Education board hopefuls share views

State Board of Education candidates Marcia Neal , left, and Jill Drake speak at the Club 20 meetimg

Rural schools need help from the state, the two candidates for an open spot on the Colorado Board of Education said Saturday.

Schools need to pay more to attract math and science teachers, especially those in rural areas or at difficult schools, said Jill Brake of Pueblo.

The state needs to find new ways to meet students’ needs, such as using Web-based programs, said Marcia Neal of Grand Junction.

Brake, a Democrat, and Neal, a Republican, are running in the Nov. 4 election for the seat representing the 3rd Congressional District on the state board.

Brake, a teacher and director of a large day-care center and former school board member, called for a “comprehensive plan from preschool to post-secondary” education, but said she had no interest in violating the Colorado Constitution’s requirement of local control of schools.

Neal, a former Grand Junction High School teacher and former School District 51 board member, said she would like to see high school students have to pass a test in their junior year.

“We have not done a good job of making students aware that they are responsible for their own education,” Neal said.

The candidates split on the importance of full-day kindergarten.

The years between birth and age 5 are the most significant for developing learning skills, Brake said.

Efforts toward more early-childhood education and full-day kindergarten should be aimed at low-income
students, Neal said.

Innovative approaches to education, such as the Denver School of Science and Technology, are needed in the public school system, Neal said.


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