Tag Archives: Bob Schaffer

Celebration Widespread for State Board Approval of First Innovation Schools

After a close vote Monday from the Denver Public Schools board, Manual High and Montclair Elementary found smooth sailing from the State Board of Education in their pursuit to become Colorado’s first “innovation schools”. As Ed News Colorado explains, the vote in favor of the waiver request was unanimous — winning plaudits from both sides of the political aisle: “I really think this is groundbreaking for Denver and groundbreaking for the state of Colorado,” said Elaine Gantz Berman, D-1st District, herself a former DPS board member. “I’m hoping that this growing, positive trend finally gives the state the motivation it needs to realize that our schools are being crushed by rules, regulations and bureaucracy,” said board Chair Bob Schaffer, R-4th District. My Education Policy Center friends at GoBash point out that this is no small request: Manual and Montview “received waivers from 40 state statutes, 32 district policies, and 18 collective bargaining agreement provisions”. Also, another good point from Colorado Charters: State Board Vice-Chair Randy DeHoff commended DPS for learning from their charter schools. Charter schools operate via waiver from state laws and district policies. The only substantive difference between charter schools and “innovation schools” is that the latter still […]

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State Board Members Criticize Supreme Court Ruling Made "For the Children"

Update: State Board member Peggy Littleton also weighed in (see below) When I asked my teacher, she told me that judges are supposed to interpret the law — not just make up stuff. (Which is something I tend to do after eating the last two chocolate chip cookies from the jar.) So I was a little confused and disappointed when I saw what went down a couple days ago at the Colorado Supreme Court. Independence Institute president Jon Caldara and the Denver Post‘s Vincent Carroll are among many who have highlighted flaws in the court’s judgment. They’re right — the ruling seems to say taxpayer protections in the state constitution don’t mean much when the issue at stake supposedly is “for the children”. I know it’s really not my fault, but being a kid, whenever I’m used for unsavory political purposes — well, I feel a little guilty about it. That guilt led me to get my Education Policy Center friends to ask the opinions of some other important people about this supreme court decision: namely, members of the Colorado State Board of Education. Interestingly, the State Board was the original defendant in this lawsuit led by the Independence Institute […]

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Tenure Reform Would Be Another Good Idea for Obama & Colorado to Embrace

President Obama made some remarks about education yesterday, and my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow got a chance to respond in this piece from Face The State: Ben DeGrow, education policy analyst for the Independence Institute, said he is glad to finally see Obama taking a strong position on education. “Obama the candidate and Obama the President has been all over the place on education reform, and it’s been hard to pin him down,” said DeGrow. “The comments in [Tuesday’s] speech are mostly promising, and we need to hold him to those comments.” [link added] In the Face the State piece, State Board of Education chairman Bob Schaffer also raised the point that Obama has given no indication of wanting to help stop an effort by Democrats in Congress to take away private tuition scholarships from poor kids in the nation’s capital. Still, the President’s message yesterday was largely on the right track. Among the less traditionally Democratic education reform ideas Barack Obama embraced are charter schools, accountability, and teacher performance pay. In the latter case, Obama seems to grasp the importance of the current problem with teacher quality: In his speech, the president issued a call for a […]

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Colorado State Board of Education Members Weigh in on "Stimulus" Bill

You may think I spend a lot of time complaining about the education spending proposal inside Congress’ so-called stimulus (I prefer “magical money tree”) bill. Well, rather than just get up on my soapbox again (but hey, if I don’t stand up there, nobody will see me), I decided to share firsthand thoughts from a couple of Colorado’s state education officials on the issue. Earlier this week, new State Board of Education member Marcia Neal shared some thoughts on the education portion of the federal stimulus bill with Grand Junction reporter Mike Saccone: “I think there’s growing concern over this huge amount of money they’re throwing around,” Neal told Political Notebook today. “As always my concern … is the issue of local control. That when you accept money from the feds and they direct the way you spend it, they’re basically directing your local educational program and increasing your dependence on federal money.” Neal, a Republican, said she hopes the Senate, when it mulls the economic stimulus package this week, clears up the issue of local control. As I’ve highlighted before, Marcia Neal has expressed support for choice and local innovation. My friends in the Education Policy Center, though, wanted […]

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Center for Education Reform Grades the Candidates for U.S. Senate

Is the election almost over yet? All the scary political attack ads are giving me bad dreams, and I can’t believe how gullible some politicians are to think they can buy my vote by promising me all sorts of goodies. President whatz-his-name wants to take money from someone else and give it to me. Congressman so-and-so says he’s going to make my life better. Such-and-such amendment on the ballot has to pass “for the children.” (Then again, I wonder if they realize they’re trying to buy the vote of a 5-year-old, but I digress….) Puh-lease. My parents don’t even treat me like that. Anyway, in the meantime, if you haven’t voted and you care about school choice and accountability, the Center for Education Reform (CER) has graded candidates for U.S. Senate across the country, based on their support of the D.C. school choice program, federal funds to start up innovative charter schools, and the No Child Left Behind Act. A possible 3 points for each issue makes 9 a perfect score. In Colorado, Republican Bob Schaffer received a 6 out of 9. His scores are perfect on school choice and charter schools. However, he opposed the final version of No […]

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