Commentary

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.

Parsing the “Reimagine SPF” debacle

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.

DPS employee associations’ budget priorities don’t add up

DPS employee associations are pushing for budget cuts that don't touch negotiated teacher pay raises. That's a tough case to make, given the $61 million in cuts that are looming.

Counterpoint: How the Reimagine SPF Committee got it right

Two school leaders who served on the Reimagine SPF committee for Denver Public Schools offer a counterpoint to a recent column that was critical of some of the committee's recommendations

Listen to these voices

I implore you to watch the first 15 minutes of last night's school board meeting, and to hear the words of the board's two African American directors.

The Black Excellence Resolution Rhetoric (Part 4 of 4) – Equity, Exodus, Exhale!

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.

UPDATED: Where lies the line between board oversight and micromanagement?

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.

Beware efforts to kill accountability

Are CEA and DCTA are trying to do away with all school performance frameworks?

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