April 19: Week in Review

April 19: Week in Review

There's nothing like Holy Week and the joyous anticipation of our Savior's resurrection on Easter Sunday. Some of my favorite sacred songs and texts impress themselves deeply into the mind and heart during this special time of year (see below). But there were other more mundane matters to write about as well. From the Independence Institute Amy Oliver Show: Jeffco School Board Steps Forward (Podcast) Breath of Fresh Air: Teachers Stand Up Against Tenure Lawsuit, Union Bullying (Ed Is Watching) How to Avoid the Munchkins: A Little Tenure Reform Advice for Kansas (Ed Is Watching) Cheering for New Hampshire Kids to Win Their Day in (the Supreme) Court (Ed Is Watching) Large-Scale Class Size Reduction Doesn’t Work: More Moderation, … [Read more...]

April 12: Week in Review

April 12: Week in Review

Judging by the content posted here since last Saturday, it's been a fairly productive week of writing. Now for the rest of the update, as we await the results from the Colorado GOP Assembly. From the Independence Institute Amy Oliver Show: Greeley Dives into Blended Learning (Podcast) Another ADM Study? HB 1292 Student Success Act Soap Opera Plays Rerun (Ed Is Watching) School Choice Programs Growing Fast; Kansas Looks Like Next State to Join (Ed Is Watching) Testing, Data Issues around Common Core Alive and Kicking in Colorado (Ed Is Watching) Jeffco Board Makes More Money Follow Students, Brings a Jan Brady Smile (Ed Is Watching) Top Social Media Links of the Week Extensive Tweeting this week from Monday's open union … [Read more...]

Jeffco Union Should Honor Its Own Calls for Transparency

Jeffco Union Should Honor Its Own Calls for Transparency

The Jefferson County Education Association came to Monday’s contract negotiations with a plan to walk out, and they seized the moment. With discussions over compensation scarcely begun, JCEA negotiators stepped away from the bargaining table—and from transparency. This road has been traveled before. JCEA and other affiliates of Colorado’s largest teachers union have declared impasse more than once in recent years. …Read the rest of my article at Complete Colorado Page Two…. … [Read more...]

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...]

Despite Some Transparency, Arvada Website Comes Up a Little Short

Despite Some Transparency, Arvada Website Comes Up a Little Short

A local government’s website often is the front line of communication, giving residents both a first impression and a deeper basis to determine whether elected officials have effectively established confidence and trust. The City of Arvada has sought to put its best foot forward in some aspects of customer service and transparency. But a number of opportunities exist to improve the Arvada website and its usefulness to concerned taxpayers and other community residents. Analysis and suggestions are based on an informal site audit I performed on March 6-8. …Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Wire Colorado…. … [Read more...]

Long-Term Union Membership Trends: Give Colo. Teachers Greater Choice

Last week the U.S. Department of Labor released new numbers showing that nationally union membership is on the decline. And not only in the private sector, which has been on a decades-long downward trajectory. Three years ago the nation crossed a historic threshold, as union members in private industry were outnumbered by their public sector counterparts for the first time ever. The 2012 decline also hit government, where budgetary and labor reforms in places like Wisconsin and Tennessee have taken hold. The inimitable Mike Antonucci, writing at the Education Intelligence Agency, picked apart the numbers to unravel 10 interesting observations, including this pair of gems:9) If the trends recorded since 2000 continue, by 2051 there will … [Read more...]

Jeffco School Board’s Paula Noonan Drives Into Unwelcome Spotlight… Again

Three of the five Board seats for Colorado's largest school district are up for grabs in 2013. One of them is just inviting a challenge. Jeffco school board director Paula Noonan made local headlines for displaying a serious bout of bad judgment:Jeffco school board member Paula Noonan was arrested during a traffic stop Jan. 8 when Denver police officers became aware of an outstanding warrant from a 2011 traffic ticket. Noonan's arrest was not the first occasion during the term of the school board's First Vice President in which she has drawn media scrutiny for irresponsible behavior. Local TV news covered her controversial 2010 Dakota Ridge High School commencement speech, with one parent describing it as "a rambling, self-absorbed … [Read more...]

How Bad Was the Fiscal Cliff Deal? Michael Bennet May Have Teed One Up for the Teetering GOP

Conservatives have plenty of reason to mope in the fiscal gloom these days, maybe even enough to indulge in a bit of dark humor. That brings us to the Colorado political junkie joke of the week, the first of 2013: "How bad was the fiscal cliff deal Congress approved?" "I don't know. How bad was it?" "The fiscal cliff deal was so bad that Michael Bennet couldn't even vote for it." The serious question, though, that follows Congress' pathetic kicking-the-can-down-the-road exercise -- which strangely divided Colorado's Democratic tag-team duo in the U.S. Senate -- is whether Colorado Senator Michael Bennet's dissent may have set the stage for Republicans to start taking a necessary hard line on the next tough issue around the bend. … [Read more...]

Bargaining Bill Would Force CEA to Confront Local Control Hobgoblin

The 19th century American individualist Ralph Waldo Emerson once famously declared, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." This coming legislative session might just give teachers union leaders a chance to confront their own hobgoblin -- choosing whether to embrace it or banish it far away. Rumors persist that the American Federation of Teachers wants to inflict legislative revenge on the bold Douglas County school board. In exchange for having their monopoly bargaining status and political dues collection revoked, they apparently are tempted to advance a bill that would impose some sort of bargaining requirement on local school boards. To succumb to the temptation would place their Colorado Education Association (CEA) … [Read more...]

Going Further than Right-to-Work to Relieve Labor Leaders’ Burdens

Earlier this week I told you that it looked like Right-to-Work legislation was coming to the Big Labor stronghold of Michigan. And has it ever come quickly! Some of Wisconsin's early 2011 scenes played out yesterday at the State Capitol, as protestors thronged and chanted favorites like, "A people united will never be defeated!" and "Hey hey, ho ho, Right-to-Work has got to go!" News outlets report that Michigan State Police arrested eight people trying to break into legislative chambers as the state senate gave preliminary approval to send the workplace freedom measure on to supportive Governor Rick Snyder. (When similar legislation is introduced here in Colorado in 2013, the reaction almost certainly will be much more quiet... and … [Read more...]