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K-12 Education

Improving student success in public education is important not just for realizing our children’s potential. A high-quality education system benefits all Coloradans by creating a more skilled workforce and increasing economic growth in our communities. To ensure that every child graduates from high school prepared for success in college, career, and life, we must eliminate opportunity gaps and guarantee all students access to high-quality programs and schools that meet their individual needs.

Where Colorado Stands

Colorado has a lot of work to do to ensure all kids get the education they need to thrive. Starting in Spring 2015, Colorado began administering a new state-wide test in English language arts and mathematics known as the PARCC test. The new assessments are aligned to the Colorado Academic Standards and are one way to measure whether students are on track to be ready for college and career upon graduation. Only 42 percent of Colorado fourth graders met or exceeded expectations in reading in 2015, according to the 2015 PARCC.

The numbers highlight more concerning and historically persistent achievement gaps when broken out by race, ethnicity and income. In 2015, only 24 percent of both Hispanic and black fourth graders met or exceeded the expectations in reading compared to 53.2 percent of their white peers. Further, only 24 percent of fourth graders eligible for free or reduced price school lunches met or exceeded expectations compared to 56 percent of their peers not eligible for free or reduced price school lunches.

What the Children’s Campaign is Doing

Colorado has been putting in place public policy aimed at creating the excellent schools needed to create the outcomes of success we want for Colorado’s kids, and now is the time to focus on effective implementation of these promising reforms. There is still much to do to improve student achievement, close opportunity gaps, increase high school graduation rates, and ensure effective educators are in every school and classroom. To reach these goals, the Children’s Campaign is focused on protecting and advancing:

View a comprehensive timeline of some of the most important Colorado education policy changes championed by the Children’s Campaign here.

Want to Learn More?

For more information on K-12 education in Colorado, please contact the Children’s Campaign’s Vice President of Education Initiatives, Leslie Colwell, at leslie@coloradokids.org or 303.620.4534.

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