As writer Kristi Hemingway points out in her article, “Charting a Course,” when our generation was growing up, we had 62 choices for shampoo and breakfast cereal, but only one when it came to school, the place that was to mold our minds and our futures. Our parents took us down to the neighborhood public school, immunization records in hand, and—bam!—we were enrolled. That is not to say that our parents didn’t pay attention to our education, it was just that there were fewer choices.
What a difference a couple decades makes. Today parents begin the process of school selection around the time the little plus sign shows up on the pregnancy test. And it doesn’t stop there. Each new school year brings a chance to adjust the course and navigate a new route for your child’s education.
The passing of the charter school act in Colorado 25 years ago opened up a world of educational choices for Colorado families. Despite hurdles and challenges, some that continue today, Colorado is now home to 255 charter schools, educating 120,000 kids. Many of the schools rank among the best in the state, garnering accolades for college readiness and outstanding performance. Our article, on page 20, glimpses the history of charter schools and shares info about the challenges and the benefits of choosing charter. We also share a list of questions that parents can ask when researching any school they are considering. After all, says Peter Mason, vice president of communications at the Colorado League of Charter Schools, “Every school out there, public, traditional, charter, all of them, they each have their own strengths and their own unique opportunities, and what we in the charter field are advocating for is that parents get the choice.”
Even if your children are happily established in school, don’t miss out on the other great reads in this issue. Find out how childcare centers around the state are transforming their playgrounds to better connect kids with nature, explore the world of academic competitions, discover motivational tips for students from the 2018 Colorado Teacher of the Year, and more.