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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 6, 20182min1906

Ready Colorado, the conservative champion of school choice that is growing its profile on the state’s political scene, has tapped ride-sharing giant Uber to recruit a new vice president. The education advocacy group announced Monday it has hired Craig Hulse, “a widely respected policy and legislative expert” who most recently was Uber Technologies’ public affairs manager. Hulse led Uber’s legislative efforts for western states and for its autonomous-vehicles initiatives nationwide

Says a Ready Colorado new release:

Prior to Uber, Hulse served as the Chief of Staff for the Nevada Speaker, Director of Government Affairs for the Las Vegas Sands, Director of Government Affairs for the nation’s 50th largest school district, and in leading roles in the charter school movement and StudentsFirst.

During his time as Chief of Staff in the Nevada Assembly, Hulse helped usher in a historic set of education reforms including universal education savings accounts, tax credit scholarships for private schools, creation of an achievement school district, and exempting additional education spending from collective bargaining.

Hulse holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Nevada and a J.D. from Washburn University School of Law.

Republican-leaning Ready Colorado, led by President Luke Ragland, is both a political player and a policy advocate. Spawned a few years ago by political play makers Josh Penry and Tyler Sandberg, it aims to influence policy with an education-reform agenda at the Capitol and statewide while also supporting state and local candidates who advance that agenda. Ready backs school vouchers, charter schools, enhanced accountability measures and other touchstones of the education-reform movement.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 5, 201813min695

The #MeToo movement must seem like déjà vu to Karen Middleton. The former state lawmaker, longtime education policy wonk, self-described "fierce feminist" — and nowadays, point person for abortion-rights advocacy in Colorado — took her seat in the legislature a decade ago in the wake of the Capitol's last big sexual-misconduct scandal. It was her own predecessor in her state House district who wound up resigning in the face of allegations. And while some things never seem to change, she says the response by some politicians to the latest round of harassment allegations actually has been worse than was the case in 2008. She explains how and also discusses education reform; her first forays into politics — and the therapeutic value of home renovation — in this week's Q&A.


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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandFebruary 19, 20185min377
NOTE: Monday, Feb. 19 is President’s Day and both the House and Senate are closed.  Here are the legislative committee hearings of note for the week ahead in the Colorado Capitol. Committee schedules are subject to change. The daily schedule is available on the legislature’s website. Click here and scroll down to committee hearings to listen online.   […]

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Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandFebruary 14, 201813min452
For those who believe strongly in the premise of local control of school districts by the people elected to run them, the idea that the Colorado State Board of Education can overrule local decisions on charter schools rankles. Case in point: Jefferson County. Last year, the local school board gave grudging approval to a charter […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirFebruary 2, 20183min499

Colorado is now No. 2 among all the states in a new report gauging the effectiveness of charter-school laws. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released it annual state-by-state rankings this week, “Measuring up to the model: a ranking of state public charter school laws,” and Colorado jumped three places since last year’s survey.

From an alliance press release announcing the latest rankings:

Moving up to second in the 2018 rankings — from fifth last year — Colorado’s law indicates constant innovation and improvement.

In 2017, Colorado enacted legislation that created equitable access to a local funding stream that most districts had refused to share with charter schools. This legislation is a critical step forward for the state as nearly 115,000 students attended charter schools in Colorado last year. Additionally, Colorado’s law does not cap charter school growth, provides a fair amount of autonomy and accountability, and provides a robust appellate process for charter school applicants.

Some 238 public charter schools around the state now serve about 115,000 Colorado public school students — 13 percent of all public school enrollment statewide — according to the Colorado League of Charter Schools. Colorado has been a national leader in establishing the publicly funded, autonomously run charters since the first laws implementing them were passed in the early 1990s.

Colorado Charter League President Ben Lindquist is quoted in the press release:

“…We’re most pleased with what this ranking signifies for Colorado’s families, who have a growing diversity of needs and deserve access to many distinctive, high-quality options. A strong charter school law is an essential component in providing all of our children with the public education options that they deserve in communities throughout our great state.”


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJanuary 31, 20183min1784

He began his political career at 25, in 1987, as the youngest Coloradan ever to serve in the state Senate. A Republican and unflinching conservative, he went from the legislature to three terms in the U.S. House, representing Colorado’s 4th Congressional District. After a stint in the private sector, it was back to the campaign trail for two runs for the U.S. Senate. Next, he put in a distinguished tenure on the State Board of Education. Along the way he was one of Colorado’s most ardent advocates for education reform and a linchpin in the school choice movement. You could say it’s the résumé of a political Renaissance man.

And yet, Bob Schaffer’s most rewarding career experience may be the years he has spent at Fort Collins’s distinguished Liberty Common School. It’s one of the state’s consistently highest-performing public charter schools, and Schaffer and wife Maureen were among its founding parents. As he told us in a profile last year:

…I regard being part of this organization to be among the highest privileges I’ve ever enjoyed.  I love being around the students.  I love teaching.  I love handing out prestigious diplomas at the end of the year to college-bound students – many of whom are empowered by full-tuition scholarships and enough college credits earned in high school to enroll as college sophomores, sometimes juniors.

This week, the school announced Schaffer was being promoted from his longtime post as principal over the K-12 program’s high school to headmaster of the entire program, serving some 1,100 students. From a press announcement on the promotion:

…As headmaster, he will oversee management of the school’s overall K-12 mission, provide increased support for Liberty’s foundational philosophy and Core Knowledge curriculum, and effectively implement the Board of Directors’ strategic plan.

Patrick Albright, Chairman of Liberty Common School’s Board of Directors said, “Under Mr. Schaffer’s leadership, Liberty Common High School has become one of the very top schools in the state and the nation. Broadening Mr. Schaffer’s leadership and vision across both of our campuses will improve our tradition of providing excellence in education to all of our students.”

Said Schaffer in the school’s press release:

“…I’m excited about being able to double my interaction with local parents, over the entire primary- and secondary-school spectrum, who are empowered by choice in public education, an ambitious classical curriculum, and the highest academic expectations for their kids.”


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Van SchoalesVan SchoalesJanuary 11, 20188min499

While we appreciate a shout-out for A+ Colorado’s research and advocacy for more quality schools in Colorado in Paula Noonan’s column, “A+ Colorado slams public schools – but sidesteps issue of school finance,” she misrepresents our work and advocacy agenda. We are deeply committed to sharpening the public dialogue about how to improve public education, including critical discussions around finance.