U.S. Representative Jared Polis

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Greeley Tribune: Rep. Polis stops at two Greeley schools in education tour

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Washington, April 13, 2017 | comments

After touring the Greeley Early College Academy and Salida del Sol Academy on Thursday morning, Rep. Jared Polis said he was impressed by the schools' innovation.

"To have the opportunity for high school kids to get an associate degree at the same time as their high school diploma is an enormous benefit," he said of the Early College Academy, 5590 11th St.

Polis, a Boulder Democrat, has been rumored as a possible candidate in the crowded field for the Democratic nomination for Colorado governor. Already, Rep. Ed Perlmutter, former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy, businessman Noel Ginsburg and former state lawmaker Mike Johnston have announced their intention to run in 2018. In the Republican field, Aurora District Attorney George Brauchler, former state lawmaker Victor Mitchell and Loveland resident JoAnne Silva, a former banker, have declared their candidacies. Incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is term limited.

In his Greeley visit, Polis acknowledged he is thinking about joining the race in the coming months, but he said right now he's excited to advocate for education at the federal level.

The school visits came as part of a broader education tour, as Polis looks to push several education bills in Congress. At Salida del Sol, 111 E. 2th St. in Greeley, he praised the charter school's bilingual approach.

After meeting with about 10 school administrators at the Early College Academy, Polis held a classroom discussion in an American government class with about 35 students. After explaining his work in Congress, including his work on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Polis asked the students about their experience at the academy.

One junior said the school is probably saving her about $60,000. Polis added that the academy's associate degree program has savings beyond finances.

"In addition to the out-of-pocket savings, there's the time savings, which means you could be in the workforce two years sooner," he said.

Earlier this month, Polis introduced the Making Education Affordable and Accessible Act. The bill would provide grants to higher education institutions to create dual and concurrent enrollment programs, like the one at Early College Academy.

"This is exactly the kind of collaboration that we need to see more of across the state," he said. "There's a great story to tell for other communities."

Trevor Reid: treid@greeleytribune.com
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Tags: Education

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