Rankin column: Local control, accept it or make a difference | PostIndependent.com

Rankin column: Local control, accept it or make a difference

Joyce Rankin
Joyce Rankin

We talk a lot about local control, and we believe that government works best when it’s closer to the people. It sounds good and seems to work well unless you disagree with your local government or school board.

Recently, focus has been on federal government issues, but local government and specifically school board issues have also risen in the eyes of the public. I’ve received calls from constituents that express strong opinions about mask-wearing, vaccinations, Critical Race Theory, sex education, and Pandemic-Induced Trauma, to name a few. These are genuine concerns, especially when constituents feel strongly enough to pick up the telephone or email, hoping that I can help them. Whether I agree with them or not is not the issue. Concerned citizens seek any direction or possible solution. Unfortunately, deferral to “local control” doesn’t always provide a solution to their liking.

Many parents and taxpayers are beginning to understand precisely what local control in their community is and what they can do to influence change. For example, people are showing up at local school board meetings. It’s happening across the congressional district that I represent and across all of Colorado. School boards are listening to their communities more than ever, and it’s not always comfortable. Learning about and understanding the duties and responsibilities of a local board has been enlightening for community members and sometimes provides clarity for those already serving. As long as things are going well, we seldom pay attention. When we disagree and discuss resolutions, change can happen.

I’ve spent five years on the Colorado State Board of Education, and one of the most turbulent eras is currently playing out. During the pandemic, some students were learning online at home. Parents took an interest and became educated about the curriculum, textbooks and what was being taught. Community groups formed, attended local school board meetings and voiced their concerns during public comment. As a result, new candidates have come forward to run for local school board elections in November.

This month, I’ve be traveling around the district informing constituents about the “Science of Reading.”

Reading proficiency in the early elementary grades needs to improve. The Legislature, with Senate Bill 19-199, has provided free teacher training, an evidence-based approved curriculum and a timeline for both to be implemented by fall 2022. Some teachers and schools have embraced the Science of Reading, and students in those classrooms are improving. Have your teachers been trained?

If you’re interested in what is happening in your local school district, get involved, attend school board meetings and talk to your neighbors. Find out who your local candidates are and their platforms. To those who have decided to become candidates, thank you and good luck in November.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.



See more