Archive for the 'Suburban Schools' Category

January
15th 2014
Denver State’s New Largest School District; Falcon 49 Open Enrollment Soars

Posted under Denver & Innovation and Reform & Online Schools & Parents & School Choice & Suburban Schools

Yesterday we officially learned how many students showed up to Colorado public schools at the beginning of October. The enrollment figures made a little bit of a splash. Why? The news that for the first time in many years Jefferson County R-1 no longer serves the most students. But just barely:

As expected, the new count put Denver Public Schools in the top spot with 86,043 students, ahead of the 85,983 in Jeffco, which has been the state’s largest district for several years.

Guess that means I have to start getting used to saying that DPS is Colorado’s largest school district — at least for this year. Chalkbeat interestingly points out that Denver didn’t have the largest percentage gain from 2012-13. It was another district I’ve told you about quite a bit. Continue Reading »

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January
10th 2014
“If I’ve Told You Once…”: K-12 Financial Transparency Isn’t New to Colorado

Posted under Governor & Independence Institute & Research & School Finance & State Legislature & Suburban Schools

Today I’ve decided to borrow a page from my mom’s book. How often she has to repeat the same instruction or insight to me, several times, perhaps slightly reworded, until poor little Eddie gets the point. Hey, I’m a kid, cut me some slack! A few weeks ago — right before Christmas, in fact — I dissected a Washington Post story that made it sound like Colorado schools today lack even basic financial transparency.

Which, of course, simply isn’t the case. As I explained before, “The state’s 2010 Public School Financial Transparency Act already requires every school district and charter school in Colorado to post budgets and other key financial documents online.” While lawmakers were considering that bill, my Education Policy Center friends released a brief paper on what school district financial transparency should look like, noting: Continue Reading »

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January
9th 2014
Shouldn’t Dougco Score Higher on Brookings’ Choice and Competition Index?

Posted under Denver & Parents & Private Schools & Research & School Board & School Choice & Suburban Schools

A story in yesterday’s Chalkbeat Colorado brought my attention to a newly released Brookings Institution study called the 2013 Education Choice and Competition Index. Well, that certainly got my attention.

Rather than rate states, Brookings developed a rubric to grade 100 of the nation’s largest districts on “thirteen categories of policy and practice” related to school choice. While Chalkbeat highlighted Denver Public Schools’ impressive fifth-place finish on the survey, you’d also think that Colorado’s own Douglas County — a forward-thinking, cutting-edge bastion of parental choice — would also be near the top, right? Continue Reading »

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January
6th 2014
Easy for Me to Help Point Colorado Parents to Timely Info on Open Enrollment

Posted under Grades and Standards & Independence Institute & Parents & School Board & School Choice & Suburban Schools & Urban Schools

I love it when people make my job easier. (What? Ok, no, blogging here isn’t a “job,” child labor laws being what they are and all.) It’s even better when that aid comes from one of my Education Policy Center friends. Marya DeGrow has written two timely posts for the new Colorado School Grades blog — an innovation after the third year of data released rating schools across Colorado from A to F.

Marya’s first post explains how student learning styles may fit certain types of programs. The second highlights some of the great tools on the fabulous School Choice for Kids website: Continue Reading »

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January
3rd 2014
Can Schools Boost Brain Skills for Reading, Not Just Raise Test Scores?

Posted under Grades and Standards & learning & reading & Research & School Accountability & Suburban Schools

Thanks once again to the edublog linking queen Joanne Jacobs, a December Scientific American column by psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman caught my attention. And it should yours, too.

The author unpacks a study of Boston students that found while some schools improved performance on standardized academic assessments, they didn’t really improve measures of cognitive ability. In other words, better schools boost scores on math and reading tests, but those students’ brain skills still are functioning about the same.

