National, local figures call for firing of Denver Superintendent Susana Cordova

Cordova has become a national flashpoint as well. Diane Ravitch, a former Assistant Secretary of Education under President Bush entered the debate with an article published this week. Ravitch, author of multiple books on education policy, is widely regarded as a national leader of a movement to roll back reforms that include more standardized testing, schools closures and pushing charter schools, all hallmarks of the Boasberg-Bennet era.

Ravitch wrote a stinging call to arms to push Denver schools in a new direction. “It appeared that Denver was part of the new wave of pushback against failed reforms.

“High-stakes testing, written into federal law by George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law in 2002, was embraced by Denver school officials. Almost 20 years later, we know that testing should not become the central feature of schooling. It diverts time, money and energy away from everything that is not tested, including history, civics, literature, the arts, and even recess. We now also know that the billions spent on standardized testing and Common Core were wasted, since test scores on national and international tests have barely budged in the past 20 years.”

“Merit pay was tried and failed in Denver, as it has failed everywhere else it has been tried. Teachers don’t respond to rewards and punishments; they are not donkeys.“

“Denver was praised by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for its commitment to charter schools, but charter schools have proven to be a huge disappointment, not only  in Colorado but across the nation. They lure students and resources away from real public schools, which weakens the schools that most children attend. Privatization always and everywhere produces segregation. Multiple studies have shown that charter schools don’t get better results when the same demographic of children are enrolled.”

“The new Denver school board should use this unique opportunity to repute the failed “reforms” of the past decade. They have not closed achievement gaps; they have not improved the opportunities of all children. They have failed. 

“It is time for the school board to find new leadership willing to strike out in a new direction. That means leaders who do not define schooling by deeply flawed standardized tests and who understand that a great public education system benefits all children, not just a few.”

Ravitch’s call for the firing of Cordova is rattling Denver’s education establishment.

BREAKING: An on-line petition for new leadership in DPS has launched.

You can read Ravitch’s piece in its entirety:

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