Happenings

Child Care Subsidies under the CCDF Program

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Abstract: If a child’s parents both work full-time and together earn $25,000 per year, can the family receive a subsidy to help pay for child care? What if one of the parents is a full-time student and not working? If the family does qualify for a subsidy, how much will they still have to pay out of pocket? The answers to these questions depend on a family’s exact circumstances. 

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Federal Heights testing preschool on wheels

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

(Northglenn Thornton Sentinel) - Not all of the four-year-olds in Federal Heights can make it to the preschool, so a combined city and private effort wants to bring the preschool to them.

“Transportation is an issue for some families,” said Right on Learning’s Rany Elissa. “If they have to work, they can’t pick the kids up or drop them off. So, we go to them and it alleviates at least one obstacle.”

Right on Learning will cut the ribbon March 2 on a mobile preschool effort at the Denver Cascade Mobile Home Park, 9650 Federal Boulevard. The company plans to bring a converted 20 passenger shuttle to the park through the end of the school year, providing pre-school education for 20 students — ten in the morning, ten at night.

“If we can come to them, it makes it possible for them to access a resource they might not be able to otherwise,” Elissa said.

Elissa said his company will begin registering families with plans to begin classes for 20 of the park’s four-year-old residents later in the month.

“We’ll do a community event on March 7 for residents, to meet with families and give them an opportunity to look at our bus and some of the activities we’ll do and get to know the faces in the community,” Right on Learning’s Alexa Garrido said.

Eventually, the bus will offer morning and afternoon preschool sessions for the park’s kids through the end of the school year and again for two months over the summer. They’ll offer four sessions per week, Mondays through Thursdays, with Fridays devoted to meeting with their students parents.

“We’ll do parent workshops, giving them extra resources,” Elissa said. “The idea is to bring the community together with the overall goal of helping with the education of their kids.”

Right On Learning has operated the converted shuttle for teaching purposes for about two years, offering high school and middle school tutoring and high school equivalency curriculum north and south across the Front Range.

“We can come to a community and tutor people without having to worry about getting space at a school or at a library,” Elissa said. “We can be totally self contained while being able to do more than one-on-one work, targeting multiple students at a time.”

They’ve also brought their bus to book fairs and community events around the Denver area. That culminated in seven week pre-school program in Thornton last summer.

“We want to get kids in a pre-kindergarten setting, kids that had not had pre-school experiences before,” Garrido said. “It really drives home the emotional skills kids need going into school, especially if they have not had anything like it before.”

Elissa said he had hoped to kick off the mobile pre-school in a Denver neighborhood but was stymied by the city’s zoning codes.

“They didn’t know what to do with us because we were not a brick-and-mortar operation,” Elissa said.

Federal Heights worked with them, however.

“It was a lot easier for us to talk to the right people and get permitted sooner,” Elissa said.

 

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State Rep. Faith Winter speaks out on effort to expel Lebsock

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

(Colorado Politics) - Colorado state Rep. Faith Winter of Westminster, whose allegations against fellow Democrat Rep. Steve Lebsock helped launch a series of investigations at the state Capitol, Tuesday afternoon called on her fellow lawmakers to expel the Thornton Democrat.

The resolution to expel Lebsock was introduced late Tuesday afternoon. Among other things, it stated that “additional credible evidence” had come to light of a pattern of conduct by Lebsock, ” including threats of retaliation,” that is contrary to the policy and work environment of the General Assembly.

The process must be allowed to finish, Winter told reporters.

“If we don’t move forward with this expulsion, we are sending a very dangerous message that when we put on this badge, that we are held above accountability and approach, and won’t be listening to victims,” she said.

Winter said she isn’t counting votes on an expulsion. It will take 44 votes to pass the resolution and expel Lebsock. There are 36 House Democrats, not including Lebsock, so the move to expel would take at least another eight votes from the Republican caucus.

“The women who came forward deserve our attention on this immediate matter as we consider the next steps,” Winter said.

She also agreed that at least some of the report should be made public.

“As public officials, we need to make sure this process becomes public in some way. If we have to answer to our constituents if all of it is kept behind closed doors?” she said.

