Last week, we told you about a fake webpage masquerading as the home base for One Chance Colorado, a coalition of school reform-minded organizations that actually launches today. Here's former Lieutenant Governor and coalition member Barbara O'Brien's take on what it's after and how it plans to get there.
The goal of One Chance Colorado, says the longtime child advocate, is to mobilize the general public -- not the insiders and politicos who've been quibbling over education for years, but John and Jane Q. Parent -- to demand great schools. And great schools, O'Brien says, depend on the existence of three things: great teachers and principals, accountability for everyone, including parents, and increased options -- including innovation and charter schools.
"We've had some tough public policy battles in this state," O'Brien says, "and they've been done without building broad public support for going forward. We needed to make sure Coloradans understand what we know about the core pieces of reform that can make a difference, and we needed to get everyone on same page."
By "everyone," O'Brien says she means people who are resistant to change and those who believe that because their child's school is okay, so are all the others. "There are a lot of people who think it's everybody else's school that needs to get better," she says. "That's not what we need in Colorado. We need people to say, 'All schools need to get better.'"
One Chance Colorado is comprised of several high-profile organizations: the Colorado Children's Campaign, Stand for Children, Education Reform Now, Colorado Succeeds, A+ Denver, Democrats for Education Reform-Colorado, Get Smart Schools, Byrne Urban Scholars, Common Good Colorado, Colorado "I Have A Dream" Foundation, Urban League of Metropolitan Denver, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Denver (whose director was arrested last week for domestic violence).
While a spokesman was hesitant to reveal how much money it's raised, saying only that the fundraising is ongoing, One Chance Colorado has divulged how it plans to spend that money -- including on social media, billboards and television commercials. The website also features an online pledge to support school reform that visitors can sign.
Check out its first commercial below. In case you're wondering, the boy, Jon'il, will attend the Denver School of Science and Technology in Green Valley Ranch this fall.
More from our Education archives: "Manual High School: DPS has plan to expand once-shuttered school to grades 6 through 12."