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Podcast: Reform can’t happen fast enough

Charter school advocate Eva Moskowitz pumped up a friendly Denver crowd Tuesday evening with a talk that stressed the importance and urgency of education reform for the future of the nation.

Moskowitz is CEO of the Success Academy Charter Schools, a group of schools in New York City that primarily serves low-income students. Some of its students have shown strong results on achievement tests, but an ambitious expansion policy has raised controversy in some city neighborhoods.

She was in Denver to promote her new book, “Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School.”

Tony Lewis, executive director of the Denver-based Donnell-Kay Foundation, introduced Moskowitz as “a rock star” of education reform and “a force of nature.”

During a rapid-fire talk to a crowd of about 80 at downtown Denver’s Space Gallery, Moskowitz argued that education reform is vital to the nation’s future.

“This country will not have a fighting chance … unless we address the crisis in American public education,” she said.

Urging a fast pace of reform, she said, “Our schools aren’t going to have a fighting chance unless we reform more quickly.”

She also said, “The kids are the easiest part of the equation” in improving schools. Getting “the grownups” to improve is the challenge.

Moskowitz is a former New York city council member and has been mentioned as a future mayoral candidate. She has been a high-profile and sometimes polarizing figure in New York education circles, and one of her charters was featured in the 2010 film “The Lottery.”

The Denver event, hosted by Donnell-Kay and other education advocacy groups, also included brief remarks by Alex Hernandez, partner and vice president of the Charter School Growth Fund, and Bill Kurtz, CEO of DSST Public Schools.

Disclosure: The Donnell-Kay Foundation is a funder of Education News Colorado.