Colorado’s passage of SB191, the Centennial
State’s groundbreaking teacher quality and accountability legislation, was even
more impressive because it happened during an election year, and was passed by
a Democratic legislature and signed by a Democratic governor. For those who scratch
their heads about how this came about, have a look at this fascinating Democrats
for Education Reform brief. In it, Scott Laband, a key legislative aide as the
bill made its way through the statehouse, identifies the strategic steps taken
to pass SB191: find strong and credible leadership, get the policy right, build
a powerful coalition, coordinate broad-based advocacy, and control the message.
Within each of these five broad steps, Laband details specific actions calculated
to boost the odds of victory. Some are straightforward (e.g., identify a smart
education-policy expert). But others are so smart they almost feel like
political insider trading. For instance: Interlock the bill’s critical
provisions so tightly that none can easily be amended out. Or: Rotate political
cover, allowing some sponsors to vote with their party bloc on certain
amendments sure to pass. The brief ends with a sample press release, editorial,
fact sheet, and bill language—all geared to helping buttress future
education-reform legislation. A must-read for politicos and policy wonks alike.
Scott Laband, “Creating A Winning
Legislative Campaign: The Colorado Story” (Washington, D.C.: Democrats for
Education Reform, March 2011).