Tag Archives: Bruce Randolph

Arne Duncan & Feds Spending Freely, Doing Little for Real School Reform

Yesterday, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan came to town. The good news is he visited two of Denver’s autonomy schools: Bruce Randolph and Montclair. The Education Secretary certainly is saying the right things about how this approach can grow: “The business we should be in is scaling up what works as quickly as possible,” Duncan said. “Let’s take those lessons, let’s replicate them and move on absolutely as fast as we can with a sense of urgency. We have to get dramatically better as a country, and we need to do it as fast as we can.” The $5 billion pot of “Race to the Top” innovation money is supposed to fulfill this purpose. As pointed out by Swifty Charlie and Flypaper’s Mike Petrilli, the reality is that “Race to the Top” is the only part of the federal stimulus funds that has even a legitimate shot at advancing school reform. Colorado may make some modest strides with the innovation dollars, but it very well could be outweighed by the much greater opportunity and resources wasted.


Breaking the Law to Continue Social Promotion Doesn't Really Help Kids

Holding back kids who have failed, rather than just pass them on to the next grade and the next teacher, is an education policy that strikes a lot of people as good common sense. But, of course, good common sense does not prevail so often in large public education bureaucracies. Apparently, in some cases, following the law can be a problem for public education bureaucracies, too. The brilliant Jay Greene writes about Georgia school officials who flouted a law that required students to pass a test in order to move up to the next grade: In Clayton County 97 percent of students who failed the re-test to get promoted or simply didn’t take the re-test were promoted to the next grade. When asked about why these students were promoted, the District issued a statement that said, “the philosophy of prior administrators was to promote students who failed and provide them remediation.” Oh. I see. The law says that students unable to pass the state’s test ought to be retained but Clayton County school officials had a different philosophy. Their philosophy was that they don’t have to follow the law. Jay knows this is more than just a problem of disobeying […]


A Cautious Hooray for the Newly-Signed Innovation Schools Act

It’s always a little scary when the legislature is in session making new laws that affect education. But one bill the governor signed yesterday gives a little hope for some real positive changes: Bruce Randolph Middle School led the way and now all schools in Colorado will have the opportunity to become autonomous. “A status quo approach is no longer working and in fact is hindering our ability to graduate our students with skills they need to succeed in a global economy,” said Colorado Senate President Peter Groff. Wednesday morning, Gov. Bill Ritter was joined by staff members and students at Bruce Randolph during a bill signing that would allow schools to break free of a certain district to have more decision making power as it relates to students, staff, and budget. National education reform writer Joe Williams took the opportunity to send “bigtime kudos” to Senator Groff for his leadership in bringing forward this bill – known as the Innovation Schools Act. The bill certainly didn’t end up as strong as it could have, after being watered down by the teachers union. But it should be easier now for schools to break free from some of the red tape […]