Yes, I’m only a bill.
The Schoolhouse Rock refrain echoes in my brain even after all these years… I’m just a bill. Yes… I’m only a bill… and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill.
We have a bill! HB 17-1201 is making its way through the Colorado legislature and will award a STEM High School Diploma Endorsement to graduating seniors who earn the test scores, complete the coursework and present the capstone project. It’s all very exciting!
The Back Story
Jess and I are Policy Fellows for the Colorado Educator Voice Fellowship which is part of America Achieves Fellowship for Teachers and Principals. We have spent the past two years immersed in the political process here in Colorado, specifically as it relates to education law. It has been a fast and furious boat-load of work and we are climbing the mountain of turning our idea into a bill and hopefully into a law in the next couple of months.
As boots-on-the-ground educators, Jess and I have a wealth of firsthand experience helping students achieve their academic and career goals. We know what it takes in the classroom and in the real world for young people to be successful in college and in the workplace. That’s why we created the STEM High School Diploma Endorsement: to give students a step up in showing admissions offices and employers that they are up to the rigorous challenges of competing in the 21st century world.
Colorado is a STEM powerhouse. More than 65% of jobs in 2020 will require some type of postsecondary education, the majority of them in a STEM-related field. The STEM Diploma Endorsement is a mark of distinction added to the regular high school diploma demonstrating that a student has excelled above and beyond the minimum graduation requirements. The endorsement is meant to be a stretch-goal for students who apply themselves to the rigors of learning, inviting them to reach high and apply core content knowledge to real-world problems and scenarios.
PWR: Postsecondary-Workforce Readiness
Whether a student chooses to go into academia or the workplace after high school, colleges and employers are insistent that graduates need better skills than what they are currently bringing. Many students have a great experience in high school, however, too often lack the requisite skills to be authentically prepared for the next phase of life. We might be quick to shrug it off under the classic cliche of Entering the Real World but in an increasing competitive global economy, today’s graduates need a higher level of ability and understanding earlier than any other generation in history.
Technology increases at lightning speed anymore and anyone who does not constantly seek new learning will quickly become obsolete. As educators, we must help our students focus on the cross-pollination of knowledge and ideas into answers to complex problems. This is the future of our world.
HB 17-1201 is a step on that path. Students will have an opportunity to earn an award that presents them with the challenges of applying their book knowledge in a comprehensive, relevant project surrounding an issue of social importance. Harnessing the power of young minds will change the world.
Spread the Word
Help us spread the word in your neighborhood schools with families and students, with your local legislators and across the country. Send this blog out to your contacts, on your Twitter feed and in your Facebook posts. This is a bill that will make education better for all of us, especially for our students.
Send us a note if you have questions. We love to talk about this!
- Jess: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Elaine: email@example.com
We look forward to hearing from you!