Defense Denver and Andrea Merida

I have to say again that I don’t have any dog in the fight over the attempted recall of a Denver Public Schools board member now underway. I posted this weekend about the impression I was getting from this campaign based on their behavior in response to legitimate questions.

http://coloradopols.com/diary/…

Another thing I don’t like is when people are dishonest. That sense of dishonesty about the motives and methods of the group organizing this recall leads me to look further, and ask more questions that I otherwise probably would not. I think that is the case for a lot of others here.

So I took note of this statement by DPS school board member Andrea Merida in EdNews (thanks to Defense Denver for the quote):

DPS board member Andrea Merida, a DeFENSE supporter who has publicly clashed with Easley on reform proposals, said she “will not be participating in any way with the recall effort.”

“This is between Nate and his constituents, and it presents an opportunity for him to reconnect with them,” Merida, who represents Southwest Denver, wrote in an email.

And through simple searching around the internets, I have found much evidence that Merida is lying.

There’s a new web design outfit in town, don’t know if you’ve heard of it:

http://progressivejuice.com/

It’s called “Progressive Juice.” Progressive Juice has this to say about itself:

[W]e’re here to provide that know-how to make your campaign take off.  We’re here to give you the juice to activate your progressive initiatives…

Progressive Juice is the brainchild of Andrea Merida, one of the newest and boldest progressive voices in Denver politics today.  Elected to the Denver Board of Education in 2009, Andrea won by speaking progressive truth to the mixed electorate in her southwest Denver district.

Andrea is active in progressive politics and has worked on messaging, policy statements and grassroots organizing for various campaigns.  She honed her skills with messaging and social media through work supporting small businesses in the fashion and creative industries.  Visit the portfolio page to see some examples…

And guess what you find at the bottom of that portfolio page!

http://progressivejuice.com/20…

DeFENSE stands for Democrats for Excellent Neighborhood Schools Education, and they work on promoting democratically-run neighborhood schools.

From the description of Merida’s role with Progressive Juice, I’d say she’s doing more than web design. Messaging and grassroots organizing? That’s what this recall campaign is about, isn’t it? In fact, EdNewsColorado reported last November that “in DeFENSE’s early days, Merida’s cell phone number was listed at the bottom of the page as a point of contact.” There is too much connecting Merida to this effort for her denial to be believable, even without “Progressive Juice.”

Is Defense Denver paying for her “Progressive Juice” services? They need to disclose. Are her services free? Then she is lying about having “no involvement” in the recall. Actually, either way, what she told EdNews is a lie, and it’s just a matter of the extent of her lie.

With this indisputable link between Merida and Defense Denver, the time has come for her to stop lying about her role in the attempted recall of fellow DPS board member Nate Easley. That fact is no longer in question. I don’t live in Denver, and I don’t have any interest in this other than to not let dishonest people get away with their dishonesty. Enough.

119 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Laughing Boy says:

    BUSTED!

    Ms. Merida, I’d love for you to post something on this blog explaining your involvement with DeFENSE Denver, both creatively, and financially, as the primary fundraising link on their website sells merchandise of yours.

    What is the name of the company, registered with the State of Colorado that you are using to sell this merchandise?

    I am a constituent of yours, and I may run against you when your term is up, primarily because of your reckless and seemingly dishonest behavior since (and actually before) you were sworn in.

    Assuming you don’t get recalled or resign first.

    • wade norris says:

      There’s a pressing question, though, about the current dissenters on the school board. Are they loyal opposition, which we sorely need, or are they something less healthy?

      Some of their recent actions make this a legitimate question. Earlier this month, the three board members, Andrea Merida, Jeanne Kaplan and Arturo Jimenez met with a subcommittee of the Colorado Lawyers Committee about district turnaround plans, which they vigorously oppose.

      Depending on whose lawyer you choose to believe, this either was or wasn’t a violation of the state’s open meeting law. Despite the three members’ protestations that they did not know who else would be at the meeting, it seems clear they could and should have known better.

      It has led to an ill-conceived bid by board President Nate Easley to censure the three board members, a bid that now seems certain to fail….

