Report Finds Denver’s ‘SchoolChoice’ System Improves Enrollment, More Focus Needed on Performance

Report Finds Denver’s ‘SchoolChoice’ System Improves Enrollment, More Focus Needed on Performance

Denver has made the process of choosing a school easier and more satisfying for many families. But a local advocacy group says the district needs to offer more quality schools for students to access. A new report released by the nonprofit citizens’ education reform group A+ Denver asks whether the Denver Public Schools’ (DPS) three-year-old universal enrollment system is working for families. The system has streamlined the application process to get into one of the district’s traditional neighborhood, magnet, or charter schools, and has matched large numbers with their stated preferences. …Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Arena…. … [Read more...]

Drive Safely on Winter Roads, and Be Thankful for Help If You’re Injured

Drive Safely on Winter Roads, and Be Thankful for Help If You’re Injured

The throes of winter are upon us. And even though we live in the beautiful state of Colorado, where regular appearances of the sun and some milder weather patterns spare us some of the worst prolonged weather patterns, we still have our share of days with less-than-ideal road conditions. That's when during my commute to and from Denver, or random errands, I stay vigilant for cars with Texas, California, and Florida license plates. Why? Odds are that the driver is less experienced in handling a vehicle on the snow or ice. Even so, despite your best skill at winter driving and awareness of those around you, sometimes an accident is unavoidable. A couple of years ago during a heavy snowfall on the Interstate, we got bumped into the concrete … [Read more...]

How to Train Your Politician: Conservative Ed Hanks Urges Intentional Voting

How to Train Your Politician: Conservative Ed Hanks Urges Intentional Voting

On December 20, 2014, I chatted by phone with Ed Hanks about his new book How to Train Your Politician: Intentional Voting as a Path to Tea Party and Constitutional Victory. Hanks, an acquaintance and Jefferson County conservative activist who has been one of Colorado's leading voices for Personhood, graciously shared a Kindle copy of his book for me to read prior our conversation. We talked in the wake of the lame-duck Congress passing the corporatists' dream bill, known as Cromnibus, fueling the fires of populist conservative discontent (including yours truly). A mounting frustration definitely brings a growing interest in the strategy Hanks endorses. Yet what I find most appealing about the book and its author is his historical … [Read more...]

Medical Malpractice Problems Still Exist, Call for Real Solutions

Medical Malpractice Problems Still Exist, Call for Real Solutions

No system is perfect. Even the relatively well-run U.S. health care system includes its share of practitioner error. In some instances, the results can be devastating. While the top-down, convoluted Obamacare model contains its own fundamental flaws and costly contradictions, that doesn't mean American health care status quo ante was anywhere close to ideal. As the infographic below (by School Matters.com) demonstrates, medical malpractice remains a real concern in the overall scope of our health care system. The call to repeal Obamacare carries with it a strong political appeal, for many reasons, but at best such a move brings us back to square one. We need to look at real solutions, and be willing to think outside the box, to help … [Read more...]

My 50 Favorite Christmas Songs: 2014 Edition

My 50 Favorite Christmas Songs: 2014 Edition

Two years ago I finally put together and posted the list of my 50 favorite Christmas (/Advent) songs. The list returned for 2013 -- with some changes and a couple additions. It's back again, with two more newcomers and some Top 10 adjustments. Last year's ranking is in parentheses, with additional explanation provided in only a few cases. For the first time, each and every entry is linked to a free online version that best captures the respective song's quality (or just was available and sounded interesting). Why this exercise -- beyond the all-too-human appeal of listmaking? The background explanation from the original 2012 post:...Coming up with the top 50 songs wasn't terribly difficult. I've identified roughly 375 different … [Read more...]

Election Day Is Nearly 3 Weeks Away… Must Mean It’s Time to Vote!

Election Day Is Nearly 3 Weeks Away… Must Mean It’s Time to Vote!

The mail-in ballot arrived at the humble homestead yesterday. My 2014 personal guide to the Colorado ballot is posted. Check it out. Remember... While you want to cast the most informed and thoughtful ballot you can, it's also vital to vote sooner rather than later. Electioneering communications quickly will stop, and campaigns can conserve scarce resources. … [Read more...]

Court: Adams 12 Schools Vindicated in Firing Financial Accuser

Court: Adams 12 Schools Vindicated in Firing Financial Accuser

A judge has vindicated Denver-area school district officials for their decision to remove an employee whose accusations of financially “cooking the books” led to a series of sensational 2013 local TV news reports. A Sept. 12 ruling by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Richard P. Matsch summarily dismissed claims made by former internal auditor Gina Holub in a lawsuit against Adams 12 Five Star Schools officials. The decision came more than a year and a half after Fox 31 News aired several stories featuring Holub’s claims, such as “State’s 5th largest school district hid millions while cutting services to students?” …Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Wire Colorado…. … [Read more...]

Parents Handing Out Common Core Flier Meet Push-Back

Parents Handing Out Common Core Flier Meet Push-Back

In generating a lot of interest from parents, the heating Common Core debate also has generated a lesson about the value of two-way communication. El Paso County mom Traci Burnett decided to distribute event fliers to other parents in Lewis-Palmer District 38. Along with other volunteers, the plan was to place copies of the homemade leaflets on the windshields of vehicles in five different elementary school parking lots while parents were gathered for back-to-school night on Sept. 4. …Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Wire Colorado…. … [Read more...]

Colorado Union of Taxpayers Sees Slight Gains for Legislature

Colorado Union of Taxpayers Sees Slight Gains for Legislature

The state’s leading citizen taxpayer advocacy group touts a slight improvement in the Colorado legislature’s 2014 record, while the governor repeated his dismal showing on key fiscal issues. Founded in 1976, the Colorado Union of Taxpayers publishes an annual newsletter rating all 100 members of the state legislature and the governor on key votes related to its fiscally conservative mission. The latest release rated lawmakers favorably for opposing 28 bills and supporting two others introduced during the 2014 legislative session. …Read the rest of my article at Watchdog Wire Colorado…. … [Read more...]