Tag Archives: option

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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Amandla Charter Closure Exceptional, Sign of the Institution's Strength

The Denver Post‘s Jeremy Meyer reports that Denver Public Schools is closing the troubled Amandla Charter Academy — a contract school re-applying to become a charter school. Given the known facts (a checkered past, ongoing financial problems, poor academic results, and lack of a “coherent education program”), it looks like a tough but very good decision by the school board. Public charter schools are an important option in the school choice menu, the institution should be strengthened, and their leaders and managers should be empowered for success. But we have to recognize one of the inherent strengths of charters is that they can be closed down effectively if they fail. That being said, Edspresso is correct to emphasize that decision makers must be “serious about understanding and reviewing original data before making conclusions” about charter school closures. For every Amandla that (as far as I can tell) deserves to be shut down, there is a Cesar Chavez, West Denver Prep, Ridgeview Classical, and many other Colorado charter schools that are doing great work providing families successful alternatives to the traditional public education model.

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Kansas Teacher Explains Why His Colleagues Broke Away from NEA

Recently, a group of public school teachers in rural Kansas were tired of being represented by the nation’s largest teachers union and decided to do something about it. From Education Week: Teachers in Riley County have voted to decertify from the Kansas National Education Association and the National Education Association. The approximately 58 teachers in the district voted earlier this month to have Riley County Educators serve as their negotiating agent. Riley County High School industrial arts teacher and track coach Garry Sigle, who also serves as spokesman for the Riley County Educators, was kind enough to record an iVoices podcast explaining why he and the other teachers chose this course of action and what the process is like: The Association of American Educators (AAE), which has provided assistance to the teachers in Riley, explains that these teachers in the Kansas district are not the first local to decertify from NEA in recent years. It has happened in several other states, though not yet in Colorado. My Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow tells me he is working to get more information on the decertification option to put up on the Independent Teachers website. I’ll keep you updated.

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Frivolous Attacks on Pension Reform Draw Attention (For Me, Detention?)

Yesterday morning some of my Education Policy Center friends were down at the State Capitol (now, like me, they can hardly get out of their driveways… snow day!). They joined Dr. Michael Mannino, author of the Independence Institute report Deferred Retirement Compensation for Career K-12 Employees: Understanding the Need for Reform (PDF), for his informational presentation to the joint House and Senate Education Committee. New Ed News Colorado reporter Nancy Mitchell provided some colorful coverage of yesterday’s unusually well-attended proceedings (hey, I don’t even want to get out of bed at 7:30 AM): Rep. Michael Merrifield, D-Manitou Springs, drew applause from a standing-room only crowd when he closely questioned Michael Mannino, a University of Colorado professor who helped write the report. “Is it possible that your phrases like drastic tax increases and meltdowns could be fear-mongering on your part … in support of your political agenda?” Merrifield asked, an apparent reference to the report’s sponsor, the Independence Institute, which bills itself as a “free market” think tank based in Golden. “Could it be that you’re making an assumption to support your personal views that teachers shouldn’t have a defined benefit plan?” Merrifield asked at another point. “I want people to […]

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More Colorado Students and Parents Choosing the Cyberschool Option

Because of the fact that I communicate with you over the Internet, you’d probably guess I’m a big fan of online education. Well, I am. It doesn’t work for every kid, but it sure deserves to be treated fairly as another educational option. Cyberschools well may be the wave of the future, and it’s growing more popular with parents and students in Colorado all the time. In today’s Rocky Mountain News, Nancy Mitchell sheds light on the rising trend of cyberschools: Growth in the programs, which had spiked from 166 students in 2000 to 9,150 in 2006, eked up to 9,222 in 2007. But in fall 2008, that number grew to 11,641 students – an enrollment that would rank it 19th among Colorado’s 178 school districts in size…. In return for greater accountability, the law provides more funding. Before, online schools were prohibited from receiving funding for students who had been home- schooled or were in private schools the year before they enrolled in virtual classes.

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