      Rather than reflexively heaping all the criticism on the three board members in question, though, it makes sense to try to understand their point of view. They have some legitimate gripes, they have reasons to feel frustrated and devalued, and they aren’t the only ones who deserve criticism for the disintegration of the Denver school board.

      Put yourselves in their shoes for a few minutes, even if you disagree with all their positions. If you can’t bring yourself to do this, then you may be part of the problem.

      So imagine: You’re on the losing side of 4-3 votes on a lot of key policy issues. You feel shut out of decision-making. It seems that whenever you ask the district for information what you get back is incomplete, misleading or both. You suspect that other board members and the district leadership are cutting deals to which you are not privy.

      You believe to the core of your being that the district is heading down the wrong path. From where you sit, DPS is planning to open a slew of new schools and overhaul existing schools without thinking through how all the dislocation could hurt kids and damage families and communities you were elected to represent. As far as you’re concerned, the district looks in the mirror and instead of facing its own failures decides to scapegoat teachers.

      So what do you do? How do you use leverage to make the 3-4 vote dynamic work to your advantage?

      You stage a guerilla campaign. You hope to wear the other side down with multiple assaults from different angles. That’s what has been happening in DPS over the past year or so. If you were in their position, wouldn’t you employ some of the same tactics?

      Seems to me the author of that piece seems to sympathize with the minority members and the majority members – in the end coming to the conclusion that the censure and recalls need to be stopped to salvage the reputation of the Denver School Board.

      (I’d ask, when did the acrimony at the school board begin – under whose watch?)

      Merida helped organize this group and website most likely for the numerous people in the Northeast district who have been complaining about school closures.

      Don’t think they are angry and asking for an alternative?

      Watch this

      I would assume that Ms. Merida probably realized that once this group started to organize a recall effort, it would be difficult to be directly involved while trying to work with Nate Easley on the board.

      (which was already strained due to Easley’s effort to censure the minority board members)

      Or maybe it’s something entirely different, as you assume.

      But that’s all that these are, assumptions.

      • Ralphie says:

        I’m just sayin’.

        And opinions aren’t the same as links.

        • wade norris says:

          is from the link that bullshit cited for the source of this diary.

          that’s not an opinion, that’s a fact.

          • Ralphie says:

            Which of the six links in the diary are you trying to hang your hat on?

            • wade norris says:

              http://blog.ednewscolorado.org

              cited as ‘last November’ in the story

              There are 2 sources here,

              one is from the source from EdNews shown above, the other from a Colorado Pols comment which also is from the same source from EdNews.

              In essence this entire diary comes from the same EdNews source, from which the author states the following about Ms. Merida and the Minority School Board members


              How do you use leverage to make the 3-4 vote dynamic work to your advantage?



              You stage a guerilla campaign
              . You hope to wear the other side down with multiple assaults from different angles. That’s what has been happening in DPS over the past year or so. If you were in their position, wouldn’t you employ some of the same tactics?

              • Laughing Boy says:

                It beats actually acting in the best interest of the kids, right?

              • Middle of the Road says:

                Oh, because it isn’t quite so flattering to Andrea, is it?

                Meanwhile, board member Merida has played a key role in creating DeFENSE (Democrats for Excellent Neighborhood School Education), an organization that to date has expended most of its effort opposing Boasberg’s initiatives (oh, and bashing “Waiting for Superman.”) Merida has been somewhat coy about her leading role, deflecting questions and going on the counteroffensive against people who question her (as in this video, posted by The Denver Post’s Jeremy Meyer).

                But in DeFENSE’s early days, Merida’s cell phone number was listed at the bottom of the page as a point of contact. Emails to the site at one point appeared to funnel through the andreamerida.com domain.

                Some might not agree but I think it’s acceptable for a school board member to belong to such an organization. It shows questionable judgment, but I see no major ethical issues. Being one of its leaders, however – acting as midwife if not mother – is another matter.

                In any event, why not be transparent?

                Yes, yes. Why not, indeed?

