Recently, I attended the 20th Anniversary celebration of Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy and the Vanguard School and was honored as one of the founders of CMCA. It is hard to believe that it has been twenty years since I and several other parents made the choice for our children by forming a charter school. My colleagues Deborah Cole, Linda Carroll, and Liz Ash spent countless hours visiting other newly founded charters and reviewing curricula for our school and I spent what seemed like endless hours negotiating, drafting, and finalizing a charter school contract with School District 12. Former State Senator Keith King, then a member of the District Board, was our advocate and champion for school choice.
It was not an easy thing for us twenty years ago. Many friends and even some prominent Republicans thought that there was no need for a charter school in our district. It was, after all, already one of the best performing districts in the State. And yet, we believed we could both do better and also choose a curriculum that more clearly aligned with our own values as parents. So, in spite of the personal risks and even the rejection by some who should have embraced our efforts, we made an educational choice for our children—one that resulted in one of the highest performing K-12 programs in the State.
Today, most of those who questioned our ideals and even our motives as we sought a charter school choice for our children now embrace CMCA and Vanguard and its unparalleled success. But twenty years ago, it was a lonely and arduous struggle for a handful of parents and a single school board member committed to school choice.
As I sat in the front row Friday and watched a whole new generation of children singing for the crowd, I marveled at how the commitment of a handful of parents, of which I was privileged to be a part, had stood up for a quality, character based education for our own children and in doing so, had created the same opportunity for thousands of others. Since the founding of CMCA in 1995, I have had the opportunity to serve 8 years as a State legislator and to have a statewide impact on education choice and reform by sponsoring legislation and reforms that gave school districts more accountability as well as more authority to ensure they had the best teachers in classrooms. As I celebrated the success of CMCA on Friday with all of the teachers, administrators, and successor board members who have made it one of the top performing schools in Colorado, I felt that the most satisfying accomplishment was to see the difference we have all made for those children singing on Friday and all of those who both came before and to come in the future.
Today, we continue the struggle as our federal government tries to impose both the mediocrity and the nonsense of Common Core on our schools and effectively deprive us of true choice in public education. Just as I was twenty years ago, I remain committed to quality, accountability and parental choice in public education—willing to take the risks, willing to spend the long hours, ready to risk the rejection of friends, colleagues and the entrenched interests in order to ensure that our children receive the best education possible and that parents can choose the best for their children.
The principles, courage, and commitment that helped found and make CMCA and Vanguard a reality and a success are the same qualities I will take to the Capitol once again to represent you.
I hope you will support me in this effort. Please visit our web site votebobgardner.com to learn more about how you can help me Promote School Choice, Oppose Common Core, and Restore Quality Education for our children