Here’s what President Obama said about Denver’s Bruce Randolph School in tonight’s State of the Union address:
Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver. Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado; located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May, 97% of the seniors received their diploma. Most will be the first in their family to go to college. And after the first year of the school’s transformation, the principal who made it possible wiped away tears when a student said “Thank you, Mrs. Waters, for showing… that we are smart and we can make it.”
Here’s what Eduwonk Andy Rotherham had to say in the NY Times about the mention:
The president singled-out a Denver school that was turned around only after its teachers took on their own union to get out from under the standard collective bargaining agreement. Needless to say that’s a strategy the two national teachers’ unions don’t want to see replicated around the country. I wrote about that episode on The Times’s Op-Ed page a few years ago. Michael Bennet, now a senator from Colorado, was the superintendent in Denver at the time and the move was controversial then and the idea remains contentious today. Of all the schools the president could have chosen to highlight, it’s a fascinating choice.
And here’s some context:
Randolph, while on a better course over the past few years, is still struggling with student achievement. Growth in all tested subjects is above average, but not high enough to catch students up in the foreseeable future. Absolute scores remain low. In math, just 19 percent of middle-schoolers and 13 percent of high-schoolers at Randolph scored proficient or better on the 2010 CSAP. In reading, the subject where the school tested highest, a quarter of the middle-schoolers and 43 percent of high-schoolers hit the proficient mark.
Still, the school has become a must-see for visiting school reformers. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent an hour there during his visit to Denver last fall.
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