Tag Archives: Colorado

The COVID-19 Disruption of K-12

Educators of all types, including parents, have a tremendous challenge before them.

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It’s National School Choice Week!!!

Today I joined fellow students at the Colorado State Capitol Building to watch the legislative process! It was really cool because I heard a legislator talk about National School Choice Week! I even met a real live legislator named Senator John Cooke from Weld County. He is really tall! Before he was a state senator he was the Weld County Sheriff. My friend, and intern at the Independence Institute’s Education Policy Center, Grace Atchison-Reynolds, wrote a spectacular op-ed about her own school choice story. Also, in celebration of National School Choice Week, Grace starred in a video! Once again the National Alliance for Charter Public Schools ranked Colorado 2nd for the best charter school laws. I was hoping we would take first this year but maybe we will next year! It is the time of year when many students open enroll into a public school other than their neighborhood school. You can learn more by going to SchoolChoiceforKids.org Enjoy celebrating school choice! You have three more days to celebrate!

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How Do We Stop Bullying and Violence in Schools?

Most of us remember where we were on the day of the Columbine massacre—almost two decades ago. How Do We Stop Bullying and Violence in Schools? Like so many of the challenges within K-12 education, it is a complex subject.

The Independence Institute recently hosted a presentation by two organizations that are making a difference. Jennie Jarratt, project manager of The Heartland’s Institute’s Center for Transforming Education and Rob Unger, CEO of Rachel’s Challenge provided us with statistics, policy recommendations, and highlights of a prevention program that is saving lives.

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Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Releases Report on Colorado’s Blaine Clauses

A newly released report entitled “The Colorado Constitution’s No Aid To Sectarian Institutions Clause and its Impact on Civil Rights,” examines the origins of the Colorado Constitution’s No Aid Clause (known as Blaine Amendments), and the historical and modern applications.

The report was authored by members of the Colorado Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. Independence Institute’s Research Director, David Kopel, serves on the committee as the Vice-Chair.

Nineteenth century Blaine clauses banned public dollars from supporting sectarian-religious organizations which society viewed unfavorably, including Catholicism, Judaism, Mormonism, and Islam. Mainstream Protestant denominations were not considered to be sectarian.

The report details how the clause impacts civil rights in education, students with disabilities, higher education scholarships, and lists eight state-funded voucher-like programs that provide funding for programs at religious institutions.

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Two very Different Views on Modest PERA Reform

Remember the teacher walkouts this spring? Senate Bill 18-200 was one of several reasons why the teacher unions held rallies at the State Capitol Building. Learn more about the bipartisan legislation that Governor Hickenlooper has signed into law and read two very different views on its impact.

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New Update: Teacher Walkouts Potentially Cost Taxpayers $ 13.3 Million

According to Colorado Chalkbeat, 27 Colorado school districts have cancelled classes due to the teacher walkouts scheduled later this week. Based on the average teacher salary in each district plus the cost of PERA benefits, the teacher walkouts in the 27 districts are potentially costing taxpayers $13.3 million. This figure does not include classified employees who serve at each school.

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New Rankings Should Lead to New, Better Conversations

While Education Week’s annual Quality Counts report is just one of many K-12 state rankings out there, it tends to get a lot of attention because it’s more accessible and easier to interpret that data directly from, say, the U.S. Census Bureau or the National Center for Education Statistics. The latest edition of that report was just released, which means we’re about to see a bevy of questionably accurate news articles, accusations, and assertions crop up in the near future. In the meantime, we can talk a little about the latest results and what they may or may not tell us. Some of you may remember that the Education Policy Center spent some time talking about Education Week’s 2016 Quality Counts report in a recent paper on Colorado school finance. Here’s a refresher on last year’s report: Published annually by Education Week, this report ranks states on “chance for success,” academic achievement, and school finance, with ratings in each of these categories consisting of both an overall grade and a number of more granular rankings. The 2016 report, which relied upon 2013 data, ranked Colorado 37th overall in the area of school finance. As some interest groups have reported, the […]

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New Study Examines Impacts of Evaluation Reform Across America, Findings Decidedly Unscary

You know that feeling you had when you were a kid and you got a new book? The excited rush to rip it open and start devouring it? Well, I’m that way with educational research. Some folks might say that makes me a “nerd.” Those folks would be right. Today I proudly embrace my nerdiness and present: Little Eddie’s Thursday Research Roundup. Okay, “roundup” is probably overselling it a little. I actually just want to talk a single new study on teacher evaluation reform in America. The study, conducted by Matthew Kraft of Brown University and Allison Gilmour of Vanderbilt University, takes a look at the effects of evaluation reform on teacher effectiveness ratings in 19 states across the country. It also digs into the issue a little deeper with surveys and interviews in a large urban school district.

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Don't Fall Victim to MisNAEPery

It’s NAEP season, my friends. The 2015 National Assessment of Education Progress results were released this week to a barrage of spin, rhetoric, and general “misNAEPery.” I’ve mostly seen this misNAEPery pop up in the form of certain folks using the data to show that education reform efforts aren’t working. (For now, we’ll ignore the crushing irony of using test scores to prove that testing isn’t valuable.) That’s a bummer, so let’s spend a few minutes today talking about what this year’s results do and do not mean. First, let’s talk briefly about the results themselves. Chalkbeat ran a pretty good piece on Colorado’s 2015 NAEP scores that included some nifty graphs. Nifty or not, however, I take some issue with the graphs’ reliance on percentages of kids scoring proficient or better rather than scale scores. Not that I blame Chalkbeat for going this way; graphs showing what appears to be actual change are a lot more exciting than what you get when you look just at scale scores over the past ten years. Those graphs look like this:

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Meet Colorado's New PPI Report Card, Same as the Old PPI Report Card

It’s Friday again, my friends, and that means it’s time for a more colorful look at education policy as we head into the weekend. I really wanted to highlight the American Federation for Children’s “Education Revolution” video, which was released a couple months ago but only just made it to my desk. But you’ll have to watch that on your own. We have colorful interactive maps to play with! The Center for Education Reform (CER) recently released its 2015 Parent Power Index. It is absolutely stuffed with colorful, clickable goodies that are entirely too much fun to be considered education policy. But I’ll leave you to play with the report on your own time. We have important business to discuss! If you’ll remember, Colorado came in 12th in the country last year, which was a very slight improvement from 13th in 2013. At the time, CER described Colorado this way: Parents here are an active lot but have often been rebuffed at the legislative level when trying to expand their choices. That said, there is a strong charter law here. Many elements of digital learning are offered. The citizens of Colorado get to vote in school board elections when they […]

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