Theodore Roosevelt famously believed that in diplomacy, a nation should "speak softly but carry a big stick." The Colorado Department of Education was told to practice a similar philosophy regarding chronically struggling schools and districts by a law passed a few years ago.
Under Senate Bill 163, which passed in 2009, the state can order a failing school converted to a charter or innovation school, or even shut it down.
The state can also take over management of a district or a select number of schools, although only with the consent of the district.
We're still a couple of years away from the deadlines that could trigger such action. But two years is not much time to salvage an abysmally performing school, and districts that don't act soon could find themselves facing state intervention.