Denver Principal Resigns in Protest

K-12 Testing

Denver, Colorado, school principal Lynn Spampinato resigned to protest Governor Bill Owens’ legislatively-approved plan to use test scores to rank schools from “A” to “F,” calling it simplistic. Highly regarded for her leadership, commitment and accomplishments, Spampinato refused to work under an accountability scheme in which schools are compared on the basis of test scores alone, without regard to social and economic factors that contribute to test performance.


Spampinato had recently switched jobs to work in an elementary school that serves a low-income community which would have received an “F” under the Governor’s plan. Had she remained at her previous school, she would have received a higher score -- and a better rating as principal. Her resignation was delivered to the local school committee along with testimony opposing the plan for being unfair, inaccurate and punitive to students and educators.


Meanwhile, a number of legislators took the Colorado state test and found it to be very difficult. Some did not complete it, commenting, for example, on the “level of sophistication” of the eighth grade math exam. Neither Governor Owens nor the legislative sponsors of the school ranking bill were willing to participate in the test-taking experiment.