DeFENSE stands for Democrats for Excellent Neighborhood School Education. We believe in preserving and fostering the original intent of public education in the United States: ensuring equity and excellence for ALL. We are not against charters, etc. Instead, we see neighborhood schools, where most kids to go school, as a first priority.

If you believe in a free, excellent public education for every child, join us!

Our Kids, Our Schools, Our Neighborhoods…

Our Responsibility!

A Call to Action to Institute a Blueprint of Reform

Our Kids: Deserve an Inclusive Process to improve their schools*

  • The process should include All Voices, All Proposals and All Facts.
  • All Stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, administrators, community, union representatives) should be involved as partners in design as well as implementation.
  • All Schools should have the ability to implement ideas that resonate with stakeholders, i.e., an “arts emphasis,” small class sizes, contracts with parents, etc.

Our Schools: Need Change that Works**

  • Based on best practice changes that have worked and experimental reforms that haven’t — commit to evidence-based reform.
  • “Transformative Change” vs. “Experimentation” — district and national examples
  • A meaningful chance for transformation should precede turnaround, closure or replacement.

Our Neighborhoods: Need an Investment in Neighborhood Schools***

  • A comprehensive neighborhood school should be an option for all students and is needed to welcome and fully serve English language learners and others with special needs.
  • We must monitor the proliferation of charter schools that has been shown to interfere with the overall quality of all district schools.
  • Destabilizing neighborhood schools destabilizes the neighborhood itself.

Our Responsibility: To Follow the Rules*

  • State law that mandates “accountability committees” (including stakeholders) at each school site and gives them the authority to recommend the school improvement plan (which should include turnaround strategies) — should be followed.
  • Federal provisions that mandate full stakeholder involvement (not just notification) in the design of turnaround strategies should be followed.
  • Site and regional stakeholder oversight committees should be created and involved in design, implementation and evaluation of schools involved in turnaround strategies.
  • An evaluation instrument should be developed and consistently used by stakeholder oversight committees.
  • We must follow state and federal statutes as well as moral and ethical standards regarding equity, fairness and non-discrimination.

*Federal School Improvement Grant guidelines; State Law: SB163; Harvard Family Research Project.

**DPS and national examples of successful transformation schools and unsuccessful turnaround/charter schools.

***Federal and state mandates for English language learners and special education students; “The Charter School Express, is Proliferation Interfering with Quality,” Education Week, October 7, 2009.

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