Parent View: The DPS Achievement Gap
Hello, my name is Ana and I am a proud parent in Denver Public Schools and a TEN Parent Fellow. I also have watched generations of my family come through DPS, I myself am a graduate of Denver South High School in 2004.
In the 2015-2016 school year, my daughter was going to a school that was too easy for her. I was told that she was a behavior problem, which I knew just meant that she was bored and not being challenged enough. As a parent who has learned how to advocate, I advocated that she be tested for her eligibility in the gifted and talented program.
This year and last year, my daughter was selected to be a part of a gifted and talented program- I am very proud of her, she has been the most curious, enthusiastic learner through her whole school career. When she got to school there, I noticed very quickly that she is one of 4 Latino students and 2 Black students at her school, which is a school for gifted and talented students. I asked some of my friends who send their students to school on the East side whether their students had done gifted and talented testing and all of them said they didn’t even know what that was.
This district has to come to the table and admit that we have more to do to confront the achievement gaps in our city. There is a 48 point gap between PSAT scores in our city between black students and their white peers and a 43 point gap between white students and their Latino peers. White students in DPS are outperforming students of color by double digits. Only 41% of our students in Denver Public schools are proficient readers- while that number should bother you on it’s own- this should bother you more: 72% of white students in Denver are proficient readers- only 29% of students of color are proficient readers. The education our children are receiving is unequal in our city and we have to come to the table to address it.
I hope the next Superintendent will build more intentional systems of equity so that we can ensure that all our children have an education that excites and inspires them. I hope that through this process, we can take a hard look at some of the places that we are still struggling. I am on team DPS, I will always be on Team DPS but part of being a part of a community is questioning, challenging and relentlessly pushing for constant improvement. When it comes to equity in DPS, we know we need to improve.