In the end, supporters of innovation schools and zones did not get everything they wanted out of a new state law offering an added layer of dispute resolution when innovation zone plans are changed or status is revoked, but they’re framing it as a step forward nonetheless.
If Superintendent Alex Marrero and his team intended to calm the storm that has erupted during the past month over the attempt to limit innovation school freedoms, a letter intended to muzzle dissent appears to have backfired. In fact, district employees are becoming more outspoken in their displeasure over a multitude of issues they say are being mishandled by the current administration.
After last week’s 6-1/2-hour Denver school board meeting featured a couple of cringeworthy interpersonal clashes, I’m sure at least some board members are embarrassed by what the public witnessed. They should be. While the in-fighting rages, work of substance is being neglected.
DPS still has an opportunity to keep this process from devolving into a fiasco, but that will require the district to address the impacts on families who will be directly affected by any school closure.
It is evident there is a gap in arts-based learning models in the Far Northeast, and our no-audition, public charter school model will provide every student with an opportunity to explore and develop their talents, in an area where there’s an urgent need for arts-based learning.
Notably missing from the Declining Enrollment Advisory Committee criteria was any measure of school performance. Instead, the Declining Enrollment Advisory Committee chose to focus on schools serving the fewest students.
Laura Lefkowits served as an at-large member of the Denver School Board from 1995-1999. She is an education policy consultant and founding member of Park Hill Neighbors for Equity in Education (PHNEE.org). She has two children who are DPS alumni and two grandchildren currently attending DPS schools.