A month ago I asked which party will miss Democrat Senate President Peter Groff more under Colorado's Golden Dome. Several days ago Senator Nancy Spence told me that Groff's parting gesture as Senate President before heading off to work for the Obama administration in Washington D.C. would be to appoint her -- a Republican -- to an interim committee on school finance. It didn't really surprise me, but I didn't want to spoil the surprise for everyone else either. Then today we learn: … [Read more...]
Which Party Will Miss Peter Groff as Senate President More: GOP or Dems?
It seems almost certain that Democrat Senate President Peter Groff has tried to remain mum about the news of his impending departure to join the Obama administration in Washington to avoid distraction from an especially difficult budget process in the state legislature this year. But the cat's out of the bag now. Kind, classy words in the Denver Post from the Republican opposition:"Washington's gain is our loss," said Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray.... "I hope that President Obama gives him a job with a lot of power in the Department of Education," said Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction. It's hard to say which party will miss him more at the helm of the state senate in 2010. For Republicans, he's a strong ally on … [Read more...]
House Education Committee Democrats Killed Spending Transparency… Fast
One of my favorite aphorisms about Colorado politics is that the House Education Committee is where good education reform goes to die. Case in point is Senate Bill 57, the school spending transparency legislation that committee Democrats shot down after hearing more than 30 citizens and activists who volunteered to come down and testify for the bill. Thanks to a Face The State mini-investigation, we learn today it was even worse than that:Also known as Senate Bill 57, the bill was postponed indefinitely after four hours of committee debate that lasted late into the evening. [Democrat] Speaker Terrance Carroll and [Republican] House Minority Leader Mike May arrived to work the next morning ready to revive it. But they were too … [Read more...]
Michael Bennet Votes to Nix D.C. School Choice – Bidding for Union Support?
When Democrat Michael Bennet was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, I knew we would have our healthy share of policy disagreements. But not so much on education reform:Fifty-eight U.S. Senators - including Coloradoâ€™s own Michael Bennet and Mark Udall - have decided to spend billions on wasteful pork projects, but canâ€™t spare anything to keep 1,700 students from exercising the choice to enroll in a better school. What am I talking about? Bennet voted against an amendment to save the modest D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program from funding extinction. To be fair, so did most other Democrats: except interestingly, Robert Byrd and John Warner, along with independent Joe Lieberman. Only two days ago … [Read more...]
Colorado Daily Op-Ed Tackles Porkulus Bill and Local Education Reform
For anyone interested, my latest op-ed contribution ran yesterday in the Colorado Daily, which starts as follows:Given the significant debt future generations are now obligated to repay, President Barack Obama's new "stimulus" package could be far better used to promote meaningful education reform in Colorado. Rather than helping, the large amount of free-flowing federal funds may end up undermining efforts to improve educational opportunity in Colorado. It too heavily subsidizes the status quo, while needlessly placing promising innovations at risk. Hopefully it comes off as a little bit irritable and provocative, but ultimately one idea for helping to make the best out of a bad situation. … [Read more...]
With Bob Schaffer at Helm, State Board on Right Education Reform Path
Congrats to Bob Schaffer, new chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education (H/T Complete Colorado). Schaffer himself has graciously (and ironically) quipped on more than one occasion since his difficult defeat in last November's U.S. Senate campaign, that perhaps he ought to be flattered that so many Coloradans saw fit to keep him serving on the State Board. The State Board is a volunteer position, and is significantly limited in its policy making powers. However, with Schaffer at the helm we can be confident the Board will be a force for good in education reform. Also, along with the Attorney General's office, the State Board of Education remains the last bastion of Republican strength in Colorado. For the most part, things can … [Read more...]
Michael Bennet in U.S. Senate Creates GOP Chance–Not to Be Taken Lightly
Most likely one of the final big stories broken by the Rocky Mountain News: Gov. Bill Ritter names Denver Public Schools superintendent Michael Bennet to replace Ken Salazar in the U.S. Senate. Honestly, I never gave this possibility serious consideration. My initial impressions? Fresh and outside-the-box, obviously. Bill Ritter definitely outperformed his Democratic gubernatorial colleagues in Illinois and New York with their appointments. But Ritter also has rolled the political dice. Besides being pretty good on education reform issues for a Democrat, where does Bennet stand? The next two years of votes on big issues like the Employee Free Choice Act will define him quickly. While the state and national GOP should be perking up at … [Read more...]
Obama Voters, CNN and Network TV Viewers More Poorly Informed
John Ziegler is to be commended for his post-election polling work. At first we learned how ridiculously ill-informed Obama voters were, leading us to some conclusions about how Obama got elected. Ziegler took upon himself a challenge that the misguided critics on the Left - who (all too predictably) attacked the questioners rather than deal with the substance of the findings - would not do. He commissioned a second poll with even more telling results (H/T Granite Grok): … [Read more...]
House Education Appointments Uninspiring: What Will Storyline Be?
Last week I pondered in a Denver Post op-ed what the effect might be of the statehouse Democrats elevating pro-public school choice Rep. Terrance Carroll to Speaker of the House:Carroll is set to appoint fellow Democrats to the House Education Committee. In recent years, the committee, largely stacked with handpicked union favorites, has killed or watered down many K-12 education bills deemed unacceptable by the union. CEA may lose some of its leverage to bottle up education reform in committee. Well, yesterday came the revelation of the House Education Committee assignments. Michael Merrifield retains the chair, with Judy Solano as the vice-chair. Overall, the membership of the committee appears to move scarcely a whit in the direction … [Read more...]
A Promising Step to Test the Bounds of Colorado Teachers Union Power?
My post-election commentary on the impact for teachers unions and education reform was published today in the Denver Post. A key section to whet your appetite:Peter Groff's Democratic peers voted to re-elect him as state Senate president, and Rep. Terrance Carroll was selected to become the new speaker of the House. … [Read more...]