Archive for June, 2013

June
28th 2013
National Employee Freedom Week Wraps Up: What about Local-Only Option?

Posted under Education Politics & Just For Fun & Teachers

June 24-28 has been designated the first-ever National Employee Freedom Week. “National Employee Freedom Week is a national effort to inform union employees of the freedom they have regarding opting out of union membership and making the decision about union membership that’s best for them.” The Independence Institute is one of more than 40 organizations across the United States to join in celebrating the occasion. The following post is part of a series highlighting the issue’s impact in Colorado.

Is it Friday already? Wow, what a National Employee Freedom Week — starting with the news that 3 out of every 8 Colorado union members would quit the union if they could. We’ve spent time this week appreciating the options Colorado teachers currently enjoy, but also noting that opportunities exist to expand those freedoms and cure some injustices. Continue Reading »

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June
27th 2013
Ask First Better, But Every Member Option Gives Glimmer of Employee Freedom

Posted under Education Politics & Independence Institute & Suburban Schools & Teachers

June 24-28 has been designated the first-ever National Employee Freedom Week. “National Employee Freedom Week is a national effort to inform union employees of the freedom they have regarding opting out of union membership and making the decision about union membership that’s best for them.” The Independence Institute is one of more than 40 organizations across the United States to join in celebrating the occasion. The following post is part of a series highlighting the issue’s impact in Colorado.

When it comes to exercising employee freedom, many Colorado teachers may opt to stay part of the union. But they may not approve of all aspects of what the union does with their money. That’s why the Education Policy Center every year informs educators across the state about the Colorado Education Association’s December 15 deadline to get back the portion of their dues collected to fund local and state political candidates and causes. Continue Reading »

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June
26th 2013
Employee Freedom Means Giving Teachers More Chances to Opt Out of Union

Posted under Denver & Education Politics & State Legislature & Teachers

June 23-29 has been designated the first-ever National Employee Freedom Week. “National Employee Freedom Week is a national effort to inform union employees of the freedom they have regarding opting out of union membership and making the decision about union membership that’s best for them.” The Independence Institute is one of more than 40 organizations across the United States to join in celebrating the occasion. The following post is part of a series highlighting the issue’s impact in Colorado.

One thing we can definitely celebrate this National Employee Freedom Week is the fact that Colorado teachers do have membership options — including the right to join nothing at all. But in many cases, a teacher can’t always get out of the union when she wants to, or needs to, do so.

Look at the case of Ronda Reinhardt, a Denver Public Schools teacher who had to wait nearly a full year to opt out of her union membership. Why? Because DPS negotiated with the Denver Classroom Teachers Association that teachers can only stop their membership and dues payments between November 1 and November 15 — by going down to the union office during the (school) day and filling out some forms. Continue Reading »

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June
25th 2013
Many Non-Union Colorado School Employees Still Must Opt Out Every Year

Posted under Education Politics & Independence Institute & Teachers

June 23-29 has been designated the first-ever National Employee Freedom Week. “National Employee Freedom Week is a national effort to inform union employees of the freedom they have regarding opting out of union membership and making the decision about union membership that’s best for them.” The Independence Institute is one of more than 40 organizations across the United States to join in celebrating the occasion. The following post is part of a series highlighting the issue’s impact in Colorado.

With most everyone out of school in the heart of summertime, it seems fitting to take a walk down memory lane. A few years ago my Education Policy Center friends talked to a Pueblo County school librarian named Becky Robertson, who told her story on this video: Continue Reading »

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June
24th 2013
National Employee Freedom Week: 3 in 8 Colorado Union Members Want Out

Posted under Education Politics & Independence Institute & Research & Teachers

June 23-29 has been designated the first-ever National Employee Freedom Week. “National Employee Freedom Week is a national effort to inform union employees of the freedom they have regarding opting out of union membership and making the decision about union membership that’s best for them.” The Independence Institute is one of more than 40 organizations across the United States to join in celebrating the occasion. The following post is part of a series highlighting the issue’s impact in Colorado.

What a great day to kick off the first-ever National Employee Freedom Week with a compelling tidbit of information that ought to sink in with Colorado citizens and elected officials. A newly-released national survey identified union member households, and then asked them this pithy question:

If it were possible to opt out of membership in a labor union without losing your job or any other penalty, would you do it?

