Has Colorado taken another step toward providing students with greater choice and opportunity through access to digital learning options? If so, how big and effective a step has been taken? Let’s look at a piece of education legislation that was overshadowed by the likes of the “Future School Finance Act” and others, Senate Bill 139.
Archive for the 'State Board of Education' Category
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.
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 »
Having been long-winded the past couple days, I will keep this Friday posting short. But in case you missed it, please check out this week’s K-12 radio podcast interview, as Colorado League of Charter Schools president Jim Griffin breaks down the Colorado Department of Education (CDE)’s latest report on the state of charter schools.
The report highlights four trends: Continue Reading »
More than two-and-a-half years ago, the Colorado State Board of Education adopted the Common Core standards. Just this last December the State Board took another careful look at the decision, as this School Reform News article by my Education Policy Center friend notes.
For a number of reasons, the issue has gained greater national notoriety of late. I could link to a number of articles, but two very recent commentaries in the debate present a worthy read. School Reform News editor Joy Pullmann and Heritage Foundation analyst Lindsey Burke raise serious questions that need to be addressed. Continue Reading »
Posted under Federal Government & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & learning & Parents & PPC & Public Charter Schools & School Choice & State Board of Education & Suburban Schools & Teachers
Not many students can say their principal has served in Congress and chairs the State Board of Education. Perhaps even fewer can say their principal also has been a great champion for parental choice and positive educational transformation. In fact, that’s probably a unique distinction that belongs to the chartered Liberty Common High School in Fort Collins, Colo., in its third year of operation under the direction of Bob Schaffer. Another distinctive source of pride for Liberty Common, its inaugural junior class (2011-12) earned the highest ACT average scores in the entire state of Colorado.
To see firsthand the source of the school’s success, my Education Policy Center friends two days ago joined a small group from Jefferson County Students First on a morning tour. The academic rigor and emphasis on core character values were evident throughout the building. Fairly unique, Liberty Common High School students are initiated into one of five different “houses” with a character trait as theme. The system promotes camaraderie among different grades and helps the students embrace and convey the school’s core values that ought to serve them well later in life. Continue Reading »
When Colorado passed the first-of-its-kind Innovation Schools Act in 2008, observers knew that the law was primarily tailored to transform the most challenging campuses in Denver Public Schools (DPS). And so it largely has played out. No one else has matched the 24 DPS schools who have taken advantage of the Act’s process to transform existing public schools by setting them free from many state laws, board policies and bargaining provisions.
But if the state’s second-largest and most heavily urbanized district takes a look in the rear view mirror, they may begin to see a different district creeping up behind them: Falcon 49. Now, in one sense, Falcon cannot catch up, because there aren’t even 24 schools in its boundaries. But as a share of schools with officially approved innovation status, the El Paso County district is now clearly past DPS and behind only tiny Kit Carson, with its only two schools recognized under the Innovation Schools Act.
Two months after granting innovation status to six Falcon schools, on Wednesday the Colorado State Board of Education unanimously approved innovation plans for two more Falcon schools–bringing the total to eight. In addition to the positive potential unleashed by achieving freedom through the waiver process, at least one of the schools also tackled an ambitious reform: Continue Reading »
Choice and accountability are two words you’ll hear my Education Policy Center friends say quite a bit if you’re around them enough. Empowering families with a broader range of educational options, and providing transparent information about — and real consequences for — a school ‘s learning results, are two general principles they and I regularly espouse. But what kind of accountability is appropriate for private schools that accept voucher students?
One state with a large and growing private school choice program yesterday broke ground by adopting rules of a different kind from its predecessors. Fordham Institute blogger Adam Emerson, who supports the move, boils the decision down to its essence:
Louisiana has shown us that it’s possible to offer private-school choice and control for quality in a way that doesn’t cramp what makes a private school unique.
And in doing so, Louisiana has broken ground in school-voucher policy. While other states have made voucher and tax-credit-scholarship programs more transparent, only Louisiana would regulate enrollment at schools that consistently show poor performance. [emphasis added]
Ed News reports that the State of Colorado has laid out its detailed argument in the appeal of the Lobato school funding case. Former governors of both political stripes joined the University of Colorado Board of Regents and a coalition of business leaders in submitting their formal backing with the State and against the lawsuit:
The state’s brief, along with most of the amicus briefs, attempts to make the point that the high court needs to consider all state budgetary needs, not just whether K-12 funding is constitutional, in making its eventual decision.
About six weeks ago I shared with readers that the Falcon School District 49 innovation plan was nearing a crossroads. That crucial time may now be upon us. As reported in the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado State Board of Education yesterday unanimously approved requests to give six District 49 schools official innovation status:
“Innovation is here to stay,” said Bob Felice, Innovation Zone leader/assistant superintendent, adding that the plans grant a lot of autonomy to teachers and parents.
“Before we can do anything to fix Colorado schools, we just need to give them more money. …Right?” Well, Colorado taxpayers can’t afford to dish out more any time soon. Especially since the per-pupil spending increases of the past decade didn’t significantly impact student learning, and Colorado brings in more than $10,000 in tax revenues per student.
So begins a great new 2-minute video put together by my Independence Institute friends. It blends excerpts from a March 19 Colorado State Board of Education panel event here in Denver, “Making the Connections: School Finance Design and Student Achievement.” Two panelists in particular, national school finance experts, make a strong case that Colorado needs to think outside the box in designing a new system to fund learning success: