April 5: Week in Review

April 5: Week in Review

Within hours on Sunday afternoon, two Michigan basketball teams seasons came to an end, falling just short of the NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four. But a glorious silver lining quickly followed: Opening Day in Detroit on Monday, followed by Opening Day in Denver on Friday. Baseball is in the air, bringing the sweet smell of spring and of hope springing eternal for the loyal fans. Sports-wise, it's arguably the best time of the year. From the Independence Institute Amy Oliver Show: Commission Recommends Online Education Policy Improvements (Podcast) Colorado Ranks 21st in Per-Pupil Spending (and Other New Numbers from the NEA) (Ed Is Watching) New Independence Institute Ownership? Goodbye, Eddie; Hello, Little Ed Koch (Ed Is … [Read more...]

March 29: Week in Review

March 29: Week in Review

On Thursday I spent an hour live on air with Mike Rosen (AM 850 KOA) discussing open union negotiations and related issues in Jeffco Public Schools. More from the Independence Institute's Ed Is Watching Blog Colo. Digital Learning Policy Alternate Route Gives Some Spring Break Hope Opponents' Best Shot? Maybe Thompson Should Look at Innovating Educator Pay Watching Student Data Privacy Issue Means Not Watching Student Data Finished One Good(read) Book This Week Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II by Wil S. Hylton: The author quickly grips and engages the reader with the little-known mystery of a B-24 crew that was shot down in a 1944 bombing raid over Palau. Hylton weaves together the tales of … [Read more...]

March 22: Week in Review

March 22: Week in Review

On Thursday I was the featured guest (via Skype interview) for the 20-minute video episode of Choice Media TV's Reform School. Topics ranged from a teachers union contract that discriminates in favor of non-Christians to the recently reported shortcomings of the federal Race to the Top program. More From the Independence Institute Colorado Supreme Court Will Hear Dougco School Choice Case, More Waiting Ahead (Ed Is Watching) New York City Mayor's Attack on Charter Schools Enough to Give Me Nightmares (Ed Is Watching) Student Success Act Soap Opera Gears Up for Shift to Wilder Ride in Senate (Ed Is Watching) Amy Oliver Show: Are We Licensing Teachers Correctly? (Podcast) Finished One Good(read) Book This Week Men at Work: The … [Read more...]

January 11: Week in Review

January 11: Week in Review

I was cited by Watchdog education reporter Mary Tillotson in her latest piece titled "New Orleans Tops School Choice Index":Closing unpopular schools contributed to the increase. A reform-minded majority on the school board probably helped the district implement choice-friendly policies such as the common application, said Ben DeGrow, senior education policy analyst at Colorado’s Independence Institute. More from the Independence Institute "If I've Told You Once": K-12 Financial Transparency Isn't New to Colorado (Ed Is Watching) Evidence Doesn't Back Keeping Kids "English Language Learners" Longer (Ed Is Watching) Amy Oliver Show: The Latest Colorado School Grades Are Out (Podcast) Finished Two Good(reads) Books This … [Read more...]

Politically Correct University’s Robert Maranto Tonight at LOTR Red Rocks

Just how politically correct are today's colleges? Are the faculties at American universities really as ideologically imbalanced as you have heard? What are the effects of that imbalance on students and their futures? Are there any promising and politically achievable reforms for academia? If these questions pique your interest, then you should look at obtaining a copy of the new book The Politically Correct University, a collection of insightful essays on a range of topics under the theme. Even better, if you live in the Denver metro area, you can meet one of the volume's editors -- Robert Maranto from the University of Arkansas' Department of Education Reform -- this evening at Liberty on the Rocks Red Rocks: … [Read more...]

Check Out The Blueprint: Its Political Lessons Are Well Worth Absorbing

Last Tuesday I received a review copy of The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care by award-winning 9News political reporter Adam Schrager and former Republican state representative Rob Witwer. Despite having a lot on my plate, I found time to read the book in two evenings. The book is a quick read but remarkably packed with substance. Political insiders who have followed the past three election cycles in Colorado will find a good amount of familiar material, and may learn a few things on the way. Everyone else, buckle up. The transformation of Colorado's political power structures from Republican to Democratic dominance is a worthwhile and important study -- one that points to the … [Read more...]

Ernie Harwell, David Benke, and Appomattox: Making Today Memorable

Today -- April 9, 2010 -- will go down as a memorable day. First, my native state of Michigan officially declared it Ernie Harwell Day in honor of what looks very much like the legendary Hall-of-Fame baseball broadcaster's last Detroit home opener with us (and bless the Tigers, they beat Cleveland 5-2). Can't say it enough: Thank YOU, Ernie Harwell. I've also learned that lawmakers from my adopted home state of Colorado have declared today David Benke Day, in honor of the selfless, heroic teacher at Deer Creek Middle School who doubtless helped save student lives from a deranged gunman. I'm honored to have met both of these fine, humble men, and am glad to know they share the same commemorative day. They are both most deserving, each in … [Read more...]

When Will Colorado Be Ready for a New Labor Model Rooted in Freedom?

Is the United States ready for a new labor model, one more grounded in freedom of association and individual liberty? That's the central thrust of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation's new book -- Sweeping the Shop Floor -- for which I was honored to be a contributor. EFF labor policy analyst Rachel Culbertson joined me and my Independence Institute colleague Mike Krause for a conversation to whet your appetite for the book. Click the play button below (or follow this link) to listen to the 12-minute iVoices podcast: For more detail on the book's argument about how we can give workers more freedom in designing a labor model for the 21st Century and how it might work in Colorado public education and other government agencies, check … [Read more...]

Recommending Lewis Lehrman’s Lincoln at Peoria for Honest Abe’s 201st

On this 201st anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth, no lengthy tributes are needed -- I don't even have time to replicate the modest one I wrote last year for the bicentennial. I did, however, want to take the occasion to recommend a book to you that was recommended to me by fellow RMA blogger Don Johnson about Christmastime. Lincoln at Peoria by Lewis Lehrman highlights the great turning point in Abraham Lincoln's political career, the awakening that resulted from the Kansas-Nebraska Act and his powerful October 1854 speech at Peoria, Illinois, which sharpened the distinctly antislavery focus that led to his key role in forming the Republican Party, debating Stephen Douglas in 1858 and ultimately serving as President during our … [Read more...]

Looking for a Good Summer Fantasy Read? Try The Way of Shadows

Are you looking for a good summertime fiction read? A fresh story in the fantasy/action genre that is simultaneously fast-paced and in-depth? Then I urge you to buy a copy of The Way of Shadows, the first in the Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks. I love to read, but the fantasy/action genre -- nor fiction in general -- is typically not my cup of tea. Then again seldom do I know the author personally, as in this case. Brent and I went to Hillsdale College together, are fellow Sinfonians. Having that sort of a personal connection with the author made it easy to pick up the book. But once I did, the crisp and colorful storytelling, the unpredictable plot, and the compelling characters were what kept the pages and chapters quickly … [Read more...]