by Colleen Flaherty
Sometimes good ideas and passionate people really can win elections against candidates who cater to their big-money donors first and students second.
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Val Flores—a long-time educator with 43 years of experience in public education—won in the Democratic primary for the Colorado State Board of Education District 1 seat recently, despite running against a candidate who raised more money and received corporate endorsements.
“We have a large amount of work to do to bring our public school system up to the levels of excellence necessary for the twenty first century,” said Flores. “We can get there by studying and applying the best practices available, by including our communities in the conversation about the education process, and by holding true to the values of a free public education system for all.”
Flores ran against Taggert Hansen, a candidate endorsed by so-called education “reformers” who have been pushing for policies that undermine public schools. Hansen received significant contributions from Education Reform Now, an organization funded by the Walton Family Foundation, one of many corporations funding legislative efforts to privatize education.
“In the past 10 years, right here in Denver, in Jefferson County, in Arapahoe, and in Douglas County, we have steadily undermined this beacon of equity – public schools,” said Flores.
However, with the results of this election, it’s clear that Colorado residents are speaking out against these so-called “reforms” and support investing in education.
I oppose big money and corporatization in our public education system. I oppose high stakes testing that takes away
valuable classroom learning time. I oppose a ‘reform’ model that is slowly privatizing our public education system. We cannot allow free public education to be traded on NASDAQ and sold to the highest bidder.
Flores attributed her victory to her enthusiastic supporters and numerous campaign volunteers.
“This is a true grassroots victory and proof that big money doesn’t vote.”