Commentary

UPDATED: DSST Noel vote: Will data prevail?

UPDATED: The Denver school board has decided to postpone its vote on allowing a DSST Rachel Noel High School to open next year. District officials worked this week with board members and DSST leadership to craft a compromise, but were unable to come up with a solution. An agreement satisfactory to all seemed a distant prospect at best.

Board’s vague, data-free superintendent evaluation serves no one well

The recently released school board evaluation of Denver Public Schools Superintendent Susana Cordova is a vague document that sheds light on little more than board members' divisions over her future.

Why school districts should consider forming ‘pandemic pods’

Pandemic pods raise complex issues, and there are valid arguments in support and opposition.

Denver board kicks school accountability can down a long road

The 6-1 vote masks significant divisions on the board and, more importantly, indefinitely delays the development of any kind of new accountability system parents can use to figure out which schools would work best for their children.

Imagining the possible: The genius, power, and magic of boldness

What if we put aside for a moment labored debates about how to get kids and teachers back into school safely for as many days as possible, whether or not to mandate masks, and how many hours a day of screen-based learning is too much? What if, instead of being paralyzed by fear, we moved forward in hope for a better transformed tomorrow?

Outliers report highlights importance of sharing information and data

A new report from A+ Colorado highlights the importance of transparent, collaborative, and vulnerable conversations about where we are and where we go in education. Now is the time to share all available information across district, professional, and political lines.

SPF update: Don’t trust parents with data!

Should parents be deprived of data on school performance because they might "weaponize" it? One Denver school board member said as much Thursday.

Information is power, and the only path to equity

If you're like me and following the debate on proposed changes to the way schools are measured in Denver, you too may have concluded the color-coded school report cards -  known as the School Performance Framework or SPF - do not necessarily reflect the culture of a school, or how satisfied a learner your child might be - even at a highly rated school. Color me disappointed with the SPF’s efficacy informing parents.

Pandemic pods: Let’s share the wealth

"Pandemic pods" have the potential to widen already gaping opportunity gaps. But there are ways to minimize the negative collective impacts.

Threading the needle on opening school

Mike Miles, CEO of First Future Schools, has deftly threaded the needle in a letter to his staff about reopening school next month. Read the full letter here.

A little grace, please

Yes, education needs to change fundamentally. For now, though, we need to set aside our differences to get through the next year.

Missed opportunities on the Budget Advisory Committee

A member of the DPS Budget Advisory Committee reflects on how its processes and outcomes could have been improved.

How DPS violated its ballyhooed “progressive pay” plan

A deal cut last week between Denver Public Schools and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association blew a big hole through the plan to give the biggest raises to the lowest-paid workers.

The inherent contradiction in progressives’ promotion of neighborhood schools

A powerful column excerpted here places the debate about neighborhood schools within the context of the Black Lives Matter movement. A provocative read, especially for progressives.

Do we have the courage to address systemic inequity?

Gather your allies and your strength now while our minds and hearts truly feel the injustices borne by our students every day. Plan bold steps that go beyond addressing symptoms and that finally cut to the heart of what we know is unjust with our system.

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