CSPROver the weekend, union-beloved 9News journalist Nelson Garcia appeared on “Balance of Power” to talk Jeffco School Board recalls. During the interview, Garcia used Douglas County School District (DCSD) reforms as “proof” that reform measures do not work.  Unfortunately, a new report by former Democratic President of the Colorado State Senate Peter Groff is proving him – and the union – wrong.

The report starts by underscoring the role teachers have on students’ achievement. Apparently, DCSD Superintendent Liz Fagan frequently says that “two poor teachers in a row and students don’t recover”.  According to the report, Douglas County School District’s new pay for performance system is attracting high-quality teachers:

“This would exceed the average applications by as much as 42% over the previous four years. Teachers who believe they are or can be highly effective are seeking out DCSD.”

Having high-quality teachers in DCSD has had a measurable impact. Below are just a few of the highlights from the report:

  • DCSD received the Accredited with Distinction designation, which is the highest designation a district can earn. DCSD is the largest school district with this distinction. Since 2013, its accreditation points have increased by eight from 72.4 to 80.6.
  • From the report: “In 2012, DCSD’s average ACT score was 21.4 now it is 22.1. Students scoring over 22 is important since it increases their chance to qualify for many top-tier schools.”
  • Since the 2011-2012 school year, an additional 600 students are participating in the Advanced Placement program, earning the district a spot on the AP Honor Roll in 2014.

The bottom line is this: “[Market-based pay] and [pay for performance] gives DCSD an advantage over other districts in Colorado and nationally in the search for talent and the quest to bring them to Colorado. Because of that leverage, DCSD students will have an edge over other students in Colorado and the United States.”

As much as Nelson Garcia and the union want to pan reformers, the truth is that the reforms give kids a leg up in their futures.