Since our founding, DFER-CO has grown into a powerful stakeholder within the Democratic Party, with a track record of recruiting and supporting excellent candidates, winning campaigns, and providing expert policy guidance to policymakers.
In 2016, DFER candidates won in all 9 of 9 legislative primary races, and 13 of 13 in legislative general races. We also supported Rebecca McClellan’s election to the State Board of Education in 2016, flipping the Board blue for the first time in 50 years. DFER led victories for reform majority school board elections in Denver Public Schools in 2013 and 2015 for a 7 of 7 reform Board of Education. We also supported the re-election of reform champion Dan Jorgenson to the in Aurora Public Schools board in 2015, the re-elections of Governor Hickenlooper, Lt. Gov. Garcia, and State Board of Education member Jane Goff, and the elections of 11 reformers to the CO legislature in 2014.
DFER Colorado leveraged these impressive election victories for substantial legislative victories including passage of the Great Teachers and Leaders Act, the Student Success Act, Breakfast after the Bell, equitable funding and access to mill levy overrides for all students, elimination of districts’ ability to withhold transcripts, grades, or diplomas due to unpaid fees or fines, creation of STEM and Biliteracy diploma certifications, expansion of Early Childhood opportunities, increased funding for multilingual students, and the creation of this year’s school finance interim committee. We were leaders in the legislative attempt to eliminate suspension and expulsion for our youngest learners, and in the subsequent passage of that policy at the local level by the DPS Board of Education.
DFER Colorado is a strong education community partner. Our coalition work including influencing the Colorado State Board of Education to measure individual, rather than combined, subgroups for state accountability measures, partnerships with civil rights organizations to ensure that equity is at the forefront of the Colorado plan for the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and amicus curiae support of Denver Public Schools in the ongoing lawsuit to protect the mutual consent provisions of SB191.
Going forward, DFER-CO is taking a multi-faceted approach to electing, supporting, and defending public school champions in the 2017 Denver and Aurora Public Schools elections, and the 2018 gubernatorial and legislative primaries and general elections.