Category Archives: Uncategorized

How Do We Stop Bullying and Violence in Schools?

Most of us remember where we were on the day of the Columbine massacre—almost two decades ago. How Do We Stop Bullying and Violence in Schools? Like so many of the challenges within K-12 education, it is a complex subject.

The Independence Institute recently hosted a presentation by two organizations that are making a difference. Jennie Jarratt, project manager of The Heartland’s Institute’s Center for Transforming Education and Rob Unger, CEO of Rachel’s Challenge provided us with statistics, policy recommendations, and highlights of a prevention program that is saving lives.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Microsoft Study Sheds Light on the Lack of Females in STEM Careers

When considering why young women are less likely to pursue a STEM career or education, a study by Microsoft may shed some light.

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Demand for Scholarships Crashes Website

Last year Illinois passed a scholarship tax credit program. The demand was so high for scholarships, the number of applications crashed the website. Meanwhile, opponents run a bill to kill the program.

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Student Shares Her School Choice Story

During National School Choice Week, the youngest member of the Independence Institute Education Policy Center’s team, Arrupe Jesuit High School Junior, Diana De La Rosa, had her first op-ed published in a Colorado newspaper.

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House Bill 17-1375 Moves Colorado Up in Charter Law Rankings

Just today, I was awarded “most creative in the household” for my crayon depiction of my mom on the living room wall. Though it seems like she had some mixed feelings about my work, it’s still nice to be acknowledged. Being distinguished for your hard work and triumph is rewarding–which is why charter school advocates in Colorado should feel good that the Centennial State was ranked as having the second-best charter school laws in the nation by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) in its recent report titled Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Charter School Laws, 2018. The NAPCS’ ranking system utilizes 21 criteria that define their ideal charter school laws. The better a state’s laws clearly align with the NACPS’ model standards, the higher the state is rated. The criteria stress autonomy, clarity, responsibility, and several other facets commonly emphasized in charter school laws. The only state ranked higher than Colorado was Indiana, which retained its number-one spot from 2017. House Bill 17-1375–which created the potential of $ 34 million in additional funding from mill levy overrides for charter schools–served as the predominant factor that lifted Colorado up from the NAPCS’ rankings number […]

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Charter School Champion Becomes Headmaster of Liberty Common School

Last week was National School Choice Week but today we are still celebrating! Our friend, The Honorable Bob Schaffer, has been appointed to the position of Headmaster of Liberty Common School, a charter school in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Liberty Common School is one of the top public schools in the entire state. Bob Schaffer was a champion for school choice while he served as a state legislator and in Congress. We congratulate Bob on his new position! I like to continue to celebrate school choice!  

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