February 2011

Sophie-1Yesterday I was complaining to my 11-year-old daughter, Sophie, about how sometimes the fight to challenge the status quo is too big. How advocating for children in the face of such well financed agendas and political division at times feels impossible. She said this to me, “Mom, sometimes you have to remember that like a stomach ache, this will pass.” She told me that at her school they sell cookies on a stick and today she is planning to buy me one. I’m feeling better already. Thanks, Sophie!

My recent articles:

Give me my school back; Littleton Independent

Denver Business Journal: (They chose the title)
Business has taken an active interest in education for the past 20 years.While interest is good, not all activities help improve the quality of our education system. The policy agenda promoted 20 years ago by the Business Roundtable — standards and high-stakes testing — has proven more damaging to the way we prepare our young people. The first mistake has been in wrongly defining achievement in terms of test scores.
Read more: Businesses can fix our public education system | Denver Business Journal

Local Events:

Thursday, February 17th, Renowned education expert and historian, Diane Ravitch
6:30 – 7:30 Book signing
7:30 Presentation, followed by Q&A
Augustana Lutheran Church, 5000 E. Alameda Ave., Denver, CO 80246
Register Now!


An Inter-Generational Conversation
February 24, 2011
Manual High School Auditorium
1700 East 28th Avenue Denver, CO 80205
10:30am-12:00pm – Community Meeting
Our distinguished panel invites students, parents, faculty, city/state officials and community stake holders to join them in an inter-generational conversation to discuss the prison industrial complex and its devastating social consequences to families, communities, and democracy in America.
Michelle Alexander
Author-The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Dr. Vincent Harding
Co-Founder and Chairperson-Veterans of Hope Project
Manual High School Student Leadership Council
12:00-1:00pm – YEZ Showcase and Resource Sharing
Following the assembly, join us to learn more about the North East Denver’s Youth Engagement Zone (YEZ). YEZ represents youth, educators, service providers and community leaders working to integrate service-learning strategies into the fabric of Northeast Denver. YEZ is organized around the principle that every young person, regardless of circumstance has a right to quality education and that high quality ser-vice-learning is a strategy for accomplishing that goal.

National Happenings; delivering a  keynote address:

February 21-25, National At-Risk Education Network 8th Annual Conference in Panama City, Florida, at the Edgewater Beach Resort Hotel. For more detail on the conference, the resort, and this powerful week of presentations and workshops: http://www.atriskeducation.net/events/conferences/naren/2011/index.html

Action Item:
Yesterday, the Governor proposed a budget for the coming year, calling for $36 million in cuts to higher education and $375 million in cuts to K-12.
That comes to an average of $497 per student. For my son’s middle school, that would amount to a cut of more than $400,000.
There are already 35 kids in each of my son’s core classes. Every day, I’m grateful for the hard work of his dedicated teachers.  
But now I am afraid to find out what next year is going to bring. Even larger classes?   Fewer electives?   Less individual attention?  Less support for students and teachers?
This is NOT OK.
What will $500 per student and deep cuts to higher ed mean to the students in your life?
If these cuts aren’t OK with you, please join me in signing the Great Ed letter to state leaders, asking them: “do you understand the real impact that multiple years of cuts are having on Colorado students and are you OK with that?”
The Denver Post referred to the K-12 cuts in this budget proposal as “the biggest hit in state history” — and that’s on top of a cut of $260 million dollars last year.   We need our state leaders to feel the heat and start creating innovative and realistic alternatives to these devastating cuts.
Please take just a few seconds to sign our letter and, if you like, tell your story. Then be sure to forward this email or use our simple tools to spread the word to other public education supporters.  
Thank you for making a difference.’
Sincerely, Lisa Weil, Policy Director, Great Education Colorado

Featured Education Leader, Diane Ravitch

ratvichDiane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education. In addition, she is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
She shares a blog called Bridging Differences with Deborah Meier, hosted by Education Week. She also blogs for Politico.com/arena and the Huffington Post. Her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines.
From 1991 to 1993, she was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. She was responsible for the Office of Educational Research and Improvement in the U.S. Department of Education. As Assistant Secretary, she led the federal effort to promote the creation of voluntary state and national academic standards.
From 1997 to 2004, she was a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal testing program. She was appointed by the Clinton administration’s Secretary of Education Richard Riley in 1997 and reappointed by him in 2001. From 1995 until 2005, she held the Brown Chair in Education Studies at the Brookings Institution and edited Brookings Papers on Education Policy. Before entering government service, she was Adjunct Professor of History and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.