Educators of all types, including parents, have a tremendous challenge before them.
Our Colorado public education system is working hard to continue with learning in the best way that they can from the state level down to each individual classroom. Teachers care about their students and have spent countless hours preparing lessons that can be delivered online. Schooling continues. Yes, some districts were better prepared to go online than others.
Some schools and school districts have more challenges than others. Some can’t locate all their children. Some families don’t have enough food and have no transportation to meal drop off locations. And of course, many do not have access to technology at home.
According to the Colorado Department of Education, the Department must first focus on the immediate health and safety of the most vulnerable children and families. Eventually, they will move into a new phase to consider how we as a state will make up learning that has been lost. (The Department has provided learning resources for parents on the CDE website.)
Some public schools such as charter schools have more autonomy than neighborhood schools, especially those in a large school district. Charter schools are more flexible because their decision making is all at the school level. In fact, two families told us recently about how their children, who both attend the same charter school, didn’t miss a beat in their learning as lessons came home via the Internet.
As public schools are being creative with how to continue their operations so are the private schools. We have heard that some Colorado private schools are finding ways to re-purpose support staff. A cafeteria worker is helping with tutoring. The school nurse is calling families to check on their well-being.
However, non-public schools, particularly those who serve low-income students, usually religious schools, have an additional challenge: no publicly supported revenue stream. Of course, this is not a new challenge, but an even more difficult one now when so many parents have lost their jobs and their first priorities will be shelter and food for their families, not tuition.
Parents who are already homeschooling or who have their children enrolled in a public online school continue on with their daily plans, but they too miss the social interaction with other families. Home-educated students also have dances, sporting events, clubs, co-op classes, and graduation ceremonies.
During this crisis, parents been put in the position to supervise their children’s education, which is rightfully the responsibility of parents, not the government. History has proven that good can and does come from hardships and we hope during this time parents will learn more about how their children learn and will think about what might be the best school for their children. Our website SchoolChoiceforKids.org, available in both English and Spanish, is a helpful resource for parents to discover all the K-12 educational options available in Colorado, including homeschooling. In the meantime, embrace this unique opportunity to spend more time with your children and learn how they learn.