Archive for the 'Just For Fun' Category

17th 2015
Friday Decisions: A Furry Friend, Sneak-onomics, and Extra Ice Cream!

Posted under Accountability & Denver & Elementary School & Just For Fun & Middle School & Sciences & Social Studies & Suburban Schools & Testing & Urban Schools

Yesterday the Colorado Department of Education released CMAS science and social studies test results. It’s only the second year the test has been given (science to 5th and 8th graders, social studies to 4th and 7th graders), so you can’t read too much into the trend lines.

The bottom line is that scores are up slightly (except for 8th grade science), but overall Colorado students are not on track in these areas. Colorado Public Radio also notes that, as in other tested areas, there is a sizable achievement gap among ethnic groups.

The overall trend of small gains in 3 of the 4 subject areas generally seems to hold locally in places like Denver, Boulder, Loveland, and Grand Junction. (Thanks to Chalkbeat, you can search scores for individual districts and schools.)

But that’s all just prelude to (finally!) Friday fun time. Continue Reading »

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5th 2015
Union Interns Unionize Against Union

Posted under Just For Fun & Union

I’m pretty jaded for a five-year-old. Not much surprises me when it comes to edu-news. But sometimes, just sometimes, I see a headline that really catches my eye. Usually, that moment is followed by me checking the calendar for dangerous dates (remember April Fools’ Day?) and ensuring that I’m not looking at something like The Onion. That’s exactly what I did when I read the Daily Caller headline that the American Federation of Teachers’ paid interns are unionizing. Fortunately for us, it turns out that the article is genuine. I love fun Friday posts, and it doesn’t get much better than this.

Apparently, there is a high level of intern disgruntlement in the United States. The Daily Caller article links to a study covering some of the issues with unpaid internships. (Full disclosure: I have not read and likely will never read this study.)

AFT interns do not work on an unpaid basis. But, they have apparently grown weary of being underpaid, overworked, and receiving Spartan benefits. In other words, they are tired of being exploited by their employer. Beautifully, their employer in this case is a massive political organization that claims to be focused on protecting folks from exploitation. Continue Reading »

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15th 2015
A Friday Reminder of What Kids Can Do

Posted under Edublogging & Just For Fun

It’s been a while since we’ve had a good, fun Friday post. All that serious edu-business just keeps getting in the way. But take heart, my friends, for today is once again a Happy Friday. As I was perusing the normal news, an interesting story caught my attention: A Colorado Springs student is about to earn an undergraduate degree in computer security from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS)—before finishing high school. His name is Jacob Reichard, and he’s 17.

Check out his interview:

Continue Reading »

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6th 2015
Amazing Day to Appreciate Teachers and Celebrate Seven Years at Age 5

Posted under Just For Fun & Parents & School Board & State Legislature & Teachers

With a legislative session wrapping up today, and some big school board meetings going down this week, I feel like my little head is underwater. Which makes it a perfect time to step back and briefly express my amazement.

Amazed at what, you ask? In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Day, it only seems fitting to take hats off and pay tribute to all the great teachers in traditional public schools, charter schools, magnet schools, online schools, brick-and-mortar schools, private schools, and yes — even, homeschooling parents.

Little old me is taking it easy. I’ll start with a hat tip to the Association of American Educators and a statement from the group’s president Gary Beckner: Continue Reading »

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30th 2015
High-Stakes Game of Legislative Testing Chicken Nears Point of No Return

Posted under Education Politics & Independence Institute & Just For Fun & School Accountability & State Legislature & Testing

There’s nothing quite like the last-minute drama of a Colorado legislative session to fire up the creative juices. Last year at this time, I imagined the crazy showdown over transparency in the Student Success Act as an old gangster film.

This time around, the big looming education issue is what to do about testing. No need to rehash it all, since it’s ground I’ve covered here thoroughly in recent days.

A couple weeks ago, I pointed out that Colorado seems to be stuck in a testing rut. With less than a week to go in the legislative session and both remaining testing bills (HB 1323 and SB 257) stalled in their respective houses, it sure looks like that rut is getting even deeper.

Denver Post education reporter Eric Gorski had a great piece yesterday about how the debate is stuck in limbo, and I’m not just praising him because he included one of my Tweets in the story: Continue Reading »


23rd 2015
Yes, It’s Hard to Be Humble — for Education Reformers and for This Blog

Posted under Accountability & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Just For Fun & Parents & Teachers & Testing & Union

There have been more than a few times when I’ve gloated about an awesome blog idea that came to life here. On some occasions, my Education Policy Center friends warned me not to “get a big head.” At first, I was worried they meant little Eddie might turn out like this guy.

