Let a student dissect local, state and national progress with education
By Noah Seeman, Battle Mountain High School junior
Yes, the presidential election was important. Yes, it will have an impact on all of our lives for years to come. It certainly got all the press coverage. But for students in Eagle County schools, myself included, perhaps the most important question on the ballot got no coverage. The morning of November 9th I walked into my United States history class to find the board covered with election results. Every race, national, state and local along with all the state ballot measures were written on the board in my teacher’s slightly sloppy handwriting along with how many thousands of Eagle Country voters had voted for and against. My teacher was ecstatic; after all, he had just gotten a raise.
The important thing was the margin by which the people had voted for that proposition. By 4,506 votes, the voters of Eagle County passed 3A, showing a widespread support of teachers. That support was desperately needed—Eagle County Schools seems to have a very hard time getting teachers to stay in Eagle County. In the summer of 2015, half of Battle Mountain High School’s math department had to be replaced, likely with Vail Valley’s high cost of living and their low wages a contributing factor.
Proposal 3B was desperately needed as well. Although it passed by a smaller margin, it still passed, which allows the district to add security features to all schools and renovate schools that desperately need renovation. Eagle Valley High School is nearing student capacity, and has run out of lockers for its students. It recently had to switch to an eight-period day in order to accommodate all of its students.
The national election will also have a huge effect on our schools. It is possible that Eagle County Schools has one of the highest proportions of undocumented students in the state of Colorado. Although we don’t know for certain since the District isn’t able to collect this data, nor should they be able to. Dr. Glass has said in previous communication, “I know many of our Hispanic students feared a Trump presidency because of the rhetoric about immigrants and minorities, which came forth during the campaign.” Nearly 60% of students in Eagle County Schools are Hispanic, and many of them are justifiably worried.
In the most recent election, education made a great deal of progress, but we still have a long way to go. Colorado ranks 42nd in the nation in terms of state funding of education; however, it is the nation’s 14th richest state. More must be done at the state and national level to support education. Much like the people of Eagle County have done with their amazing amount of support for their students and teachers, it is time for the rest of the nation to do the same.