The Colorado Measurement of Academic Skills (CMAS) test used this year as our the new metric to measure student academic achievement and as a measure of teacher “effectiveness.” Students take the tests on computers. Many of our children do not know how to type on a computer prior to 3rd grade, so a class on keyboarding at the elementary level will be required to administer the test accurately. The costs involved with the new standardized tests and Common Core Curriculum run into the millions and the Brookings Institute calculated the cost for Colorado to be over 17 million dollars per year from 2008 to 2012. (1)
Costs not factored into the test assessment that states and local school districts had to cover were purchasing the computers, computer labs and bandwidth. (3) Eighty-nine per cent of the costs for these assessments went to CONTRACTS!! (2) Yes, contracts and licensing fees for McGraw-Hill to administer the test. People of Adams County, we need to hire more teachers to reduce class size and to not spend our hard-earned dollars to fill the pockets of for-profit vendors whose tests do not prepare your children for college!
The Republican Party and conservatives do not like the Common Core Curriculum because of federal government interference in state business. The grassroots membership and teachers, and educators, who are members of the Democratic Party are against standardized testing as it does not measure the whole-child. Common Core and Standardized Testing have become bipartisan issues. The tests are also going to be used to measure teacher effectiveness toward student academic achievement and there are many factors that weigh in to a child’s success that are subjective which lie outside an objective measurement.
The millions of dollars spent on wasteful standardized testing is better spent on reducing classroom size, training teachers in best instructional practices and hiring the best teachers for our children. Let’s ditch the tests and get on with real school reform.
1.) Chingos, Matthew M. (2012), Strength in numbers: State spending on K-12 assessment systems. Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings. pg. 27.
2.) ibid. pg. 1
“…Here at least
we shall be free; the Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
to reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”
The 114th U.S. Congress, the state of Colorado and our local governments will see significant changes in policy and ideology in 2015. It seems the mid-term elections were several things: a backlash against progressivism; a critique of Obama’s administration; a fear of rapid change; a denial of the effects of pollution on our climate, air, water and soil; and a move to secure more law and order at the price of liberty; and an unwarranted fear by ammo-sexuals and gun-fetishists about losing their weapons–a sort of castration syndrome that has infected most of the white male population of the U.S. of late. We will most definitely see an attack on women, feminism, and the feminist movement, if not all things feminine. The need to lynch our President Barrack Obama through proxy by the killing of innocent African-American male youth and adults with impunity–fulfilling the need to castrate men of color by any means necessary–if not to exterminate them. Police brutalities and fatalities seems to be this nation’s primary focus over the past several months. Militarizing our police departments also seems to be a need of the current U.S. population…and now with the deaths of two NYPD officers we’ll see a war waged against free speech unlike any we’ve seen before in our nation’s history. Peaceful, non-violent protestors will be vilified in our press, which is owned by the powers that be, and we’ll see greater violence toward protestors and murder against those that peacefully speak out at the request of those that rule over us. We will see school funding, social services, human rights, and civil rights take the back burner for many years as big oil and gas vie for preeminence over our eminent domain, banks, campaigns, and nature itself. Oil and gas wield incredible power already and it will be interesting to see how much more they can gain. The true nature of our government will be seen most plainly and the idea that we do not live in a democracy will finally gel in people’s minds–there will be clarity! Environmentalist and Liberals will continue to be seen as “radicals” and “nut-cases.” Their voice will be effectively and swiftly diminished even further if not completely squashed out. Gay men not part of the political structure or protected by wealth and money or not part of the social-economic elite will see an exponential rise in violence toward a community that has a thin veneer of religio-consumer acceptance. Gay men that belong to the political power structure now in place and belong to the social elite , and who have sold their lower class brothers out, will be okay and well protected; meanwhile, everyman for himself–a libertarian’s wet dream! Lastly, but never least, religion will be the dominating theme of the next decade or so…Anti-Muslim fervor will grow as will anti-atheist fervor. The Fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. will make their Fundamentalist Muslim brothers look like amateurs when it comes to terrorism–even so–the Christians have had a 300 year jump on Islam in the terror department. So, America has spoken in this mid-term election. Be ready for the worst, the disastrous and the ugly. The conservative, right-wing, Christian, capitalist, white male dominated government and power structure has won this round in the larger political ring with long-term consequences that we cannot even imagine. If you believe in hell, then this be it!!
by Antonio D’Lallo
THE SAME CAN BE SAID OF
GARDENER, BEAUPREZ AND COFFMAN
THEY JUST DON’T FIT
Betsy Markey will make a great Treasurer for Colorado. A successful businesswoman and a former member of Congress, Betsy has a track record of integrity and standing strong for her principles.
From balancing a business checkbook, to grappling with the federal budget and its finance tools like T-bills, Betsy Markey is more than qualified to be Colorado’s Treasurer.
Betsy is seeking to replace Walker Stapleton. Mr. Stapleton’s first name derives from his family roots. As a desendant of the Bush/Walker political dynasty, Colorado’s Treasurer kind of appeared out of nowhere four years ago.
Mr. Stapleton has been accused of collecting the full Treasurer’s salary even though he plugs away full-time at his career in real estate and isn’t seen in the Treasurer’s office on a full-time basis.
But you know what – a rich white guy from a connected political family who’s taking taxpayer money while working on fleecing his own pockets – that’s too easy.
I’d rather focus on the many positive aspects of Betsy Markey.
In 2006, Betsy Markey defeated Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave and the world has been a better place ever since.
The Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives in 2009 did something vitally important. They took up meaningful climate change legislation. They were told there was no guarantee the U.S. Senate, under the leadership of Nevada Democrat Harry Reid, would take up the bill and move it along to the President’s desk. And, in fact, the bill would ultimately die in some committee in the bowels of the Senate.
