Voice: Ron Montoya

Ron Montoya is a Denver businessman and community leader.

“I think it’s economics, the inability of families to provide the time necessary to assist their children because they are so busy just trying to survive.”

The numbers are not a surprise. But when you consider the demographic growth, particularly the Latino community growing so dramatically, those kinds of statistics are very disconcerting. Educationally, getting kids to finish high school and getting into college, percentage-wise, that’s been a very difficult situation. Many of the kids have a basic issue with language skills. Some of the charter schools and some of the private, focused schools have been a lifesaver. Obviously, Denver Public Schools has tried to do the best possible job that they can do. But even kids from here are so far behind it just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

I think it’s economics, the inability of families to provide the time necessary to assist their children because they are so busy just trying to survive. They are having a tough time putting food on the table and paying their rent, much less spending time with their kids trying to help them in school. For many, unfortunately, survival is the name of the game.

Colorado is a unique place. But I think for the most part we’ve got to improve the employment situation and the under-employment situation. That’s really the issue. I suspect we are going to have some tough times still moving forward here until we get a major employment initiative going.

I’ll tell you, the last two or three years have been really tough in business. It’s probably the worst ever. You try to keep people employed. You don’t want to lose your good people. It’s a really hard situation.

There are some great programs around. I particularly like the programs that not only help the kids, but some of the adults who are needing educational opportunity, places like Centro San Juan Diego, that spend a lot of time focusing on the Spanish speaking community. It is a tremendous opportunity to get their GED, to get their ESL, to find ways to improve their lot. I work with Rose Community Foundation. We are responsible for the teacher incentive program.

There is a lot of emphasis on improving everyone’s lot, but there definitely needs to be more. There’s got to be more focus and more help. I’m very concerned about how things are going today.

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