The Lobato decision from the Colorado Court of Appeals mandates a much larger percentage of the state budget be allocated to education, likely to the detriment of almost every other part of the state budget in future years.
The decision won’t have an impact on budgeting in the upcoming legislative session, as it has been appealed to the Colorado State Supreme Court. But at stake in future years, potentially, are billions of dollars more in school spending.
At a townhall meeting last month, where Gov. John Hickenlooper told attendees he was disappointed in the reapportionment maps, he also discussed education funding and the Lobato case, and what we actually need in education in Colorado.
“We made the arguments in court, right? I got somewhat criticized by a lot of Democrats because we supported [Colorado Attorney General] John Suthers when he was opposing this [the Lobato appeal] and we were saying, ‘There’s an awful lot of evidence that putting more money into education doesn’t necessarily get you better outcomes, right?’ What we really need to figure out is how to use technology, how to . . . we need some disruptive innovations of how we get kids to learn.”
What is most marked about Hickenlooper’s remarks is his observation that money doesn’t necessarily translate into better outcomes in education. It’s a drum that education reformers have been beating for years. How much of Hickenlooper’s sizable political capital would he be willing to spend to pursue some “disruptive innovations” ?