Ritter says Colorado education plan in works | AspenTimes.com

Ritter says Colorado education plan in works

Steven K. Paulson
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER – Gov. Bill Ritter says his administration is working on a master plan to change the face of education in Colorado and that he’ll present his proposals to lawmakers in two years.

Ritter says too much money is being wasted without substantial improvement in education. He told the Lumina Foundation’s “Making Opportunities Affordable” luncheon on Thursday he was disturbed by statistics suggesting that 37 percent of people aged 50-65 have college educations but that 35 percent of those aged 22-35 have college degrees.

“Our public education system has been the vehicle for changing our stations in life. There is a changing demographic, and we need to respond,” he told listeners. The Lumina Foundation for Education works to expand educational opportunities beyond high school.

Plan elements could include reducing textbook costs and providing incentives for schools and colleges that graduate more students, the governor said.

Other elements could include encouraging the use of cheaper electronic textbooks and employing iPods and other technology to teach students, said David Skaggs, executive director of the Department of Higher Education.

By making electronic textbooks available, schools can reduce tuition costs, said David Longanecker, president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, representing member colleges in 15 states.

Longanecker said higher education withstood past economic downturns by “hunkering down” but that that won’t work if the current recession – and an eventual recovery – drag on.

“Everyone realizes this is a different recession and we have to find new ways of doing business,” he said.

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