Hundreds gather at Capitol to promote school choice

Similar events took place around the country

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Jordan Smith, a fifth-grade student at Golden View Classical Academy, stood on the steps of the state Capitol and spoke about her school and the opportunities it provides.

She said she likes the books they read at her school in Golden, including “Sherlock Holmes and The Secret Garden.” She called her education “a gift.”

“It’s perfect for me,” she said.

Smith was one of hundreds of people from around Colorado who gathered in Denver to advocate for school choice Jan. 26.

The rally was in support of National School Choice Week. Similar events took place around the country.

School choice advocates support empowering parents to choose the right school for their children. These options include traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, online learning, private schools and homeschooling, according to the National School Choice Week website.

Supporters held signs and wore yellow scarves to show unity.

Justin Everett, who represents state House District 22 in south Jefferson County, said, “I am a product of school choice.”

Everett talked about moving from New York to Colorado as a child and having a hard time finding a school that could meet his needs as a gifted student.

“I ended up being the poor kid in a private school...” Everett said. “We wouldn’t watch TV at night to save money. We had one light on by the kitchen table, where my mom would read a library book and my dad would read the paper and I would do my homework. That’s what my parents would do to cut costs and make sure I had a high-quality education.”

State Rep. Polly Lawrence, of Roxborough, and state Rep. Patrick Neville, of Franktown, also spoke at the rally.

Joanie Williams, a parent of three students at Doral Academy in Arvada, held signs and said she came to support her school and its style of education.

“We came out today to support arts-integration education,” William said.

Erick Valencia, the communications coordinator at Platte River Academy, a charter school in Highlands Ranch, spoke to the crowd in both English and Spanish.

“School choice is something I’m passionate about,” Valencia said. “It’s great to see so many people here who believe in the same thing.”

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