News & Media

Together Colorado Organizes Parents to Engage in Increased Academic Expectations

November 2, 2016

Together Colorado Organizes Parents to Engage

in Increased Academic Expectations 

November 1, 2016
Reilly Pharo Carter
Denver — Together Colorado is a non-partisan, multi-racial, multi-faith community organization that is comprised of 120 member congregations, schools, clergy and faith leaders across the state including Pueblo, Fort Collins and Grand Junction. They work to build a powerful social justice faith-based voice in Colorado. As a member of the Climb Higher Colorado coalition, Together Colorado works to elevate parent voice in discussions about equity in public education.
“If we are going to build communities where everyone thrives physically, economically, spiritually and emotionally, we must recognize the fundamental role that access to a quality education plays in giving people dignity to pursue their potential,” said Meghan Carrier, Together Colorado Community Organizer. “We believe that every child in every school ought to benefit from the belief that they can learn and be expected to achieve at high levels regardless of their income, address or native language.”
The Colorado Academic Standards and aligned assessments are intended to ensure that all students in the state graduate college or career ready. They provide a clear roadmap of high expectations so that what is being taught in school can be reinforced by parents at home. But more needs to be done to make sure that actionable information is accessible for all Colorado parents. 
“We believe that many well-intention policies have unintended or overlooked consequences,” continued Carrier.  “As a result, policies aimed at helping low-income communities and communities of color often do not take into account the unique barriers that face parents in these communities. By creating opportunities for policy makers and education leaders to work directly with parents in underserved communities, we are elevating awareness about how to engage parents more effectively and, in so doing, helping parents be better advocates for their children.” 
Together Colorado parent leaders believe in the power of organizing people so that systemic change can be made to our current educational system.  To that end, they have led public meetings holding Denver Public Schools and Denver city officials accountable. They have also created a cadre of parent experts on standards and assessments in order to serve as a resource for their peers, testified at school board meetings and legislative hearings, written Opinion Editorials for the Denver Post on the importance of statewide testing, and worked with Denver Public Schools to make sure statewide assessment reports are provided in English and Spanish.