State Board of Education Candidates Have Very Different Views on Reform
The big election is less than a month away. A few of the races that get little attention – but many Coloradans will have to decide – are the contests for the State Board of Education. Few Colorado voters are aware that this elected body is about to become more important, as Rocky Mountain News reporter Berny Morson pointed out on Saturday:
The Colorado Board of Education labored in obscurity for years, setting rules that were mostly of interest to teachers, superintendents and other insiders.
That’s about to change. A law adopted last spring with the backing of Gov. Bill Ritter gave the board broad authority over school reform. The result could put the board’s mark on everything from statewide achievement tests to high school graduation requirements.
The article goes on to highlight the two candidates vying to represent the 3rd Congressional District (southern and western Colorado) on the State Board. These two candidates have some clearly different views. Democrat Jill Brake wants to spend more money on early childhood education, and supported the automatic education funding increase of Amendment 23 and Gov. Bill Ritter’s unconstitutional property tax hike.
On the other hand, Republican Marcia Neal – a retired Grand Junction High School teacher – believes in providing more career education opportunities for non-college-bound students, while also opposing the various education-related tax increases and spending mandates that have faced Colorado this year and in recent years past.
I know I can sound like a broken record at times, but wouldn’t it be good to know where Ms. Brake and Ms. Neal stand on school choice (e.g., charter schools, online schools, open enrollment)? What about expanding local innovation? The students and parents of Colorado – especially those trapped in failing schools – deserve to know.