Tag Archives: public

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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Obama Speaks to Schoolchildren: Private School Choice is the Answer

Yesterday I wrote about President Obama’s plan to address schoolchildren across America next Tuesday. I got so much response, I thought a quick follow-up was in order. Some of the concerns undoubtedly are overblown, though the hubris embodied in the original lesson plans presented to the public was genuinely disturbing. Even if the substance of the message is essentially good (e.g., stay in school, personal responsibility, etc.), some parents may feel that is usurping their role. But the Obama speech in that sense is no isolated incident. One has to ask the parents who feel this way why they continue to send their child to the public school system. Anyway, the White House since has backtracked from the political gaffe and revised the lesson plans, but much of the damage already has been done. But still plenty of good can come from this whole scenario, if parents pay heed to the principal lesson explained by Adam Schaeffer at the Cato Institute: But this problem didn’t begin with Obama and won’t end with him. Politics in the schools is what we get when the government runs our schools. Don’t want your kids indoctrinated by government bureaucrats, special interests, or the President? […]

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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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Is Transparency for Teachers Unions Really THAT Scary of an Idea?

Robert Manwaring at the Quick and the Ed asks the timely, fair and relevant policy question: “Should New Era of Transparency Apply to Union Finances?”: Perhaps it is time to shed a little more light on how union funding is used. As union dues go up, what is the additional funding being spent on? Does the public have a right to know? Are union dues going up to compenate [sic] for all of the teachers that are being lost to job cuts, or are unions increasing salaries and expanding their influence. It would be interesting to know. Teachers unions represent government employees. They bargain over public services paid for by taxpayers that serve students in our communities. Therefore, not only do the educators who pay dues into the organization have a right to know where the money goes, so does the general public. My Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow makes this terrific point in a paper he wrote a few months ago, titled Setting the Standard for Pro-Worker Transparency (PDF). Transparency is good for governments, political campaigns, and corporations. Why not labor unions? Judging by the comments beneath his post, you would have thought Manwaring had advocated fire-bombing union […]

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Silly Little Me, Making a Big Deal Out of Those Poor D.C. Kids & Their Vouchers

Update: It looks like I have been out-sillied by Jay Greene, who has posted the original unedited draft of “too cool” Kevin Carey’s comments. I’m not very serious. Of course, you probably already knew that. Golly, I’m a little kid who writes about the world of education policy and occasionally cites Kermit the Frog and Cap’n Crunch. But I don’t think you quite get how un-serious I am. At least according to Kevin Carey from The Quick and The Ed blog:

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Are Education Lobbyists Handing Out Cue Cards at the Colorado Capitol?

Jay Greene’s blog has a humorous – but sad – story of how New York City teachers union operatives were caught red-handed passing out cue cards (including one with a misspelled word) to City Council members. Because we really need school boards and other policy makers to do the thoughtless bidding of adult interest groups rather than stand up for the interests of children and taxpaying citizens, right? I’m obviously being sarcastic there. But seeing that funny post made me wonder whether cue cards recently may have been passed out at the Colorado State Capitol: What cue cards were given to legislative opponents who slapped down school choice twice in the same day? Who wrote the script for the lawmaker who needed help from Grover to distinguish public from private (another legislator raised the same question on another bill at another hearing)? Who authored the cue cards for the education committee chair to ignore critical findings about school employee pensions so he could grandstand with frivolous attacks? What lobbying interest group told the same committee chair to thwart the will of the people and double-super kill school spending transparency? Or perhaps these lawmakers came up with these bad, silly, arrogant, […]

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Can Grover Help Us to Learn the Difference between Public and Private?

Yesterday one of my friends at the Colorado Spending Transparency Project wrote about a state legislator who had trouble figuring out the difference between public and private. My first thought was to call in the lovable and furry Grover, who is very good at helping to highlight contrasting words and ideas. Here’s a sample of some of his more well-known educational work: Did that help to clear up the matter? No? Sigh. I think I’m just going to fall over, too.

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