~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Education Policy Center Newsletter From The Independence Institute August 9, 2011 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In this issue -- Parents

, Reformers Await Douglas County Voucher Ruling -- DeGrow Questions Courts’ Role in School Funding -- Union Officials Make Series of Revealing Summertime Moves -- Utah Speaker Shares Insights from Breakthrough Digital Learning Law -- Teachers Visit Institute to View Waiting for “Superman” Dear Friends, We hope you enjoy our latest update from the Education Policy Center. Pamela Benigno, Director Ben DeGrow, Policy Analyst Marya DeGrow, Research Associate Raaki Garcia-Ulam, School Choice Website Outreach Coordinator Parents, Reformers Await Douglas County Voucher Ruling Last week the hub of school reform drama in Colorado surrounded Denver District Court, where Judge Michael A. Martinez heard three days of testimony and arguments about the groundbreaking Douglas County Choice Scholarship Program. Education Policy Center staff were in the courtroom for all the proceedings, and await the ruling on a request to enjoin the program that could come any day now. As of August 1, more than 270 scholarship students had been accepted into a private school. The last person to testify in the case on Thursday was Diana Oakley of Highlands Ranch, whose 13-year-old son with a form of autism known as Asperger’s would greatly benefit at a private school made possible by receiving a choice scholarship. If you haven’t seen Nate’s story, please watch the 2-minute video we released in July. And to get up to speed on the Douglas County program, check out our webpage filled with information, video and key links. Senior policy analyst Ben DeGrow also highlighted the program while speaking on a distinguished panel of policy makers and education experts at a community event in Monument on July 18. More from Ed Is Watching:

Another Colorado “Edu-Trial” Opens Today: Defending Dougco Choice from Injunction If It’s So Urgent, Why Did ACLU & Co. Wait So Long to Stop Dougco Vouchers? Stories of Special Needs Kids Bolster Dougco, Arizona Choice Programs DeGrow Questions Courts’ Role in School Funding As the Dougco voucher hearing went on last week, another prominent education case was being heard upstairs in the same building: Lobato v State. The case to decide whether the Colorado courts will order billions in new K-12 funding has weeks of testimony and arguments to go. But as the trial opened, our own Ben DeGrow shared with the Colorado Springs Gazette his thoughts about potential judicial overreach, noting, “They should leave it up to the voters if they want a tax increase to pay for education.” More from Ed Is Watching: Lobato Case Round 2 Starts Today: Of Adequacy, Taxes, Graphs and Rational Bases Union Officials Make Series of Revealing Summertime Moves In the last month or so, we’ve documented a few instances in which teachers union officials have made their share of gaffes and other revealing moves. July brought the annual NEA Representative Assembly—which meant doubling members’ nonrefundable contributions to fund media and ballot initiative activities, along with an attempt to take both sides of the value-added debate. Locally, the Colorado Education Association sued to stop disclosures to parents of teacher arrests. And in his debut piece for the Manhattan Institute’s Public Sector Inc. blog, Ben DeGrow showed how CEA failed to contact the union mother ship concerning the use of school funding figures. Utah Speaker Shares Insights from Breakthrough Digital Learning Law On July 13 the Independence Institute hosted a presentation by Parents for Choice in Education board chair Robyn Bagley to Colorado online educators, state officials and education experts about Utah’s groundbreaking, paradigmshifting Senate Bill 65. With the passage of this 2011 law, Utah became the first state to turn the recommendations of the Digital Learning Council into a comprehensive state policy. Go here to listen to her presentation and to see a copy of her PowerPoint slides. See also Ben DeGrow’s recent School Reform News article on Utah’s implementation of SB 65. Teachers Visit Institute to View Waiting for “Superman” On July 28 the Independence Institute hosted its seventh annual summertime teacher fellowship event. About a dozen current and retired educators showed up to view and discuss the acclaimed 2010 documentary Waiting for “Superman.” The Education Policy Center is planning to host another viewing of this film on September 13 for a broader audience. Please save the date, and look out for more information to come! Last but not least, here are a few other topics our young blogger Eddie has covered since the last newsletter: School Districts “Eager” to Help in Educator Effectiveness Pilot, Questions Linger

Wired Article: Khan Academy is Boosting More Kids into Advanced Math and Science NCTQ Student Teacher Study Raises Valid Questions for Colorado K-12 Education Massachusetts Innovation Schools Expand, But Colorado Needs to Take a Close Look Serious Atlanta Cheating Scandal Generates Predictable Overreaction Connecticut Union Anti-“Parent Trigger” Strategy Raises Colorado Questions Contact Information ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ email: pam@i2i.org phone: 303-279-6536 web: http://www.education.i2i.org ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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