Betsy’s district was roughly half rural, and agricultural interests were heavily opposed to the climate change bill.
Then-Representative Markey was told there was no guarantee the Senate would ever vote on the bill, let alone pass it. We could have forgiven her if she had voted against it. All she would have had to say was that she was voting the interests of her district. But Betsy Markey didn’t cower. She proudly voted what she thought was the right thing to do. And she was right.
I once had the opportunity to thank her for that vote. She was beaming with energy the way she always seems to be. She didn’t blink, and she didn’t pause. Betsy told me she was proud of that vote, and she’d do it again if she had the chance to do it over again. I almost cried.
How many politicians do you know who would say “it cost me my great job once, but it was the right thing to do, and I’d do it again”? It brings tears to my eyes to think about her steadfast dedication to her values and the best interest of all. She cared about the greater good more than a really prestigious job with great pay and even better benefits.
COLORADO WE NEED
Honestly I can’t figure out the short-term memory of the average voter. So I am starting a new group. I am toying with two names of the group. The first is People Associated with the Longing of Intellectual Notoriety or PALIN. The other name is Citizens Regretting the Use of Zero Education or CRUZE. Yes I know it is not spelled correct but it is appropriate. I was trying to use Gardener and Coffman but their names are too long. This organization will continually educate the public on historical events as they are and not how they are spun. We will travel to the South and remind voters that the North won the war. We will remind citizens that all citizens have the right to vote. We will educate the public that People and Corporations are not even spelled the same. We will remind people that women and minorities are people too. Oh yes if you are gay it does not reduce your rights. That Roe vs. Wade was fought and a women’s right to her body is law and if you don’t like it you lose. Financial inequality is not good for the country and defiantly not good for business. Unions are law and busting them is illegal. Yes people we will do it all. We will not take back the country but instead get rid of the political clutter. We will surgically rotter rooter the backlog in congress. You may ask what we are for.
- Higher minimum wage.
- Equal pay for equal job.
- Health care for all and a woman’s right to her own body.
- Equal rights Man, Woman and all minorities and majorities’.
- Religion does not belong in our politics. (We fought a war on this)
- People are people and corporations are not
- A well educated citizenry
If you like this group send this to Cory “personhood” Gardener and Mike “I don’t know where the President was born” Coffman and tell them with your vote and your voice enough is enough.
This is not a political ad but a voice of reason.
Cynthia Martinez has a long and demonstrated history of fairness, integrity, strong work ethic and putting the interests of the broader community first. All of which makes her the ideal candidate for the Adams County Clerk and Recorder position that Karen Long must vacate, due to term limits, after her long and distinguished role in the position.
Cynthia currently serves on the Brighton city council, where she has earned a reputation as a bridge builder and consensus seeker. Her history of seeking solutions in the best interest of all bodes well for what Adams County citizens can expect from her if voters choose her to run the County Clerk and Recorder office.
Let’s face it – not a lot of policy decisions get made in the County Clerk and Recorder’s office. The overwhelming amount of the work performed day-to-day is dry administrative tasks like collecting fees in exchange for license plates and making sure the voter rolls are in order.
As far as the day-to-day operations of the office are concerned, Karen Long has the place running like a high-end watch.
Cynthia Martinez is the right candidate to step in and keep things moving smoothly. And that’s in the best interest of everyone in Adams County – the kind of solution Cynthia would be proud of!
Residents of Thornton, I have great news! If you want a Senator who is a tireless advocate for a first-rate public education for all of Colorado’s children, then you’re in luck! Judy Solano is running to replace the venerable Lois Tochtrop as your Senator. And if her eight year record in the House is any indication, Judy will bring common sense to the Senate chamber while standing in there every day for working families in her district and across Colorado.
Judy’s experience, reputation and relationships down at the Capitol will allow her to step into the Senate as one of the more esteemed and respected members. Judy Solano could end up being one of the most effective Senators in the 2015 session.
During her tenure in the Colorado House from 2005 to 2012, she won various awards for her dedication to causes close to her heart: teachers, recycling and veterans are just a few examples.
I first met Judy Solano on the 2006 campaign trail. I was trying to ingratiate myself with Speaker Andrew Romanoff, and he said something to the effect of “my seat is pretty safe, perhaps you can help Judy Solano up in Brighton.” Andrew was right about the security of his seat. It was something like 80% registered Dems. I think he had the safest seat in Colorado.
Then-Representative Judy Solano, on the other hand, had one of the toughest. The old HD56 encompassed Brighton, a little of Thornton, and some outlying rural areas. Today, HD56 is more reliably Republican. (Good luck to Vicki Snyder, carrying the Democratic party banner this year vs. Kevin Priola for this solidly red house seat.) In 2006, it was a true swing seat, the type of race a party must win to claim a majority and hold the reigns of power in the legislature. I can’t imagine the pressure a candidate on either side feels when running in one of the few truly-up-for-grabs districts. Like Andrew Romanoff is doing this year in CD6.
Judy pulled it out and carried that swing district for the Democrats not once, or twice, but four straight times, including the GOP wave election of 2010, until she was ultimately termed out. 4-0 in a swing district is an impressive record.
You might think electoral success of this magnitude might go to her head. Not at all. Quite the opposite, Judy Solano may be the most selfless person I know in politics. She is always out helping others. She will make a fantastic Senator!
FULL DISCLOSURE: I have had the honor and privilege of calling Judy and Manny friends of mine for years now. I consider myself lucky to know them. We have hosted fundraisers together. Although they have yet to invite me over for a beer…