April 12: Week in Review

April 12: Week in Review

Judging by the content posted here since last Saturday, it's been a fairly productive week of writing. Now for the rest of the update, as we await the results from the Colorado GOP Assembly. From the Independence Institute Amy Oliver Show: Greeley Dives into Blended Learning (Podcast) Another ADM Study? HB 1292 Student Success Act Soap Opera Plays Rerun (Ed Is Watching) School Choice Programs Growing Fast; Kansas Looks Like Next State to Join (Ed Is Watching) Testing, Data Issues around Common Core Alive and Kicking in Colorado (Ed Is Watching) Jeffco Board Makes More Money Follow Students, Brings a Jan Brady Smile (Ed Is Watching) Top Social Media Links of the Week Extensive Tweeting this week from Monday's open union … [Read more...]

March 15: Week in Review

March 15: Week in Review

Beware the Ides of March, but no need to beware the king of desserts. This past week included a memorable office party because of a memorable cinnamon roll layer cake (see picture above). Happy birthday, Mike! From the Independence Institute Amy Oliver Show: Education Reform Under the Gold Dome (Podcast) Whoa… Are the Wheels Starting to Come Off Common Core in Colorado? (Ed Is Watching) Colorado Education’s Political Soap Opera Almost Makes Me Want to Change Channels (Ed Is Watching) Top Facebook Links of the Week Rich Food For Nuanced Political Thought: "Somewhat Conservative" Voters Are Real Driving Force in the GOP (Washington Examiner) My Alma Mater's Richest Pro Athlete Contract... Ever: Arizona Cardinals Sign Jared … [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...]

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...]

How Bad Was the Fiscal Cliff Deal? Michael Bennet May Have Teed One Up for the Teetering GOP

Conservatives have plenty of reason to mope in the fiscal gloom these days, maybe even enough to indulge in a bit of dark humor. That brings us to the Colorado political junkie joke of the week, the first of 2013: "How bad was the fiscal cliff deal Congress approved?" "I don't know. How bad was it?" "The fiscal cliff deal was so bad that Michael Bennet couldn't even vote for it." The serious question, though, that follows Congress' pathetic kicking-the-can-down-the-road exercise -- which strangely divided Colorado's Democratic tag-team duo in the U.S. Senate -- is whether Colorado Senator Michael Bennet's dissent may have set the stage for Republicans to start taking a necessary hard line on the next tough issue around the bend. … [Read more...]

Despite Minor Flaws, Spielberg’s Lincoln Worthwhile Viewing for History Geeks

Finding enjoyable movie fare for American history geeks typically presents a challenge. The nature of the genre leaves diehard purists perpetually frustrated. Yet even those of us willing to allow some minor transgressions of fact or character to pass too often are disappointed by the shallow Hollywood luster that insults its audience and kicks a compelling true story to the curb. Now and again, though, one can leave the theater with a contented smile. On Friday evening my wife and I took in Lincoln at the local multiplex. The usher at Arvada's Olde Town Stadium Theatre entered the nearly packed auditorium and gave some introductory remarks about the movie's production and casting. The movie, already a long time in director Steven … [Read more...]

Supreme Court Campaign Case Pits Colorado Ethics Watch vs. Colorado Education Association

This little tidbit I uncovered either shatters the grand Colorado Democracy Alliance (CoDA) conspiracy theory or proves it to be even more convoluted and diabolical than previously imagined. But court documents show two of the Alliance's core groups -- sue-happy Colorado Ethics Watch (CEW) and the Colorado Education Association (CEA), the state's largest teachers union -- on opposite ends of a state supreme court case regarding elections law. Back in 2008 CEW filed suit against a couple of Republican 527 groups (Senate Majority Fund LLC and Colorado Leadership Fund LLC) claiming that they had overstepped the bounds of campaign finance law by participating in "express advocacy" of state legislative candidates. The administrative law judge … [Read more...]