Saying NO to Vouchers In Denver

(Held off on promoting until I saw that OP is answering questions in the thread, but I’ll put it up now — feel free to grill, the candidate seems not to mind it. – promoted by ProgressiveCowgirl)

Last week, a Denver District court temporarily halted Douglas County’s attempt to use vouchers to divert already-depleted public school resources into private schools. In the decision, the judge derided “The prospect of having millions of dollars of public school funding diverted to private schools, many of which are religious and lie outside of the Douglas County School District.”

While those of us who have been working for stronger public schools should be thrilled about this ruling, we should also be concerned that this is only the beginning of the larger effort here in Colorado to destroy public education. I say that because one of the key Manhattan-based groups that has been pushing vouchers, “Democrats for Education Reform,” announced this week that it is specifically trying to defeat me in 2011 and instead elect its hand-picked slate of candidates to take over the Denver Public School board.  

This front group, which the Washington Post says is financed “largely by hedge fund managers” on Wall Street, celebrates on its website “the revival of the private school voucher movement.” Likewise, one of the group’s founding hedge funders publicly champions vouchers, and the group has explicitly promoted candidates who push vouchers. And perhaps most troubling of all, the group’s Colorado affiliate is advised by an outspoken advocate for vouchers who also runs a local education policy organization my opponent co-chaired.

So while the Douglas County ruling against vouchers is great news, the bad news is that we may face a similar attempt to undermine our public schools right here in Denver if the pro-voucher forces are successful in defeating our campaign and electing their slate in November.

I believe we need to invest more in our public school system, not less – and, as a candidate for Denver Public School Board in the upcoming 2011 elections, I believe we need new Denver School Board members who are crystal clear in their opposition to vouchers.

Make no mistake about it: My longtime opposition to vouchers has always been driven by the cold hard data. In other words, it comes in response to what we know vouchers will do to our community, and what they have already done to other communities.

Today, Colorado ranks near the bottom of the nation in terms of funding its public schools, and our legislature just enacted yet another massive cut to K-12 education. That means a new voucher scheme’s further reductions to public school resources would be catastrophic. Think: even larger class sizes, fewer teaching resources, crumbling school buildings and ultimately, even worse results than the already abominable 51.8 percent graduation rate at DPS.

Additionally, we know that vouchers do not work to improve overall student achievement. Only a few months ago, the Wisconsin State Journal reported that test results from Milwaukee’s voucher system definitively show “voucher students performing ‘similar or worse'” than students in public schools. Meanwhile, the system is now facing calls for a federal investigation into accusations that it is aggressively discriminating against children with learning disabilities.

This is exactly what we do not need in a Denver Public School system already in crisis, and I pledge to fight against this and any other failed scheme that hides yet more anti-education policies under the guise of “reform.”

We need school board members who are serious about reinvesting in our neighborhood schools and who will reject the same old excuses from a DPS administration that has driven our schools into a crisis. That’s what my candidacy represents – and I hope you’ll join my campaign at


157 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    I’ll agree with the arguments against vouchers. But neighborhood schools have historically kept kids in the same economic strata as their parents. And they’ve historically been used to segregate by race.

    • should prepare the pathway out of economic strata (hopefully upward) and prepare kids to navigate that pathway successfully. Only recently, though, have we begun to gather actual data on school “good-ness” to guide us in improving less “good” schools. (The quotes are used because we, as a society, can’t even seem to agree on what a good school should so do and we’ve drastically changed their roles over the years, usually without providing them the means to adapt to our new expectations.) Usually the data deals with dropout rates, advancement to college and adaptation to standard testing. Though these are important indicators for schools, I think they’re inadequate and may miss the point altogether of why we provide public education.

      • Barack Obama said, “a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity – it is a pre-requisite.” Unfortunately, in Denver Public Schools, a child’s zip code is a pre-requisite to a quality education.  This trend must stop.  We just had a mayor who got into office on the slogan, “We are ALL Denver.”  Truer words were never spoken.  It’s time for all hands on deck to help all of our children.  As a school board member, I will consider the needs of my district in SE Denver as well as across the city.  Decisions school board members impact all of our students.  I come to the table with a comprehensive vision for Denver Public Schools and experience with community collaboration.

        • Ok I busted AutomaticFTP’s chops below, but it would be nice for a few specifics.  I like what you are saying about community collaboration, but can you back it up with something?

          What have you actually done in the past that would actually let you accomplish that on the board?  How would you bring different parts of the community together when they might not agree on the best path forward?

          • catpuzzle says:

            Based on her resume on LinkedIn, she’s done nothing that would qualify her to deal with complicated education issues on the school board. She’d be an uninformed member of the board. Basically another Andrea Merida, as another poster suggested below.


            • John Tzekara says:

              I may not agree with Merida a lot, but at least I know where she’s coming from.  I’m tired of seeing Merida screaming on one side and Pena screaming on the other — both are problems.  Merida will be out in 2 years (doubt she can win election) and Pena is out after this election (thank God).

              If you want to talk about embarrassments, the other side has plenty too — I’ll be happy the day Pena gets some cushy job in exchange for all her shilling over the years and we can have people who actually care about kids.

