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Friday Churn: Mayor fills ed job

UpdatedDenver Mayor Michael Hancock today announced his appointment of Lindsay Neil, executive director of Stand for Children’s Colorado affiliate, to head the Mayor’s Office of Education and Children.

Neil’s appointment as the city’s Executive Director of Children’s Affairs is effective Nov. 7. The position is responsible for overseeing three areas – early childhood care and education, after school and summer programs, and youth development.

She also will lead the city in partnering with Denver Public Schools and other youth-serving programs across the city, according to today’s press release.

“Lindsay is a strong education leader who has dedicated herself to preparing our children for every stage of life from cradle to career,” Hancock said in the release.(Read the full release.)

Kayla McGannon, who currently leads advocacy efforts for Stand, will serve as interim director while a search is conducted, Neil said in an email later in the day.

What’s churning:

School kids may think standardized reading tests are hard but adult voters face more daunting challenges, according to a new study by two Georgia State University researchers.

The study reviewed the language of 1,211 proposals on ballots across the nation from 1997 to 2007 and analyzed them using the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability test.

Where did Colorado rank? This info-graphic illustrates the study’s conclusion that you need to read at a postgrad level – “grade 26” – to comprehend Colorado ballot measures. Neighboring New Mexico tops the charts at grade 27.

The average reading level in the U.S. is pegged at 8th grade. No state’s ballot measures matched that standard, although Oklahoma ballot measures came in at the 9th grade level.

Learn more about the study in this blog post from the Pew Center on the States.

To the relief of slow readers and most voters of all kinds, Colorado has only one proposal on this year’s ballot. That, of course, is Proposition 103, which would raise state income and sales tax rates for five years to generate an estimated $3 billion in additional funds for schools and colleges.

Here’s an official copy of the Prop. 103 “title and text” that’s lurking inside the mail ballot sitting on your kitchen counter. Take a look and then tell us what reading grade level you think it should be assigned. Send your answer to ednews@pebc.org and we’ll report on the responses in an upcoming edition of the Churn.

What’s on tap:

The White House is hosting a Hispanic Community Action Summit at the Denver Performing Arts Complex on Saturday, one in a series of gatherings across the country focusing on issues critical to the Hispanic community, including how the American Jobs Act could strengthen the U.S. economy.

In connection with Saturday’s event, senior administration officials today will tour West High School to discuss the proposed law’s potential impacts on Denver Public Schools and the area’s Hispanic community.

The two-day Denver visit follows a similar event in Las Cruces, N.M., and a series of similar regional meetings in recent months in New York City, Las Vegas, Nevada, Orlando and a national Hispanic conference held at the White House in July.

The tour at West High School is set for noon today, while Saturday’s summit begins at 9 a.m. at The Studio Loft at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 908 14th St.

Members of the public must register for the summit in advance and can do so here. Also, a recent report on the President’s agenda and the Hispanic community is available here.

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