Archive for the 'Public Charter Schools' Category

4th 2013
Maybe Next Time Colorado Can Do Better than Lucky 13 in Parent Power

Posted under Innovation and Reform & Parents & Public Charter Schools & School Choice & Tax Credits & Teachers

I don’t want to alarm any of my Education Policy Center friends, but I do have some reservations about getting behind the notion of “Parent Power.” Specifically when it comes to matters of enforcing vegetable-eating policies, cutting into my video game time, and limiting where I can and can’t ride my new bike.

On the other hand, it’s a good thing when it comes to getting informed about educational options, selecting a school, and taking an active role in kids’ academic success. The Center for Education Reform is back again with the latest rendition of its Parent Power Index, and there haven’t been too many changes. Continue Reading »

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21st 2013
Time to Bust Amendment 66 Myths

Posted under Denver & Education Politics & Innovation and Reform & Parents & Preschool & Public Charter Schools & School Finance & State Legislature & Suburban Schools

At least one popular television series has taken on the challenge of refuting widely held beliefs rooted in misinformation. While I certainly can’t promise you the same level of entertainment value, in the spirit of MythBusters I urge Coloradans to check out a brand-new podcast of my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow on the Amy Oliver Show.

Listen to Ben debunk some of the myths behind Amendment 66, the billion-dollar-a-year statewide tax increase “for the kids.” You will learn how, contrary to claims made by prominent supporters: Continue Reading »


8th 2013
Two More California Blended Learning Charters Give Colorado Some Inspiration

Posted under Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Online Schools & Public Charter Schools

For some Colorado students, the school year is already back. For most of them, it’s coming very soon. So I can enjoy the last days of summer vacation, I wanted to share something quickly for you to help appreciate some more of the possibilities raised by The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning in Colorado.

So in the spirit of Rocketship Education, Carpe Diem, and KIPP Empower LA that I’ve written about before, here are a couple more videos to watch about schools successfully adopting blended learning models.

Unfortunately, they won’t let me embed them here. But you should still check out Aspire ERES Academy (Oakland, CA) and the BLAST Alliance College-Ready Prep Schools (Los Angeles). Yes, most of these highly promising innovations come from California, but that’s far from a good reason to dismiss them out of hand.

Glimpse the future, contemplate the policies that Colorado needs to change, and join in helping to inspire and bring more effective blended learning models to life. The tremendous potential is undeniable.

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6th 2013
Charter Competition Has Some Healthy Benefits for Denver, Still Room for More

Posted under Denver & Innovation and Reform & Public Charter Schools & Research & School Choice & Urban Schools

How many of my posts here have been inspired by a story at Education Next? Someone with too much time on their hands and go find the exact answer. But you’ll have to add this one to the count, because I think readers would find interesting a new piece by Marc Holley & Co., “Competition with Charters Motivates Districts.”

It’s a creative project in which the authors look for evidence from 12 different urban school districts across the U.S. — geographically disbursed in four different regions — to see to what extent the growth of public charter sectors might actually “prompt low-performing districts to improve their practice.” They looked at more than 8,000 media reports since 2007 to determine whether the dozen districts responded constructively and/or obstructively. They conclude: Continue Reading »

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29th 2013
School Choice Enhances Results, Expands Understanding of “Public Education”

Posted under Innovation and Reform & learning & Parents & Private Schools & Public Charter Schools & School Accountability & School Choice & Tax Credits

Okay, all you education transformers out there, I’ve got something for you to take to heart. Seriously, here’s your opportunity to pay attention, ponder, process, and personalize. If someone asked you to define or explain what public education is, what would you say?

