Category Archives: School Choice

NAEP Scores Confirm Colorado Charter Schools are Exceptional

Once again, Colorado’s charter public schools have ranked in the top of their class and continue to set the precedent for what school choice can achieve.

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Boston Study Proves Success of Charter Schools

This study is a thorough proof of the success of charter schools when compared to traditional public schools and pilot schools, and has greatly impacted the charter school market in Boston.

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Lessons from Outcomes in School Choice Research

There are often articles that eulogize or denounce the entire concept of school choice purely on the basis that a subset of charter schools or voucher students have increased, stagnated, or declined test scores. Of course, test scores have a viable purpose in predicting educational success–primarily as an easily obtained comparison standard–but they don’t account for the entire picture.

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Dueling 529 Bills: Discussion Delayed

The new federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 expands the qualified distributions to include K-12 education. Colorado provides a state tax deduction for contributions to the accounts, but only for college expenses. This becomes very complicated and is already showing to be confusing to families. Federal law and state law are not aligned.

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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.

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Rural Colorado Needs School Choice Too

Rural towns face unique difficulties and therefore require unique solutions in their communities, and education is no exception.

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National School Choice Week 2018

Yesterday marked the beginning of the 2018 National School Choice Week, one of the most fun and joyful weeks of the year for us school choice supporters. Throughout the course of this week, there will be gatherings, speeches, parades, and numerous other events held to celebrate all forms of choice in education. In Colorado specifically, there we be a variety of events held around the state. My friends at the Independence Institute and their partner organizations are holding an event in Denver on Saturday for families to celebrate school choice and to learn about scholarship organizations that help low-income children attend private schools. You are welcome to join us! In Colorado Springs, our friends from Parents Challenge have organized an event at City Hall on Wednesday. They would love to see you too!   This week, it’s important to remember that school choice is about giving every child the opportunity to succeed and reach their best self–not political partisanship. There is no one universal truth or omnipotent solution in education; each option provides a distinguished benefit or focus that may or may not be the best fit approach to teaching a particular student the critical thinking and academic skill set they […]

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Wisconsin ESA Bill to Help Low-income Gifted Students

To start off the New Year, Wisconsin legislators have introduced an education saving account (ESA) bill for gifted and talented, low-income families in an effort to aid gifted students who are less likely to receive recognition and support. Two-thousand low-income students will have access to an ESA, with a limit of $1,000 that can be used for additional education services. While I fill my piggy bank up with money for candy and Legos, these families will be able to fill their account with tax-exempt funding for AP testing and college courses. There are an estimated three million K-12 students in the U.S. who are considered gifted. While we have a federal savings fund for students with learning disabilities, we lack a savings option for our gifted students. I think it’s time we acknowledge that there are students whose promise is being overlooked and potential underutilized and give them the opportunity to reach their best–Wisconsin’s proposal may prove to be a critical step in doing so. In a recent op-ed published in the Washington Examiner titled Is school choice 2.0 coming?, the authors clearly define how our education system undermines gifted students’ education: “Mass education presents a difficult balance for teachers, […]

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Oracle Builds 43 Million-dollar STEM Charter School

I recently took a road trip to California for the holidays. I passed through Silicon Valley, and boy was there some cool stuff to see–the most interesting thing? Well, aside from the Winchester Mystery House and people wearing scarves in 70-degree weather, I marveled at the sight of a 43 million-dollar public charter school campus being built into the side of a behemoth tech company. Oracle, a computer software company based out of California, is just finishing the construction of a new campus designated to Design Tech High School. The campus will be integrated into Oracle’s estate, placing 550 students and an enormous tech company in a shared proximity. Design Tech is a public charter school that emphasizes STEM courses and Stanford Universities’ design thinking. Now, it will act as a leading model for partnerships between technology companies and public education. Students at Design Tech will not only benefit from the brand new high-tech campus gifted by Oracle, but also from the opportunity for internships and mentoring from their neighboring organization. The price that Oracle is charging for rent? One dollar per-year. Even I could afford that with my allowance. While some are concerned that Oracle may exercise excessive power […]

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Jeffco Looks at Offering More Choice

As more innovative education models emerge, school districts must adapt and provide competitive education options to retain students, or face the threat of diminishing enrollment. The Jefferson County school district is currently encountering this exact problem. In recent years, it has seen a declining trend in enrollment­–largely due to the emergence of nearby “choice” schools. To combat the loss of students to innovative schools such as the Denver School of the Arts, Jeffco has begun the conceptualization and appraisal of a new, specialized art school for the district. The “arts academy” would be a terrific effort to integrate more choice into the district, and to allow students to pursue “customized pathways.” I wonder if it’ll have a finger-painting class? The district is also considering reconstructing one of its existing schools, Pennington Elementary. The renovation would likely incorporate an expeditionary education model; however, an expeditionary model is not a set-in-stone solution. Though the school is open to the idea and has shown excitement, there is still time and opportunity for other proposals. In a recent article, Chalkbeat Colorado noted that the “[Jefferson County] officials said they want to have a searchable site where families can enter a program-type they are interested in to […]

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