Monday, December 26, 2011
Separate but Equal In Colorado?
According to District Judge Sheila Rappaport, the formula for school funding in Colorado is inadequate and, subsequently, fails the state constitution's mandate to provide a "thorough and uniform system of free public schools." The story behind her ruling has been brewing for years after a group of parents from the San Luis Valley filed suit against the state for negligence in guaranteeing sufficient funding to all school districts in Colorado. Eventually, the suit grew with the help of education advocates to include all school districts in the state. Last week, Governor Hickenlooper said the state will appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.
Certainly, this is a complex and convoluted issue, as the discrepancies between schools statewide and nationwide is not disputed. Even within districts, schools are often inconsistent in not only the delivery of education but also the results. Without doubt, more affluent suburban districts always outperform poorer, urban, and rural areas. However, there is no clear or easy answer to solving the inconsistent results. While Colorado must provide a "uniform system," there is no guarantee of specific classes or textbooks or set levels of funding or education levels of students, etc.
On a post-note: it seems interesting that Taylor Lobato, whose parents were the originators of the suit, is now a successful student at the University of Denver - one of the top two elite academic schools in Colorado. Clearly, the discrepancies in her high school education did not inhibit her ability to gain admission to a top college, nor did it inadequately prepare her to be successful at a top school.
So, where does that leave us?