With Colorado's economy at the forefront, Lt. Gov. Garcia announced the state's education priorities as the key to creating a strong, competitive workforce.
"Job creation is the top priority for this administration. We need to create a globally competitive workforce to ensure a strong Colorado economy," said Garcia. "Accomplishing this is no small or simple matter, but it is critical and the most important education goal for this administration."
Unanimously confirmed this week as the Executive Director of the Department of Higher Education, the Lieutenant Governor is now leading the implementation of a seamless public education system for Colorado's youngest learners through high school graduation and beyond.
Lt. Gov. Garcia discussed the three education priorities for the state:
Implementation of the Educator Effectiveness Bill
Lt. Gov. Garcia has identified implementation of Senate Bill 191 or the Educator Effectiveness Bill as a key priority for early childhood and the K-12 system. Collaboration with the State Board of Education and Colorado Department of Education continues as the state brings on the Education Leadership Council to support this effort.
"We must be relentless in our commitment to improve education at every level. Our first priority is to secure funding with national and state foundations to ensure our budget reductions at the state level don't impact a successful roll-out of this landmark legislation," Garcia added.
Engaging the Public in a Third Grade Reading Initiative
Lt. Gov. Garcia announced a literacy initiative that will include teachers, principles, superintendents, students and parents statewide in a community engagement process. He emphasized that community feedback is critical to a reaching the goal of having every student read in the third grade.
Advancing Higher Education
Presidents from the state's community colleges and universities were present in support of several significant accomplishments for higher education that include:
- Joining the Complete College America (CCA), a national initiative solely focused on assisting states in designing policies to improve college productivity. As part of this move with CCA, the Department of Higher Education will partner with the Colorado Community College System to apply for a major national grant to support the implementation of remedial redesign in 2011-2012.
- Supporting of Senate Bill 52 which will allow the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) to work in collaboration with college governing boards to determine meaningful statewide goals and performance metrics for higher education.
- Clearing a pathway for students to transfer from two to four year institutions. During the first 100 days of Hickenlooper-Garcia administration, seven transfer articulation agreements were formed by the colleges and adopted by the CCHE to permit the transfer of college credits.
In support of the completion of the articulation agreements, Dr. Nancy McCallin, President of Community Colleges said, "I want to thank Lt. Gov. Garcia for making these agreements a priority. Creating a seamless transparent transfer process for students saves money for both the students and our taxpayers."