Pedigree: It’s rare that a non-incumbent candidate comes to the ticket with such a hefty resume. Fattor is an eight-year veteran of the Gilpin County BOE, a four-year member of the Colorado Association of School Boards (serving as president in 2002) and a member of the Colorado Association of School Executives.
Strengths: Fattor says that because local school boards are nonpartisan, she’s learned the skill of paying more attention to colleagues’ arguments and ideas than whether there’s an R or D behind their names. She says she’s a “doer” who prefers to test ideas in real life rather than studying and testing them to death, and she’s a fan of teacher innovation, such as online learning and using new technology in the classroom.
The takeaway: Fattor is a major proponent of choice—not only through vouchers and alternative schools like Montessori, but also for parents, teachers and administrators. She’s concerned that education in Colorado risks becoming too prescriptive, with the state dictating more than is healthy for districts with individualized needs.
Passion play: Voters in the 2nd Congressional District will choose between two qualified state board candidates who claim to have a passion for education. With more than 20 years of history in education—in committees, as a volunteer, as an eight-year board member with the Boulder Valley School District and as a one-term incumbent (elected to fill a vacancy in 2008)—Schroeder embodies passion for what she does.
Feather in her cap: Schroeder points to the new school standards and teacher evaluation tools that have been rolled out to Colorado’s districts as an accomplishment she’s happy with, especially because “we have teachers at the table” helping shape the new policies. “That’s been huge,” she says.
The future: In addition to fully funding K-12, Schroeder says Colorado must work harder to integrate technology into schools to prepare kids for careers that increasingly demand high-tech knowledge. Gone are the days when poor-performing students can fall back on manual labor—these days even car mechanics and factory workers must have background education in robotics and computers. “The world changed, and education hasn’t caught up with it,” she says.
YS Endorsement: Angelika Schroeder
This was a hard race to call because we believe both candidates would do an excellent job for the students of our state. In the end, Schroeder, as an incumbent, is in a better position to continue her work than someone who would be new to the position.