                • wade norris says:

                  From my original point:

                  “Seems to me the author of that piece seems to sympathize with the minority members and the majority members – in the end coming to the conclusion that the censure and recalls need to be stopped to salvage the reputation of the Denver School Board. “

                  bullshit is spinning this piece in his or her direction – from an article that is evidently only trying to explain the 2 different sides of the argument – why the minority members are acting as they are – in response to feeling unheard in the minority, and Nate Easley’s attempt to censure them in response to their responses.

                  My statement reflects that the opinion of the EdNews is a balanced assessment of DPS’ issues overall.

                  bullshit cherry picked the story to reflect only the anti – Merida side – not even including the other minority board members in the equation  – so I filled in the left out parts from the EdNews article.

                  Conclusion:

                  bullshit cherry picked what they wanted for this slanted diary – I filled in the parts that the EdNews writer also included to show the other side.

                  You now, Middle of the Road are completing the cycle by adding the last parts that were in the original EdNews article.

                  Had bullshit included all of the pertinent quotes, instead of attempting to solely attack Ms. Merida instead of talking about the entire issue, the matter would have already been resolved.

                  • Ralphie says:

                    But when someone says they’re not involved in something, and the public record shows they are, that’s just dishonest and that’s what this diary said.

                    • MADCO says:

                      Two sentences, pointed and well aimed.

                      Can’t you see that Wade prefers youtube and blather and a tangential quote and some more words and mayhap another youtube?

                    • ClubTwitty says:

                      It made so much impact the first time, I just love watching it over and over and over, hopefully several times in the same thread!

                    • Laughing Boy says:

                      DD isn’t being sneaky or disingenuous.  This video is the proof.

                    • that pretty well sums up the prevailing level of discourse here at ColoradoPols.

                    • Laughing Boy says:

                      Look at what you’ve done here – you’ve united people that most of the time aren’t super nice to each other and totally disagree.

                      You were able to do this by being so fake, evasive, rude, and calculating that pretty much everyone here across the political spectrum felt a duty to call bullshit on you guys.

                      Just wait – the next couple of weeks for you guys aren’t going to be much fun.

                    • MADCO says:

                      The password that will allow your computer browser to escape from coloradopols.com.

                      You know, the cult echo chamber of the inane.  If we’re so useless, why do you keep coming back?

                    • that are routinely posted in this public forum warrant refutation from time to time.

                      The average moral, social and emotional development of the petty bullies who dominate this site appears to be somewhere around the level of a 3-year-old child. Normal people do not enjoy stepping into this sort of sociopathic loony bin, even for brief periods,  but we know that sometimes it’s a necessary unpleasantness in order to do the right.

                    • Ralphie says:

                      Are not “lies and smears.”

                      Unless, of course, you don’t want to answer them.

                    • Laughing Boy says:

                      And here’s why I’m so hostile toward you:

                      I have three daughters, two of whom are supposed to start school in short order in DPS, and I’m doing everything I can to stop that from happening.

                      You are being glib, obnoxious, and evasive about your true reasons for wanting to recall Easley, and it makes me want to hurt you.  Nowhere in your numerous sidesteps do you say anything about how going back to the status quo will somehow be better for the children sentenced to try to get an education in the disaster that is the Denver Public School system.

                      So, fuck you again, and you’re absolutely not a victim.

                    • This statement by Laughing Boy has been documented and archived.

                    • Laughing Boy says:

                      “Hurt your recall effort”.

                      There.  Clarified for you.  Trust me, tough guy, you’re safe.

                      Weren’t you the guy that freaked out when someone talked about your mom’s basement and you thought it was an insult to your mom?

                      Oh – and fuck you.  Again.

                    • Ralphie says:

                      Maybe you can find someone on another blog who will threaten to sue him.

                    • redstateblues says:

                      everyone knows Pols is a monkey cage, not a loony bin.

      • It has clearly  become a tool for people with an agenda outside the interest of the students.  

  2. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    This is an epic Googlesmack. Did you just take down a DPS board member?

  3. Middle of the Road says:

    Well.  

  4. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    No scrubbing this now. If they are needed at any point I’ll post them.

    • Laughing Boy says:

      Certainly, even if this work was done gratis, it would qualify as an in-kind donation, right?

      • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

        I don’t think there is any conclusion here other than “she lied.” If the organization is is small as DD claims, then she is obviously an integral part as the consultant in charge of everything they are doing.

        I’d like to know what MotR thinks, she’s the authority on these jokers. But DeFENSE Denver, and maybe Andrea Merida herself, sure appear to be up shit creek with neither paddle nor pooper scooper thanks to teh Google.

        And a lot of bullshit! 🙂

        • Middle of the Road says:

          but it certainly backs up what I’ve found, including the same google cache snapshot with Merida’s number on DeFENSE’s website as their contact number.

          She was also scheduled to speak at Denver County Dems Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday, January 18th on behalf of DeFENSE.

          On the agenda, she is slated to speak at 8:00 p.m. She did not show up and Donna Moore was left holding the ball. The committee tabled the discussion since Moore didn’t know what Merida had planned to speak about.

          Two days later, the petition for recall was filed with the Denver Clerk’s Office by none other than John McBride. The same John McBride that, along with Andrea’s father, Jorge Merida, met Nate Easley to threaten him with a recall in November.

          DeFENSE claims on their site that they are here to promote “ensure equity and excellence…” in education. So far, their main and only effort seems to be organizing community gatherings to teach folks how to get signatures for the recall and to be one of the “hosts” of the Diane Ravitch event, with all proceeds going to a newly formed 527 called Friends of Education.

          See names below. Jeanne Kaplan is one of the 3 minority board members, the NCCE is John McBride’s organization, DeFENSE we are all becoming familiar with, the BEAC is the committee that sent a scathing email to Nate Easley and–surprise, surprise–DeFENSE posted a copy of that email on its website…connect the dots, folks.

          And keep an eye out for Guerin Lee Green. He’s involved with the effort and writes one-sided opinion pieces on his two online rags–North Denver News and Cherry Creek News.

          University of Colorado at Denver, Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA), Uniting 4 Kids, Democrats for Excellent Neighborhood School Education (DeFENSE), Jeanne Slavin Kaplan, Northeast Community Congress on Education (NCCE), Black Education Advisory Committee (BEAC)

  5. glasscup says:

    Than the nonsense they’re talking about with Easley.

    It harkens back to the reason she got in trouble in the first place last summer: letting her political ambitions interfere with the job she is supposed to be doing.

    She’s the one who needs to be re-called.  

  6. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    Damn, this is just like old times!

    • Laughing Boy says:

      Reuniting Jeffcoblue and Laughing Boy.

      Can I have my favorite sweatshirt back now?

      • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

        You said I could keep EVERYTHING, you bastard! That includes the ring.

        🙂

      • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

        As a supporter of teachers AND kids, no responsible person should be anywhere near this kind of treachery and infighting. Our public schools deserve honest people fighting for them, not these marginal angry types who are consumed with personal battles.

        • Laughing Boy says:

          You know where I’m coming from on this.  I’m not part of any ProgressNow conspiracy against anyone.

          I just think that from the moment she had herself sworn in early, she’s been a disaster. She certainly didn’t deserve to be recalled by the incandescently asshatted Jose Silva, just as Easley has done zero to warrant a recall.  But lying about her involvement in DD and the recall effort, not disclosing financial arrangements between herself and DD, etc., certainly rises much closer to the level of an act that would warrant a resignation or a true recall effort.

          This thinly-veiled move to undo the reforms that were hard fought and won is total garbage.  I work with a lot of these kids.  It’s crushing to look at a group of them and start separating them in your mind according to graduation stats as far as how few of them stand a chance once they enter that system, and how truly devious it is to fight so hard to maintain the status quo.

        • Ralphie says:

          Our public schools deserve honest people fighting for them, not these marginal angry types who are consumed with personal battles.

          That’s why I’ve been so vocal.  My kids have been out of school for years, but I care about public education.  Our school systems shouldn’t be an alternative venue for political infighting and intra-party backstabbing.

