We know, we know. Many of you are tired of hearing about the election next month. But, if you only read one more article about voting and the election, please make it this one.
As students who are also parents, this blog post is just for you. It’s your guide to what is going to be on the ballot this year that will directly affect you and your family.
Bringing in an Expert
To help you navigate some of the issues this November, we spoke with Jessica Bernett Knight, the Programs Director for the Early Childhood Council of Boulder County. Jessica has 16 years of professional experience in education and nonprofit management in roles that include teacher, school administrator, grant manager, programs director, home visitor and volunteer manager.
She has taught in classrooms filled with preschoolers and every other age up through adults (including teaching for FRCC). Although this blog includes some links specific to Boulder County, there are similar resources in the other counties in Colorado. We have linked some of those resources at the bottom of this article.
Don’t Forget Your Local Races
FRCC: In a presidential election year, it is sometimes easy to overlook local elections. But, there are local officials that make policies that significantly impact families. Could you share some examples of what parents should be paying attention to on a local level? For example, county commissioners, school boards, city councils, etc.?
Jessica BK: If you live in Boulder County, you can see what your sample ballot may look like in order to research your local initiatives here. According to this compiled ballot, a local position in Boulder County to keep an eye on that may impact families is that of County Commissioner for Districts 1 and 2. Boulder County Commissioners help set priorities for the county, many of which will have a direct impact on families and the services available to them.
Wherever you live, you can click here to go to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website to to see your specific sample ballot.
And for the 11 statewide measures on the 2020 ballot, don’t forget to look at the Colorado Blue Book for non-partisan information.
Issues that Impact Parents
FRCC: What are some of the big issues this year that will particularly affect parents/families?
Jessica BK: Proposition EE would directly impact families with young children as these funds—from tobacco and vape taxes—would be designated to improving children’s health, providing funding for public schools and developing universal, free preschool for all Colorado kids.
Engaging Your Kids
FRCC: What are some ways to talk to your kids about the importance of being civically engaged?
Jessica BK: I believe the best way to expose kids to the responsibilities included in being civically engaged is to model or show them! Take your kids with you when you vote or submit your ballot. Talk through some of the decisions you made, along with how and why you came to the conclusions you did, as appropriate of course. If you volunteer in your community, talk to your children about why you do that and what you are gaining from it. If appropriate, take them with you!
Resources for Parents
FRCC: Do you have any resources that you can share with student-parents?
Jessica BK: I found this great list of activities and videos for young families and this resource for older kids. Also, the National Association for the Education of Young Children has many resources specific to early education supports in this election.
FRCC: Anything else you would like to add?
Jessica BK: The Early Childhood Council of Boulder County is the child care resource and referral program for the county. We can help find programs with open slots! If you or someone you know is looking for care, please fill out the appropriate intake form and we will respond within 48 hours.
Links to Register to Vote and More:
Easily look up your specific ballot with the Colorado Secretary of State
For more information about family resources in your area, please contact Maegan Vallejo (email@example.com), who coordinates FRCC’s CCAMPIS (Childcare Access Means Parents in School) program.
Librarian Che Gant (firstname.lastname@example.org) can also connect you with information and answer questions about FRCC resources and beyond.