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What’s at stake in the Denver school board election two years after a historic shift

The teachers union is spending big in next week’s election in the hopes of hanging on to a political majority

This Wednesday, April 17, 2019 photo shows Denver East High School in Denver (AP Photo/ David Zalubowski)

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Colorado. More at chalkbeat.org.

Two years after a historic “flip” of the Denver school board, the teachers union is spending big in next week’s election in the hopes of hanging on to a political majority.

That majority has allowed the current union-backed board to undo or halt controversial reforms put in place by its predecessors, including closing low-performing schools and expanding autonomous ones.

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Meanwhile, local and national organizations supportive of education reform strategies are spending even more to elect school board candidates they believe align with their vision.

It’s a familiar dynamic, and one that has played out in Denver school board elections for more than a decade. In a non-partisan race where most candidates are liberal and every candidate says they want the best for kids, it can be difficult for voters to see the distinction.

That distinction may indeed be getting blurrier. Reform-backed candidates in the Nov. 2 election aren’t talking about closing struggling schools, while union-backed candidates have toned down their criticisms of charter schools. Some send their own children to them.

Read more at chalkbeat.org.