Tag Archives: reporter

National Education Association Leader Candid about Union Priorities

For those who heard my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow discuss the National Education Association this morning on News Talk 1310 KFKA‘s Amy Oliver Show, here is the video clip you heard of the NEA’s retiring general counsel Bob Chanin explaining his organization’s priorities: The clip came from the end of Chanin’s keynote speech to the NEA’s annual Representative Assembly in San Diego on July 6. According to Education Week reporter Steven Sawchuk, Chanin received a 5-minute standing ovation at the end. Do leaders of the Colorado Education Association share Chanin’s priorities? Is there an intrepid reporter in our state who would dare ask? Inquiring minds want to know … Also, for those who listened to the radio interview, here is a link to the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights report (PDF) criticizing NEA, which Ben and Amy talked about this morning. Ben also wrote about these issues at length on the Schools for Tomorrow blog — here and here.

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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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Arne Duncan's Remarks Stir the Pot on Proposal to Roll Back D.C. School Choice

The political saga of undoing educational choice and opportunity in Washington D.C. continues. It got more interesting yesterday when the new Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told a reporter that he was taking a different position on the voucher program in the nation’s capital than Congressional Democrats who are currently threatening to pull the plug on it: Duncan opposes vouchers, he said in an interview with The Associated Press. But he said Washington is a special case, and kids already in private schools on the public dime should be allowed to continue. “I don’t think it makes sense to take kids out of a school where they’re happy and safe and satisfied and learning,” Duncan told said. “I think those kids need to stay in their school.” Initial reactions have run the gamut.

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Colorado State Board of Education Members Weigh in on "Stimulus" Bill

You may think I spend a lot of time complaining about the education spending proposal inside Congress’ so-called stimulus (I prefer “magical money tree”) bill. Well, rather than just get up on my soapbox again (but hey, if I don’t stand up there, nobody will see me), I decided to share firsthand thoughts from a couple of Colorado’s state education officials on the issue. Earlier this week, new State Board of Education member Marcia Neal shared some thoughts on the education portion of the federal stimulus bill with Grand Junction reporter Mike Saccone: “I think there’s growing concern over this huge amount of money they’re throwing around,” Neal told Political Notebook today. “As always my concern … is the issue of local control. That when you accept money from the feds and they direct the way you spend it, they’re basically directing your local educational program and increasing your dependence on federal money.” Neal, a Republican, said she hopes the Senate, when it mulls the economic stimulus package this week, clears up the issue of local control. As I’ve highlighted before, Marcia Neal has expressed support for choice and local innovation. My friends in the Education Policy Center, though, wanted […]

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Education Secretary Post Could Do a Lot Worse than Michael Bennet

According to reliable Rocky Mountain News education reporter Nancy Mitchell, the name of Denver Public Schools superintendent Michael Bennet is being bounced around as a serious candidate to serve as Secretary of Education: The Newsweek columnist who broke the story of Barack Obama’s presidential bid is betting on Denver Public Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet as the next U.S. secretary of education. “I have my money on Bennet,” Jonathan Alter writes in the soon-to-be-printed Dec. 15 issue. The others on Alter’s short list are Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Arne Duncan and Paul Vallas, head of New Orleans’ public schools. The usually accessible Bennet is being coy about the column. He declined to comment directly. Being superintendent of an urban school district is a tough job. From the standpoint of teacher innovation, parental choice, local empowerment, and student opportunity, it’s easy to argue that Michael Bennet has done better than most. The CSAP results that have come in show some small positive gains in DPS, but there is still much work to be done. As this 2007 New Yorker feature story (Word document) shows, Bennet has worked tirelessly to take on the challenges. He has hit his share of bumps and made […]

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State Board of Education Candidates Have Very Different Views on Reform

The big election is less than a month away. A few of the races that get little attention – but many Coloradans will have to decide – are the contests for the State Board of Education. Few Colorado voters are aware that this elected body is about to become more important, as Rocky Mountain News reporter Berny Morson pointed out on Saturday: The Colorado Board of Education labored in obscurity for years, setting rules that were mostly of interest to teachers, superintendents and other insiders. That’s about to change. A law adopted last spring with the backing of Gov. Bill Ritter gave the board broad authority over school reform. The result could put the board’s mark on everything from statewide achievement tests to high school graduation requirements. The article goes on to highlight the two candidates vying to represent the 3rd Congressional District (southern and western Colorado) on the State Board. These two candidates have some clearly different views. Democrat Jill Brake wants to spend more money on early childhood education, and supported the automatic education funding increase of Amendment 23 and Gov. Bill Ritter’s unconstitutional property tax hike. On the other hand, Republican Marcia Neal – a retired Grand […]

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