Aurora schools chief ac­cuses critic of ex­ploit­ing kids

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Monte Wha­ley

A school ad­vo­cacy group that claims re­forms have done lit­tle to help the stu­dents in Aurora Public Schools is only ex­ploit­ing prob­lems in the district to gain recog­ni­tion and fund­ing, Su­per­in­ten­dent Rico Munn said Wed­nes­day.

Munn said a re­port is­sued Wed­nes­day by the non­profit A+Colorado ig­nores new re­al­i­ties in the district, where re­forms aimed at fight­ing low grad­u­a­tion rates and halt­ing dropouts are tak­ing hold slowly.

“Or­ga­ni­za­tions such a A+ de­mand that school dis­tricts see the world through their lens and fol­low their par­tic­u­lar di­rec­tives,” said Munn. “Their fo­cus on ‘facts’ is a thinly veiled ef­fort to se­cure fund­ing, pro­mote their agenda and ex­pand their brand on the backs of Aurora stu­dents.”

“Our fo­cus,” Munn added, “re­mains on im­prov­ing out­comes for our stu­dents.”

Van Scho­a­les, CEO of A+ Colorado, said Munn is at­tack­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion to de­flect at­ten­tion from the district’s “own lack­lus­ter per­for­mance rather than hon­estly re­flect on what needs to hap­pen to im­prove achieve­ment in Aurora.”

“If APS lead­er­ship is so fo­cused on im­ple­ment­ing a ‘re­form strat­egy’ and aca­demic im­prove­ment, why is there no ev­i­dence of their work?” Scho­a­les said. “It’s been nearly four years since this ad­min­is­tra­tion started its work.”

Wed­nes­day’s re­port by A+ Colorado is a fol­lowup to a 2015 re­port cre­ated by a coali­tion of 17 com­mu­nity and ed­u­ca­tion groups. Based on data from five pre­vi­ous years, it out­lined wor­ries that the district’s trou­bles are plac­ing its schools at risk for los­ing state ac­cred­i­ta­tion. It said that only about five of ev­ery 10 stu­dents in the Aurora district grad­u­ate from high school.

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