Search Results for ""peggy littleton""

13th 2012
Let’s Look at the Other Important Part of Colorado’s Early Literacy Problem, Too

Posted under Grades and Standards & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Parents & Research & School Accountability & State Legislature & Teachers

If I weren’t so little, I might have stayed up to hear the first result for Colorado’s most talked about education bill of the session. But it went past my bedtime before the House Education Committee agreed to adopt HB 1238, as Ed News Colorado reported:

The House Education Committee Monday gave a full hearing – more than seven hours – to House Bill 12-1238, the proposal that would require improved literacy programs in the early elementary grades, create a preference for retention of third graders with weak reading skills and add early literacy results to the factors in the state’s accountability system for rating schools.

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6th 2010
State Ed Board Chair Bob Schaffer Boldly Speaks for Parental, Not Federal, Power

Posted under Education Politics & Federal Government & School Choice & State Board of Education

Colorado is a truly interesting place when it comes to education reform. If you follow this blog at all, you know what I mean. But seriously, how many states have a State Board of Education chair who is such a bold spokesman for empowering students and parents rather than propping up politics and the current system?

Bob Schaffer isn’t your everyday education official. Don’t believe me? Check out what the former Congressman and Senate candidate (and current charter high school principal) wrote in his latest entry of the National Journal “experts” blog when asked about the turnaround process and the U.S. Department of Education’s school improvement grant program. Here’s an excerpt for the flavor:

Only from behind the haughty parapets of Washington, D.C., would anyone consider it “good news” that taxpayers of a bankrupt government are dropping heaps more of yet-to-be-printed money on 730 failing public schools.

It’s a bizarre stratagem, unashamedly rewarding failure with billions more of other peoples’ hard-earned cash. How otherwise sane people can actually expect the long-term outcome of this audacity to be anything but more failure is beyond the rest of us out here in the commonsense parts of the country. Continue Reading »


2nd 2010
Colorado State Board of Education Adopts Common Core Academic Standards

Posted under Federal Government & Grades and Standards & State Board of Education

I’ve been listening this morning to the Colorado State Board of Education discuss their decision to adopt the Common Core standards. If you want a play-by-play, check out my Twitter page.

Bottom line: the State Board just voted to adopt Common Core by the margin of 4-3. Republican Randy DeHoff joined the Board’s three Democrats in favor of adoption. Among other things, this move effectively ensures Colorado has an inside shot to win up to $175 million in federal Race to the Top funds.

I expressed my views on the matter Friday. Even then I knew that stopping the train would be a difficult task. And though the vote may not have turned out as I wished, opponents like Board member Peggy Littleton and the hundreds of citizens who spoke out were able to ensure an open, honest and clarifying debate about values and principles. Too bad the specter of federal money loomed overhead.

State Board Chairman Bob Schaffer put the matter in perspective, said the decision is all about the federal money, and not the quality of the academic standards. Yet he doesn’t see it as starting our state down an irreversible course of federal subservience.

Thus we move on, keep working on important issues and hope for the best: for example, being vigilant about how Colorado uses the Race to the Top dollars our state is likely to win. And after all, I have a long future ahead of me.


30th 2010
Price for State Board to Adopt Common Core Standards Is Simply Too High

Posted under Education Politics & Federal Government & Grades and Standards & Independence Institute & State Board of Education

Well, Monday is the State Board of Education’s moment of truth: the decision whether or not to adopt Common Core standards. What once looked like an outcome not in doubt has changed in recent days. A great Ed News Colorado story today by Todd Engdahl lays it out well.

Some of the decisions made by the State Board are pretty cut and dry, many of an administrative nature. From time to time they are faced with more momentous choices. Monday’s vote certainly is one of them. My understanding — based on the Ed News report as well as what my Education Policy Center friends are hearing — is that of the Board’s seven members, two are definitely opposed (Peggy Littleton and Marcia Neal) and one is leaning that way. Board chairman Bob Schaffer could turn out to be the deciding vote.

It’s kind of a Catch-22: Voting Yes on Common Core opens up a potential Pandora’s Box of greater federal control and involvement over Colorado parents and schools. Voting No means effectively ruling out Colorado’s chances to bring home up to $175 million in U.S. Department of Education Race to the Top reform dollars. (Note: Over the four years of the grant award, that probably will amount to less than one-half of one percent of Colorado’s total K-12 revenues.) Continue Reading »

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27th 2010
iVoices: Rural School “Chief” Gerald Keefe Sounds Off Against National Standards

Posted under Federal Government & Grades and Standards & Independence Institute & Rural Schools & State Board of Education

Well, we’ve reached the week leading up to Colorado’s critical final decision about whether to adopt the Common Core Standards. This decision could end up marking a significant crossroads concerning K-12 education in Colorado.

A few weeks ago I pointed out that the Denver Post had caught up to me in noticing the whole Common Core debate. Their front-page story introduced many readers to Kit Carson School District superintendent (or “chief”) Gerald Keefe, who has led the charge for local control from the rural Eastern Plains.

