The state tried to save one Colorado school before and failed. Now it is about to try again — with 12.

Students arrive for school at Cole Arts and Science Academy in November 2015. In 2004, the state handed then Cole Middle School over to a national charter network in an effort to boost test scores. The effort failed. PHOTO: Nicholas Garcia
Students arrive for school at Cole Arts and Science Academy in November 2015. In 2004, the state handed then Cole Middle School over to a national charter network in an effort to boost test scores. The effort failed. PHOTO: Nicholas Garcia

DPS and CDE prove their standards fail to provide information needed to actually create successful schools – but they keep using them. Time any again we see schools closed or “given to charter companies” because the don’t meet an arbitrary standard. But the state, and DPS in particular, does not measure the whole story. They test and then fail. They do no look at school culture. They do not look at community involvement – and how to help increase it. They do not look at teacher or principal turnover, all of which are much better indicators of a school’s health than their stupid standardized tests. And worse, because they don’t look at those indicators, they do not address the real issues going on in schools.

The state tried to save one Colorado school before and failed. Now it is about to try again — with 12.

BY NICHOLAS GARCIA   –  MARCH 7, 2017, Chalkbeat.org

Colorado’s State Board of Education faced an unprecedented decision.

A neighborhood school serving mostly black and Latino students had been failing for too long. Despite an all-out effort to boost test scores — even the mayor tutored kids on the weekends — the needle hadn’t moved enough. State law required the board to wrest the school from its district and hand it over to a charter operator.

The year was 2004, and the school was Cole Middle School in northeast Denver.

Just three tumultuous years later, the state was handing the campus back to the district with few of its problems solved.

What happened at Cole offers a cautionary tale as Colorado begins an even grander experiment — trying to turn around 12 struggling schools and five school districts.