Corporate Reform Denver Failure

Denver: Reformers Fail But Put Lipstick on the Pig

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Jeannie Kaplan, a former member of the Denver Board of Education, has warned for years that corporate reform was not working. But reformers pour big bucks into every school board race, and they totally dominate the board.

The central promise of the reformers was that they would reduce the achievement gap among different groups. As Kaplan shows, despite their control of the schools for ten years, the achievement gaps have increased. In fact, a new study by the reformy University of Washington’s Center for Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) finds that Denver has the largest gaps of any urban district!

CRPE’s study “cites Denver as the district with the largest achievement gap in reading and math based on socioeconomics out of ALL OF THE 50 URBAN DISTRICTS STUDIED for the past three years. That’s right. Denver Public Schools is dead last in closing the gap between children living in poverty and those not. Even the “reform” funded, “reform” supporting online newspaper, Chalkbeat Colorado, had a difficult time putting a positive spin on these findings….”

“The CRPE report provides information that is extremely important for public education nationally. It is even more important to Denver voters at this time because there is a school board election rapidly approaching (All mail in ballot election. You must vote by 7 p.m., November 3, 2015. Ballots go out mid-October), and three candidates are strongly supporting continuing the direction this District is going. The current Board president and at-large candidate Allegra “Happy” Haynes, touted her work for the past four years, and cited the DPS strategic plan, Denver Plan 2020, with its focus on reducing the gap, as a reason to re-elect her. In a debate October 5, 2015 she said, “I believe this is the progress we’ve made under my leadership and that of my colleagues.” This gap has increased in all three academic areas for the past ten years of “reform” and this progress has landed this District at the very bottom of the heap regarding one of the five tenets of the Denver Plan 2020 – the newly named Opportunity Gap. Call it what you will – opportunity or achievement – the reality is the gap has increased between economic (Free and Reduced Lunch and paying students) and ethnic groups (white students and students of color). After ten years of focusing on reducing this, the exact opposite has occurred. Isn’t it time for a change? Robert Speth, parent not politician is challenging Ms. Haynes for this at-large position….

“Now, we pretty much know the past ten years have been a failure in almost all aspects of educating our children and respecting out communities’ wishes. At the same time we pretty much know individualized attention, smaller classes, an enriched curriculum, more professional educators, attention to the non-educational needs of our children, particularly those who live in poverty and those who speak English as a second language, can produce well educated students. Just ask the guys in charge why their parents sent them to private school.”

So pay attention to the school board election in Denver. Is it time for more failure or time for a change?

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