Kerrie Dallman, president of the Colorado Education Association, shares the CEA’s new Vision Statement and priorities of focus.

This is an exciting and challenging time to be an educator in Colorado.  The education community is focused on the learning outcomes for students with the implementation of new statewide academic standards and the development of new assessments. We’re concentrating on effective teaching and leading with the statewide rollout of a new educator effectiveness evaluation system in 2013-14. And we’re attentive to the health and fortitude of the education system itself, discussing new ways of properly funding our schools to deliver a quality education to every child. Every educator in Colorado can tell you that all of these initiatives are coming together very quickly.

Cindy Stevenson and Kerrie Dallman
Jeffco Superintendent Cindy Stevenson, left, and Kerrie Dallman, in her former role as head of Jeffco’s teachers union. <em>EdNews</em> file photo.

In a time of swift and momentous change such as this, the Colorado Education Association is proud to say we have supported education excellence in this state since 1875. Our members have a long, proud history of meeting student needs while adapting to the ever-changing education landscape. It’s a challenge to engage in the moment, to get caught up in the frenzy of that new introduced bill or that trendy reform idea, and still hold true to who we are and why we educate. Our members and the communities we serve need to know we will not lose sight of the basic core beliefs and principles that brought the Association forward through the longer journey and helped us stand the test of time.

This is why the CEA came to the conclusion that a healthy dose of soul searching was in order for this moment. Why do we do what we do, and why does it matter? What do students need as we consider system changes? How can we deliver the best possible education across very diverse student populations?

The product of our reflection is a pragmatic, positive Vision Statement to improve public education so that every student thrives.

Our Vision is a result of nearly a year-long process of thoughtful, inward examination to determine the guiding principles that would drive our public schools forward. We made extraordinary efforts to reach out to hundreds of our teachers and education support professionals from all corners of the state for their input. CEA dug deep into the issues surrounding how children grow and achieve, and how educators should be supported to create great learning opportunities.

We define our priorities in three key areas: student-centered learning, professional excellence and economic investment.

The passions of our educators shine through in the CEA Vision, showing how we can shape the state education system to best improve our practice and make a difference in the lives of our students. Our Vision speaks to what we believe in our hearts will make Colorado the best state in which to live, to work, and to learn.

The committed and caring professionals of the CEA look forward to engaging in conversations in every community. We invite policy makers, education groups, business leaders, parents and communities to see how the daily practitioners of education view the road ahead for Colorado classrooms. We are pleased to share our Vision with you, and will work collectively to provide the best public education for every student.