness,” by December 15, 2009.

The bill was formed in the hopes of eradicating the current Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) and replaces it with new state standards “applicable to a broad array of subjects and skills.”

Deputy Commissioner from the Office of Learning and Results for the Colorado Department of Education Ken Turner made it clear he needed input. “We need your ideas to help guide the 212 process and shape the outcome.”

Turner told the group that the necessity of redeveloping Colorado’s standards were because high school graduation rates are dropping and the achievement gaps were becoming more pronounced. Colleges have to teach too many remedial courses to get students up to collegiate learning levels. “Our highly educated population grows though immigration while degree attainment by Coloradoans lags,” he said. According to the presentation, Colorado has the largest ethnic gap in college attainment in the U.S. and employees are entering the workforce unprepared.

According to CDE’s research, for the fist time in history, students are less likely to graduate high school than their parents. Colorado is 46th in the U.S. in rate of high school completion. Of those who graduate, 63 percent end up enrolling in college. Of the 63 percent attending, 21 percent will graduate from a two-year institution, 56 percent from a four-year institution, and 23 percent will not complete their higher education.

Attendees were asked to analyze some critical questions specific to the San Luis Valley region. They were asked to describe what skills and competencies students need to be postsecondary ready, what skills and competencies students need to be workforce ready, and what are special considerations for the workforce or higher education in the San Luis Valley.

The general consensus was that students lack in reading, writing, mathematics, science, humanities, civics, and liberal arts. There was some discussion around the importance of reintroducing life skills back into Colorado’s standards.

To become a valued member of the workforce, there needs to be the ability to learn, know how to utilize resources, and know how to discover what they still need to learn in order to perform for an employer. Teachers agreed that students needed to learn how important their responsibilities are in a workplace and to have a consideration of time equals money.

There was a strong argument about the arts becoming a dying academic area. One educator pointed out that the No Child Left Behind Act required arts to be taught in public schools, yet is often overlooked in schools. Professor of art at Adams State College Dana Provence said, “On one hand there are a number of artists who do well in this area...a lot of times art is another form of recess, and it definitely is a form of play, but it also requires discipline. There’s a lack of values because they struggle with the content of the course. It is an important anchor of society and culture, especially in the San Luis Valley...critical thinking skills are a part of art as well, scientific method and the power of observation serves us all.”

At the end of the meeting, all answers were recorded and collected to be put in a statewide database for evaluation of new standards.

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