Out of Control Policy Blog

Privatized School Districts?

From today's Denver Post: If you are not satisfied with your current school district, build a new one.

Rather than waiting for a troubled school district to fix itself, nearly a dozen housing developers in Aurora are taking matters into their own hands, proposing a network of specialized schools - maybe even their own district - to lure tens of thousands of suburban homeowners.

The plans, which for the most part have conspicuously left out leaders from Aurora Public Schools, are part of a national trend of businesses doing an end run around traditional school districts.

Experts say it has the potential to drastically recast the future of public education.

These developers, who collectively own thousands of acres east of E-470, see the need to create attractive schools as a business decision: The better the schools, the more valuable and attractive homes are to families.

In the past several months, the developers have enlisted local education foundations, recruited two retired high-level Denver Public Schools administrators as consultants and stitched together a network of powerful business interests to develop a plan to serve close to 24,000 new students within 20 years.

They've concocted a fairly sophisticated proposal that calls for pre-kindergarten programs, schools that teach character and options for online education.

And while most of the developers say it would be nice to cooperate with Aurora Public Schools in this venture, they're fully prepared to take this as far as they need to get what they want - including creating a charter school district.

Via education blogger extraordinaire, Joanne Jacobs.

Lisa Snell is Director of Education


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