The most important job we have in the state legislature is making sure that our children have the resources they need to succeed. My commitment is to keep education funding focused on the classroom and always with the goal of doing what is best for our kids.
For Colorado to compete in the 21st century, without having to rely on importing high-skilled workers, we will need to find the resources and support the institutions to give our students the tools to be successful adults. Achieving this goal first means investing in early childhood education--the preschool and kindergarten programs that lead to higher academic performance throughout a school career.
Second, we must ensure that Colorado has the colleges and universities to serve our workforce. The bridge between education and economic recovery is a healthy community college system and vocational training that provides accessible, affordable, and in-demand skills to anyone willing to learn. Colorado has already made strides by offering green jobs training through our community college system, along with allowing high school students to take college coursework for high school credit. Protecting our higher education system will be a formidable challenge for the legislature in this budget climate.
As a leader in student government and with my continued work with the Auraria Planning Board, I have fought for public support for higher education, and I will do the same in the state legislature.
Colorado ranks 40th in the nation in per pupil funding and 48th in funding for higher education, while the state tops the nation in the achievement gap between our two largest demographic groups--between white and Latino students. These problems will only come under more intense pressure as the state faces monumental budget challenges in the years ahead.