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Dougco students make case for vouchers

Ben DeGrow is a public policy analyst with the Independence Institute, focusing on education labor issues.

Of late the groundbreaking Douglas County Choice Scholarship Program has been the focus of unsurprising lawsuits and public scrutiny over the technical use of a “voucher-charter” to get up and running for the 2011-12 pilot year. (Full disclosure: I have been newly appointed to the board of the Choice Scholarship School.)

I’m not going to lay out a bunch of policy arguments in support of the private school option afforded to 500 students in Colorado’s third-largest district, and could begin to unpack the different options to provide a legal structure to provide that choice. At least not here. I’ll save it for the comment section, insofar as there is any demand to do so.

Instead, I’d like readers to focus on what they would tell 13-year-old Nate Oakley from Highlands Ranch concerning why they support or oppose choice scholarships:

If you have a few extra minutes, you can learn a bit more about Nate’s story as his mom Diana Oakley and Ed News Colorado’s own Nancy Mitchell sit down for a 6-minute special interview with Colorado State of Mind:

Watch the full episode. See more Colorado State of Mind.

The school year is fast approaching, and hundreds of families like the Oakleys stay stuck in limbo even as the district court hearing on the complaint by ACLU et al. begins to be heard on August 2. Let’s continue to work on crafting good education policies, but remember who those policies are designed to serve.

In the meantime, for anyone who wants to do some research on the Douglas County Choice Scholarship Program, here’s the webpage you’ve been looking for.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.

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