At first I liked Patricia Calhoun's column about the Romer camp trumping up a politically poisonous Tom Tancredo "endorsement" of Michael Hancock. But why'd she have to spoil it by calling Tancredo honest?
She wrote that Tancredo is "not afraid of owning up to his statements," so "when he says that he's never endorsed Michael Hancock, you can believe it." Really, Ms. Calhoun? Does Tancredo's record support your conclusion?
Why do you and the rest of the media give this man a free pass on his personal integrity, when the one time in the public arena he actually had anything of real substance riding on his word, he broke it? Tancredo first ran for Congress back when term limits were a fad. As a chief spokesman for the term-limits movement, Tancredo rode to victory on a pledge to serve no more than three terms. He even mocked his opponent for refusing to take the same pledge. And this wasn't just some ill-considered, temporary gimmick: Tancredo repeated his pledge over and over, solemnly intoning that he took the pledge and would live up to it.
But then, when it finally came time for him to actually honor his promise, Tancredo mumbled some palaver about how he was desperately needed in Washington. He also claimed he'd had a change of heart on term limits, yet other public servants who'd taken term-limit pledges and later came to doubt the concept — Bob Schaffer and Bill Armstrong — honored their own promises.
So, please, stop saying we can believe Tom Tancredo. The facts show otherwise.
While insufficient funding is but one of several problems that plague our public school systems, it is a critical one. The situation will only worsen as the TABOR Amendment, combined with the recession, forces devastating cuts to public services, including education. Budget cuts inevitably lead to shortcuts, as reported in Melanie Asmar's "Passing on Education," regarding the controversial "credit recovery" program at North High School. It seems that if resources do not allow for students to be educated to proficiency, they may still receive a degree in order to boost the deplorable DPS graduation rate of 52 percent.
Furthermore, reduced funding for higher education has resulted in significant tuition hikes. If there is a "glass half full" scenario here, it is that those most immediately impacted — college students — are in a position to take positive action to reverse the trend.
State senator Rollie Heath has drafted an initiative to increase the state income and sales tax rates to 1999 levels, with the estimated additional revenue of over $500 million designated for education. Voters, including students at Metro State who face a 22 percent tuition increase, can sign a petition being circulated by the Bright Futures campaign to place a referendum to determine the quality of education in our state on the November ballot. All Colorado students, including those at North High, will benefit.
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This problem isn't just in Denver Public Schools, but in many Jefferson County schools as well. I have personal experience of the system failing me and having to do "credit recovery," as they call it. Many of the teachers are in this profession for the paycheck, not to properly prepare students for life outside of high school. Instead of engaging students, they give them the chance to take credit recovery before even having the chance to fail the actual class.
I myself am a 2011 graduate and can say that the only reason I am prepared for the real world is because of good parenting and self-taught discipline. My school prepared me for nothing. They allow you to take courses where they give you the answers and leave the room while you're left on your own to figure it out. Credit recovery is a complete scam.