Yesterday, the Senate Education committee unanimously voted to move SB 13-053 forward to the Senate Committee of the Whole. Sen. Kerr (D-Lakewood) is the Senate sponsor, and Rep. Hamner (D-Dillon) is the sponsor in the House of Representatives.
SB 13-053 outlines a K-12 / higher education data exchange. It requires the Colorado Department of Education and the Department of Higher Education to exchange information about Colorado students to assist in their transition to higher education. The bill puts the Colorado Department of Education in charge of gathering and maintaining the data. It is to be administered to public K-12 schools and public colleges/universities free of cost.
“My goal is to help Colorado students transition from high school to college more easily. It is a transition that can be intimidating and confusing, particularly for students who are the first to go to college in their family. To the benefit of our state, we need to remove logistical barriers and encourage our high school students to continue their education after graduation,” said Sen. Kerr.
Higher education is a major economic driver in Colorado. The University of Colorado system, for example, contributed about $5.3 billion to the state’s economy in 2011. Statistics also show that students who graduate from a higher education institution earn more as professionals. The weekly median earnings for employees with a bachelor’s degree was $1,053 in 2011, $768 for graduates with an associate degree, while high school graduates earned $638. College graduates also saw lower unemployment rates at 4.9% in 2011 for those with a bachelor’s degree, versus 9.4% for high school graduates. Studies show that by 2018, a college degree or certificate will be required for 67% of Colorado jobs.
Senator Kerr serves Senate District 22 which spans eastern Lakewood, Edgewater, and parts of unincorporated Jefferson County. Senator Kerr is a member of the Education and Finance committees. Outside of the legislature, the Senator works as an online social studies teacher. For more information, please visit www.andykerr.org.