Have you ever stuck your neck out there, the only one in the crowd choosing something different from everyone else, and then gave the wrong answer? That must be a little bit what CEA leaders feel like as they actively challenge a policy that keeps ineffective teachers out of classrooms. To put the icing on the cake, they announced their lawsuit and legislation right in the middle of National School Choice Week, a celebration of quality educational options for students.
The message of school financial transparency is great. The goal is admirable and frankly, should be a no-brainer in this complex technological age. But if Colorado leaders ignore what already has been done, we needlessly put ourselves a step behind in ensuring taxpayers are aware of and have ready access to complete and meaningful information on revenue and spending. Let’s not pretend K-12 financial transparency is a new idea, or unknown in practice, here in Colorado. Is that too much to ask?
For Colorado public educators, it’s that time of year again. Union members can keep their membership but still opt to spend their (as much as $63 in) Every Member Option automatic political deduction on their own. The clock is ticking for educators to request one or both refunds before the December 15 deadline.
Smart and successful education reform isn’t as easy as many would like it to be. Rick Hess’ thoughtful piece in National Affairs is chocked full of insights that many education policy advocates and insiders know, but few are willing to say. Taking into account these recommendations, it’s time to grow the network and expand the good results that come from not just passing good reform-minded laws, but also from doing the hard work that follows.
Colorado is approaching the heat of a statewide campaign to impose a billion-dollar-a-year statewide education tax hike. It’s time to address some of the myths and misinformation cited in support of Amendment 66. Read and listen to find seven of the major pro-tax arguments — some of them often repeated — that don’t stand up under close scrutiny.
Demand for scholarship tax credits is skyrocketing in Florida, as more than 50,000 children now are being served by the 12-year-old program. With more evidence that the expanded choice helps students and motivates families, it only gives Colorado all the more reason to consider seriously its own program to encourage more donations to K-12 scholarship organizations. Think of all the good we can do by helping Colorado Kids Win!
Proponents seeking voter signatures to raise Colorado income taxes nearly $1 billion a year to fund a new school finance formula have dredged up an old misleading statistic. Consider the completely outdated and fabricated number debunked again. Doesn’t it seem ironic that Colorado Commits tax hike supporters appeal to ignorance to collect more money for education?
Education Transformers may get impatient at the pace of progress. Douglas County may be unique among school districts in taking the commonsense approach of differentiating teacher pay based on how hard it is to find someone to fill the position. While the rarity of such policies in K-12 may be frustrating, it’s encouraging to see national attention on the plan, like the new Reuters story.
Understandably, some emotions have run high in the wake of the 8-year Lobato school funding case shot down by the Colorado Supreme Court. Taxpayers can be thankful that judicial sanity prevailed and a constitutional crisis was avoided, though, as the moment finally has come to look forward. Some say we need a billion-dollar education tax increase, but given a careful look at the funding facts, it’s time instead to take on the cause of real school finance reform.
The latest results of Colorado’s TELL teacher survey are out, and reported satisfaction among Douglas County teachers is high and growing. The news is especially remarkable in light of the fact that in the past two years Dougco has expanded school choice, has ended the union contract, and is pushing ahead with a slate of ambitious performance-based innovation. Challenges lie ahead, but bold school reformers should be heartened.