DFER's mission is to encourage a more productive dialogue within the Democratic Party on the need to fundamentally reform American public education. Each month, we identify one candidate who is standing up for meaningful reform and innovation, and we help demonstrate the broad base of support for his or her efforts. Please give as generously as you can.
June 2009: Senator Michael Bennet (Colorado)
Michael Bennet was appointed to the U.S. Senate after serving as Superintendent of the Denver Public Schools. He attracted national attention for instituting one of the most innovative merit pay systems in the country (with the teachers union members' support). He hit the pavement to bring students back into the system, while closing failing schools so that those students would return to a renewed system. During his tenure at DPS, he advised then-candidate Obama on education issues and was a short-list candidate for Secretary of Education.
Bennet is already a crucial part of the discussion in the Senate and within the Democratic Party about what meaningful education reform will look like. Here's what the Denver Post had to say: "U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet staked out his claim to help shape national education reform … announcing in his maiden speech on the Senate floor that he would draw up comprehensive legislation by year end. The bill could include some of the most critical elements of a national reform agenda supported by the Obama administration and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan: merit pay for teachers, voluntary national standards, and evaluations of students' performance as they advance from grade to grade, known as longitudinal tracking."