Gabe Lindsay 4/26/2018 DPS School Board Public Comment
Tonight, I am here to yet again bring to light the crisis that our students are facing in the Far North east Community and in our district.
We are concerned. Our community is concerned. We DO NOT understand why the Superintendent and the DPS board members are not.
We are concerned that this District is not preparing ALL our kids for a life of promise, they are not preparing them for a life of opportunity.
After looking at the data on the achievement gaps and lack of high quality seats in this Far Northeast community, we are concerned that this school district is graduating kids who can’t read a grade level text book, let alone a job application. These children aren’t just numbers to us, we know them.
4 out of every 10 students in the third grade in Denver Public Schools are proficient readers.
That’s even worse if you are poor, or black or latino. If you are poor, 2 out of 10 kids in your third grade class are reading on grade level. In Far Northeast Denver, 80% or more of the students in your schools fit this description.
When you walk into third grade classrooms in schools in those areas, about 6 kids in a class of 30 students who receive Free and Reduced Lunch are reading and writing on grade level.
Picture 10 third graders in your head.
Kids who leave 3rd grade and are not proficient readers are 4 times more likely to leave school without a High School Diploma.
We are not making the improvements we need fast enough and we don’t have enough access to the schools who are making those gains for our students.
Our district is making gains at about 3.3% a year.
At that rate, it will take us 13 years- or a child’s whole educational career to adequately serve all our kids. That is 90,000 kids who have to go to schools that potentially will NEVER, in their school career meet their needs.
There are not enough quality seats in the Far NorthEast. We know that because many people got waitlist letters just last week who wanted to send their student to a school that will prepare them for college- which not all our schools do. If this is not an indication that the district needs to add more high quality options, I do not know what is.
The waitlist numbers in the FNE are out of control, DSST has almost 500 students on their waitlists in the FNE, KIPP’s waitlist is over 300 students long in the FNE. Even in these schools only 53% or less of their students are proficient in English and Math.
About 70% of DPS students will graduate in 4 years. The average ACT scores in 2016 in DPS for Black students was 16.8, for Latino students 17.1 and for their white counterparts, it was 23.4. I believe that’s what we would call an achievement gap and just so you know, it is one of the largest achievement gaps in the country. Students need at least a minimum of 24 to be college ready.
Half of students who go to college from DPS have to retake a high school class and pay for it in college because they were not prepared.
The sky might not feel like it is falling to you, but it feels like it to us as parents of those children at risk. We need you to come to the table with a sense of urgency, a sense of emergency- because to us, not educating all of our children is an EMERGENCY.