Education Goal Should Be Less Testing, Better Accountability

This legislative session’s monumental education debate has Colorado policymakers walking a dangerous tightrope. To benefit today’s K-12 students, they must promote wise policy that does not lean too far in either direction.


Education Policy Center Newsletter March 6, 2015
In this issue
– Report Points to Promise of Performance Pay in Harrison
– Covering Collective Bargaining and Other Sacred Elephants
– Center Digs Deeper into Testing Conversation
– New Video Shines Light on Local School Choice Week Celebration
– School Choice Captures Eddie’s Attention

The State of K-12 Union Contract Transparency

More than a decade before Proposition 104 shone a light on the negotiation process, the General Assembly required that the negotiation product should be made available using online technology. Lacking any sort of enforcement mechanism, a significant minority of bargaining school districts have fallen short of the basic expectation, though persistent reminders helped in many cases. Given the experience with union contract transparency, citizens should not take for granted full compliance with the letter and spirit of the new open negotiations law.

Performance Pay Pioneers: Harrison’s “Effectiveness and Results” Raises the Bar

Colorado’s 2010 educator effectiveness reform has improved the K-12 public school system’s capability to distinguish the quality of instruction. One school district has gone further than any other in taking the next logical step: differentiating teacher pay based on effectiveness. Launched in 2010, Harrison School District 2’s Effectiveness and Results (E&R) program grew out of former superintendent Mike Miles’ intense focus on boosting achievement among a challenging student population. E&R uses both a revamped professional evaluation tool and multiple measures of academic growth, balancing rigor and a firm belief in individual teacher accountability for student results with the need to ensure fairness and accuracy. Political will and leadership are needed to duplicate this approach elsewhere. The more Harrison can demonstrate the source of its success, the easier that decision will be.

Colorado’s K-12 Testing Debate: What Should Stay and What Should Go?

If there is a single word that defines the 2015 K-12 education conversation in Colorado and the United States, that word is “testing.” While testing and evaluations help set critical floors for quality, smart reforms can lift students even higher.


Education Policy Center Newsletter January 29, 2015
In this issue
– School Choice Week Takes Off at State Capitol
– Center Wades into Great Testing Debate
– Scholarship Success Stories Told
– Has Jeffco Union’s Fight Started?
– Eddie Starts 2015 in Style

A Scholarship Tax Credit Program for Colorado

Scholarship tax credits increase the opportunity for K-12 students to access non-public educational options. Such a tax code modification increases the incentive for persons and businesses to contribute funds to qualified non-profit scholarship granting organizations. In turn, the organizations use most of the incoming funds to assist low- and middle-income families with private school tuition expenses. Colorado policymakers should give careful consideration to providing many of the state’s families an important benefit through the adoption of scholarship tax credits.


Education Policy Center Newsletter December 18, 2014
In this issue
–Friday TV Alert: The Transformative Power of K-12 Scholarships
–Dougco Gets Its Day in Court
–Santa Gives Teachers More Christmas Money
–Center Keeps Watchful Eye on Jeffco
–Eddie Gives Teachers Some Attention

Performance-Based Pay to Attract the Best and Brightest Teachers

For Greeley and other districts, the potential of performance pay demands less talk and more action.


Education Policy Center Newsletter October 23, 2014
In this issue
– Center Tells Real Story behind Jeffco Showdown
– Despite Challenges, School Choice Presses Ahead
– Elections Loom Large in Colorado
– Eddie Stands Up for Fair and Responsible Retirement Benefits