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Koch Group, Unions Battle over Colorado Schools Race
11/2/13 | Politico
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Douglas County: The Most Interesting School District in America?
9/19/13 | Education Next blog
Four out of seven seats on the school board in Douglas County, Colorado are up for grabs on Tuesday. Current school board members in the affluent district, which is dominated by Republicans, have taken the school district in an interesting direction. Writes Rick Hess
The district’s distinctive aim of going from good to great, rather than from poor to passable, is remarkable in the annals of contemporary school reform. For Douglas County, school choice is not seen not as a “ticket out” of failing schools, but a way to encourage customization and to offer more paths for students to choose. Teacher evaluation is viewed less as a tool to weed out poor performers than as a tool for helping good teachers get better and to help reward outstanding performance. Douglas County may be unique among “reform-minded” districts in that it is actively dismissing the Common Core, state assessments, and state-designed teacher evaluation in order to devise its own custom-built versions of each.
However, Stephanie Simon notes in Politico, this fall reformers find themselves fending off a spirited challenge from a coalition of angry parents and well-funded teachers unions.