The One Chance Colorado education reform advocacy campaign officially launches today with a 30-second TV ad on five stations, a website and social media presence.
Here’s a look at the campaign’s first ad:
I wrote about the campaign last week, and there’s not a lot more detail to offer than what leaked out then. Look for billboards, signs at bus-stops, and a presence on Twitter, Facebook and the web.
The statewide campaign has been in the works for over a year. The timing of its launch corresponds with the start of a new school year, former Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien said yesterday. The campaign is tentatively scheduled to last through September, but could go longer depending on the success of fundraising efforts.
Editor’s note: This post and the one that follows offer two differing perspectives on aspects of the Douglas County School District’s voucher program, which is slated to begin early next month, but is being challenged in court by several groups.
This post was submitted by Jim Griffin, president of the Colorado League of Charter Schools
In recent days, the Colorado League of Charter Schools has publicly commented on its concern about the Douglas County Choice Scholarship charter school.
First, we want to make it clear that our concerns are about the way Douglas County School District is choosing to implement its scholarship program. We are not taking issue with Douglas County’s intentions nor its scholarship program in general.
Charter schools were built on the foundation of innovation and choice. Therefore, the League applauds Douglas County’s attempts at using innovation to provide parents with additional educational options.
Unfortunately, however, the Douglas County School District decided to use the Colorado Charter Schools Act as a vehicle to implement their voucher program, which creates a number of issues and could ultimately be detrimental to the Colorado charter school community as a whole.
Called “One Chance Colorado,” the eight- to 10-week campaign will use billboards, slick, political campaign-style TV ads, bus stop posters and web-based strategies to push for “accountability at every level;” recruiting and supporting strong teachers and getting rid of weak ones; investing in good schools and “rapidly addressing” underperforming schools; and putting education ahead of politics.
There will also be a “field organizing” component to the campaign.
People involved in the campaign were reluctant to discuss it ahead of next week’s official launch. But here’s what I’ve learned:
Plenty has already been said about the cheating scandal at the Atlanta school district. And, as one would expect, education traditionalists such as American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Diane Ravitch proclaimed that the mess proved that standardized testing leads to perverse incentives that force teachers to behave unethically, provide low-quality instruction, and ultimately, poorly serve the children in their care…
The A+ Denver citizens committee is about to get a makeover, with longtime Denver education reformer Van Schoales taking the helm of the organization later this month.
By hiring Schoales, the A+ board and its co-chairs, Terrance Carroll (former speaker of the state House of Representatives) and Mary Gittings Cronin (who ran the Piton Foundation for 21 years) would seem to be signaling a desire to raise the organization’s profile and sharpen its edge.
(Full disclosure: Schoales and I are old friends, and he is a frequent contributor to the Education News Colorado opinion and commentary blog)
Cronin said the organization would continue to pursue its mission – “to harness the power of Denver’s civic leadership to build public will and advocate for reforms necessary to dramatically increase student achievement in public education in Denver.”
She said expects that Schoales “will relate well with Superintendent (Tom) Boasberg and we look forward to him reenergizing and reactivating the membership of A+.”
But she also made it clear that Schoales’ job isn’t to act as head cheerleader. “We expect that under his leadership the focus of A+ will continue to be as it has been, which is providing support to the DPS reform agenda, but also very importantly holding the district accountable for results. Everything is focused on academic success for kids.”
Anyone who has read this blog over time knows that my librul heart bleeds for school integration, and particularly socio-economic mixing of student populations. Other bloggers and commenters here have pointed out that economically integrating schools is a sweet and quaint notion, entirely impractical in an environment where neighborhoods are segregated and local control rules the day.
And, some argue, since “no excuses” schools are proving that high-poverty student bodies can succeed under the right conditions, why batter one’s head against the brick wall of integration?
That all may be so. I believe in multiple strategies, though, so while letting a thousand “no excuses” flowers bloom, I also hope communities keep looking for creative ways to foster integration.
A new article in The American Prospect highlights one community’s push to socio-economically integrate its schools. Omaha might not seem the likeliest place to push an aggressive integration agenda, but the Learning Community program is unlike anything I’ve read about elsewhere in the country.