Reports today that Colorado’s K-12 schools aren’t making progress do not bode well for the state’s economic development efforts.
According to the 2007 Colorado Student Assessment Program results released yesterday, one-third of students cannot read adequately and nearly half are below standards in math, with 70 percent of 10th-graders below proficiency in arithmetic.
Colorado Springs is not excluded from the education woes.
The Springs ranks 16th among Colorado cities for transitioning high school students to college. Denver ranked 11th.
The city’s and state’s poor education performance is often overlooked because the state has one of the highest concentrations of residents with college degrees, but most of them are “imported,” having earned their high school diplomas outside the state and later moved to Colorado to take a high-skill job.
Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. President Mike Kazmierski said year-to-year education ups and downs don’t concern him as long as progress is made in the long run.
Gov. Bill Ritter is hanging hopes in an education reform committee he created in June, and the committee appears to be needed. Last year the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a national nonprofit organization, that tracks education reform, gave Colorado a C- for its efforts.
This is all relevant to economic development efforts because companies looking to relocate consider a prospective city’s school system. If a city can’t provide a homegrown future work force, it could cost a company to recruit out of state employees down — and they might pass by that city.