SIGHTED: SE Denver’s mystery school board member

Contrary to popular belief, southeast Denver’s school board member, Bruce Hoyt, does actually exist. We’ve sighted him!

Guess what, southeast Denver?  Your missing school board member, Bruce Hoyt, has been found!  He was sighted at Anne Rowe’s party the other day!

Whew!  Hopefully he hasn’t adopted a short-timer’s mentality and will finally listen to constituents on the way out the door.


Term-limited southeast Denver school board member, Bruce Hoyt (center, white shirt and glasses)
Term-limited southeast Denver school board member, Bruce Hoyt (center, white shirt and glasses)

Rupert Murdoch paid Van Schoales’ salary, funded Education Reform Now

Rupert Murdoch is funding the One Chance Colorado campaign.
The Grand Poo-Bah of Corporate Irresponsibility, Rupert Murdoch

No, we’re not joking.

The New York Times reported on July 23, 2011, that:

Mr. Murdoch began to put his own money behind Mr. Klein’s efforts. At one point, he quietly donated $1 million to an advocacy group, Education Reform Now, run by Mr. Klein, bankrolling a continuing campaign to overturn a state law protecting older teachers, according to a person told of the contribution.

The story about Rupert Murdoch’s involvement with failed corporate education reform is here.

So, what does this have to do with Van Schoales?  Well, until very recently, he was the executive director of Education Reform Now, based here in Denver.  Van has now gone on to lead everyone’s favorite faux community outreach group, A Plus Denver.  His attack poodle, Myles Mendoza, also an employee of Education Reform Now, still works there and even recently gave a party to celebrate the victory of vouchers in Douglas County, CO.

A strange outcropping from all this is this hokey One Chance Colorado campaign that has magically appeared out of nowhere.  As the spoof site tells us, the partners in this pull-the-wool campaign are Stand for Children (led nationally by Jonah “It’s Not Really About the Kids” Edelman) Colorado, Colorado Children’s Campaign, Colorado Succeeds/BizCARES, Democrats for Education Reform-Colorado, Get Smart Schools, Education Reform Now (Murdoch money!), and A+ Denver.  Wow.

According to them, the solution for providing Colorado kids the chance to succeed is “(e)very child in every neighborhood deserves a school with great teachers and leaders who will renew focus on the fundamentals of reading, writing and math – today, not tomorrow. ”

So, in other words, you can kiss your whole-child curriculum good-bye.  No foreign languages.  No calculus or trigonometry.  No physical education.  No arts or music.  In short, if One Chance Colorado has their way, there will be nothing that colleges actually look for in entrance applications or nothing that scholarship review committees want to see.  DPS is 70% low income (free and reduced lunch).  So they won’t even have a shot at a great college education or even a scholarship because One Chance Colorado wants to only focus on what’s on a standardized test.

Is that the kind of education you want for your kids?  As Diane Ravitch said at the Save Our Schools march,

Regardless of their origin or neighborhood, all kids deserve the same kind of education that children get at Sidwell Friends (where the President’s children attend).

Heckuva job, One Chance Colorado!



Prepare for the future, and see all the various degrees available at Central Methodist University today.

Democrats and Educational Equity

by Ed Augden, Retired DPS Teacher and Community Activist

Alexander Ooms may be right in his viewpoint expressed in the Denver Post on July 25, that elected Democrats may now favor so-called “education reform.” At least, Democratic politicians in Colorado’s state legislature appear to favor a conservative approach to education or acquiesce to it. SB 191, for example, was sponsored by State Sen. Michael Johnston and supported by former State Sen. Chris Romer. This is the face of the Colorado Democrats on educational issues, one that adheres to amateur educators and ignores teachers and verifiable research. Johnston represents the leadership of the Colorado Democratic Party. While most middle class and poor families with school age children seek a neighborhood school that offers a comprehensive education, corporate Democratic legislators such as Johnston, often favor replacing neighborhood schools with charter schools that many students won’t be eligible to attend because they fail to gain entrance through a lottery system that is, by its nature, discriminatory. Further, they ignore studies concluding that, while the teacher may be the most important factor in a child’s life at school, the effects of poverty diminish that influence. For example, a malnourished child who starts school at age five, lags behind peers in vocabulary development andwithout extra help will never catch up.

Ooms further accentuates this growing gap between privileged and struggling or impoverishedDemocrats in his comments regarding the 2010 Colorado primary Democratic campaign betweenAndrew Romanoff and Sen. Michael Bennet. Romanoff was likely the candidate of those folks who work for a living while Bennet represented those who apparently believe that the best candidate is thewealthiest candidate. Perhaps Bennet won because he accepted contributions from PACs and wealthycontributors. Romanoff rejected PAC money.

Ooms also represents the dubious view that “reforms” are succeeding. He uses Lake Middle School as an example of this success. In reality, it is the International Baccalaureate program that is succeeding with approximately 400 students while West Denver Prep, a charter school appears to be struggling to reach 100 enrolled students. By the district’s standards, West Denver Prep at Lake is a failing school.

Most notably, Ooms ignores the failure of the “redesign” of North High School. With great enthusiasm and little study, the principal, who had instituted reforms that were succeeding, was reassigned and the faculty forced to reapply for their positions. Most did not and were reassigned.Within two years, student achievement declined, the dropout rate increased and the school population declined. Most importantly, students lost trusted teachers who were replaced by inexperienced andoften indifferent teachers. Not since, has the district acknowledged the results and, instead, will launch a similar effort in Montbello and Green Valley Ranch this fall.

Certainly, Mr. Ooms represents the prevailing viewpoint of “reformers” – high stakes, standardized testing (that causes increased stress among poor students), charter schools that enroll the privileged and the lucky and ignore those left behind in regular schools, and teacher evaluations that link teacher appraisal, retention and promotion to student test scores despite evidence that such an approach is flawed. This viewpoint appears to be based on personal opinion and anecdotal information and rejects any evidence that contradicts the false paradigm. Educational reform in other countries such as Finland contradicts that paradigm. Teachers are highly respected and their appraisals, retention or promotion are NOT linked to student test scores.