The power of affluent parenting

The principal at Denver School for the Arts (DSA) has resigned (see here). DSA is one of the most lauded schools in DPS, drawing students from well outside the district (side note that this is not necessarily good).  The principal has been there 18 months.  What went wrong?

Parents of children at the exclusive school began an e-mail campaign last school year, flooding Superintendent Michael Bennet’s voice mail and e-mail box with comments of their dissatisfaction about the direction of the school.

Earlier this year, the Principal at Bromwell Elementary announced that he would not be returning. While this is anecdotal, it’s clear that there was a similar undercurrent of parent dissatisfaction.

So let’s get this straight: two of the schools with the best students in DPS (on the School Performance Framework, DSA has a status score of 93; Bromwell is 100) have parents so unsatisfied they influence a leadership change.  These are affluent student bodies; Free and Reduced Lunch Students comprise 11% and 10% respectively.

And it is not good enough for these parents.

My point is not to be critcal of the behavior – parents should be advocates for their children, and better for the district to hear these concerns than to silently lose the kids to private schools.  DPS needs to listen when appropriate and draw the line if this dialogue moves from constructive to harmful.

What amazes me here is the sheer efficacy of affluent parents, and the disparity with populations who have no such savvy and organization.  Of all the schools in DPS that need reform, these two were considered untouchable.

Why do schools in poor neighborhoods suck?  This is one of the exhibits.

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