Louisiana Seeks to Beat Colorado to Open Teacher Union Negotiations

A lot has happened in the month since I last posted here about the open negotiations controversy in Jeffco Public Schools. I was glad to see Mike Rosen bring attention to the issue on his show and in his May 12 Denver Post column, in which he concluded:A number of other states have laws mandating that negotiations between government-employee unions and government agencies be open to the public. In Colorado, that decision is currently left to local government. Colorado law is generally friendly to public openness and disclosure regarding government meetings and documents. Since a majority of funding for public-school districts in Colorado comes not from local property taxes but from the state's coffers, the state legislature clearly has … [Read more...]

Memo to Colorado Lawmakers: Collective Bargaining in Government Different than in Private Business

Slipping under the radar late in Colorado's legislative session (sine die is tomorrow, hallelujah!) is House Bill 1320 -- sponsored by two conservative Republicans, Rep. Janak Joshi and Sen. Bill Cadman -- a rare two-page piece of legislation that would essentially outlaw collective bargaining in state and local governments. It's not going to pass, and concerned citizens and political observers rightfully are paying attention to Colorado's redistricting debate instead, so it's not worth expending too many pixels. However, I found the apparent reason for HB 1320 being held up on the House floor a bit disheartening -- albeit not surprising, given the unimpressive record of the new Republican majority:Rep. Keith Swerdfeger, R-Pueblo West, … [Read more...]

FOX 31 FAIR AND BALANCED ON EDUCATION? We Report, You Decide Part Three

Originally posted at Colorado Peak Politics. Re-posted here with permission. As author, I am solely responsible for the content. On FOX 31 last night, political reporter did a sit-down with Governor John Hickenlooper for one of the School Cuts 101 series segments. The result? Unremarkable. Hick has been focused on budget issues, rightly so, and education reform barely shows up on his radar screen. Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia is the administration's point-man on education issues. Last week at the Capitol he presented the three-point education agenda. Finding money to implement SB 191 -- last year's significant teacher and principal evaluation bill -- is a worthy cause. But tackling the state's serious 3rd grade literacy shortcomings by … [Read more...]

FOX 31 FAIR AND BALANCED ON EDUCATION? We Report, You Decide Part Two

Originally posted at Colorado Peak Politics. Re-posted here with permission. As author, I am solely responsible for the content. I know the timing is impossible for it to be true, but you'd almost think my first School Cuts 101 response piece triggered some interest from the FOX 31 team with my cryptic closing:Anyway, looking for real ideas for how to make education spending more productive and promote better outcomes for students? One good place to start is my chapter on K-12 for the Independence Institute's Citizens' Budget. Or check out what Colorado school districts like Douglas County and Falcon 49 are up to. More on that later... [emphasis added] In hindsight, we're probably just on the same wavelength. Or maybe it's impossible … [Read more...]

FOX 31 FAIR AND BALANCED ON EDUCATION? We Report, You Decide

Originally posted at Colorado Peak Politics. Re-posted here with permission. As author, I am solely responsible for the content. Local FOX 31 Denver News and reporter Eli Stokols are to be commended for wanting to look at the effects of K-12 education spending cuts and innovative ideas for addressing the challenge. But the first edition of the televised series cries out for context and correction. First of all, it's important to stress that yes, for the past couple years Colorado schools have been experiencing real budget cuts -- after years of steady increases in per-pupil funding. And of course, the cuts will have an impact, albeit an impact that can be heavily mitigated and overcome in the long run by re-thinking how our school system … [Read more...]