The Audacity of High Expectations

The Colorado State Board of Education is considering the approval of a state framework that would make it acceptable for a student to move up a level toward meeting grade level expectations over a two year period, meaning that it would be acceptable for schools across Colorado to graduate students who are nowhere near ready for life after high school. We will have high school graduates who will not be ready to follow their dreams, students who we have failed, who we have allowed to pass through from grade level to level only to be told they are unqualified, and unready for the challenges of college and career.

The proposed changes to the state framework, which is a tool that provides information about academic progress made by schools and districts year to year, would tell communities that schools were “Performance”-- the highest rating a school can receive-- even when student achievement is amongst the lowest in the state. Year after year, that will allow students to fall between the cracks without any insight into the struggling system that has failed that student. Parents will be led to believe that there is something “wrong” with their child rather than seeing that it is a challenge facing every family in their community. It would mean that it would be acceptable for students entering 6th grade to read at a 2nd grade level. It would mean that a student preparing to enter high school algebra classes would need support practicing long division and one step word problems.

Our children deserve better.