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Rhetoric Versus Reality: A Critical Policy Analysis of School Co-Location in Denver, Colorado

Mon, April 12, 11:10am to 12:10pm EDT (11:10am to 12:10pm EDT), Division L, Division L - Section 7 Roundtable Sessions


Over the last decade, Denver Public Schools has been at the forefront of nationwide education reform efforts. Since 2007, DPS has embraced the practice of co-location, locating more than one school in the same building or school campus. In this critical policy analysis, we draw on the concept of distrust to explore teachers’ perceptions of school co-location policy and implementation in Denver. While administrators and policymakers often assume that co-location is positive and necessary from a fiscal standpoint, overwhelmingly, teachers expressed that co-location policy contributed to structural inequality in the district and weakened the connections between schools and communities. We use a framework for conceptualizing distrust to suggest considerations for districts implementing co-location policy.