Colorado Families, 'Tis Almost the Season for Public School Open Enrollment!

Update, 11/23: Ed News Colorado reports some more good news about the new DPS enrollment system: “Until recently it was uncertain whether all of the 35 charter schools in the DPS system would take part in SchoolChoice. The district now has a commitment from every charter to participate.”

The holiday season is upon us. I can practically smell the Thanksgiving feast a couple days away, and then the anticipation builds and builds and builds for Christmas! But your intrepid little Eddie is always looking ahead. For many school districts in Colorado, the month of January is open enrollment period — the time when students and parents can apply to get into a school outside their neighborhood for the coming school year. (Some deadlines come earlier than others: Douglas County parents have only until January 5 for their first-round application.)

Last time I checked into it, the trend of Colorado families taking advantage of open enrollment was still growing. And there’s no reason to believe it has changed.

In fact, given Denver Public Schools’ new simplified and streamlined enrollment process, the trend figures to increase as education consumers assert themselves more in search of better and more suitable education options. If you want to get in on the open enrollment process, now is the time to start doing your holiday homework. DPS is hosting a series of five school expos between December 3 and 10. And of course, you’ll want to check out my Education Policy Center friends’ spectacular School Choice for Kids website!

(Become a Facebook fan of School Choice for Kids, and now you can become a fan of my brand-new Ed Is Watching Facebook page, too!)

Yes, Ed News Colorado blogger Julie Poppen makes some great points about the current limitations on school choice, but it’s only all the more reason to keep pushing for more options and better — and how about a system of “backpack funding” where the money follows the student to the school of their choice? Don’t you think that would help a lot, too?

This week of Thanksgiving, my parents are reminding me that it’s thankful people who are happy and not the other way around. So while it may not be the first thing you think of on your big family feast day, we in Colorado have one of the strongest public school open enrollment laws in the nation to be thankful for. While I’ll continue to speak up for more school choice opportunities for families, the fact we can enroll in schools both inside and across district lines deserves some serious gratitude this holiday season.