These posts are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of A+ Colorado.

Poverty Matters (As Do Good Schools)

I’m not sure what is more maddening, a teacher union leader saying that we need to address poverty before we focus on schools or an education reform advocate claiming that we can close the achievement gap with the right school reform efforts. Both are too simplistic. Research says: Family and Schools Have Largest Impact on…

Continue Reading …


The Mis/Non-measure of Schools, Time to Re-think the SPF?

A quality school is the most important factor–after family–in determining a person’s economic and social development. The research perspective is clear: schools can have a huge impact on not only academics but also on a person’s character and social skills. We see this in the impact that schools like KIPP have had at successfully getting…

Continue Reading …


An American Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. What’s not to love about a full day of cooking, eating and conversation with family, friends and neighbors? Thanksgiving means many things to many different people, nor is it devoid of historical context, but for me it’s about community, fellowship and reflection with family, neighbors and friends. We…

Continue Reading …


Do Not Tell Me that My Culture Doesn’t Value Abstract Thinking

Reading Ibram X. Kendi’s blog “Why the Academic Achievement Gap is a Racist Idea” from the African-American Intellectual History Society left me conflicted. On one hand, I appreciate that Kendi historicizes standardized tests. Those of us who see value in standardized tests should not forget their eugenicist roots, nor should we forget that some people…

Continue Reading …


An (Un)Fair Share

We recently released a report on teacher pay in Denver.  After much deliberation we settled on the title “A Fair Share.” But after working on this report, I’m not convinced that teachers are really receiving just that—a fair share. Denver Public Schools has an operating budget of about $1 billion. Approximately one third of this…

Continue Reading …


If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Increase Funding

Investing in Aurora’s public education system can generate enormous returns, particularly when funds are used strategically on known solutions. This year, APS took the first steps to leverage funding for increased student achievement. At the August 2 Aurora School Board Meeting, the Board unanimously approved a bond question for the November ballot. Aurora voters will…

Continue Reading …


If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Early Childhood Programming

Research shows that early childhood education prepares children to enter and succeed in the classroom, decreases their risk of social-emotional mental health problems, and increases their self-sufficiency as adults. Education during these formative years can also begin closing the educational achievement gap between low and high-income students before formal schooling begins. Effective early childhood education…

Continue Reading …


If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Turnaround Schools

As the end of the accountability clock draws near for Aurora Public Schools, the district has to create systems that support school-level improvements in its lowest performing schools. Though the district has begun to take steps to improve its lowest performing schools–creating the International Leadership Innovation Zone and replacing Fletcher Community School with a high-performing…

Continue Reading …


If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Serving High-Need Students

Aurora has seen an increase in high need student populations. To serve its population of English Language Learners, immigrant and refugee students, and students with disabilities, APS can and should be using the funds of knowledge available throughout the Aurora community. APS can also look for examples locally and nationally of schools that are serving…

Continue Reading …


If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Exemplar New Schools

Of the eight If Not Now recommendations, this is the one that has seen the most movement. While APS did not open any new schools this year, it did lay a foundation for developing exemplar new schools. Some of the most important developments include: a district reorganization, approving new APS schools, and strategic school replacements.…

Continue Reading …