It became clear at Monday night’s community meeting about proposed Denver school closures that a revolt is brewing on the school board that is likely to send Superintendent Alex Marrero and his team back to square one as they try to “right-size” the district.
Denver Families for Public Schools, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that focuses on increasing civic engagement and voter participation to help families better engage their public school system, recently launched a training program for prospective school board candidates. There's still time to sign up for the next session, which begins Nov. 11
EDUCATE Denver, a new coalition of civic and business leaders created to push for better academic outcomes and the closing of opportunity gaps in Denver Public Schools, issued a statement Friday detailing how it believes DPS should go about deciding which schools should close as enrollment declines.
Denver Public Schools’ recently promoted special education director was hired by district officials who did not know he had been accused of making sexually inappropriate comments to high school girls when he was principal of a California school, where he had used a different first name.
Mario Giardiello: As the principal, I needed to help the community transition from advocating for their school to stay open to being a leader that supported the many decisions families and staff had to make for themselves.
Some board members are backpedaling as fast as possible from the understandably unpopular recommendation to close schools. But if their concern is so great, they could and should have intervened sooner.
School closing is a classic problem of termination. Many of the possible benefits, such as reducing the district’s budget deficit, benefit everyone just a little bit and often in the long term. The harms, on the other hand, are felt intensely by a few and appear immediately. There is rarely a constituency to close a school, but always one to oppose it.
Given the agonizing budget decisions the Denver school board will have to make in the next couple of months, and given the influence the loudest voices crying ‘liar!’ have over some board members, it’s vitally important that everyone involved come to the table equipped with accurate, reliable information.
DPS is still struggling to define equity. Still struggling to define a shared vision forward with a comprehensive strategic plan to get there together. Too many departments, committees, sub-committees, and parts operating in silos, disconnected from the reality that we must align our brilliance to do what is better and best for black children and therefore all children served by Denver Public Schools.
The Reimagining SPF Committee is making it harder for members of the public to get critical academic data that they rely on to understand what is happening inside our schools. Committee members are asking you to trust that the system is working for the success of your student and then hiding the evidence that would prove it.
The Covid-19 calamity presents an opportunity for all sides to come together to create a new vision for what public education might look like in Denver when we emerge from the pandemic. We offer a respectful counterpoint to some recently floated ideas.
The structure and systems remain in place. Supremacy ideology continues to choke the potential of this district to be anything but talk when it comes to transforming the lived realities of black children, families, communities, teachers and leaders.
I must stop obsessing about poor families being on a predictable path to economic exile, and remember that the white middle-class college-educated people working public school jobs with full benefits are the real victims of the system.