Denver’s Moment of Reckoning is Approaching

Moira Cullen:

Is Denver going to follow in the footsteps of other reform minded urban school districts that saw momentum, change, and improvement fade away? Or will we be one of the few cities to sustain and even accelerate effective school reform?
In less than two weeks, the most hotly contested and expensive school board race in the history of Colorado will come to an end. It looks like nearly $1 million will be spent by both sides in this election by the time Election Day arrives on November 1st.
Denver has a seven-person school board with four members currently supporting the Superintendent Tom Boasberg and a broad set of reforms while the remaining three board members have relied upon Diane Ravitch to try to thwart nearly every reform initiative. Needless to say, if two of the three seats go to anti-reform candidates, Boasberg will need to look for another job and the Colorado reform community is going to have to look to some other districts for bold leadership.
Denver has been the epicenter for reform in Colorado since Michael Bennet took the helm of Denver Public Schools (DPS). Most of the reforms, which were highlighted in Colorado’s Race to the Top application and elsewhere, are dependent upon Denver leading the charge.