Winter also responded to claims by Lebsock that her allegations are a way to boost her campaign for the state Senate. Winter is running against incumbent Republican Beth Martinez-Humenik for a Senate seat that could determine which party controls the state Senate next year.

“My whole goal in coming forward was to make sure this behavior stopped” and that women in the state Capitol felt safe and were heard.

“The last thing I was thinking about was being political,” she said, adding that the situation had taken a toll on her personally and professionally, as well as on her family.

“This isn’t for me,” she said. “It’s for the five of us …. It is uniquely our responsibility to decide what behavior is acceptable” in the state Capitol.

House Majority Leader KC Becker of Boulder said Tuesday that a resolution on Lebsock’s expulsion, which was introduced late Tuesday afternoon, would be voted on during Friday morning’s session. On Thursday, the House will hold a rare joint caucus that will present information on the process. After that, the two caucuses will hold their own meetings.

The resolution states that the investigation, conducted by the Employers Council, interviewed 19 victims and witnesses. The Council report “concluded that the complaints filed against Rep. Lebsock were credible and that the evidence support the specific allegations” made against him.

Lebsock’s conduct undermines public confidence in the Colorado House, the resolution states. The House “condemns and refuses to tolerate workplace harassment,” and, therefore, seeks a two-thirds vote of its members to expel Lebsock “as appropriate punishment for his pattern of egregious, harssing conduct and for just cause.”

The Council investigation reviewed 11 allegations of sexual misconduct by Lebsock, filed by five women. Three have come forward publicly; the other two are unknown.

Winter pointed out that Lebsock asked for the process that played out some of its final chapters on Tuesday, and that he also asked for any women with complaints to formally file them. She also pledged to make a least a part of the report publicly available, although she said she had not yet seen it. She expects to receive a redacted copy of it.

In addition, lawmakers will be afforded an opportunity to review the report before Friday’s vote, although they are prohibited from making copies of it.

The Colorado Democratic Party weighed in Tuesday afternoon, stating that “any public official who engages in this sort of predatory behavior is unfit for public office and should resign.

In a statement, Party Chair Morgan Carroll, herself a former lawmaker, said that since the allegations against Lebsock and Sen. Randy Baumgardner were found credible, that should “speed up” the resignations of both lawmakers. Carroll was subjected to a lewd comment from then-Sen. Shawn Mitchell, a Broomfield Republican, in a 2009 committee hearing. Mitchell told a nervous witness to visualize Carroll in her underwear in order to calm his nerves. He later apologized.

Democrats have rightly introduced legislation to expel both of these individuals from their respective chambers. We hope that Senate President Grantham will follow the example set by House Speaker Crisanta Duran to hold members of his own caucus accountable. He can start by formally introducing Sen. Aguilar’s resolution to expel Sen. Baumgardner.”

That resolution has not yet been introduced by Grantham and under the rules can be delayed until April 12.

“Sexual misconduct should not be a partisan issue. It is a problem that must be addressed in every walk of life,” Carroll said.

 

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Many La Plata County residents eligible for federal aid aren’t enrolled

Monday, February 26, 2018

Federal and state aid programs aimed at meeting the needs of the poorest residents in La Plata County are not reaching many of those who are eligible. Enrollment varies widely across federal- and state-funded programs designed to provide child care, food assistance, cash benefits and health care needs in La Plata County, according to a recent analysis by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy and Hunger Free Colorado. The online Gap Map shows disparities between enrollment and eligibility; it is meant to spark conversations about how to manage county spending. 

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The Supreme Court is poised to deal a sharp blow to the labor movement

Monday, February 26, 2018

Central to Janus v. AFSCME, a case the Supreme Court is hearing Monday, is the question of whether government employees who are covered by a union contract — but who are not members of the union — should have to contribute to the union’s costs for contract negotiations.

More broadly, though, the court will eventually decide whether to strike a significant blow to one of the few areas of strength for the wobbly labor movement — and, even more broadly, to a centerpiece of Democratic Party power in the United States.

Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee, is suing AFSCME — the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees — in opposition to contributing to the union. Illinois is one of two dozen states that allow unions to charge “agency fees,” and Janus argues that those contributions are a violation of his right to free speech because the union takes actions with which he disagrees. (Those fees can’t be used for political purposes, but his attorneys argue that the lobbying efforts of the union broadly are political acts.) -Read More From The Washington Post Here...

