Effecting successful suburban school reform poses an authentic challenge. Many students do well compared to their peers in neighboring districts, but overall test scores conceal shortcomings. The U.S. spends more per person on education than any other country, yet even middle-class students academically lag their peers in other countries. The fast-growing Douglas County School District (DCSD) south of Denver, Colorado, has attempted a different approach to aim higher.
As Douglas County leaders continue charting the nation’s boldest course for local education innovation, political foes have taken the fight to a different front. Charges against the reform-minded school board fail in the light of truth but have the chance to catch on with many voters.
An April 2013 survey commissioned by the Independence Institute found that healthy majorities of Douglas County residents support their school board’s innovative agenda.
Results of a recent survey show strong backing from Douglas County residents for a groundbreaking private school choice program and a host of other reforms pursued by the local school board.
Senior policy analyst Ben DeGrow’s comments on unfolding events surrounding teacher union negotiations in Douglas County were featured in a story today on American Family Radio News (One News Now). Responding to reporter Bob Kellogg, DeGrow highlighted the practice of open negotiations and praised the district for its commitment to bold reforms:
“The school board is [...]
On Thursday, April 12, the Independence Institute Freedom Embassy hosted its first-ever Brown Bag Lunch event with a presentation on the research that informs educator effectiveness policies. Manhattan Institute senior fellow and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs professor Dr. Marcus A. Winters shared the findings from his new book Teachers Matter with an audience [...]
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs professor and Manhattan Institute senior fellow Dr. Marcus Winters discusses the major themes of his new book Teachers Matter. Learn what research has to say about how to identify, promote and reward effective teachers.
A story today on American Family Radio News (One News Now) about Colorado’s latest step toward measuring teachers based on effectiveness featured comments from senior policy analyst Ben DeGrow. In an interview with reporter Bob Kellogg, DeGrow put the development in context and urged the state to move toward performance-based educator pay.
Colorado is one key step closer to distinguishing teachers who effectively help students learn from those who don’t. But we certainly haven’t overcome every obstacle to delivering top-notch instruction.The same effectiveness measures that will be used to evaluate and make tenure-related decisions ought to factor significantly into how principals and instructors are paid. This logical leap forward from rewarding educators based on years of service and academic credentials can be enhanced further by paying more for harder job and school assignments.
On November 3, Ben DeGrow participated on a discussion panel at CU-Boulder following the Colorado premiere of the documentary film American Teacher.