Can Colorado Maintain Its Better-Than-Average Reading Scores?

March 25 2010, 11:38 AM
Despite all the cuts to education, Colorado teachers appear to be weathering the storm well. That's if you consider the performance of students in grades four and eight, who did better than the national average on reading assessments, a good indication of success (via the Colorado Springs Gazette). But teachers, administrators, and some state lawmakers say it will be increasingly difficult to keep standards high if cuts keep coming---and they are looming everywhere. As Kristi Hargrove, a Republican small business owner and mother of four from Crested Butte, tells The Associated Press, her district hasn't had enough money to pay for textbooks for 10 years, and her kids' school will probably not replace elementary teachers who are set to retire, meaning larger classes next year. Concerns like those are driving an effort by Democrats and education advocates to ask voters if they'd be willing to raise taxes to pay for education. Currently, the Taxpayers Bill of Rights requires lawmakers to win voter approval for any proposed tax increase, but a plan by state Representative Debbie Benefield (pictured), a Democrat, would make a permanent exception for hikes that fund schools. Republicans are skeptical of the measure, particularly during a recession. Meanwhile, cuts are on the horizon in Adams 14, where 60 staff positions, including about 20 teachers, could be eliminated, according to 9News.