Day 22–Tuesday, Aug. 30

Linda Darling-Hammond returned to the stand (via teleconference) to rebut testimony of Dr. Eric Hanushek.

She said:

  • There is relationship between Hanushek’s student growth and spending.  Growth tells gain from year to year, not achievement.
  • There is a very high relationship between student achievement and spending.
  • There is a strong relationship between district spending and % proficient using same CDE data used by Hanushek.
  • NAEP 4th grade 40-year trend analysis…substantial increase in math, modest but noticeable growth in reading.
  • NAEP 8th grade 40 year trend analysis, steep increase in math, modest but noticeable growth in reading.
  • Comparing New Jersey and Colorado NAEP scores for 2003 and 2009. 2003 first year NJ students took NAEP tests.
  •  Substantial school funding reform in New Jerse – Abbott vs NJ.  NJ 45% student of color. Have risen to top 5 states in NAEP.  Reduced achievement gap.
  •  Comparing NJ and CO NAEP scores, 4th grade reading: 2003 similar scores.  2009 NJ substantially ahead of CO.  N.J. 2nd in nation.
  • Comparing NJ and CO NAEP scores, 8th grade Math: 2003 New Jersey behind Colorado. By 2009 NJ ahead of CO.
  • No evidence that firing the bottom 5% of teachers in a given year will improve student performance.
  • Finland invests in teacher education and continues to develop and invest in teachers in the classroom.  Colorado cannot “fire” its way to Finland.
  • In one year,  a teacher may be top performance rating. Value Added Method rating is highly variable.  Following year teacher could be at bottom performance.  Many variables.

Mike Miles testified today.  He’s the superintendent of Harrison School District 2, in Colorado Springs.

He said:

  • The district’s udget has been reduced “pretty significantly” in last three years.
  •  “What Harrison needed was a transformation of the system.”
  •  “Our belief system wasn’t strong.”
  •  School districts need “real consequences for failure.”
  •  Harrison School District uses an “amazing amount” of professional development.
  •  HSD2 wants to end social promotion by 2016.
  •  HSD2 uses an “action plan,” not a strategic plan.
  •  Goal of 90 percent graduation rate is going to be “pretty challenging” given budget cuts.
  •  HSD2 has a high turnover rate of teachers, up to 25 percent this year.
  •  “We’re not worried about the turnover rate.”
  • District has seen only “modest gains” in CSAP.
  •  90 percent of all HSD2 general fund would go to teacher pay if all teachers were proficient.
  •  HSD2 spent $650,000 to design and build its district assessment and scoring system.
  •  HSD2 cut $4 million from budget last year; might have to have $5 million more this coming year.
  •  HDD2 cut 70 licensed staff and 25 support staff to balance budget.
  • Cutting another 70 teachers would adversely affect student achievement.
  •  HSD2 has put off capital construction.
  •  Some students cost more than others to educate.
  •  English language learners cost more to educate.
  •  Special education students cost more to educate.
  •  HSD2 receives $6900 per pupil but English language learners cost $8500 to educate and special education students costs $9000.
  • “I believe we have significantly reduced our resources and we are going to have a hard time meeting our goals.”
  •  HSD2 graduate rate is 67 percent;  1 in 3 students failed to graduate.
  •  “While we’ve been making improvements, we have a long way to go.”
  •  “Tough choices” have been needed  to make up state deficit in funding.
  •  Counselors and assistant principals might be in jeopardy with further spending reductions.
  • Focal Point is growing.  State should be offering some of the prof. development services that Focal Point provides. (FocalPoint is a firm that Mike Miles started with three others and does work around Colorado and in New Jersey. )
  • Mike Miles #lobatocase testimony: Is paid $197,000 salary as superintendent.
  •  FocalPoint charged Center School District $85,000 for its services.
  •  Focal Point charged $80,000 (or so) to Sheridan School District.
  • “I don’t think we (Colorado) have a thorough and uniform system.”
  •  “As a whole, Colorado is not providing all students with a high-quality education.”

Bob Schaffer testified today. He is principal of Liberty Common High School, a charter school, in Fort Collins. He is chairman of the State Board of Education. He’s a former state legislator and U.S. Representative, too.

He said:

  • The 1994 School Finance Act was constitutional. “I’m certain it was…and is.”
  •  State system of school finance is “absolutely” thorough and uniform.
  •  Distribution of resources is done a “very thorough” way by a representative government that is the “envy of the world.”
  •  The state board has made improvements in the state funding for schools a priority several times.
  • Parent satisfaction tops CSAP for measuring educational outcomes.
  •  State’s definition of postsecondary and workforce readiness are “nice words  on a page.”
  • ACT scores are the best indicator of college readiness.
  •  Confirms* that 60 percent of all Colorado students not ready for college in math. (*”I see what the graph says,” he said.)
  •  Confirms 51 percent of all Colorado students are not ready for college in reading.
  •  71 percent not ready in science; 77 percent OVERALL not ready in all four subjects.
  •  State cut approx $146 million in education funding last year.
  •  Districts have sufficient funds to meet student needs.
  •  Local communities can always raise more money to meet their needs.
  •  Local districts could ask for donations.
  •  Parents should move from an ineffective school or district if they love their children.
  •  The good judgment of legislators is plenty of analysis (of dollars needed for schools).
  • Education outcomes don’t indicate whether a thorough and uniform system is being provided.
  • Closing the achievement gap is not a state obligation.
  •  If the state only had $1 million, it would be a “thorough and uniform” system if evenly distributed statewide.
  •  School funding is arbitrary because it’s based on previous year.
  • Specific amount of money allotted under school finance formula is “arbitrary.”





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