Douglas County Parents (DCP) has become aware of a situation that is of grave concern to us. The Board of Education passed a resolution on Sept 2, 2014, authorizing the submission of requests for Innovation Waivers to the State Board of Education (SBE). The Board plans to present this to the SBE this fall. The resolution indicates the Board will be assisting schools in applying for assessment waivers and forming Innovation Zones, as defined by the Innovation Schools Act of 2008. What they failed to reveal is the following:
- The Douglas County BOE would have the power to terminate non-core teachers and staff at will, and to waive teacher licensing requirements.
- The Douglas County BOE would have the ability to dictate curriculum.
- Innovation schools would have the same autonomies as charter schools, without the full responsibilities for operations and human resources that charter schools have. This would drive the demand for charter school enrollment down, potentially hurting the charter school communities in Douglas County.
- DCSD would join “turnaround” districts such as Denver, Pueblo and Kit Carson, whose innovation schools have failed to achieve the intended goals of the program. DCSD would no longer be compared with districts such as Cherry Creek, Boulder, Littleton and JeffCo.
- High schools would no longer be eligible to compete for “top lists” which are measured by state standardized tests.
- Millions of public tax dollars would be spent to create yet another new system to comply with state and federal accountability measures.
- Allocate or withhold funding to individual schools, based on their level of participation in the innovation program.
- Implement even more reforms at a faster pace, with less accountability
An innovation plan requires:
- Evidence of majority support of school administrators
- Evidence of teachers support – at least 60% via a secret voting ballot
- Evidence of support from the School Accountability Committee (SAC),
- A statement of the level of support by students, parents, and the community surrounding the school.
These requirements are not happening in DCSD. In fact, they are moving forward with little to no public buy-in.
DCP is urging you to get informed and get involved. Do your research. Talk to your friends. Attend local SAC, DAC or BoE meetings and express your desire to NOT pursue an assessment waiver. We will be keeping an eye on other opportunities to make your voice heard, so please be sure to sign up for our weekly updates here on DCP.
- The Innovation Schools Act of 2008. Includes: SB 10-191 Guidance for Innovation Schools and Memo for Innovation Schools seeking to waiver teacher licensure
- Chalkbeat Article related to Innovation Schools
- DCSD Authorizing Submission of Innovation Waiver to the State Board of Education
- Colorado Department of Education info about Innovation Schools