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<p>Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and its 280,000 members nationwide cheered yesterday as Colorado Gov. Bill Owens signed House Bill 1160 into law. The new law creates Colorado's first school voucher program and will begin the process of liberating thousands of students from underachieving schools.
The Colorado voucher program will liberate low-income students from the public-school monopoly. About 3,200 such students will be eligible when the program begins in fall 2004, and the program can grow up to nearly 20,000 students by 2007. This will make it one of the nation's largest and most ambitious school choice programs.
CSE co-Chairman and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, a leading supporter of school choice, said in a statement:
"The new Colorado plan will help thousands of the most vulnerable students reach their full potential. It gives parents and their children a real freedom of choice and will force public schools to compete. That's a good thing.
"This is the first step in a student-first approach to education that breaks the public-school monopoly. Every student in Colorado -- indeed, every student nationwide -- deserves the same opportunity to choose the school they attend.
"To those who plan to contest this in the courtroom, I would remind them that last June the Supreme Court ruled that programs like Colorado's pass Constitutional muster. Instead of fighting school choice in court in order to preserve a monopoly, the teachers' unions should get behind it and help make it work. The people and the elected officials of Colorado have spoken -- Colorado's parents and students deserve real educational choice."