Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Releases Report on Colorado’s Blaine Clauses

A newly released report entitled “The Colorado Constitution’s No Aid To Sectarian Institutions Clause and its Impact on Civil Rights,” examines the origins of the Colorado Constitution’s No Aid Clause (known as Blaine Amendments), and the historical and modern applications.

The report was authored by members of the Colorado Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. Independence Institute’s Research Director, David Kopel, serves on the committee as the Vice-Chair.

Nineteenth century Blaine clauses banned public dollars from supporting sectarian-religious organizations which society viewed unfavorably, including Catholicism, Judaism, Mormonism, and Islam. Mainstream Protestant denominations were not considered to be sectarian.

The report details how the clause impacts civil rights in education, students with disabilities, higher education scholarships, and lists eight state-funded voucher-like programs that provide funding for programs at religious institutions.


Research Indicates that Amendment 73 will not Improve Educational Outcomes

Study after study has highlighted how additional funding rarely leads to improved educational outcomes, yet another state ballot measure raising taxes for education has made it onto the ballot.


Basis Charter School Network Tops US News Best High School Rankings

The Arizona centered BASIS charter school network sweeps the top five national high school rankings in the US News & Reports Annual Ranking. BASIS charter schools have no admission requirements and openly accepts students based on a random lottery system due to the high demand for the public charter school.


Let’s Celebrate National Employee Freedom Week!

This week is National Employee Freedom Week and there is certainly reason to celebrate! On June 27, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court released hundreds of thousands of non-union public employees from the burden of paying agency fees via the Janus v. AFSCME decision.


Education Innovation Ecosystems

The University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Barbara Kurshan and Dr. Rachel Ebby-Rosen define innovation ecosystems as a network of partnerships between educators, students, businesses, entrepreneurs, and researchers that is “constituted by the individuals in those institutions, their ties to one another and the resources they exchange.”


Thank You Tom Boasberg

After nearly ten years of service, education leader Tom Boasberg has resigned from his role as superintendent of Denver Public Schools (DPS). Under his leadership DPS has thrived and gained national attention and respect.


Post Katrina: Autonomous Charter Schools Prove Successful

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, instituting school choice in New Orleans has helped enliven and rebuild education and has reinforced proof of the effectiveness of charter school management. A new study provides an analytical breakdown of post-Katrina education reform and presents insight into the positive effects of school choice in a new light.


Janus v. AFSCME: Free Speech Wins, Unions Lose

The Supreme Court of the United States today dealt a major blow to public sector employment unions. At issue was whether public sector unions are permitted to withhold fees, without consent, from employees who do not want to join the union. The specific law at issue in the case is an Illinois law that allowed public sector unions to withhold what is called an “agency fee” from nonmember employees. The idea is that where a union has been recognized as the exclusive bargaining unit, it has the responsibility to represent all employees during collective bargaining, whether member or not. Thus, the agency fee, which amounts to a specified percentage of the normal union dues, is justified—or so the argument goes—because the nonmember employee is receiving benefits of representation. The Supreme Court disagreed.


Congratulations DSST

Colorado’s charter schools are no rookies when it comes to setting school choice standards–so it’s no surprise that the Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST) charter school network received this year’s Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools, an award given to the country’s best public charter school network.


Two very Different Views on Modest PERA Reform

Remember the teacher walkouts this spring? Senate Bill 18-200 was one of several reasons why the teacher unions held rallies at the State Capitol Building. Learn more about the bipartisan legislation that Governor Hickenlooper has signed into law and read two very different views on its impact.