This Year’s Legislative Agenda: Grading on Effort
1) When faced with a challenging problem, which employee would you prefer:
a) One who takes ownership and works creatively and cooperatively to solve it.
b) One who points fingers and explains why fixing it is impossible.
2) Facing the possibility of a challenging semester, how would you advise a student:
a) “The harder you work, the more you’ll get out of it.”
b) “Aren’t there easier classes you can take?”
There’s no question: when the going gets tough, effort matters. As employers, parents, and citizens, we don’t expect perfection, but we demand commitment, perseverance, creativity and accountability.
When it comes to investing in public education in Colorado there is no question that these are challenging times. A court in the Lobato case has found our school funding system to be unconstitutional and “unconscionable,” Colorado has cut higher ed funding more deeply than has any other state, and our budget remains tight because of the Great Recession, TABOR and other constitutional budget constraints.
So we ask the question:
3) Under current circumstances, which legislature would you choose:
a) One that sets out to create bold and innovative solutions to our school funding crisis.
b) One that makes excuses for why improving funding is too difficult.
We’d pick “A”, which is why, this year, we’ll be grading our legislature on effort. Here are the standards we’ll use:
- Did they acknowledge that our education system does not meet the constitution’s “thorough and uniform” requirement?
- Did they make it a priority to stop cutting schools and colleges, without harming other critical services?
- Did they start developing long-term plans for matching critical reforms with the resources necessary to make them successful?
Everyone tells us that, during an election year, we can’t expect our legislature to have the courage or determination to fix this “unconscionable” system.
OK. But we can — and must — demand effort and progress from our state leaders. In the coming weeks and months, Great Ed will provide you with easy ways to help us make our leaders accountable for doing their part for educational excellence in Colorado.
The Lobato decision was a wake up call for Colorado. State leaders whose response is to hit the snooze button aren’t making the grade.