Updated: Feb 13, 2020
Denver Public Schools has admitted that we did not reach our 2020 goals. Instead of taking the time to assess what we could do better, a Denver Public Schools’ Committee has recommended lowering the bar.
On Wednesday, January 16, Denver’s School Performance Framework (SPF) Committee decided to drop the District Framework academic expectations and lower them to the State Framework expectations. This move would be an enormous step backward for DPS because it would relinquish control to the State Board, take power away from parents, lower expectations for our students making yearly progress, and limit our ability to assess equity.
This would make it increasingly hard for the district to communicate school quality to families, and it would lower expectations for students.
Unlike the Colorado Framework, the DPS SPF adopted what is now known as the “Equity Indicator”. This requires district schools to assess whether students of color, multilingual students, students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch, and students with disabilities are meeting the district-wide academic benchmarks. By switching to the State Framework, schools will not be held accountable for gaps between students of different backgrounds, which takes power away from parents who are experiencing inequity and discrimination in their schools.
This unacceptable move will erase essential information for parents and will also allow schools to create an illusion of achievement, even if they are underserving students of different racial, socioeconomic, or linguistic backgrounds.
Additionally, the State Framework does not solicit feedback from the community. In Denver, parents, and students fill out satisfaction surveys, and the school is held accountable for whether or not they feel welcomed into their school community. If we move back to the State Framework, we will take community voice out of the school evaluation process and move to a system where 5 elected officials on the State Board are making decisions without parent input.
TEN believes that every child is brilliant and deserves an education that matches their potential. With this decision, the SPF Committee is admitting that they do not hold those same beliefs. We cannot, and will not, support this decision. We will continue to fight to ensure that schools are held accountable when they are not serving every student equally. We hope you will continue this fight alongside us as we work to create the schools of tomorrow that serve every student from every background equally.
Nicholas Martinez & Ariel Taylor Smith
Co-Founders | Transform Education Now