Despite all the social justice warrioring that liberals do, their actions too often show their contempt for our state’s most vulnerable. That’s especially true in the case of education reform. Rep. Paul Lundeen (R-Monument) introduced HB-1089, which would allow parents of students in the state’s lowest-performing schools to use their funds to buy tutors, more challenging coursework, non-religious private school tuition, or attend a public school in a different (read: not failing) school district.
Naturally, because it holds unions accountable, Democrats in the House Education Committee killed it on a party line vote. Democrats on the committee include Chair Brittany Pettersen, Vice Chair Pete Lee, Rhonda Fields, Janet Buckner, Alec Garnett, and Dominick Moreno, some which represent districts in which there are failing schools.
Unfortunately, Lundeen should not be surprised that the bill was killed. It echoes remarks made by Douglas County School District status quo board member, David Ray just last week:
“Something I’m really struggling with is there seems to this mind shift where we have, we think PPR (Per Pupil Revenue), that I own that. That the PPR that goes to funding a school, that’s my PPR, and if I go to a different school I’m taking my PPR with me. And I couldn’t disagree with that more.”
Lundeen expressed his disappointment in a press release:
“More than twenty-thousand students are currently enrolled in districts that have consistently failed to provide a quality education, this bill would have given the parents of these students the choice to find a better alternative. For decades, Colorado has been unable to adequately remedy low-performing schools – we have to do something, the status quo is not acceptable, and I am frustrated my Democrat colleagues were unwilling to provide an immediate and viable alternative to help students.”
In a recent Colorado Springs Gazette op-ed, Ready Colorado chief Luke Ragland highlighted just how much low-performing schools handicaps children for the rest of their lives:
“What we do know is that many students attending these low-performing schools will be at a major disadvantage for the rest of their lives. Studies show students in classrooms with top-performing teachers are more likely to go to college, earn higher salaries, and live in better neighborhoods as adults. It is hard to underestimate the importance of education in the modern economy. Education can radically change the trajectory of a student’s life: Ninety percent of students born into poverty who graduate from college will never return to poverty.”
It’s despicable that Democrat elected officials can’t put children in failing schools before special interests.