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 14: Week in Review

June 14: Week in Review

It was the biggest week of the year for birthdays here. Nearly a full week ago, the youngest member of the clan blew out the "3" candle. And yesterday the lovely Mrs. Virtus celebrated a birthday that begins with the number "3" and ends with another. In between my league softball team not only won a game but actually did so in convincing fashion, while last night brought the rare Friday the 13th plus full moon combination. All that, and today is both Flag Day and the 239th anniversary of the U.S. Army. Soon, the season will officially change to fit what we already start to feel: Summertime is here! From the Ed Is Watching blog Denver Builds on Low-Income Charter Success Stories: Will Jeffco Follow Suit? High Fives All Around: … [Read more...]

June 7: Week in Review

June 7: Week in Review

In a couple of major ways, and some minor ones, this week certainly didn't go according to my plans. But I've already had the chance to see clearly how one of those unwanted developments probably worked out for a better purpose. Despite the challenges and setbacks, this week also included my first gubernatorial bill signing (as pictured above -- House Bill 1382, K-12 Online Education) and National Donut Day. So there's no need to complain too much, right? All that and my latest Complete Colorado column led to a Thursday morning appearance on the Mandy Connell Show (630 KHOW). From the Independence Institute Amy Oliver Show: Orsch Private School Tests Education Ideas (Podcast) New ACE Study Opens Mind on Comparing Public, Private … [Read more...]

May 31: Week in Review

May 31: Week in Review

A short work week was hollowed out by the fitting remembrance of those "who here gave the last full measure of devotion" in service to our nation. On the morning of Memorial Day, a small band of veterans, relatives, and respectful citizens gathered at our local cemetery for a modest and uplifting ceremony. No doubt many such activities took place across the nation. Here, our kids wouldn't let us miss the Memorial Day parade either. I also did something a little different. To go along with the Ken Burns project "Learn the Address," I made a two-minute recording of a memorized recitation of the Gettysburg Address. "Fourscore and seven years ago...." On a much different note, I was quoted in a Tuesday Denver Post story regarding the new … [Read more...]

May 24: Week in Review

May 24: Week in Review

In our house, it was the last week of school for 2013-14, including a special kindergarten graduation. But the excitement didn't end there, with back-to-back days of tornado warnings in Denver -- including some localized flash flooding outside the Independence Institute's Freedom Embassy on Thursday afternoon (see picture above). From the Independence Institute Amy Oliver Show: K-12 Legislative Highlights Reveal Missed Opportunities (Podcast) Arizona, Florida ESAs Show How Colorado Could Help Kids Like Nathan (Ed Is Watching) Colorado Course Choice Pilot Programs Have New Resource to Consult (Ed Is Watching) Denver Post on School Safety Reporting Shows What’s Old Is New Again (Ed Is Watching) Finished One Good(read) Book This … [Read more...]

May 17: Week in Review

May 17: Week in Review

This week the Greeley Tribune published my column on the progress Colorado is making -- and still needs to make -- in order to ensure fair funding for public charter schools. More from the Independence Institute Amy Oliver Show: Charter Schools Look for Fairer Funding (Podcast) Amy Oliver Show: An Outside Look at Douglas County Reform (Podcast) How Can Jeffco Union Leaders' Bad Faith Bargaining Be Good for Kids? (Ed Is Watching) International Report Shines Light on Colorado Education Performance Gap (Ed Is Watching) So Glad to Find Insights and Direction for HB 1382's K-12 Online Pilot Programs (Ed Is Watching) Finished One Good(read) Book This Week Life After Art: What You Forgot about Life and Faith since Leaving the Art … [Read more...]

Survey Says Colorado Losing Luster with Business Executives

Survey Says Colorado Losing Luster with Business Executives

Business executives’ opinion of Colorado as a place to engage in commerce has continued its downward slide during the administration of a governor ironically noted for his business background. In the 2014 edition of Chief Executive‘s Best and Worst States for Business, released on May 8, Colorado checks in at 16th. The rankings are based on surveys of more than 500 CEOs, grading states based on a series of measures that include “tax and regulatory regime, the quality of the workforce, and the quality of the living environment.” …Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Wire Colorado…. … [Read more...]

May 10: Week in Review

May 10: Week in Review

Last weekend the temperature topped out in the 80s. The warm weather has helped to encourage the irises in our front yard that the time has come to bloom. Yet today we're looking down the barrel of a major snowstorm for a Mother's Day forecast. Welcome to springtime in Colorado! This week I was quoted in a Colorado Observer story about national teachers union leadership aligning with the "ultra-Left Democracy Alliance":“This revelation further validates the Douglas County school board’s insistence that the district and its taxpayers get out of the business of collecting funds for a national political agenda,” DeGrow said. “The AFT has aligned itself with a highly partisan clique that’s out of step with the values of many Dougco teachers … [Read more...]

May 3: Week in Review

May 3: Week in Review

In most respects, it wasn't a slow week. But as far as new published writings, it was downright quiet. Nonetheless, there are a few items to point out. From the Independence Institute Amy Oliver Show: Moms Lead Effort to Protect Student Privacy (Podcast) Denver Post: “Fundamental Fairness” in Jeffco Charter Student Funding Plan (Ed Is Watching) Outperforming International Peers: A Delicious Piece of Dougco PISA News Forget HB 1292 Transparency Soap Opera: Make it an Old Gangster Film Teachers vs. the Public on K-12 Education: Scratching the Surface Top Facebook Links of the Week Why Education Reform? Here's Why: Is Free Speech Endangered in America? (Powerline Blog) No Prerequisite for Basic Historical Literacy: … [Read more...]

April 26: Week in Review

April 26: Week in Review

Last weekend the Denver Post published my letter responding to the editorial asserting the version of the Student Success Act (HB 1292) that passed the House would make Colorado "a national leader in transparency." From the Ed is Watching blog: Hooray! Kansas Becomes 14th State to Adopt K-12 Scholarship Tax Credits Is It Time to Rethink the Colorado Department of Education’s Role? Could Stopping a Teachers Union Vote Make a New “Hammer” Celebrity? Finished One Good(read) Book This Week George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger: The subtitle may oversell the story, but it is a quick read that offers some interesting insights into the mechanics of 18th … [Read more...]