Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Colorado's Charter Collaboration

So much of the talk in Colorado lately has centered on the debate surrounding vouchers in the Denver suburb of Douglas County that many of the strong academic gains that have taken place elsewhere across the Centennial State have been overlooked.

Excluding Douglas County, Colorado isn't home to any school voucher or scholarship tax credit programs, but the state has one of the most robust networks of high-achieving charter schools in the nation.

And while the rhetoric regarding the DougCo program can often get heated, many of the teachers and administrators out west have developed a civil, effective, and mutually-beneficial way of collaborating.

But it's not just charter schools working with private schools: charters in Denver are strong in large part because of the state's traditional public schools. Here's an excerpt from a local news story on the success of West Denver Prep Charter School in the context of the local district (emphasis ours):
Gibbons says in other urban areas across the country, charter schools and district schools are often at odds.

"A great deal of energy is spent, sort of the us-versus-them, kind of back-and-forth conflict around charter schools and traditional schools," Gibbons said.

Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg says district leaders don't want to waste a lot of time on what he calls "politics."

"Whether they are district-run schools or charter schools, we want all of our schools to be great schools in our neighborhood serving all the kids," Boasberg said. 
Just think of all the things that could be accomplished if both sides were willing to put politics aside and instead work to provide great schools for all of our kids. And this isn't just some pie-in-the-sky flowery wish as to what can happen. The video below explains how collaboration and achievement go hand in hand.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MAG

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