The Table of Ten Series featured Frank Coyne, who has been on the forefront of education reform, founded Denver Green School which was one of the first Denver Innovation Schools. We had an amazing conversation about education reform, and where we are headed. Below are the highlights of our lunch:
- Colorado has a paradox in that we import all of our talent, we have a very high amount of college educated workers, but our kids have a very low High School graduation rate. In Denver, less than 60% of students who start 9th grade walk across the stage at Graduation. This is not conducive to economic growth or to a stronger Denver. Improving or solving this will greatly improve the Denver economy. (More on the Colorado Paradox)
- DPS is the fastest growing urban district in the USA, yet our funding is one of the lowest. Part of the problem is that Education funding in Colorado is ranked 46th in the nation. Schools like the Denver Green School need to keep opening in order for Denver to provide strong education.
- Denver innovation schools are allowed more flexibility in one of three areas: 1) Teacher Hiring 2) Federal Guidelines 3) State Guidelines. This gives the school the freedom to cut out some of the bureaucracy holding them back and focus on the kids and improving their education.
- We are moving towards a portfolio approach that allows the kid and their family to choose the best school for the kid. The result has been better graduation and college entrance rates.
It was a powerful lunch, and everyone there left with a deeper understanding of what is wrong with our education system, and what people like Frank Coyne are doing to fix it.