Tag Archives: process

Share Your Feedback on Colorado's New Draft Social Studies Standards

You’ve heard that old, old song before: “Don’t know much about history…. (And for that matter geography, civics, and economics.) Well, how true is it of Colorado public school students? And how much will the newly revised Social Studies academic standards help improve the situation? A first draft (PDF) of the Social Studies standards has been produced by a committee, and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) wants your comments. Whether you have time to read through all 128 pages of introductory material and proposed standards in the four content areas, or just select portions, any feedback you can provide is helpful. To get the context of the process behind the standards and some examples that may raise concerns, click on the play button below to listen to a new iVoices podcast discussion featuring my Education Policy Center friends Pam Benigno and Ben DeGrow:

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Will Colorado "Race to the Top" of the Class? Would That Be a Good Thing?

Update, 8/26: The witty voice of experienced education reformer Checker Finn eloquently notes that “the country’s most powerful education organization has fired a big grumpy shell across the bow of the country’s earnest and determined education secretary. This battle is joined.” I invite you to read his perspective. When it comes to the U.S. Department of Education doling out money to states for reform and innovation, is Colorado like the nerdy kid at the front of the class who sucks up to the teachers? That’s the colorful metaphor Education Week blogger Alyson Klein crafts to explain our state’s approach to getting Arne Duncan‘s “Race to the Top” money: If the competition for a slice of the $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund were a K-12 class, Colorado would be the kid sitting right up front, wearing gigantic glasses, furiously taking notes, and leaping up to answer every single one of the teacher’s questions. The latest effort? A petition, sent to folks in Colorado, urging them to endorse the state’s bid. Hidden beneath the surface are concerns that Colorado might not meet the early expectations and be one of the top finalists.

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A Few "Irrational" Parents Better Than Bureaucrats in Charge of All Kids

Updated for clarity Over at the Britannica blog, Dan Willingham wonders aloud if school choice might be a bad policy not effect positive change in the system through competition because many parents won’t make the “rational” decision: The logic of school choice seems obvious. If parents selected their children’s schools, they would not choose bad ones, so bad schools would not be able to survive. Schools would have to improve or close, just as a store that offers poor service will lose business to a store that offers better service. Here’s my problem with that logic: I think it’s highly likely that many parents will choose bad schools. (H/T Core Knowledge blog) You’re welcome to go ahead and read Mr. Willingham’s entire entry. But I think Jay Greene has done the best job of providing a rational objection:

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Healthy Skepticism about Magical Money Tree and Education Reform

The federal government’s “magical money tree” can make untold billions of dollars out of thin air to spend on a wide array of pork projects and various government programs. But what will the money earmarked for education do to promote lasting and effective reform to help student success? Plenty of lip service has been given to this notion. Don’t worry. You aren’t alone in having good reason to be very skeptical of the “stimulus” leading to real education reform. Months ago, when the stimulus was first passed, my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow made the observation: While unconditionally dumping more funds into schools may help to guarantee jobs, it won’t help the ones who need it the most. We’re all in good company now. In the first edition of “Education Stimulus Watch” (PDF) released this week, American Enterprise Institute adjunct fellow Andy Smarick makes a strong case for the unprecedented federal spending package to produce little or no positive results:

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Bromwell Elementary Issue Makes the Case for Expanding School Choice

The Denver Post‘s Jeremy Meyer reports today on the latest from the Bromwell Elementary controversy: Parents who skirted district rules to get their children into a high-performing Denver school must go through the choice process for next year, a school committee said. Bromwell Elementary’s collaborative school committee met Wednesday to decide what to do with students from outside of the neighborhood who did not follow the district’s enrollment procedures. In one instance, a family enrolled by using a grandparent’s address. The committee said students who failed to prove they live within school attendance boundaries must enroll through the district’s choice process, which operates on a blind lottery. Superintendent Tom Boasberg must approve the recommendation. First, let me say that Denver Public Schools appears to be fairly treating people who tried to cheat the system. It isn’t right when one of my friends tries to move my checkers when I’m not looking, and it isn’t right for people to pretend to live at a different address so they can enroll their child into a different school. But the conversation can’t end there.

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