  2. Automaticftp says:

    Gave a cursory look at your website.  I note your issues page:

       * neighborhood schools strengthened

       * increased rigor and standards for all

       * transparency from DPS administration

       * strong fiscal stewardship from DPS

       * increased outreach and parental engagement

       * elimination of the achievement gap

    How, precisely, do you propose to accomplish these things?  It’s a great list–but ANYONE can come up with a great list.  

    Enlighten us as to how you would actually DO them.  Is “transparency from DPS administration” a problem?  What would you do to see that “neighborhood schools [are] strengthened?”  Particularly when the budget is likely to have less money in it?  And so on.

    We look forward to your answers.

    • * neighborhood schools strengthened

      As I knock on doors, I hear people say they want a good, clean, safe school in their neighborhood – I will prioritize resource allocation to neighborhood schools.

      * increased rigor and standards for all

      This means everyone deserves a great education.  I expect all students to perform well, not just those students who attend innovation and charter schools.  I hold high expectations for our neighborhood schools.

      * transparency from DPS administration

      Parents need to be given more information about school performance as well as allocation of public monies. This could be achieved by streamlining DPS’s website and putting vital information upfront – not buried 10 clicks into the website.

      * strong fiscal stewardship from DPS

      I would like to see effective use of public resources so we see the maximum return on investment.  It’s what we deserve as taxpayers.

      * increased outreach and parental engagement

      When we are holding community engagement meetings as Denver Public Schools – parents should feel like they have a seat at the table; not as though decisions have already been made at 900 Grant Street.  

      * elimination of the achievement gap

      We can improve student achievement by coming together as a community and focusing on the needs of our children, not their CSAP score.  We are too hasty when we drill-down to data.  We also need to consider the well-being of our students outside of what is measured on the CSAP.  Data does have a role to play in education, but it’s not an effective tool when used in an all or nothing – zero-sum game.  It’s time to set ourselves up for success and find solutions for every student in the room.  It’s time because it is our duty to our children.

      • Automaticftp says:

        I’m sorry, I want to hear what will you cut to “prioritize resource allocation” to neighborhood schools?  Where’s the money going to come from?  Are you going to try to take the money away from charter schools?  How about loosening tenure rules so incompetent teachers (and DPS has many–just ask the other teachers) can be removed?  

        If you meant to say that everyone deserves a great education, then say that–“Increased rigor and standards for all” does NOT mean that.  It’s a meaningless statement.  Is your opponent against a great education for all?  

        Increased transparency–are you competent to redo the DPS website to make information more available?  No?  How will you pay to have someone do it?  

        Strong fiscal stewardship–what resources are being used ineffectively?  Please be specific.  

        Increased outreach–fine goal.  But again, HOW do you do that?  

        Finally–“elimination of the achievement gap.”  If we’re “too hasty when drill-down [sic] to data,” then on what grounds do you say your opposition to vouchers is based on the “cold hard data?”  

        I give you credit for posting here, and coming back.  But please don’t insult the collective intelligence of Polsters with more vague and meaningless generalities.  As we would say in the military, “Get up or go home.”  

        Over to you.

        • Yes she glosses over a few fine details, but unless you want a fully essay on a blog post that’s a lot of questions at once.  Are you asking if she would personally redo the website?  That seems a little silly.  I think it’s clear where she’s going with some of this — the DPS website is outdated, and I’m happy with a candidate that wants to use it as a vehicle for more information.  I don’t expect someone (especially who is not an incumbent) to know where the couple grand to do that will exactly come from.

          Oh and on your first point, DPS doesn’t actually have teacher tenure.

          • Automaticftp says:

            I’m letting my frustration boil over a bit, granted.  

            But seriously–ANYBODY could write what she’s written and proposed.

            And yes, I know that about DPS.  Have you talked with a principal who has tried to fire a teacher?  Good luck with that – while “tenure” doesn’t exist per se, it might as well.  My apologies for use of incorrect terminology.

            As for the website, fine–if she’s not going to do it, what will she cut to afford reworking it?  If she can’t point to specifics, then she shouldn’t make the claim.  Or if she does, she shouldn’t be offended when someone calls her on it.  

        • My intelligence is below insulting. 🙂

          And the more I delve into the complexities of public education, its evaluation and its financing the humbler I get about my knowledge of the issue.

          I’m happy, though, that this thread hasn’t yet devolved into the usual teacher bashing that schools discussions usually seem to sink to.

          • Automaticftp says:

            I’d chuckle if I didn’t know better about your intelligence . . .  🙂

            And yes, I’m also glad the teacher-bashers aren’t here.  While there are bad teachers out there, they represent a tiny part of the problems faced by our education system.  

            I hereby incorporate by reference WPG’s fine post below.  😉  

            I’ve written before that the problems with our (meaning Colorado’s K-12) educational system are more societal and structural than anything else.  

      • dwyer says:

        Did you support the PROCESS used in the NE-Montbello

        area school transformation?  If so, why?  If not, why?

        Do you support the current NWCC with the Jesuit University facilitating?  If so, why?  IF not, why?

        • dwyer says:

          You still have not answered.  My questions go to these tritely worded and undefined objectives.

          * increased outreach and parental engagement

          When we are holding community engagement meetings as Denver Public Schools – parents should feel like they have a seat at the table; not as though decisions have already been made at 900 Grant Street.  

          * elimination of the achievement gap

          We can improve student achievement by coming together as a community and focusing on the needs of our children, not their CSAP score.

