February 27, 2018
Van Schoales, CEO, A+ Colorado
New A+ Colorado report shows that by some measures, Denver schools are as segregated by race and class today as they have ever been
DENVER— A+ Colorado is releasing a new report, Learn Together, Live Together: A Call to Integrate Denver’s Schools, detailing Denver Public Schools’ (DPS) continued struggle with school segregation and offering a call to action for greater urgency and solutions around integration.
Findings in Learn Together, Live Together, show that by some measures, DPS is as segregated by race and class today as it has ever been. The end of over two decades of court-ordered busing in Denver in 1995 led to the resegregation of Denver’s schools almost overnight and the trend has only gotten worse. In 2016, 26% of students enrolled in a school where more than 90% of students qualified for free or reduced price lunch, compared to just 11% in 2003. Since 2000, more than half of all Denver Latinx students have attended a school with more than 75% students of the same ethnicity.
In highlighting the demographic challenges facing Denver schools, Learn Together, Live Together highlights the academic and social benefits of more integrated school settings.
According to A+ Colorado CEO Van Schoales, “Multiple studies from across the country have shown that schools with a focus on having racial and economically integrated classrooms benefit all students whether low-income or affluent, white students or students of color. Integrating schools is a critical strategy for closing our massive achievement gaps.”
A+ Colorado lays out six specific action steps for the district to take in tackling the issue of highly segregated schools, including using the annual SchoolChoice process to reserve seats for underrepresented student populations from the neighborhood at select schools. The report echoes recommendations made recently by the Strengthening Neighborhoods Committee convened by DPS to explore the issue of segregation in the district.
A+ Colorado will be following up the release of this report with several panel conversations around Denver where issues of segregation and gentrification are most fresh, including NE Denver (March 7th, 6:00pm-7:30pm) and NW Denver (March 21st, 6:00pm-7:30pm) where rapidly escalating home prices are increasing the urgency for action. Visit www.apluscolorado.org for more information.
The mission of A+ Colorado is to sharpen public education by building public will and advocating for the changes necessary to dramatically increase student achievement in schools and districts in Colorado. We are an independent, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization committed to ensuring every Colorado student can access an excellent education. For more information, please visit www.apluscolorado.org.