We got word that Denver’s 9News was planning to do a big story on the “success” of the turnaround efforts in Montbello. The writer of this letter asked us to publish his letter to Nelson Garcia, news anchor at 9News.
I urge you to make sure you tell both sides of the story as you investigate what has been happening at Montbello. When you ask your questions, make sure you include random community members, random students, random teachers, not just people that Denver Public Schools has hand-picked for you to talk to. I challenge you to ask both sides the same questions and see how their answers compare.
Some questions to ask the random people might be as follows.
What’s happened to the experienced teachers who have worked there? If the old teachers were so bad, why did they wait until now to let them go? What’s the average age of the teachers who are coming into the new schools?
Why didn’t DPS support the school that already existed with the same amount of money that they’re spending on this change? What’s the difference in the per-student money being spent between now and before the change?
Why didn’t DPS support the school that already existed by providing a consistent principal? How many principals has Montbello had in the last five years? How might a consistent leader have made a difference?
Who stands to make money from this drastic move in the Montbello neighborhood?
What was the community input about these decisions? How do they feel about their kindergarten children riding on the same bus as the 12th graders? How do they feel about their school and community being dissolved?
Check the background of some of the administrators at Montbello and DPS. Do they have teaching experience? Do they have criminal records? Do they have ties to entities that would stand to profit from this change?
Considering what has happened at Manual, why would DPS continue to perform such drastic and expensive changes?
The Denver Public Schools is reporting the myth that things are going extremely well with the turnarounds that are in place in the schools, and that the community is happy with the school situation. That is not exactly the truth. The parents of the students who were lucky enough to get into the new schools, DCIS, DSST, College Prep, are probably extremely happy because approximately $11,000 per pupil is being spent to make sure their children are at grade level or above academically. Check out Blueprint Denver at http://blueprintschools.org/Denver-fellow.php for information.
On the other hand, students left in the “phase out” schools are being warehoused until their schools close. Although DPS will tell you differently, our community did not agree to have the majority of our students in schools that will be closing soon, depending on the choice process to gamble on a chance to get into a higher performing school.
Mr. Garcia, Channel 9 is well-known in the metro area as being a top-notch news provider. Please make sure that you continue to deserve that title while you do this story. Please be fair in your reporting. There are always two sides.
Thank you for your time.