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Friday Churn: Jimenez strikes back

Updated – Denver Public Schools board member Arturo Jimenez today blasted an advertising campaign launched by Latinos targeting him and fellow board member Andrea Merida for allegedly slowing the progress of reform to the detriment of minority children in their community.

Jimenez called for candidates endorsed by the group Latinos for Education Reform to disavow its tactics and its endorsement, “if these are the sort of attacks made in the candidate’s name.”

“These types of attacks have no place in our schools, and no place in politics,” Jimenez said in a news release. “Candidates and community members can disagree on policy and the best way to improve our schools without resorting to this.”

LFER placed advertisements in three community newspapers this week with the heading “Forward Not Backward!” It charged that “Latino support is too often taken for granted by politicians whose names may echo our own, but who vote against Latino interests and ideals.”

The ad endorsed Jimenez’s opponent, Jennifer Draper Carson, as well as District 1 southeast Denver candidate Anne Rowe and citywide at-large candidate Happy Haynes. Jimenez, who represents District 5 northwest Denver, is seeking a second four-year term.

The release states Jimenez plans a press conference next week with community leaders. See the full release from the Jimenez campaign and the EdNews story on the ads.

What’s churning:

The University of Colorado Denver and the state community college system Thursday announced a program under which students can gain joint admission to UCD and a community college.

Called the CC to CU Denver Admission Promise, the program is modeled on an existing transfer initiative involving UCD and Community College of Denver.

Eligible students will agree to meet certain academic standards established by both UCD and their community colleges they choose to attend. They must be first-time freshmen and agree to meet with a UCD academic advisor at least once a term. (Get more details and links in this news release.)

Last year, the CU System announced a guaranteed transfer program for community college students with sufficient credits (details here).

College completion problems are drawing increasing attention at the national, state and institutional levels. Giving community college students a clearer path to degrees is seen as one way of addressing the problem. In an era of tight budgets, two years at community college and two more at four-year schools is also seen as more economical than four years at a full college or university.

A recent study by Complete College America, a national group that’s working on the issue, found that for 100 students who enroll in a Colorado public college, 59 will attend a four-year school (56 full-time and three part-time) and that 30 of the full-time students will graduate in eight years and one of the part-timers. Of the 42 who attend community college (21 full-time and 20 part-time), only six of the full-timers will graduate in four years and just one part-timer. (Read full Colorado report.)

Lest you think all the completion news is bad, a report released this week by the American Association of Community Colleges found that the total number of degrees and certificates awarded by community colleges increased by 127 percent between 1990 and 2010, while enrollment increased by 65 percent. (See report.) The paper breaks out data by ethnic groups but not by states, so we can’t tell you how Colorado did.

What’s on tap:

A forum on Proposition 103 will be held at 7:30 a.m. the University of Colorado Denver School of Public Affairs in the second-floor Terrace Room at 1380 Lawrence St. Participants include proponent state Sen. Rollie Heath, opponent Penn Pfiffer of the Independence Institute, political consultant Eric Sondermann and Todd Snidow of bond house George K. Baum and Co. EdNews will be covering the event, so check the site later for coverage.

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