Nov 3, 2022 - Politics

Education policy is a dividing line in Colorado's governor's race

Illustration of a stack of books with an apple sitting on top of them with ballot imagery and shapes behind it

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

More than most issues, education is a bright dividing line in the Colorado governor's race.

  • Gov. Jared Polis is running on his record of expanding kindergarten and preschool, as well as pumping more money into the classroom as the state saw record tax revenues.
  • GOP rival Heidi Ganahl wants parents to allocate per-pupil spending to the institution of their choice, embracing private school vouchers, competition and transparency.

Why it matters: How voters decide the race will have major impacts on the future of the state's education system, our partners at Chalkbeat write.

Zoom in: Polis sees universal preschool launching in 2023 at 10 hours a week as the answer to current challenges. He says it will save parents money and help improve the state's dismal test scores, albeit in the next generation of children.

  • He also emphasizes that he urged schools to reopen sooner than most states amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The other side: Ganahl says the fact that 60% of Colorado students can't read, write or do math at grade level should disqualify Polis from another term.

  • Her support for broader school choice comes from her own experience. She moved two of her children, one with dyslexia and another with dysgraphia, to a private school with smaller classes after they struggled in public school.
  • She also wants to see more parental oversight of what students are taught in classrooms and criticized students being taught about transgender people, even repeating transphobic rhetoric about "furries."
  • Her plan to reduce the state's income tax to zero has unknown impacts on education, but she suggested in a recent debate she supports paying teachers more in the state budget.

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