  7. glasscup says:

    So I’m not as good at poking around on the internet as bullshit! is, but their post inspired me to google “andrea merida” and “defense” to see what popped up…

    Lo and behold, after flipping through a few pages, I ran across this. It looks like a new national education advocacy organization with a similar agenda to DeFENSE. And in Merida’s profile…

    http://parentsacrossamerica.or

    A newly-elected member of the Denver Board of Education, she serves as the board liaison to the District School Improvement and Accountability Council (DSIAC), a delegate to the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB), a member of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), on the Education Leadership’s task force on the common core standards (NELI), as well as a member of the ARC of Colorado advisory board. She is also a founding member of Democrats for Excellent Neighborhood School Education (DeFENSE), which works for collaborative, stakeholder education reform.

    Looks like she pretty much admitted to creating the group there. She should be held accountable for the group’s attacks on Easley and others. This is just further ridiculous behavior on her part. She has no business being on the school board.  

  8. ThillyWabbit says:

    It’s incompetence on display. Sorry Andrea, you’re just not bright enough to be duplicitous and get away with it.

    Time to come clean.

  9. bullshit!bullshit! says:

    It’s fair use and helps explain what they do. Methinks they’ll be doing a lot of explaining very soon.

    Thanks, everybody. I smelled my namesake all over this and it’s good to know I was right.

  10. sxp151 says:

    First of all, did EdNewsColorado threaten to sue Pols? If not, why are they constantly being quoted without being cited? Tacky.

    Here’s the source for “in DeFENSE’s early days, Merida’s cell phone number was listed at the bottom of the page as a point of contact.”

    And here’s the original source for the blockquoted text, which for some reason is sourced to another Pols comment.

    Now as far as I can tell, the damning new evidence user “bullshit!” has uncovered is that Merida is a web designer who designed DeFENSE’s web site. And this is new because Merida admits it on her web site “Progressive Juice,” rather than just admitting it back in November to a big prominent Colorado education news site which for some reason is unlinkable. What’s the allegation? That it’s impossible to build an organization’s web site and not be directing everything they do like a puppetmaster? This is apparently what the diarist has uncovered, without any new evidence.

    Years ago I made a web site for a protest group, for free. I didn’t put my name on it, and neither did most of the people involved, and it was paid for by passing the hat and collecting donations at our meetings, because it’s really cheap and easy. The crime Merida is being accused of is apparently putting her own contact information in the web site initially rather than the group’s, and then later fixing it.

    OH NOES TEH SKY look IT’S FALLING!

    • bullshit!bullshit! says:

      Intentional ignorance from people I respect is disappointing.

      And this is new because Merida admits it on her web site “Progressive Juice,” rather than just admitting it back in November to a big prominent Colorado education news site…

      Are the words “will not be participating in any way” somehow not clear to you? Seriously?

      Very disappointing.

      • sxp151 says:

        and was pretty open about that. And now she won’t be participating in this project.

        Maybe Merida is secretly directing this project, either because her feelings were hurt by the recall effort against her, or because she thinks this juvenile jockeying will help her bigger cause. I don’t know. All I know is that you didn’t demonstrate that she is involved in the recall and lying about it.  

        • bullshit!bullshit! says:

          You really sound as though you are speaking for her.

          She participated before and was pretty open about that. And now she won’t be participating in this project.

          Shouldn’t you preface that with “she says?” Or is this something you know first hand? You got all up in my face about links.

          Don’t get me wrong, I do not think you are Merida. It’s just that everybody has an agenda here. Because you don’t have a history of casting aspersions like this, it seems a little out of character.

          • sxp151 says:

            I figure there’s probably something wrong.

            My knowledge of her is based on this site and literally nothing else. She might as well be a fictional character in a soap opera: I don’t know Andrea Merida from Anna Karenina. I figured her quotes were uncontested and public knowledge. I tend to support her because I’m a teacher (though not in Denver) and The Gang Here has a lot of contempt for teachers, and for Merida from day one because she doesn’t hate them. I think this site has given her a hard time unnecessarily, and I’m glad to see that there are groups sticking up for teachers once in a while. Of course the recall effort against Easley is stupid, but criticize that if that’s your problem.

            So, to sum up, yes I’m Andrea Merida and you can bite my ass.

