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Monday Churn: A second R2T shot

Updated 3:30 p.m. – Colorado is eligible to apply for a share of $133 million in a second round of the federal Early Learning Challenge grant program, the U.S. Department of Education announced late this afternoon.

“We will apply for these funds because we are committed to providing the very best foundation for Colorado’s children,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement.

Last December, Colorado lost out in its bid for $60 million in grants from the original $500 million Early Learning Challenge program of Race to the Top (see story). Nine states won grants at that time out of the 37 applicants.

Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin also are eligible to apply for the second round. They also lost out the first time. But, like Colorado, all scored 75 percent or higher on the 300-point scoring system.

Each state can apply for up to 50 percent of the amount it requested in the first round, meaning Colorado’s ceiling will be $30 million.

The second round is non-competitive, meaning states will get the money if their applications meet the requirements set by DOE.

The Hickenlooper has made early childhood improvements one of its education policy priorities, and the state’s loss in the first round was considered a setback in those efforts.

Updated 10:45 a.m. – The Colorado Senate voted 20-14 to pass Senate Bill 12-015, the measure that would create a special tuition rate for undocumented students.

There was no debate this morning before the party-line vote, a surprise to many in the chamber. Democrats voted yes, Republicans voted no and Sen. Keith King, R-Colorado Springs, wasn’t present for the vote.

The measure faces an uncertain future in the House, where Republicans have a one-vote majority. One of the prime sponsors, Sen. Mike Johnston, D-Denver, said he doesn’t have any commitments about a House committee assignment.

The bill would create a tuition rate more expensive than resident tuition but lower than out-of-state rates. Students would have to meet various requirements to be eligible. Individual colleges could choose whether to offer the new rate.


What’s churning:

The State Board of Education is scheduled to vote Wednesday on regulations for appeals by teachers who lose non-probationary status because of ineffective evaluations.

The proposed rules would apply to non-probationary teachers who have received two annual consecutive evaluations of ineffective or partially effective. The rules set out grounds for appeals, timelines and the outlines of a state model system that districts could choose to use.

Department of Education staff members have tweaked the rules since a March 30 hearing. Review the latest draft of the rules.

One section they’ve added deals with what happens if a teacher wins an appeal, something not included in prior drafts. Here’s how that section reads:

“If the superintendent determines that a rating of ineffective or partially effective was not accurate but there is not sufficient information to assign a rating of effective, the teacher shall receive a “no score” and shall not lose his or her non-probationary status. However, if in the following academic school year that teacher receives a final Performance Evaluation Rating of ineffective or partially effective, this rating shall have the consequence of a second consecutive ineffective rating and the Teacher shall be subject to loss of non-probationary status.”

Once the state board issues the rules, they have to be reviewed by the legislature. Districts are supposed to have appeals processes in place for the 2015-16 school year.

Get more information and links on the rules here.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is going back to class today as part of Teach for America week in Colorado. Hancock will take over for Teach For America corps member Andrea Pacelli at Denver’s Amesse Elementary from 11 a.m. until noon.

What’s on tap:

Check here for this week’s legislative calendar.


The Douglas County school board has a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. at Cresthill Middle School in Highlands Ranch. The agenda includes a discussion of the 2012-13 proposed budget.

The Boulder Valley school board meets at 5 p.m. at 6500 Arapahoe St. Agenda


The State Board of Education meets starting at 9 a.m. in the boardroom at 201 E. Colfax Ave. The top agenda item is consideration of proposed rules for appeals by teachers who lose non-probationary status because of ineffective evaluations. The board also will consider an innovation school application from DPS’ Creativity Challenge Community. Agenda

A Rally for Our Students’ Future will be held at 10 a.m. outside the Capitol. The Colorado Education Association and Jefferson County Education Association are sponsoring the event along with other groups, including Colorado PTA and Great Education Colorado, to coincide with a furlough day in Jeffco. The rally is intended to spotlight school funding cuts that require steps such as furloughs.

Metro State’s Center for Urban Education is hosting a national conference on Great Teachers for Our City Schools Wednesday through Friday at the Embassy Suites Denver Downtown. More information


The Education Policy Center of the Independence Institute is sponsoring a brown bag lunch on educator effectiveness featuring UCCS professor Marcus Winters, who’s written a book on the subject. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 727 E. 16th Ave. Information & signup here

NBC News is bringing its “Education Nation On-the-Road” program to the new History Colorado Center starting Thursday through April 16. More information & program schedule


Peg Hoey, president of Kunskapsskolan USA, is this month’s speaker in the Hot Lunch series sponsored by the Donnell-Kay Foundation. Kunskapsskolan is an international organization that starts schools with the central idea is personalized learning, where the school and the teachers start from and adapt themselves to the pupil’s goals, ambitions and potentials.

Good reads from elsewhere:

Another Harrison move: Harrison Superintendent Mike Miles is the sole finalist for the top job in the Dallas schools, and one of his team, Harrison Assistant Superintendent Daniel Snowberger, may be moving as well. The Durango Herald reports that he’s been offered the superintendent’s job in that city, pending a visit to Harrison by Durango officials and completion of contract negotiations.

Louisiana reforms: Lawmakers in Louisiana have approved Gov. Bobby Jindal’s sweeping package of education reforms, which will curtail teacher tenure, change hiring practices, expand charters and provide vouchers for some low-income students. NoLa.com has the story.

Grading colleges: The New York Times examines a new effort to gauge the effectiveness of higher education institutions, which may include the use of standardized tests.

The EdNews’ Churn is a daily roundup of briefs, notes and meetings in the world of Colorado education. To submit an item for consideration in this listing, please email us at EdNews@EdNewsColorado.org.