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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
Jared Polis, tech-boom multi-millionaire who bought himself an elected seat on the Colorado State Board of Education, was one of the chief financial backers of Forward Colorado and other 527s which were credited with successfully targeting a number of state legislators last week. The campaign of these 527s resulted in both the state House and State Senate reverting to Democratic majorities for the first time in my lifetime.
Speculation has run wide that Polis is interested in the governorship in two years, so when he takes a public position on a major policy issue, it's of interest. Today, he came out questioning the accountability provisions of state schools testing with respect to Cole Middle School.
From the Rocky Mountain News:
Also Monday, State Board of Education Chairman Jared Polis said he will lobby lawmakers to give struggling schools options besides charter conversion.
"We would rather have more remedies at our disposal because different situations call for different remedies," Polis said.
Polis said he and other state board members want the law to more closely mirror the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which allows low-performing schools to choose from a menu of reforms, in addition to charter school conversion. For example, Polis said, the struggling school could create a reform plan subject to state board approval.
Is this tantamount to State BOE endorsement of No Child Left Behind? Of course not. When a school gets to design its own reform plan, it can set the bar as low as it wants to, and can weight the grade towards items not academic, such as suspension/expulsion rate and community outreach. And since it is the state board that gets final say-so on the reform plan, does anybody have any doubt that they would find a way to water down the accountaility?
What Polis is really trying to do is find a way to weaken the state's academic testing standards, and to do it under the cover of a federal program which it is completely reasonable to assume he does not support.