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This week’s teaching & learning tidbits

Curtain rises on historic Lobato school funding trial

Is the system Colorado uses to pay for its schools constitutional?

That short but infinitely complex question is the focus of a five-week trial in the case of Lobato v. State, which opens Monday before Denver District Judge Sheila Rappaport.

Lobato v. State illustrationThe outcome of the trial could have far-reaching but hard-to-predict impacts on school districts, classrooms, the state budget and the taxes that Colorado citizens and businesses pay. Read all about it in EdNews Colorado.

School dropout rates add to fiscal burden

Nearly 1 million kids who start high school every year don’t make it to graduation. At a time when federal and state budgets are tight, dropouts costs taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenue, health care, welfare and incarceration costs. Read or listen to this NPR report.

Students must pay to ride Jefferson County school buses

Students wanting to ride the Jefferson County Public Schools to class will have to pay to ride starting this fall. Parents received emails about the fees this week. Parents will pay at least $100 per student. Check out the CBS4 report.

Dougco, state file voucher defense

Douglas County school district leaders have sent initial voucher payments totaling $158,519 to private schools on behalf of 140 students, according to court documents filed in a pending lawsuit over the district’s “choice scholarship” or voucher pilot. Read more in EdNews Colorado.

Manual H.S. expansion to 6-12 in works

A plan to expand northeast Denver’s venerable yet still struggling Manual High School to include grades 6 through 8 could be brought to the Denver Public Schools board as soon as October. Read more in EdNews Colorado.

New Colo. education group launches pro-reform ad

DENVER (AP) – A new education coalition in Colorado has launched a media campaign to build support for school reform and accountability.

The group, One Chance Colorado, unveiled a television advertisement on Wednesday. The spot, entitled “This is What School Reform Looks Like”, focuses on the story of a sixth-grader in Denver. His mom says that he’s benefited from going to a school that holds its teachers to high standards. Check out the 9NEWS report.

1 in 4 gay/lesbian high school students are homeless

BOSTON – Roughly 1 in 4 lesbian or gay teens and 15 percent of bisexual teens are homeless, versus 3 percent of exclusively heterosexual teens, finds a Children’s Hospital Boston study of more than 6,300 Massachusetts public high school students. Moreover, among teens who were homeless, those who were gay, lesbian or bisexual (GLB) were consistently more likely than heterosexuals to be on their own, unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. Read more on the PR Newswire.

Skola by bmw328driver

Do the math: cost of school supplies increasing

DENVER — The cost of heading back to school is going up this year, more than at least the last six years, and parents are finding out the hard way.

With a basic school supply list for one child in elementary school and a budget of $50, FOX31 Denver went shopping for school supplies. It didn’t take long to go over budget without getting everything on the list. Watch the Fox 31 report.

Grade changing causes scandal at Deer Trail school district

DEER TRAIL – After the school superintendent intentionally raised and lowered some students’ math grades, parents are crying foul, 9Wants to Know has learned.

“I was so furious that first day,” Dana Clay, the mother of Kyner Clay said. Watch the 9NEWS report.

Low-income students receive summer tech training

DENVER – When schools are out of session, computer labs are closed, but not at Munroe Elementary in Denver.

“I’m learning how to use different types of computers and different programs,” said 10-year-old Ana Maria, who’s taking part in a summer technology camp at the school. Check out 7NEWS.

Walton Family donates $3.1 million to Colorado Teach for America

The Walton Family Foundation announced today it will donate $49.5 million over three years to Teach For America in an effort to double the amount of member teachers nationwide.

Colorado’s Teach for America branch is expected to receive $3.1 million over the three year period, allowing the organization to double its 2007 roster. Read the Denver Post story.

State will use $1 million on remedial ed

Colorado is one of 10 states that will receive a $1 million grant to boost college graduation rates, and officials say they’ll target students stuck in remedial classes.

The grant, provided by Complete College America as part of its national Completion Innovation Challenge, was announced Friday by Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia. Read more in EdNews Colorado.

Workshop challenges middle schoolers to tell their stories

Cali Machen used PhotoShop to merge pictures of imposing mountains and cracked, barren ground before adding a brightly colored girl walking through the dark landscape. Read the Daily Camera story.

Boasberg updates congressional committee on Denver’s teacher quality initiative

Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg recently testified in Washington at a hearing of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. “Education Reforms: Exploring Teacher Quality Initiatives” was the topic of the hearing, and Boasberg was invited to be part of a panel of education experts from across the country to detail and discuss innovative approaches to improving teacher quality. Next month, DPS will launch districtwide the pilot year of its Leading Effective Academic Practice (LEAP) initiative.

Read the press release.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.