February 1: Week in Review

February 1: Week in Review

I appeared on morning drive-time radio Thursday. Listen to me on AM 630 KHOW's Mandy Connell Show discuss the teachers union's new lawsuit to ensure job placement for ineffective teachers. From the Independence Institute School Choice Week Kicks Off; Good Luck Trying to Contain My Excitement (Ed Is Watching) Lawsuit to Protect Tenure Over Students Makes CEA Not Only Wrong But Lonely (Ed Is Watching) Charter Schools Continue to Grow; We Need More #SchoolChoice Now (Ed Is Watching) Honored One of the All-Time Great Composers This Week In honor of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's 256th birthday (January 27), here's a recent performance of his memorable Symphony No. 40, Movement 1 (Molto allegro). Top Facebook Links of the … [Read more...]

January 25: Week in Review

January 25: Week in Review

Go Broncos, 2014 AFC Champs, Super Bowl Bound!!! From the Independence Institute Colorado and Washington, DC: A Tale of Two School Principal Evaluation Systems (Ed Is Watching) Dougco Collision on Testing and Accountability Could Rattle Reform Debate (Ed Is Watching) “All Aboard” with Blended Learning and My Future “Learning Engineer” Career (Ed Is Watching) Finished One Good(reads) Book This Week The Soul of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day by Victor Davis Hanson: a compelling argument constructed around in-depth portraits of three generals -- the ancient Theban Epaminondas, William Tecumseh Sherman, and George Patton -- three democratic liberators who studied, inspired, and led to underappreciated military … [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...]

A New Way to Contact Elected Officials; A Solution for Grassroots Apathy?

Efforts to organize constituent groups to contact and lobby their elected officials have grown more sophisticated in recent years. Many of us like the ease of the online petition that automatically directs messages to our representatives based on our input location data -- though I frequently prefer to tailor the pre-fab messages with my own words. I can't be the only one who has subjected myself to an onslaught of email messages urging me to call my Congressman or state senator over the latest hideously outrageous or earth-saving piece of legislation. A result of the sheer volume of these messages, combined with limited resources and competing priorities, my eyes long since have glazed over most of them. Have I become too cynical? … [Read more...]

Numbers Show Government Employees Top Private Sector Counterparts in Colorado’s Union Membership

It looks very much like Colorado is only one year behind in achieving a labor movement milestone measured at the national level. A little over a year ago I reported the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) finding that government employees represented a numerical majority of the unionized workforce in the United States. (You can listen to a 2010 iVoices podcast on this finding that I recorded with the Alliance for Worker Freedom.) This milestone is the culmination of a decades-long trend in which private sector unions have diminished while Big Labor has targeted government agencies as fruitful sources of revenue. As of 2010, we have the first strong indications that the same observation can be made of Colorado -- namely, that more of the … [Read more...]

Time to Respond to Denver Post’s Anti-DougCo Voucher Letter Writers

Update, Noon: Here is the one-page summary of official recommendations made to the Douglas County Board of Education by the School Choice Task Force's "Option Certificates" subcommittee. So unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past couple weeks, you may have heard Douglas County -- one of Colorado's largest school districts -- is considering the adoption of a local voucher-style private school choice program. Independence Institute blogger "Eddie" has covered the story well here and here. With all the coverage in the Denver Post, it's not surprising that plenty of readers wanted to weigh in with letters published in Sunday's Perspective section. I was disappointed to see most of the letters rely on misinformed premises … [Read more...]

9-12 and Tea Party Groups to Tancredo: Reconsider Your Ultimatum

Lu Busse, Chair of the 9.12 Project Colorado Coalition, this evening dispatched an open letter to Tom Tancredo in response to the former Congressman's serious threat to run as a 3rd party candidate for governor if Scott McInnis and Dan Maes don't announce they will drop out of the race by tomorrow at noon. The letter is copied in full below the fold: … [Read more...]

Stapleton, Gschwendtner, Hurlbert Await Fateful Day for Ballot Petition Results

Update, 6/11: Final results are in. As expected, Walker Stapleton moves forward. Gubernatorial candidate Joe Gschwendtner and state senate candidate Mark Hurlbert both failed to make the ballot -- the former by a mere 242 out of 10,500 votes. "They won't have Joe G to kick around anymore." One day to go for the Colorado Secretary of State's office to verify whether candidates who opted to petition onto the ballot collected a sufficient number of signatures to move ahead. The updated list is here (PDF). As of 5 PM on Thursday, five candidates (including Jane Norton for U.S. Senate) have qualified for the ballot and one was disqualified. The fate of two Democrat and five Republican campaigns are up in the air, including: State … [Read more...]

Outrageous Attacks Abound in Colorado GOP U.S. Senate Primary Race

If I were to pick candidates to support in this year's primary based on the ill behavior of political allies, I wouldn't be able to back Jane Norton or Ken Buck to be Colorado's next U.S. Senator. First, it was the over-the-top attacks from Norton lieutenant Josh Penry (whom I had enthusiastically decided to endorse during his brief, abortive run for governor) against Buck. Then yesterday I nearly fell out of my chair when I read this bizarre hit piece by Red State's Erick Erickson on Jane Norton. Until today, most of Buck-backer Erickson's jabs at Norton have been at least somewhat reasonable. Then he highlighted this passage from an AP story: … [Read more...]