 

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Financial structure of early childhood education requires overhaul to make it accessible and affordable for all families

Friday, February 23, 2018

(February 22, 2018, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) 

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Try, try again: Latest attempt at school funding measure would raise $1.6 billion with income, corporate tax increases

Friday, February 23, 2018

(ChalkBeat) - Colorado voters could see a $1.6 billion tax increase for education on their November ballots. 

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The State of Education in Colorado: Strengthening Rural Schools, Fighting Over Student Performance Measures, a Massive Funding Shortfall & More

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The 74 is proud to partner with Axios and the Walton Family Foundation to present a special conversation about schools and state-level education policy with a trio of governors from across the political spectrum. “Raising the Bar: A Conversation on Education in America” (see details and RSVP here) will bring together Governors John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado), Roy Cooper (D–North Carolina) and Butch Otter (R-Idaho) to speak with Axios executive editor Mike Allen in Washington, D.C., on February 23. This is one of three articles we’ve produced to offer insights into the key education issues affecting their states:

As the 2018 midterm election approaches, time is running out for Gov. John Hickenlooper. Setting aside rumors of the Colorado Democrat’s 2020 presidential ambitions, Hickenlooper is term limited and, as such, has less than a year to accomplish some big goals.

That gives Hickenlooper a short window to work with lawmakers to solve some of the state’s most pressing educational issues. From education funding to school accountability, legislators in Denver have proposed more than a dozen bills this year that could affect Colorado schools, where about a third of eighth-grade students are proficient in math and reading.

The state of Colorado, and the city of Denver in particular, has long been a hot spot for contentious education reform debates, and 2018 promises to be no different. Sen. Michael Bennet, a former superintendent in Denver, and Rep. Jared Polis, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former state board of education member, could help drive the issue to the forefront.

Read More From The 74 Here... 

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Mike Johnston becomes first Democrat to reach key mark in Colorado governor’s race

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Mike Johnston submitted more than 20,000 voter signatures Wednesday in his bid to qualify for the ballot in Colorado’s governor’s race.The Democrat is the first to return his petitions and secures a significant tactical advantage in a crowded party primary.

“We rolled up our sleeves and got to work for the people of Colorado,” said Johnston, a former state senator from Denver, in a campaign statement. “Each signature we gathered is the product of a meaningful connection between one of our dedicated volunteers and a real-life voter.”

To qualify for the ballot, candidates can take either of two approaches. The petition route requires statewide candidates to secure 10,500 signatures from registered party members — 1,500 in each of the state’s seven congressional districts. The caucus path requires candidates to collect supporters at party organization meetings who will vote for them at the state assembly.

Read More From The Denver Post Here...


 

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WY - Lawmakers Work To Strengthen Early Childhood Education

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

(Wyoming Public Media) - An effort to better coordinate early childhood education is underway in the Wyoming legislature. It’s part of policymakers’ efforts to streamline funding for education.

Currently, early childhood services fall under three different state agencies: the Department of Family Services, the Department of Workforce Services and the Department of Health. Services like child development centers prepare kids for school by intervening before they turn five to identify and treat developmental disabilities and delays. That’s why lawmakers and educators are suggesting kids would be better served if those services were coordinated by the Wyoming Department of Education.

Senate Minority Leader Chris Rothfuss said early intervention has been shown to reduce special education costs. Rothfuss said the WDE would provide a stronger link between early childhood services and K-12 education.

“I see this legislation as a first step to ensure that we do know what’s going on, and that we have one individual and an office that is capable of communicating among themselves,” said Rothfuss. With a centralized office, Rothfuss said the hope is the WDE would “be capable of communicating where we are, what our needs are, and what we can be doing better.”

He said, ultimately, the goal is to get “a better understanding of how we can leverage those services among the various programs in a way that benefits all the children in the state, and help our early childhood system gain some focus it doesn’t necessarily have.”

The proposed legislation would set in a motion a multi-year transition process involving stakeholder input. It must first get approval in the Senate before moving onto the House.

 

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