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.
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.
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.
Let’s, for argument’s sake, give these individuals and groups that want to eliminate accountability and measurement their way. Let’s stop measuring anything and just trust that teachers will get it right. Then let’s come back together in five years and see what our graduation, dropout, and remediation rates look like, not to mention our achievement gaps.
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd -- say his name -- if the response is business as usual: More excuse making. More complaints and resistance. More scapegoating of COVID-19, then the bold action that we must take is EXODUS.
Note: This post has been updated with more detail about when the threshold for school board approval for purchases was raised to $1 million. It also puts into perspective how far below past limits the current proposal to lower the threshold to $100,000 would be.