Capitol Comments

A recent report from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth compares the economic growth by increasing the academic achievement of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged families.  If the educational outcomes of these students more closely match the success of children living in the top quartile of families, long-term economic growth would dramatically increase.

Most states are seeing evidence of economic growth with an increase in job creation and overall decrease in unemployment. However, too many individuals remain unemployed, the skills gap dividing workers’ technical skills and those capabilities needed by business and industry continues to grow, and the lack of opportunities to advance exists for numerous employees. Training workers with the skills and competencies needed to sustain employment will help provide for their family and will assist American businesses grow the economy. In 2015 state policymakers and executive branch officials will focus on job-driven training, reducing the skills gap, aligning systems and targeting the hard-to-employ.

State officials and policymakers have been focused on college- and career-readiness for several years yet challenges still exist to graduate students with the skills and competencies necessary to obtain sustainable employment. 2015 promises to be another busy year concentrated on implementing best practices and enacting innovative policies that prepare America's youngest students for entry into school, create environments for all students including those at-risk, and offer a variety of experiences so students participate in work-based opportunities. In order to ensure a world-class education for all students, leaders will likely address these top 5 issues facing states this year.

On Thursday, Nov. 20 a group of state legislators and education officials met with staff from the White House Intergovernmental Affairs and representatives from the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.  An update on the Administration's priorities, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and critical early education initiatives were discussed.

Colorado voters will be asked to decide if K-12 education should be funded in part by expanding gambling opportunities by adding slot machines and game tables at horse racetracks.  Money deposited into the K-12 Education Fund would be dispensed to local school districts on a per-pupil basis.  These dollars would be required to be utilized on reducing class size, obtaining technology for teachers and students, enhancing school safety and security and improving school facilitites.

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