Archive for January, 2012

January
30th 2012
Colorado Has Made Some Progress, But a C for Teacher Policy Isn’t Good Enough

Posted under Denver & education schools & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & PPC & Research & Teachers

Now that School Choice Week is over, and I’m able to relax a bit after my manic phase of hyperactivity, it’s back to the (fun) edublogging grind. Right out of the gate, it’s time to tackle an important education reform item that emerged last week but falls a little bit outside the school choice arena. A January 25 Denver Post story by Yesenia Robles proclaimed that “Colorado gets a C for teacher policies”:

Colorado has developed good policy for dismissing unqualified teachers, but not for increasing the pool of well-prepared teachers entering the workforce, according to a report out today.

The National Council on Teacher Quality, a national nonprofit, released the report today grading every state’s teacher policy. Colorado averaged a C letter grade, up from a D+ in 2009, but was ranked as No. 12 among the states making the most progress.

Yes, this is the same respected NCTQ I’ve talked about before regarding their study of teacher preparation programs. In fact, my Education Policy Center friends last year recorded an iVoices podcast with NCTQ’s Sandi Jacobs about the then-latest version of their State Teacher Policy Yearbook. Continue Reading »

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January
27th 2012
Another School Choice Trifecta: Jared Polis, Bill Cosby, Ben DeGrow… Swish!

Posted under Federal Government & Independence Institute & Just For Fun & Parents & PPC & School Choice

Since yesterday’s school choice trifecta was so successful, why not another one to help bring a smashing conclusion to National School Choice Week? We’re in the heart of basketball season — it’s not March Madness time yet — but still “trifecta” gets me thinking about making that long-range jumper for student-centered education reform: Continue Reading »

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January
26th 2012
School Choice Week Good News Trifecta: Nationwide, Arizona ESAs, Ohio Vouchers

Posted under Courts & Denver & events & Independence Institute & Parents & PPC & Private Schools & School Choice

While School Choice Week has me in a happy frenzy, it doesn’t leave me as much time for blogging. But in my few spare moments, I wanted to share a few timely developments fitting for this week’s big festivities:

Good news on all three fronts. Before my hyperactivity takes over and my short attention span fades away, here’s one last call to invite you to this evening’s Kids Aren’t Cars movie night at the Independence Institute in Denver. Hope to see you there!

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January
24th 2012
Foundation Gives High-Performing Poorer Denver Area Schools Cause to Celebrate

Posted under Denver & Elementary School & High School & Independence Institute & learning & Middle School & Parents & PPC & Principals & Public Charter Schools & School Accountability & School Choice & Urban Schools

Today’s lead story at Ed News Colorado highlights the disparity in private parent and community giving within Denver Public Schools. Reporter Charlie Brennan notes that no school raked in more than the nearly $230,000 at Bromwell Elementary, a school with a low 8 percent study poverty rate. The general findings are no surprise, yet nonetheless disappointing:

At the other end of the poverty – and fund-raising – spectrum is Johnson Elementary in southwest Denver, which reported fewer than $3,000 in private gifts in 2010-11.

If a donation of five or six figures came through the door of the school, where 96 percent of students are low-income, said Principal Robert Beam, “You’d be writing a story about a principal who is dancing in the streets all day long.”

The timing of the story is remarkable. Why? Yesterday substantial checks went out to 14 metro area public schools and 2 public charter management organizations (CMOs) serving high-poverty student populations, with awards totaling $500,000. And they didn’t just go out to schools based on need, but to schools with a proven record of serving their students well: Continue Reading »

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January
23rd 2012
Get School Choice Juices Flowing: “Kids Aren’t Cars,” Parent Trigger II and Milk (!)

Posted under Edublogging & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Just For Fun & Parents & PPC & School Choice

I can hardly believe that School Choice Week is already here. For my Colorado friends, remember that there are several great events between now and Saturday, especially a cool “Kids Aren’t Cars” movie night I hope you can come to.

Here in Colorado the legislature kicks off School Choice Week with the introduction of House Bill 1149, a lighter version of last year’s Parent Trigger bill by Rep. Don Beezley. This latest version allows parents from schools that have spent two consecutive years under one of the state’s two lowest accountability ratings (aka “priority improvement” or “turnaround”) to petition to change the school’s management structure and/or convert it to a charter.

Because Parent Trigger II offers a slower process than in last year’s proposed legislation, it may win over more support. In the meantime, while I let the special School Choice Week moment sink in, here are some other related happenings and odds & ends that may interest you: Continue Reading »

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January
20th 2012
NY NAACP Lawsuit and Lobato Ruling: Don’t Let the Outrage Get You Down

Posted under Courts & Denver & Education Politics & Independence Institute & PPC & Private Schools & Public Charter Schools & School Choice & School Finance & Urban Schools

Has it really been almost three months since I told you about a new Choice Media video on the Douglas County Choice Scholarship program injunction? Well, award-winning director Bob Bowdon has triumphed again with this hard-hitting, six-minute video about the New York City NAACP’s lawsuit trying to remove a charter school that successfully serves inner-city minority students:

Continue Reading »

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January
18th 2012
Guess Implementing Digital Learning Policy Changes in Colorado Not as Easy as It Looks

Posted under Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Online Schools & Parents & PPC & School Choice

As last year was winding down, I told you that the issue of K-12 online and blended learning would be a big one going forward for Colorado in 2012. With the legislature now in session and the first-ever Digital Learning Day just around the corner, I found a timely article that deserves some attention here in Colorado.

The Innosight Institute’s Michael Horn lays out the question of how to get from the national group Digital Learning Now!’s reform roadmap to a well-tailored solution in a given state, in this brand-new Education Next article: Continue Reading »

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January
17th 2012
Friday the 13th Brings Bad Indiana Judicial News for Anti-School Choice Crowd

Posted under Courts & Parents & PPC & Private Schools & School Choice

While I sit and wait and tap my feet for some word on the appeal of the Douglas County choice scholarship injunction, here’s some important good news for you. A very similar statewide program enacted last year in the Hoosier State has been upheld in a January 13 decision:

A Marion County judge ruled Friday that Indiana’s school voucher program is constitutional. However, those who oppose the program say they’ll appeal his decision.

The vouchers, approved by General Assembly last spring, redirect money from public schools to help offset private-school tuition for students in low- and middle-income families.

Of course, the union and other anti-choice groups will appeal. That’s just the way it’s done. But it’s a big win for the good guys, coming five months after the same judge blocked an initial request to put the program on the same sort of injunction as the one holding back Douglas County families. Continue Reading »

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January
13th 2012
No Excuses Time: Attend a Colorado School Choice Week Event (January 22-28)

Posted under Denver & Independence Institute & Just For Fun & Parents & PPC & School Choice & Teachers

Update, 1/18: Information was added about the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families event

The second annual National School Choice Week is coming up soon. It’s almost time to stop gearing up and to start getting into action. For most of my fellow Coloradans, there aren’t any good excuses to not be able to attend even of the numerous events going on during the week of January 22-28: Continue Reading »

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January
12th 2012
A+ Denver Report Gives More Evidence that Charter Franchises Are Getting It Done

Posted under Denver & PPC & Public Charter Schools & Research & Urban Schools

Just a quick post today. More good news emerging from DPS today. Ed News Colorado highlights an intriguing new report from A+ Denver that breaks down some key performance data from the state’s second-largest school district:

This report shows that Charter Management Organizations (charter organizations that manage more than one school, currently DSST, West Denver Prep and KIPP) are not only outperforming district and other individual charter schools, but are having a significant impact on the district’s overall growth and achievement scores at grades six and above.

Continue Reading »

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