Don Beezley and “Communist Public Education” (Rep. Beezley Edition)

Kicking off this week’s legislative action, two bills from Colorado House Republicans today pertaining to education our readers should be aware of–we talked a couple of weeks ago about proposals from the right-leaning Independence Institute to “shore up” the budget, a major component of which was a new tax credit voucher-like system to shift resources away from public schools into private schools. A version of this proposal is up today as Rep. Spencer Swalm’s HB11-1048. We’ve already discussed the odd prescription of further cutting funding for public schools at a time when they already face cuts, which this bill would do, with harm disproportionate to the “relief” of moving kids out of the system–and we expect Swalm’s bill to die quickly.

Another bill we’re watching today is Rep. Don Beezley’s HB11-1055, “Concerning use of facilities by charter schools.” If you remember Beezley from the campaign trail, you’ve already gotten a taste of his strident (that’s the nice way of putting it) views on, well, just about everything. Apropos, here’s what citizen Beezley said about public education back in 2005:

We may not be socialist, but we actually have communist models within the system (public education, for example). [Pols emphasis] With indirect governement control of almost every level of our lives to varying degrees (taxes, regulations, prosecutions, various direct and indirect price controls, etc.), and ownership of significant sectors: roads; money; education; spending on defense, “quasi-fascist” seems somewhat more applicable than “capitalist…”

Now, Beezley’s “communist model” bluster is actually more relevant, irony wise, to his proposed bill than meets the eye. HB-1055 would set up a procedure where charter schools could “request” any public school facility or district-owned land, or for that manner any facility owned by a state agency, for their use, with an expedited appeal process if denied. If the request is approved, the charter school gets to use the publicly-owned facility rent free.

We’re certainly aware that rent-free agreements between school districts and charter schools to use public facilities exist, but what Beezley wants to do here is strip away local control, mandate rent-free charter schools, and create a system that charter schools (and for-profit management companies) could exploit to increase their bottom line at the public’s expense: both local school districts and the state. It’s basically a free-for-all for charter schools to raid public property, for which the public would still be responsible. And since that’s not really, surprise surprise, a very good deal, the bill also streamlines the selling off of said public property to the charter school.

To employ Beezley’s imagery: aren’t you reminded of the movie Doctor Zhivago, when the commissars arrive and declare how many families could really fit in his house? Or maybe this is more like the post-USSR tycoons dismantling the state for big profits? Either way, we don’t see such a radical proposal going anywhere, but it’s worth reminding everybody that this kind of storm-the-barricades nuttiness is exactly what Beezley said he would do with his office.

38 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DBuck says:

    I knew I 25 was a commie plot, but County Road B?

    Next time I’ll travel the all-American way, I’ll walk.


  2. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    This bill has already been edited to remove specific reference to “school” buildings, presumably so they can take any building they want.

    I would like to set up a charter school for vertigo sufferers in the closed area of the capitol dome. It is unused. You have thirty days to respond!

  3. BlueCat says:

    are communist or fascist, I guess that’s take your pick, then apparently  everything that is supported by citizens through taxes is communist or fascist so we really shouldn’t have a government at all.  Government of, by and for the is so collective and that’s so commie. So I guess Beezley advocates Mad Max/Somalia style anarchism?

    Doesn’t being an elected official in one of those collective tax supported governments kind of violate his principles? Shouldn’t we all be paying privately for everything and doing without what we can’t afford? If we want education shouldn’t we have to hire our own and if our parents can’t shouldn’t we just be illiterate? If we want to drive, shouldn’t every street be a privately owned pay to use toll way and if we want security shouldn’t we have to hire it privately? Ditto for fire protection? And shouldn’t we turn those without cash or insurance away from the ER and let them die on the doorstep?

    Is this really where the GOP wants to go? If so maybe we could just get Texas to make good on all those secession threats, take Arizona with them and all the anti-government anarchists can go live there. They can call it New Somalia.  

  4. Ah Choo says:

    And guns…lots of guns….

  5. kewl says:

    If it’s mine, it’s mine.

    If it’s yours, it’s mine.

    If I like it, it’s mine.

    If I can take it from you, it’s mine.

    If I am playing with something, ALL of the pieces are mine.

    If I think it is mine, it is.

    If I saw it first, it’s mine.

    If I had it, then put it down, it is still mine.

    If you had it, then put it down, it is now mine.

    If it looks like the one I have at home, it is mine.

    If it’s broken, it is yours.

  6. redstateblues says:

    please run again. Thanks.



  7. Gilpin Guy says:

    about Muslim extremists sending their children to Muslim Madrasses, if he would say it was a good idea to have children learning about God and Guns from people with a biased point of view?

  8. Rainidog says:

    on the numbers of people who’ve been home schooled over the last 40 years, and how the numbers have risen.  Most of the increase because of parents’ “Christian principles.”

    I think the rightwing push to get tax dollars going to charter and private schools is their patented ploy of nibbling away until they get what they REALLY want–parents paid with tax dollars to school their children at home.

    Voila, no more “commie” public schools. No “commie” dictated curricula.  No real standards.  No evil Dept. of Education.  Only one book needed, thank you.

  9. cunninjo says:

    You got this one wrong Pols. Swalm’s bill passed out of the education committee and will move along to finance.

    While it will undoubtedly die in the Senate, if it makes it that far, this is not good for House Dems hoping to get the likes of Rep. Massey to side with them on these extreme policies.  

    • cunninjo says:

      The bill did not ‘pass’ out of Education, instead Rep. Swalm convinced Speaker McNulty to reassign the bill to the Finance committee. This is reportedly because Rep. Massey was NOT going to support it. Perhaps there is hope for sanity in the state House after all

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