Tag Archives: Republican

Good News: Charter Funding Bill Looks Set to Pass Senate

The weekend is fast approaching, but it doesn’t look like charter advocates and legislators will be getting much rest. Further debate on Senate Bill 17-061 has been postponed until Monday, giving both sides some additional time to continue working the levers of influence. For those who haven’t been watching the Colorado Capitol closely this year, SB 061 would address the problem on inequitable local funding for public charter school students by requiring school districts to share mill levy override revenue, or extra voter-approved property taxes for education, with charters. Many of you probably remember that we saw similar legislation last year (in the form of SB 16-188), and that I was strongly supportive of that legislation. Ross Izard, my favorite policy nerd, also supported the bill. Here’s a quick refresher on the issue at hand: Public charter schools get the same amount of funding as traditional public schools under Colorado’s school finance formula (minus some chargebacks for district overhead). But money that flows to schools under the School Finance Act is only part of the education funding equation. In 2014-15, the last year for which we have complete revenue data, the School Finance Formula calculated about $5.9 billion for education. […]

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Odd Trio of Gingrich, Sharpton, and Duncan Hit Road for School Reform

What a crazy world we’re living in these days! Last week I pointed out how a voucher group is working closely with the union on a private school teacher training project… Hatfields hugging the McCoys? Well, here’s another example of strange bedfellows — Education Week blogger Alyson Klein notes that an odd trio is running around together promoting school reform: In case you missed it, it basically involves Rev. Al Sharpton and former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich high-fiving and fist-bumping and telling everyone about how their similarities on education policy transcend their differences on… just about everything else. They’re pro-charter, pro-merit pay, pro-accountability, and they play well with all sorts of audiences. At the convention, a room full of conservative Republican delegates gave Sharpton a standing ovation, while, during the inauguration festivities, a crowd at an inner-city high school in majority black and Democratic D.C. took cell phone pictures of Gingrich (although he kinda got upstaged by another Republican, Sen. John McCain of Arizona). Well, now U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is hopping on the tour. Now you know how important the cause of education reform is: Newt Gingrich, Al Sharpton, and Arne Duncan are on the same […]

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Center for Education Reform Grades the Candidates for U.S. Senate

Is the election almost over yet? All the scary political attack ads are giving me bad dreams, and I can’t believe how gullible some politicians are to think they can buy my vote by promising me all sorts of goodies. President whatz-his-name wants to take money from someone else and give it to me. Congressman so-and-so says he’s going to make my life better. Such-and-such amendment on the ballot has to pass “for the children.” (Then again, I wonder if they realize they’re trying to buy the vote of a 5-year-old, but I digress….) Puh-lease. My parents don’t even treat me like that. Anyway, in the meantime, if you haven’t voted and you care about school choice and accountability, the Center for Education Reform (CER) has graded candidates for U.S. Senate across the country, based on their support of the D.C. school choice program, federal funds to start up innovative charter schools, and the No Child Left Behind Act. A possible 3 points for each issue makes 9 a perfect score. In Colorado, Republican Bob Schaffer received a 6 out of 9. His scores are perfect on school choice and charter schools. However, he opposed the final version of No […]

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Hooray! Sarah Palin Stumps for Federal Vouchers to Special-Needs Students

It was about six weeks ago that the very smart Dr. Jay Greene and a wise old Uncle Charley suggested that special-needs vouchers would make a hallmark for the McCain-Palin Presidential ticket. A few weeks later I complained that Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s debate remarks left me unimpressed with her views on education reform. But then happily, Jay Greene points readers to these inspiring remarks Palin made today to a Pennsylvania audience: In a McCain-Palin administration, we will put the educational choices for special needs children in the right hands their parents’. Under reforms that I will lead as vice president, the parents and caretakers of children with physical or mental disabilities will be able to send that boy or girl to the school of their choice — public or private. Under our reforms, federal funding for every special needs child will follow that child. Some states have begun to apply this principle already, as in Florida’s McKay Scholarship program. That program allows for choices and a quality of education that should be available to parents in every state, for every child with special needs. This process should be uncomplicated, quick, and effective — because early education can make […]

