Archive for the 'Journalism' Category

25th 2014
Opponents’ Best Shot? Maybe Thompson Should Look at Innovating Educator Pay

Posted under Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Journalism & Principals & Research & School Board & Teachers

A month ago my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow wrote a Greeley Tribune op-ed, explaining that some local school board leaders have picked up the ball dropped by state lawmakers and are making progress on rewarding top-notch educators. He noted work going on in Jefferson County, Mesa 51, and Adams 12.

But based on a letter that appeared in last week’s Loveland Reporter-Herald, it looks like he should add Thompson School District to the list. I hesitated at first about whether to use the letter as a foil, justifiably concerned that some might wonder if I planted the meandering, logically-flawed piece in the newspaper as a straw man to beat up.

Well, let me put the rumors to rest. This 5-year-old prodigy didn’t plant the letter, but I am prepared to beat up its five fragile arguments, one by one: Continue Reading »

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11th 2014
Virtual Learning Success Story Inspires

Posted under Innovation and Reform & Journalism & Online Schools & School Choice

Some days you get tongue-tied (or finger-tied?), there’s a lot of background noise, and you can’t decide what in the world of K-12 education to share with people. There’s plenty going on, but nothing just seems… quite… right. Continue Reading »

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6th 2014
Will President Obama Set Record Straight on How School Choice Has Helped Kids?

Posted under Education Politics & Federal Government & Journalism & Research & School Choice

I guess being president means you get to say whatever you want. Now let’s be clear: Most of the big-people politics goes over my head, and I don’t bother to get into all that. But when the leader of the free world chimes in on school choice, it can’t help but capture my attention.

(H/T Choice Media) Cue Jason Riley’s Wall Street Journal political diary from yesterday, highlighting Bill O’Reilly’s recent exclusive interview with President Obama: Continue Reading »

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3rd 2014
Good Information is the Fuel That Makes Good Policies Like Course Choice Work

Posted under Journalism & Online Schools & Parents & Research & School Accountability & School Choice & School Finance

Today we move beyond the growing annual celebration of National School Choice Week (and fun pictures from my Education Policy Center friends’ Thursday night event). Now right in front of us stands Digital Learning Day and the growing reminder that we need to expand the notion of school choice to include course choice!

Nearly two years ago now, my senior education policy analyst buddy wrote a paper calling for Colorado to adopt a system of course-level funding. Back then, Utah was the pioneer model for creating such a system to offer students more flexibility and access to quality learning options. Now Louisiana, Florida, and even Michigan are on board with course choice programs, too. Continue Reading »

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7th 2014
K-12 Legislative Session Look Opens New Chalkbeat Colorado News Site

Posted under Innovation and Reform & Journalism & School Choice & School Finance & State Legislature & Teachers

Well, that’s new. You get used to the name, and to the appearance, of a website you visit almost on a daily basis. Then one day, a Tuesday early in January, it changes. Ed News Colorado as we knew it is no more, but now is part of a four-state online education news service. From now on, I turn to Chalkbeat Colorado as a vital source to find out what’s going on in schools, districts, and of course, at the State Capitol.

Oh yes, the Capitol. Tomorrow after all is the beginning of another legislative session, a time for parents and taxpayers to hold their breath and, if need be, get ready to do battle. A good place to start is reading the Legislative Preview 2014 by Ed News Chalkbeat Colorado’s Todd Engdahl. Continue Reading »


12th 2013
Column Comes Oh-So-Close to Intriguing Case for Education Transformation

Posted under Innovation and Reform & Journalism & Teachers

Yes, these are crazy days. But a short blog post is better than none at all. And I felt compelled to reply when I read this new Denver Post column by Alicia Caldwell. Not because she is entirely wrong, but because she errs by coming so close to, but missing, a critical breakthrough:

But the truth is — listen up, my free-market friends — enticing top-notch teachers means competing and paying for them. The average teacher salary in Colorado in 2012 was just under $50,000. That’s not much.

Paying teachers more isn’t a popular idea. But getting rid of the mediocre — a non-negotiatiable [sic] first step — and hiring smart people who are star teachers should be.

As usual, read the whole thing. She writes earlier in the piece that, due to challenging student demographics, we should celebrate Colorado’s small gains on national tests because of being so “poorly” funded. (Close to $10,000 per student.) Continue Reading »

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23rd 2013
Democrat Groff Backs Dougco Reform, as Vote Fraud Talk Enters Election Fray

Posted under Denver & Education Politics & Innovation and Reform & Journalism & School Board & Suburban Schools

Several weeks ago I warned you about the onset of the campaign “silly season.” But then sometimes, like the last 24 hours or so, we get to see how seriously a local school board race can be taken.

So seriously, it would seem, that a supporter of the union-backed Douglas County school board candidates was describing voter fraud intent to her anti-reform compatriots on Facebook. The public leak, detected and captured by a concerned citizen, quickly caught the attention of places like Denver morning talk radio. Continue Reading »

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16th 2013
Trying to Measure “Non-Cognitive Skills” Beats “Deja Vu All Over Again”

Posted under Denver & Grades and Standards & Journalism & Research & School Choice

An old baseball player from a long time ago once famously said, “It’s deja vu all over again” (or so my Education Policy Center friends would have me believe). Little voices have been asking me when I’m going to write something about the latest round of TCAP results — Colorado’s annual state testing for different grades in math, reading, writing, and science. But first, I had to figure out what year it was.

Wednesday’s headline at Ed News Colorado started out “State TCAP scores mostly flat….” In August 2012, the same publication reported the release of state test results under the headline “State scores mostly flat….” So I didn’t know how worthwhile it would be to write about last year’s news on a blog that’s already two days behind the curve. Continue Reading »

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23rd 2013
Adams 12 Doesn’t Need to Remain the Misreported Media Punching Bag

Posted under Journalism & School Board & School Finance & Suburban Schools & Teachers

Let the head-scratching commence. If you read this article by Yesenia Robles in today’s Denver Post, you’d think that Adams 12 school district had been hoarding money and just started to fix the problem, thanks to the watchful eye of the teachers union:

After a year of deflecting accusations of questionable and unethical budget practices, Adams 12 Five Star Schools officials say they are changing the way they develop district budgets.

Unfortunately, the story just doesn’t add up. First of all, it was only a week ago we learned about the Colorado Department of Education’s latest school district fiscal health report. The auditors gave Adams 12 and four other districts a risk indicator for “spending down fund balances.” So how can it be hoarding and overspending at the same time? Continue Reading »

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18th 2013
Indiana is Inspirational, But Let’s Not Just Dream about More Colorado School Choice

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

I work hard to spread the word about options and innovations in education. But once in awhile, the summertime heat provides a great chance to sit back and dream, too. Today I dreamed that this Herald Bulletin article, “Parents have more school choices,” was appearing in a Colorado newspaper:

With an expansion approved by the Indiana Legislature, students now have more options when it comes to eligibility for vouchers. But it’s not just vouchers they have access to.

Oh, how tempted I was to go through the article and replace every reference to “Indiana” with “Colorado.” Yes, we have one of the stronger open enrollment laws in the country, and one of the most thriving charter sectors, too. You can learn about the options that do exist at the fabulous School Choice for Kids website. But there are still many students out there in need of better learning options, so “more school choices” would be great! Continue Reading »


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