Op-Ed by Colorado Representative Jon Becker
Every Successful organization or individual sets goals, plans, implements, and assesses the results. This concept applies equally to success in business, government, and education.
Currently there are over 60 programs in K-12 education that have been enacted by the state legislature and implemented by the Colorado Department of Education. Over the years, the Colorado General Assembly has put so many programs in place for our schools that simply listing them is a daunting task. To complicate the situation even further, many programs are layered on top of existing laws and other programs. This structure and all of these programs could be working just fine or they could be costing schools time and money with no measurable results. We do not know which is true as we have not evaluated their implementation or outcomes.
There is no question that these programs were all created with the best intentions. Nor that their goals to provide resources, support, and accountability to students and teachers throughout our state were well founded. Yet, as it stands today, we do not take stock of the education programs we have worked so hard to create. In order to gauge our performance, shouldn’t we at least be aware of what we are doing and how well we are doing it?
The lack of periodic review of state educational programming is exactly why my bill HB18-1222 aims to correct. This bill directs the state auditor with the input of the Department of Education to establish a process to systematically review programs which have been in place for at least six years.
This program review process will provide and objective assessment of how well programs achieve their goals. It will collect data on how programs are implemented, their effectiveness, and their cost efficiency. With this knowledge, lawmakers, school officials, and parents with have the ability to make more informed decisions about each program.
We are not setting up a chopping block to kill programs or kill funding. We simply want a comprehensive understanding of educational programs in Colorado. Nearly every state education organization stands in support of this bill and its process. Let’s take a better look at what we are doing to help make our schools the best they can be for the children of Colorado.