Parent Voice: All Colorado Kids Deserve Access to a Great Education

Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2017

KIPP Colorado parent, Martha Gonzalez, shares her journey--and challenges--finding the right school for her son, and how Senate Bill 61 would help families like hers across the state. 

Thousands of parents around Colorado, like me, choose to send their child to a charter public school. For too long, we’ve had to wonder why the state believes our children deserve less than those who attend traditional public schools.

Senate Bill 61, currently moving through the Colorado General Assembly, gives us hope that all of Colorado’s public school students will have access to the resources they need to grow and succeed. 

I am the mother of Luis, a 15 year-old 9th grader at KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy. My family lives in Thornton, but I drive hours each day to and from Far Northeast Denver so Luis can attend the school that’s right for him.

Luis is a student with special learning needs, and for eight years, Luis attended a traditional public school in our neighborhood. He would come home from school bored, and I could see he was not making progress on reading or writing. He was put in classes that didn’t challenge him or meet his individual needs.

I was frustrated, and I knew we had to make a change for Luis. I searched for schools close to me, but none offered the special attention that he needed to succeed. 

Then I found KIPP Colorado Schools, a network of charter public schools in Denver, and I knew I found the right school for my son.  KIPP worked with Luis to find an academic plan and extracurricular activities that were right for him. He now spends more time in class, and has made big achievements—despite being almost five grade levels behind when he entered KIPP.

The environment and culture at KIPP has allowed Luis to feel just like his other friends when it comes to being a kid and learning social skills. He really loves school now.

I am so proud of my son, and so grateful he is in a school that meets his needs. My son’s journey is similar to the journey so many families make in choosing the right school for their children. Once parents have made that choice for their kids, whether it’s a traditional public school or charter public school, they should have equitable access to district funds.

Senate Bill 61 is an important step toward making sure all Colorado students have access to the education that’s right for them. I urge Colorado lawmakers to support parents’ public school choice and vote “yes” on Senate Bill 61.


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