Great Futures Campaign: Great futures start with a great education
In January 2010, Great Ed launched a statewide coalition-building campaign. Together, this coalition advocates for an education system that will prepare all children for the challenges of the 21st century. Great Ed provides the staff and organizing tools to its coalition partners (already comprising more than 20 diverse organizations), thereby informing and activating thousands of supporters to advocate for a ballot measure giving voters an alternative to a continuation of the extensive cuts that Preschool, K-12, and higher education students will experience in the 2010-11 school year. For more information, go to www.greatfuturescolorado.org.
Great Ed and the Great Futures coalition introduced the DECIDE legislation in the 2010 legislative session. DECIDE stands for “Decide: Education Cuts OR Invest in our Democracy and Economy” If approved by two thirds of the legislature, this referred measure would have given voters the chance to DECIDE whether they want an alternative to balancing our state budget by continuing to make deep cuts to Colorado’s public schools, colleges and universities.
While the State Legislature did not reach the two-thirds majority necessary to refer DECIDE to the ballot, this effort was tremendously successful. We moved the budget reform conversation forward by focusing attention on the urgency of the education funding crisis (preschool through higher education), offering a solution, and reminding Colorado that a fix to the education funding crisis is within our grasp. Thousands of public education supporters stepped into the political process — many for the first time — to testify, call, and write their legislators. Together they took DECIDE far beyond what anyone expected, and put the legislature on notice that we will not sit idly by, as budget cuts dim the prospects of our children and our state.
B E.S.T. – Build Excellent Schools Today
Inspired by Great Ed’s statewide tours for state leaders, B.E.S.T. is the most substantial commitment of state resources to school construction in Colorado history – well over $200 million in construction projects so far, including new school buildings in impoverished areas. Over the next several years, BEST should provide close to $1 billion in school capital construction.
Outreach: GEC Informing and Advocating Statewide
Interest and demand for Great Ed’s work is at an all time high. Great Ed has made over 60 presentations in 2010, with no let up in sight. Great Ed’s Facebook page and blog readership has increased five-fold in one year. Our volunteer corps has grown in number and strength, and we now boast active community liaisons from a number of metro area and rural school districts.
Exposing the Impact
As a tool of the Great Futures Campaign, Great Ed has created the Great Futures Map, an interactive map cataloging stories from around the state and a short humorous You Tube video, “There’s a Map for that!” to showcase the information on the Map. The Map was unveiled to the media and legislature in March 2010 and shows the real impacts of funding cuts on Colorado’s children and schools. In addition, Great Ed submitted over 2,600 statewide petitions, detailing the effects cuts have on our schools and children, and asking the legislature to do everything in their power to avoid additional cuts to education. Great Ed continues to shine a light on our state’s failure to invest children’s future.