There’s no time like summertime to focus on some good news, even if it comes from some place even hotter than home: Arizona. Thanks to Matt Ladner guest-posting on Jay Greene’s blog, I learned that the Grand Canyon State is a small step away from creating more opportunities for students and families after the legislature voted to expand two of its leading school choice programs.
Archive for the 'State Legislature' Category
Governing magazine reports today that Wisconsin wants to join the cadre of states that offer private school tax deductions:
Last week, the Wisconsin legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved new tax deductions for families that put their kids in private school as part of its 2013-2015 budget. The plan allows for families to deduct up to $4,000 for every student in kindergarten through eighth grade and up to $10,000 for every high school student.
Yesterday I took a glance back at how Colorado’s charter school law came to be, a truly fascinating story that’s worth the time to check out. To keep the history kick going, today I’m turning my attention to an Ed News Colorado story by Todd Engdahl about Colorado voters’ “habit” of rejecting education tax increases.
Behavioral patterns connected with exercising a little self-restraint are usually deemed to be good habits. Raising taxes is anything but an effective solution for a education system that isn’t exactly built to be productive. A key problem with the current billion-dollar tax initiative is that it’s not tied to nearly enough substantive reform to give voters confidence that the money will yield significantly positive results. Continue Reading »
When is it okay to be disruptive in class? Most teachers rightly would frown on the idea of little whelps like me acting out or speaking out of turn when a lecture or other class instructional activity is taking place. But disruptive innovation via the blended learning strategy is an entirely different matter. I’m talking about the future!
In recent weeks I’ve introduced you to an innovative idea to provide oversight of expanded access to digital learning opportunities in Colorado, explained why the school finance tax proposal coming to a ballot near you missed the chance to break out of the 20th century, and highlighted how blended learning models can benefit teachers. But as usual, the good folks at the Clayton Christensen (formerly known as Innosight) Institute now have me thinking even a little more deeply how technology, policy, and practice very well could merge to transform the way learning takes place.
Hats off to Christensen, Michael Horn, and Heather Staker for their new paper, Is K-12 blended learning disruptive? An introduction to the theory of hybrids. And I’m not talking about cars that can run on different types of energy. The authors make an interesting case for two different kinds of blended learning models, based on their potential to foster long-term change: Continue Reading »
You may have heard old adages like “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” and “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Well, here comes the young whippersnapper again, questioning longstanding wisdom. When it comes to tax credits for private school choice, I have to say the old adages just don’t work. So the Cato Institute’s Jason Bedrick points out on a new posting.
Bedrick looks at states with scholarship tax credit (STC) programs before 2010 that later expanded those programs. He compares eight legislative votes in four different states, before and after, and finds that the vote margin grew significantly and dramatically in all but one case. The Cato analyst concludes: Continue Reading »
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.
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 »
A great classic novel my big friends tell me I need to read someday starts with a famous line. I’m talking about Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.
I’m told Dickens was contrasting conditions in the major cities London and Paris during the tumultuous French Revolution more than 200 years ago. On a more modest scale, one could do a lot to distinguish Colorado’s two biggest education stories this year based on a pair of new public opinion surveys. Read on to find the information and draw your own conclusions. Continue Reading »
There are a few possible explanations for all those shouts of “May Day” Coloradans may have heard yesterday. Some might have been the annual calls for an imaginary workers’ paradise, while others might have been desperate pleas of displaced Texans and Californians calling for relief from the late-season snow. In my education policy wonk world, though, “May Day” was code for a noteworthy coincidence. Have you heard?
As Ed News Colorado reports, the state legislature yesterday put the finishing touches on Senate Bill 213, the new school finance bill tied to some form of a billion-dollar tax increase initiative. Finishing its partisan course, the senate approved house amendments by a party-line 20-15 tally. Every legislative vote cast for SB 213 has come from Democrats; every vote against has come from Republicans. The Governor, also a Democrat, has given every indication of signing it into law.
The strict partisan divide may have something to do with all the bill’s missed reform opportunities, including continued inequities for charters and only a tiny share of total funds assigned to student “backpacks” (and in the final version of SB 213, pgs 139-140, even that small amount of principal “autonomy” is subject to district-level review). Then there’s the issue of “phantom students,” an ongoing problem of inequity left completely untouched by this new legislation.
That brings us to the May 1 coincidence. The same day as Colorado’s SB 213 received its final stamp of legislative approval, the smart people over at Education Next published a research-based commentary by Marguerite Roza and Jon Fullerton titled “Funding Phantom Students: State policies insulate districts from making tough decisions.” Continue Reading »
Parent educational power has made some great strides in a number of states in recent years, prompting not only 2011′s aptly-named “Year of School Choice” but also the rapidly-growing National School Choice Week phenomenon.
That doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels nor expect opponents to sit back and do nothing. We’ve seen the anti-school choice Empire Strike Back before. This time, as the result of a political power change, certain legislators undertook an effort to repeal the state’s scholarship tax credit program enacted just last year.
No school choice program has been shut down legislatively after being adopted. If New Hampshire lawmakers could revoke the Corporate Education Tax Credit, it would represent a blow not only to the choice movement but also to the opportunities of many Granite State students. The House passed the repeal, but that only got the measure halfway across the legislative finish line. Last week then brought good news out of Concord: Continue Reading »