Kaufman begins the column by citing some of his own recent research that unsurprisingly shows “good standardized test takers also tend to have high cognitive ability.” I am curious to see more about how the two results mesh. As more schools increase test scores without registering an effect on brain skills, does the identified relationship or tendency fade? Continue Reading »

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October
31st 2013
Weld County School Districts Stand Out on Safety, Fiscal Sanity, Sound Policy

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

It’s pretty rare to see a geographically-themed post like this one here. While Weld County has become a focus for some about a debate to secede and create a 51st state, more interesting to me is a series of stories that set apart a number of the county’s school districts.

The 12 school districts in northern Colorado’s mostly rural Weld County rank it second in the state to El Paso County, which has 15 different districts. Stealing the headlines a couple days ago was Weld Re-10J, better known as Briggsdale School, for adopting a student safety plan that includes enabling teachers and other staff to carry concealed firearms on school property.

About 9 months ago I told you about the defeat of Senate Bill 9, which “would have allowed school boards to authorize carrying of concealed weapons in schools.” Apparently, Briggsdale has found a loophole that the Dolores County School District devised earlier this year. Don’t ask how or why: I’m too little. Continue Reading »

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October
30th 2013
Teachers Union Leaders Miscalculate in Adams 12, Misbehave in DougCo

Posted under Education Politics & Just For Fun & School Board & Suburban Schools

The campaign silly season just got sillier. A union-backed school board candidate in Adams 12 was just ruled to be ineligible for office because she lives outside the correct district boundaries. To think, two weeks ago she was most famous for subjecting her toddler son to a Klingon language immersion program.

Yesterday’s unexpected development makes one wonder whether Amy Speers or the local teachers union that spent $39,000 on her candidacy knew she lived in the wrong district and tried to hide it, or just avoided doing their homework. Due to population changes, the Board of Education followed the law and redrew the boundaries back in May 2012. So it wasn’t exactly new or secret.

In late 2011, Speers vied for the District 4 vacancy created by Heidi Williams‘ resignation to serve as mayor of Thornton. Rico Figueroa was chosen instead and now runs unopposed to keep the seat, because no one apparently paid enough attention to the fact that the new boundaries moved Speers into another district.

Stories like this one make me worried about all those adults out there who I’m supposed to look up to. So does the underlying truth in this hilarious 3-minute video: Continue Reading »

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October
23rd 2013
Democrat Groff Backs Dougco Reform, as Vote Fraud Talk Enters Election Fray

Posted under Denver & Education Politics & Innovation and Reform & Journalism & School Board & Suburban Schools

Several weeks ago I warned you about the onset of the campaign “silly season.” But then sometimes, like the last 24 hours or so, we get to see how seriously a local school board race can be taken.

So seriously, it would seem, that a supporter of the union-backed Douglas County school board candidates was describing voter fraud intent to her anti-reform compatriots on Facebook. The public leak, detected and captured by a concerned citizen, quickly caught the attention of places like Denver morning talk radio. Continue Reading »

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October
8th 2013
Where Do School Board Candidates Stand on Collecting Union Political Dues?

Posted under Education Politics & Independence Institute & School Board & Suburban Schools & Teachers

We are now well into the silly season of school board campaigning, but the union leaders displaced from Douglas County sure are taking matters seriously. More than a year ago, the American Federation of Teachers lost its monopoly bargaining power when the collective bargaining agreement expired.

But as the Colorado Observer reports, their union rivals at the Colorado Education Association sure have their eyes on the prize. An email from the CEA’s vice president tried to drum up support at a recent rally protesting against the pro-reform school board. Continue Reading »

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September
30th 2013
Successful Education Reform Much Harder Than Just Passing New Policies

Posted under Education Politics & Innovation and Reform & Principals & Research & School Board & Suburban Schools & Teachers

All my education reform friends out there, you and I very likely have been getting too comfortable. Or perhaps just too naive, or maybe too lacking in ambition. Leave it to the American Enterprise Institute’s Rick Hess to splash a bucket of water in our faces. But trust me, we needed the dirt knocked out of our eyes and ears.

Last week, Hess penned for National Affairs his latest thoughtful piece chocked full of insights that many education policy advocates and insiders know, but few are willing to say. Given numerous observations like the following, I recommend reading “The Missing Half of School Reform”: Continue Reading »

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