Tag Archives: officials

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 […]

Read More...

Fired Conservative Kansas Teacher Missed His Chance at "Rubber Rooms"

For teachable purposes, I like clear contrasts. You know: Black vs. white, Up vs. down, Chocolate ice cream vs. broccoli. But what about the world of education reform — specifically, teacher tenure? Two stories in particular popped up within hours of each other, and what a contrast they present. First, there’s this news from our neighbor to the east: A Kansas teacher says he was wrongfully terminated for his conservative views. Tim Latham has been teaching history and U.S. Government for over 19 years. But after teaching for just one year in the Lawrence School District in Lawrence, Kansas, Latham says his contract was not renewed because school officials did not like his conservative views — particularly a teacher website that Latham hosted and paid for himself. A teacher coach confronted him on that issue. If this indeed proves to be true, how sad it would be to see a teacher not only get persecuted for his unorthodox conservative patriotic views (unfortunately, it happens more than you may think) but also lose his job over it. He isn’t working for a private school. He’s working for a public school funded by taxpayer dollars! Latham has filed a grievance and said […]

Read More...

Colorado, Don't Get Any Ideas about Virtual Education from Florida's SB 1676

I’m kind of leery about even writing this here, afraid it might give some Colorado lawmakers a bad idea. But consider it a note of caution. Apparently, the Florida legislature is trying to put the clamps down on the state’s successful online public school program. So writes Bill Tucker at The Quick & The Ed about SB 1676 and its impact on the Florida Virtual School: The bill would eliminate enrollment in any elective courses and funding for any courses beyond a standard six periods. Students would no longer have an option to take electives, including some AP courses, beyond those offered at their traditional schools (especially painful for small or rural schools), nor would they have the opportunity to take extra courses to catch up on graduation requirements or accelerate. The legislation was approved in committee and now goes to the full State Senate. As tempting as it might be, it’s a bad idea for Florida officials to use tough economic times as an excuse to limit educational options. As this AP news story highlights, it has a negative effect on real students: Kathryn Groves, a high school student from Keystone Heights, told the panel she took a virtual […]

Read More...

As DPSRS-PERA Merger Looms, Come March 20 to Independence Institute to Learn About K-12 Pension Compensation

That didn’t take long. The Rocky Mountain News is no more, but education reporter extraordinaire Nancy Mitchell is back. Hopefully the first of many, she has posted a lengthy piece on the proposed merger of the Denver Public Schools (DPS) and state PERA retirement systems. DPS officials are pushing the discussion forward, saying that the current set-up costs them funding that could be used in the classrooms: “We pay $685 more per pupil per year in pension and retiree costs than any of the other 177 school districts in Colorado,” [superintendent Tom] Boasberg said, “which comes out to $47 million more per year … “Translate that into teachers, that’s 700 or 800 teachers, that’s a reduction in our class size of 15 to 20 percent. Every class that has 30 students would be a class of 25 students.” Unfortunately, this article didn’t delve into the costly problem that University of Colorado at Denver professor Michael Mannino highlighted in his recent Independence Institute report Deferred Retirement Compensation for Career K-12 Employees: Understanding the Need for Reform (PDF). The average retired DPS career employee can expect to earn $627,570 more in benefits than his or her estimated retirement account balance. It’s a […]

Read More...

Boulder Valley Decision to Sue State Charter Schools Made in "Plush Times"

The Boulder Valley school board doesn’t seem to be learning too quickly. As the Boulder Daily Camera reports, at least they have put off their decision to waste more taxpayer money by continuing their lawsuit against educational opportunity through the state’s charter school authority. But they’re not making many winning arguments to justify their past actions, either. My Education Policy Center friend Pam Benigno was quoted in the story: Pam Benigno, director of the Independence Institute’s Education Policy Center, said Boulder Valley leaders should be held accountable for their “waste of taxpayer money.” “I’m a strong supporter of school choice,” Benigno said. “Families should have as many options as possible, and the state charter institute is a good idea for Colorado.”

Read More...