Tag Archives: professor

Calling Colorado Parents to Participate in Study of Core Knowledge Charters

From the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), Commissioner Dwight Jones is urging parents to get involved in a research study of Core Knowledge charter schools: The study is being led by David W. Grissmer and Thomas G. White, researchers at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. They have received a $4.9 million grant to evaluate the effectiveness of Core Knowledge charter schools in Colorado. The Colorado Department of Education is participating as a full partner. The five-year grant is being funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, part of the U.S. Department of Education. Grissmer, a principal research scientist, and White, a senior scientist, work at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, a national center that focuses on the quality of teaching and students’ learning. “This study holds tremendous potential as a definitive work that will analyze the key ingredients of these successful schools,” said Commissioner Jones. “Because the study design requires participation from parents who win lottery-based enrollment to Core Knowledge charter schools—and those who don’t win those lotteries—I am strongly encouraging parents to participate in the study to help us all better understand the elements that make these schools effective.” [link added]

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I'll Learn Cursive if I Can Use Crayons (or Maybe Type in a Script Font)

When not typing like I do for the blog, I use crayons (especially my favorite colors blue and green) to write in large block letters. On paper, mind you, not walls. I’ve learned that lesson! Anyway, that’s why I found interesting the new article in the Denver Post “Cursive increasingly out of loop in schools”: West Virginia’s largest school system teaches cursive, but only in the third grade. “It doesn’t get quite the emphasis it did years ago, primarily because of all the technology skills we now teach,” said Jane Roberts, assistant superintendent for elementary education in Kanawha County schools. For Cheryl Jeffers, a professor at Marshall University, cursive writing is a lifelong skill, one she fears could become lost, making many historic records hard to decipher and robbing people of “a gift.” Gulp. Not sure what different Colorado schools do about teaching handwriting, but I’m curious to know. Does anybody out there teach cursive with crayons? Or maybe I can just use one of those “script” fonts here on WordPress. Does anybody know how to do that?

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iVoices: Colorado's Own Expert Talks Education Policy and the Courts

Exactly what role should unelected judges play in making policies for our schools? What problems have been created? What can we expect in the future? These are the kinds of questions that University of Colorado at Colorado Springs professor Joshua Dunn addresses in a new iVoices podcast with my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow (click the play button below to listen to the 15-minute discussion): The podcast only scratches the surface on the issue of the courts and education policy, because Joshua Dunn really knows what he’s talking about. Along with Martin West, he edited an important new book on the topic called From Schoolhouse to Courthouse — published by the Brookings Institution Press and Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

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Universal Preschool Promises Like Harold Hill's Shiny New Trombones

I was never really big into the whole preschool thing. My parents decided not to enroll me anywhere before kindergarten. So maybe I’m biased a little bit, but the piece “Does Universal Preschool Improve Learning? Lessons from Georgia and Oklahoma” by Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation really shoots holes in many of the arguments for expanding early childhood education. Apparently, the idea that universal preschool gives kids an accelerated start into improved learning just doesn’t bear out on any large scale. Especially when you look at the Sooner State (and I think you ought to look at it sooner rather than later): More than a decade after offering students uni­versal preschool, neither Oklahoma nor Georgia has shown impressive progress in students’ academic achievement, as measured by the National Assess­ment of Educational Progress. In fact, in Oklahoma, fourth-grade reading test scores have declined since 1998 when the state first implemented universal preschool. Say what? Well, I guess you shouldn’t be too surprised — if you’ve been following what I say for any length of time. Like several months ago, when I pointed out what the brilliant Krista Kafer said about the overblown promises of government preschool pushers. They may not […]

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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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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 […]

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