Suffering from low enrollment, two Denver charter schools will close, one will delay opening by a year, and another has just over a week to attract enough students to open as planned in August.
Enrollment growth districtwide has slowed recently after years of rapid increases. Analysts predict the 92,600-student school district will begin to shrink as early as 2019. Some see the closures and delays as a sign that Denver has too many schools for its enrollment, while others point to a variety of obstacles faced by the charter schools. Low enrollment was only one of them.
One of the pressing education issues that Colorado lawmakers set out to tackle this session was the so-called teacher shortage. Colorado faces the same shortages of science and math teachers that other states do. Rural districts, where salaries are often low, have a hard time hiring even elementary school teachers. At the same time, the number of students entering educator preparation programs has declined 24 percent in the last five years, and many new teachers wash out of the profession in their first five years.
More than half of Denver students who graduated high school last year — 51 percent — immediately enrolled in a two- or four-year college, according to school district officials. That was a 5 percentage-point increase from the year before and the biggest bump on record.
Denver Public Schools celebrated that achievement Thursday morning at South High School, the city’s second-biggest high school. The rate for the South High class of 2017 was even higher: 95 percent pursued some sort of postsecondary education or joined the military, principal Jen Hanson said, with 67 percent of graduates enrolling in four-year colleges.
As a rallying cry, “We’re 30th in the nation for teacher pay!” doesn’t quite inspire outrage.
But that is, in fact, where Colorado ranked in 2016, despite reports to the contrary.
A series of unfortunate events led to an inaccurate statistic being spread far and wide — that Colorado ranked 46th in the U.S. in teacher pay.
The eye-popping number in a state with a booming economy found its way onto social media posts and signs at last week’s massive teacher rallies in Colorado, as well as into stories in Chalkbeat and many, many other media outlets. But it was wrong.
The wave of activism that brought thousands of red-shirted teachers to the Colorado State Capitol needs to continue at the local level in order to boost teacher pay or school funding, the leader of Colorado’s largest teachers union said Monday.
Teachers need to convince local school boards to raise salaries, Colorado Education Association President Kerrie Dallman said, and they need to convince neighbors to vote for a statewide tax in November that would raise another $1.6 billion annually for K-12 education.