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

Colorado’s ESSA Plan: An Incomplete Pass

Originally appeared in Education Post. Published online: April 14, 2017, as “Colorado’s ESSA Plan Doesn’t Quite Get All Kids Across the Goal Line.” As Colorado updates its accountability system to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), we have the opportunity to rethink how it provides both accountability and transparency. Unfortunately, the ESSA State Plan…

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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…

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Out of Sight, Out of Mind: How Boulder and CDE are Sweeping Students Under the Rug

When I talk about the use of data in education (and specifically school accountability) I tend to get one of two reactions– it’s seen as either a pet project, at best peripheral to, and at worst a distraction from, school improvement strategies; or that I’m a cog in an (evil) technocratic takeover of public education.…

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Setting the Bar for Innovation

Aurora Public Schools will be approaching the State Board of Education in May with a proposed Innovation Zone to implement next year. Five* schools in the Aurora Central High School feeder pattern will make up the zone that will be organized around a theme of global leadership. We’ve been monitoring the process closely, and provided…

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Starting the Year Off Write(ing)

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? Though I generally prefer to think of life as a “continuous improvement plan,” I appreciate the social pressure to reflect and take stock of the past year, and set goals for the next one. Some things I’d like for myself in 2016: do more art, read more books,…

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My Holiday Wish List

Data-driven decision-making. It’s a term bandied about by many of us in education. Data should—and often does—inform policy. For example, data from the task force exploring the amount of instructional time spent on testing was instrumental at the state house last year with the passage of HB 15-1323. At the district level, Denver’s Facility Allocation…

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Are Students Ready to ACT?

It’s not new news in Colorado that in five years nearly three-quarters of jobs will require some sort of postsecondary education. Nor is it new news that Denver students don’t meet those credentials. We’ve written before that too few DPS graduates are headed to college and that even those that head to college aren’t prepared. Now that…

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$1.64 Billion: Where Will It Go?

“School finance” and “resource allocation.”  Two phrases that are probably some of the least inspirational in all of education.  But now that DPS’ decentralization is the talk of the town, I’m curious what autonomy will mean for schools’ funding.   When push-comes-to-shove, the success of this shift to a decentralized model depends on whether school…

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Reimagining the Yellow School Bus

The results of the first round of SchoolChoice are in for the 2015-2016 school year. SchoolChoice participation in Southwest Denver, with its two new shared enrollment boundaries, jumped dramatically from 67% last year to 91% this year. Yet, thousands of parents in the places with the worst schools still feel stuck because it is so…

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