As the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, it leaves in its wake declining public school student enrollment and achievement, local, state, and federal dollars continue to flow to Colorado school districts in ever-larger amounts. Despite this, student achievement made only a modest recovery in English Language Arts (reading and writing) in 2022 after a huge plunge in 2021, and fewer than four in 10 Colorado students can perform grade-level math proficiently.

To discuss these issues and much more including teacher pay and innovation in the classroom, our Host and Chairman Earl Wright welcomes CSI’s current and former education fellows. Brenda Bautsch Dickhoner, Ph.D. was CSI’s Mike A. Leprino Free Enterprise Fellow in 2021 and is now the President and CEO of education advocacy group Ready Colorado. Jason Gaulden, is this year’s CSI Education Fellow and the author of the latest Dollars and Data report.

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Brenda Bautsch Dickhoner, Ph.D. is the President and CEO of Ready Colorado, an education advocacy organization. Brenda has spent her career working in education policy at the national and state level. She has previously served as a policy expert at the Colorado Department of Education, helping design and implement programs to help improve the state’s lowest-performing schools and districts. Brenda also supported education policy efforts at the Colorado Department of Higher Education and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Brenda earned a Ph.D. in Public Policy at the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs and a B.A. from Duke University.

Jason Gaulden, 2022 Education Fellow at Common Sense Institute and Partner at Oak Rose Group, a strategy consulting firm specializing in education, workforce development, and economic mobility. From 2015 to 2020, he worked with America Succeeds, a national network of business leaders focused on modernizing the nation’s education system. He co-authored the report The Age of Agility: Education Pathways for the Future of Work. The initiative empowers business leaders, educators, and policymakers to better prepare students for the new workforce and economy. Jason served as the program officer for education at Daniels Fund from 2005 to 2009, and before that, a Senior Fellow at El Pomar Foundation from 2001 to 2005. Jason is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology.