Parents, Teachers, and Community Members “Take To the Streets”!

Since a majority of Board members have not indicated a willingness to replace the district proposal with the Coalition plan, members of the Coalition will be joined by parents, teachers and other community members in a demonstration Thursday night.

For Immediate Release:
For more information contact Carolyn Crowder

Parents, Teachers, and Community Members “Take To the Streets”!

A coalition of Parents, Teachers and Community members are calling a press conference for Thursday, November 18, at 5:30 pm.  The press conference will be a part of a protest that will be taking place between 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm in front of the Denver Public Schools Administration Building at 900 Grant Street.  Thursday is the night the Board is supposed to vote on a plan that could displace approximately 400 teachers and disrupt the education environment for students in the following schools:  Ford, McGlone, Oakland, and Green Valley elementary schools; as well as Rachel B. Noel Middle School and Montbello High School.

Many community and parent voices were heard speaking against the current district proposal at the November 8th public comment session.  A coalition of community groups including:  the Black Education Advisory Council (BEAC); the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA); Northeast Community Congress for Education (NCCE); Northeast Parents and Democrats for Excellent Neighborhood Schools (DeFENSE) presented an alternative plan.  Since a majority of Board members have not indicated a willingness to replace the district proposal with the Coalition plan, members of the Coalition will be joined by parents, teachers and other community members in a demonstration Thursday night.  The demonstration will immediately precede the November 18, public comment session and the scheduled vote.
“The district did not include an inclusive recommendation process nor the research necessary to make this kind of high-stakes decision.  Our proposal is a blueprint of what research based reform should look like.” Statement by Henry Roman, president, DCTA.

Larry Borom, chair of BEAC, sent a letter to the school board stating, “We feel that teachers, and particularly Black teachers are being made scapegoats for a lack of DPS competence over the last decade in delivering educational services to these communities.”
“The current DPS plan was not developed with genuine community input, nor is it based on a true understanding of the challenges and strengths of each individual school. Without that understanding, this plan has little chance for success,” says Sabrina Stevens Shupe, a member of DeFENSE.

“The District needs to understand that they cannot create a plan and then use an outside organization, with no ties to the community, to make it look like the community is on board with their decisions. The District’s obligations are to the people. The power is in the people, and if the Board doesn’t understand their role as a check and balance to the administration, then we the people will do what is necessary to get a Board that does,” add members of NCCE.
“I am especially concerned about the difference in services between Oakland elementary and the charter school the district wants to replace it with – regarding the services available to our Spanish speaking children.  I am also concerned how the transition from Oakland to the SOAR charter school will interrupt the great progress for all students that is currently being made by the new principal and her staff.  Oakland suffered for several years under  poor school leadership and an atmosphere that was negative towards teachers as well as parents.  The new principal has worked with the staff —to both change the atmosphere and the academic offerings to our students.  Oakland is a different place!  That is why I support the Coalition plan.   This progress should not be stopped!”  Mario Ramirez, Parent from Oakland Elementary.

“As a parent of a fourth grader at one of the affected schools and a member of the A plus committee, I am disappointed in the final outcome as some of the options to consider such as transformation was removed from the table somewhere in the process.

As part of the A plus committee I think we came up with some great values and ideas we want for our children, however there is a significant consensus that believes these decisions were made long ago prior to having any input.  Prior to the summer break transformation was still on the table for these schools. Sometime shortly after returning transformation was no longer an option for these affected schools.  I expected that we would have more input on this decision rather than it being eliminated from the options for us by the district.

I do have concerns regarding the oversight of all these changes coming at once, considering another area charter school has already failed twice and is currently under investigation for allegedly breaking the law.  What happened to the oversight there?

The message we continue to hear from the district is that we want parent engagement and involvement, yet the message that is received seems to say just the opposite as we continue to receive letters or phone calls regarding meetings and other things going on at the schools or within the district either the day of or after the fact.  I am an informed and involved parent, I know how to get this information but the majority of parents and guardians don’t.  Although all the A plus meetings were made public, this type of poor communication leads to the many concerns that not enough input from the community was heard or received throughout the process.”

Statement by Rick Gorham, Northeast Parent, and member of the Far Northeast Community Committee, facilitated by A plus Denver.

The Coalition proposal recommends an inclusive process; stakeholder oversight in the design, evaluation and implementation of school turnaround plans; and a timeline that gives neighborhood schools a chance to transform prior to replacement or closure.

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