            • Laughing Boy says:

              This isn’t just me – not even close.  Look, if you can be so wrong that you inspire JeffcoBlue and I to both get after you, you’re probably doing something untoward (BTW – JB?  Big ups to you for showing a lot of character on this – no snark).

              I wish you could see how creepy these folks really are being, SXP.  You’re generally fantastic on calling BS no matter from where it emanates.  

              • ThillyWabbit says:

                This is all personal, backbiting, ugly, vindictive  bullshit. It is not based on policy, it is just charges and countercharges and score-settling.

              • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

                And I say that you’re right as somebody who won’t agree on much else related to the underlying issues. I like BS opposed SB-191, and could probably sympathize on a number of the bullet points from DeFENSE.

                But this petty, underhanded, and obvious backstabbing from one school board member to another serves no one, least of all the kids. Merida is alienating a lot of people who might be on her side under different circumstances, because she thinks she is above ethical considerations and her rage is completely out of proportion with reality. She’s not the only person I know on the hard left who is like this: vindictive, ruthless, and beholden to their grudges.

                They are the ones smart liberals stay away from.

            • AristotleAristotle says:

              … it’s a complicated issue. If Merida is tangled up in this coup d’etat, you can’t just criticize the recall without criticizing her as well.

              When this first hit, Merida was only mentioned because she herself was the target of a frivolous recall attempt. She’s only become part of the story as it’s developed that she seems to be a key player in it.

              As a side note, the silence from ass and DD is deafening, isn’t it?

            • AristotleAristotle says:

              … it’s a complicated issue. If Merida is tangled up in this coup d’etat, you can’t just criticize the recall without criticizing her as well.

              When this first hit, Merida was only mentioned because she herself was the target of a frivolous recall attempt. She’s only become part of the story as it’s developed that she seems to be a key player in it.

              As a side note, the silence from ass and DD is deafening, isn’t it?

            • nancycronknancycronk says:

              I have a lot of them in my family. I fought against Johnston’s bill last year. Don’t lump us all in your make-believe boat of “teacher haters”. I think some of us want a fair shake for everyone. If someone is doing something wrong, we want justice. If someone is being slandered, we want an apology. If a news source is not reliable, we want it exposed. If a public servant is doing the best they can and they mean well, we want them treated fairly.  

    • glasscup says:

      This isn’t just any group, this is a group whose existence seems to be dedicated to attacking her fellow board member, and which she has tried to hide her involvement in and distance herself from. It’s a group she created, with zero transparency (other than having to dig up this information elsewhere on the web) as a front to launch political attacks. This is her group, and she should be held responsible for it’s actions.

      The problem is her dishonesty.  

      • sxp151 says:

        Her name was all over Defense’s web site. (Side note: God how I hate their capitalization, and the whole “let’s make up an organization that will have an acronym we like” mentality). I would think the fact that she says she created it leads to more openness.

        She admitted to many people that she created the web site and helped create the organization itself. And now she says she’s not involved in this project of theirs. It’s possible that’s true: lefty organizations get started and then splinter over stupid projects all the time. And people start organizations without micromanaging what they later do all the time as well. And it’s possible that’s false, and Merida is lying about it. I just don’t find any of the evidence really compelling one way or the other.

    • bullshit!bullshit! says:

      And I’ll add the links. Nothing intentional.

    • Ralphie says:

      I still don’t see the issue here

      Because you’re all bullshit and no facts.

      I was hoping that having a kid who would one day have to get an education would align you with those of us who have already run that gauntlet.

  11. Anyone who cites EdNewsColorado and Alan Gottlieb as a source of “news” has no more credibility than a tinfoil-hatted Glenn Beck fanatic.

    Secondly, this ridiculous diary contains nothing to back up its conclusions.  The “facts” as presented only repeat what was already apparent — that Ms. Merida had been involved with DeFENSE in the group’s “early days.”  

    From what I have read, consistently, Ms. Merida never said she hadn’t been involved with the group in the past. What I’ve heard are statements by her that she would not be involved in the recall effort. Obviously, the group existed before the recall effort was ever on the table. And based on the very evidence provided by Mr./Ms. “Bullshit” in this diary, Ms. Merida has indeed recused herself from involvement since the group decided to take a stance on the recall effort.

