Supreme Court Ruling Could Make Colorado a School Choice Destination

Supreme Court Ruling Could Make Colorado a School Choice Destination

Anticipation is building among school choice supporters for a Colorado court ruling that could create wide and deep ripples in the fabric of American K-12 education. On Dec. 10, 2014, the Colorado Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Taxpayers v. Douglas County Board of Education. The case’s third and decisive round of legal hearings will test whether an unprecedented local school choice program not only will survive, but also could multiply. The ruling could embolden other local Colorado boards of education to offer parents educational options outside the public system, and inspire policymakers hoping to expand choice in other states. …Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Arena…. … [Read more...]

Report Finds Denver’s ‘SchoolChoice’ System Improves Enrollment, More Focus Needed on Performance

Report Finds Denver’s ‘SchoolChoice’ System Improves Enrollment, More Focus Needed on Performance

Denver has made the process of choosing a school easier and more satisfying for many families. But a local advocacy group says the district needs to offer more quality schools for students to access. A new report released by the nonprofit citizens’ education reform group A+ Denver asks whether the Denver Public Schools’ (DPS) three-year-old universal enrollment system is working for families. The system has streamlined the application process to get into one of the district’s traditional neighborhood, magnet, or charter schools, and has matched large numbers with their stated preferences. …Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Arena…. … [Read more...]

Court: Adams 12 Schools Vindicated in Firing Financial Accuser

Court: Adams 12 Schools Vindicated in Firing Financial Accuser

A judge has vindicated Denver-area school district officials for their decision to remove an employee whose accusations of financially “cooking the books” led to a series of sensational 2013 local TV news reports. A Sept. 12 ruling by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Richard P. Matsch summarily dismissed claims made by former internal auditor Gina Holub in a lawsuit against Adams 12 Five Star Schools officials. The decision came more than a year and a half after Fox 31 News aired several stories featuring Holub’s claims, such as “State’s 5th largest school district hid millions while cutting services to students?” …Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Wire Colorado…. … [Read more...]

Parents Handing Out Common Core Flier Meet Push-Back

Parents Handing Out Common Core Flier Meet Push-Back

In generating a lot of interest from parents, the heating Common Core debate also has generated a lesson about the value of two-way communication. El Paso County mom Traci Burnett decided to distribute event fliers to other parents in Lewis-Palmer District 38. Along with other volunteers, the plan was to place copies of the homemade leaflets on the windshields of vehicles in five different elementary school parking lots while parents were gathered for back-to-school night on Sept. 4. …Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Wire Colorado…. … [Read more...]

Colorado Education Leaders Question Standardized Testing

Colorado Education Leaders Question Standardized Testing

While a Pikes Peak region superintendent’s attempt to pull out of state assessments was called out for reaching too far, state education leaders are exploring new ways to balance educator accountability and flexibility. In an August 4 welcome back speech to Colorado Springs School District 11 leaders, superintendent Nicholas Gledich revealed his intention to seek a sanctioned three-year break from full participation in the state’s standardized testing system. He wanted to limit the administration of new PARCC consortium tests (math and literacy) and CMAS tests (science and social studies) only to a “random sample of students.” …Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Wire Colorado…. … [Read more...]

Time Running Out for Teachers to Ask Money Back from Union

Time Running Out for Teachers to Ask Money Back from Union

A national commemoration includes a special roadside message for Pueblo educators who carry an extra burden as part of their job. The reminder to many teachers that they have to ask every year to get hundreds of dollars of their own money back also makes the case that union leaders simply should ask first. …Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Wire Colorado…. … [Read more...]

Adams 12 School Board Election Ruling Raises Red Flags

Adams 12 School Board Election Ruling Raises Red Flags

If a Broomfield judge’s ruling stands, the eligible candidate with the most votes may no longer necessarily win an election. A July 11 decision in Figueroa v Speers not only effectively nullifies the results of an Adams County school board race. The plaintiffs who lost this legal round also believe the reasoning in Judge Chris Melonakis‘ ruling changes the standard to declare winners for elected political office. …Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Wire Colorado…. … [Read more...]

July 5: (Two) Week(s) in Review

July 5: (Two) Week(s) in Review

Last week the Virtus clan was on a mini-vacation in the Colorado mountains. With very little to miss, today's entry recaps the best of the past fortnight. Highlight? The Franklin Center shined its Citizen Spotlight on me and co-editor Joshua Sharf. Hope everyone had a Happy Independence Day! From the Ed Is Watching Blog Friedman Survey Finds Big Shift on Standardized Testing, Not to Mention…. Florida Doubles Number of States with Cutting-Edge Choice through ESAs Holyoke’s Pursuit of Innovation Status Raises Real Questions to Answer Finished One Good(read) Book This Fortnight Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II by Mitchell Zuckoff My rating: 4 of 5 stars Zuckoff recaps … [Read more...]

June 21: Week in Review

June 21: Week in Review

As I type this, the season officially changes with the day's longest stretch of sunlight for 2014. It's officially summertime: What better way to kick it off then with a two-day garage sale? Lots of hassle. Net profit? $50. Glad I got that out of my system for quite awhile. From the Ed Is Watching blog Study Gives Another Jeffco Anti-Charter Myth a Serious Blow Title I Funds Closer to Following Colorado Kids after State Board Vote CER Completes Trifecta of Helpful Scholarship Tax Credit Studies Top Facebook Links of the Week Lamest Phony Political Apology Ever?: Governor Hickenlooper Reignites Mayor Bloomberg Controversy (Complete Colorado) School Board Takes Opportunity to Step Up: DPS Could Teach Jeffco a Lesson on … [Read more...]