The survey was able to generate results based on 500 Colorado responses, which I think you might find intriguing: Continue Reading »

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June
20th 2013
Louisiana Successfully Revamps Course Choice: Pay Attention, Colorado!

Posted under Courts & High School & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Middle School & Online Schools & School Choice & School Finance & State Board of Education

After an earlier hiccup left the innovative program’s status in doubt, I’m excited to see creative Louisiana leaders get the go-ahead for a new plan to launch Course Choice in 2013-14. The state’s Board of Education yesterday approved $2 million in funding for a pilot program that enables secondary students in schools graded C or below to take an approved course from one of 40 different public or private providers. (Other students are only eligible to select a course if their school doesn’t offer the subject.)

Three of the leading national advocates in the digital education arena — the Clayton Christensen Institute, Digital Learning Now, and iNACOL — teamed up to celebrate the news, explaining what the program really offers: Continue Reading »

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June
19th 2013
NCTQ’s Report on Teacher Prep Programs Must Do More Than Rattle a Few Cages

Posted under Edublogging & Grades and Standards & Innovation and Reform & Research & Teachers

Any large-scale effort at serious reform or innovation in K-12 education eventually leads to the vexing question of what to do about teacher preparation, ensuring there are enough effective instructors available. The consensus is fairly widespread that broadly speaking, today’s schools of education just aren’t getting the job done.

Released this week, the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Prep Review has been a long time in coming. The large-scale analysis of more than 1,100 teacher prep programs, in painting a bleak picture, has stirred up lots of debate and discussion. Here follow some of the highlights: Continue Reading »

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June
18th 2013
“Particularly Odd” Logic in New Hampshire Ruling Sets Back Tax Credit Choice

Posted under Parents & Private Schools & School Choice & Tax Credits

At the risk of putting everyone on a neck-jarring roller coaster of education policy emotions, I have to follow up yesterday’s good school choice news from Arizona with a brief account of a New Hampshire disappointment. Whereas the uplift came from an elected state legislature, the downer emerged from the courts. New Hampshire Judge John Lewis declared the state’s scholarship tax credit program partly unconstitutional.

As far as I know, this is the first-ever setback for a school choice tax credit program in the judicial system, at least as a less-than-100 percent positive decision. Both the Institute for Justice — which represents New Hampshire families who benefit from the program in the case — and the Cato Institute’s Jason Bedrick highlight the dangerous dual fallacy in the judicial logic: Continue Reading »

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June
17th 2013
Good Summer News: Two Arizona Choice Programs on Verge of Expansion

Posted under Governor & Independence Institute & Parents & Private Schools & School Choice & State Legislature & Tax Credits

There’s no time like summertime to focus on some good news, even if it comes from some place even hotter than home: Arizona. Thanks to Matt Ladner guest-posting on Jay Greene’s blog, I learned that the Grand Canyon State is a small step away from creating more opportunities for students and families after the legislature voted to expand two of its leading school choice programs.

The nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization offers up some key details: Continue Reading »

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June
14th 2013
Attacks against Dougco Market-Based Pay Miss Economic Mark, Educational Reality

Posted under Innovation and Reform & Parents & School Board & School Finance & Suburban Schools & Teachers

A few days ago I told you about the national attention attracted to Douglas County School District’s market-based pay system. That was before Choice Media highlighted the story on its Ed Reform Minute, or the Education Intelligence Agency’s Mike Antonucci linked to the Reuters story with the quip:

In Douglas County, Colorado, they are actually going to offer more pay to attract teachers in shortage areas, thus becoming the first school district to enact the law of supply and demand.

Supply and demand? Whoa, how radical for K-12 education! First, let me assure you there is no known threat of economists taking over schools. Put those conspiracy flowcharts away. Douglas County’s fluid system assigns new teacher hires to one of five different salary bands, based on which of 70 teaching job descriptions for which they have applied. Both middle school and high school social studies instructors (who presumably cover economics in class) fall in the lower two pay bands.

For some, however, like displaced union president Brenda Smith, a basic principle of economics is just a passing fad for the world of education: Continue Reading »

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