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

What Will Tom Do (WWTD)?

Tom Boasberg, the superintendent of Denver Public Schools, is about to return to his position after a six-month sabbatical with his family in South America. After seven years as superintendent, he has been one of the longest serving superintendents of an urban school district with an elected school board in our country’s recent memory. During…

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An Effective Mill Levy = Need + Plan + Evaluation + Feedback Loop

Denver has recently begun discussions regarding a new mill levy proposal that would provide an additional $50 million to the city’s schools. As in most debates, there is ample evidence on both sides of the issue of school funding: there is evidence that the money could make a big difference, and also a great deal…

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Measuring Educational Equity: Mission Accomplished or Merely Begun?

Post originally appeared in the Thomas B. Fordham Flypaper blog, republished here with slight modifications. Education Cities and Great Schools recently released a useful new educational data tool called the Education Equality Index (EEI), which allows users to compare cities and states across the nation that are “closing the achievement gap.” The tool compiles school-level…

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Not Knocking It Out of the PARCC

It’s been about nine months since kids started taking PARCC tests and one month since the state released some of the data on schools, and yet many families still do not have results for their kids. The data we do have is not disaggregated by student groups (a key tool for monitoring that all students…

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College Opportunity and the American Way

In May, my oldest daughter will graduate from college debt free. Our last payment will will be in two weeks when I will be lifting a glass in celebration. She will have the gift of a BA from a good college, unburdened by loan payments so that she might pursue the career of her choice.…

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A Socratic Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving couldn’t come at a better time this year. With conflict and violence on the rise around the globe, it provides a rare time to bring family, neighbors and friends together to cook, talk and hang out. And there are no gifts! It’s my favorite holiday. We will gather part of our tribe in Los…

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On the Good Ship Stennis: A+ Goes to Sea

Last week, I had the of privilege being flown by a C-2 Greyhound from San Diego’s Naval Air Station to the USS John Stennis, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, to spend 24 hours learning about the US Navy’s training and operations with a small group of educators and business leaders. The Stennis is one of ten…

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Talking About Race and Achievement

I started working in Denver twenty years ago, the same year that forced busing, the federally mandated school integration plan, ended.  That year many schools went through a dramatic change in population as schools returned to primarily serving neighborhood students. There were few schools post-busing that were both effective and racially integrated. Those schools (mostly middle…

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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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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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