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  • Assessing Colorado Rural Public School Performance0

    • November 14, 2008

    Author Paul Mueller analyzes performance data from the School Accountability Reports for all 86 rural Colorado school districts, and compared them to demographic factors traditionally associated with lower achievement. Two school districts – Sargent and La Veta – are cited as examples of “beating the odds” with effective instruction despite a high-poverty or high-minority student population.

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  • Amendment 49 and Government Payroll Reform0

    • October 27, 2008

    Amendment 49 on the November 2008 Colorado ballot proposes to limit government payroll deductions to specified items. The amendment effectively prohibits the collection and transfer of funds to private non-charitable groups that lobby government officials and fund campaigns— including such groups as political parties, professional associations, and labor unions. Current Colorado law allows government payroll systems to administer and deliver money to these groups.

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  • A Second Look at K-12 Cash: Updating the Facts about Per-Pupil Spending in Colorado0

    • June 12, 2008

    A follow-up to the 2006 report “Counting the Cash”, this publication highlights reported statistics to provide needed context to the debate about K-12 education funding.

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  • A Property Tax Increase by Any Name: The “Colorado Children’s Amendment” and Growing School Revenues0

    • April 8, 2007

    On March 12, 2007, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter proposed the “Colorado Children’s Amendment,” a plan to spend $84 million to expand preschool and kindergarten programs. To free state money to fund the programs, he proposed a mill levy rate “freeze” that would shift some of the school funding burden to local sources. On April 10, the governor revised the plan— offering tax relief to property owners in 33 school districts while creating higher property tax bills in 104 districts. The annual revenue estimate for the plan’s new version is $55 million.

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  • HB 1072: Empowering Union Leaders, Not Workers0

    • January 24, 2007

    House Bill 07-1072 threatens to unsettle the balance of power between employers and unions established by the 1943 Colorado Labor Peace Act. The Act requires a majority vote of secret ballots cast to approve union representation. But the bill would eliminate a second election in which employees decide whether to force dissenting co-workers to pay union dues or agency fees. Under HB 1072, workers could only reject a coercive all-union agreement by also rejecting the entire negotiated union contract. Because it limits choices both for union members and for non-union member workers, the bill is at odds with basic fairness.

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  • Controversial Issues: They Belong in the Classroom0

    • April 8, 2006

    The recent national attention given to a classroom recording of Colorado teacher Jay Bennish reinforces the need for school districts to implement a controversial issues curriculum. Controversial issues are not to be avoided but to be embraced, if done properly. To ensure objectivity and balance, the author proposes teachers engage students with a seven-step analytical process known as Issues Analysis. The author further advises that schools use an “opt-in” communication to persuade parents of the importance of student participation in the Issues Analysis process.

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