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May 31, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Colorado blazes a trail on education reform
My column this week noted the education reforms in Colorado, a state of similar population and demographics to Washington. Colorado is further down the road making school improvements and offers lessons for this state. The biggest lesson is about charter schools, which Colorado has had for nearly 20 years. An advocacy group in Denver, A-Plus, produced a report last year that credited a handful of high-performing charter schools as driving the bulk of improvement growth scores seen in the Denver Public Schools.
Denver has 32 charter schools serving more than 10,000 students.
The district’s growth score was among the highest compared with other large urban districts in Colorado – essentially improving by 1 percentile point when scores from charters were included. In response, the district has launched a principal training program in which school leaders will spend a year in high-performing charter schools to glean best practices to take back to the traditional schools. And a group of middle schools is asking the district for permission to tweak their school calendars like charter schools do.
My column mentions a school funding proposing by Colorado state Sen. Mike Johnston. This Denver Post article best explains it.
At the end of my column I linked to Johnston’s speech. If you have the time, it is worth listening to. But below is a powerful excerpt.