  3. The one question I had for you was about your stand on vouchers. Thank you. Now, yes, I’ll put up your yard sign. (I’ll contact your campaign, since I’m sure you met many people at their front gates on your rounds and sure as hell don’t remember me.)

    I agree, though, with Auto; specific policy actions will determine your effectiveness. Neighborhood schools: make them all topnotch, small and inefficient (yes, even messy) with parental choice within the district.

    As a Denver property tax payer since 1974 I have been happy to pay toward other folks’ kids’ educations as a contribution to the common good. But I sure as hell don’t want my money going to programs anywhere close to any religion or to corporations profiting by sucking funds away from the public good while providing no consistent superiority in results for the kids.

    Good luck, Sirota.

  4. ellbee says:

    Which DATA are you referring to?

    Make no mistake about it: My longtime opposition to vouchers has always been driven by the cold hard data.

    • The detrimental impacts of a vouchering strategy for public eduation funding are well known and extensive – my concerns include inadequate funding, inequality between schools, lack of accountability, etc. – we are basically giving the keys to publicaly built institutions to private entities.  

      You can find a quick overview of these concerens here —

    • I am, but not for schools.  I’m tired to my tax dollars going to public police departments where I don’t have enough say in how the police operate in my neighborhood.

      Instead, I want a voucher I can take to a private security company so they can come over and tazer anyone who steps on my property.

      Vouchers for everyone!

      • Rainidog says:

        I also want to gather vouchers for myself and neighbors so we can contract with my brother’s private firm to design and build the new county bridge up the road from us.  Keep all country employees out of our neighborhood!

        • why do we even consider this notion of vouchers for schools when we don’t for any other public service?  I want kids to be educated, and I want to make sure there is proper oversight to see my tax dollars are being spent well on this public good.

          Our examples seem crazy, but is it really any different?

          I’ll accept some arguments on charters, because at least they have to go through the school board and are open to scrutiny.  Vouchers for private schools are a totally different beast.

          • BlueCat says:

            let’s not pretend this is about choice. The parents of the Catholic kids on my block in the late 50s and 60s exercised choice by sending their kids to Catholic schools. They didn’t ask their neighbors to pay for it and didn’t complain that their tax dollars supported public schools available to them and which they freely chose not to use. They realized that the whole point was no public funds equated to freedom to  provide  their brand of religion based (and also very high quality in  most secular subject matter) education for their children. They were also free to employ the kind of corporal punishment that, even in those days, was banned in public schools in my district. No public funds, no problem.

            This is mainly about subsidizing sectarian education with public dollars and giving nice discounts to a handful of affluent parents who can afford high priced private non-sectarian schools that cost more than in-state college tuition. All at the expense of those who need access to quality public schools.

            • ellbee says:

              Public schools weren’t a near-total failure.  Parents of means and non-means are clamoring to have their kids escape from the disaster that public schools have become.

              The most powerful unions in the country are almost completely in charge of the schools, and will go to nearly any length to protect their power, almost always at the expense of the students.

              That’s much more of a reason then anyone trying to force religion on anyone, IMO.

              • BlueCat says:

                They stack up pretty well. And almost all the places available through vouchers are for sectarian schools. By the way, people complained about public schools back in the day, as well. In fact, it wasn’t unheard of for non-Catholics  to attend Catholc schools because of their strength in the basics.  They just didn’t ask tax payers to foot the bill.

                The best way to make quality education widely available is to improve public schools and improving public schools is the only valid expenditure of public funds for education.  

                Private schools, even non-sectarian ones, lack acountability and, sadly, there is also little evidence that charter schools, another supposed pancea, provide better education.

                Starting with paying teachers as if education really is a top priority (private schools often pay teachers very paltry salaries) instead of just giving the notion lip service, would be a good place to start as well as changing the way we fund our schools so that the wrong zip code doesn’t mean not enough books, heat or other basics. An investment in teaching poorly schooled, low income parents how to support their children’s education is also key. These are all things that are doable.

              • MADCO says:

                Except exclusivity.

              • dwyer says:

                In the 50s and 60s, most black kids got a lousy education.

                All kids with an IQ below 80 or 85 were EXCLUDED from receiving a public education.  Do you want to go back to those days?  If so, say so.  If not, STFU.

                • ellbee says:

                  Either go back to segregation and exclude special ed kids or STFU?

                  So now nearly everyone gets a crappy education, not just the African-American kids, although they are still particularly victimized in our system.  Great.

                  I know you’re very interested in and passionate about fixing schools.  What would you say is the most important hurdle to clear, excluding money?

                  • dwyer says:

                    I think two things would fix the schools.

                    1) The schools are so political, that it is difficult to create a culture/environment in which children can learn.  That is a very general statement, I know.   There has to be a way to isolate the kids from the political turmoil.  For example,

                    -any reform or change must have the approval of every parent whose child is going to be impacted.

                    -every reform/change must be allowed to unfold for four years.

                    -any reform/change must be evaluated by an independent, outside agent.

                    -individual schools must be protected from intervention by

                    sales people, politicians; educational entrepreneurs, activists, developers, etc. etc…..such entities should direct their energies at the elected officials in a district and not the individual school.

                    -there has to be a way found to identify the parents and/or children who are undocumented so that their unique problems can be addressed and that their special problems are not folded into the general assessment of the school district.

