Colorado School Grades is a coalition of 18 partner groups. Our guest posts feature these organizations and others, who will offer tips and advice for parents who want to choose or improve a school.
by Tim Farmer, Policy Director for the Professional Association of Colorado Educators
Since the launch of www.ColoradoSchoolGrades.com two years ago, the Professional Association of Colorado Educators (PACE) has been a proud partner in this effort to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public schools. In a state like Colorado, which has abundant school choice policies, PACE recognizes that parents and teachers are looking for an easy-to-understand source for making informed decisions.
By giving every school an easy-to-understand letter-grade ranking, this website has created the simplest and clearest representation of how schools truly are performing – both good and bad. This system allows parents and community members the ability to understand how their local schools are performing. An informed and engaged public will be instrumental in improving schools in the future.
Colorado’s teachers are also faced with the challenge of making decisions about school choice. Teachers can choose to teach at a traditional, public charter, virtual, alternative or many other public choice schools. Teachers must also decide if they want to teach in an urban, rural, turnaround, innovation, or in some other school setting. The information on www.ColoradoSchoolGrades.com can also be a benefit to teachers as they make important decisions about their career.
In the emerging age of accountability in public schools, teachers are embracing policies that promote transparency and results. According to a national survey conducted by PACE’s national partner the Association of American Educators, 89 percent of teachers surveyed support services such as ColoradoSchoolsGrades.com, and other programs and organizations that allow stakeholders to search and compare schools in their area via letter grades.
Teachers do, in fact, support policies that easily identify schools based on performance. Although improving schools is a complex issue, we must embrace accountability and transparency in our public schools.