Effecting successful suburban school reform poses an authentic challenge. Many students do well compared to their peers in neighboring districts, but overall test scores conceal shortcomings. The U.S. spends more per person on education than any other country, yet even middle-class students academically lag their peers in other countries. The fast-growing Douglas County School District (DCSD) south of Denver, Colorado, has attempted a different approach to aim higher.
Education Policy Center director Pam Benigno and longtime Colorado League of Charter Schools president Jim Griffin reflect on the 20th anniversary of Colorado’s Charter Schools Act, the third of its kind in the nation. The guests share colorful stories from the past and discuss some of the state’s charter successes.
In his June 5 column recounting when the good guys in education reform prevailed, the Denver Post’s Vincent Carroll touted the Education Policy Center’s “painstakingly evenhanded” retelling of how Colorado’s 1993 Charter Schools Act — the third of its kind in the nation — came to be:
[Authors Pam Benigno and Kyle Morin] give credit to [...]
Commemorating the 20th anniversary of Colorado’s groundbreaking Charter Schools Act, Education Policy Center director Pam Benigno reflects on the parental demand, political drama, and personal tragedy that make a colorful tale of how the law came to be.
In 1993 Colorado became the third state to adopt charter school legislation. Born out of frustration with lackluster school performance and limited options, the Charter Schools Act resulted from the hard work and dedication of many parents, educators, and political leaders. Careful and colorful recollections from many active, influential figures combine with other original sources to highlight the foundation and origins of the Act.
Jim Griffin, president of the Colorado League of Charter Schools, talks about a new report that documents the growth of the state’s public charter school movement, and the better academic outcomes their schools are getting with less funds.
Young Harris College Professor Nathan Gray discusses his study of Ohio charter schools that offers some new insights into the effects of competition in K-12 education and the importance of quality charter school policies. In Gray’s study, the threat of charter competition yielded significant learning gains for students in district schools.
Quoted in an article for School Reform News, an Education Policy Center expert commented on a 2012 Donnell-Kay Foundation study identifying success among Denver charter schools.
Denver-based education policy consultant Gina Schlieman discusses a recent article in The Economist that highlights the positive results from Great Britain’s expansion of academies, publicly-funded schools that have been given greater autonomy. Schlieman calls on her recent graduate-level studies at the London School of Economics to provide some uniquely informed insights regarding what Colorado and other states ought to glean from this emerging British education success story.
Check out a new School Reform News feature story by Ben DeGrow about Arizona’s cutting-edge Carpe Diem Collegiate High School and Middle School, a public charter that has pioneered a unique blended learning model and has achieved some remarkable results with students. The school’s innovations may hold great promise for reformers in Colorado. Perhaps the article will inspire education transformers to Seize the Day and make a difference for current and future learners in our great state.