                    2) The school system should develop a meritocracy…in other words, if a student works hard and achieves at a certain level, he/she should be guaranteed admittance into a good program….it should not be a function of a lottery or the color of your skin or how much money your parents make, which is how it is now.  Reward achievement with opportunity.

                    Now, I don’t mean to be simplistic.  I think that there are other ways to improve the schools and my suggestions may not stand up to scrutiny.  But, this is the kind of discussion we should be having, and I welcome you to it.  Thank you, again.

            • dwyer says:

              Catholic parents did scream like hell over supporting public education.  Up until 1963 and Madeleine O’Hara’s law suit that successfully outlawed Protestant religious indoctrination in PUBLIC schools, catholic parents put their kids in catholic schools so that they would NOT be subject to Protestant religious propaganda, PLUS, many  times, they were ordered to put their kids in  parochial schools by their bishops.  

              Don’t drag the catholics into this public school debate unless you are specifically talking about the specific Douglas County voucher issue.

              Fact of the matter is, that private catholic schools, today, are elitist prep schools and parents want in, IMHO, because of the social status.  IE:  Mullen and Regis.

              • BlueCat says:

                Please get a grip.  I was simply referencing my own experience and the neighbors and friends I knew. There was no Protestant indoctrination in my Chicago area school, even back then, nor was there prayer or corporal punishment.   I know there was required bible study from the Protestant point of view and prayer in my husband’s small town Idaho school so apparently the Chicago metro area was pretty sophisticated that way even as far back as the late 50s.  Maybe because we already had a lot of religious and ethnic, if not racial, diversity so it was easier that way.  We also had huge numbers of Catholic ethnic groups such as Irish and Poles.  Chicago was home to more Poles than Warsaw back in the day.

                My Catholic friends in Morton Grove IL went to Catholic Elementary School well prior to 1963 because that was pretty typical for Catholic kids of the day in my area. There was no particular animosity or controversy swirling around the choice in my neighborhood.  I do remember that my friends found the idea of darling nuns, like Sally Field portrayed in “The Flying Nun” pretty hysterical because they were terrified of the grim ruler wielding nuns in their predominantly Irish American Catholic school.  I also remember the terror with which they prepared for their first confessions.

                In my parents day, a few of my parents’ cousins, Jewish kids, went to Catholic School in Chicago because their parents thought them better than the available public schools in their neighborhood.  They were not required to attend religious services.  They learned really nice grammar. Oh and one cousin caused a scandal by converting and even briefly considering becoming a nun. Oy Vey!

                I totally fail to see what I said, or what sweeping claims you think I made, about Catholics that upset you so and I hope you haven’t burst anything important.

                We all explained our religions to each other and, to this day, I remember the distinction between the concepts of Immaculate Conception and Virgin Birth better than most of my Christian friends do.

                • dwyer says:

                  I challenged your sweeping generalizations.  A skill I learned from Sister Mary Charlotte in the  7th grade.  Protestant indoctrination was a very real concern among catholics.

                  I went to public school in Missiouri at one point and the had to learn all kinds of verses from the King James Bible…a book that as a catholic I was not even supposed to read.

                  Quite apart from individual examples from the 50s and pre 1963, the law allowed protestant religious observations in public school.  That was my point.

                  • BlueCat says:

                    One more time, I was referring to my neighborhood and my school system in which there was no religious indoctrination of any kind, a situation which I  didn’t say was universal. In fact I said the case was different in my husbands Idaho elementary school.  So I really can’t make sense of your allegations or fury.

                    The situation in my schools circa 50s 60s is, however, similar to what we find in public schools today such as those in Douglas county that do not impose religious indoctrination and where those who opt for religious schools are not fleeing religious indoctrination in the public schools because it doesn’t exist.  They are simply seeking a nice tax payer subsidized discount for sectarian education.

                    I attended my first couple of years in Chicago, the remainder in suburban schools, all Cook County, and in every one of those schools, the only ones I’m claiming to know anything about, there was no religious instruction, no prayer and no corporal punishment. Just the annual Christmas concert with carols and a Chanukah song or two thrown in.

                    That’s probably why the Catholics I knew who lived in my neighborhood were not particularly up in arms against public education where we lived. They simply preferred Catholic Schools and didn’t have a problem with paying for their choice. You apparently have some serious unresolved issues that I’ve unknowingly set off. My bad.

                    • dwyer says:

                      Here is my point:

                      Quite apart from individual examples from the 50s and pre 1963, the law allowed protestant religious observations in public school.  That was my point.

                      The two facts that render your comparison between your “ozzie and harriet” public schools and Douglas county  simply not relevant are:

                      1) At any time, public schools in Illinois or anyplace else could have introduced, legally,  religious instruction in the public schools PRIOR to the court decision of 1963.

                      2) Catholics are subject to the dictates of their Bishops.

                      Prior to 1963, Catholic parents were obligated to send their children to catholic schools. Non-Catholics marrying catholics had to sign a variety of pledges in regard to allowing the practice of the Faith…including one  promising to educate any future children in catholic schools.

                      They simply preferred Catholic Schools


                      You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

                      I emphatically do NOT support vouchers for Douglas County

                      students.  But, I also don’t like sloppy thinking…again thanks to Sister Mary Charlotte..

