Cybersecdn- Colorado’s education system, grappling with the reality that only about 40% of school-age children are at grade level in reading and math, is at a crossroads. Recognizing the need for systemic change, Advance Colorado has outlined an ambitious policy agenda, “Moving Colorado Forward 2024,” aiming to revamp the state’s approach to education.
A key focus of the agenda is the protection and enhancement of Colorado’s school choice laws. These laws, which currently stand as statutory and not constitutional, offer a variety of educational options including charter, private, and homeschooling. A 2022 study highlighted the success of charter schools in the state, showing a 19 percentage point performance gap in favor of charter schools over district schools. The agenda proposes to solidify these choice laws in the state constitution, reflecting the will of 68% of voters.
Parental involvement in education is another critical aspect. The agenda calls for the implementation of school transparency laws to ensure parents have easy access to information about curriculum, surveys, and other educational materials. This move aims to foster greater parental engagement, a key factor in improving school performance.
Innovative education strategies are also on the table, including the adoption of the Purple Star classification to ease school and credit transfers for military families and the promotion of trade education and hands-on experience for students.
A significant policy proposal is the introduction of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) for students with special needs, allowing parents to direct funds to the school that best meets their child’s requirements. This proposal is in line with the belief that educational funds should follow the student, offering more personalized and effective learning opportunities.
Overall, Colorado’s education agenda for the new year is a comprehensive plan aimed at not just improving academic performance but also ensuring that the system is responsive to the needs of all students, preparing them for future success.