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State Board Candidates Marcia Neal, Jill Brake Discuss Choice, Innovation

Last week, I introduced you to two candidates for Colorado’s State Board of Education from the 3rd Congressional District – Democrat Jill Brake and Republican Marcia Neal – but had to close with an important question about them: I know I can sound like a broken record at times, but wouldn’t it be good to know where Ms. Brake and Ms. Neal stand on school choice (e.g., charter schools, online schools, open enrollment)? What about expanding local innovation? The students and parents of Colorado – especially those trapped in failing schools – deserve to know. So my friends in the Education Policy Center went back and did a little research, and followed up with emails to each of the candidates to give them a fair chance to explain themselves on where they stand on school choice and local innovation.

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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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Colorado Might Just Be Getting Even Smarter about Education Reform

I hope that I get smarter as I go through school some day. Likewise, despite its success with advancing school choice and accountability so far, Colorado also needs to Get Smart(er) about education reform. At least that’s the premise behind a new group called Get Smart Schools Colorado. As the Rocky Mountain News reports: The idea behind Get Smart Schools is similar to school initiatives in Chicago and New York – one group pooling expertise and funding to help promising new school models get off the ground. That’s because research shows it’s typically more effective to start good new schools than it is to transform existing schools that are failing. In Colorado, the focus will be on importing quality school models that have been successful elsewhere and on helping promising new schools find facilities, an obstacle for many. Believe it or not, this sort of group really is needed. We know the importance of smaller schools, autonomy (big word!), strong leadership, high-quality instruction, research-based curricula, parental involvement (i.e., choice), and focus on student improvement. But with an experienced and qualified staff of its own, a group like Get Smart Schools Colorado can show new schools how to get it done […]

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Delaware Is More Proof that Strong Standards and Parental Choice Work

A couple months ago I told you about the state of Florida’s amazing success in improving early reading test scores. Here were the main things to which former Gov. Jeb Bush attributed the successful gains: Raising standards, measuring progress, grading school performance, providing educational options and targeting resources to reward success and reverse failure are all tools that are transforming schools and raising student achievement…. I also believe we need to better apply free-market principles to the way we deliver education in order to improve the entire system. We should expand educational options so all parents can make the best choices for their children. Teachers and principals should be paid based on performance. Educators that teach subjects with a shortage of teachers, teach in low-performing schools or carry increased responsibilities should be paid more. We should also give merit pay to teachers based on student learning gains and other objective measures…. But blogger Charlie Barone says, hey, wait a minute, let’s take a closer look at Delaware, too. It seems that the First State has shown remarkable improvement, as well. As Matt Ladner points out, some of the same success story themes emerge that have come from Florida: It turns […]

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Exciting News: Georgia to Debate Universal School Vouchers Next Year

Economic times are rough. Many state budgets look to be short of money. Having recently passed one of the nation’s most generous tax credit scholarship programs, lawmakers in the state of Georgia have a bold idea they plan to bring forward early next year: Republican State Senator Eric Johnson plans to introduce legislation in January 2009 that would give each public school student a voucher equal to the money the state currently spends on his or her education. The voucher could be used for tuition at the parents’ school of choice — public, private or religious. The Fox News article is talking about universal vouchers, an idea first introduced by the great economist Milton Friedman in 1955. It represents more choice, more opportunity, and a major change to the education system that puts parents and consumers back in charge. Of course, there are critics: [Professional Association of Georgia Educators spokesman Tim] Callahan says voucher programs in Milwaukee and Washington, D.C., have failed to deliver promised results, and Georgia lawmakers should focus on strengthening public schools instead of creating incentives to leave them. Too bad Callahan’s statement is misleading. The best research studies show that vouchers help the students who use […]

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