Jul 022007
Authors: Aaron Rognstad

State Rep. Randy Fischer (D-Fort Collins) said in the Lory Student Center Saturday that institutions like CSU are the key to preparing Colorado students for the real world.

“Here’s where we educate teachers,” Fischer said concerning education at CSU and it’s effect on K-12 education. “If we’re successful in meeting that goal, our students will be better dressed for success. The bottom line is we want to assume both access and success when it comes to this university.”

Fischer and State House Speaker Andrew Romanoff (D-Denver) facilitated the discussion-“Are Colorado Students Prepared for Their Future?”–with about 50 scholars, faculty and community members.

The forum highlighted issues affecting the long-term impact on the quality of education in the state. Topics discussed include an emphasis on students developing critical thinking skills, intercultural competency and a serious need for affordability of a college education for all.

“We should at least make it possible for every student to go to college or some sort of higher education after high school,” Romanoff said. “We should not settle for mediocrity. We should not settle for anything less.”

That point resonated with the audience.

“The state’s role should be affordability after high school,” said Sue Radford of Fort Collins.

Tom Griggs, an associate professor of the foundations of education and English as a second language at UNC, stressed the rising expense of a college education.

“Affordability is a very important issue we have to focus on when it comes to education in this state,” Griggs said. “That and teaching students to acquire knowledge to give them a lifelong love of learning.”

Fischer said he wants Colorado educators to help students “think critically, to have the skills to analyze and solve problems, to have good verbal and technical skills, and to prepare them to lead meaningful, productive lives.”

Ross Cuminoff, an administrator for the Poudre School District, which includes Fort Collins schools, asked a group of concerned citizens, “What do we want our kids to be? What do we want our schools to looks like? We need to prepare them for citizenship, prepare them for the workplace and instill a passion for learning in them.”

Romanoff emphasized what he says are three fundamental keys to an excellent education – that every child gets a good start early on in preschool and kindergarten, every student has a safe, healthy place to learn, and students have access to first-rate teachers.

The community forum was part of “Conversation 2007: Shaping Educational Excellence in Colorado,” part of the state’s P-20 Council, a special advisory panel that will address the challenges facing Colorado’s educational systems from preschool to grad school.

The council will be holding several more meetings around various Colorado cities and towns, gathering information and data that will make it to Governor Ritter’s desk.

Staff writer Aaron Rognstad can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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