A common question I’ve fielded in the campaign is, “what can one board member do?”
For too long, our school board members have forgotten their responsibility to be the prime movers of policy in the Denver Public Schools and have been passive rubber stampers of the initiatives championed by the Superintendent and the pro-corporate reform forces in town, which include groups like A+ Denver, Democrats for Education Reform and Stand for Children.
That attitude doesn’t fit with my ideas on what a school board director should do.
|with my nephew, Iker|
So what can one board member do? A lot, including:
- Write board legislation to change district policy
- Build consensus around certain values with other board members
- Give voice to certain issues that are not on the radar of more affluent board members
- Conduct on-site visits of schools and report back on findings to the community and to the board
- Provide direct support to families that are trying to get resolution on issues they encounter with the district
- Collaborate with city council and RTD to widen the perspective of policy in their respective purview
- Inspire and mobilize the community to act and sound off on issues, so that board members know where we stand
What are your ideas? Tell me in the feedback box below.
Additionally, I will work on the following areas:
- Protect and defend collective bargaining rights
- Fight for fair implementation and use of the teacher evaluation system, known as LEAP
- Move classroom discipline issues out of the classroom and into the hands of restorative justice counselors, so that other students can stay on track
Launching meaningful policy for Families
- End the “choice” system and its admin-heavy, expensive support structure
- Protect families/students from unfair persecution when they decide to opt out of standardized testing
- Drastically reform the school performance framework, so that students in poverty, students with disabilities and English-learning students are no longer used as the excuse to shutter our public schools
- Equip schools with a proportional number of staff that can explain and guide families through the exact process of an IEP and advise parents about the outside resources
- Institute wraparound services in our schools, so that schools become community centers that parents can trust
Ending privatization of our public schools
- Initiate a full moratorium on new charter school applications
- Conduct public hearings on existing charter school renewals to air out issues and complaints before renewals are approved
- Remove members of pro-corporate reform “nonprofits” from our advisory committees and oversight boards, specifically with the bond and mill levy
- Fight against every school closure, and never support any restructuring of school or staff without a full public audit and legitimate consent of students, families and teachers
Advocating for fiscal responsibility of your tax dollars
- Conduct a cost-benefit analysis of initiatives like choice, Success Express, charter schools, etc.
- Work toward a moratorium on new school construction when boundaries could be changed to fill existing schools instead of incurring more debt
- Fight for an independent audit of the district’s finances
- Dig deeply to find ways to make up the contribution shortfall to the teacher’s pension fund
- Eliminate out-of-court settlements with families of students with disabilities by adopting inclusive and appropriate policies and budget allocations at the school level
Ending discriminatory school policy
- Absolute fidelity to the English learner federal court order, to which DPS is subject
- Removing “resource officers” from our schools, and re-allocating that expense to more restorative justice counselors
- Removing the test scores of English learners not yet fluent from school ratings that are used to close our public schools
- Fight for resources for, and defend the civil rights of, students with disabilities
- Provide a safe, anti-oppression zone for LGBTQIA+ students and ensure our schools have genderless restroom and locker facilities for those who wish to use them.
- Respect a student’s self-determined gender identity and update forms, systems, language and processes to support that identification.