CASTLE ROCK –Douglas County parents will soon be checking boxes on their ballots to support, or oust, the reforms that the current school board has sought in order to move their district from “good to great” over the past four years.
National groups are closely watching the election as D.C. think-tanks view the outcome as a pivotal turning point in education policy.
Three years ago, the Wall Street Journal editorial board framed the nationwide battle succinctly, “[c]hoice by itself won’t lift U.S. K-12 education to where it needs to be… measuring teachers against student performance are also critical. Standards must be higher than they are.”
“Unions defend the monopoly to protect jobs for their members, but education should above all serve students and the larger goal of a society in which everyone has an opportunity to prosper,” the article concluded.
In September, the American Enterprise Institute highlighted, in detail, the goals, progress, and setbacks that the seven-member board has addressed since 2010.
“Douglas County is serving as the site of what may well prove a critical chapter in the story of contemporary school reform. Attention ought to be paid,” according to the paper’s authors.”
Since 2010, test scores and graduation rates have risen on a year-after-year basis, according to federal data from the Department of Education.
Incumbents Doug Benevento and Meghann Silverthorn are joined by Judi Reynolds and Jim Geddes as “pro-reform” candidates who support student and parent choice, teacher performance standards and market-based pay, and tailored curriculums suited for a 21st century workforce that they believe are necessary to stay competitive on a global scale.
This slate is also endorsed by the Douglas County Republican Party, however, none of the candidates from either slate has sought or solicited an endorsement.
All eight candidates are running on a non-partisan basis.
The four AFL-CIO candidates backed candidates, Bill Hodges, Julie Keim, Barbra Chase, and Ronda Scholting, argue that the current school board’s reforms are pushing the district backwards and causing a mass exodus of teachers.
“We see teachers leaving by the dozens and by the hundreds,” said former journalist Ronda Scholting.
However, state data shows DougCo retention rates on par with other districts of similar size.
Voters can view their drop-off locations, and deadlines, at the Douglas County Clerk’s website for the November 5 election.