Rise & Shine: Inside Students for Education Reform, a major player in Denver’s school board race

Good morning.

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of Rise & Shine. We've got a lot of good stuff for you today.

Melanie took a close look at the pro-education reform student group that is poised to be a major player in this year's Denver school board election, and Ann dug into why it matters that Colorado has scant information on how prepared students are to enter kindergarten.

We've got those stories below, plus a book excerpt that describes how New York's Success Academy cherry-picks its parents and a look at the challenge of recruiting teachers in rural Alaska.

Read on.

— Erica Meltzer, bureau chief

Rise & Shine is Chalkbeat’s morning digest of education news. Subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox.

INSIDE SFER The biggest political boogeyman in Denver’s competitive school board races this year is a pro-reform student organization that members describe as authentic and independent, but that skeptics have pegged as a front for big-money corporate interests. Chalkbeat

READY OR NOT In 2016, the State Board of Education put the brakes on a proposal for a detailed public report showing whether Colorado kindergarteners are ready for school. As Colorado prepares to expand preschool access, this dearth of data makes it hard to tell whether hundreds of millions in public and private dollars devoted to early childhood programs are paying off or falling short. Chalkbeat

Reporter Ann Schimke spoke with Colorado Edition about the problem. KUNC

ALL IN Success Academy, the controversial New York charter school network, has been accused of cherry-picking its students. In a new book, Robert Pondiscio argues that who the school really cherry-picks is its parents. Chalkbeat

GROWTH MODEL As the Colorado State Board of Education debates changing the state’s school rating system, a similar debate over proficiency versus growth is heating up in Tennessee. Chalkbeat

LIFELONG LEARNING Gov. Jared Polis has announced the creation of a new office to coordinate workforce education efforts across the state. KUNC

SCHOOL SAFETY Safe2Tell once again set a record, with August tips up 75% from August 2018. Denver Post

HISTORY LESSON The first black child to attend an integrated school as a result of a court order did so all the way back in 1868, when the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the school board in Muscatine, Iowa, could not keep 12-year-old Susan Clark from the school nearest her home. The Conversation

UP NORTH Rural districts in Colorado and across the nation struggle at attract and retain teachers, but the problem is particularly acute in Alaska. Schools rely heavily on out-of-state teachers, who in turn often struggle to adapt to the harsh weather, isolation, and cultural differences that come with living in remote Alaska. Ed Week