In his March 18, 2010 message to the DPS community, Superintendent Tom Boasberg says:
“We are failing the civil rights challenge of our generation: to ensure that all of our students, regardless of ethnicity or income status, graduate from our high schools prepared for college or career. Now is time to accelerate our reforms, to sharpen the focus on student achievement, and to get all of our children—in every neighborhood of Denver—on track to walk across the commencement stage armed with everything they need to forge a great future for themselves.”
(“Letter From the Superintendent”, Denver Public Schools 2010 Denver Plan: Strategic Vision and Action Plan, 3)
Superintendent Tom Boasberg simultaneously underscores and marginalizes the factors I believe are more fundamental than literacy instruction in a child’s development: Boasberg states, “regardless of ethnicity or income status,” the role of DPS is to ensure student success beyond school – he affirms the need to provide each child “in every neighborhood of Denver … with everything they need to forge a great future for themselves.” So, while Boasberg acknowledges a civil rights challenge in which ethnicity, income status, and living condition – neighborhoods – play leading roles, he proposes that education can transcend these factors. Boasberg’s use of the word “regardless” produces a particularly frightening spin on his message: without paying attention to the present circumstances (ethnicity, income status, neighborhood) DPS schools will ensure that all students are prepared for college or career (“regardless” Dictionary. Version 1.0.2. Apple Computer, Inc. 2005). These are pretty hefty words to carry into a classroom where ethnicity, income status, and the neighborhood environment are overwhelming factors in a student’s success.