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This time of year I'd normally be bombarded with graduation photos and party invitations. My husband and I have five children; we've been foster parents to 11 more, and now we're grandparents as well. So, you can imagine I've seen plenty of graduations. But, the feeling this year is distinctly different.

There's no denying it — with schools shut down, even our children haven't escaped the impact of this pandemic.

Luckily, we have legislation pending that can help mitigate the impact on our children: HB20-1240: Early College Program and P-tech School Expansion. Technical training can provide an excellent opportunity for kids for whom college isn't the best choice. I speak from firsthand experience.

When I was born, my mother gave me up for adoption. I was blessed to be adopted into a family of educators. Despite the central role education played in our family, I struggled. Our education system is supposed to be the great equalizer, the starting line that gives every American child a shot at success. But it's riddled with problems.

I was lucky to attend a high school that offered access to a vocational training program, the same access that HB20-1240 seeks to expand. In that program, I thrived. Being given control over, and responsibility for, my actions rather than being shuffled around a failing system was transformative.

I went on to a 24-year career in education. I learned I wasn't an unusual student after all. I saw dozens of kids go through the same transformation I did. This reaffirmed my belief in the value of allowing kids to pursue their unique passions and choose the best educational path for themselves.

As our kids return to school this fall, there will be more than ever who could benefit from increased choice in education. Let's give them that chance by making sure HB20-1240 doesn't fall by the wayside.

Lynn T. Gerber

Arvada

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