To become the “State of Education,” we all have a role in improving the state of our education system for all kids to thrive

A group of Colorado leaders known as the Education Leadership Council wants to make Colorado “The State of Education.” To do that, they’re looking at revamping our statewide education system and they want Coloradans to tell them about the most important skills, competencies and learning environments to better prepare all kids for success in the 21st century workforce.   

It’s no secret that it’s becoming more and more expensive to live a comfortable lifestyle in Colorado. Despite our thriving economy, the middle class is shrinking and some studies suggest that having a master’s degree is the new requirement to enter the middle class.

So if our kids are going to have a chance to thrive and uniquely contribute to our community, they’re all going to need an education that allows them to explore a variety of higher-education opportunities.

And whether you’re a parent, an educator or a resident who wants to see Colorado at it’s best, we all have a vested interest in making sure every kid gets a great education.

The State of Education Survey (open through August 6th) is our chance to tell our leaders what kind of workforce we want Colorado to have, and most importantly, how to make sure every kid has a place in it.

And don’t worry—you don’t have to be an expert in education to share your opinion. While important, this survey is not at all about the standards students should master in reading, writing, math and science. In fact, most of the survey asks basic questions about the kind of people we want to develop kids into as they move from preschool through college and into the workforce. Do we want kids who are empathetic, civically-engaged and with a sense of global awareness? Or, do we want kids who show respect for authority, are motivated by entrepreneurialism and great problem-solvers? There are nearly two dozen options to choose from, and “all of the above” is not one of them. So, think about it. We all know the kind of people we respect and admire, or those we think are living their best lives. And we could probably point to at least one skill, quality or key to success that has gotten them to where they are today.

That’s essentially what this survey is asking: What are the things that are most important for kids to develop in order to live the life they deserve and can choose for themselves?

I took the survey in about 10 minutes and it was refreshing to weigh in on the life-skills, character traits and school environments that we teach our kids, because after every test is scored and every diploma is handed out, these kids will be the adults we live next door to and work with every day.

As a new homeowner, when I think about how I want my neighborhood to grow, I have to think about how the kids down the street are developing as well. What they learn in the school building across the street matters. It matters because a good school in my neighborhood makes for a good investment for me and other homebuyers. It matters because it could be the school my own kids attend one day.

But mostly it matters because an education that gives all kids a fair shot is what every Colorado kid deserves.

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