I recently read your column in La Voz, 8/14/13, [regarding] public education, and paid particular attention to your commentary lamenting the number of Latino students not finishing college. You referenced Dr. Phillip Gallegosí opinion that Latino students often feel alienated. Also, you mentioned Rosemary Rodriguez, candidate for Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education campaigning against Andrea Merida. She contends that students with C averages should be eligible for tuition assistance. Thatís not surprising given that she supports the policies of Tom Boasberg that I contend are inequitable and mediocre Ö As you probably know, sixty percent of DPS college bound seniors must complete remediation courses before beginning regular college courses. Any student unprepared for college work is likely to experience alienation.
A few years ago I was invited by Andrea Merida to attend a parent meeting at Kepner Middle School. I taught there from 1974 until 1982 and was familiar with the neighborhood. I already knew that Ms. Merida was angry about conditions at Kepner. For instance, in 2011-12, Kepner, a building with a capacity of 800, was overcrowded with 1200 students, ninety-five percent Latino. That same year, nearby Rishel Middle School, closed due to declining enrollment and student achievement, housed a charter school and an innovation school. Between the two, there werenít 600 students at Rishel. The parents at that meeting were seething with anger. I questioned Rosemary Rodriguez (whom Iíve known many years) at a [District] 4 Democratic Party meeting about Kepner and the 2006 Harvard Civil Rights Project, ďDenver Public Schools: Re-Segregation, Latino StyleĒ, she made what I believed an incomplete, though sincere, attempt to answer my question. She has been, after all, on Sen. Michael Bennetís staff, who ignored the Harvard study and likely perpetuated the acceleration of re-segregation of Latino students while DPS superintendent. Tom Boasberg has continued Bennetís policies. As a result, Latino and poor students are more segregated with fewer opportunities than, I believe, at any time since I began teaching in DPS in 1968. I retired in 2000. The solution to lack of student achievement is increased standardized testing according to corporate reformers and I regard Rosemary as a supporter according to her public statements.