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Parents, students, educators rally at state Capitol

Group sends message of support for cyberschools, online learning


School choice advocates from around the state gathered Feb. 16 at the Colorado Capitol to send a message to state legislators about cyberschools and online learning in Colorado.

Parents, students and educators from the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families say schools of choice are threatened across the country.

"Colorado families are blessed to have abundant school choice options, but we will never take these options for granted," Tillie Elvrum, a cyberschool parent and president of the coalition, said in a news release. "The Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families believes parents should be empowered with school choice, students should have access to the educational options that fit them best, and parents should be trusted with their education decisions."

Cyberschools are a critical component to our public school system and must be preserved, Elvrum said.

"I was excited to join cyberschool families from across Colorado as we celebrate our school choice and the unique role cyberschools play in public education," Elvrum said.

Cyberschool students include elite athletes, such as snowboarder Arielle Gold, who wants to gain an education while practicing many hours a day; LGBTQ students who have experienced bullying in traditional classrooms; and students who simply prefer to work at their own pace due to a learning disability or emotional issue.

“Bullying, differing learning styles, and military parents — these are just a few reasons why families choose online schooling for their children,” said Emerald Zeitz, a cyberschool parent and board member of the coalition. “My daughter lives with Asperger's syndrome and the typical public school setting was simply not equipped to deal with her differences. With online schooling, my daughter embraces her differences without fear of being bullied as her grades, knowledge, and confidence soar.”

At the rally, the coalition honored four state legislators with Golden Apple Awards, which recognized legislators who have shown a commitment to school choice. This year's honorees were Sen. Rachel Zenzinger (D-Jefferson County), Sen. Bob Gardner (R-El Paso County), Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D-Jefferson County), and House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Douglas County).

Four cyberschool students also shared their personal experiences and successes with cyberschooling at the rally.

This was Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families' 14th annual Day at the Capitol.

The Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families is a group of  parents who have united to be vocal advocates for cyberschools and online learning in Colorado. The coalition believes that all children should have free and equal access to public online schools without restrictions. For additional information on CCCF, go to www.coloradocyberfamilies.org.


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