Tupa Joins Right Side of School Accountability

It's not often I praise a liberal Democrat in our state legislature. But it only seems appropriate to highlight the fact that Sen. Ron Tupa (D-Boulder) demonstrated some common sense on the matter of school accountability today. Tupa joined the 3 Republicans on the Senate Education Committee - Nancy Spence, Josh Penry, and Mike Kopp - to kill House Bill 1284, which would have stripped the CSAP test of any effective meaning as a way for parents to judge the quality of schools. So kudos to Tupa on this one. I don't see eye to eye with him on many issues, but I have admired him more than some of his other Democratic colleagues for at least taking a more free-thinking approach to education issues. Of course, it would be a lot better if his … [Read more...]

Post Provides One Piece of Case Against Ritter Tax Hike

Update: ColoradoPols draws the opposite conclusion about the Post article ("Ritter Property Tax Freeze Gets Good News"). Maybe they should have read this post first. The incomplete school funding analysis in today's Denver Post, when considered with a few more facts, actually makes the case against the governor's property tax increase for the "Children." Yes, the Post identifies a potential problem with the current structure of Colorado school finance - highlighting that state government carries an ever greater share of the school funding burden, and that the tax bills of property owners in rural, low-growth districts have gone up more than their wealthy, high-growth counterparts. But instead of giving too much significance to this one … [Read more...]

Assessing the Fallout from the “Special Place” Email

I penned a column for the Edspresso website to give a little extra analysis to the now infamous email exchange between Representative Mike Merrifield (D-Manitou Springs) and Senator Sue Windels (D-Arvada), telling supporters of charter schools that a "special place" awaits them in the hotter realms of the afterlife. If you're so inclined, please check it out. … [Read more...]

Patronizing Parents Who Want a Better Education

Are you a student at a charter school or the parent of one? Or maybe just stuck on one of the long waiting lists to get in? In the past week we've learned that the now-ex-chairman of Colorado's House Education Committee Mike Merrifield (D-Manitou Springs) thinks you're worthy of eternal damnation - Mike Littwin thinks it's a big joke: This wasn't a Deanna Hanna or a Joe Stengel scandal. This was Mike Merrifield writing that backers of vouchers and charter schools deserved a "special place in hell." That's it. It was written on private e-mail, but, apparently, not private enough. Windels' e-mails went the way of a public records request from a new conservative Web site - facethestate.com - and, when it went public, Merrifield had to … [Read more...]

Democrats Can’t Spare $250,000 for Education that Works

Colorado Democrats continue to show their true colors. They voted to create a fund to accept donations for after-school math and science tutoring programs but shot down an attempt to give even a token amount of state funds as seed money. Senator Mike Kopp (R-Littleton) proposed contributing $250,000 from the State Education Fund for the program, which has a proven track record of success: “This amendment would augment strength within the program by moving money to fund the proposal,” said Kopp when proposing his amendment. “I think $250,000 is a reasonable amount to help these kids achieve their goals. (The program) has a 100-percent graduation rate, and some of these kids are doing types of mathemathics I haven't even heard of … [Read more...]

A Chance to Do Even More for Colorado’s Foster Kids

Ideally speaking it is the hard job of a legislator to prioritize the distribution of scarce resources to programs based on their deserving and effectiveness. Representative Cheri Jahn (D - Wheat Ridge) is laudably pushing to ensure that foster children receive their share of state social services funding. But the Democrat majority in Denver could do significantly more to provide these children greater stability and an opportunity for success: provide publicly-funded scholarships allowing foster kids the ability to choose a stable education program, whether the school be public or private. Foster children frequently are shuttled from home to home, and in the process transferred from school to school - often moving into educational … [Read more...]

Intra-Party Fights for Colorado Democrats Heat Up

The Democrat Party's intramural squabbles are intensifying, and Colorado is ground zero for the shakedown. The Denver Post reports this morning that the Teamsters' James Hoffa, Jr., confronted Governor Bill Ritter yesterday with the threat that the party's convention scheduled for Denver next year could "blow up" if Ritter doesn't kowtow to the Big Labor agenda. Still a bit angry about the governor's veto of House Bill 1072, don't you think? The response from Ritter's office? The governor has said he made the decision in order to advance a broader agenda. He declined an interview Monday on his encounter with Hoffa. But his staff pointed to Ritter's recent restoration of a voluntary payroll deduction for state workers that … [Read more...]

Schaffer Wins Straw Poll

The results are in from the unofficial Mount Virtus grassroots "Who Should Replace Wayne Allard?" straw poll. I kept the polls open a couple days longer than originally planned, but it did very little to change the final tally. So who was your first choice to be the Republican nominee for Colorado's open U.S. Senate seat in 2008? No surprises. While he lost some of his early commanding lead, former Congressman Bob Schaffer never trailed from start to finish - earning 54 of 120 votes cast (45%). While it's still early to have to announce his candidacy, at the moment it looks like the field is clear for Schaffer to enter. A crowd fought for the next four slots with about 10 percent of the vote each. Scott McInnis (who is officially OUT … [Read more...]