Beauty is in the eye of the builder

By Krista Kafer ... and some builders don’t like what they see. The Denver Post reports that Aurora developers are planning to create their own schools apart from the Aurora Public School District (APS) in order to attract buyers. Good schools are important to consumers and APS – a district with more than half of its schools rated "low" on the state’s School Accountability Reports – isn’t always a hit with the developers’ clientele.

Over the past few months the builders have worked with education foundations and consultants to plan an array of schooling options that may ultimately serve some 24,000 new students in the next two decades. If they cannot do it with the help of APS, they will do it on their own by creating the state’s first charter school district, a step that might require a new law.

What’s the significance of this development? Builders are responding to consumer demand for schooling options. In the past such demands were often met with "if your child needs something different from what the district offers, feel free to move elsewhere." The demand for parental choice in education is growing and the supply is responding.

Developers aren’t the only ones acknowledging the demand for education choices. The National Governors Association just issued a best practice guide on choice programs. The timing of the report, no doubt, reflects the popularity of school choice legislation this year in the states’ legislatures. More students will participate in school choice programs this fall than ever before. And there's a good Alliance for School Choice report that presents the big picture.

To switch from a wide-angle lens to a macro, check out the Independence Institute’s newest papers on Colorado school district choice innovations that are providing Colorado students with new opportunities: "Contract Schools Bring Innovative New Choices to Denver Public Schools" and "Delta County School District Has VISION for School Choice," both by Marya DeGrow.

It just goes to show if you build it, they will come.