State Leaders Get Tough on Education at Club 20 Meeting

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Club 20 held its annual fall meeting Saturday, where education reform topped the agenda.

National, state, and local leaders including Governor Bill Ritter and Congressman John Salazar (D) CO attended and spoke at the event.

Throughout the morning those leaders said Colorado schools aren't performing as well as they need to, and that that is a problem which needs to be fixed very soon.

They are concerned that high school graduates aren't adequately prepared for college or the workforce.

"Only one in five students who graduate from a Colorado high school and go on to college in Colorado don't require remediation or catch up courses," said State Senator Josh Penry (R) Fruita. "One in five are prepared to go to college. What does that say about the K-12 system."

Senator Penry is one of many who say state educational standards need to be revisited and updated.

Governor Ritter and members of his staff addressed many of these concerns, and say the state should be doing more to fix them. He says higher standards need to be set, the high school drop out rate needs to go down, school funding needs to be increased, and good teachers need to be hired and retained.

He recently formed a special P-20 council to examine those particular issues, and says the State Legislature will have many new educational bills to consider when they return to Denver.

Governor Ritter and his staff are optimistic that many positive changes will come soon.

"I think something will get done," said Don Elliman, Director of the Office of Economic Development. "I think that the citizens of the state are smart enough to understand the importance of education to the economy of the state, and to the quality of life in the state."

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