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...]

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 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...]

God’s Goodness and (Coconut) Icing on the Birthday Cake

God’s Goodness and (Coconut) Icing on the Birthday Cake

Have you ever been personally overwhelmed by the goodness of God -- where it just rolls down at you quickly like a giant snowball down a steep mountain until your whole heart and soul is caught up in praising Him? Before that moment this morning, I was ready to peg 2014 as being off to a bad start. The past week has been a struggle. Not a monumental burden or major calamity. I don't seek to overdramatize or pine for sympathy. Something as yet unidentified slowed me down physically, first with extra fatigue and then a mounting series of unpleasant digestive symptoms that sapped my comfort, appetite, concentration, and sleep -- not to mention much of my good humor. The good news is, with the help of the wonderfully gifted and caring … [Read more...]

My 50 Favorite Christmas Songs: 2013 Edition

Last year I finally put together and posted the list of my 50 favorite Christmas songs. The list is back for 2013, and updated with some changes and a few additions. Last year's ranking is in parentheses, with additional explanation provided in only a few cases. For most explanations, go back and check out the original. The background explanation from last year:...Coming up with the top 50 songs wasn't terribly difficult. I've identified roughly 375 different contenders, though I'm only familiar with a little more than 200 of them. A good number of the Christmas songs I know were easily disqualified because of the unpleasant visceral reaction they cause. Ranking the top 50 on the other hand -- beyond a few that consistently rise to … [Read more...]

My 50 Favorite Christmas Songs

On Facebook for the past several days, I've been counting down my 50 favorite Christmas songs. Coming up with the top 50 songs wasn't terribly difficult. I've identified roughly 375 different contenders, though I'm only familiar with a little more than 200 of them. A good number of the Christmas songs I know were easily disqualified because of the unpleasant visceral reaction they cause. Ranking the top 50 on the other hand -- beyond a few that consistently rise to the top -- was a difficult task. Still, there's a kind of double-edged fun to assembling a list like this one: 1) Comparing and debating the rankings with friends; and 2) The fluid nature of the list, in part because of new songs discovered that upset the balance. If I do … [Read more...]

Sen. Michael Bennet Dissing Sesame Street? Grover Fuzzy & PURPLE?

We've all seen how the waning days of the 2012 national campaign have fixed President Obama and the Democrats on the alliterative petty themes of Big Bird, Bayonets and Binders. It didn't take long after the first debate for the incumbent's campaign to pile on the Republican challenger's mention of the large, lovable Sesame Street character. Team Obama unleashed a laughable commercial and a "four-Pinocchio" fundraising appeal. Say what you will, but at least the Obama team didn't tell America that Big Bird was, say, green. For that they might have had to hire the staff of Colorado junior U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. This morning Bennet's office sent out a fundraising appeal for Congressional candidate Sal Pace. The email message (with … [Read more...]

It’s Election Time in Colorado! Recommendations, Predictions, and More….

It's election time. So why write multiple blog posts, when I can condense my state and local endorsements, recommendations, analyses and predictions into one? Exactly. Let's start with the obvious. For those who haven't had the opportunity to drive by our Arvada yard full of signs, here are most of the candidates we're supporting in 2012: For those who have questions about state and local ballot issues, as well as nonpartisan candidates and offices, check out my guide to the Colorado ballot 2012. I'll tackle predictions of the Presidential and Congressional races later on. For now I will offer up my humble prognostications for the Colorado state house and state senate. I have had neither the time nor the inclination to create … [Read more...]

Jeffco GOP Assembly Recap: Conservative Justin Everett Takes Top Line in House District 22

This past Saturday many Colorado county political parties held their biennial assemblies for the purpose of approving resolutions and nominating candidates for the primary ballot. For the fifth consecutive time, I attended the Jefferson County Republican Assembly as a voting delegate. The new and spacious Lakewood church venue was needed, with more than 1,200 certified delegates in attendance. The strong turnout was most impressive in terms of first-time delegates, which an impromptu show of hands revealed made up somewhere around two-thirds of those attending north Jeffco's Senate District 19 assembly. Similar anecdotes and reports from other districts suggest the large-scale infusion of fresh grassroots political blood was a … [Read more...]