This year, Great Education Colorado is working with over 100 other organizations to make sure that our state leaders will make next year the "Year of the Student" -- that is, the year Colorado finally tackles its education funding crisis.
A high-quality education system is important to every Coloradan, but it's students who are paying the highest price for our failure to invest adequately in education.
That's why we are working with student groups around the state to make sure young people have the opportunity to take part -- and take leadership -- in the Year of the Student project.
Below is a letter from students, to students, about the importance of signing onto the Year of the Student "Call to Action."
Dear Fellow Student:
Have you been noticing the effect of budget cuts on your school or college? We have. Between us, we've experienced all of these:
- Our classes are getting bigger while our class choices are getting smaller. Art, music and other electives are harder and harder to come by.
- We're losing teachers every year.
- Some of us can't take a full class load. Instead we can only take five or six classes, which is going to make it hard to compete to get into college.
- We have to pay fees and/or fundraise for sports and other extracurricular activities -- and sometimes even for books.
- Computers in the school are out of date or broken -- or there just aren't enough for all the students who need them.
- There aren't enough textbooks to take home -- or even for every student to have one in class.
- Our buildings aren't being maintained or fixed.
- Class sizes for our younger brothers and sisters are bigger than they were when we were their age.
- Tuition and fees are increasing every year for those of us in college.
Maybe we've gotten used to these cuts that have happened year-by-year, a little (and sometimes a lot) at a time. But it doesn't have to be this way.
We've got a chance to be part of a movement to convince our state leaders that it's time to do something about Colorado's education funding crisis, which is affecting every school, every college, every university -- and every student.
All of us have signed on to the 2013: Year of the Student Project, and we hope you will, too. It's a coalition of thousands of individuals and over one hundred organizations who are calling on the Governor and state legislature to make 2013 the year that they stop cutting and start reinvesting in education -- preschool through higher ed.
Whatever is happening in your own school, if you believe that every student deserves a high quality education, here's what you can do:
- Sign the Year of the Student "Call to Action" as an individual.
- Spread this link: http://www.2013forstudents.org/fellow-students through Facebook, Twitter, email, or whatever works. (You can even download a Call to Action and get people to sign in person!)
- Sign up an organization or club you belong to -- student councils, clubs, any group that can pass a resolution of support. Many of us belong to groups that have already joined.
- Like the "Students for Year of the Student" Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.
- Write to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about volunteer and intern opportunities with the Year of the Student.
As students, we're tested and held accountable for our learning just about every day. We think it's about time that we held our state leaders accountable for doing their part to make sure every student has access to the coursework, individual attention, materials and resources they need to succeed.
Hope you'll join us in making sure the voice of students is heard loud and clear at the Capitol next year.
Marva Briscoe, Rebound South ● Elizabeth Courtney, Vista High School ● Jessica Deters, Grand Junction High School ● Armando Garcia, Community College of Denver ● Amy Hobson, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs ● Chris Klene, University of Colorado, Boulder ● Brandon Lee, ThunderRidge High School ● Beau Loendorf, Colorado State University ● Martìn Miramontes, University of Colorado, Boulder ● Heather Patterson, University of Colorado, Boulder ● Robert Patterson, Pomona High School ● Julia Plomer, Legacy High School ● Hilda Rodarte, Manual High School ● Phoebe Stoye, Palisade High School ● Hayley Stromberg, ThunderRidge High School ● Madeleine Webster, University of Denver
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You can help give students a voice with state leaders by sharing this link: http://www.2013forstudents.org/fellow-students with the students in your life via Facebook or other social media.
Add your name to the thousands of Coloradans that have already signed on to make 2013 the year Colorado does right by kids. Follow us on Twitter @2013yos for the latest news and information on the 2013: Year of the Student Project.
Policy Director, Great Education Colorado