One-Way Teacher Exchange Program

Stories like this from the Washington Times - an account of Virginia school districts hiring more foreign nationals as teachers - points to some bigger issues going on in education today. Questions that need to be asked (and hopefully explored in future posts): Are our schools of education adequately preparing teachers for the profession? What incentives could be introduced to overcome shortages in hiring educators qualified to teach math, science, foreign language, or special education? What do we do about the single salary schedule, that pays all teachers in a district according to the same rate (by advanced degrees and seniority)? Is offering teachers "performance bonuses" even feasible, and how would you measure that? The … [Read more...]

Outrages and More

Some of you may have noticed the dearth of extensive writing and posting here of late. Let's just call it "outrage fatigue." Everything from the Michael Jackson verdict to the obnoxious posturing over the Gitmo affair and more has caused my blood to boil in recent days. But frankly, I haven't had much to add to the conversation, and I haven't wanted to dwell on it anyways. Just in case you were wondering.... Meanwhile today, the news reports emerged from the Terri Schiavo autopsy. Her death by dehydration has not stifled the debate.... … [Read more...]

Wet and Wild Weekend for Baseball

Excited by the prospect of an early Friday game likely to end by sundown, Joshua was planning to be at Coors Field this afternoon for the game between the Detroit Tigers and Colorado Rockies. Knowing my deep dedication as a Tigers fan, he invited me along to today's game. I was thankful he thought of me but am tied up at work and have a 5:30 appointment besides, so I had to decline. Besides, I have tickets to attend the Saturday (with my friend Steve) and Sunday (with the lovely Mrs. Virtus) games. But the skies had opened and the rains had come earlier today, pushing back the starting time from 3:05 to 4:00. I hope Joshua found another companion to go to the game with - and if he did, I hope the contest speeds along enough so he can … [Read more...]

JeffCo Commissioners Facing the Challenges

When you see an elected politician roll up his sleeves and take up the challenge of a difficult but important campaign promise, it sure can restore some of your faith in the system and in the judgment of your fellow citizens. That's exactly how I feel as the new slate of Jefferson County commissioners has tackled and confronted the waste and corruption that have been plaguing some departments of government. The Denver Post explored the story in depth on Sunday and followed up with a laudable editorial in today's edition. Sunday's story revealed many glaring problems with the way our county government has run in recent years, including this dandy: Among Jefferson County employees, Bob Roark is the king of plastic. Over the last … [Read more...]

Blog Freedom News: The China Edition

In a story that may be of interest to some of my readers and friends in the Internet community (if they aren't already well aware of it), Cybercast News is reporting that the Chinese government plans a crackdown on blogs this summer. The Chinese government says a system has been developed to monitor sites in real time, searching each one for a registration number. Those not registered would face penalties, including fines of up to one million yuan (about $121,000). The ministry said almost 75 percent of all website already have been registered. The regulations were needed, it said, because of sex, violence, superstitions and "other harmful information" available online. Of course, it's not like anything like this would happen in … [Read more...]

Message to Chad the Elder: Sit Down

I'm sure the boys at Fraters are aware of the old Irish saying, but under the current circumstances it bears repeating: "When everyone says you're drunk, you'd better sit down." When the best defense of your state's honor is giving the correct spelling of lutefisk, it's time to take a seat, Peeps. Perhaps reviewing some of the great moments in Minnesota history will remind the inebriates of the terrible insecurity driving them to waste their time trying to disparage the beautiful state of Colorado. Here are the highlights - a chronology of events that nearly every Minnesota school boy can recite with pride: 1805 - Zebulon Pike explores Minnesota, yawns, gets ripped off purchasing 155,000 acres of land for 60 gallons of whiskey (still … [Read more...]

“65 Percent Plan” Discussion Moves West

The Colorado version of First Class Education's "65 percent plan", which was unveiled a few weeks ago by House Minority Leader Joe Stengel and some of his Republican colleagues, got some press along the Western Slope with an article by Danie Harrelson in today's Grand Junction Sentinel. A few points in the story need to be examined a bit more closely. First: Colorado, whose school districts on average spend 58 cents of their budget in the classroom, ranks 47th in the nation when it comes to the percentage of state funds that schools invest in instruction, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Mesa County Valley School District 51 pumps about 67 percent of its state funding into classroom instruction, District … [Read more...]