Saga Testifies for Colorado House Bill 21-1234

April 21, 2021


Our purpose at Saga Education is not only to unlock student potential, but to play a role in eliminating educational inequity and to inspire public school districts in America to redesign schools to embed evidence-based personalized learning interventions like Saga into their regular school day. We have come a long way in six years, reaching a crucial inflection point in k-12 education because of the pandemic.

Colorado House Bill 21-1234 aims to help accelerate student learning—particularly for students from low-income families, students of color, and students in rural areas—after unprecedented disruptions to education from the COVID-19 pandemic, by giving students access to personalized instruction from trained tutors during the school day. Specifically, the bill asks local districts to develop programs that align with the hallmarks of Saga’s evidence-based approach, while giving flexibility to adapt programs to their local context:

  • Provide tutoring in groups of four or fewer students; Provide students access the same tutor throughout the school year; Have a minimum of three sessions per week;

  • Occur during the school day, rather than after or before school, and is supplemental to academic instruction rather than a replacement of such instruction;

  • Use high-quality, trained tutors such as teachers, paraprofessionals, community providers, or other individuals who have received specialized training;

  • Use high-quality curriculum aligned with state standards; and Are data-driven, using interim assessments to monitor student progress.

This is a real system change.

On April 8, 2021 Saga Education Co-founder, AJ Gutierrez, testified to the House and Senate Education Committees in support of the bill. It was unanimously voted to move to appropriations. The Colorado Sun covered the bi-partisan bill stating, “If the legislation passes, CDE would be responsible for overseeing the high-impact tutoring grant program, which would require participating districts to report program data yearly. Bill supporters have underlined the need to prioritize low-income schools and also want to ensure dollars reach communities hardest hit by the pandemic — including rural communities and communities of color…Studies at the University of Chicago’s Education Lab have shown that students can gain two-and-a-half years of math growth in one year. Those studies have also indicated that high-impact tutoring reduces failure rates in math by 63% and reduces failure rates in non-math classes by 26%. ‘Let the science speak for itself,’ Gutierrez said.”

Although Saga Education currently does not directly support students in Colorado, this bill is a symbolic milestone in our broader systems change and widespread impact strategic anchors.  If successful, it may serve as a blueprint for other states creating frameworks for high impact tutoring.

Update on June 16, 2021 the bill was signed into law.