The health and economic success of our community, especially in a global economy, depends on the effectiveness of our public schools. The students they educate are the foundation of our future and they must be prepared to compete with their peers throughout the world. In addition, to win the best minds and talents in the global competition for human capital, a community must excel at public education and value it as highly as any other civic attribute. As a nation and as a community, we are falling behind in the education of our kids, putting at risk our world position as an intellectual leader, our future economic prosperity and the very stability and security of our society.
Too many children in Denver Public Schools aren't getting anything close to the education they need and deserve. There are enormous gaps in achievement and thousands of Denver school age children have left, and continue to leave, the District. This loss of students is creating a downward spiral in our public education system and our community as a whole. This situation is occurring in urban school districts across the country, and many such districts are struggling to escape this downward spiral, most without success. However, in Denver there are several unique factors that set us apart and position our district to lead the nation in effective school reform:
The recent passage of a sales tax increase to fund early childhood education in Denver;
A reform-motivated School Board and Superintendent;
The voter-approved Pro-Comp system, the most innovative merit-based teacher compensation system in the nation; and
The Denver Scholarship Program - a privately funded effort offering scholarships to thousands of graduates from DPS high schools so that they can go on to college.
Moreover, Denver has always excelled at becoming the place its residents wish it to be. Through the imagination and labor of many generations, we have developed the best park and open space system in the country; a world class cultural community with a model funding mechanism in the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, the best set of major league sports venues in the country, the best airport in the country, if not the world; and today, we are building one of the best transit systems in the nation.
We have not just imagined a great city, we have done much to create one, but a city cannot truly succeed and be great unless it has a great public education system. Denver's vitality and economic success depend on improving our public schools. This can only be achieved through community-wide support and with a long-term view and commitment, outlasting any one school board or school administration.