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Reader: It's about empowering parents 

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Mr. Larimore Nicholl wrote last week asserting that Colorado Springs has "enough school choice." He disrespected parents who home school as being inferior to "college trained and certified teachers," and he characterized those of us who champion the empowerment of low-income parents with school choice as "right wingers" and "religionists."

Why should any child be forced to remain in a school that is failing him or her? Why is Mr. Nicholl afraid of empowering parents with the resources to choose whatever school THEY think is best for their children? Children belong to their parents, not to the system and certainly not to Mr. Nicholl. Why would he oppose having more schools compete for the privilege of educating more children, especially those, mostly ethnic and of color, trapped in poor-performing schools just because of their ZIP codes?

Let's take a quick look at how well our largest school district is doing. According to the Colorado Department of Education's 2017 report of PARCC test results, only [33 percent] of third-graders in D-11 "met or exceeded expectations" in English language arts (not the most rigorous of benchmarks). In math it was [35 percent]. But D-11's eighth grade scores [were worse — just 33.1 percent "met or exceeded expectations" in ELA and 7.8 percent in math]. What is that, Mr. Nicholl, if not a crisis, and what conclusion can one draw other than the longer a student remains in D-11 schools, the further he or she falls behind?

Why would anyone stand in the way of providing ALL parents the opportunity to choose the school setting THEY think is best for their children, be it traditional public, charter public, private, or home? For those, like Mr. Nicholl, who would deny low-income children the means to escape schools that are failing them, let me suggest that they volunteer to send their children to those very same schools.

— Steve Schuck, Colorado Springs

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