Senate Endorses Rollback of Social Studies Testing

By Todd Engdahl

CHALKBEAT

The Colorado Senate Friday morning approved a small rollback of state social studies testing on a preliminary voice vote.

The earliest a final vote could be taken is Monday, unless the Senate meets this weekend. That would leave three days for Senate Bill 14-221 to move through the House before the legislature’s Wednesday adjournment deadline.

There was a moment of parliamentary panic on the floor after senators, not paying attention, overwhelming approved an amendment by Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, that would have delayed 12th grade social studies for 10 years.

Democratic sponsors quickly regrouped and got Renfroe’s amendment repealed on a 19-16 vote.

The Senate Education Committee passed the bill on a 4-3 vote late Thursday afternoon.

During that hearing the proposal prompted nervous reaction from social studies teachers, support from mainline education interest groups and opposition from others who feel it doesn’t go far enough during 50 minutes of testimony and discussion.

“There is a big concern over the amount of testing,” said sponsor Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, referring to debate over other testing bills this session. His bill “makes an actual reduction in the assessment burden … in the next school year,” he said. Kerr is chair of Senate Education.

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