Category Archives: Denver

DPS Open Negotiations -See for Yourself

Since last spring, the public has witnessed a growing number of teachers who have expressed their frustration with the level of education funding from both the state legislature and their own districts’ compensation plans. In April last year, thousands of teachers rallied on multiple days at the State Capitol Building as the legislature discussed the School Finance Act. In May, Pueblo School District 60 teachers held a five day strike successfully demanding an increase in pay. Denver teachers have been ready to strike for months.

Read More...

New Teacher Evaluation Systems are Improving Student Outcomes

An October 2018 report examines how initially controversial teacher evaluation systems have led to improved student outcomes. The report, Making a Difference: Six Places where Teacher Evaluation Systems are Getting Results was published by the National Council on Teacher Quality. The study analyzes several transformational teacher evaluation systems and how each impacted student achievement. A decade’s worth of reform has helped Tennessee climb from near the bottom, to the middle of the pack on the benchmark national education scores, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). In Dallas, a teacher evaluation system has helped increase student proficiency seven percentage points in all grades and subjects. In Denver, students have consistently outpaced the average Colorado state student in English and math since the inception of their teacher rating system. Innovative teacher evaluation systems in the District of Columbia, Newark, and New Mexico have also benefited both students and teachers. These effective teacher evaluation systems are tied to incentives and supports and are designed to distinguish between teachers at different performance levels; reward effective teachers and keep them teaching; identify consistently less-effective teachers in order provide supports or end their contracts; create tailored teacher improvement strategies; recruit new effective teachers; and most […]

Read More...

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.

Read More...

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.

Read More...

No-excuse Charter Schools have Transformed Education for Low-income Urban Students

No-excuse charter schools are undeniably doing something right. They have managed to significantly increase test scores and college graduation rates while simultaneously reducing pregnancy and incarceration rates.

Read More...

Independence Institute Stands Up (Again) for Tenure Reform

I have double good news for my fellow policy nerds on this fine Thursday morning. First, the Colorado State Board of Education voted yesterday to continue disaggregating student subgroup data for accountability purposes. I had some rather strong thoughts on the issue, so this decision makes me smile. The conversation will continue, and, if Chairman Durham’s comment in the official CDE press release is any indication, may even lead to some thoughtful new approaches. In the meantime, I’m pleased to know that we won’t be sweeping challenging populations of students under the rug or compromising taxpayer accountability to satisfy the edu-blob. Maybe even more exciting, though, is the fact that the Independence Institute has fired its next salvo in the war to protect teacher tenure reform in Colorado.

Read More...

Colorado Supreme Court Takes on Huge Tenure-Related Case

We just can’t stop talking about court cases, can we? First, we covered an interesting Blaine Amendment case out of Missouri. Then things took a turn for the sad (and scary) with Justice Antonin Scalia’s untimely death, and we looked at what that loss might mean for important education cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Then Douglas County up and restarted its voucher program, this time without religious schools—a decision that has since caused no small amount of edu-drama. Today, we’re going to look at another exciting development: The Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to grant certiorari to the very important tenure-related Masters case. That’s a really big deal. I’ve been talking about the Masters case ever since the Denver Classroom Teachers Association and a group of non-probationary teachers started down that lonely road back in 2014. We celebrated when a Denver District Court judge shot down the union’s arguments. We covered the union’s opening arguments in the subsequent appeal. Then I neglected to post on the disappointing appeal outcome as I wallowed in grief and frustration about the ruling. Why is Masters so important? Let me explain.

Read More...

Change is in the Air — I'm Just Getting a Little Older, Though, Not Going Away

Maybe it’s because it’s the Friday before Thanksgiving, or maybe it’s because a couple of my really good Education Policy Center friends are picking up and moving to another state, but I’m not really keen on writing another long post today. Change is in the air — change that I didn’t wish for, and change that will merit me keeping an eye on. I’m not just talking about the fact that, according to increasingly loud rumors, the Broncos’ great QB Peyton Manning may be ready to hang up his cleats once and for all (thanks to Complete Colorado for helping me to find this piece). No, more fitting to my world, as part of Election 2015‘s Empire Strikes Back theme, union-backed candidates swept back into power in Jefferson County and Thompson, while reform opponents gained a foothold in Douglas County, the most interesting school district in America. Sad perhaps, but silver linings remain.

Read More...

Yes, Election Night Happened, But Keep Your Chins Up, Colorado Reformers

Yeah, yeah, yeah, school board elections happened in Colorado this week. Ok, so I promised to give you a full report yesterday. But I got a little busy crying in my Cheerios with some important stuff to do. Do I really need to review what happened with the Teachers Union Empire Strikes Back? After all, my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow donned his Captain Obvious hat for Chalkbeat Colorado, observing “You can’t deny it was a setback for conservative reform at the school board level in Colorado. The unions had their day. There’s no doubt about it.” Another of my Education Policy Center friends, Ross Izard, did a pretty good job laying it out in more detail. He optimistically notes that conservative education reformers have been bruised, but not beaten by the big recall in Jeffco or setbacks in a number of other districts:

Read More...

'Tis the Season for Wild and Woolly School Board Election Stories

There’s no season like school board election season. At least not in Colorado. Believe it or not, these are real stories. As my dad is fond of saying, “You can’t make this up.” Let’s start in Jeffco, where the Denver Post shattered to pieces the whole justification for a politically motivated recall election. A video was just released about Julie Williams, one of the candidates being threatened with recall, explaining how her opponents manipulated her special-needs son to participate in a protest against her: Yes, I agree it’s disgusting. As if to provide further clarification to answer the question at the end of the video — “Now, who are the real bullies?” — some folks have responded basically by calling Mrs. Williams and her son Randy liars. Really? I guess that’s what you do when you know you’re in the wrong. Meanwhile, also in Jeffco, last week’s campaign finance reports caused me some concerns. One of the candidates for the non-recall seats, Ali Lasell, paid exactly $7,886.87 to a group called Mad Dog Mail: …a Democratic persuasion mail firm based out of Florida. As our name indicates, we are strong, tough Democrats who fight against Republican smears and attacks, working […]

Read More...