DENVER (CBS4) – Some angry parents spoke out in a rally on Thursday, saying Denver Public Schools has ignored its southwest region and allowed schools there fail.
The group, which included members of a group called Stand For Children, rallied outside DPS headquarters.
Research from testing done in the schools by a company called A+ Denver shows students in the southwest region are further behind in their grade level than in any other area of DPS.
“I don’t think it shouldn’t matter what zip code you live in,” said Evy Valencia, an organizer with Stand For Children.
Valencia told CBS4 that Denver’s less affluent areas need better teachers, administrators and programs.
“What our parents want and what they need is the ability to be able to send their kids to any school,” she said.
A+ Denver’s data shows students in Southwest Denver gradually fall below their own grade level the further they go in school.
Only 45 percent of those students are said to be on pace by 3rd grade. By high school that number drops to 35 percent.
Only 1 in 10 are deemed ready for college or the workforce by graduation.
DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg says southwest schools have seen big improvements, but he concedes the area is a challenge.
“Every one of these children comes to us with talent and potential and it’s incredibly important we have very high expectations,” Boasberg said.
Boasberg said community members need to get more involved to help solve the schools’ problems. That’s exactly what members of Thursday’s rally said that is one thing they want. They say they are hoping a task force will be formed that includes family members of students and community leaders.