The big picture: Privatizing Douglas County Schools?

Is DCSD for sale?

Is DCSD for sale?

Read this post by Diane Ravitch, an advocate for Public Schools:

Five Steps to Destroy Public Education

Then read this post from the SPEAK Facebook page:

(from a parent) “Regarding the rumor that the Board of Ed intends to transform the district into an all-charter school district: this is common knowledge in the ed reform community. You must realize that yes, in fact, the nation’s eyes are on you.

Privatizing Douglas County Schools with CHARTERS and VOUCHERS is the very heart of the issue. Teachers and parents are chasing the red herrings just as the Board of Ed and Superintendent planned; you are distracted from their true intent. Indeed, there is a blueprint for ed reform and district leaders are implementing it flawlessly. They devalue and demoralize the teachers while starving neighborhood schools through budget cuts. Parents grow dissatisfied with their neighborhood school and look for alternatives in charters and private schools. You must understand the core of this debate is not about teacher salaries, union negotiations or the need for “choice” to compete on a global stage. Simply said, your Board of Ed want to dismantle the traditional public school system and create a charter and voucher system. Bear with me…

In the new age of ed reform and venture philanthropy, your student is seen as a dollar sign. It takes only a few minutes searching the Net to find out how investors and technology companies stand to make a lot of money by privatizing education through charters and vouchers. While broad scale reform is nothing new to the struggling urban districts of D.C. and Chicago, it’s never been done in an idyllic setting such as Douglas County. Your Board of Ed and Superintendent are positioning themselves on a national stage to become the pioneers of MASSIVE reform in a successful suburban district. And they are not bashful about it. They have admitted as much in interviews and have accepted copious amounts of cash from pro-ed reform organizations to fund their legal fight to support vouchers. Google it.

To implement their pilot project, public monies will be funneled to private schools through vouchers, and charter schools will be created where not wanted or needed with dire consequences to students. I can speak directly to the hidden dangers of imposing charters in neighborhoods where there is no “need.” I was previously employed by a pro- ed reform non-profit organization who hired a charter management organization (CMO) to form a charter school in a Denver metro area neighborhood where there was minimal/questionable grassroots support.

The school’s shiny marketing materials were used to aggressively recruit students from other schools with promises of a technology-focused curriculum with Smart Boards in every classroom. Trusting families left their neighborhood schools (bringing their per-pupil funding with them) only to have the school embroiled in change for the three years since opening. Remaining students have endured disruptive changes in leadership, staffing, curriculum focus and even had their school merge with another charter. Smart Boards? They never showed up.

This may sound innocuous but understand what happens to the student during this chaos. What would you do if you encouraged your child to accept the challenge to try a new school that promised one thing and then within a year or two it all blew up? You could call the changes growing pains, but I witnessed firsthand how the charter system COMPETES WITH OTHER SCHOOLS FOR STUDENTS AND DOLLARS. They will try anything, promise everything and are held accountable to no one – they can pull up the stakes and leave without notice.

The kids of the charter school I described lost critical years of their education for the purpose of an experiment. Don’t let your Board of Ed “pilot this” and experiment with your children.

Again, there is a playbook for education reform and its happening at your doorstep. Don’t waste your time and energy disputing trivial details on facebook. IF you plan to stand up for your child, you must act.

By the way, I am new to Speak DSCD so I don’t know if Donnell Rosenberg previously disclosed how she not only supports charters but advocates for them. Read from her website’s homepage: “Together we worked to elect a charter-friendly board member to our local school district board of education. We began attending school district board meetings to learn more and to have our voices heard on issues important to charter schools.”

And now I am reaching out across the State of Colorado, encouraging parents and community members to learn more about the school choice movement and to become advocates on behalf of our children’s education—in a way some of us might not have done in the past.”

This is the BIG (really, really BIG) picture on what is going on within our district. It’s scary.