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April 4, 2018
“Mike Johnston is one of the most innovative and exciting education policy thinkers and leaders in America. His record of driving success for kids — from the classroom to state and national policy — can’t be beat. His blueprint is the plan we need in Colorado and across this country.”
– Dick Riley, U.S. Secretary of Education under President Bill Clinton
“Enacting Mike Johnston’s education policy would change the future for the kids of Colorado. We need these bold ideas and investments if we’re going to deliver for the next generation. Mike’s life of service as a teacher, principal, and transformative State Senator has prepared him to lead this change.”
– Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama
I am the only public school teacher and principal running for Governor, and if elected, I will be the first teacher ever to lead this great state.
I started my career teaching English in the Mississippi Delta in one of the poorest school districts in the country. I then followed in my grandfather’s footsteps to become a Principal and served as the founding Principal of Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts (MESA) in Adams County. I was chosen as a Senior Adviser to then-Candidate Barack Obama and helped shape his policy, which he then came and announced at our school. Our amazing team of teachers and students at MESA made history when we transformed a school with a 50% drop out rate into the first public high school where 100% of seniors graduated from high school and were admitted to a four-year college.
But simply being accepted to college did not guarantee my kids the futures they deserved. Many of them were undocumented and could not go to college because Colorado law required them to pay out-of-state tuition. That injustice inspired me to take what I learned in the schoolhouse to the state house, and become a state Senator to make in-state tuition for DREAMERs a reality. Despite the fact that this bill had failed more than a dozen times, I was able to finally get it passed by being the first legislator to find bipartisan support for it. I brought this same approach — working together with people of all parties — to expanding early childhood education, increasing education funding, and supporting teachers, especially in rural areas.
If Colorado is going to build a world-class economy, we need to solve the Colorado Paradox — we are a magnet for nation-wide talent, but regularly fail to prepare our own kids to succeed. The single most important issue that will drive Colorado’s success for decades to come is building a world-class education system. That is why we should elect a public school teacher, someone one who deeply and personally understands the challenges, to fix them.
Here’s what I will do to give every child in Colorado the education she or he deserves:
1. Repeal the Worst Parts of TABOR So We Can Invest in Our Schools
2. Give Every Colorado Child an Early Start
3. Make Colorado the Best State to be a Teacher
4. Offer Every Student the Skills They Need for the Jobs of the Future
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