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

A Tale of 5 Reform Districts

 Colorado’s system of academic standards and assessments started in 1995, making 2015 the 20thanniversary of the standards movement. With the introduction of the Colorado Student Assessment Program (better known as CSAP) came the acknowledgement that Colorado had large pockets of underperforming schools. Districts in Colorado began acting on this information. In particular, five large districts…

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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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Another View on School Choice in Denver

Another View #134 Peter Huidekoper, Jr. August 12th, 2015    School Choice in Denver – much good news, but is it too difficult? Given so much good news about the SchoolChoice process in Denver—and I am a fan – it may seem uncharitable to focus on a trouble spot. But if low-income and minority families…

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Do Denver Schools Teach Kids to Write?

If we measure only one skill, it should be writing. A national commission from a decade ago Writing: A Ticket to Work… Or a Ticket Out surveyed America’s top 120 corporations and found that writing is a “threshold skill” for hiring and promotion in every industry.  Two-thirds of salaried employees have some writing responsibility. Half of these…

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How to Slice the Summer Pie

By Sari Levy Summer break isn’t an American invention but it has come to feel as American as apple pie. Only, in the true American spirit, we eat it all in a single sitting.  Summer break’s origins (like Spring break’s) are  likely in ancient Greece, when it was too hot during the summer to concentrate.…

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Opting into a Worthwhile Experiment

Twenty years ago, the introduction of charter schools changed Denver Public Schools more than any single policy since busing had done. Then, last month the Board said that schools should have to “opt-in” rather than “opt-out” of district supports like curriculum, school-based assessments, and professional development.   It’s nothing short of a paradigm shift. Not…

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(In)Equality in Arts

By Sari Levy Over the spring semester, we’ve been visiting schools (both public and private) and classrooms to see their arts programs. Hardly our first foray into arts education (see our previous report on the subject) these visits do help us broaden our understanding of what schools – and their arts education– can look like.…

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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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Another View on Grad Rates: Peter Huidekoper

Another View #131 Peter Huidekoper, Jr. June 10, 2015 Higher graduation rates? A word of caution before we celebrate In our state, the high school graduation statistics tell us little about what that degree means—in terms of a graduate’s knowledge and skills.  Last week’s 2014 Legislative Report on Remedial Education again makes that clear: (http://highered.colorado.gov/Publications/Reports/Remedial/FY2014/2014_Remedial_relJune03.pdf).…

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Tilting toward Dystopia

Colorado’s 20-year record of steady (if slow) improvement may be dashed in coming weeks if political leaders do not stand up for accountability. We’re one of many states in the midst of a series of critical education policy battles that could send us back to a time when there was little information about the quality…

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