By Todd Engdahl, EDUCATION NEWS COLORADO
With the interesting title of “Improved Workforce Development Through Increased Participation in Arts Education,” House Bill 10-1273 would make “proficiency regarding the visual arts and performing arts standards” a high school graduation requirement beginning with students who are ninth graders in 2010-11.
The bill also would amend 2008’s Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids law to incorporate arts and performing arts into state standards, testing and postsecondary and workforce readiness requirements.
The measure also proposes incorporating arts education into dropout prevention and career and technical education programs.
Merrifield is a retired music teacher and unofficial leader of the a cappella choir that regularly sings “Happy Birthday” to House members and staff on the House floor. Because of term limits, 2010 is his last year in the House and as chair of the House Education Committee.
The chairman has assembled an interesting list of 34 bipartisan cosponsors in both houses, including House Speaker Terrance Carroll, D-Denver (also in his last term), and Senate Minority Leader Mike May, D-Parker. Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, who disagrees with Merrifield on almost any education issue you can think of, is a Senate prime sponsor.