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Defending school choice

As the school year comes to an end and summer vacation takes full effect, take a moment to reflect on important education issues here in Colorado.

Recent false narratives around public school, charter school and private school threaten the existence of school choice and understanding Colorado’s latest education issues is imperative to keeping school choice alive.

A recent survey by Magellan Strategies on education issues in Colorado measured the opinions and viewpoints of Colorado voters on teacher pay, state-funded full-day kindergarten, the federal government’s role in public education, school choice, school safety and vocational training. As a result, this survey highlighted the complexities of how to provide the best education for each Colorado child.

According to the survey, 58% of voters have a favorable opinion of public schools, whereas 43% of voters have a favorable opinion of charter schools. The most common reasons given for why voters have an unfavorable opinion of charter schools are the perception that they remove resources from public schools and are lacking accountability and diversity. These lines of reasoning are misleading not only in Colorado, but all over the United States. According to Colorado League of Charter Schools, on average charter schools in Colorado spend $660 per student from designated per-pupil operating revenue on facilities costs. Thus, charter schools receive fewer funds and resources than neighborhood schools.

LETTERS: Prohibiting minors from seeking help in Colorado; defending women

Further, the narrative that “charter schools siphon money from neighborhood schools” is demonstrably false. This narrative misidentifies the buyer. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, across the country, charter schools receive nearly 30% less per pupil per year in funding than neighborhood public schools. In reality, parents who chose to have their children attend that school often fill funding gaps.

In addition, the message that “charter schools cherry pick the best students” is wildly inaccurate. According to federal law, charter schools must accept all students, including students with disabilities and English Learners, regardless of previous academic performance. Students are attracted to schools that best meet their academic, social and emotional needs. Some charter school attendees have also experienced bullying, learning differences, health issues, and personal conflicts, which often points them in the direction of charter schools and cyberschools.

These notions that attack charter schools filter into all education and impact the education ideals we hold dear — that school choice ensures that students have the opportunity to find the education that best meets their needs. School choice advocates must stay vigilant in dispelling these false narratives and attempts to divide the school choice movement. It’s time to get involved in local education forums, attend community meetings, write letters to legislators and participate in key hearings.

And come fall, we must stay ahead of misleading narratives that threaten school choice because these narratives influence public policy decisions and impact every student’s education.

Tillie Elvrum

Colorado Springs

‘Fake’ small claims court

There are problems working together against victims of Colorado LLCs trying to reclaim damages in El Paso County small-claims court. Here’s my frustrating and expensive experience. One typically goes to court three times before judgment. This ain’t Judge Judy, as the first court is waiting in the hallway to argue with LLC. Second court date is a forced useless mediation. The LLC skips the third court and a magistrate is willing to grant judgment. However, she is later unwilling to order contempt ($70 each) and warrants to collect damages. She denied seven requests for contempt/warrant due to service of interrogatories ‘paperwork’ issues. The corrupt system says ‘paperwork’ errors must be reserved ($50 each) even though the served interrogatories haven’t changed.

The LLC agent can hide inside his home business instead of having hours of operation making it extremely difficult and expensive to serve interrogatories. The LLC company often creates a business name to continue operating for a small fee. Complaints to the attorney general about this corrupt practice falls on deaf ears as they email back to not expect follow-up correspondence.

The Colorado Supreme Court Attorney Regulation Council takes calls for magistrate complaints but are unwilling to accept email evidence for contradictions of decisions. They don’t answer requests for help as they say this is considered counsel and direct you to get a lawyer. The old small-claims court of victims getting justice without lawyers is dead.

Randal Russell

Colorado Springs

Universal basic income

Has anyone begun describing in detail how a proposed universal basic income would work? For example, is it enough to get by? To maintain a household? It would seem that’s the intent, when we see efforts to raise minimum wage enough to “raise a family.”

If that is so, here’s a thought.... when everyone has enough income to be sort-of comfortable without having to do traditional employment for wages, what will be the chances of finding someone to come crawl under your house and fix a broken furnace in the middle of a blizzard? Or clean out a stinky sewer line or septic tank on a hot summer day? Or any number of other not-fun-but-necessary things you don’t know how to do for yourself?

H. Wayne Hall

Colorado Springs

Suspicious of cops in schools

Read the article about an 11-year-old boy being handcuffed. Disgusting.

That is what happens when school administrators abdicate their responsibilities and put cops in charge of discipline. By coincidence, Scot Peterson — the disgraced Parkland police officer — was just arrested for “neglect.” Is it any wonder that we are suspicious of cops in schools?

Steve Fleischer

Monument

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