Background: Colorado ranks near the bottom in terms of teacher pay and per-student funding and the current state budget crisis is only making the situation worse. Colorado lawmakers will underfund education by $1 billion in the 2020-21 fiscal year, compared to the constitutional requirement for classroom spending.
Invest more money in teachers and schools
A: As governor during the Great Recession, Hickenlooper’s first budget proposal called for a $332 million cut, or $497 per student, to Colorado schools. At the time, he stated, “There’s nothing I’ve ever grappled with as long and hard as that.” Hickenlooper later vowed to help push for the state to pay back about $1 billion borrowed from education during the recession but never signed a budget to fully fund education.
Looking ahead, he said he supports putting more money into classrooms but did not provide specific policy proposals.
Ensure teachers have training, resources and compensation
A: Romanoff wants to get more mental health professionals in schools, such as nurses, psychologists and social workers. He supports more training for teachers and school staff to better spot earlier warnings about troubled students.
To address education at the federal level, he supports guaranteeing universal, high-quality preschool and full-day kindergarten; equipping public school teachers with training, resources and compensation they need, including professional development and learning from master teachers; ensuring students have individualized attention; and removing barriers from accessing a 21st-century education for students of color.
Background: Student debt is emerging as a bigger problem in Colorado than other states. About 734,000 Colorado borrowers are paying off student loans, totaling $26 billion, a 2019 study found. The amount of student loan debt increased 176% in a 10-year span that ended in 2017.
Supports cutting the federal interest rate on student loans
A: In order to relieve student loan debt, Hickenlooper supports cutting the federal interest rate on student loans to 2.5% or lower, and making community college free for those who can’t afford it. He also suggested allowing millennials to work off their debt through jobs in public service.