Colorado Lawmakers Hope To Improve Access To Adult Education

By Shaun Boyd


In one of the most highly educated states in the country, it’s hard to believe that 300,000 Coloradans don’t have a high school diploma. State Sen. Rachel Zenzinger believes it is an urgent problem.

Going back to school as an adult can be terrifying. And as an adult refugee, even more so.

Two years ago, Khatira went from a highly-educated attorney to someone who couldn’t help her kids with homework.

“I was looking for some classes, try to improve my language and start again here, my life,” said Khatira.

She found far more at Spring Institute, a nonprofit that offers adult education and childcare.

“After two semesters, my English improved and that helped me to apply for college.”

But her story is the exception not the rule in Colorado, which became the last state in the country to fund adult education and still makes the second lowest investment.

“We want to empower adults to be able to change their lives for the better,” said Zenzinger, a Democrat representing Arvada.

She’s introducing a bill to increase funding and expand adult education, saying the state will pay one way or another, “through the criminal justice system, through some of our safety net programs, definitely accessing some things such as Medicaid.”

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