Tag Archives: controversy

Colorado Senate Bill 291: Bad Idea for Supporters of "Local Control"

Before they’re scheduled to adjourn the session sometime next week, the legislators at the Colorado State Capitol still have some decisions to make on key education bills. But one bad idea has popped up at the last minute that you ought to know about. Four weeks ago sponsoring Democrat lawmakers included in the original version of the School Finance Act a provision to punish “sore losers” — voters in school districts that opt to restore taxpayer protections usurped by the Colorado Supreme Court. In other words, if approved by the legislature and signed by the governor, the state would stop backfilling funds to districts that opt out of ratcheting increased local school property taxes. The provision was amended out of the School Finance Act to avoid the controversy. But the issue returned as Senate Bill 291 (PDF), passed on a party-line vote out of the Senate Education Committee, and now is being considered by the full senate. It will be interesting to see how the votes shake out. For many, the “local control” doctrine in the state constitution is a convenient mantra selectively used to support certain education policies and not to support others. If anyone in the legislature really […]


More Clarity Doesn't Give Arne Duncan Free Pass on Voucher Study Release

When I wrote yesterday with questions about Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s handling of the release of the D.C. voucher study, I didn’t necessarily expect such a fast answer. But former U.S. Department of Education official Russ Whitehurst has posted “Secretary Duncan Is Not Lying”. It’s a worthy read, and puts to rest the more extreme hypothesizing that Duncan knew about the positive results and intentionally hid them from Congress during the important debate on reauthorizing the program. While it seems clear that extreme case isn’t true, Jay Greene also rightly observes that other unsettling issues remain: Why did Duncan suppress the positive results in a Friday afternoon release with no publicity and a negative spin? Why falsely claim that the WSJ never attempted to contact him? The Secretary may well not be lying about his knowledge of the study but his credibility in general is very shaky right now. I’m too young to really grasp it all, but it seems politics lies at the center of the controversy. The D.C. voucher issue raises the specter of divisions within the Democratic Party and therefore causes some adults discomfort. But downplaying the results of the research doesn’t serve either the kids in […]


Supporters of Reading First's Success in Teaching Kids to Read Fight Back

Several years ago the federal government created Reading First to fund schools and programs that use scientifically-based reading instruction. The approach has reaped real results in helping kids learn to read in states like Alabama, Washington, and Arizona. But more lately it’s become the source of controversy on Capitol Hill, with Congressional Democratic leaders working to strip funding from Reading First. While the fight goes on in Washington, D.C., state Reading First directors have banded together to form a new group called the National Association for Reading First. The Association has the goal of “bridging scientific research and classroom practice to increase student literacy achievement,” by promoting and disseminating applied scientific research-to-practice information to guide effective reading instructional practices and interventions for all students. Parents and others who want to know whether a reading program is designed to do the job effectively should check out this resource from the U.S. Department of Education. Or read this report for more in-depth information on finding out whether a program is really grounded in scientifically-based reading instruction.