Platform Item #5: Reduce the need to test our children & increase social-emotional supports.

Denver Public Schools are graded on a system called the SPF (School Performance Framework).

Principals and schools are incentivized to prepare their students for high stakes standardized testing. Therefore, most teachers are also incentivized to base their curriculum on a test.

In fact, 70% of a school’s SPF comes from the data of a standardized test. Students, teachers, and principals feel the extreme pressure to do well on these tests - though little data proves that skill and drill learning prepares our students for the future.

There is also significant data to suggest that these high-stakes tests are culturally biased.

In fact, it is an insidious cycle that low scores are used to justify the closing of many public schools across Denver.

On the other hand, DPS schools are not incentivized to provide social workers or psychologists on their campuses. 0% of a school’s SPF comes from social-emotional supports provided on campus.

As a School Board member, together with school leaders and school social workers, I will work to revise our School Performance Framework so that schools are less incentivized to overtest our children, and more incentivized to provide social-emotional supports.

Sources:

“Why One Harvard Professor Calls American Schools’ Focus on Testing a ‘Charade’”

“Why Standardized Tests Don’t Measure Educational Quality”