After three days of hearings in the Senate Education Committee, SB 213 passed on a 5-4 vote and will move on to the full Colorado State Senate. The bill, an overhaul of the Public School Finance Act of 1994, is sponsored by Sen. Mike Johnston (D-Denver) and Sen. Rollie Heath (D-Boulder) and relies heavily on a $1 billion tax increase that voters will decide on come November.
Yesterday, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled 2-to-1 to lift the injunction that halted the Douglas County Schools Choice Scholarship program. This is a huge victory for parents and students. Launched in 2011, the pilot program allows parents to take a portion of per-pupil revenue and use it toward the private school of their choice. 500 families were selected through a lottery to participate and awarded about $4,500 per child, totaling $300,000 in public funds.
Let’s Talk About Sex…Not Reading, Writing and Arithmetic: Colorado House Passes the Comprehensive Human Sexuality K-12 Education Act
On Friday, the Colorado House of Representatives passed HB 1081, the Comprehensive Human Sexuality K-12 Education Act. The vote capped off an already tense week at the capitol and created some heated moments of discussion on the floor. Sponsored by Rep. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver), HB 1081 will expand the standards for K-12 sex education if schools used grants from the fund the bill also creates.
Today marks the beginning of National School Choice Week. This third annual event will run through Feb. 2 and celebrates current school choice options including charters, private schools, online education and home schooling. It also stresses the work that still must be done to bring these options to all children and their parents across the country.
Yesterday StudentsFirst released its State Policy Report Card for 2013 to “reveal more about what states are doing to improve the nation’s public education system so that it serves all students well and puts each and every one of them on a path toward success.” StudentsFirst gave each state an overall grade based on three criteria; elevating the teaching profession, empowering parents, and spending wisely and governing well. You can see the results for all states here.
Schools closed and students lost out on a day of classes due to teachers’ union protests once again, this time in Michigan. Schools in several areas across the state had to close Tuesday because too many teachers called in sick or simply took the day off to travel to the state capital to join in union protests against the vote to pass right-to-work legislation in the state.
Colorado, along with Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Tennessee have been chosen to participate in the TIME Collaborative pilot program which will add at least 300 hours of learning time to the public school calendar starting in 2013. TIME, which stands for Time for Innovation Matters in Education, is a three-year pilot that will affect nearly 20,000 students and begin with 40 schools and hopefully expand – particularly to schools in low-income communities. 5,000 students and four districts in Colorado will be taking part; Boulder Valley Schools, Denver Public Schools, Adams 50 (Westminster), and Jefferson County.
On Friday, the 19th Judicial District Court ruled the funding mechanism of Louisiana’s school choice voucher program unconstitutional, placing the academic future of nearly 5,000 students in jeopardy. Louisiana’s voucher program was launched during the 2008-09 school year and allows students from low-income families in under-performing schools to enroll in private schools of their choice.
It’s taken a week to count the votes, but yesterday proponents of Washington state’s Initiative 1240, which will allow up to 40 charter schools to open over the next five years, declared victory. This makes Washington the 42nd state to approve charter schools. Only Alabama, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia do not have legislation allowing for charters.
Tomorrow is Election Day and across the country, states have various ballot issues regarding increases in public K-12 education funding. The most common way to finance these increases is by raising property taxes. Which raises the questions, where all the money is going and why do public schools need more of it? According to a recent report by The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice (read more here) much of that money is going to support a “tremendous growth in employment.”
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.