I am a proud product of public education. I was taught in a public school system and I was a public educator in science and special education for 34 years in Adams 12. Together that accounts for over 90% of my life and I look forward to continuing the fight for public schools.
I believe that public education is the cornerstone of our democracy. Every child deserves a quality public education, regardless of their zip code. It is our responsibility to make sure that a quality public education is available for every child.
Public education is a way to level the playing field for all children, giving them the opportunity to be successful as adults. It is our responsibility to make sure that a quality public education is available for every child regardless of whether or not we personally have children currently in our schools. We need to ensure our community will have well educated people who are able to contribute and support our local infrastructure.
I believe good public schools contribute to stable home values and thriving neighborhoods.
Colorado is one of the worst funded states when it comes to public education, yet it has one of the highest rankings when it comes to the number of educated people. I believe TABOR and Gallagher have brought our state’s school funding crisis to a critical mass and it is time to evaluate how to alleviate the funding pressures that prohibit the elected officials from fully funding public education.
Over $7 billion has been pulled back in the last 10 years, due to the Negative Factor, or Budget Stabilization factor. That is over $250 million for Adams 12 alone. Adams Twelve has had to cut programs, positions, and not give adequate raises to their employees during this time. Teacher salaries are not keeping up with inflation.
School shootings have hit epidemic proportions in recent years, heavily impacting the safety of our students.
I am adamantly against arming teachers with guns. School resource officers receive hours of training to protect our students. I do not believe the answer is more guns in schools but a reorganization of resource officer training and heavy focus on mental health services for students.
Adequate mental health resources should be used to help identify people with emotional concerns before they harm themselves and our students.
Many of our buildings need maintenance to their HVAC, plumbing, structure, etc. A lot of these maintenance issues have been deferred and many of our buildings are difficult to accommodate the technology upgrades.
We still have land which is ready to be developed in Adams County. These potential new neighborhoods will have kids that will attend Adams 12 schools and we need to make sure they have a place to successfully learn.
As neighborhoods go through their life cycle, some of our neighborhoods fluctuate with the number of school age children. We must focus on the schools with declining enrollment to ensure the best opportunities for our students.
The number of students on free and reduced meals is increasing every year which means the number of families living in poverty, with inadequate resources and difficulties in employment, is also increasing. Connecting families to resources is very important if we want to give these students a chance of breaking the poverty cycle and getting a successful education.
We are a nation of immigrants. Many of us have members of our family who came to this country to provide a better life for their children. Why should this philosophy be any different today?
A 1982 Supreme Court case, Plyler vs. Doe, mandates that school districts provide free K12 education to undocumented children. Children who have been brought to this country by their parents, even if illegally, can become productive citizens if educated and our public schools should help prepare these students to lead successful lives.
We continue to see an increase in disturbing things in our community like school violence, suicide, drug use, domestic abuse.
Students come to school affected by these experiences, which present significant roadblocks to a successful education.
Teaching healthy mental health habits will help students cope with disturbing instances and provide them with the tools to live healthier lives. Students need to know where they can feel safe to discuss these issues.
For many students, the meals they get in school might be the only meals they get all day. I am glad to see the work Nutrition Services has done around the district to improve the quality of the meals they serve and we must continue to fight for balanced school meals.
With students of poverty, there are many dietary issues. Fast food is cheap, but not healthy and our school cafeterias should reflect this.
Obesity and diabetes are high, due to the lack of healthy meal planning at home. We must work to combat this issue through advocating for healthy, affordable options in school cafeterias.
Standardized testing should be relevant and meaningful to what the students are actually learning in the classroom. Standardized testing has been used in many ways that are not accurate to rate a teacher, school, or school district.
Students need to be able to understand the importance of the tests and how they can improve their learning which means the tests should be applicable .
I have had concerns with Senate Bill 191 ever since it was introduced and passed in 2010. Student's test scores should not be used to evaluate a teacher.
It is a daunting task to have every teacher in every school evaluated every year, no matter how many administrators are in a building. Teachers do not become ineffective over night, and I think successful teachers should only be evaluated every 2-3 years.
As a special education teacher, it was my job to make sure my students had the resources they needed to be successful. Too often I would see case loads too high to manage and not enough options to meet every student’s needs.
Classroom teachers need more resources to meet the needs of all their students regardless of whether or not they have a disability.
Source: Building a Better Colorado,
Source: Building a Better Colorado,
For more information about SB 10-191 (Educator Effectiveness)
Source: Colorado Department of Education