Full-day kindergarten needed now in county

As an early education advocate and former teacher, I know how critical quality learning is to children’s long-term success. Children who enter elementary school having attended quality preschool and kindergarten programs are better prepared to learn, grow emotionally and socially and reap the benefits of a classroom education. In fact, research shows that children who receive quality early learning go on to earn 50 percent higher wagers than their peers.

In addition, early learning programs help families. Parents who can send their children to safe, quality learning spaces are better able to work and provide for their families as the cost of living soars in Colorado.

This is why I was thrilled to hear Governor Polis say that his administration’s “mission and mandate…is to provide every single child with a quality early education,” during his State of the State address. Since that address, he has presented a budget proposal to fund full-day kindergarten statewide by next fall.

Securing funded full-day public kindergarten for Mesa County kids would put our children on a life-long path toward success and help support our working families.

While Colorado has made an effort to expand access to kindergarten there are still 14,000 Colorado children without access—including many kids in Mesa County. We can do better by our youngest learners and now is the time.

I call on our state legislators to prioritize funding for full-day kindergarten during this legislative session.


Helping Teachers Create Positive Change

Grand Junction

Tribalism puts MLK’s dream beyond this country’s reach

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is remembered for transforming the American civil rights scene by non-violent protests. His message was not just about the injustices being perpetrated against the African-American people of his day, it was also about the very root of those injustices: hatred.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness;” he said, “only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Flashing forward more than 50 years, we may remember Dr. King and his powerful message of love and justice, but has that message been absorbed into our society?

Today, it’s seems there’s more rhetoric about we are who to hate than there is encouragement to love. In social media, threatened violence is more the norm than is love extended. A religious commentator even tweeted that a teen wearing a MAGA hat has a “punchable face.” The commentator was then deluged with threats.

Politically, our nation is divided into two tribal parties with conflicting moralities. Under this system, love and justice is reserved only for those within your own party. It becomes a de facto requirement that you hate what the other party stands for.

The tribal morality, then, does not teach “love one another.” Instead, it has become perfectly acceptable to dehumanize the other side if it means gaining power over them ?— not unlike what Dr. King protested in the 1960s.

Being annually reminded of Dr. King’s teachings is great, and cheers to all who daily celebrate what he stood for. However, MLK Day becomes just another meaningless bank holiday if his message of love and justice is never internalized and practiced.


Grand Junction

Random sampling is different than taking a website survey

Thursday’s timely letter from Robbie Koos (“Reader thinks front-page scientific poll is misleading”) exposes a widespread misunderstanding about the relative reliability of scientifically conducted polling versus unscientific online polls.

First, the Sentinel omitted the methodology explanation that accompanied the reporting, which disclosed that the poll was “based on interviews with 1,062 U.S. adults,” with a margin of error of 4.1%. Thus, in fact, Smith and the AP disclosed even more than Koos intimates they didn’t.

Second, while it would be journalistically more accurate to refer to “a large majority of those polled” rather than “the large majority of Americans,” the former should be logically assumed when expressly attributed to a limited sample that did not encompass “most” Americans.

Third, a scientifically-conducted poll of 1,062 randomly-selected and properly-screened respondents can be statistically more reliable than a non-random, unscreened online poll of “between 450,000 to more than 1 million people.”

“Scientifically-conducted” means that proven statistical methods are applied in advance to determine the minimum appropriate sample size, desirable demographic distribution, and acceptable margin of error. The nationwide AP-NORC poll was conducted using its trademarked probability-based panel and both online and telephone interviews via both landlines and cell phones.

By contrast, online polls relying on volunteer respondents “do not have a proven record of accuracy” — because of statistically significant demographic differences between those who (like Koos) use online devices versus those who don’t, and between those who (also like Koos) are more motivated to respond to online polls versus those who aren’t.


Grand Junction

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