October 2007

Report Card

I was disappointed to see that 5280 recently compared "Denver's Best High Schools" [August] as though they were mojito bars. The problem with judging schools based on SAT scores is that these criteria have much less to do with the school's impact and more to do with the students' families' educational background and income. Disciplinary problems and dropout rates are under-reported. The number of AP classes offered is determined not by a school's quality, but by its size. The important and difficult question that will determine a school's quality is what value does the school actually add to a student's education? To do this analysis one must take into account student demographics and then look at what value the schools add to those students.

Van Schoales
Education Program Officer, Piton Foundation

The criteria used to determine "Denver's Best High Schools"—while not altogether unimportant—miss criteria far more important. Beyond factors such as student-teacher ratio and discipline, schools must be evaluated on what they do to prepare children for a global, integrated economy. For that we need students who can think abstractly and creatively—imagining things that have never been.

Steve Bialostok
Commerce City

Fast Friends

I just finished your wonderfully written article about Michael Andre ["Hard Case," September]. I'm writing to thank you for composing such a touching piece about my close friend. It's such a tragedy that what happened actually happened, and it's nice to know that now all of Denver will realize what a great man he was. Andre was my lunch date every other Friday at the Diamond Cabaret. He was a sparkling individual. His smile was contagious and his laughter made everyone around him laugh with him. Thank you for telling the world about him and all he did to help those around him.

Brenda Stewart
via e-mail