Tag Archives: online

Of NEA, ACORN, Duncan and Electric Chairs: EIA is Back with a Bang

If you aren’t a regular reader of Mike Antonucci’s Education Intelligence Agency (EIA), you don’t know what you’re missing. Mr. Antonucci is one of the best national experts on teachers unions, has a very keen perspective on the significance of issues in unions and education politics, and breaks many stories with his vast network of (mostly anonymous) sources. That’s why when he took a break from his online reporting and commentary for nine or 10 days a little earlier this month, I was suffering from a mild case of withdrawal. But EIA’s Intercepts blog is back, with two new pieces I commend to your reading enjoyment and enlightenment: “NEA & ACORN: The Details” (adding more depth to an issue my Education Policy Center friends covered recently on our Independent Teachers site) How the two national teachers unions now face the equivalent of a political “electric chair” in their education policy discussions with a Democratic presidential administration … big stuff EIA is back with a bang. Happy Monday!

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Online Elementary Teacher of the Year Gives Cyberschool Sneak Peek

If my mom and dad were to sign me up for one of Colorado’s many public online education programs, what would my school experience look like? Would I be chained to the computer all day, blogging for the Independence Institute? Okay, I’m teasing. Of course not. But you may be really surprised to find out what it’s like. If you or someone you know are considering the cyberschool option, you really ought to listen to our latest iVoices podcast. Click the play button below to hear Colorado’s online elementary teacher of the year Christina Narayan explain how she teaches reading and math to students all over the state while building a sense of community and cooperation: Mrs. Narayan, a teacher for Branson School Online, really seems like a remarkable lady. But what’s even more noteworthy is how her passion and excitement for what she does reflects the bright future for this increasingly popular education option. That, and the fact she got to throw out the first pitch last month at a Colorado Springs Sky Sox game. I’m so jealous!

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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: Denver's Envision Leadership Prep (6-12)

Can you picture it? Envision Schools are coming to Colorado, and the first one opens this fall: the Envision Leadership Prep in Denver. Believe it or not, the morning bell will ring sixth- and ninth-grade students in for the first time in only three weeks! Envision Leadership Prep will share campus space with the Smiley Middle School program in Denver’s North Park Hill neighborhood. Eventually, the school will serve a sixth-through-12th grade student population. What makes Envision Schools different from school as you remember it? Well, as they describe their curriculum:

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Professional Pay and Behavior in Jefferson County Contract Impasse?

Update , 12:45 PM: It looks like Jeffco isn’t alone with the impasse problem. Some teachers in Boulder Valley School District have taken it even further, staging a sick-out at Broomfield High School (H/T Complete Colorado). And it’s not the first time. Five years ago — when I was just a wee baby — the Boulder Valley Education Association staged a major “sick-out”. Then, as now, the terms of their collective bargaining contract read: There will be no strikes or other individual or concerted action designed to deprive the youth in the schools of services of Unit B employees [ed note: teachers and other certified professional non-administrative employees]. Any employee who engages in such actions during the term of this Agreement shall be subject to severe disciplinary action. Such disciplinary action shall be subject to the Grievance Procedure contained in this Agreement, except where applicable the state statute will apply. Earlier this week I pointed you to a breaking story from my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow about teacher contract negotiations breaking down in Colorado’s largest school district. Well, the online journalists at Face The State picked up the ball with a full-length story today, including quotes from a […]

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Citizens Have Chance to Stand Up for Real – not Phony-Baloney – Transparency

Nancy Mitchell of the Rocky Mountain News has reported that Denver Public Schools (DPS) plans to cut the budget by 2 percent. To its credit, DPS already has made some moves toward financial transparency, but not to the degree that Senate Bill 57 (PDF) would have DPS and every other Colorado school district and charter school do. At least the original version of SB 57. I told you last week how many citizens came to testify in favor of school districts adopting the relatively simple and cost-effective approach of posting expenditures online in a user-friendly, searchable format. But a majority of legislators on the Senate Education Committee hijacked the bill and made it merely a suggestion – a worthless way of pretending to support transparency. Tomorrow morning (Tuesday, February 3) SB 57 will be debated before the entire state senate, and we’ll get to see whether our legislators support real transparency or the phony-baloney kind. Over at YourHub, Lakewood citizen and transparency supporter Natalie Menten says the debate provides an opportunity to send a strong message to state lawmakers:

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Citizens Speak Out Loud and Clear for Transparent Colorado School Spending

A couple weeks ago I noted that “Leaner Budget Times Call for Colorado Schools to Post Finances Online”. Yesterday the state senate education committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 57 (PDF) – which would do just that. Despite the great potential for government cost savings, opponents and a few committee members expressed concerns that schools couldn’t afford to enact transparency during these trying budget times. But if not now, when?

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Jeffco Voters Need Clearer Information to Decide Funding Proposals

Colorado’s largest school district is one of many asking voters this year for more operating tax revenue and for bond debt to fund school construction. An article in Sunday’s Denver Post quoted one of my Education Policy Center friends with concerns about Jefferson County’s proposals (designated 3A and 3B): “They are asking taxpayers to build in a district with declining enrollment,” said Ben DeGrow, a policy analyst at the conservative Independence Institute think tank. Referendum C, a five-year timeout from TABOR revenue restrictions passed in 2005, and a 2007 law that allowed local property taxes to grow should be providing “a lot more revenue” for Jefferson County and other school districts, DeGrow said. Referendum C provided more than $300 million to K-12 education in 2006-07. No one doubts that Jeffco and other school districts need a certain amount of money to provide educational services. So it’s not a simple matter of voting Yes “for the kids” (like me) and voting No “against the kids.” If funding were attached directly to the student, and the parents could decide where to send their children, there would be a stronger case for that simplified line of thinking. However, that’s not how the system […]

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