All across Colorado, we have students who beat the odds. When a bad neighborhood makes the walk to school unpredictable, or when a family is struggling to pay the bills, an education quickly falls to the bottom of priorities and survival rises to the top. When a student rises above these challenges in the classroom, our state should empower them to continue their learning and see college as a real possibility.
We all know the old adage: Knowledge is power. From the moment a child enters into school, they are faced with a barrage of information. From mathematics and the history of the world, to chemical reactions and literacy skills, we all know how important these subjects are to raising great kids. We also know that to get by in life, a whole set of necessary life skills are all too often ignored in the classroom: how to manage money.
That’s why I introduced a bill into the Colorado General Assembly that would not only help to provide merit-based state scholarships to our highest achieving students, but would also ensure that financial literacy classes in our public schools include how student loans and financial aid programs work, and the dangers of defaulting on a student loan.
Just as we expect our schools to give our students the tools they need to pursue their dreams in whatever field they choose, we should also back them up with the information they need to make that possible. And for our highest achieving students facing financial struggles, providing merit-based scholarships makes it just a little bit easier for them to go to college.
After so many of us felt left behind after the Great Recession, Colorado has been fortunate to have an economy that rebounded so strongly. Too many families are still not feeling the impact of the economic recovery. One of the hardest things a struggling parent can be faced with is how to find those extra dollars in the family’s budget to help their son or daughter pay for college.
Merit-based scholarships not only make it easier for a student to see college as a viable option, but they also provide an incentive for them to perform at the highest levels possible. Coloradans have never balked from a challenge, and we should reward students who honor that tradition and build on their talents or skills to further their education.
Unfortunately, my bill was voted down by a party-line vote in the Senate Education Committee. Like you, I believe that politics should have no role in the education of our students. Our kids deserve all the support we can give, and I won’t stop working to make sure that every child has access to a world-class education, and also to the tools they need to be successful in pursuing their dreams whether in the classroom or outside of it.
State Sen. Nancy Todd is an Aurora Democrat and former teacher representing state Senate District 28.