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Rep. Jared Polis discusses plans to improve ESEA and public education

CEA tele-town hall meeting attracts more than 500 Colorado citizens

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (CD-2) wants to make sure that the state’s public schools are adequately funded and that public tax dollars are used wisely to improve public education.

Polis, who sits on the House Education and Labor Committee, fielded questions last night from educators, community group representatives and citizens concerned about public schools via a telephone town hall meeting. The call, sponsored by the Colorado Education Association and the National Education Association, attracted more than 500 participants from Polis’ congressional district.

Polis answered questions on a variety of subjects related to public education—including reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

“This is a very important year for education and for policy,” said Polis. “We know a lot more now than we did 10 years ago. With the reauthorization of ESEA just around the corner, Congress has a historic opportunity to get it right this time around and help improve our nation’s schools and close the achievement gap.

“We must support, engage and listen to the hard-working teachers who are the backbone of our education system. Events, such as today’s tele-town hall, that allow us to exchange ideas, concerns and suggestions directly with teachers, are critical if we are to achieve our shared goal of a high quality public education for all children, regardless of their background.”

The call also gave Polis the opportunity to talk about collective bargaining rights and collaboration under a new version of ESEA. Polis stressed the value of collaboration and said he wants more input from educators throughout the reauthorization process.

“If you want a recipe for failure, it’s imposing something on someone,” he said. “By changing federal law, we can encourage districts to do the right thing.”

Listen to the tele-town hall here.