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The Daily Churn: Monday

What’s churning:

UpdatedColorado Republican operatives are agitating for Joe Garcia, newly named running mate to Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper, to step down from the presidency of Colorado State University-Pueblo. GOP leaders argue Garcia shouldn’t be on the public payroll while running for office. (See GOP letter to CSU Board of Governors.)

Garcia wants to remain as president until at least Election Day, according to the Pueblo Chieftain. Chancellor Joe Blake told the newspaper the board will discuss the issue when it meets in Pueblo next week.

The mystery over Rep. Karen Middleton’s future ended today with the announcement that she’ll become president of Emerge America, a training program for Democratic women who want to run for public office. The Aurora Democrat, who’s become a leader on education issues, announced recently she wouldn’t run for re-election but didn’t reveal what her new job was.

Over the weekend a Democratic Party vacancy committee chose Rhonda Fields, a crime victims advocate, to take Middleton’s place on the District 42 general election ballot. The Republican candidate is Sally Mounier, a political consultant and civic activist.

Handicapping R2T … Colorado, the District of Columbia, Louisiana and Rhode Island have the best shots at round two Race to the Top grants, at least based on their proposals in the “Great Teachers and Leaders” section. That’s the analysis of the National Council on Teacher Quality, released today.

Using a “stoplight” rating system, NCTQ gave Colorado a green light. (In the first round of R2T the council gave Colorado a yellow light. Passage of Senate Bill 10-191, the educator effectiveness law, made the difference, in the council’s estimation. (Read the analysis.)

Great Teachers and Leaders accounts for 138 and the 500 possible points on R2T. The 19 finalists all scored more than 400 points. Colorado’s five-member team meets with Department of Education reviewers Tuesday in Washington, D.C. If you have a spare hour or so, you can watch a video of the state’s first-round interview with the feds.

If you needed further proof that politics and education are inextricably intertwined, then the Denver Public Schools pension flap story should settle the matter. Smoldering embers were fanned into a brushfire Friday by a front-page New York Times story. The Washington Post weighed in Saturday, with a story about nasty Senate primaries in Colorado, and the Times came back Sunday with another story about the Democratic and Republican Senate primaries.

Meanwhile, former DPS board members penned a “letter to the community” defending a complex and exotic pension refinance deal, and surrogates on both sides of the issue continued firing salvos. Superintendent Tom Boasberg and board President Nate Easley penned a missive as well. And for a hard-hitting take on the issue, read this zinger from a local blog.

On tap today:

The Cherry Creek School District Board of Education meets a 7 p.m. tonight at the Special Program center, 14076 E. Briarwood Ave., in Centennial. Here’s the agenda.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Get a ‘C’ or flunk: A N.J. school district decides ‘D’ grades are dumb.

Don’t go it alone: Boston is assembling teams of teachers for turnaround schools.

Penny-wise, pound-foolish?: States cut preschool from budgets

Dubious tutoring: Texas continues to use tutoring outfits with spotty records

Tarnish on KIPP: Two KIPP charter schools in D.C. see scores plunge

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