Tag Archives: question

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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Are Michigan Lawmakers Being Inspired by Colorado's Innovation School Act?

Last year Colorado passed the Innovation Schools Act, which I applauded as a positive step forward. But our state isn’t the only one to see greater need for public school flexibility to make personnel decisions in the best interests of students. Look at Michigan. The Detroit Free Press recently reported on a legislative proposal “to allow teachers and parents to convert their local schools into independently run schools with more flexible rules.” Known as Senate Bill 636, the proposal would enable the creation of so-called “neighborhood schools”, especially targeted toward high at-risk student populations.

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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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The Case Against Cutting Facilities Funds for Colorado Charter Schools

Over at the Flypaper blog, Mike Petrilli asks the question “Could the recession be good for the charter school movement?” and gets some insightful answers from experts like Todd Ziebarth, Robin Lake, and Bryan Hassel. I’m too young to pretend I know the answer to a big question like that. Please go read what they have to say for yourself. But here in Colorado, I know that charter school leaders see the situation as a challenge. Economic slowdown has cut state revenues, and lawmakers have to look at where to cut the budget. One of the decisions on the table is whether to cut funding to the charter school capital construction fund from $10 million down to $5 million. This money goes to buy or lease property, as well as to do building construction, renovation, and major maintenance. The proposed cut might not be a huge deal if charter schools were funded equitably in the first place. You can listen to Colorado League of Charter Schools executive director Jim Griffin explain the handicaps public charter schools face in facilities funding, and what sort of effects the proposed reduction might have: I can’t answer big questions like the ones Mr. Petrilli […]

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