                    • BlueCat says:

                      Even back then there were some Catholic kids in public schools and back in the 70s, when I worked on a study of birth control practices (a lowly student paid a little to collect data) there was no significant statistical difference found in use of any means of birth control, including the pill, between self identified Catholics and others in our large sampling of the university centered community.  None. So perhaps it’s sloppy thinking to posit absolute obedience to doctrine among Catholics, then or now, or to deny that personal preference plays a  significant role for Catholics in these types of decisions?  But all that is beside the point I thought was under discussion.

                      The point is that public funds should not be used to support sectarian schools or to subsidize a parent’s choice to forego public schools in favor of sectarian schools. They have that choice but not the right to demand their choice be subsidized by funds taken away from public education. I don’t really understand what point, relevant to that, you are trying to make since you are not arguing that you are for tax payer financed vouchers for subsidizing private sectarian education here in Colorado.  

                      Sorry I so ruffled your feathers with a few observations about my own experience in my own  neighborhood, which was clearly quite different from yours and which, to be Ozzie and Harriet, would have  been all Protestant, wouldn’t it?  I don’t recall the TV families of the era being portrayed as anything else. The fact that my neighborhood was about 20% Jewish , meaning we were over-represented in terms of our percentage of the American populace by many magnitudes,  made it pretty none TV fantasy land for the day.  Seems like prayer in school, etc, would have made it more Ozzie and Harriet bbut let’s not start another tangent.  Let’s just say, I’m against vouchers, now, in the contemporary world the way it is today, that give public money to parents for private religious school tuition. I’m happy to let you have the last word if you so desire.

                    • dwyer says:

                      I have no idea why you introduced your personal recollections about catholic religious practices in regard to birth control, education, and obedience to church authority.

                      I don’t think it was at all relevant to the discussion.  If you could possibly refrain from extraneous issues, I, for one, would be grateful.

                    • BlueCat says:

                      if that’s what you’re getting at. The principle is the same and this thread includes plenty of general discussion of the topic and related topics including references to the example of Douglas County. I vote in Arapahoe County, Littleton school district. I think you will find many of the comments come from other than  Denver  voters. You keep asking that question and then going on to harangue me about nothing whatever to do with where I vote. Now that I’ve answered your question, I promise I will let you have the last word.

                      I don’t promise to be able to make any sense of your all over the map arguments that seem to have so little to do with anything I initially said or with any of my subsequent replies. I don’t see where my observations are so irrelevant since you have based all of your arguments with me against… I’m not sure what… on Catholic issues. Yours in complete mystification, BlueCat.

      • allyncooper says:

        Let’s have vouchers for security systems for private residences and guns, tasers, and other armaments for the residents.

        Instead of waiting for the police department or private security company to show up, let’s take care of the problem on the spot !

      • PERA hopeful says:

        I am spending way too much of my own money on Kindle books and I don’t want to go all the way to the library and get hard copies of books, most of which are boring and not the kind of books I want for me and my family.  I want a voucher that I can use at Amazon for Kindle books.  I promise that I won’t buy books about religious topics with my library voucher, nor will I buy Kindle porn.

      • sxp151 says:

        Instead of having my taxpayer money going to Republicans who waste time with their culture war bullshit, I want to funnel my money directly into people who will put more than half a minute’s thought into reducing unemployment. And yes, it’s OK if they believe in Jesus.

    • cunninjo says:


      In reality, it is very difficult to compare public schools to private schools. This is because private schools are not required to make their student data public and accessible to researchers. In fact, in some states with private school choice programs private schools don’t have to administer state standardized tests to voucher recipients.

      The only benefits of voucher programs that research has revealed are a slight increase in graduation rates among low-income voucher recipients in Washington, D.C and a reduction in state education costs due to the voucher being worth less than the state per-pupil allocation. But average private school tuition is usually around the same as a state’s per-pupil cost meaning voucher recipients are on the hook for the remaining tuition balance (on top of the local and state taxes they already pay that goes to public education).

  5. baaramewe says:

    “Democrats for Education Reform,” announced this week that it is specifically trying to defeat me in 2011 and instead elect its hand-picked slate of candidates to take over the Denver Public School board.”

    I think the real discussion here is about local DFER who partners with Colorado’s Stand for Children. They have caused a Civil War in the Democratic Party since SB 191.

    One has to question whether national money going into Stand for Children has the sole objective of pushing for charter schools, vouchers, and union busting local teachers unions.  

  6. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    Will you do your utmost to crush and destroy the Denver Teachers’ Union?

  7. and people want easy solutions.

    People look to education’s past as if it were a golden age.  Not true.  Brown v. Board was a clear expression of the parallel school systems we had.  Some great, some not so great in our past.

    The difference was that there were defined roles in society that limited certain peoples opportunities, at the same time there were defined routes to success that went through other doors to success.

    While I don’t always understand conservatives motives in school reform since they seem to vary between a genuine concern for students to a desire to inject religion into public life, to a “fuck you, I got mine freeloader” ideological frame, I try not to question the motives of Democrats in the school reform movement, who I think for the most part a desperate to try anything to improve achievement.

    Here is the heart of the problem.  Some school reform is good, most is bunk and some is good in the ways other than the way people think it is.

    For instance vouchers, charters, and choice all have one good thing in common: they are very good at showing you when a school is failing.  Better than a test score, when motivated and informed parents vote with there feet you know you have a problem.  However, by leaving a school through V/CH/C the problem hasn’t been solved for the children left behind.  Even if the failing school closes and the left behind kids go to a shiny new charter they will generally fail because their education preparedness   deficits have not been addressed.