    So it’s pathetic and almost comical to watch the ColoPols agenda-driven groupthink at work in this diary and the comments.  

  12. dwyer says:

    First of all, anyone contemplating putting their little kids into any school system is entitled to be scared to death.  If that school system is DPS, you are allowed to be bat sh#t crazy.

    I mean it.

    I know you are focused on the teacher unions and Merida as being the problem. But there are many players on the DPS playground. Let me link for you an article (truth – first mentioned on the Sirota show) which talks about Foundations and their influence on public school policy:

    http://www.dissentmagazine.org

    Then you tell me which of the following organizations are ones that you support.  They are all actively and directly involved with DPS, or have been in the recent past…ie Gates and Manual.

    Gates Foundation

    Piton Foundation

    Donnell-Kay Foundation

    Stand for Children

    Regis Jesuit run Institute for the Good

    A-1 Committee

      • Laughing Boy says:

        No running or hiding.

        I’m only familiar with the first two.  I’ve worked with Gates on some grants, and I’ve used Piton’s data for some other grants.

        I’ll cut to the chase for you – I would prefer the entire public education system be privatized.  I realize that’s an extreme view, but not one that should surprise you, coming from me, eh?

        Enlighten me, though, if you’d like.

        I always like to read what you post about education.  No snark.

        • dwyer says:

          The problem and I do see it as a problem with the current situation is that practically any group with money can intervene/influence DPS and there is no way to hold them accountable. The parents are forced to the sidelines.

          I don’t know what a privatized system would look like. Describe it.

          Gates experimented with its concept of “small schools” at Manual ten years ago.  It was a bust.  Gates “learned alot” but the kids were out of luck.  Parents did not have a say so in what Gates did.  The BOE is supposed to be accountable but I don’t think they have ever said no to any Foundation.

          a-1 is a committee made up of business people, politicans, etc.  it is self selected…DPS BOE used them to decide which schools to close and then how to reconfigure MOntebello.  The committee is not made up of anyone with any educational experience, necessarily.  The committee is not accountable.  I hold the BOE responsible for deferring to these power brokers.  

          Kay Donnell worked to reform North at one point.  That went well.

          As for the Institute for the Good, if you are on the west side of town, you find out who they are and what they may be planning for schools that your kids may go to..

          See what you can find out.

          Parents are not allowed to elect representatives to these committees who have such power.  Ultimately, the elected Board of Education should be calling the shots.  But, you should know who the other organizations are and what they have done in DPS.

          You can google them or you can check out Education News Colorado.

          I don’t know exactly where you are located.  But central JeffCO has good schools…Martensen in Wheatridge and Lake are two schools.  Good luck.

          • Laughing Boy says:

            I’d think you’d set up schools based on the DSST model, with larger classes, but better buildings and better compensated teachers, and accountability.

            Accountability meaning that students are tossed if they prove to be counter-productive to the rest of the group.  DSST has a whole-school peer review meeting for kids that aren’t cutting the mustard.  The second, equally important component to the privatization model is a mandatory requirement for the providing of alternative schools for troubled and special-needs kids (see:September School in Boulder) that’s subsidized by the charters or privates.  Nobody gets tossed in the basement, but nobody has to slow down or put up with being slowed down by students that need a different kind of education.

            I can imagine an English immersion campus, focusing on heritage for latinos that is modeled after the DLI in Monterrey. The bi-lingual education deal is a total failure.  Everyone goes more slowly, and everyone is frustrated.  It’s not a xenophobic ideal, it’s just a simple fact that English is the language of business in this country.

            These would have to be union-free zones, but maybe with some sort of non-binding union review once a semester?

            What would be required would be curriculum maps and goals decided between the faculty and selected parent reps at frequent intervals.  What needs to be avoided are elections that use money.  Special interests (union power) are now king in education, totally at the expense of the kids in the district.  The focus needs to be shifted back to learning, not power.

