Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

Read More...

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.

Read More...

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.

Read More...

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 […]

Read More...

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!  

Read More...

Colorado Union Censors Independent Teacher Voice

To prepare for their role in the upcoming election, the Colorado Education Association (CEA) sent out a survey to find out what their members want from their ideal future governor. Well, maybe we should say CEA’s ideal governor, as the survey questions featured an unabashed favoritism of anti-reform measures and a lack of alternatives for those who want to express their support of reforms, as shown below: In this survey, there is no option for those who support anything the union opposes. The questions are loaded to skew the responses in a single direction; even if one tried to mark “other,” the survey mandates two responses per question, forcing the answerer to agree with at least something that the union desires. Any educator not in complete compliance with the CEA will have a hard time taking this survey without sacrificing their values, that is of course considering that they don’t want the CEA to define their values for them. This poll will give way to nothing but a confirmation bias for the union, and is blatantly unmindful of Colorado’s educators who support education reform and see the positive influence various reforms have made such as charter schools. It’s equivalent to […]

Read More...

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 […]

Read More...

Summer break was exciting for school choice!

It has been a long summer break, but I’m back watching over education in Colorado!  And, oh my, what a summer it has been for school choice! On June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 7-2 in favor of tire scraps. Huh?  Tire scraps? That’s right, tire scraps. A private, church-affiliated preschool in Missouri applied for the provisioning of tire scraps for playground resurfacing under a state grant program, but was turned down because of their church affiliation under the Missouri State Constitution’s Blaine clauses.  The school challenged the decision in court.  The case, Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, made it all the way to our country’s high court, which decided that First Amendment freedom of religion rights supersede the discriminatory Blaine clauses of Missouri’s State Constitution.  The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision means that just because the preschool was affiliated with a church, that should not prevent them from being eligible for the State’s tire scrap grant program. Okay, why should Colorado care about tire scraps in Missouri? In light of this ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to rule on another Blaine-related case—the case regarding Douglas County School District’s Choice Scholarship Program (CSP). Let’s back up […]

Read More...

PARCC Rides Off Into the Sunset… On a Circular Track

It’s no secret that people don’t love Pearson’s PARCC tests. Even way back in 2015, states were practically tripping on themselves trying to get away from the unpopular test, which was originally designed to provide comparable results across state lines. That trend has continued, and only a handful of the original dozens of PARCC states remain. Now, it looks like Colorado is jumping ship. It’s about time. But are we really leaving PARCC behind? Or are we just witnessing a rebranding effort? Colorado’s experience with PARCC has not been overly pleasant. For starters, and although there have been some improvements on this front, results have been slow to roll in despite promises from test-making giant Pearson Education that their technology would make those results available faster. It’s hard to do much with test scores that come in after the new school year is already in full swing. That makes it very tough to create buy-in on the part of educators, parents, or even education observers. PARCC has similarly failed to convince students and parents of its value, and opt-out numbers have soared. Those opt outs are a serious problem for a number of reasons. First, they signal that the state […]

Read More...

The Education Establishment is Dead, Long Live the Education Establishment?

“The king is dead, long live the king.” Have you heard that one before? It’s a phrase a variety of countries have used to simultaneously announce the death of a monarch and the ascension of a new one. The phrase has survived into the modern era in part because it provides an excuse to use the word epanalepsis and in part because it turns out to be a pretty poignant description of the lack of change when regimes shift. I was reminded of this old phrase while reading a recent blog post by American Enterprise Institute education guru Rick Hess, who has been working for a while now to prevent education reformers from morphing into a new education establishment. This particular post is in response to a number of folks who took issue with a previous Hess post criticizing the amount of bureaucratic paperwork involved in crafting state education plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act. You know, like the 150-page one Colorado submitted in May. In that post, Hess wrote: The vapidity of the exercise would be unremarkable if everyone clearly understood that these filings are the kind of pointless, paper exercise demanded by 21st century bureaucracy, and that the […]

Read More...