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The Daily Churn: Thursday

What’s churning:

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan gave a back-to-school speech Wednesday at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas – home of the Little Rock 9 – that talked in detail about the Los Angeles Times series and its expected publication of teacher names with seven years’ worth of test scores attached. Duncan argues for transparency though he doesn’t advocate other districts publish names and test scores in their city newspapers. “The fact is we publish a school’s scores next to the name of a principal and a district’s scores next to the name of a superintendent.” It’s an interesting read – the series and the speech.

National buzz: Why Colorado fell short in round two of Race to the Top continues to generate a lot of buzz nationally. Lieutenant Gov. Barbara O’Brien appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered yesterday, as well as on the local public radio program Colorado Matters.

Mixed messages? While Colorado was out of luck in the national reform contest known as Race to the Top, Denver Public Schools is winning accolades left and right for its innovation. Monday, National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel praised the district for working with union members on crafting a new educator evaluation system and supporting a teacher-led school. Tuesday, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute ranked Denver as the nation’s fourth most “reform-friendly” locale, trailing only New Orleans; Washington, D.C.; and New York. And DPS recently won a $25 million Investing in Innovation grant from the federal government. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has talked about a Race to the Top competition where districts could apply – perhaps Denver Superintendent Tom Boasberg should sharpen his No. 2 pencil?

What’s on tap:

Jefferson County Public Schools board members meet tonight at district headquarters in Golden. A study session starts at 5, followed by the regular meeting at 6. The agenda includes a discussion of student achievement growth compared to surrounding districts.

Meanwhile, Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation or INC will continue its 15-year history of giving a dictionary and thesaurus to every 3rd-grader in DPS. This year’s effort kicks off with a 9:30 a.m. press conference at Colfax Elementary, 1526 Tennyson St., with DPS Chief Academic Officer Susana Cordova and plenty of cute Colfax third-graders.

Good reads from elsewhere:

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