Catching up on Some Exciting Policy Work

It’s Friday! Birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and Little Eddie is wearing shorts at work. That’s right, shorts. I’ll be putting those shorts to good use this afternoon when I head to the Denver zoo for a fun safari.

You probably guessed that all of that information is leading to the part where I say that today’s post will be quick and easy. You are correct. There’s a ton of stuff to talk about, including a disturbingly Masters-like state supreme court ruling on teacher tenure in North Carolina, the Colorado Senate Education Committee’s laudable work in passing Senate Bill 16-188 on equitable charter funding last night, and a whole raft of new and interesting research. We’ll get to all that—or at least a lot of it.

For now, though, I think it would be good to catch you up on some of the very cool work being done by my policy friends at the Independence Institute. In fact, let’s do that with a list. Everyone likes lists.

Here we go:

  • Senior Education Policy Analyst Ross Izard, who has been widely reported to be the Bruce Wayne to my Batman (if you catch my meaning), published a brand new entry in the popular Profiles in Private Education series. Ross loves to talk about the human and emotional sides of educational choice, which may come as something of a surprise to folks who have actually met him. “Intervening for Success” does exactly that by taking an intimate, personal look at the Havern School for Children with Learning Disabilities in southern Denver. It’s a truly amazing school full of truly amazing people doing awesome work for kids who need help. Check out the profile to learn more. Bring tissues.
  • Ross also published an op-ed in support of SB 16-188 (the bill that passed committee last night). The piece takes a look at the problem of inequitable funding for charter students, and why fixing that problem is so important. Shockingly, Ross’s opinion matches nearly perfectly with my own on the bill and the issue overall. It’s almost as if we’re the same person…
  • Erick Valencia, the Education Policy Center’s new outreach and communications coordinator, has been hard at work reaching out to Hispanic parents about educational choice. He’s already been on the radio and TV several times, but his most recent outreach effort has come in the form of a fantastic video about School Choice for Kids for Spanish-speaking parents. The video has gotten tons of attention. I’m not completely sure what Erick says, but it’s obviously awesome. And I think we can all speak the language of choice. Check it out below:

  • Madelyn Rahn, a fantastically talented University of Denver student who happens to be an education policy intern at the Independence Institute this semester, wrote a razor-sharp piece on concurrent enrollment in Colorado and how it helps expand opportunity and choice—especially for those who most need it. The op-ed earned praise from current and former legislators, reform leaders, and fans of choice. It’s hard to believe that this excellent column was Madelyn’s first-ever published piece, but that’s the truth. Nice work, ma’am!
  • Elizabeth Davidson, a rising legal genius and champion for freedom who is finishing her final year of law school at DU, also published her first-ever op-ed. The piece took a close look at the 4-4 SCOTUS split and what it means in the context of some important Blaine-related cases that we’ve discussed several times in the recent past. The column does a tremendous job of explaining the situation, laying out the issues in an easy-to-understand way, and slapping Blaine Amendments down as the discriminatory nonsense they are. Elizabeth’s column earned social media compliments from a number of prominent education folks, including elected folks at both the state and local levels. Right on, Elizabeth!

So yeah, the folks at the Independence Institute have been very, very busy. I hope you enjoy catching up on their work, and that you have a great weekend. See you next week!