“Now is the time to do something,” said Lisa Weil, Director of Policy and Communications for the organization Great Education Colorado.
The 2013 Year of the Student project asks Colorado lawmakers to use the 2013 legislative session to create and find funding “that matches reforms, mandates and accountability measures with the resources necessary to ensure that every student is successful.”
Several recent education reform measures have been unfunded, meaning that adequate funding to implement the changes was not included in the new laws. School districts around the state have already seen serious cuts in state funding, and many of the new reforms and accountability measures present an additional financial burden.
Weil said adequate funding is necessary for education reforms to be successful. The petition asks the legislature to make a plan for reversing the cuts in education funding along with a plan for the future that finds a way to budget enough money for education reforms to be successful.
We know what we want for our kids and have set standards, and now we need the resources to make those reforms successful and sustainable, Weil said.
The project encompasses education at all levels, from preschool to higher education.
“We know that all our kids need all those levels of education to be high-quality and accessible,” Weil said. We know that preschool provides the foundation for K-12, and a solid K-12 education prevents postsecondary remediation, she said.
“To pit one against the other is not just bad for students, which it is, but it’s bad for our society and our economy,” she said.
The 2013 Year of the Student project does not support a specific piece of legislation, instead emphasizing that what’s most needed is a plan for addressing Colorado's education funding long-term.
“We’re looking for legislators not to adjourn until there’s a plan,” Weil said. We understand all the funding can’t be in place today, but we need a plan.
“The truth is, there’s a lot legislators can do,” she said.
More than 140 organizations and school districts have signed on, including Jeffco Schools. The Jeffco Board of Education passed a resolution supporting the project at its Jan. 17 meeting.
More than 7700 individuals have also signed the petition.
There’s still time to sign the petition, which is available at www.2013forstudents.org.
“If not now, when?” If not us, who?” Weil said. “Our kids don’t get do-overs.”