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Monday Churn: Supt. gets House seat

Updated 9 a.m. – A Democratic Party vacancy committee has named Summit County Schools Superintendent Millie Hamner to the District 56 House seat being vacated by Rep. Christine Scanlan, D-Dillon.

An interim superintendent will take over Hamner’s duties, according to the Summit Daily News. She had announced previously that she was retiring at the end of this school year. Scanlan, a key sponsor of the Colorado Achievement Plan for Kids and the new educator effectiveness law, is joining the Hickenlooper administration as a policy advisor and lobbyist.

Hamner is joining a House where Republicans have a one-vote majority. House Democrats still haven’t named their members of the House Education Committee. GOP members were named last week (see second item in Friday’s Churn).

A new report from the Colorado Children’s Campaign finds that state spending on children’s programs – early childhood development, K-12 education, health care and family supports – has declined over the last decide while the child population and child poverty have increased. “While revenue and resources were shrinking, numbers of children and rates of poverty were growing,” said Chris Watney, campaign president. Get the full report here (downloads a PDF).

Today, Michelle Rhee – the former lightning-rod/chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools – is in town, courtesy of the Donnell-Kay Foundation. The event runs from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Denver Athletic Club. Rhee’s latest effort is Students First, which lists the following mission:

“Our mission is to build a national movement to defend the interests of children in public education and pursue transformative reform, so that America has the best education system in the world.”

The Department of Education’s annual hearing before the Joint Budget Committee drew a big crowd of lobbyists, bureaucrats and others last Friday afternoon – not to mention a phalanx of CDE staffers – but they didn’t get much of a show.

Past hearings (the event is held every December) have provided lively discussions on testing, school finance and other big issues. But the 2010 version of the event didn’t provide any big policy debates as CDE leaders worked their way through a 204-page document containing answers to 47 questions that had been posed earlier by JBC members. (See this story about the prior committee briefing on K-12 spending.)

The department’s document did provide one interesting factoid – it would cost $3.2 million a year to add social studies to the list of CSAP tests, once in elementary school, once in middle school and once in high school. The State Board of Education and Colorado Commission on Higher Education recently voted to add social studies to the test list.

While it may not have made for an exciting hearing, the CDE document provides a wealth of detail and background on some key programs and issues.

Here’s a quick guide to some of the more interesting bits:

  • Programs rated most and least effective by CDE – page 3
  • What would happen if funding isn’t increased next year – pages 13-15
  • Growth in numbers of at-risk students – 42-45
  • Enrollment trends – 47-55
  • What small districts are doing to share services – 57-63
  • Stats on new ASCENT fifth year program – 65-69
  • Stats on full-day kindergarten and on preschool – 71-83
  • CSAP costs – 91-96
  • BEST construction program – 106-112
  • Colorado Counselor Corps – 114-185
  • Closing the Achievement Gap program – 180-185

What’s on tap:

TODAY
The Legislative Audit Committee will review the annual financial audit of the community college system starting at 3:15 p.m. today The committee meets in the Legislative Services Building, 200 E. 14th Ave. (agenda).

The Denver school board has a work session scheduled at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon at district headquarters, 900 Grant St. … The Cherry Creek board meets at 7 p.m. at Homestead Elementary School, 7451 S. Homestead Parkway in Centennial.

TUESDAY

An update on the Public Employees’ Retirement Association will be included in the Joint Budget Committee’s briefing on the Department of Personnel at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the JBC hearing room at the Legislative Services Building, 200 E. 14th Ave.

The Aurora school board is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Educational Services Center, 1085 Peoria St. in Aurora.

WEDNESDAY

The Adams 12 Five Star board convenes at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Aspen Room of the Educational Services Center, 1500 E. 128th Ave. in Thornton.

THURSDAY

The Quality Teachers Commission meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the offices of the Colorado Children’s Campaign, Lincoln St. at East 16th Avenue.

The DPS board has a regular meeting and public comment session scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday evening at 900 Grant St.

FRIDAY

The Adams State College trustees start a two-day meeting Friday on campus in Alamosa. … CU-Boulder holds its winter graduation ceremonies, starting at 9:30 a.m. in the Coors Events Center. … The State Council for Educator Effectiveness meets from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Department of Education boardroom, 201 E. Colfax Ave.

Good reads from elsewhere:

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