Tag Archives: proposals

Jay Mathews Inspires My Radical Ideas to Spend $100 Billion on Education

In today’s Washington Post, education columnist Jay Mathews raises the question: If you had $100 billion to fix our schools, what would you do? Faithful readers know I was skeptical of the federal government’s “magical money tree” a few months ago. My sentiment hasn’t changed. Some ideas for spending 100 billion (that’s a 1 followed by 11 zeroes) new smackeroos in the education bureaucracy inevitably will be better than others, and some may end up yielding some positive results. In his column, Mathews grades five proposals for spending the money, realistically noting of those who submitted the proposals: Their goal is to get the biggest change by January 2012. I think they are dreaming. The federal stimulus is designed to save jobs, not raise student achievement. But some (not all) of the ideas are so good some states might (repeat, might) be tempted to try them. To rate the five proposals yourself, as well as five others Mathews invented, check out his blog post.

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Innovation Pioneers Manual & Montclair Win DPS Backing, Move to State Board

When I say “Top o’ the mornin” to you today, I really mean it. Good news! What is it, you say? Yesterday I hoped out loud that the Denver Public Schools board would make the right decision about the state’s first two “innovation school” proposals. Well, sometimes your hopes and dreams do come true. At least, so reports Rebecca Jones for Ed News Colorado: By a 4-3 vote, the board agreed to forward the proposals from Manual High School and Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment on to the state Board of Education, which will consider the requests on Thursday. If approved – and state officials have already indicated they feel the schools’ proposals are in order – Manual and Montclair will be given broad leeway to waive district policies and union contract provisions on everything from staffing to scheduling to teacher compensation. They will have many of the same freedoms as charter schools, but unlike charter schools, will still be directly accountable to the DPS board. On the fast track for the world of education, the waiver requests from Manual and Montclair are scheduled to go before the State Board of Education later this week. After (hopefully) receiving approval […]

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"Will President Obama's School Reform Bring the Change Kids Need?"

Things are changing in Washington, DC, and my friends in the Education Policy Center are wondering what the new presidential administration will mean for school reform. That’s why they agreed to publish a paper by a really smart group of people – three professors from the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. The new paper is called The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Will President Obama’s School Reform Bring the Change Kids Need? (PDF). The authors are Robert Maranto, Gary Ritter, and Sandra Stotsky. You really need to read this paper if you care about education and the future of America. As a candidate, Barack Obama gave a lot of different messages about education reform. The authors of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly sort out the different competing proposals, and encourage the President-elect to “appoint a Democratic reformer who embraces the good, opposes the bad, and avoids the ugly, to serve as the nation’s next Secretary of Education.” The Fordham Institute’s Education Gadfly has its ears to the Beltway grapevine, running a daily line to see who the favorites are to fill the Cabinet-level post. The latest entry has Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan […]

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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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