by Frederick Hess, Max Eden
American Enterprise Institute
September 19, 2013
For a decade or more, school reform has been an urban tale dominated by cities with high rates of poverty and troubling records of high-school completion and academic achievement. The urban communities in question tend to be lopsidedly liberal, making reform largely a Democratic family affair. Even notable reform Democrats have sought to temper their criticism of teachers unions by embracing “reform” unionism, denouncing Republican efforts to dramatically curtail collective bargaining, and insisting that unions must be essential partners in systemic reform. Douglas County, Colorado, one of the nation’s most affluent communities and a Republican bastion, provides a stark counterpoint to the conventional reform narrative. The result is that, in this unlikely setting, the superintendent and school board are pursuing perhaps the nation’s boldest attempt at suburban school reform.

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