Tag Archives: candidate

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 […]


Education Secretary Post Could Do a Lot Worse than Michael Bennet

According to reliable Rocky Mountain News education reporter Nancy Mitchell, the name of Denver Public Schools superintendent Michael Bennet is being bounced around as a serious candidate to serve as Secretary of Education: The Newsweek columnist who broke the story of Barack Obama’s presidential bid is betting on Denver Public Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet as the next U.S. secretary of education. “I have my money on Bennet,” Jonathan Alter writes in the soon-to-be-printed Dec. 15 issue. The others on Alter’s short list are Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Arne Duncan and Paul Vallas, head of New Orleans’ public schools. The usually accessible Bennet is being coy about the column. He declined to comment directly. Being superintendent of an urban school district is a tough job. From the standpoint of teacher innovation, parental choice, local empowerment, and student opportunity, it’s easy to argue that Michael Bennet has done better than most. The CSAP results that have come in show some small positive gains in DPS, but there is still much work to be done. As this 2007 New Yorker feature story (Word document) shows, Bennet has worked tirelessly to take on the challenges. He has hit his share of bumps and made […]


Answers to Failed Tax Proposals? More School Choice and Transparency

On Tuesday, voters in Colorado’s largest school district rejected both a mill levy increase and bond proposal: “When you are a people intense organization those reductions will be people,” [superintendent Cindy] Stevenson said. “That’s teachers, counselors, librarians, um, special education staff. That’s where we’re going to have to look for cuts. And that’s going to be difficult because that will result in increased class size, fewer choices for our kids, less teacher training.” Stevenson said the money from the ballot issues would’ve gone toward teachers, books and significant structural improvements. The first reaction many may have is: Why doesn’t the district threaten to cut the number of administrators rather than classroom staffing? No doubt there are some additional efficiencies that could be found by rearranging these priorities. But no matter how good it makes some people feel to say so, just cutting the size of central administration isn’t the answer.