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A questionable minute with Colorado House candidate Joann Ginal on education

By | September 13th, 2012

During the Sept. 5 Larimer County League of Women Voters forum in Fort Collins, Joann Ginal, Democratic candidate for Colorado House District 52, made several questionable assertions within the space of one minute. Let’s go to the videotape…

“Twenty-thirteen is going to be the Year of the Children, and education drives the individual, the community, the state, and the national economic well-being.”

She probably meant “Year of the Student” - not exactly the same thing, a ginned-up PR campaign backed by - among others - the League of Women Voters Colorado, sponsors of the debate.

“Our constitution states that every child should be given a fair and equal education, and that includes at-risk students, special needs children, and the like. “

Well…..not exactly. The Colorado State Constitution, Article. IX, § 2 states that, ”The general assembly shall, as soon as practicable, provide for the establishment and maintenance of a thorough and uniform system of free public schools throughout the state, wherein all residents of the state, between the ages of six and twenty-one years, may be educated gratuitously.”

Even Education Justice, a left-leaning group, states that “uniform” doesn’t mean “equal.”

“And as a former teacher, and as someone who has benefited greatly from government investment in education, I worry that we are abandoning our children’s future by slashing educational funding.”

Now Ginal’s agenda is clear. The “slashing” of education funding is one of the hardiest of perennials when it comes to the politics of school spending. But in this case, it’s demonstrably untrue over the past decade. Total K-12 spending per student - state and local - in Colorado, has risen 15% after inflation from 2001-02 to 2010-11, and operational spending (which doesn’t include capital spending) has risen 27% after inflation over the same period, according to numbers from the Colorado Department of Education, collected by our friend Ben DeGrow of the Independence Institute’s Education Policy Center.

Her opponent for the House seat, Republican Bob Morain, has the right idea [at about 1:15:00 of the video above]…

“I think the question was, ‘Is spending for education adequate?’ I guess it depends on what you mean by spending for education. If you mean spending for the system that we have today, I don’t think any amount of spending would be adequate. We are finding that we are getting worse and worse in our ability to educate. Two decades ago, to think that we’d only have 50 and 60 percent graduation rates in metro Denver was unthinkable. But now, we’re spent more and more money and we’re getting fewer and fewer good results.”

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