Let’s go back to school | SummitDaily.com

Let’s go back to school

Millie Hamner and Jim Wilson
Special to the Daily
State Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon.

Here we are: two retired superintendents with a combined 75 years in K-12 public education, now serving in the state House of Representatives. You’d think that we’d have a clear picture of what’s happening in Colorado’s classrooms.


Things are changing so rapidly that there’s just no way to keep up with the impact of education and budget policies on students without setting both feet inside today’s schools. For us, it’s been an eye-opening experience.

Classrooms are different, technology is everywhere and demands on students and teachers have increased dramatically. Only change is constant.

That’s why we urge everyone who plays a role in shaping education in Colorado — legislators, local officials and business and community leaders — to visit with students, teachers, principals, parents and the local community through school tours before the next policy decisions are made.

This fall, we’re planning to visit schools both in and outside our districts, and we encourage our legislative colleagues and members of the public to do the same.

Great Education Colorado and a number of statewide education organizations are coordinating a series of legislator/community tours throughout Colorado (Find details at greateducation.org/schooltours), allowing us to hear firsthand how the monumental changes to education made over the past several years are affecting the students. That’s important; it simply isn’t enough to rely on media coverage to determine what is and isn’t working in our public schools in Colorado.

The strength of our schools is so directly related to the health of our communities and economy. That’s why it’s so critical to every Coloradan that their policymakers and community leaders have a more direct understanding of what’s going on inside the classroom.

We have no doubt that education policies and budget priorities will arise in the upcoming legislative session and in communities around the state — all with the goal of creating a Colorado where every student graduates ready for success.

Every Coloradan will benefit when each of us brings to the debate more firsthand information about where we are and what it will take to reach that vision.

State Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, is a member of the House Appropriations, Education and Joint Budget committees. Rep. Jim Wilson, R-Salida, is a member of the Appropriations, Education and Finance committees.

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