    Hunger, transportation, home stability, parental financial distress and parental fear/disdain for education are not addressed in school reform, yet these are the factors that I would address if I wanted to talk about real school reform.

    But enough of the philosophy.  Here is the practice: choice is nice if you’ve got a car and a driver, charters are a nice addendum to strong neighborhood school system, but they will never be enough, and vouchers, well lets just call them coupons for rich people and religious nuts.

    I actually like the idea of getting parents more involved. Frankly I would love the school to teach parents how to access the education system and why it is important.

    I would also like to figure out ways to stabilize kids lives whose parents are not stabilizing.  For some kids the food they get at school is the only good food they get and the order in the classroom is the only stable thing in their lives.

    As to teachers.  Are there bad ones? Sure, but we keep piling duties on them at the same time we are villianizing them.  We expect them to be gods at the same time we demand they be paid like Walmart greeters.

    • dwyer says:

      I actually like the idea of getting parents more involved. Frankly I would love the school to teach parents how to access the education system and why it is important.

      How quaint.

      WPFG…would you care to critique all the various programs/policies/ funding  given to the above in DPS over the last twenty years?  What do you think worked? Why?

      What didn’t work? Wht?

      And, where do you live and vote?

      • I don’t understand the nature of your insult.

        This is my point.

        In my neighborhood (Steck is the neighborhood elementary), parental involvement is high and parents know how to access the system because they are educated and wealthy.  In other parts of the city things are different.

        My nephew’s neighborhood elementary is Ashley which is a completely different picture.  Actually, I’m not sure his neighborhood schools is Ashley though because he attends Odyssey, because his mother is educated and knows how to access the system.  However, what is good for him is not necessarily good for those kids left behind at Ashley.

        Before choice many of Colorado’s leaders attended Manual (Hancock, Kennedy).  Was it good for the remaining students when the good students choiced out?

        I’m sorry I don’t know everything that has been tried.  I’m not an educator, union member, administrator or agent of the school reform movement.  I am just a parent who knows my kid will get a great education no matter where we live because I know how to make the system work.  Personally, I am more concerned about other peoples kids who do not have anyone to guide them through the education system, more choices won’t help, but more guidance for parents might.

        • dwyer says:

          My point is that there is tremendous parental involvement in DPS precisely as the kind you described.  Educated parents work the system.  I believe, and this is my belief, that the system is designed to give that very advantage to wealthy, educated and almost always Anglo parents. It has a lot to do with who you know and the color of your skin.  Ironically, the people who protest this system and talk about neighborhood schools should be good, are called “anti-reform.”

          Before choice many of Colorado’s leaders attended Manual (Hancock, Kennedy).  Was it good for the remaining students when the good students choiced out?

          It was not choice; it was court mandated busing to correct the deliberate administrative segregation of minority students.  When you talk about “good students” that is code for white and it is code to justify the preferential treatment that white kids and parents get in DPS, IMHO.

          DPS is a political maze.  Why aren’t all the schools adequate?

          • Also You make some assumptions about my family.  it just so happens my daughter is Latina and my nephew is African American.

            As to the end of busing. Yes I am familiar with it, but it isn’t the whole story.

            I think you need to relax and stop insulting everyone.  I generally agree with a lot of what you say, but you seem committed to pushing me away.

            Not wise if your goal is to convince someone to follow a certain course of action.

            • dwyer says:

              I believe that when “good students” left a school, the resources allocated to that school left too.  The reason I say “believe” is that there has been NO study examining the resources available at each school in DPS.  I don’t believe that they are equal; but that is precisely why an independent audit should be done.  I also think that an independent evaluation should now be done comparing the “achievement gap” between minority and Anglo during the court ordered monitoring of DPS and the time after the court order was lifted.  I have no preconceived notions of what such an evaluation would show; I just think it is imperative.

              I am just a parent who knows my kid will get a great education no matter where we live because I know how to make the system work.  Personally, I am more concerned about other peoples kids who do not have anyone to guide them through the education system, more choices won’t help, but more guidance for parents might.

              Now WPFG, I think it would be worthwhile for you to explain “how” you make the system work.  My personal observation is that first, you need to have secure personal transportation

              to get a child to and from “choice school.”  My experience, granted a number of years ago, was that you also had to “know” someone in the system who could give you information about good schools, good teachers, and who to talk to.  I really would like to hear your techniques and why you are convinced they will work throughout your daughter’s career in DPS.

              To challenge assumptions and identify where posters are coming from, literally, is not to insult anyone, it is an attempt to have an honest discussion. I don’t know why everyone is so defensive.

              • If you read my original comments I actually said that reliable transportation was part of the problem.

                I am done now.

                • dwyer says:

                  But, the solution you propose is not to make transportation available for all “choices.”  But rather “to teach” parents how to “access” the system.  I challenged that solution because “teaching parents” is something that has been tried, hence my question about how you felt about previous expensive efforts.

                  Hunger, transportation, home stability, parental financial distress and parental fear/disdain for education

                  You identified the above factors as problems, but your solution did not address these problems.  I also don’t know what  “parental fear/disdain for education” means or what means you used to  identify it.  

