Since embracing charter schools, Denver’s dropout rate was cut by more than half in the last decade.
According to an article in “Education Next”, by David Osborne, school choice has grown in Denver, Colorado to the point that today about two in five of the city’s students are in public charter schools or fairly similar innovation schools, and there is a waiting list to get in.
In his book, “Crippled America,” Donald Trump writes that today’s public schools have a “dumbed-down” curriculum that is not preparing kids for real life. He argues that our schools need to start challenging kids – and we need to start challenging the schools, allowing them to be more competitive.
“Competition is why I’m very much in favor of school choice. Let schools compete for kids. I guarantee that if you forced schools to get better or close because parents didn’t want to enroll their kids there, they would get better.”
Denver began implementing school choice ten years ago. The results speak for themselves. The dropout rate was cut by more than half in the last decade. In the 2006 to 2007 school year, less than 40 percent of Denver students graduated on time. Today, about 65 percent do. The portion of students who scored at grade level or better in reading, writing and math also increased by 15 percentage points.
In “Crippled America”, Trump continues, “For two decades I’ve been urging politicians to open the schoolhouse doors and let parents decide which schools are best for their children. Professional educators look to options such as school choice, charter schools, voucher programs, magnet schools and opportunity scholarships.”
Trump advocates that America needs to eliminate Common Core and return the basic control and responsibility for our schools to the states and local communities.
Osborne writes that Denver has proven, for a decade now that charter schools offer a more effective model of urban education. Within another decade, the district could reach a tipping point, where a majority of public school families choose charters or innovation schools. When that happens, the reforms will be difficult to undo. And Denver will be well on the road to proving that an elected board can transform a 20th-century system organized on the principles of bureaucracy into a 21st-century system built to deliver continuous improvement.
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