Ten candidates are vying for four open seats on the Denver Board of Education in an election that could be pivotal to the district’s future at a time of churn and change.
Incumbent Jeanne Kaplan is running unopposed in her central Denver district. The three open seats are more competitive: Five candidates are vying for the northeast Denver seat being vacated by Kevin Patterson; two are running for Michelle Moss’s vacant southwest Denver seat; and two candidates are competing for a citywide, at-large seat that has belonged to Jill Conrad for the past four years.
Upcoming community forums, debates
Tues., Oct. 27, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Scott United Methodist Church, 2880 Garfield St. For all contested races, sponsored by the North City Park Civic Association.
The North City Park Civic Association forum was the last scheduled for this election. Time to vote!
Other stories, information:
Click here to see the Ed News story about the latest campaign finance filings on Oct. 30.
Click here to see the Ed News story about Stand for Children’s role in the DPS elections.
Click here to see Denver Post story about two DPS candidates’ prior financial problems.
Click here to see Denver TV Ch. 8 coverage of the election, including full-length videos of an Oct. 10 forum, the Oct. 13 forum where students asked the questions and short clips of each DPS candidate.
Click here to read the Ed News story about the first DPS candidate financial filings.
Click here to read the Denver Post story about an Oct. 10 forum for all candidates.
Click here to read the Ed News story about a Sept. 23 debate at Bruce Randolph School and download a podcast of the debate.
Click here to read the Ed News story about why one at-large candidate, Christopher Scott, chose not to attend the Sept. 23 forum.
Other related stories:
Info for voters:
Oct. 13 – 16. Ballots are mailed out to voters. This year’s election is an all-mail ballot.
In their own words: Candidate questionnaires
Education News Colorado sent all candidates a nine-question questionnaire to help voters ascertain where the candidates stand on key issues facing the city’s public school system. Six of the 10 candidates responded. Two decided not to respond and two failed to respond.
Readers can read the full, unedited answers by following the links below. Underneath the links is a full list of the questions candidates received.
AT-LARGE candidates represent the entire district:
Seawell video clip from Sept. 23 forum:
Scott video clip from Oct. 7:
(At-large candidate Deborah Sims-Fard has withdrawn from the race.)
DISTRICT 2 candidates represent southwest Denver:
DISTRICT 3 candidates represent central Denver:
District 3 candidate Jeanne Kaplan (incumbent, unopposed).
DISTRICT 4 candidates represent northeast Denver:
Easley video clip from Sept. 23 forum:
Jones’ video clip from Sept. 23 forum:
Did not respond to questionnaire. Visit his website here.
Clark video clip from Sept. 23 forum:
Did not respond to questionnaire. Visit her website here.
Did not attend Sept. 23 forum.
Declined to respond to questionnaire. Visit her website here.
Shumway’s video clip from Sept. 23 forum:
Questions sent to DPS board candidates:
1. Nearly 100 percent of teachers in Colorado’s largest school districts received satisfactory ratings in each of the past three years, according to an analysis by Education News Colorado. Because the current evaluation system appears to be broken, please provide specific examples of measurement tools you believe should be used to gauge teacher effectiveness and explain why. Examples might include linking CSAP growth data to a teacher or school, classroom observations by peer teachers, growth on district assessments, etc.
2. Most forcibly assigned teachers are placed in higher-poverty schools, at least partly because those schools tend to have more openings, according to an analysis by the Denver Post. This suggests the district’s “market incentive” – or $2,345 in 2008-09 – component of ProComp is not working to attract teachers to these schools. What should the district do to, first, end the predominance of direct placement in the poorest schools and, second, better attract teachers to these schools?
Pace of reform
3. Denver Public Schools has set 3.5 percent as its annual academic growth target on most CSAP indicators, a figure that some board members initially considered to be too low. Yet the district failed to meet even those goals on the 2009 CSAP administration. How do you feel about the pace of reform in DPS – are the district’s goals too high or too low?
4. DPS recently celebrated an increase in the graduation rate at Abraham Lincoln High School. Yet state figures show an increasing number of Lincoln graduates require remediation when they attend a college or university in Colorado. How can the district both increase the rigor of instruction while also increasing the percentage of high school graduates who are prepared – i.e., do not need remediation – in college?
5. What steps should be taken – or are being taken now – to ensure an A in an academic core course at a historically struggling school such as North High School carries the same weight as an A in an academic core course at a traditionally high-performing school such as the Denver School of the Arts? How do you ensure the quality of education is consistent across the district?
6. Does DPS currently have an appropriate balance of school options – traditional, charter, innovation – for students and parents? Why or why not? And, specifically, does DPS currently have an appropriate balance of options for low-income families?
Struggling teachers, schools
7. What should be done with school staff members who are shown to be ineffective, based either on the current DPS evaluation system or using the measurement tools that you outlined in question no. 1? How long should a teacher or principal be given from the determination of ineffectiveness to consequence?
8. DPS’ School Performance Framework is intended to serve as a warning system for troubled schools yet its consequences are rather vaguely described. When the SPF data is released later this month, if it shows a school is failing to meet the needs of its students – less than one year’s growth in one year’s time – what actions should be taken to ensure students are given an opportunity to succeed? What actions should be taken if a school persistently failed to meet the needs of its students – for example, insufficient growth for three consecutive years?
9. Are there any aspects of President Obama’s strategies for school reform that you oppose? Why?