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Reader: How about making sure all kids have access to quality education? 

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Over the last couple of weeks, there have been differing opinions regarding school choice in Colorado Springs. Last week, Mr. Schuck reasonably advocated for open school choice for parents so that their children can get the best education available to them. Two weeks ago, Mr. Nicholl made the initial claim that parents have plenty of options for education in their own backyards, so we need to put this argument to rest. Both of these arguments have some truth to them.

Regardless, of your neighborhood, you have options for school choice (albeit not all options are always good options). Additionally, it is perfectly reasonable to be able to search out any school you think will provide the best education for your child, even if it means traveling a great distance to do so (most families in need may find that financially and logistically difficult).

But I think we’re missing the point here. Why do so many parents in our community have to look outside their neighborhood for quality education? We should be making sure all of our city’s children have access to quality education. Schoolteachers should be paid more, there should be more freedom for teachers to teach skills and critical-thinking processes instead of answers to tests that are handcuffed to funding, and if a school is falling behind we should be working harder to get quality educators into that school.

If you want to fix education and better our choices:
  • Call and meet with City Council, the mayor, the county commissioners, your local school board, your congressional representatives.
  • Advocate for our teachers, demand better and better teachers, and demand funding where it is needed (not where the expensive houses exist). These teachers educate, mentor and often parent our children for seven-plus hours a day. The least we can do is make sure there is quality care for both the teachers and children.
  • Get involved and demand those in a position of power do right by our students. If they don’t, vote ’em out.
If we don’t fix these problems, then students in this community will continue to do what many have done for decades: grow old enough to leave and exercise choice by moving to a better city.

— Trevor Thomas, Colorado Springs

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