            • Laughing Boy says:

              Difficult, wide-ranging standardized testing.  It’s essential.

              I’m a fan of calling on kids to see if they know the answers.  I’m a fan of keeping score.

              It’s how the world works, and how these kids will be judged in business and in the rest of their lives.

              As a driver, I have to take a standardized test.  As a pilot, I have to take a bunch of them, and standardized medical tests, and often.

              Let’s pull these kids out of the mentality that they’re perpetual victims.

            • glasscup says:

              But I think we’re moving away from the point here.

              This isn’t really about defending every or even any involvement by any of these groups. As far as I can tell, what we were talking about was whether the antics of Merida, Kaplan et al were productive for kids. I think reasonable people can reasonably disagree on the merits of any particular educational policy, and I myself would hate to be lumped in with every Gates education initiative for example.

              The reason the comments and discussion in this thread are focused on Merida and DeFENSE are because the title of the post is “Defense Denver and Andrea Merida” and the content of it deals with that. It’s not about the involvement of Gates or anyone else.

              Dwyer, I think your post is a great example of some of the points I was making above, which you even acknowledge about the lack of a clear black and white solutions to these issues. And your discussion with Laughing Boy is a legitimate policy back-and-forth that I think would be great. But this isn’t about the particulars of policy, really, it’s about the politics of Merida’s involvement, etc. Regardless of anyone’s policy leanings, they should see her for what she is: a disgrace to the school board, the district she represents, and the city of Denver.  

              • AristotleAristotle says:

                Sometimes they’re way off topic and only about the people arguing with each other; but when they’re this interesting, I welcome them.

                I’m not sure if you’re basically calling this off topic and for it to go to an open thread or dedicated diary (and a diary about different educational visions would be very interesting), but I think this thread can handle this tangent.

  13. dwyer says:

    There are aspects of what you are describing which I find chilling –

    “Accountability meaning that students are tossed if they prove to be counter-productive to the rest of the group.  DSST has a whole-school peer review meeting for kids that aren’t cutting the mustard.”

    Wow…are you familiar with “1984”? and/or  totalitiarian techniques of mind control?

    I don’t think that you want a privatized system…I think you want one which has eliminated some of the civil rights protection currently in place for students.  

    I agree that bilingualism has failed.  I also think that the whole issue of kids with below average IQs and kids whose first language is not English are major problems in the school system.  But the solutions are not being blocked by the teachers’ unions.  There is no consensus of what are the best solutions and there are legal mandates directing some of the solutions.

    What would be required would be curriculum maps and goals decided between the faculty and selected parent reps at frequent intervals.  What needs to be avoided are elections that use money.

    So who would “select” these philosopher king parent reps?

    And what if you did not agree with their decisions?

    Special interests (union power) are now king in education, totally at the expense of the kids in the district.  

    You would have to prove that, LB.  I don’t think you can.

    If you don’t know all the players in DPS, you won’t be able to protect your kids.

    And if you had a privatized system, how would you enforce all these rules? By whose authority?

    • Ralphie says:

      I find this statement troubling:

      So who would “select” these philosopher king parent reps?

      Parents are the customer, dammit.

      One of my biggest frustrations with being an “involved” parent when my kids were in school–Accountability, PTA, PTO, even down to “playground patrol”–was the condescending attitude by some (a minority, but still some) teachers and principals who talked to me like I didn’t know shit from shinola.

      The public education system has a product to deliver: educated kids.  Parents are the customers.  Don’t insult the customers.

      • dwyer says:

        In DPS, the parents do not vote for much of anything.  The administration/foundation/powers that be “select” parents to be on committees, etc.  There is no independence.  And, as far as I can tell, the parents are not treated like customers, but pawns……unless they have really bright kids whom the schools want for grades, etc.  You know like Frat Houses.

        What LB was suggesting was that somehow some parents “selected” would get together with faculty and make decisions…..for everybody else’s children.  LB was against elections.  I am not.  I really like the democratic process…maybe because one priest told me that “democracy was dangerous.”  Right.

        People with power are treated with respect.  Parents don’t have power in DPS. Therefore, they are not treated with respect.  IMHO

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