Keefe very recently joined my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow for a discussion of a resolution his school board has adopted, a resolution for which he has begun to gain support. Listen to the 10-minute iVoices podcast (MP3) as the rural superintendent explains why he is resolved not only to oppose Common Core and national standards but also to break away from state-mandated curriculum requirements. Continue Reading »

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19th 2010
How Do Common Core Standards Compare to Colorado’s New Academic Standards?

Posted under Federal Government & Grades and Standards & State Board of Education

The deadline for the Colorado State Board of Education to decide whether to approve Common Core Standards (CCS) is fast approaching, now only two weeks away. The debate continues to pick up steam. Are these academic standards for K-12 students truly high quality and voluntary? Is there truly a benefit beyond the money tied to adopting Common Core?

One argument against adopting math and language arts CCS for Colorado — besides legitimate fears of opening the doors to expanded federal government influence on local school curricula — is the potential conflict with existing state standards. Only seven months ago the State Board of Education adopted new academic standards in 11 areas. Which raises some natural questions: Do we really need to re-invent the wheel? Are the quasi-national CCS more focused and rigorous than Colorado’s new standards? Continue Reading »

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8th 2010
Denver Post Follows My Lead, Notices Colorado’s Common Core Standards Debate

Posted under Federal Government & Grades and Standards & Rural Schools & State Board of Education

I may be young, but I didn’t fall off the apple cart yesterday (or however that expression goes). In fact, your little Eddie sometimes is way ahead of the curve on local education issues. Take Colorado’s emerging debate over Common Core Standards: Been there, done that.

Six weeks after I first brought your attention to the concerns raised by State Board of Education member Peggy Littleton, the Denver Post comes through with a front-page story this morning:

A backlash over national education reforms is growing in Colorado, with some school leaders rejecting what they call a federal intrusion into the classroom.

The piece by Jeremy Meyer not only highlights Littleton’s efforts and some statements made by U.S. Senate candidates Jane Norton and Ken Buck, but it also zooms in on one of the state’s smallest school districts out on the Eastern Plains: Continue Reading »


8th 2010
Video: Peggy Littleton, Michael Johnston Debate Common Core Standards

Posted under Federal Government & Grades and Standards & Independence Institute & State Board of Education & State Legislature

Last week I introduced you to a new iVoices podcast with Peggy Littleton from the State Board of Education raising legitimate concerns about Race to the Top and a slide toward national standards.

Last week, Littleton joined state senator Michael Johnston on an episode of Jon Caldara’s show Devil’s Advocate to discuss both Senate Bill 191 and the Race to the Top requirement to sign on to Common Core standards. Check out the YouTube playlist for a great debate!

The compelling give-and-take on Devil’s Advocate is a microcosm of a larger national debate playing out. Checker Finn from the Fordham Institute is all for the reform, saying the newly-released Common Core Standards are “better than ever.” But education experts from the Heritage Foundation disagree, saying it puts us on a path to standardizing mediocrity, while the venerable Dr. Jay Greene continues his strong compelling case against Common Core.

What can I say? Tune in, get informed and get involved in the debate to determine who sets academic standards for Colorado.


27th 2010
Raising Concerns about Race to the Top and Move Toward National K-12 Standards

Posted under Federal Government & Grades and Standards & Independence Institute & Research & School Accountability & State Board of Education

I’ve written plenty about Colorado’s ongoing quest for Race to the Top federal education grant money. I’ve noted both the promise and the peril within this pursuit. But one issue I have yet to highlight is the Race to the Top requirement that states sign on to the Common Core Standards.

In a new iVoices podcast, Colorado State Board of Education member Peggy Littleton explains how the pull of federal money threatens to lead us down a path towards national testing and curriculum, undermining local control and in some cases watering down the quality of standards. Follow this link or click the play button below to listen: Continue Reading »


18th 2009
State Board Members Criticize Supreme Court Ruling Made “For the Children”

Posted under Courts & Education Politics & Governor & Independence Institute & Public Charter Schools & School Board & School Finance & State Board of Education & State Legislature & Teachers

Update: State Board member Peggy Littleton also weighed in (see below)

When I asked my teacher, she told me that judges are supposed to interpret the law — not just make up stuff. (Which is something I tend to do after eating the last two chocolate chip cookies from the jar.) So I was a little confused and disappointed when I saw what went down a couple days ago at the Colorado Supreme Court.

Independence Institute president Jon Caldara and the Denver Post‘s Vincent Carroll are among many who have highlighted flaws in the court’s judgment. They’re right — the ruling seems to say taxpayer protections in the state constitution don’t mean much when the issue at stake supposedly is “for the children”. I know it’s really not my fault, but being a kid, whenever I’m used for unsavory political purposes — well, I feel a little guilty about it.

That guilt led me to get my Education Policy Center friends to ask the opinions of some other important people about this supreme court decision: namely, members of the Colorado State Board of Education. Interestingly, the State Board was the original defendant in this lawsuit led by the Independence Institute and filed by taxpayers. If you didn’t know better, you’d think they’d all be happy with a Supreme Court decision that went their way. But not so fast. Continue Reading »

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