Most people like or even love their local schools and appreciate their teachers and administrators. At the same time, the general public understands that the system of education from early childhood to adult retraining taken in its entirety leaves much to be desired. The taxpaying public is not happy with the value proposition of education, and in Colorado the public has resisted tax increase ballot measures dedicated to increased education spending.
I support a living wage, merit pay, and an advancing career path for teachers. I recommend equal opportunity for all students and exposure to multiple choices and pathways for their future. I support improving resources for rural Colorado districts and students.
I believe the educational establishment, including the legislature, should focus on a vision for the future of the education system from birth to retraining. Rather than piecemeal solutions and an obsession with more funding, the establishment should envision a future that provides opportunity and success for all students. The establishment should bring the public along on a visionary path to greatness.
Our K12 school finance system is broken and has to be fixed. Our system of local property taxes has evolved into a structure that is unequal and unfair to taxpayers. A part of our property taxes contribute to K12 funding through the state formula, but then added local mil levy tax overrides stay local. That system violates our stated principle of fair and equal opportunities for students. And after collecting state taxes, the funding formula that determines school finance is broken and must be revised.
Deficiencies in the system are well known, but solutions aren’t easy. Children need to come to kindergarten, ready to learn, and learn to read by the third grade. Students need to finish high school and be prepared to progress to job training or college without remediation. Students need to be engaged, interested, and exposed to choices. Teachers need appropriate and continued training, coupled with rewards. Education needs to be integrated with business and available jobs while also instilling basic knowledge and life skills.
I’m in my third year as the co-chair of the Education Leadership Council, a bipartisan council of education and civic leaders appointed through executive order. I plan to continue in this quest to advance a vision for the future of our education system and be a spokesman for that vision. I will continue to support equal opportunities for all of Colorado’s citizens.