Archive for the 'State Legislature' Category

March
21st 2014
Time to Go Wild: Legal Win for Kids Helped by Arizona’s Cutting-Edge ESAs

Posted under Courts & Governor & Innovation and Reform & Parents & Private Schools & Research & School Choice & State Legislature

Most Fridays I just want to get up, stick my tongue out, yell, and run around like a wild man. Hey, I’m a kid, it’s okay to be crazy. Sometimes it’s a frustrated, “I can’t take it any more”-kind of crazy. Today, it’s a feeling of relief turned into exhilaration. The Federation for Children delivers the great news that the Arizona Supreme Court upholds the state’s cutting-edge Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) as constitutional: Continue Reading »

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March
20th 2014
Student Success Act Soap Opera Gears Up for Shift to Wilder Ride in Senate

Posted under Education Politics & Online Schools & School Finance & State Legislature

Colorado education’s political soap opera continues. But the latest episode is more about building suspense than revealing any dastardly motives or other clever plot twists. This time it’s the so-called Student Success Act (aka House Bill 1292), which cleared a key hurdle yesterday with an 11-1 vote in the House Education Committee.

The protests against the proposal have only grown louder and more concerted since it had its first hearing a few weeks ago. With near unanimity, Colorado school district superintendents have vocally clamored for more general formula dollars into their coffers and less prescriptive policies from the Gold Dome.

As Chalkbeat Colorado reports, the House is basically punting key decisions over to the Senate — where the legislation has to go eventually if it is going to prevail. Among them is an issue near and dear to my little heart: Continue Reading »

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March
13th 2014
Whoa… Are the Wheels Starting to Come Off Common Core in Colorado?

Posted under Federal Government & Grades and Standards & Parents & Public Charter Schools & School Accountability & State Board of Education & State Legislature

The more the pro-Common Core crowd doubles down, the more traction the opposition gains. And I can’t say I’m terribly disappointed. Snarky online quizzes that studiously avoid the term “Common Core” aren’t helpful for making the case to back national standards.

On the other hand, Rick Hess’ clever and insightful satire (I hope that debating federal policy with a UFO is indeed satire) sheds some real light on why their effort is spinning its wheels at best, and more likely starting to spin out of control: Continue Reading »

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March
10th 2014
Colorado Education’s Political Soap Opera Almost Makes Me Want to Change Channels

Posted under Education Politics & Innovation and Reform & State Legislature & Teachers

I’m much too young for soap operas (hopefully, for the rest of my life). But the politics at the Capitol around SB 191, educator effectiveness, teacher tenure, and K-12 education accountability at large… well, it seems kind of like a soap opera these days. Call it General Assembly, or The Young and the Tested, or As the Education Committee Turns.

Last week, in an op-ed co-authored with the head of the state teachers union, the architect and champion of Senate Bill 191 announced that he was agreeing to a timeout of sorts in implementing the new educator effectiveness regime: Continue Reading »

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March
7th 2014
Two Michigan Teachers Set Free of Union; Thousands More in Limbo

Posted under Courts & Education Politics & State Legislature & Teachers

Jillian Kay Melchior at National Review adds some great insights to this story, as well.

Freedom for two teachers is better than freedom for none. It’s a good start. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports that “kindergarten teacher Miriam Chanski and hall of fame wrestling coach William ‘Ray’ Arthur” were finally able to get their wish and exit the union.”

After an extended legal showdown, the Michigan Education Association dropped its resistance, but not before doing some damage: Continue Reading »

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March
5th 2014
School Choice Legislative Debates Spread Across Map; Time for Colorado Kids to Win

Posted under Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Parents & School Choice & State Legislature & Tax Credits

The effort to recognize and support families with wider ranges of educational choices continues to move in different states (just not Colorado… for the moment). Empowering parents with options is one side of the coin to get parents motivated and engaged. And the research continues to show choice programs help improve results in what students learn and attain. Better learning, brighter futures.

