Thursday, March 19, 2009


Today, we had another meeting of the Professional Practices Work Group. This group is comprised of 4 teachers, 4 administrators, and 3 community members. We are charged with examining best practices in induction, mentoring, evaluation, remediation, and dismissal from across the country. We are also charged with making recommendations to DPS and DCTA based on our findings. We are pursuing this work based on what our members in Denver are telling us they want- a quality mentoring program, and a meaningful way of gathering feedback on their instruction.

Thanks to our affiliation with the Teachers Union Reform Network, we have many colleagues that have implemented amazing peer assistance and review (PAR) programs across the country. Rhonda Johnson, President of the Columbus Education Association (and my mentor) came to present to our work group. Over the next few weeks, teams will be visiting other sites to learn about various models including Poway (San Diego, CA) Toledo, OH; Montgomery County, MD; and New York City.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

To merge or not to merge...

The draft language on the DPSRS/PERA merger bill is out, and should be introduced in the very near future. Our thanks to Senator Sandoval (my Senator) for sponsoring this bill... again.

DCTA supports the merger in principle with the following conditions:
1. It is fiscally responsible with no subsidy to either system,
2. Our members are not negatively harmed, and
3. Portability is granted between systems.

Since we're a one paper town now, some of you might be missing Nancy Mitchell. Here's her article that was published on EdNew's Colorado's site about the DPSRS/PERA merger.

For the Denver Post fans, here's the editorial that printed on March 6th's editorial page entitled Merge DPS into PERA.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Blame for School Achievement Gap Misplaced

Interesting report released today from the Education and the Public Interest Center from CU and the Education Policy Research Unit from ASU.

Blame for School Achievement Gap Misplaced
March 9, 2009
New policy report explains how poverty's effects are the real culprit
Contact: David Berliner -- (480) 861-0484; berliner@asu.eduKevin Welner -- (303) 492-8370;
TEMPE, Ariz. and BOULDER, Colo., March 9, 2009 - A new report issues a fundamental challenge to established education policies that were promoted by the Bush administration and are likely to be continued by the Obama administration. These policies are based on a belief that public schools should shoulder the blame for the "achievement gap" between poor and minority students and the rest of the student population. But the new policy report argues that out-of-school factors are the real culprit--and that if those factors are not addressed, it will be impossible for schools to meet the demands made of them.
"Schools are told to fix problems that largely lie outside their zone of influence," says David Berliner, Regents Professor of Education at Arizona State University, and author of the report, Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success. The report is jointly published by the Education Policy Research Unit (EPRU) of ASU and the Education and the Public Interest Center (EPIC) at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Find David Berliner's report, Poverty and Potential: Out-of-School Factors and School Success, on the web at:
CONTACT:David Berliner, Regents Professor of EducationArizona State University(480)
Kevin Welner, Professor and DirectorEducation and the Public Interest CenterUniversity of Colorado at Boulder(303)

Friday, March 6, 2009

For all of the Michelle Rhee fans out there...

Here's a story that was published in the Washington City Paper this week entitled Fund and Games: Inside Michelle Rhee's Official Schedule by Mike DeBonis. Enjoy!

By the way- we're out recruiting students for our school again tomorrow!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I've spent most of my days this week focused on the proposed DPSRS/PERA merger. Draft legislation should be coming out later this week, and we're hoping that a bill will be introduced on the next couple of weeks. Thanks to Senator Paula Sandoval (my senator!) for working on this legislation.
On Monday afternoon, I attended the DPSRS Board meeting, and on Tuesday, the PERA Board meeting. This merger will create a separate division for DPSRS with PERA. It will allow for portability, and will be a fiscally neutral transaction. Dan Daly from CEA, Superintendent Tom Boasberg and I spoke with the Denver Post Editorial Board today about the merger.
DCTA has a policy supporting a merger with these conditions: fiscally neutral, allows portability, and doesn't harm our members. This proposed merger meets all of the criteria. We want our teachers and specialized service providers to have portability so that we can attract and retain educators in Denver. Currently, once in DPS, you can'd get out because you lose your pension. The same applies if you are in JeffCo, for example, and wanted to come into Denver.
I'm anxious to see the legislation, and hope that it is acceptable to DPS, DPSRS, PERA, and our members.