Last Saturday, September 15th, 2012, I joined 5,000 people from all over the country for the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Observance at Memorial Park. With Pikes Peak Avenue packed with scores of fire trucks from all over, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) President Harold A. Schaitberger described the unique bond among fire fighters, characterized by their pledge to each other of “I’ve got your back”. He said that same pledge extends from the fire fighters to the community when disasters and emergencies, like the Waldo Canon fire, occur. We should take a lesson from the fire fighters and make that same pledge of “I’ve got your back” to each other. That pledge is the essence of what true community is all about.
Thank you to IAFF Local 5 for hosting this solemn and magnificent event for the past 26 years. It showcases the best of Colorado Springs. To learn more about the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, click here.
Thomas Jefferson said that the preservation of a democratic society depends on an educated electorate. By these measures, we are facing a crisis. With one third of our kids dropping out of high school, equally dismal graduation rates and fewer going to college than in the baby boomer generation, we need to make changes.
To address the challenges facing schools, we need to focus on learning and achievement and who delivers them; set high expectations, clear goals, a plan to accomplish them and personal accountability for results.
Comprehensive education reform requires that we: (Click Here for more details)
- Retain and support experienced and competent teachers.
- Reverse the trend of new teachers quitting within the first three years.
- Support early childhood education and kindergarten.
- Teacher pay should be commensurate with professional credentials and other appropriate criteria.
- Make college and other post-secondary educational options affordable and attainable for those students who want to attend.
- Provide career and technical education and community mentoring opportunities; many of the fastest growing jobs do not require a four year degree.
- Replace the No Child Left Behind Act with legislation that recognizes the unique issues of individual schools and provides realistic solutions and incentives rather than punitive consequences. A positive, systemic approach with funding for all mandates is needed for real change.
I am committed to addressing education issues as a top priority.