631920144.jpg

Hugh JohnsonSeptember 12, 20171min490

United States Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will visit the Air Force Academy Wednesday as part of her “Rethink School” tour, the department announced Tuesday.

DeVos will visit the Academy from 11:15 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. as part of a three-stop trip in Colorado and Nebraska. She will visit the Firefly Autism House in Denver Wednesday morning, then travel to the Academy. Afterward, DeVos will head to Midland University in Omaha.

DeVos’ “Rethink School” tour is designed to showcase “creative ways education leaders are meeting the needs of students in K-12 and higher education,” according to a Department of Education press release. The tour began Tuesday and will last through Friday. Stops will be made in Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Indiana.

“There are so many new and exciting ways state-based education leaders and advocates are truly rethinking education,” DeVos said in a release. “It is our goal with this tour to highlight what’s working. We want to encourage local education leaders to continue to be creative, to empower parents with options and to expand student-centered education opportunities.”


devos_1485219802543_7898021_ver1.0.jpg

Hugh JohnsonSeptember 12, 20173min622

When we learned that U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would visit Colorado as part of her “Rethink School” tour this week, we began brainstorming all the places she could go.

The Douglas County School District would seem a good fit, with its large roster of charter schools and ongoing legal efforts to get a private school voucher program off the ground. The politics in Denver are altogether different, but DeVos does have a standing invitation to visit — not from the district, but from Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, its former superintendent.

Well, we contacted both districts, and a DeVos visit is not planned, according to district communications folks.

Charter schools run by former Republican lawmakers? A couple come to mind: Colorado Early College, a network founded former state lawmaker Keith King, and Liberty Common High School in Fort Collins, headed by former Republican Congressman Bob Schaffer.

We reached Schaffer by email. His reply: DeVos isn’t coming “unless she knows of our standing Thursday 10 a.m. tours and the Secret Service is doing unannounced drop-ins these days.”

A private school? Entirely possible. DeVos could visit any one of the private schools profiled by the Independence Institute, a libertarian think tank that supports using public tax dollars to subsidize private school education.

DeVos’s team is waiting until Tuesday to share which schools the controversial school choice advocate will visit.

We do know that DeVos’s trip to Colorado is part of her first multi-state tour and will include 13 schools in six states.

The 21 schools DeVos has visited so far have been, as you’d expect, a mix, according to EdWeek. She has visited 10 traditional district-run public schools, six private schools and five charter schools.

So it’s a guessing game until then. And we want you to join in the fun!

Tell us in the comment section below, or on Facebook or Twitter, which Colorado school you think DeVos will visit. Remember, the goal of DeVos’s visit is to profile innovate programs that are “rethinking” education.


bear-1024x822.jpg

Hugh JohnsonSeptember 12, 20171min215

Manitou Springs might enact a policy to keep residents’ trash cans upright and local bears out of them, forcing the bruins to munch instead on nuts, berries and other natural fare. The City Council asked the staff at a Sept. 5 meeting to draft a “Bear Smart” ordinance that likely would require residents to keep their trash indoors until collection day or store it in a wildlife-proof bin.

Proponents say the measure would protect residents from scavenging wildlife, prevent bears from becoming too familiar with urban areas and save more of the animals from being euthanized because they are habituated to humans.

“We want to keep bears and people safe,” said Nancy Wilson, an organizer with the grassroots Bear Smart Task Force, which proposed the policy. “Most people are responsible in securing their trash, but some people don’t realize how important it is.”

Read more at The Gazette