Tag Archives: High School

New Bill Seeks to Bolster Floundering Civic Knowledge

About this time last year, I wrote a starry-eyed post about how much I love seeing fellow policy explorers on field trips to the Colorado State Capitol. I wrote then: For those who spend a lot of time at the Capitol, these bright-eyed explorers are sometimes viewed as a hassle. They clog the stairs, block the hallways, and every now and then manage to run smack into someone who probably believes they are far too important to be run into. But we should be careful about looking at these little guys (my people!) as hurdles that must be (sometimes physically) clambered over and worked around in the pursuit of more important business. In fact, I’d like to argue that there is no more important business than introducing our kids to the American system of government. When I look around at groups of kids touring the Capitol—some of them wearing little ties and doing their best to stand up straight and proud, others struggling just to take it all in—I wonder how many of tomorrow’s leaders I’m looking at. How many future legislators, governors, and justices have I seen? How many activists, teachers, and nonprofit leaders am I watching form right […]

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Colorado Gets an Awkward Christmas Present: The SAT

It’s almost Christmas, friends! We will all sit down tomorrow morning and unwrap a bunch of gifts while stuffing our faces with various tasty treats. Some of those gifts will be awesome. Action figures, video games, and bikes spring immediately to mind. Other gifts—socks, weird-flavored chocolates, and gift certificates to restaurants you hate—will be less exciting. When you open those awkward gifts, you’ll have that uncomfortable moment where you’re stuck between needing to be polite and wanting to ask loudly what in the world the person who gave you the gift was thinking. I’m having one of those moments right now. You see, Colorado education is getting its own awkward Christmas present this year: A shift away from the venerable, well-respected ACT. Instead, high school juniors will now take the SAT, a creation of the College Board (of APUSH fame). I’ll try to be as polite as possible in the face of this weird gift, but I am unable to refrain from asking an important question: Huh?

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Exciting Stuff: Jeffco's Jefferson Area Plan Moves Closer to a Vote

Many moons ago, in a long-lost time known only as “November,” I highlighted some positive efforts for change in the Jefferson Articulation Area, one of Jefferson County School District’s most challenging regions. The wheels have been somewhat quietly grinding since then, and I’m happy to report that a plan for the area will come up for a board vote on March 5. In February, a number of principals from schools in the Jefferson Articulation Area—all of whom have been intimately involved with the development of a plan for their schools—presented a plan of action to the board. The plan is the culmination of a massive process that pulled together district officials, school leaders, community members, and parents. I took a fun field trip to one of the community meetings, and I have to say it was very cool to see.

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Let's Make Vocational Programs a Bigger Slice of School Choice Menu

You probably assume a prolific blogging prodigy like myself eventually will head to a prestigious 4-year university — maybe even with Doogie Howser-like potential. But what if when I turn 16 some day my heart is set on a career as a plumber or a chef? You wouldn’t deny me that, would you? Writing for the America’s Future Foundation, Liam Julian of the Hoover Institution says we could take a big bite out of our high school dropout problem by engaging more students in vocational education programs — particularly those that integrate academics directly with students’ career aspirations, providing greater relevance to many teens (H/T Heritage Insider): Imagine a 17-year-old who does not want to attend college (or at least not right away); who finds parsing Macbeth maddeningly immaterial; who yearns to learn a practical skill and put it to use; who feels his personal strengths are being ignored and wasted; who is annoyed by his school’s lackluster teachers, classroom chaos, and general atmosphere of indifference. Too often, such a pupil has no other options. He has no educational choice.

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Dangers in D.C. Public Schools Strengthen Case to Save Vouchers

I like feeling safe. My parents like knowing I’m reasonably safe from all kinds of violence when I go to school, too. A lot of times where we live, we can take that kind of school safety for granted. But as a new report co-produced by the Heritage Foundation and the Lexington Institute (PDF) chronicles the dangers many students face in D.C. Public Schools and the need for greater choice: In 2009, the U.S. Department of Education reported that 11.3 percent of D.C. high school students reported being “threatened or injured” with a weapon while on school property during the previous year—a rate well above the national average…. The data reveal that during the 2007–2008 school year, police responded to more than 900 calls to 911 reporting violent incidents at the addresses of D.C. public schools and more than 1,300 events concerning property crimes. The data reveal a wide variance in the locations of these reported incidents. Some public schools with high rates of 911 calls are located within high-crime neighborhoods. In addition, while one should use these data with care when comparing the relative safety of public, charter, and private schools, this data set shows that a drastically higher […]

