March 1: Week in Review

March 1: Week in Review

I wrote an op-ed for the Greeley Tribune titled "School Boards Push Teacher Accountability":Union leaders are actively challenging school principals’ newfound authority to keep the worst teachers out of their classrooms. The state legislative majority has shrunk from the chance to reward the best teachers. But some local school boards have begun to take the reins of reform. More from the Independence Institute Ed Is Watching Blog “Student Success Act” or “Dingelhoffer”, Let’s Make Bolder School Finance Proposal Choice Media: Experts Set President Straight on School Voucher Research Claims Three Online Learning Items Blended Together for Your Friday Enjoyment Top Facebook Links of the Week Exposing the True Radicals: The War … [Read more...]

February 22: Week in Review

February 22: Week in Review

From the Independence Institute Amy Oliver Show: Teacher Tenure and a Tale of Two Court Cases (Podcast) HB 1262 Incentive to Reform Educator Pay Certainly Has Caught My Attention (Ed Is Watching) A Beautiful Day to Celebrate Coming Major School Choice Victory in Mississippi (Ed Is Watching) Finished One Good(read) Book This Week Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America's Greatest Virtue by David J. Bobb: I picked up the book because of the author's Hillsdale College connection and my own acquaintance with him during my freshman year. Largely familiar with the stories of the five profiled American leaders, I nonetheless found the virtuous thread binding it together to be worthwhile and edifying. Top Social Media Links of the … [Read more...]

February 8: Week in Review

February 8: Week in Review

I offered recorded commentary for an American Family Radio News syndicated report on the Colorado Education Association's legal and legislative challenge of the state's 2010 tenure reform. More from the Independence Institute Amy Oliver Show: Task Force Looks at Policy Answers for Online Learning (Podcast) Will President Obama Set Record Straight on How School Choice Has Helped Kids? (Ed Is Watching) Open Negotiations in Jeffco Schools? That Old Momentum Looks Like It’s Back (Ed Is Watching) Finished One Good(read) Book This Week Means of Ascent (The Years of Lyndon Johnson #2) by Robert A. Caro: If you have a sensitive moral conscience, you also will need a hard stomach. But this second installment in Caro's intensely … [Read more...]

January 18: Week in Review

January 18: Week in Review

I wrote an op-ed for the Greeley Tribune titled "Education Spending Transparency Doesn't Require Massive Tax Hike":Giving Coloradans open government should be more than an applause line. Whatever reassurance skeptical voters may need, it’s not because officials have withheld financial information from online disclosure. The question is whether they have done enough. More from the Independence Institute I’ll Stick My Toe into the Fordham-Cato School Choice Argument… for Five Minutes (Ed Is Watching) Denver State’s New Largest School District; Falcon 49 Open Enrollment Soars (Ed Is Watching) School Funding at Forefront of K-12 Legislative Business (Podcast) Twitter Verse of the Week Joel 2:13 Return to the Lord your God, for he … [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...]

If Obama Didn’t Avoid Gettysburg…

Thank you for indulging me in a moment of satire. For more serious fare, you can read my review of the 2012 movie Lincoln, a brief reflection on the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's First Inaugural Address, and my recommended list of essential Lincoln books. News reports indicated that President Obama had opted to steer clear of the festivities surrounding the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's immortal Gettysburg Address. But at the last moment, searching desperately for some positive publicity to stimulate his flagging poll numbers, the Commander-in-Chief changed his mind. Quietly trying to stay out of the limelight, and pull off a public relations surprise, Obama and his contingent of senior staff and security boarded the high-speed … [Read more...]

Heath: “Grand Bargain” K-12 Tax Hike “Beginning to Take a Bite” from Elephant

Imagine sitting down to write a term paper or thesis, then releasing the first draft of the paper not only to your professor but to a worldwide audience. Now imagine your paper contains instructions for allocating billions of tax dollars to a bunch of different groups. You can start to understand what Colorado state senator Michael Johnston (D-Denver) feels like after releasing a draft of legislation to rewrite the state's 19-year-old School Finance Act. In the funny game of democratic politics, is it better to make a bold push in one direction, or to try to bring diverse interests together around a "Grand Bargain"? When it comes to Johnston's monumental effort, the question is being played out before our eyes. The idea is to tie "bold" … [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...]