As our students adjust to a new school year, they deserve academic opportunities to succeed.
However, for a generation of educators and policymakers here in Colorado, the wide gap in academic achievement and enrichment opportunities between rich and poor and urban and rural communities has been a cause of great frustration and seriousness. worry. This is unacceptable, and it got worse during the pandemic.
This fall the Colorados can do something. The Learning Enrichment and Academic Advancement (LEAP) program, on the ballot as Proposition 119, has been carefully designed by experts from across the state to address some of the most pressing needs facing our students are confronted. If passed, it will provide flexibility for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Colorado so they can hone their skills and add new ones.
Proposition 119 is a one-of-a-kind effort to bridge the opportunity gap – with a focus on underserved families – by providing financial assistance for extracurricular activities that enhance learning: things like tutoring, a additional support for students with special needs and enrichment activities.
In the aftermath of COVID, school losses among children have been dramatic. Proposition 119 is our chance to help these children catch up and has taken on particular urgency among parents and educators.
All Colorado students would be eligible and the most disadvantaged students would be prioritized. Families would have the choice to choose from a menu of opportunities outside of the classroom – putting decision making in the hands of parents.
Proposition 119 will not only benefit students, although that is undoubtedly the main objective. It will also benefit our teachers – who can receive extra compensation by providing extra services outside of school hours and will have more students ready to learn or able to ask for help when needed; our employers – who will find a pool of better-trained potential employers; and our state, which will finally be on the right track to close the success gap.
Proposal 119 will provide financial assistance of $ 1,500 to students to be used for extracurricular learning opportunities, including private lessons in reading, math and science, as well as support for students with special needs and activities. enrichment.
We know what you are thinking: How will this program be paid for? Proposition 119 would be funded by a 5 percentage point sales tax increase on recreational marijuana and by changing the financing of state land board properties.
Aid would be a priority for students from low-income families and could be used for a variety of learning opportunities that reinforce learning in school and empower bright young students.
As our students, teachers and families grapple with e-learning, hybrid models and the slow return to in-person teaching due to the pandemic, the need to provide our children with one-to-one tutoring, instruction additional and enrichment programs are intensifying.
In this hyperpartisan age, we believe that attacking the opportunity gap is something we can and must do together. Now is the time to take the first step, because the future of so many young people is at stake.
If this measure passes, there will be more work to be done. But we need to recognize this moment and seize the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our children. So let’s get to work with a common goal of supporting our students’ academic performance.
Join us now to support Prop. 119 / LEAP, a marijuana tax that will fund one-to-one tutoring for Colorado kids.
Republican Representative Hugh McKean is the Colorado House Minority Leader and represents District 51, encompassing Loveland and surrounding communities.