                  I do challenge assumptions and I don’t like the “cliches” about “good kids” and “lack of parental involvement.” I think that they are excuses and used to justify a two tiered system in DPS.  

                  I think that you are a concerned parent and citizen.  I am disappointed that you choose to disengage.

  8. DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

    WTF is that if not ad hominem?  You argue like your husband.

    Who says Denver needs your Montana-based solutions?

    • Middle of the Road says:

      a nice addition to Mrs. Sirota’s diary, since she insinuates that out of state money and out of state activists are driving the local DFER efforts.

      For the record, the following people were involved in the DPS School Board endorsement process:

      Members of the DFER-CO Advisory Committee are: State Board of Education member Elaine Gantz Berman, former Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll, Lt. Governor Joe Garcia, Hollie Velasquez Horvath, Senator Mike Johnston, Tom Kaesemeyer, Donna Lynne, Courtney Messenbaugh, former Lt. Governor Barbara O’Brien, former State Representative Christine Scanlan, Van Schoales, and Mary Shay.

      I don’t see too many Manhanttans on that list–more like  local, long time Colorado Democratic activists, current and former Lieutenant Governors and State Representatives. But I guess that didn’t fit the meme being pushed in this diary.  

      • catpuzzle says:

        Sirota isn’t serious about improving education. That’s why she’s never done anything related to it, and probably knows fairly little about it. Absolute shocker that her platform…errr, platitudes, are so thin. She’s just a hack-attack candidate who will bring more chaos to the school board, like her apparent mentor Andrea Merida, or like her bloviating husband David.

        The last thing we need is another Andrea Merida grandstanding on the school board with her typical vitriol.

        • Middle of the Road says:

          as a candidate or her positions, which remain unclear to me after reading this diary, to agree with your assessment of her candidacy.

          Being associated with Guerin Lee Green would appear, on the face of it, to be a bad idea if you wish to be taken seriously as a candidate. David Sirota seems to think highly of him so perhaps Emily is unaware of Green’s reputation within the Democratic activist community.

          I think that facts are important and when the current and former Lieutenant Governors are both members of the Advisory Committee that endorsed DFER’s slate of candidates, as well as Colorado state senators and state representatives, I feel it’s information that deserves to be shared, whether it is to Mrs. Sirota’s advantage or not.  

      • gaf says:

        she insinuates that out of state money and out of state activists are driving the local DFER efforts.

        It is fair to challenge whether this well known group of Coloradans (not all from Denver) is a “front group.” But, is she wrong that out of state money and out of state activists are not also involved? If you know they are not, you didn’t provide any evidence of that. If they are, she has a point that you ignore. Apparently that doesn’t fit the meme you are pushing.

        • Middle of the Road says:

          I have facts, something that are missing from this diary, right down to a link to the Colorado DFER website, which Sirota conveniently left out of her diary while linking only to the national website. DFER has a list of several states that they are active in. It takes about 3 seconds to look at their national website and locate your state. Seems to me it would have been pertinent information to include a link to the state website and to who was on the local advisory committee that endorsed your opponent, no?  

          But that’s not what Mrs. Sirota did. That’s not what she said.

          This is what she said:

          I say that because one of the key Manhattan-based groups that has been pushing vouchers, “Democrats for Education Reform,” announced this week that it is specifically trying to defeat me in 2011 and instead elect its hand-picked slate of candidates to take over the Denver Public School board.  

          “Manhattan based groups” strongly suggests that an out of state entity is involving themselves in a local school board election while ignoring the fact that it is the local Colorado chapter that made the endorsement.

          It purposely leaves one with the impression that DPS is being overrun by an organization from New York, while failing to mention the local advisory board of well known, well respected Democratic Colorado State Senators, State Representatives, state activists and former and current Colorado Lieutenant Governors, that made the endorsement of Sirota’s opponent.

          I don’t have to provide evidence of who is donating to DFER. I didn’t write the diary so guess what? It’s not my job to do the diarist’s homework. I think I’ve already done more than my fair share of it for her for one day.

          You’re welcome.  

          • sxp151 says:

            It’s a national group.

            It has a “Colorado Advisory Committee.” That’s what you call a local group without autonomy. It’s different from something like COPIRG which may be affiliated with the national PIRG group but is self-governing. Of course there are local people on the Colorado Advisory Committee of DFER, but everything I see on their web site suggests they’re completely controlled and funded by the national organization.

            But gosh it’s fun to pick on a Sirota.

            • Middle of the Road says:

              That was sweet of you.

              DFER has a list of several states that they are active in. It takes about 3 seconds to look at their national website and locate your state.

              The Sirotas’ are being “picked on?” Hmmm, the victimization claim is getting a little old. Besides, David and Emily will always have their faithful and loyal followers such as yourself to provide cover. It’s good to have friends.

              Funny how you failed to address the flat out lie in Emily’s diary regarding the voucher scare tactic. But gosh, it’s fun to ignore facts.  

              • sxp151 says:

                I honestly didn’t realize you’ve been waiting all this time to hear my view, but I’ll get right on it once you give me something more specific to address.

                1) The point wasn’t that they have a national website. Of course they do. The point was that Emily Sirota claimed the endorsement and money was from a national organization, and she’s not wrong or lying or being deceptive in that statement, regardless of who sits on a powerless subcommittee.

