Colorado K-12 Policy and Trends: Eddie's Eight Emerging Questions for 2014

Unbelievably, another new year is already underway, and I’m left to ponder what kind of hopes it holds out for Colorado kids and families seeking the best educational opportunities and outcomes possible. While I recover from the blissful batch of toys, games, and goodies, it seems like a perfect time to ponder what might emerge out of the chaos in 2014:

  1. Having come to power in November’s elections, what kind of strides will conservative reform-oriented school boards in Jefferson County and Loveland (Thompson) make toward expanding educational choice, improving fiscal accountability, and boosting academic achievement?
  2. Noting Florida education leader Doug Tuthill’s message to Alabamans yesterday, will Colorado Kids Win — or at least take significant strides in that direction — with scholarship tax credits?
  3. With the benefit of an extended holiday break to think it through carefully, will Colorado Education Association officials follow through with lawsuit threats to challenge real accountability in the 2010 educator effectiveness law, and/or fight to strengthen ineffective teachers’ job protections through legislation?
  4. Following the crushing demise of Amendment 66, will certain state leaders continue their focus on expanding state-funded preschool, or will a shift be made to nonprofit-parent partnerships that seek to overcome the problem of “word gaps” in low-income families (through a device developed in Colorado, of all places — H/T Joanne Jacobs)?
  5. Along similar lines, will state lawmakers at least come together to resurrect the few cost-effective reforms that have been freed from bondage to a billion-dollar tax hike — such as an average daily membership system that marks one of the first steps on Colorado’s own digital learning policy road map?
  6. Speaking of the digital learning policy road map, how will Colorado fit into Clayton Christen Institute co-founder Michael Horn’s predictions that the ChromeBook will supplant the iPad / tablet as preferred classroom devices, and that more cutting edge blended learning models will emerge along with a “bigger emphasis on competency-based learning”?
  7. Given the futuristic mindset, will a new book for the new year called The New School catch waves here by declaring that “the Information Age will save American education from itself”?
  8. Looking across the country, will a new “progressive” mayoral regime in New York City bring an effort to end school choice, or provide for a “school reform truce” Third Way that might have broader appeal in Colorado?

If I don’t ask the questions, who will? Time to go back to playing with those new Lego sets and wishing for the PlayStation that never came.