Monday, October 7, 2013

Denver Post Endorsement of Amendment 66 Weak

As expected, the Denver Post endorsed Amendment 66, the billion-dollar tax increase for schools.  The Post’s editorial board has been consistent supporters of education reform since the current movement started in earnest in the 1990s.

From curriculum standards and charter schools to education testing and performance pay, a series of Colorado governors, beginning with Romer and Owens and now Hickenlooper, have kept Colorado on the forefront of K-12 education reform, albeit producing modest levels of improvements in student achievement.

The Post has also been a consistent supporter of more money for schools, from local bonds and mill levy overrides ($1 million passed in 2012) to major statewide initiatives, such as Roy Romer’s 1992 one-cent increase (defeated) and Amendment 23 in 2000 (passed).

But, the editorial board also described the fundamental flaw in the current system of public education, and that is the primary group that is responsible for public school education and the major recipient of the billions of new funding from this proposal – the teachers union – is energetically opposed to even the modest reforms incorporated into Amendment 66. They have made it clear they will fight reform in court and, of course, in future legislative sessions and in local school board races (as they are currently in Denver Public Schools).

The Post’s acid response is that the union’s position is “treacherous” and “disgusting.”  The Post also believes the tax increase is too high and the funding is primarily required as incentive to undermine “entrenched interests.”

A temperate endorsement of a very significant tax increase.

See Denver Post editorial: Colorado’s schools need Amendment 66

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