Archive for the 'State Legislature' Category

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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February
17th 2014
A Beautiful Day to Celebrate Coming Major School Choice Victory in Mississippi

Posted under Governor & Innovation and Reform & School Choice & State Legislature

It’s a busy (code word for nice weather to play outside) Monday. But I do have enough time to run around inside and celebrate some very promising news out of Mississippi. Big news… yes, very promising news… in Mississippi? You betcha.

First, a quick reminder for those who may not be up to speed. The most cutting-edge of cutting-edge school choice programs in America is Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts: Continue Reading »

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February
12th 2014
State Debate on How to Spend Extra Education Dollars Has Me Twisted in Knots

Posted under Education Politics & Elementary School & Public Charter Schools & reading & school construction & School Finance & State Legislature & Teachers

When it comes to the question of education funding, I take a glance over at the Golden Dome and wonder: Are we headed for a big clash, or will there be an unexpected meeting of the minds? The stage has been set with the demise of Amendment 66 and a hefty balance of more than $1.1 billion in the State Education Fund.

Apparently, one month into the 2014 legislative session, there are two distinctly different visions of what to do at the State Capitol. On one hand, some groups and legislators from both parties want to rally behind a proposal that would incorporate a lot of last year’s Senate Bill 213 ideas on a smaller scale, just not attached to a statewide tax increase. Ideas on the table include more money to: Continue Reading »

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February
7th 2014
Open Negotiations in Jeffco Schools? That Old Momentum Looks Like It’s Back

Posted under Education Politics & Research & School Board & State Legislature & Suburban Schools & Teachers

It’s that time of year again, so it must mean that old Colorado school district open negotiations momentum is back. Last year our hopes were raised in Thompson and Adams 12, but the same old closed-door procedures carried the day. This little edublogger learned a lesson in patience.

Two years ago House Bill 1118 proposed requiring open negotiations for K-12 unions across Colorado. It passed the House but died in the Senate. About the same time, Douglas County led the way locally with the state’s most transparent school-union bargaining sessions ever. Continue Reading »

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