Friday, October 1, 2010

Colorado Education Reform

Education reform and funding is a hot button issue in Colorado politics. As the November election day approaches, the education debate has reheated across the nation and stateside. Colorado has two amendments on this year's ballot directly related to school funding - Amendment 60 and Amendment 61 - which would greatly reduce the amount of public money allotted to school districts.

Several questions have arisen surrounding the state's education system, the answers to which divide school boards and voters.
1. How do school districts budget state tax funds?
2. What measures could be put in place to capitalize on money from the federal government?
3. How are different school districts approaching teacher salaries?
4. How have standardized test results impacted funding and curriculum across districts?
5. Should Amendments 60 and 61 pass, how will school budgets be affected and what changes may come as a result of a cut in funding?
6. What reforms to curriculum and teaching methods have seen success on the global education scene? How can American/Colorado schools put these practices into place?

In talking to school board and state legislature candidates, hopefully some of the answers to these questions will take shape. Attending school board meetings in different parts of the state will also lend clarity to the education picture in Colorado.

As a veteran of the Colorado public school system, I have a perspective on reform that is sometimes overlooked in the debate -- that of a living, breathing student entrenched in the system. When talking about education reform, it is easy to look at test results and graphs of diverse student populations within a district and lose sight of the public school system's goal, which should always be student achievement. Listening to the opinions of students is imperative before moving forward with reform and in examining this debate, I hope to speak with many.

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