Mixed grades for Colorado education | VailDaily.com

Mixed grades for Colorado education

Jeremy P. Meyer
The Denver Post
Denver, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado “-Six national education experts took a look at Colorado’s education landscape and found the state is on track in some areas but has a long way to go in others.

The Denver-based Piton Foundation, a nonprofit that works to improve education, funded the study that looked at seven educational issues facing the state.

The consensus was that Colorado is on the right track in developing a statewide academic growth model that tracks individual students and the effort to update standards. But the state has a long way to go when it comes to improving education quality and aligning funding more clearly to individual student needs.

“I’m pretty bullish on the opportunities in Colorado, but it’s not to say the state is without challenges,” said Andrew Rotherham, co-director of the Education Sector and one of the panelists. “The infrastructure is there for some exciting stuff.”

Gov. Bill Ritter has pledged to cut in half the dropout rate, narrow the achievement gap and increase the number of college graduates. The panel said those are worthy goals but may not be realistic.

“Taking on dropouts is a huge undertaking,” said Michael Kirst, Stanford University professor. “Achievement gaps are another gigantic undertaking . . . I would urge the state to act serially on these. Pick one.”

Those types of comments resonated with Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien, who said she wants to take the report to members of the P-20 Council ” a blue-ribbon panel looking at educational changes for the state.

“We ought to have every committee look at each section and figure out a response to the compliments or critiques,” she said. “I’m one of those people who said this is why you want independent groups to comment. No one is smart enough to figure this out on their own.”

Van Schoales, program officer at the Piton Foundation, called it a friendly critique.

“I hope it just gets people to talk more deeply about this stuff and get out of their boxes,” he said.

Jeremy P. Meyer: 303-954-1367 or jpmeyer@denverpost.com

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