For that purpose, I urge you to read a great new essay piece by James Shuls of the Show-Me Institute titled “Redefining Public Education.” Though the idea isn’t original with Shuls by any means, his piece deserves a few minutes of your time. The execution is very good, because it’s rooted in a compelling true story of a young man from St. Louis named Korey Stewart-Glaze: Continue Reading »

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5th 2013
National CREDO Study Robs Anti-Charter Crowd of Big Bogus Talking Point

Posted under Innovation and Reform & Journalism & Parents & Public Charter Schools & Research & School Choice & Urban Schools

Summertime is catch-up time. Recently, I missed the chance to comment on the new CREDO national charter school study. The report’s predecessor, released four years ago, caught on in the national press as a sign that charters were faring badly. That report generated serious criticisms from researchers about the methods used to draw its conclusions. This time, however, the news is better, though not outstanding:

Across the charter schools in the 26 states studied, 25 percent have significantly stronger learning gains in reading than their traditional school counterparts,
while 56 percent showed no significant difference and 19 percent of charter schools have significantly weaker learning gains. In mathematics, 29 percent of charter schools showed student learning gains that were significantly stronger than their traditional public school peers’, while 40 percent were not significantly different and 31 percent were significantly weaker.

So, looking at a bigger sample, CREDO finds overall small charter advantages in reading and a wash in math. Many of the most disadvantaged — “[s]tudents in poverty, black students, and those who are English language learners” — reap the greatest benefits. Despite the better news, the pro-charter Center for Education Reform showed its integrity by publicizing very similar concerns about CREDO’s matching method that they did four years ago. Not that they especially need this particular study to confirm the positive outcomes generated by public charter schools and strong state policies that support them. Continue Reading »

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5th 2013
Better Than Dusty Old History: Learn How Colorado Got Its Charter School Law!

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

Just a short one today. Because it all has to do with things that happened in the way-back long ago dark ages of 1993 (before my time), I defer to my Education Policy Center friends. What better place to start than today’s Denver Post column by Vincent Carroll, who writes about when the good guys in education reform prevailed.

Twenty years ago on Monday, then-Gov. Roy Romer signed into law Colorado’s Charter Schools Act, the third of its kind in the country. Carroll captures the essence of it well and, importantly, also points readers to a great new Independence Institute non-fiction story: Continue Reading »

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23rd 2013
Passing Thoughts: Charters Well Established Part of Colorado’s Education Landscape

Posted under Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & learning & Public Charter Schools & Research & School Choice

According to my stressed-out-looking Education Policy Center friends, we are fast approaching the 20th anniversary of Colorado officially approving charter schools as a means of public school choice. At the time, we were the third state to do so (after Minnesota and California). Today, 42 states have some form of a charter school law. As being one of the pioneers, it’s great to see Colorado’s charter law today ranks among the strongest nationwide.

Not far behind us was Arizona, where charters became law of the land in 1994. Yesterday the Goldwater Institute’s Jonathan Butcher took the opportunity to explain why lawmakers in his state should continue to preserve charter freedoms while also pointing out improvements the state could make to ensure equity. Butcher’s accompanying new report also provides a detailed picture of the growth made in Arizona’s charter sector and the results their students have achieved. Continue Reading »

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13th 2013
International Student Learning Comparisons Remind Why Dougco Is Raising Bar

Posted under Denver & Foreign Countries & Grades and Standards & High School & Innovation and Reform & International & learning & Parents & Public Charter Schools & Research & Suburban Schools

When I’m running a race, no matter how short my little legs may be, I don’t want to be left in the middle of the pack: I want to break the tape first… I want to WIN!! In America, including Colorado, we tend to think our suburban schools serving middle-class students are largely doing just fine. But that all depends on your perspective and your point of comparison.

It’s well past time to think beyond the school district next door or across the state. A group called America Achieves just released a report titled “Middle Class or Middle of the Pack” that ought to help wake up some people. Many of the chief excuses for America’s humdrum or weak showing on international tests just sort of melt away:

Many assume that poverty in America is pulling down the overall U.S. scores, but when you divide each nation into socio-economic quarters, you can see that even America’s middle class students are falling behind not only students of comparable advantage but also more disadvantaged students in several other countries.

Continue Reading »

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

Posted under Denver & Elementary School & Grades and Standards & learning & Magnet School & Parents & Public Charter Schools & reading & 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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