Colorado isn't the only state that has ballot initiatives regarding tax increases for education funding this year. In fact, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article (read more here) this year marks the “largest number of education tax initiatives to appear on state election ballots in two decades.” Although only a few of Colorado’s school districts are asking tax payers for more money, Arizona, Missouri, South Dakota, California and Oregon have state-wide ballot initiatives, all asking for more education funding.
While flipping through this weekend’s edition of the Wall Street Journal, I came across a great piece about the success of charter schools in Harlem (read full article here). New York City’s progress reports for all of its 1,230 schools showed that charter schools have out-performed the rest of the city’s district-run schools by a wide margin. According to the article, eight of the top 11 elementary and middle schools are charters, four of which are located in Harlem. Although those who oppose charter schools, and school choice generally, would attribute this success to the way charters “cherry pick” the best students in the district, it is simply not true. Charter schools, including those in Harlem, run “lotteries” to select their students; it is really a matter of luck if a child wins a spot in the charter school.
Election Day is quickly approaching and among the various issues on the ballot, 30 school districts in Colorado are asking voters to approve ballot measures, including bond issues and property tax increases, to cover rising operating expenses (read more from Ed News Colorado here). Of these 30, five have focused on property tax hikes to seek greater funding; Jefferson County R-1, Denver Public Schools, Cherry Creek Schools, Aurora Public Schools, and St. Vrain Valley R-1J. These districts are also among the nine largest districts in the state.
This past Thursday Denver played host to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which included a panel on education reform; “Reclaiming America’s Education Future: Why Obama’s Top-Down Approach is Failing Our Children.” The panel, moderated by Jamie Gass, Director of the Center for School Reform at the Pioneer Institute, included Pam Benigno, Director of the Education Policy Center at the Independence Institute; Candi Cushman, Education Analyst at Citizen Link; the Honorable Bob Schaffer, Chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education; and the Honorable Robert Scott, former Texas Commissioner of Education.
Many rightfully argue that education reform should be a bi-partisan effort, and on some issues Democrats and Republicans agree. Members of both parties support charter schools, merit pay, and teacher evaluations linked in some way to student performance. However, when it comes to vouchers, the parties have two very different opinions; many Republicans support vouchers, while most Democrats do not – but not all.
I graduated from the University of Denver with a B.A. in History (minor in Political Science) and the University of Wyoming with a Master of Public Administration. I am an experienced copywriter and content manager. I am also a former intern/research associate for the Education Policy Center at the Independence Institute in Denver, Colorado and have previously blogged for National School Choice Week.