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Event at CCU for Homeschoolers & High Schoolers: Economics and Environment

I wanted to take a moment to let all you Colorado homeschoolers and high school students out there about a great opportunity coming up on Saturday, September 12. You’ll want to check out the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) seminar, hosted by Colorado Christian University (CCU) and titled “Reforming Federal Environmental Policy: Entrepreneurs, Enterprises, and the Environment”: This seminar, which will feature FEE president Lawrence Reed and author Gregory Rehmke, is specifically designed for Christian high school and home-school students who want to seriously explore this complex economic issue. FEE is a great organization, and Dr. Lawrence Reed is an excellent thinker, speaker and gentleman. If you’re anywhere near the Denver metro area, and you get a chance to go, I highly recommend it! You can register online here.

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A Glimpse at New Schools: Jeffco's 21st Century Virtual Academy

It seems almost everyone is getting in on the virtual public school act in Colorado these days. But that’s a good thing, because having more options is better for students and parents. One of the latest options, opening new for fall 2009, is Jeffco’s 21st Century Virtual Academy. Operated by the state’s largest school district — Jefferson County Public Schools in west metro Denver — the program offers a wide range of high school course offerings for students ages 14 to 20 who are Colorado residents (and not necessarily of Jefferson County). Courses are aligned to state standards and local graduation requirements, but also feature an array of electives as well. Besides the core areas of English, math, science, and social studies, subjects available through the virtual program include:

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Odd Trio of Gingrich, Sharpton, and Duncan Hit Road for School Reform

What a crazy world we’re living in these days! Last week I pointed out how a voucher group is working closely with the union on a private school teacher training project… Hatfields hugging the McCoys? Well, here’s another example of strange bedfellows — Education Week blogger Alyson Klein notes that an odd trio is running around together promoting school reform: In case you missed it, it basically involves Rev. Al Sharpton and former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich high-fiving and fist-bumping and telling everyone about how their similarities on education policy transcend their differences on… just about everything else. They’re pro-charter, pro-merit pay, pro-accountability, and they play well with all sorts of audiences. At the convention, a room full of conservative Republican delegates gave Sharpton a standing ovation, while, during the inauguration festivities, a crowd at an inner-city high school in majority black and Democratic D.C. took cell phone pictures of Gingrich (although he kinda got upstaged by another Republican, Sen. John McCain of Arizona). Well, now U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is hopping on the tour. Now you know how important the cause of education reform is: Newt Gingrich, Al Sharpton, and Arne Duncan are on the same […]

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A Glimpse at New Schools: Thomas MacLaren School (Colorado Springs)

Update, 8/18: Denise at Colorado Charters offers more information on the new Thomas MacLaren School, as well as an account of the ribbon cutting ceremony. If you live in the Colorado Springs area and have a student heading into the middle school years, you may want to take a look at the new Thomas MacLaren School. The tuition-free public charter school opens this month with classes from 6th to 9th grade. Eventually the school will serve students all the way up through high school. Many things set MacLaren apart from traditional public schools, but most prominent are: A classical education curriculum that builds from the basics of grammar (6th-8th grade) to the logic of finding “implications and relationships that exist among the ideas already learned” (9th-10th grade) to the higher-level rhetoric (11th-12th grade) “wherein students begin to synthesize and relate concepts already learned” — all students will be required to take four years of Latin Student uniforms Single-sex classrooms (that’s right: No yucky girls! I may have to look into this school….), except the fine arts classes (including choir, drama, etc.) and lunchtimes will be co-ed

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Could You (or Colorado High Schoolers) Outshine Arizona's Civic Illiteracy?

This news from the Goldwater Institute’s Matt Ladner about the basic civic illiteracy of Arizona high school students is depressing, especially a week before our nation’s birthday. A simple 10-question quiz failed by the overwhelming majority of students. Apparently, charter school kids did better than other public school kids, and private schoolers did even better. No group did well, though. I have to wonder: What about homeschoolers? (Maybe there weren’t enough of them to tally the results.) The big people in my life insist that basic civic literacy is absolutely crucial for the Republic to survive in the future. You know, my future? Let’s pay attention, people. Anyway, here are the 10 questions, taken directly from the U.S. Citizenship exam:

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