Tag Archives: Aurora Public Schools

Charter School Supporters Respond to Weak Aurora Sentinel Arguments

Last week I told you about how charter schools in Aurora were getting shortchanged in a proposed bond measure. The local newspaper, the Aurora Sentinel, fired back at the charter schools with a strange and poorly informed editorial. There’s no need to rehash all the places where the newspaper’s editors went wrong. Denise at Colorado Charters took care of it pretty well with a two-part series (here and here). According to a 2007 Harvard University national survey, most Americans don’t really know much about charter schools. Though interestingly, support for charters and equalized funding for charters is much higher among those who actually understand how they work. Perhaps if the Aurora Sentinel editors were similarly well-informed, their opinion would change. But the reason I wanted to bring this all to your attention was the full and fresh treatment given today at the online news shop Face The State. One of the Education Policy Center’s own is quoted in the story: “The claim that charter schools lack accountability is laughable,” said Ben DeGrow, an education policy analyst with the Independence Institute, a Golden-based free market think tank and frequent supporter of charter schools. “In many ways they’re more accountable than traditional […]


Aurora and Other Districts Should Share More Wealth with Charter Schools

Last week I took a look at the work of Aurora Public Schools’ “outside-the-box” superintendent John Barry, and concluded: Of course, changing the leadership model isn’t the only way to fix public schools. There are limits to the sort of “top-down” approach. More “bottom-up” reform that decentralizes authority and empowers parents with school choice and accountability is essential. But there’s also something to be said for school boards working to find more leaders like John Barry. There was more to the point about the “bottom-up” approach than I realized. John Barry is doing a lot of good things from a reform perspective, but as Alan Gottlieb writes today over at EdNews Colorado, it appears that he’s missing the most important thing: But one area where Barry’s forward-thinking regime has been slow to see the light is on charter schools. Last night, the Aurora school board decided to asked voters to approve a $215 million bond issue this fall. From that amount, the district is ofering [sic] a total of $750,000 to the district’s six charter schools. That’s a grand total of one third of one percent of the proceeds. Not exactly generous. Still, better than Denver, Adams 12 and Douglas, […]


John Barry's Aurora Success Makes Case for Non-Traditional Leadership

It’s hard to argue against the idea that more fresh blood is needed in our public education system. We could do with more school and district leaders who didn’t necessarily rise through the ranks of the teachers union or education bureaucracy who can bring valuable outside skills and perspectives to the challenges faced. Education News Colorado today highlights such a success story in the Denver metropolitan area: Aurora Public Schools raised more than a few eyebrows two years ago when the board of education selected John Barry, a retired U.S. Air Force major general, to take over as superintendent of the state’s third-largest school district. “We were definitely taking a chance,” says Aurora school board chairman Matt Clark. “He was clearly a non-traditional candidate, coming from the military. But we were looking for someone who understood what it took to turn an institution around.” And turn it did. Barry began introducing changes in the way Aurora educates its 32,000 students at a breakneck pace. New curricula. New strategic plan . New coaching method for teachers. New standardized tests . New summer school programs . The launch of a new pilot school — the first of several. New emphasis on truancy […]