Later I figured out they were just warning me about my edublogging ego getting out of control. Recently I bragged to my Grandpa about one of my awesome blog posts, when he laughed and started singing this song to me about how hard it is to be humble. Turns out he wasn’t just making it up: Continue Reading »

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1st 2015
Unity is Strength: Independence Institute Staff Take the Plunge and Unionize

Posted under Edublogging & Education Politics & Independence Institute & Just For Fun & Transparency & Union

You know, maybe I’ve been too hard on teachers unions. Just this year, I’ve celebrated their declining membership rates, poked fun at their colossal loss of money in the 2014 election cycle, and had a little too much fun reliving an extraordinarily entertaining “battleflop” by Jeffco’s local teachers union.

Who can blame me? My big boy policy friends at the Independence Institute are always talking about union political spending, making sure union negotiations are required to be public, and helping teachers learn more about how they can opt out of paying union dues. Ben DeGrow did a scathing analysis of posts on the Jefferson County Education Association’s Facebook page back in January, and just this month Ross Izard published an article decrying union efforts to undermine tenure reform and accountability systems in education. I’m just a little guy, and I’ve got to follow the grownups’ lead.

But now it seems like the grownups may be changing their minds. Faced with impossible expectations and the cruel management of Jon Caldara, staff members are banding together for support. Continue Reading »


27th 2015
A Dandelion on a Battlefield: Taking a Timeout to Celebrate 2015′s Daniels Scholars

Posted under Edublogging & Just For Fun

Another Friday has arrived, my friends. In Colorado education, this week saw the continuation of an increasingly ugly fight over testing, accountability, and opt-outs. It will get worse before it gets better, but we don’t need to talk about that today. No, Fridays are happy days. And because I’m a stubborn young man about my happy Fridays, I’m going to (very) briefly stroll out between the trenches and pick an education dandelion that is likely to otherwise get lost in the cacophony: The new list of 2015 Colorado Daniels Scholars.

First of all, I’d like to congratulate this year’s scholars. Great work, and I can’t wait to see what you can accomplish as you move into the next stage of your lives!

For those who don’t know, the Daniels Fund provides college scholarships every year to “graduating high school seniors who demonstrate exceptional character, leadership, and a commitment to serving their communities.” These scholarship cover the gap between other financial aid sources, expected family contributions, and total tuition costs at an accredited college or university of a student’s choosing. Applicants have to meet a number of requirements that you can read more about here. Continue Reading »

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20th 2015
The Most Important Policy Field Trips Are the Ones I’m Not On

Posted under Edublogging & Just For Fun & learning

Fridays are always better when they involve policy field trips, don’t you think? This morning, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a floor debate on SB 45, which some of you will remember I wrote about a while back. SB 45 may well pass in the Senate, but it doesn’t have much chance of passing in the House. That doesn’t mean it’s insignificant, though. It is, after all, the first school choice bill to make it to the Senate floor for debate in quite some time. That means yours truly got to sit in on some pretty interesting arguments. We will discuss these arguments in more detail in the near future.

But I don’t want to talk about SB 45 today. In fact, I don’t want to talk about policy at all. Instead, I want to use today’s post to highlight the other young policy explorers at the Capitol.

Every time I take a field trip to the Capitol, the building is absolutely stuffed with little guys and girls who, like me, are excited to see democracy in action. These explorers lean toward the rail in the Senate gallery to get a better look at our state’s leaders, stare wide-eyed as lobbyists and folks with big briefcases rush around, and ask questions of their tour guides. Almost invariably, a couple almost fall over as they stare up at the ceiling.

Continue Reading »

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17th 2015
K-12 Bureaucratic Barriers a Problem? Who Ya’ Gonna Call? Cage-Busters!

Posted under Innovation and Reform & Just For Fun & Online Schools & Research & Teachers

It’s not a completely unfair characterization to suggest that a specialty for 5-year-old boys is busting things. Or at least enjoying watching others bust things. This post won’t help disabuse anyone of that impression.

Last week I cheered to see Marcus Winters flex his charter school myth-busting muscles. Today I bring your attention to a different kind of bustin’ going on.

Two years ago American Enterprise Institute (AEI) education scholar Rick Hess made waves calling for a greater can-do attitude among school and district administrators with his book Cage-Busting Leadership. Now he highlights the same sort of opportunities for teachers. Continue Reading »

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