Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Academic acceleration mandate for public schools clears House

A bill that would require public schools to provide opportunities to learn at a faster pace to academically capable students was approved by the House of Representatives Monday.

HB 13-1023 allows school districts and charter schools some flexibility to meet its mandate. The bill provides that an "acceleration policy" might incorporate options such as advancing a student in a particular subject, "compacting curriculum," allowing a student to enroll in an advanced class at the same time he or she is in a less advanced course in the same subject, permitting credit to be gained by passing a test, providing advanced placement or International Baccalaureate programs, or authorizing independent study efforts.

The measure's reach is not limited to students who have been determined by school administrators to be "gifted and talented." Instead, school districts and charter schools are instructed to make acceleration programs available "to all students who demonstrate high ability and who may benefit from content acceleration or other acceleration interventions in their area or areas of strength."

The bill sets a July 1, 2014 deadline.

The bipartisan bill was approved on third and final reading in the House by a unanimous vote. It now heads to the Senate.

The House sponsors are Rep. Carole Murray, R-Castle Rock, and Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora. In the Senate, Republican David Balmer of Centennial and Andy Kerr of Lakewood are carrying the measure.