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Shelby Doyle

You likely don't need me to tell you that children all over the country are suffering the academic consequences of the pandemic, and Colorado is not an exception. A 2022 survey revealed that 52% of American families were looking for a new school. To put it in personal terms, in a classroom of 25 students, 13 families are not satisfied with the education their children are receiving.

A great K-12 education for every child is no small undertaking, and we know there are many learning environments that help different students achieve their potential. Every child is different, with different abilities, talents, personalities, and needs. In a place like Colorado, families need the flexibility to choose the school that will set their child up for success, whether it’s their zoned traditional public school, or a public charter school, public magnet school, private school, online learning option, or homeschooling.

If it’s been a while since you had school-age children, you may not realize just how different the landscape of options is than it was a decade ago. A 2022 survey from The Harris Poll revealed that since the pandemic, homeschooling and public charter school were the first and second most popular options for parents who decided to switch their child’s school. What’s more, around 6 in 10 parents said their child was happier with this change. On the other hand, interest in open enrollment in traditional public schools, as well as magnet schools remains high. Private school choice programs have expanded in many states in the last few years, and learning pods and microschools are a new and growing option.

But time is of the essence. Due to the explosion of education options in many places, application deadlines often fall as early as January for the upcoming school year. National School Choice Week (Jan. 22-28) will streamline things for parents through a national public awareness campaign and thousands of events hosted by schools around the country. Parents who have chosen a school they love can also empower others by sharing their own experiences.

All families can help their kids to achieve academic success, the first step is to choose the perfect school fit, and the best way to do it is by being aware of the local options and regulations. To learn about the academic alternatives in Colorado, parents can visit schoolchoiceweek.com/colorado.

When parents in Colorado and across the country are exploring and choosing schools later this month, I hope they can count on all of our support.

Shelby Doyle is the vice president of public awareness at the National School Choice Awareness Foundation, which helps U.S. families to explore their K-12 education options and choose a great school for their children.

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