SengCenter, Robert Ramirez, October 14, 2010

Station:  KRCX
Show: SengCenter
Guest: Ramirez
Date:  October 14, 2010
Topics: Education, Vouchers, Higher Education, SB-191
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JIMMY SENGENBERGER: Now, I want to take a turn, then, to one other issue that I think as a father you take really personally, and that would be the issue of education.  K-12 education is of course losing some money with all the budget cuts as a result of the economic climate we’re in – budget shortfalls, and so on and so forth.  What would you try to do as a member of the state house to strengthen K-12 education here in the state of Colorado?

ROBERT RAMIREZ: Well, you know, my wife is a teacher so it’s kind of an important subject for me.  But then my daughter also being in middle school, we have to look at what everyone’s doing.  We’ve been blaming the teachers for everything.  We attack the teachers with Senate Bill 191, and in essence, what we need to so is look at the administrators.  When administrators take a 20% pay raise but were laying teachers off, there’s a problem.  Next, Colorado education has a problem just like the rest of the government:  We spend too much and for too little.  We don’t have any efficiencies built into the system and we’re not looking at getting that money down into the classroom where it belongs, and putting personal responsibility in the places of teachers and administrators, but also in the students and the parents. And we have to do that.  And its going to start … (by) looking at one school district, maybe running a pilot program in one school district to see what we can do,.

JS:  Now, choice is an issue that a lot of Republican candidates for office speak about.  Are you – to use the phrase, pro-choice?  Do you support vouchers, that kind of stuff?

RR:  Um, in some instances, I do.  But the problem is that in Colorado you don’t pay for your entire child’s education.  A lot of businesses pay for it, other people do.  So, it’s not technically your money to go take away.  But in the end, we can’t fix our system, then we can’t let the kids suffer.  We do have to resort to vouchers.

JS:  Now higher education, as a college student, is something that is very important to me. And the cost of a college education just keeps skyrocketing, well beyond inflation.  What’s your take on the issue of higher education in the state.

RR:  Well, higher education, like roads and transportation, are not within the mandate.  They’re in the ten percent, and that’s the only place where legislature has been cutting for the past five, ten years.  It’s time to kind of look at some of those mandates and really say, okay, what is necessary and how can we reform our budget so that we can quit taking away from our transportation and higher education.

JS:  (interrupted) You know, one of the things…. Well, go on.

RR:  Actually, Jimmy, I’ve got to let you go. I’ve got to get off the phone.  I do apologize.  I’ve got two other engagements I have to be at right now.

JS:  Well, Robert Ramirez, House District 29 candidate, we wish you the best of luck.  Thanks for your time.

RR:  Thanks very much, Jimmy.  I appreciate it.