Category Archives: Education

2016 School Demographics

fred2016-2

fred2016Source: Colorado Department of Education

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The confusing directives of CO school financing

Mark Counch’s article “Poorest pay more school taxes,” in the April 9th Denver Post is a facsinating analysis of the impacts of competing constitutional ammendents on school financing in Colorado.

The article discusses how state goals of equilizing per student funding across the state combined with the constitutional amendments such as TABOR, Gallagher, and Amendment 23 have created an odd financing equation that ironically eases school spending demands on wealthier communities more than poorer ones.

As the article illustrates, since at least1993, “Colorado taxpayers have picked up an increasing share of the cost of educating children in some of the state’s wealthiest school districts. Although the state’s share of school bills in poorer districts has also grown, homeowners in those districts are paying higher property-tax bills than they used to pay.”

Although the amendments all seemed like good ideas at the time, their combination and location in the state constitution will continue to create headaches for legislators, the Governor, and taxpayers for the forseeable future.

Read the full article . . .

Read Ten Years of Tabor by The Bell Policy Center (PDF)

School Finance
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Carbondale’s educational challenge

Combine a diverse student body, two charter schools, a well known private high school, a number of private elementary schools, and a statewide open enrollment policy and you get a number of challenging educational and community issues in Carbondale.

A couple of weeks ago, Town Trustees heard various opinions about a proposed state bill to create more accountability for state approved charter schools, which brought up issues of segregation in Carbondale’s elementary schools, and now parent concerns about enrollment and academic standards at Roaring Fork High School has reached public attention again.

Perhaps, as an editorial in the Valley Journal suggests, it is time for a meeting of the minds on the Carbondale’s school.

CRES says Bienvienido to dual language

The Roaring Fork School District recently approved the start of a Dual language program at Crystal River Elementary School. The program was proposed by a committee of parents, teachers, and administrators to help boost student achievement.

As Gina Guarascio writes in the Valley Journal,

Crystal River Elementary School (CRES) teacher Kenny Teitler was instrumental in starting a dual language learning program at Basalt Elementary School more than 12 years ago, and he couldn’t really think of a negative thing about the program there.

He can easily talk about the positives of dual language learning, where students learn basic literacy in their native language first while also learning academic concepts in their non-native language. The result should be better written and oral communication in Spanish and English, said Teitler, as well as higher test scores for all kids. […]

Board member Brad Zeigel said he’s excited about the program because it focuses on student achievement and is something that benefits the Anglos and Latinos.

“I can’t see a single thing wrong with knowing another language,” said Zeigel, who added he wished he would’ve learned Spanish in school. “It’s a real neat thing for Carbondale and we’ve got the core grassroots support that you need from parents and staff.”

Besides bringing up test scores, Teitler said the dual-language program in Basalt brought out a greater confidence in students of all cultures and more willingness to participate.

For more information on the research behind the proposed program visit the CRES wiki.

Construction dependence a trend in many Mountain counties

Larry Swanson and the folks at the Center for the Rocky Mountain West have put together a interesting chart of construction activity by county. The map above shows areas of the U.S. with relatively high concentrations of construction activity in relation to area personal income. Dark red areas have construction labor earnings of $1.6 million and more for every $20 million in personal income – “very high” concentrations. Medium red areas have construction labor earnings of $1.3 to $1.6 million per $20 million in income (“high” dependencies) – note the group of dark red counties in western Colorado.

See all the associated charts at the Center for the Rocky Mountain West . . .

Early-childhood tax to appear on Eagle County ballot

The Eagle County Commissioners voted to put a early-childhood tax proposal on the fall ballot. If approved, the tax would raise $2 to $3 million per year for projects aimed at “early childhood,” or kids between birth and six years old.

The proposal comes out of a recent study that found study that a quarter of county’s households have no health insurance. The study also found that there are nearly three times as many kids between six weeks and six years of age as there are licensed child care spaces.

The Eagle County tax question follows on the heels of a similar ballot issue that passed last year in Summit County. Other governments around the state are also looking into finding money for early-childhood services.
Read the full article in the Vail Daily . . .

The decline of political literacy

A recent poll found that 22 percent of Americans could name all five members of the cartoon Simpson family. Only one in 1,000 could name the First Amendment freedoms (freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition for redress of grievances). (AP Photo/Fox Broacasting Co.)

Given that the average American watches 28 hours of TV a week (or 2 months of non-stop TV a year), are these survey results really a surprise? Maybe its time to bring back School House Rock.

Read the full article. . .
Learn more at the First Amendment Center