Are there any interesting stories in the recently released October Count data?
A cursory analysis of the recently released October count data has us talking about school choice and the changing demographic landscape in Colorado education. As the overall student population growth has slowed in recent years, the number of students identified as Hispanic has continued to grow steadily and many students and families are exercising their right to choose a school that is best suited to their needs.
Changing demographics in the state’s student population brings a new set of needs. In order for Colorado to ensure the success of all students we must rise to meet those needs, particularly when those students are from historically underserved groups.
For example, the graduation rate for Hispanic students is significantly lower than their white non-Hispanic peers. In order to close this gap, there needs to be a concerted effort to ensure that all students have access to the resources they need to be successful.
More people participating in school choice doesn’t tell the whole story, we need to dive into information about who is participating. Equitable access to quality schools is an ongoing problem, even with school choice. Often, the logistics of attending schools outside of the neighborhood are too high of a barrier for families additionally, the enrollment process can be difficult to navigate.
As indicated in our Denver’s Next Journey series, we still have questions about how districts are “supporting schools to improve, and to offer a program and approach that is responsive and reflective of communities.” Thereby allowing students to succeed regardless of zip code, which is the ultimate goal.
Stay tuned as we continue to explore this data and others. Including our forthcoming Outliers report, wherein we identify districts that are doing well at meeting the needs of a changing student body and creating enriching learning environments.