Warning that ongoing education cuts are endangering Colorado’s students, communities and economy, a diverse group of students gathered on June 13 at the State Capitol to announce the official launch of an unprecedented public engagement project to make 2013 the “Year of the Student” – when the General Assembly uses the 2013 legislative session to start reinvesting in Colorado’s preschools, schools, colleges and universities.
Joined by representatives from the more than fifty community and advocacy organizations that have endorsed the Year of the Student project so far, the students described how the legislature has failed to ensure that all Colorado’s students have a fair shot at success in their communities and the competitive 21st century workplace.
“It’s good that the cuts to schools and colleges weren’t as bad as we thought they’d be this year, “ noted the 9th grade founder of the Douglas County Kids Campaign, Hayley Stromberg, “but school funding in Colorado right now isn’t OK. What happened in the Capitol this year isn’t going to make things better for students at my school or at schools and colleges across the state.”
Among the stories told from the personal experiences of the students:
“Colorado can do much better,” commented recent Overland High School graduate Luna Abraha, “and I’m hopeful that it will, now that this coalition is coming together for the Year of the Student.”
The Year of the Student launch gives individuals and organizations that support public education simple ways to add their voices to the call for meaningful action in the 2013 legislative session. A website http://2013forstudents.org/great-education-colorado allows supporters to sign a “call to action” online, to download a hard copy of the “call to action” for signature gathering, and to add their organization as an endorsing partner. Year of the Student signatures will be gathered over the next seven months and then presented to the newly elected General Assembly in January 2013.
During the June 13 press conference, students put together a six-piece puzzle, representing the components of a complete education system:
Stromberg suggested how state leaders can go about the hard work of fixing Colorado’s education funding shortfall: “They can do the same thing my parents and teachers tell me to do when I’ve got a tough assignment or a problem to figure out: think outside the box; take responsibility; don’t make excuses; ask for help when you need it; and, most important, don’t give up just because something is hard, especially if it’s the right thing to do.”
Recent Yuma High School graduate Annsley Brophy summarized, “If the legislature does not fix this problem, students will keep paying the price.”
* * *
Endorsing Board Resolutions