School Choice Score: 69%
Colorado’s only private school choice program is in one county (Douglas) and has been tied up in legal challenges since its creation in 2011. The most recent State Supreme Court ruling in June 2015 has halted the program, however Douglas County leaders and parents have voiced their intention of asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case. The state permits parents to choose among traditional public schools, which permits students to attend any public school in the state if there is room.
Charter Schools Score: 85%
Colorado has a relatively strong charter school law because of the freedoms afforded to the schools through blanket waivers, including the freedom of teachers to not belong to a union. The law is weak, however, regarding charter authorizers. In addition to school boards, there is a quasi-independent board that is not fully separated from the department of education. Funding has improved in the Centennial State, with an almost two-fold increase in capital funds and efforts to eliminate the district’s opaqueness when allocating charter funds.
Online Learning Score: 65%
Students in the state have access to a diverse set of high-quality providers and courses may be purchased without policy barriers that limit procurement. But funding and other policies for online learning could be improved to ensure eligibility for students. Colorado is a state where funding follows the student.
- Source: Digital Learning Now!
Teacher Quality Score: 78%
Tenure decisions are connected to evidence of classroom effectiveness, and teachers who receive unsatisfactory evaluations are eventually eligible for dismissal. Teacher performance is the top criterion in layoff decisions, and the last hired, first fired policy is forbidden. Colorado does not mandate performance pay, but districts can choose to incorporate it. If they do not, the standard pay system based on degrees and years of service is used.