Jenny Brundin

In Colorado the economy is booming. The unemployment rate is 3 percent. And shiny new skyscrapers are rising all over Denver as revelers pour fistfuls of cash into downtown bars and restaurants.

But no one invited Colorado's public schools to the party.

In 1992, voters in the state amended the constitution with something called the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, or TABOR.

Like a lot of students, 17-year-old Nick Bain says he really likes his school, but sometimes it can feel like a chore.

"It just feels a little bit like you just have to keep doing one thing after another, but without a whole lot of thinking about an education in general," says Nick.

So one day he decided to write down what he was doing every 15 minutes at the Colorado Academy in Denver.

School lunch is often synonymous with loud noise. Studies have shown the decibel level in some cafeterias is as high as a lawn mower.

Every so often, though, students at Alice Terry Elementary School, southwest of Denver, are asked not to make any noise.

When the music teacher told students here they'd occasionally have a "silent" lunch break, this was kindergartner Alyssa Norquette's reaction: "Why do we need a silent lunch? Is it because we're too loud or something?"