Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirFebruary 16, 20172min203

State Senate Democrats say personal data on Colorado K-12 students will be a little less secure than it could have — had ruling Republicans in the Senate Education Committee Wednesday not shot down Senate Bill 102 on a party-line vote.

The proposal, sponsored by state Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada, would have barred private providers such as standardized-testing companies from asking students questions about their citizenship status or religion, or about similar information on their parents or other family members. The bill also would have prohibited those providers from collecting, selling, using, or sharing that information.

In a press statement Wednesday from the Senate Democratic press shop, Zenzinger said:

“Protecting the privacy of Colorado students regarding sensitive matters is not a partisan matter, but I am disappointed this bill did not advance today. Private companies have no business asking minors questions about their faith or their citizenship, and then likely selling that information for personal gain,” said Senator Zenzinger.

“This bill was about ensuring parents and students alone have the right to decide…whether they want to keep that information private, or disclose it. Again, I am just disappointed this bill to protect Colorado families’ right to privacy for their children will not be heard by the full Senate.”

The press release also linked to a Denver CBS4 report on Zenzinger’s bill.

Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirFebruary 9, 20172min303

Even as the country’s newly minted Republican president mulls plans for building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico,  Republicans in Colorado’s legislature, joined by their Democratic colleagues across the aisle, are going global. At least, when it comes to the language arts.

Senate Bill 123, introduced into the upper chamber by Democratic Sen. Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada and Republican Sen. Kevin Priola of Brighton, would “grant a diploma endorsement in biliteracy” to every Colorado high schooler who demonstrates proficiency in English and at least one foreign language by graduation. The bipartisan proposal picked up a bipartisan endorsement when it made its debut in the Senate Education Committee Wednesday, winning approval 6-1.

From a Senate GOP press release noting the bill’s progress:

Priola…told the Senate Education Committee that advertising a graduate’s biliteracy on a diploma not only would encourage students to study a second language, but it would impress college admissions offices and improve a certificate-holders job prospects.

…”By allowing school districts in our state to publicly recognize and credential academic achievement in the study of foreign languages, the seal of biliteracy will give universities and potential employers an additional tool to evaluate an applicant’s qualifications and skill set,” said Priola. “With a significant number of Colorado’s most prominent employers seeking bilingual candidates, Colorado students who have received this seal in foreign language proficiency will be highly competitive for positions in these key industries and excel in the increasingly global economy.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.