The Friedman Foundation’s Ed Choice blog highlights legislative action in 11 different states. From a proposal to expand the new scholarship tax credit program in Alabama to a “sliding-scale” voucher bill in Rhode Island, lawmakers throughout the U.S. are considering ways to empower individual students and families to take ownership of their education rather than propping up a one-size-fits-all approach. Continue Reading »

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March
3rd 2014
More Time to Study the K-12 Testing Issue Would Be Greatly Beneficial

Posted under Grades and Standards & Innovation and Reform & learning & School Board & State Legislature & Suburban Schools

I’m not sure whether to breathe a grateful sigh of relief, or to sit on the edge of my seat in curious anticipation. Maybe I can do both. Several weeks ago I told you about a possible approaching education reform collision, as the outside-the-box thinkers in Douglas County pushed a bill to give high-performing districts waivers from certain state tests.

Well, a little negotiation and compromise later, and I’m relieved to say that House Bill 1202 was transformed from a head-on policy change to a sit-down study. Given that there are a number of conflicting claims and questions about the state of testing, the time to examine and analyze would be greatly appreciated. Continue Reading »

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February
27th 2014
“Student Success Act” or “Dingelhoffer”, Let’s Make Bolder School Finance Proposal

Posted under Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Public Charter Schools & reading & School Choice & school construction & School Finance & State Legislature & Teachers

“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare’s Juliet famously asked. She had a point. If I decided to call a rose a dingelhoffer, it wouldn’t affect the beauty or scent of the flower in any way. Nor should we be distracted by the name given to Colorado’s finally released HB 1292, known as the Student Success Act. I’m talking about the grand proposal to dole out some of the extra dollars built up in the State Education Fund.

I don’t want to get hung up on the names. (Some called the HB 1262 teacher incentive program — very recently killed by a party-line committee vote — the “Great Act.” I liked the idea for what it would have done, not for what it was called.) That’s why you have little old me around, to help dig beneath the surface.

Chalkbeat Colorado broke the news about HB 1292 Tuesday night. It’s clearly a plan that has been evolving since the idea was floated a couple months ago. All the shifting pieces had me tied up in knots a couple weeks ago. Not everything is clear yet, but the new and finally introduced version of the bill seems okay. Continue Reading »

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February
20th 2014
Give Me Colorado, Not California: A Tale of Two Teacher Tenure Court Cases

Posted under Courts & Denver & Independence Institute & State Legislature & Teachers

“It was the best of education lawsuits, it was the worst of education lawsuits….” Well, not exactly. Some well-publicized legal action in California is trying to achieve a (much better) policy goal that runs counter to a Colorado lawsuit I’ve talked about before. Still, there is the fundamental problem of trying to change education policy through the courts.

Prof. Joshua Dunn, a Colorado-based expert on education court cases, makes the point much more eloquently. He talked with one of my Education Policy Center friends on a radio interview for the Amy Oliver Show. The good news is how he handicaps the Colorado Education Association’s chances of success using the courts to overturn a law that protects students from poor performing teachers.

Unfolding on the West Coast is a different tale, the case of Vergara v. California, filed several years ago against the state teachers union. A Silicon Valley entrepreneur, through his group Students Matter, is seeking to change tenure and dismissal policies that keep ineffective instructors in classrooms and on payrolls. Continue Reading »

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February
18th 2014
HB 1262 Incentive to Reform Educator Pay Certainly Has Caught My Attention

Posted under Education Politics & Innovation and Reform & Principals & Research & School Finance & State Legislature & Suburban Schools & Teachers

Do you want to know how to get my attention? (Besides gift-wrapping a new Star Wars Lego set, bringing home a box of piping hot pizza, or asking if I want to go to the Colorado Rockies game, that is.) Write something like this in the introduction of your education policy report:

If a rational system of teacher compensation, aimed at recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers, were designed from scratch, it is unlikely it would bear any resemblance to the system that is currently in place.

Continue Reading »

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