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Primary Candidates Report Card


The mission of Advocates for Public Education Policy (A4PEP) is to cultivate, support, and promote public schools that work for all, not just the well connected. It’s the Colorado way: All children have the chance to succeed.  We, each of us - parents, educators, students, community members - have a responsibility to protect Colorado’s public schools. A fair shot for each of Colorado's nearly one million public school students is at stake.

We believe that public schools are the heart of communities, where the rich traditions of the past meet the promise of the future.  Market-based reforms, once viewed as a “cure,” have resulted in separate and unequal schools. Reforms have ignored scholarly evidence regarding how to provide children with high-quality, equitable, and effective schooling in their communities.

Collectively, our board has hundreds of years of experience at all levels of public education, as educators, parents, students, school board members, state legislators, and policy experts. We asked all candidates in primaries in Colorado to respond to our survey to see how closely their values align with a vision for true public schools.


At the beginning of May, we invited candidates from various races--Governor, Colorado Senate and House, and Attorney General, from both parties to participate in our candidate survey.  Candidates were asked about their opinions regarding key education issues in Colorado:

  • Integrated and inclusive community schools

  • Culturally relevant and engaging curriculum

  • Community-based resources for target student interventions

  • Keeping taxpayer dollars for public schools

  • Community-driven, democratically-elected school boards, even for charters

  • Reduced reliance on standardized tests

  • Enhanced student, school and district evaluations based on multiple measures - not just standardized assessments

  • Campaign finance reform for school board elections

  • Commitment to the teaching profession


At least one candidate from each of the races we targeted replied to the survey.  We graded the responses using a rubric we developed as part of the survey design so that all responses were evaluated fairly. This rubric is aligned with A4PEP’s mission and values.  For those candidates who did not submit a survey response, we gave them an incomplete grade.


This is unfortunate, since A4PEP members are very interested in learning more about candidates in their districts,as well as  in statewide races. Hopefully, they will choose to fill out our survey if they succeed in their party’s primary. All candidates have an opportunity to improve their grades by “doing their homework (filling out the survey)” and allowing C4PEP to interview them.


Full disclosure:  Candidates’ grades do  not constitute an endorsement.  Rather, our grading system shows how candidates’ policies and views align with C4PEP’s mission and values.

CREDO School Closure Study 2017


Closures  of  low-performing  schools  were  not  blind  to  socioeconomic  status  or  race/ethnicity  of the  students  who  were  enrolled.  In  both  the  charter  and  TPS  sectors,  and  particularly  in  the  lowest ventile  of  achievement,  low-performing  schools  with  a  larger  share  of  black  and  Hispanic  students were  more likely  to  be  closed  than  similarly  performing  schools  with a  smaller  share  of  disadvantaged minority  students.


Moreover,  the  closure  rates  for  higher-poverty  low-performing  TPS  in  the  bottom two  ventiles  surpassed  the  rates  for  lower-poverty  TPS  of  similarly  low  performance.  These  observed inequivalent  tendencies  raise  the  issue  of  equity  in  decision-making  about  school closures.   

State plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act: Where is the research?

Plans to use data to improve educator skills are even more unclear than plans to implement evidence-based interventions. A number of plans appear to be describing what they currently do with data, which means their “plan” is to keep doing it. While that might be a good idea if they had evidence that what they were doing was working, none of the plans offer that.

The cost of charter growth: New research estimates the price tag for districts

It’s a substantial hit — between 6 and 8 percent of state and local school spending in the district, Durham County. And it underscores the challenge facing districts where students are choosing other options for school, but the school district itself struggles to cut spending enough to make up for the lost funding.

Charter schools “may expand choice for some students while imposing costs on taxpayers and students that remain in district schools,” write researchers Helen Ladd and John Singleton.

Knight Foundation - Bright Spots in Community Engagement

Having strong neighborhood associations and getting input from residents is key when it comes to successful community engagement.

That’s one of the major lessons in “Bright Spots,” a new report released this week. A series of case studies reveals that creating greater civic participation in communities like San Jose, Calif., Akron, Ohio and St. Paul, Minn., is easier when residents are involved in meaningful ways around issues that impact them, like area and neighborhood redevelopment.

CREDO Study of For-Profit Charter Schools

The study analyzed charter schools’ impact on student academic growth and achievement in math and reading, using data from the 2011–12 to 2014–15 school years across 24 states, New York City, and Washington, D.C. The report was funded by the Walton Family Foundation.

For-profit charter schools don’t stack up well against traditional public schools, either: CREDO found that students attending for-profit charters have weaker growth in math and similar growth in reading.

School vouchers are not a proven strategy for improving student achievement

Studies of U.S. and international voucher programs show that the risks to school systems outweigh insignificant gains in test scores and limited gains in graduation rates

NAACP Task Force on Quality Education


No federal, state, or local taxpayer dollars should be used to fund for-profit charter schools, nor should public funding be sent from nonprofit charters to for-profit charter management companies. The widespread findings of misconduct and poor student performance in for-profit charter schools demand the elimination of these schools. Moreover, allowing for-profit entities to operate schools creates an inherent conflict of interest.

"Until cities commit to solving the supply problem by diligently improving the quality of schools in every neighborhood, they will not have a truly effective choice system." - Betheny Gross,senior research analyst and research director at the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE)


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