Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia today helped unveil a two-year, $3.6 million grant to Mile High United Way for literacy programs.
The grant, from the Corporation for National and Community Service, will be used to give funding to organizations throughout the state that will provide literacy programs. The corporation is a federal agency that supports such efforts as Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America.
The corporation actually announced the grant on Aug. 4. It’s one of five being awarded across the country.
Mile High United Way will give grants to “programs that leverage community volunteers to collectively improve third-grade literacy rates by 25 percent in up to 15 rural and urban areas across Colorado, serving an estimated 2,000 students per year,” according to the corporation’s news release.
The governor and lieutenant governor have made improving third-grade reading scores, implementing the educator effectiveness law and increasing college completion rates their top education priorities. See EdNews story
The state Department of Education, under a process launched before Hickenlooper was elected, is working on regulations to implement Senate Bill 10-191, the landmark educator effectiveness law. The department recently announced districts that will participate in the first pilot test of parts of those regulations.
On the college completion front, the state recently received a $1 million grant to improve remedial education for entering college students. See EdNews story
Another Hickenlooper education initiative, creation of an Education Leadership Council, is still in the works. Announced on the governor’s first day in office last January, the council’s membership still hasn’t been decided.
Today’s 11:45 a.m. event to unveil the grant to United Way was at Denver’s Harrington Elementary School, 2401 E. 37th Ave. Also attending the event were Christine Benero, executive director of Mile High United Way, and Paul Carttar, social innovation fund director for the corporation.
On Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Garcia will be in the news again when he’s expected to testify as a defense witness in the Lobato v. State school-funding lawsuit.
The suit, which challenges the state school finance system as unconstitutional, has the backing of a substantial number of school districts and education groups.
But according to a disclosure filed by the attorney general’s office before the trial started, “The lieutenant governor may testify that while financial resources are necessary in the delivery of quality education opportunities, other factors also impact the successful delivery of quality education opportunities to K-12 students, such as effective classroom teachers and school building leaders. The lieutenant governor may also testify that additional funding for K-12 education does not necessarily equate to improved quality education opportunities, and that additional money alone may not close achievement gaps or increase graduation rates.
“He may testify that, even so, the current budgetary limitations on K-12 funding must not excuse districts from delivering quality education opportunities to Colorado’s school children.”
What’s on tap:
Aurora school board members meet in closed session at 5 p.m. for legal advice regarding a personnel matter and then in public at 6 p.m. at district headquarters, 1085 Peoria St. The board’s public agenda includes votes on compensation agreements with teachers, administrators and other staff – essentially, no raises for anyone.
Good reads from elsewhere:
Why are Finland’s schools successful? – An article in the September 2011 issue of Smithsonian magazine looks at what America can learn from a country with few standardized tests, state subsidies for parents, a powerful teachers’ union, education funding about 30 percent less per pupil — and enviable rankings on international reading, math and science exams.