Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, introduced House Bill 16-1099, Jan. 19, which seeks to repeal a provision in the 2010 educator effectiveness law also known as Senate Bill 191, that has been misused by Denver Public Schools to arbitrarily remove quality teachers from classrooms.
A provision in Senate Bill 191 states that if a teacher is removed from his or her classroom, the teacher must receive a mutual consent position within the school district within a specific timeframe or be placed on unpaid leave. According to a 2014 Westword article, since the law was enacted, Denver Public Schools has used the provision to forcibly remove more than 1,200 teachers without cause. This method of removing teachers without cause has crippled our students’ ability to receive a quality education and has exacerbated the teacher shortage in Denver and elsewhere around the state.
“Rep. Salazar recognizes that districts like Denver Public schools have taken advantage of provisions in Senate Bill 191 to deprive students of experienced, quality teachers in their classrooms, thereby inhibiting student growth and achievement,” said Colorado Education Association President Kerrie Dallman.
“We will continue to work with the legislature to guarantee that quality teachers in Colorado are given the chance to unlock the brilliance of every child. We believe every student deserves a teacher who has the opportunity to improve their practice to help students achieve and grow but that cannot happen when school districts like Denver Public Schools use this provision to destabilize classrooms for the sake of inexperience and reduced salaries,” said Dallman.
The Denver Classroom Teachers Association filed suit in Jan. 2014 seeking to reassert teachers’ rights to due process after an arbitrator’s ruling was ignored by the school district. The lawsuit was dismissed by Denver District Courts but the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in Nov. 2015 that certain provisions in the law were indeed used to remove teachers from the classroom without reason or due process.