Archive for the 'Privatization' Category

11th 2015
Ugly Smear Column Tries, Fails to Shove Conservative Education Reform Aside

Posted under Accountability & Courts & Education Politics & Federal Government & Innovation and Reform & Private Schools & Privatization & Public Charter Schools & School Accountability & School Board & School Choice & State Board of Education & Teachers & Union

I hope you all enjoyed a nice, long break from recent depressing edu-happenings over the last few days. I also hope that your disappointment is tempered by hope for the future. As my friend Ross Izard pointed out in a recent op-ed—and as my dad always says—it ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.

I never have figured out who that fat lady is, but I’m pretty positive it isn’t Michael Vaughn, a former DPS spokesperson turned communications director for Education Post. Mr. Vaughn recently wrote a post-election Denver Post op-ed about the fact that “real” reform is winning in Colorado. It’s a rather nasty piece in which he celebrates reform victories in Denver while all but dancing on the graves of conservative education reformers around the state.

When I look at what conservative education reform folks have pushed for over the past few years in Jeffco, Thompson, Dougco, and other districts, I see a long list of meaningful reforms. New curricula, new charter schools, pay-for-performance systems, equal funding for charter students, collective bargaining reform—you name it, it’s there. But that doesn’t seem to qualify as true reform for Vaughn, who instead offers this definition of the term:

I know there’s no tried-and-true definition of reform, but there are generally accepted reform stances: school choice/charter schools; Common Core; annual, federally mandated standardized testing; teacher and school accountability. So let’s see how the losing candidates stand on these issues.

He goes on to hammer Dougco for applying for a State Board of Education Waiver from PARCC testing, taking school choice to “an extreme” with its local voucher program, “busting the union,” and “jamming” policies down teachers’ throats. He then implicitly extends most of those critiques to Jeffco, and adds an astonishingly unsophisticated take on the A.P. U.S. History fiasco that fails to acknowledge the fact that despite Julie Williams’ blunt approach to the situation, conservative concerns about the framework were ultimately validated by the College Board itself.

Sadly, those flubs are far from the worst the column has to offer. Continue Reading »

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29th 2013
Three Decades After “A Nation at Risk,” Incredible Theories Live On: Who Knew?

Posted under Innovation and Reform & Just For Fun & learning & Privatization

Talk about ancient history for a kid like me. On Friday the Fordham Foundation and American Enterprise Institute commemorated the 30th anniversary of the landmark A Nation at Risk education report with this 23-minute video documentary:

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1st 2010
“If You Can’t Defend It, Don’t Spend It”: Denver Post’s Look at School Finances

Posted under Denver & PPC & Principals & Privatization & School Board & School Finance & Suburban Schools & Teachers

In recent weeks I’ve told you about the recent successes Colorado has seen in the area of school financial transparency — namely, the detailed online financial databases created by two of the state’s three largest districts (Jeffco and Douglas County).

Yesterday the Denver Post‘s Jeremy Meyer and Burt Hubbard reported some of what can be learned by having an easier peek behind the financial curtain:

Spending on items other than salaries and bonuses by the Jefferson County and Douglas County school districts totaled $106 million and $91 million, respectively, from July 2009 to mid-February this year.

And while the bulk of that money is spent on necessary supplies for maintenance of schools, and for direct classroom expenses (such as books, office supplies and other items), millions are spent annually on restaurants, travel and training.

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10th 2009
Pueblo School Districts Could Do Even Better Than Just Sharing Services

Posted under Privatization & School Board & School Finance & Teachers

My mom and dad have been drilling the importance of sharing into me for years. I’ve finally got it down now (okay, for the most part). But as far as I recall, sharing my Legos or Matchbox cars with other kids has never been encouraged as a way to save money.

I guess it’s a little different when it comes to school districts and “sharing” services. A recent article in the Pueblo Chieftain offers an account of a new development in the region’s two largest school districts:

Talk of consolidating Pueblo City Schools and Pueblo County School District 70 may be too early right now, but the concept of sharing services is not.

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