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A Think Twice Review of:

Review of A 21st Century School System in the Mile-High City

Think Twice - Jul 26, 2016

Publisher/Think Tank - Progressive Policy Institute

Author(s) - David Osborne

A recent report from the Progressive Policy Institute advocated for expanded use of the “portfolio model” of school governance. The report drew on contemporary reforms adopted by the Denver Public Schools. It claimed that reforms enacted by the Denver Public Schools (viz., portfolio model, school closings, and charter expansion) positively impacted student test scores. The goal was to highlight Denver as a success story that should be copied elsewhere.

Reviewer(s) - Terrenda White, University of Colorado Boulder

An academic review by Terrenda White, University of Colorado Boulder, finds that the report oversteps its claims in an attempt to positively portray Denver’s reforms. The review raises serious concerns about the claims made. Most notably, she finds that the only data presented were simple charts that lacked any conventional statistical analysis. Regarding the report’s use of research literature, White finds that the report drew primarily from advocacy publications from partisan foundations. In her conclusion, White says: “Ironically, the report celebrates Denver’s portfolio strategy and its expansion of charter schools as a model of 21st century reform at a time when other cities have discovered that charters are not panaceas.”