Cynics are quick to point out how few times true bipartisanship can really happen in today’s political environment. Most of the time, they are right.

But every once in a while, an issue comes around that can bring even the most strident enemies together.

The issue that is doing the trick this week in Colorado is the topic of student assessment testing.

Our current Democratic Governor was joined by two former governors this week, Republican Bill Owens, and Democrat Roy Romer, in opposing Senate Bill 223. The bill which passed the State Senate by a vote of 28-7, would prohibit penalties if students opting out of testing begin to drive down participation.

The other side of the issue is an even greater bastion of bipartisanship as conservative Republicans and teacher union representatives are coming together in support of the proposal.

At the end of the day, all of this bipartisanship is likely to end in the same gridlock that comes with bitter partisan work.

Even if the State House passes SB223, Governor Hickenlooper will obviously veto the bill. While the bill may enjoy strong support in the legislature, I do not think there will be time for an opportunity to override a veto since the session ends in just a couple of weeks.

While the issue is bound to stick around, since the concept of student testing has always been controversial, it should be interesting to watch if any of these alliances can endure.

I cannot imagine that conservative Republicans and teachers unions will be able to withstand each other’s company for very long, but they would serve as a powerful alliance on this issue if they can.

It will be a fun test (sorry, I couldn’t help it) of both groups’ true passion regarding opting out of state assessments.

While I am usually critical of cynics, I can’t help but to be cynical about this one. I know taking assessment tests can be an unpleasant experience and arguments can be made about their efficacy. But in the end, the suffering and expense is not enough to keep this fragile alliance together, especially with an election year on the horizon.

Remember these moments of cooperation in about 14 months when these same groups will claim that the other is helping to bring Armageddon upon our children.

But it should be fun to watch while it lasts.

About The Blogger

– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his blog. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning “Colorado Inside Out” on Colorado Public Television.


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