Tuesday Churn: New era starts

Gov. John Hickenlooper
PHOTO: Daarel Burnette
Gov. John Hickenlooper (9News)

Updated 12:45 p.m. – John Hickenlooper and Joe Garcia were inaugurated as Colorado’s governor and lieutenant governor this morning during a chilly ceremony on the Capitol’s west steps.

Both touched on the importance of education during brief, to-the-point speeches.

“Colorado must be a place where kids get a world-class education preparing them for the rigors of leadership and the jobs that will define prosperity in the 21st century,” Hickenlooper said. “Colorado must be a place where our college degrees and the learning they signify are the envy of every other state.”

The new governor stressed the need for job creation, economic growth and a leaner, more efficient state government during his remarks. (Full text of speech.)

Garcia, a former college president whom Hickenlooper has tapped to also be director of the Department of Higher Education, touched a bit more on education. (After the ceremony, Hickenlooper created a new Education Leadership Council and named Garcia to chair that, too. See text of executive order creating the council.)

Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia
Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia

“I want every young person in Colorado to have a life filled with the same possibilities that I have had. But we all know there’s only one way to do that, and that is to continue to invest in our children and our public school system,” Garcia said.

“Education is the foundation upon which our state’s long-term economic stability and prosperity is built. We must reach into every community, every neighborhood, every school and every household to make sure that all of our children are prepared and motivated to learn and that they have access to the high quality and affordable schools and colleges,” he continued.

Hickenlooper announced three executive orders intended to promote economic development and government streamlining and said he would start a four-day tour of the state on Friday. At 11 a.m. Thursday, he will deliver his first State of the State speech to a joint session of the legislature at the Capitol.

Get additonal inauguration coverage, including video of speeches by Hickenlooper, Garcia and outgoing Gov. Bill Ritter, from our partners at

Daily Churn logo

What’s churning:

Gov. Bill Ritter was doing more than packing the last boxes on Monday, his final full day in office. He announced 14 appointments to six state college and university boards, including eight new members and six re-appointments.

Of interest are the appointments of two term-limited Democratic legislators. Outgoing House Speaker Terrance Carroll of Denver was named to the Metro State board, while last session’s speaker pro tempore, Buffie McFadyen of Pueblo West, will become a trustee of Adams State, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

College trustee nominations have to be confirmed by the state Senate, which remains in Democratic hands, and seldom are controversial. Ritter’s making the appointments means one less thing to do in the hectic early days of the Hickenlooper administration and keeps boards at full strength.

Here’s the list:

Colorado State University Board of Governors – Leonard W. Gregory of Pueblo West, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; Bonifacio A. Cosyleon of Pueblo, re-appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014

State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education – Anthony L. Leffert of Denver, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; James M. Johnson of Colorado Springs, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; John U. Trefny of Golden, re-appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014

Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees – Matthew S. Wassam of Sedalia, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; Peter R. Decker or Ridgway, re-appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014

Adams State College Board of Trustees – Buffie McFadyen of Pueblo West, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; Timothy L. Walters of Alamosa, re-appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014

Metropolitan State College of Denver Board of Trustees – Terrance D. Carroll of Denver, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; Ellen S. Robinson, re-appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; Michelle M. Lucero of Littleton, re-appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014

Western State College of Colorado Board of Trustees – Linda A. Clark of Denver, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014; Todd M. Wheeler of Castle Rock, appointed to a term expiring Dec. 31, 2014

On Dec. 22 Ritter reappointed Jose Marquez of Englewood and appointed Kathleen Eck of Edwards to the Mesa State board.

On Monday, Ritter staffers also paused in their packing to publicize three reports touting the administration’s accomplishments. You can read the main one here (the education section starts on page 14). Earlier, the administration released a report on what it saw as the successes of the P-20 Education Coordinating Council.

Also on Monday, for the fourth year, the Denver School of Science and Technology at Stapleton announced 100 percent of its senior class has been accepted to four-year universities. A celebration is planned at the school at 10 a.m. Thursday. There are 86 members in the senior class, which is mostly minority. Read more here, including a breakdown of the universities accepting students.

What’s on tap:

New Gov. John Hickenlooper, along with Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, Attorney General John Suthers, Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Secretary of State Scott Gessler will be sworn in during ceremonies starting at 10 a.m. on the west steps of the Capitol.

Good reads from elsewhere:

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.

For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.

Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.

call out

Our readers had a lot to say in 2017. Make your voice heard in 2018.

PHOTO: Chris Hill/Whitney Achievement School
Teacher Carl Schneider walks children home in 2015 as part of the after-school walking program at Whitney Achievement Elementary School in Memphis. This photograph went viral and inspired a First Person reflection from Schneider in 2017.

Last year, some of our most popular pieces came from readers who told their stories in a series that we call First Person.

For instance, Carl Schneider wrote about the 2015 viral photograph that showed him walking his students home from school in a low-income neighborhood of Memphis. His perspective on what got lost in the shuffle continues to draw thousands of readers.

First Person is also a platform to influence policy. Recent high school graduate Anisah Karim described the pressure she felt to apply to 100 colleges in the quest for millions of dollars in scholarships. Because of her piece, the school board in Memphis is reviewing the so-called “million-dollar scholar” culture at some high schools.

Do you have a story to tell or a point to make? In 2018, we want to give an even greater voice to students, parents, teachers, administrators, advocates and others who are trying to improve public education in Tennessee. We’re looking for essays of 500 to 750 words grounded in personal experience.

Whether your piece is finished or you just have an idea to discuss, drop a line to Community Editor Caroline Bauman at

But first, check out these top First Person pieces from Tennesseans in 2017:

My high school told me to apply to 100 colleges — and I almost lost myself in the process

“A counselor never tried to determine what the absolute best school for me would be. I wasted a lot of time, money and resources trying to figure that out. And I almost lost myself in the process.” —Anisah Karim     

Why I’m not anxious about where my kids go to school — but do worry about the segregation that surrounds us

“In fact, it will be a good thing for my boys to learn alongside children who are different from them in many ways — that is one advantage they will have that I did not, attending parochial schools in a lily-white suburb.” —Mary Jo Cramb

I covered Tennessee’s ed beat for Chalkbeat. Here’s what I learned.

“Apathy is often cited as a major problem facing education. That’s not the case in Tennessee.” —Grace Tatter

I went viral for walking my students home from school in Memphis. Here’s what got lost in the shuffle.

“When #blacklivesmatter is a controversial statement; when our black male students have a one in three chance of facing jail time; when kids in Memphis raised in the bottom fifth of the socioeconomic bracket have a 2.6 percent chance of climbing to the top fifth — our walking students home does not fix that, either.” —Carl Schneider

I think traditional public schools are the backbone of democracy. My child attends a charter school. Let’s talk.

“It was a complicated choice to make. The dialogue around school choice in Nashville, though, doesn’t often include much nuance — or many voices of parents like me.” —Aidan Hoyal

I grew up near Charlottesville and got a misleading education about Civil War history. Students deserve better.

“In my classroom discussions, the impetus for the Civil War was resigned to a debate over the balance of power between federal and state governments. Slavery was taught as a footnote to the cause of the war.” —Laura Faith Kebede