Amid nationwide uncertainty about how district schools can safety reopen this fall, Republican lawmakers in Colorado are urging Gov. Jared Polis to call a special legislative session to address education concerns.
At top of their minds: a policy proposal they want to introduce called “Safe Learning Choices,” which would provide families with financial resources so they can stay at home and teach their children, buy devices to help with online learning, or cover costs associated with creating small homeschool groups or “pandemic pods,” including paying for teachers.
The plan would allow families to draw on all or a portion of their child’s per-pupil revenue to access educational resources to leverage options other than brick-and-mortar instruction. The support would be available to families whose children cannot attend public school full-time due to health concerns or because their local schools have decided not to operate.
“Colorado’s parents are concerned both for their children’s health and their education,” wrote state Sen. Bob Gardner, a Colorado Springs Republican who is leading the effort. “If we act quickly, we can provide parents with the resources to educate their children in home or in small groups arranged by them to ensure that their children don’t fall behind.”
All but two members of the Republican delegation signed the letter dated July 28.
Like school districts across the country, many Colorado districts have been planning for a full return to in-person learning while others are exploring hybrid models. The lawmakers assert that provisions under the Safe Learning Choices plan will ensure that children don’t lose ground regardless of how district plans unfold.
“Parents need concrete, actionable and flexible options for the 2020-2021 school year,” the lawmakers wrote. “Kids get one chance to receive a quality education, so we urge you to take immediate action to prevent lifetime damage to Colorado’s children.”