Archive for the 'Grades and Standards' Category

April
11th 2014
Testing, Data Issues around Common Core Alive and Kicking in Colorado

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

Four weeks ago I posed the question: Are the wheels starting to come off Common Core in Colorado? It seems no less to be the case now than it did then. As I’ve stated before, the real concern comes down to limiting federal influence in our K-12 schools. On the other side of the equation, we need a reasonable, equitable, transparent, but minimally intrusive system of testing and accountability.

The current trajectory has some parents, educators, and others upset, and at least in some cases, for very good reasons. The problem is the term “Common Core” has become so inclusive of so many issues, and it’s so difficult even to get agreement on some basic facts, that a little guy like me sometimes just throws my hands up and sighs. Continue Reading »

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March
14th 2014
Not Pretty: Colorado Is Getting Caught in Other States’ Digital Learning Dust

Posted under Grades and Standards & Innovation and Reform & Online Schools & School Finance

A year ago I was just trying to figure out how to send Colorado home with its own digital learning report card. A year ago I was 5. Nearly 52 weeks later, and no progress on either front.

But our state did move up a small tick on the 2013 Digital Learning Now national report card. Last year’s D-plus has turned into a C-minus. I mean, Colorado literally climbed from 69 to 70 on the 100-point scale. Not exactly something to write home about, I know. But hey, you’ve got to mention the progress you can find. Continue Reading »

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March
13th 2014
Whoa… Are the Wheels Starting to Come Off Common Core in Colorado?

Posted under Federal Government & Grades and Standards & Parents & Public Charter Schools & School Accountability & State Board of Education & State Legislature

The more the pro-Common Core crowd doubles down, the more traction the opposition gains. And I can’t say I’m terribly disappointed. Snarky online quizzes that studiously avoid the term “Common Core” aren’t helpful for making the case to back national standards.

On the other hand, Rick Hess’ clever and insightful satire (I hope that debating federal policy with a UFO is indeed satire) sheds some real light on why their effort is spinning its wheels at best, and more likely starting to spin out of control: Continue Reading »

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March
3rd 2014
More Time to Study the K-12 Testing Issue Would Be Greatly Beneficial

Posted under Grades and Standards & Innovation and Reform & learning & School Board & State Legislature & Suburban Schools

I’m not sure whether to breathe a grateful sigh of relief, or to sit on the edge of my seat in curious anticipation. Maybe I can do both. Several weeks ago I told you about a possible approaching education reform collision, as the outside-the-box thinkers in Douglas County pushed a bill to give high-performing districts waivers from certain state tests.

Well, a little negotiation and compromise later, and I’m relieved to say that House Bill 1202 was transformed from a head-on policy change to a sit-down study. Given that there are a number of conflicting claims and questions about the state of testing, the time to examine and analyze would be greatly appreciated. Continue Reading »

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January
29th 2014
Students, Families Need Less Mandate, More Education Freedom from Feds

Posted under Federal Government & Grades and Standards & Parents & Private Schools & School Choice

If you think the federal government has a benign effect on Colorado education, then you’re just not paying attention. Look at all the fuel it’s thrown onto the fire of the Common Core debate — here in Colorado and elsewhere.

The U.S. Department of Education’s work of linking Common Core to the federal Race to the Top grant program raised a lot of red flags. But according to a new Education Week story, a number of school districts now are rejecting the funds for other reasons: Continue Reading »

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January
24th 2014
Good News for a Friday: More Colorado Kids Graduate High School On Time

Posted under Grades and Standards & High School & learning

What better time to talk about good news than a Friday? Chalkbeat Colorado reports that the number of students completing high school on time is moving in the right direction:

The state’s graduation rate for the class of 2013 increased by 1.5 percentage points to 76.9 percent — the same increment of change as the year before. The dropout rate also declined to its lowest point since 2003, with 2.5 percent of students statewide dropping out compared with 2.9 in 2011-2012.

Continue Reading »

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January
22nd 2014
Dougco Collision on Testing and Accountability Could Rattle Reform Debate

Posted under Education Politics & Federal Government & Grades and Standards & Innovation and Reform & School Accountability & School Board & State Legislature & Suburban Schools & Teachers

Have you ever watched a scene in an action movie (in my case, one that’s obviously edited for younger viewers to enjoy) where two cars, or trains, or planes are on a collision course? The characters in the movie may not realize what’s coming, but everyone watching in the theater or at home can sense that they are about to crash into each other. Then 3-2-1…

BOOM!!! Bent metal, broken glass, and explosions… cool stuff.

I exaggerate just a little to say that’s kind of how I feel today. Minding my own business at Chalkbeat Colorado, I’m directed to a Denver Post story with the headline “Douglas schools seek to opt out of federal, state standardized testing.” This is the super-conservative school board that’s transforming education, right? Continue Reading »

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January
16th 2014
I’ll Stick My Toe into the Fordham-Cato School Choice Argument… for Five Minutes

Posted under Grades and Standards & Just For Fun & Parents & Private Schools & Research & School Accountability & School Choice & Tax Credits

There’s nothing quite like taking a step into no man’s land, wandering into an argument between friends. A lot of us are on the school choice bandwagon together, but that certainly doesn’t mean everyone has the same views of what a program should look like. The Fordham Institute this week unveiled its “public accountability and private-school choice” toolkit. It called for administering state tests to all voucher / scholarship recipients, and reporting school-by-school test results if at least 10 kids participated.

It took very little time for the argument to begin: Continue Reading »

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January
14th 2014
A Little Progress on Students First Policy Report Card No Reason to Stop Going

Posted under Grades and Standards & Innovation and Reform & Research & School Choice & School Finance & Teachers

Some people may wonder why I like talking about report cards on schools and state education policies so much. Well, the answer is simple: Because they’re not MY report cards that MY parents have to sign. It’s hard for me to be objective about that “Unsatisfactory” mark I got in finger painting. Seriously harder than sharing about the latest round of Colorado School Grades or where Colorado districts rank on the new Choice and Competition Index.

This time around it’s the second annual Students First State Policy Report Card. A year ago, when I was still 5, I highlighted the good new/bad news that came with the inaugural release. Colorado ranked ninth among all the states plus D.C., but only earned a C grade.

Well, there’s two sides to the coin again this year. Colorado’s “GPA” improved enough to push us from number 9 to number 7 on the list. When it comes to student-centered policies that move the ball and bring opportunity and results, we’re still looking up at the likes of: Continue Reading »

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January
6th 2014
Easy for Me to Help Point Colorado Parents to Timely Info on Open Enrollment

Posted under Grades and Standards & Independence Institute & Parents & School Board & School Choice & Suburban Schools & Urban Schools

I love it when people make my job easier. (What? Ok, no, blogging here isn’t a “job,” child labor laws being what they are and all.) It’s even better when that aid comes from one of my Education Policy Center friends. Marya DeGrow has written two timely posts for the new Colorado School Grades blog — an innovation after the third year of data released rating schools across Colorado from A to F.

Marya’s first post explains how student learning styles may fit certain types of programs. The second highlights some of the great tools on the fabulous School Choice for Kids website: Continue Reading »

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