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Rep Cutter: It’s time to invest in our most valuable asset — Colorado kids

Sep 18, 2022

Rep. Lisa Cutter, Sen. Tammy Story, Sen. Jessie Danielson

President John F. Kennedy Jr. once said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future” and we couldn’t agree more.

If we want to build a brighter future for all of us, then we have to invest in our most valuable asset: our kids. We’ve raised our families here in Jeffco, sending them to our public schools and watching them flourish in our community – we have navigated or are navigating the same school system you are, and we want to make sure all of our children get the high quality education they deserve.

We can’t think of anything more important than ensuring young Coloradans have the tools they need to grow, succeed and thrive. After all, our kids are our future leaders – and one day, we’re going to pass the torch on to them and we need to give them the tools and training they need right now to be prepared. As mothers ourselves, we want to give our children the best future possible, and that future starts with a quality education. That’s why we prioritized passing policies this year to prepare students for success so every Colorado kid – no matter where they live – has an equal shot at success.

First, we sought to give our youngest Coloradans a leg up by implementing universal pre-K and providing high-quality early childhood education opportunities for every child.

Decades of research has shown that greater access to early childhood education leads to better outcomes for children all the way into adulthood, but far too many parents across Colorado simply can’t afford it. Providing up to 10 hours a week of free universal preschool for families means more kids will have access to the nurturing early education programs they need to grow, it will be easier for parents to get back to work and we will save families money. This is a win for families with young children, and a win for our economy.

We also made a historic investment in K-12 education through the 2022 Public School Finance Act. The new law increases per pupil funding to a historic high of $545 per student, which school districts can use to reduce classroom sizes, increase teacher pay, and help provide more individualized support to help students learn.

We know high quality teachers and educators are an integral part of our kids’ educational success – the law also breaks down financial barriers to entering the teaching profession through loan forgiveness and stipends for teachers, so we can attract higher quality teachers to the profession and better support our kids.

Finally, we wanted to make sure our students are equipped with the tools necessary to attain a higher education degree and be successful in the workforce. Higher ed is the key to a bright future for many Colorado students, but too many folks are finding it hard to afford the cost of a degree. That’s why we fought to keep the cost of tuition down, while creating more pathways for students to get the skills and training they need to land a job in their field of choice.

Colorado students entering the workforce need efficient and effective pathways to gain the experience and training they need to earn a degree and, ultimately, a good-paying job. We passed legislation to expand credential pathways to help Coloradans seeking to further their education or get the training they need to land jobs in high-demand industries, a measure that will accelerate our economic recovery and help businesses fill critical gaps in the workforce.

As our students head back to school, we’re reflecting on all of the things we accomplished this year to make sure our kids are on the best path forward to achieve their dreams.

Through the measures we passed, we will not only prepare our students for success – we will also help develop our workforce and power our economy as we continue to move Colorado forward. But the work doesn’t stop here – our kids will always be our priority. We look forward to continuing to pass meaningful policies that will help ensure Colorado learners frompreschool through high school, and beyond are adequately prepared for life beyond the classroom – because when our students succeed, we all succeed.

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