Commentary: We should be expanding school choice in Colorado, not restraining it

St. Mary’s Academy in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, an independent day school founded by the Sisters of Loretto in 1864, is one of 502 private schools in the state that serve nearly 70,000 students.

Editor’s note: This opinion piece from Colorado Rep. Dan Woog, who represents the 63rd District in the Colorado House of Representatives and serves on the Energy and Environment Committee, appeared last weekend in Colorado’s Greeley Tribune.

It will come as no surprise to the parents and students of Colorado that the state is in an educational crisis.

Based on recent statistics, it’s become obvious that we have serious problems in the educational system in Colorado. Not only are we not sufficiently preparing our students for success in an increasingly failing economy due to the toxic fiscal policies of Democrats in Colorado and Washington DC, but we are also failing them by not providing the resources they need to accomplish their dreams.

In 2021, over 50% of Colorado students in grades 3, 5, and 7 were not meeting grade-level expectations in both English and math. This is unacceptable. While these statistics might just seem like numbers on a page, this is directly affecting the lives and dreams of students across the state.

We are all aware of the toll the pandemic took on students and teachers, but while this problem predates the pandemic, if there ever was a time our students deserved more choices in their academics, it is now after the shutdowns affected many students’ academic progress.

Not only does educational choice support students in their academic success, but it also supports parents. An October 2021 poll from Echelon Insights showed that 72% of Americans believe that parents should have the most or some influence over what schools teach.

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