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Colorado Adult High School Program

Concerning a Colorado department of education partnership with a nonprofit entity to create a program for adult education, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2023 Regular Session
Education & School Finance (Pre & K-12)
Bill Summary

The bill creates the Colorado adult high school program (program) in the office responsible for adult education within the department of education (department). The purpose of the program is to create a pathway for Coloradans who are 21 years of age or older and do not have a high school diploma to attend high school and earn a diploma at no cost. Students may also earn industry-recognized certificates or college credits at no cost.

The bill requires the department to partner with award a grant to a Colorado community-based nonprofit organization (organization) to operate the program. The department is required to select an organization to act as the education provider for the program. The education provider is required to:

  • Secure and maintain a building for the program;
  • Contribute funding annually for operating and facility costs;
  • Hire educators and school personnel, including life coaches who help students navigate academic and personal challenges;
  • Establish an academic accountability system with the approval of the department;
  • Establish minimum graduation requirements;
  • Award Colorado high school diplomas to students who successfully complete the program;
  • Use an evidence-based educational model that has proven effective through a randomized control trial or an experimental study;
  • Develop in-person courses;
  • Develop online courses for students who take classes in person but demonstrate academic readiness for remote course work;
  • Consult with a nonprofit organization that has successfully implemented an evidence-based educational model for adults in another state;
  • Serve all students, regardless of immigration status;
  • Enroll no more than 400 students at one time;
  • Comply with state and federal laws concerning students with disabilities, including students with accommodations pursuant to section 504 of the federal "Rehabilitation Act of 1973";
  • Create individualized education programs for students with disabilities;
  • Collaborate with local district colleges, community colleges, area technical colleges, or local career and technical education programs to ensure access to courses that can lead students to graduate with industry-recognized certificates;
  • Fund industry-recognized and career and technical certificate programs at no cost to students;
  • Create a plan in collaboration with institutions of higher education to authorize teachers to teach courses for college credit and to align teacher qualification requirements with the concurrent enrollment program ;
  • Operate a licensed, on-site child care center for students with children; and
  • Offer transportation assistance to students who enroll in the program.

The department is required to establish a fair and transparent request for proposal application process in order to select an organization to operate the program. The request for proposal application process must include input from the office within the department responsible for adult education.

The request for proposals application must include:

  • A plan for student enrollment, including students with disabilities;
  • A plan to secure and maintain a building;
  • Proposed curriculum and academic accountability standards for a student-centered course of study that can result in a Colorado high school diploma;
  • Evidence of the effectiveness of the evidence-based educational model to be implemented by the program;
  • A plan to hire and maintain a staff of educators and other school personnel;
  • Proof of access to the money annually required to sustain the program;
  • A plan to establish and operate an on-site licensed child care center; and
  • A plan to offer transportation services to students.

On or before July 31, 2025, and every July 31 thereafter, July 31, 2026, and March 30, 2027 an education provider is required to report to the department on the status of the program. On or before November 30, 2025, and every November 30 thereafter, November 30, 2026, and June 30, 2027, the department is required to report the status of the program to the house of representatives education committee and the senate education committee, or their successor committees, including but not limited to:

  • Student demographic data disaggregated by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, gender, and disability;
  • Accountability measure outcomes; and
  • The number of industry-recognized certificates, college credits, and overall average credit attainment that students earn each term.

The program repeals July 1, 2027.The bill appropriates $5 million from the general fund to the department to implement the program.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)




Bill Text

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