No Surprises Here: A “Can’t-Do” Reaction to First Class Education

Yesterday I asked to see what the CEA’s reaction would be to the “First Class Education for Colorado” proposal that would put 65 cents of every dollar of current education expenditures into the classroom. Well, the Rocky Mountain News got the scoop on that one this morning:

“The Colorado Education Association, the union of teachers, views the proposal as more political than educational, spokeswoman Deb Fallin said.

“What is valuable for kids is a lot bigger than what Rep. Stengel is proposing,” Fallin said. “It includes counselors, school nurses, teacher training and curricular development.

“School counselors are very key to student achievement and success and to reducing the dropout level.”

Interesting analysis. Ask the average parent on the street if they think funds for counselors, teacher training, and curricular development could fit somewhere into the 35 percent of the substantial K-12 education budgets? A swift and clever dodge by a teachers’ union that doesn’t want to address the essentials of this reform plan. CEA wants to remain the “sugar daddy” for teachers in the state – if somebody else comes up with a creative plan to hire more teachers and pay them more, a plan that could engender public support without raising taxes or spending, then the union has to be against it. Plain and simple. Their members might not “need” them any more.

So, as this issue unfolds, look at CEA to try to paint the plan as part of a vast “Too Extreme for Colorado” right-wing conspiracy, even though as Michael has pointed out, there is nothing essentially conservative about the plan.

One other thing: the Rocky writer, like the Post writer yesterday, neglected to point out that building and construction costs are calculated separate from current expenditures, and so the 65-percent plan would have no effect on them.

And three cheers to the state legislator leading the charge:

House Minority Leader Joe Stengel, R-Littleton, said the state can do better.

“We want taxpayers to know how little of their education dollars go to the classroom,” he said at a state Capitol news conference. “When they find that out, they’re going to be very unhappy.”

The citizens of Colorado have a common sense, widely supportable plan they can rally around – one to tell the educrats in the establishment that they can and will find more efficient ways to spend taxpayer money, that they can and will focus more of public funds into the classroom.


  1. says

    We need to stop asking the unions if they support anything other than more power for themselves. They are not experts on nor advocates for education. They are interested in the union first and their members second.

  2. says

    1. I am aware of who created it, but I can’t see how you have correctly identified his motive. This proposal does nothing to affect taxes or tax rates for education. Someone could come along and change the Gallagher Amendment if they wanted to do that. But what is wrong with reduced taxes on business anyway?

    2. What % of their operating budgets do school districts spend on transportation? On central administration? How are some school districts able to achieve 65% already? For the FEW school districts where this may actually be a problem (having to cut transportation because the administration is already very lean and efficient), the plan allows for waivers.

    3. Colorado ranks 26th in education funding, not 49th. From 1989 to 2004, Colorado increased total per pupil spending by 18 percent (after adjusting for inflation). Please feel free to email me this for more clarification.



  1. First Class Education for Colorado
    Sounds like a good idea, yes? Not if you’re an educator in Colorado, apparently. Yesterday House Minority Leader Joe Stengel (R-Littleton) introduced legislation that would keep 65 cents out of every education dollar – get this – in the classroom….

  2. ? for Governor
    Here’s a story about next year’s governor’s race from the AP via the Rocky Mountain News [May 19, 2005, “GOP weighs risks in fight to keep governor’s seat”].

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