If you’re not already, by the end of this week you may be tired of hearing about “Waiting for Superman,” the school reform documentary opening Friday in Colorado. The film has received pre-release hype rivaling “Star Wars” or “Avatar,” thanks in large part not to the studio but a concerted push by advocacy groups. Advocates for Obama-Arne Duncan (the U.S. education secretary)-style reforms hail the film as a powerful catalytic agent that will fuel outrage and spur a grassroots movement to push meaningful change to our system of public schools. Critics of the film say it oversimplifies complex issues and scapegoats teachers’ unions and traditional public schools, while treating charter schools as a panacea.
Various groups are holding private screenings of “Superman” tomorrow in Boulder, Centennial, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins, Grand Junction and Highlands Ranch. And to mark its 25th anniversary, the Colorado Children’s Campaign is bringing in director Davis Guggenheim – who won an Oscar for his previous film, “An Inconvenient Truth” – for a Q & A at its sold-out anniversary luncheon on Wednesday. According to a press release, Guggenheim “will show clips, discuss his personal motivation for making the film, the critical education issues highlighted in the film and his perspective on the crisis in education.”
What’s on tap:
Denver’s school board has scheduled a four-hour work session tonight – and it looks like they’re going to need it. Topics on the agenda include a presentation on how the district will transition to Colorado’s new academic standards, including a handy timeline on page. They’ll also tackle a transportation proposal to cut costs that calls for changes in busing for magnet programs, ending busing for highly gifted students and implementing a “shuttle bus” system in far northeast Denver.
And, finally, they’ll talk about the impact of the educator evaluator bill, also known as Senate Bill 191. The district and its teachers union have until Jan. 15 to implement the “mutual consent” provisions, meaning both the principal and the teacher agree they want to be at a particular school. This is more of an issue in Denver than in other Colorado districts, as we reported in the story “DPS leads pack in direct-placing teachers.” The work session is slated to run from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at 900 Grant St. The full agenda is here.
Also, the Cherry Creek board meets at 7 p.m. at Pine Ridge Elementary School, 6525 S. Wheatlands Parkway in Aurora. That agenda is here.
The week ahead
WEDNESDAY – The Higher Education Strategic Planning Steering Committee holds a town hall meeting from 4-6 p.m. at the Aims Community College Theater in Greeley.
THURSDAY – The steering committee holds another town hall, again from 4-6 p.m., this time in the North Ballroom of the Western State College College Center in Gunnison. … The DPS board holds a regular meeting starting at 4 p.m. The agenda is here.
FRIDAY – The advisory committee that’s been developing requirements for a new state testing system holds its final meeting from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Denver Marriott West in Golden (more information here). The State Council on Educator Effectiveness meets from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Department of Education, 201 E. Colfax Ave.