In moves toward school reform, I tend to believe choices such as charter schools and open enrollment are the most feasible and effective ways to bring about change. Vouchers are a trickier issue, as evidenced by the spat in Washington, D.C. Critics of vouchers have reasonably argued that districts and communities should focus on fixing the existing schools, rather than transferring motivated students out and, obviously, "leaving some child behind." In North Denver, however, parents and voters are expressing skepticism of the charter movement, and like many public school supporters pushing the district to fix the neighborhood schools. According to the Denver Post:
Parents and community members in northwest Denver implored school district officials Tuesday to fix their neighborhood schools and were skeptical about a plan to add more charter schools. "Thirty-six percent of the schools are not neighborhood schools now," said Loralie Cole, whose daughter will enter Denver Public Schools next fall. "We have a lot of choice already."
It's an interesting discussion, and relevant to the story in the LA Times about the Green Dot charter schools and the organizers urging parents to call for a revolution. Joanne featured this story with a link to the Times piece. One of the more insightful comments on this issue came form a parent in North Denver:
"New schools and charters are a great choice," said Ricardo Martinez, co-director of Padres y Jovenes Unidos, a community advocacy group. "But we want that kind of excellence at all of our schools. "
"Parents are urged to demand more from ... schools," reports the Times. That says a mouthful, doesn't it.
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