Colorado Education Report Gets Attention from Media, Legislature

Written by: Dan Bammes

Utah Foundation’s report Lessons from Our Neighbor: Learning from Colorado’s Educational Success drew substantial coverage in Utah news media after its release July 7th. It was featured on the front page of the Salt Lake Tribune and on the KSL-TV broadcast PrimeTime along with several other news outlets.

Utah Foundation Research Director Shawn Teigen discusses the Colorado education report with KSL-TV news anchor Deanie Wimmer

In the report, Research Director Shawn Teigen and Research Analyst Melissa Proctor discussed some of the early educational interventions that have helped Colorado push its national ranking on standardized tests up into the nation’s top ten after scores in both Utah and Colorado dropped into the middle of the states in the 1990’s. Utah’s scores, for the most part, still languish there.

The commitment to early childhood education may be a key factor in Colorado’s success, with statewide publicly-funded preschool programs reaching many at-risk children in that state. Full-day kindergarten and early-grade literacy programs are also showing good outcomes. And, as Melissa Proctor told the Utah legislature’s Education Interim Committee July 15th, the pre-school program that voters in Denver chose to fund with a special sales tax has also had dramatic results.

Proctor and Teigen made a similar presentation to the Utah State Board of Education that was well received.

Utah Foundation chose to look at Colorado for several reasons, including similar demographic characteristics and the fact that per-pupil spending in that state, while greater than Utah, is still well below the national average.

The full report is available on the Utah Foundation website.

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