Archive for the 'Magnet School' Category

29th 2016
The Inevitability of Educational Choice

Posted under Magnet School & Online Schools & Public Charter Schools & School Choice & Tax Credits

Well, my friends, National School Choice Week 2016 is almost over. I know, I know. Every week should really be National School Choice Week. But let’s be honest, we can’t expect to pull together massive rallies like the one we had yesterday every week. And hey, at least you got to watch some sweet videos and learn a new dance.

As this year’s biggest school choice celebration winds down, I think it’s good for us to pause and consider how far educational choice has come in America. Private school choice experienced explosive growth across the country in 2015, with 15 states adopting or expanding 21 different educational choice programs. More than half the states in America now offer some type of private educational choice option—an astonishing 59 programs in total.

There are now 166,588 kids using school vouchers; 219,833 kids in scholarship tax credit programs; and 7,046 kids making use of education savings accounts in the United States. Sadly, Colorado has yet to unleash the full benefits of private school choice.

Growth in school choice hasn’t been limited to private schools. Public school choice is also expanding rapidly. There are 6,700 public charter schools in the United States. Those schools serve nearly three million kids.

There are an estimated 2.2 million kids being homeschooled in the United States. Another 320,000 students are enrolled in full-time online education, and 2.3 million students take online classes in addition to their brick-and-mortar education. Yet another 2.6 million students attend 3,200 magnet schools found in all 50 states.

Here in Colorado, there are now 226 charter schools serving more than 108,000 students. That’s about 12 percent of total public school enrollment in the state. Roughly 10 percent of PK-12 students in Colorado—nearly 87,000 kids—attend schools outside their districts of residence, and an uncountable number of others attend schools within their district other than their assigned neighborhood schools.

School choice is not just a thing. It is the thing.

And the best part? There’s no going back now. The educational choice movement has fundamentally altered the education paradigm. Now that parents and students have tasted educational freedom, there will be no returning to the days of rigid, monopolistic systems that too often fall short of meeting students’ needs. The Overton Window has shifted, and it will never shift back.

As Andy Smarick recently wrote in a piece fittingly titled “School Choice: The End of the Beginning”: “Increasingly, the conversation is no longer about whether to have school choice. It’s about how to make school choice work.”

We too often find ourselves sitting around tables talking about school choice as if it is still some newfangled, crazy idea. It’s not, and we should stop. We are not an idealistic minority, we are the majority.  Choice in education is the rule, not the exception. We’re the tide, not the sand castle.

Let’s make sure we enter this year’s school choice battles with the right perspective. Victory is, after all, inevitable.



10th 2013
Finding the Positives in Colorado’s Latest 3rd Grade Reading TCAP Results

Posted under Denver & Elementary School & Grades and Standards & Magnet School & Parents & Public Charter Schools & Research & Rural Schools & State Board of Education & State Legislature & Suburban Schools & Teachers & Urban Schools

It’s that time of year again. I get to share some news and thoughts with you about the latest release of Colorado’s 3rd grade reading test results. We’re talking the “preliminary and unofficial” results from TCAP, the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program, formerly known as CSAP. As last year’s debate on HB 1238 (the Colorado READ Act) reminded us, making sure kids have proficient reading skills by this milestone year is a crucial indicator of their future learning success.

Ed News Colorado this week reports:

Colorado’s third grade TCAP reading scores remained flat in 2013 for the third year in a row, according to TCAP results released Tuesday.

Once again defying the trend and deserving a little extra kudos is Denver Public Schools, for boosting its 3rd grade reading proficiency up to 61 percent, closer to the state average. Also making progress is Westminster 50, which rebounded from a low 40 percent two years ago to 50 percent today. As the article points out, Aurora took a small hit but anticipates “a much different story next year,” while large suburban districts Jefferson County, Douglas County, and Cherry Creek followed the state’s flat trend line. Continue Reading »

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3rd 2009
Families’ Power to Choose a High School or Middle School in Denver

Posted under Denver & High School & Magnet School & Middle School & Parents & Public Charter Schools & School Choice & Urban Schools

As reported in yesterday’s Denver Post, more and more Denver families are becoming smart education shoppers and taking advantage of the choices available to them — even sometimes opting for different schools within the same household:

The chaos begins in the Black household on weekday mornings around 6 a.m., when the family’s three children prepare to head off to three different Denver high schools.

Keenan, a senior, attends George Washington High School. Griffin the sophomore, goes to nearby Thomas Jefferson. And Addie, a freshman, is enrolled at South.

The oldest likes George Washington’s International Baccalaureate program, the sophomore likes the computer center at TJ and Addie is excited about the diversity at South.

Interested? Excited? Confused? … Continue Reading »

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31st 2008
Colorado Cyberschool Mom Goes National with New Advocacy Group

Posted under Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Magnet School & Online Schools & Parents & Public Charter Schools & School Choice

In the spirit of the day, I looked for something scary in education to tell you about. But instead of that, I wanted to let you know about an exciting new national group that has formed:

This week a committed group of parents from around the United States officially launched the National Coalition for Public School Options (NCPSO) to support and defend public school options in their states and throughout the country.

The group was officially launched during the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL) Virtual School Symposium.

“As parents, we want the best possible education for our children,” said Lori Cooney NCPSO president and parent of online public school students in Colorado. “Our founding board believes parents everywhere should have more public school options available to them, and we will help give those parents a voice in their state capitals and in our nation’s capital.”

Cooney joined two other parents to help form the organization: Briana LeClaire from Idaho and Christine Beard from Ohio, both fellow parents whose children are enrolled in online public schools.

The Coalition supports the creation of public school options, including charter schools, online schools, magnet schools, open enrollment policies and other innovative education programs. Additionally, the organization will advocate for free and equal access without restrictions to these public schools for all children.

Colorado’s own Lori Cooney is at the helm of this parent-led, pro-school choice group. Cooney has served as president of the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families. A cyberschool mom, she has been an advocate for protecting the rights and options of students who benefit from an online education program.

The timing is very appropriate. It was almost exactly seven years ago (I wasn’t even around yet!) that Education Policy Center director Pam Benigno published her report saying Colorado needed to “stop the discrimination” in public K-12 online education. Things have gotten better since then, and online education has flourished in our state. But significant challenges certainly remain for those who seek the free and equal opportunity to send their children to an online school.

Therefore, it’s good to see that cyberschool students nationwide – in fact, all students who exercise public school choice – will have a strong advocate from right here in Colorado. Good luck to NCPSO! And I hope that Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families continues its important work, too.

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8th 2008
A Glimpse at New Schools: The Studio School in Adams 12

Posted under Arts & Elementary School & Magnet School & Middle School

Families in the Northglenn-Thornton area north of Denver who are looking to immerse their younger students in a creative arts approach to education have a new option this fall. The Studio School (formerly known as the District Arts Magnet School) in Adams 12 opens its doors to students in kindergarten through 2nd grade on August 18. In each successive year, one grade will be added until it becomes a full K-8 school in 2014-15.

According to The Studio School’s website:

The arts are infused in core subject areas such as language arts, math, science and social studies. Staff empowers students with an interest in the arts to flourish and expand their artistic abilities through a solid academic environment. The learning environment capitalizes on the latest research linking academic success with the integration of arts concepts and experiences.

Each school day will include 85 minutes of creative arts–including visual art, music, theatre, dance, and literary art.

The Studio School is neither a public charter school nor a district school of choice. Applications must be made directly to the school, but only families living in Adams 12 are eligible to enroll. Students are selected by lottery on a geographic basis to represent different regions of the school district. Applications are closed for 2008-09.

Other new schools featured: