These posts are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of A+ Colorado.

Time to Reflect on Colorado’s Teacher Evaluation System (SB-191)?

By Van Schoales and Lisa Berdie The long awaited Teacher Effectiveness Data from the 2014-2015 School Year arrived last week with remarkably little fanfare. It has been seven years since teacher evaluation bill SB-191 was passed. Who would have guessed that that there were fewer than 5 ineffective principals in all of Colorado or that…

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A Gold Mine of a Report on How Pension Plans Rip Off Young Teachers

Reposted from the PERAscope blog If you can tear yourself away for a moment from the endless news stories about tweets and executive orders, then by all means settle in and read this compelling new report by The Thomas B. Fordham institute. “No Money in the Bank” does more than layout the many dimensions of the…

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School Choice for What?

By Van Schoales It is National School Choice Week, a time that A+ Colorado celebrates the opportunities school choice provides to families and students across the state of Colorado. President Trump’s Education Secretary nominee, Betsy DeVos has a reputation as a champion of school choice, but we have to ask: is she a champion of research-backed,…

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The Power of a Network

By Van Schoales For better or worse, most of us learn best from our peers. We can consciously harness peer learning, but it often happens unconsciously. Peer learning is most powerful when it occurs in an environment that delineates a clear path to success, supports collaboration, and provides ongoing feedback. Intentional, focused peer learning networks…

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Poverty Matters (As Do Good Schools)

By Van Schoales I’m not sure what is more maddening, a teacher union leader saying that we need to address poverty before we focus on schools or an education reform advocate claiming that we can close the achievement gap with the right school reform efforts. Both are too simplistic. Research says: Family and Schools Have…

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The Mis/Non-measure of Schools, Time to Re-think the SPF?

By Van Schoales A quality school is the most important factor–after family–in determining a person’s economic and social development. The research perspective is clear: schools can have a huge impact on not only academics but also on a person’s character and social skills. We see this in the impact that schools like KIPP have had…

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An American Thanksgiving

Photo courtesy of NPR By Van Schoales Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. What’s not to love about a full day of cooking, eating and conversation with family, friends and neighbors? Thanksgiving means many things to many different people, nor is it devoid of historical context, but for me it’s about community, fellowship and…

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Do Not Tell Me that My Culture Doesn’t Value Abstract Thinking

By Liz Reetz Reading Ibram X. Kendi’s blog “Why the Academic Achievement Gap is a Racist Idea” from the African-American Intellectual History Society left me conflicted. On one hand, I appreciate that Kendi historicizes standardized tests. Those of us who see value in standardized tests should not forget their eugenicist roots, nor should we forget…

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An (Un)Fair Share

By Lisa Berdie We recently released a report on teacher pay in Denver.  After much deliberation we settled on the title “A Fair Share.” But after working on this report, I’m not convinced that teachers are really receiving just that—a fair share. Denver Public Schools has an operating budget of about $1 billion. Approximately one…

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If Not Now: 2016 Progress Report: Increase Funding

By Liz Reetz Investing in Aurora’s public education system can generate enormous returns, particularly when funds are used strategically on known solutions. This year, APS took the first steps to leverage funding for increased student achievement. At the August 2 Aurora School Board Meeting, the Board unanimously approved a bond question for the November ballot.…

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