Tag Archives: Van Schoales

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 […]


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 […]