East High School in Denver

(Photo: CPR)

The education gap between rich and poor students in Denver Public Schools is getting worse, according to a new progress report handed out by a school watchdog group.  

More poor students in Denver Public Schools are reaching proficiency across all subjects, but only at half the rate of their more affluent peers.

Nevertheless, Van Schoales, CEO of A-plus Denver, says the district, which has become poorer and more Hispanic, deserves praise.

"In spite of Denver having more challenges, the district is getting better," Schoales said.

Schoales also says reform efforts championed by Superintendent Tom Boasberg have made the difference.  In particular, the controversial tactic of shutting down under-performing schools.

The report also found Denver students are better prepared for college than they were four years ago, but nearly all the gains came from more affluent students.