                2) If you want to pretend I just came over here from SquareState yesterday to trash everyone here because I’m on the Sirota Family Email List and do whatever I’m told, I’ll be happy to oblige your alternate reality for about a week, but then I have to get back to the usual persona.

                • Middle of the Road says:

                  to hear from you. You didn’t know that?

                  Read the diary. I think you missed about 90% of it where Sirota claims to be running in a race against an opponent who supports vouchers. Yes, DFER endorsed her opponent. I’m not disputing that. I’m disputing the claim that Sirota’s opponent is running on a platform that supports vouchers.

                  Is that clear enough for you, darling?

                  • sxp151 says:

                    Sirota says Anne Rowe has backers who support vouchers and therefore maybe she does too. Not the strongest of evidence, but not a flat-out lie unless we know Rowe opposes vouchers.

                    I went to Anne Rowe’s website to look at her positions and saw…pretty much nothing. Lots of vague generalities, no specifics. Fine, she’s a political candidate, that’s how their web sites tend to look and sound. On her “about” page it says she co-founded A Plus Denver, so I figured maybe they had some positions on school reform that Rowe might be expected to agree with. Nope, nothing concrete, just the sort of stuff that everyone basically agrees with. Then I checked the DFER questionnaire she answered and again found nothing about vouchers one way or the other.

                    Sirota wrote “I believe we need new Denver School Board members who are crystal clear in their opposition to vouchers.” I have seen only one person saying Rowe is opposed to vouchers, and that’s an anonymous commenter with no history and no link to back up the claim.

                    Now I searched, and maybe I searched for the wrong thing, or maybe I missed it somewhere. But if you can find me a direct quote from Anne Rowe saying “I am opposed to vouchers for private schools,” then I’ll agree with you that it’s a lie. Right now it’s just a political opinion.

                    Cutie honey darling sweetie cupcake babydoll lovemuffin and all that too.

                    • Middle of the Road says:
                    • calaw says:

                      People check your facts!  Rowe has one of the biggest opponents to school vouchers in the political ranks working for her campaign.  John Britz, who I was told is working for Rowe, ran that last statewide No campaign against school vouchers/tax credits in 1998.

                    • sxp151 says:

                      and the organization Rowe created hired Van Schoales as its executive director, who is very pro-voucher.

                      Not saying you’re wrong, just that there’s exactly as much evidence in favor as against until we hear Rowe’s actual position.

                    • dwyer says:

                      While neither of you actually live in Denver, I did find this exchange valuable because you presented relevant facts.


          • gaf says:

            You write (of Sirota’s post),

            It purposely leaves one with the impression that DPS is being overrun by an organization from New York, while failing to mention the local advisory board of well known, well respected Democratic Colorado State Senators, State Representatives, state activists and former and current Colorado Lieutenant Governors, that made the endorsement of Sirota’s opponent.

            But you purposely left out above, and deny the relevancy of here, the national funding and support of DFER. You purposely leave one with the impression that there is no relevant connection. That is not a fact. That is your meme.

      • dwyer says:

        Two names jump out:  O’Brien….you remember her, correct?

        She was all in favor of the initial Gates intervention at Manual back in 2000….remember how that turned out????

        It had the distinction of being one of the first school in the nation to be closed for poor performance..and remember what happened to all the poor kids who were the guinea pigs?  I didn’t think so.

        And Berman? Sat on the BOE during the Gates intervention and when she left, the schools were in such bad shape, that Bennet made his bones repairing the damage.

        I will reserve judgement on Sirota until or unless she answers my specific questions.  I imagine she can not.

        What is of serious concern to me is the lack of a real discussion on the issues facing DPS.  Just a lot of “political”

        pile on from the same old same old.

      • John Tzekara says:

        They are names, but nothing else.  It’s all one guy — Van something or another.  Ask any of them if they interviewed candidates.

    • sxp151 says:

      Lots of national organizations have an interest in reform, in the guise of everything from vouchers to “crush and destroy the teachers’ union.” National unions and other organizations are interested in defending local unions. Some have more money than others.

      Sirota has a powerful opponent from outside the district, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with her pointing that out. It’s not to say someone is bad for being from outside the state, it’s to say that her opponents have national support. Maybe she wants national support too. Maybe she wants so much local support that it cancels out the national support. Maybe she’ll get it.

      Look, I understand we all feel strongly about this even though most of us fail the dwyer test, but must everything be jockeying for slight advantage? Can we agree to some basic facts, like if a national organization said they wanted to defeat a DPS candidate, it’s probably true?

  9. Automaticftp says:

    When I went to the website for DFER, our very own Michael Bennet, United States Senator, was the first picture I saw.  Why so?  He was DFER’s FIRST “Reformer of the Month.”


  10. glasscup says:

    This diary shouldn’t have been front-paged. This lady – and her associates – don’t deserve our respect or time. But since people have paid attention, I’ll respond.

    No one is talking about doing vouchers in Denver, the school district she is running for. Even the most reform-y people here oppose it. This diary is just a shrill attempt to attract attention to her campaign – attention that she hasn’t gotten from attacking her (more credible, more experienced, more reasonable, etc) opponent.

    Think Merida is bad? I’m pretty sure Sirota will be the same, if not worst. The negative way she’s running her campaign (attacking people in July, engaging in pointless rhetoric, etc) shows that she will be the same divisive voice on the school board that Merida is. But that’s not really surprising, since she’s being pushed by the Andrea Merida / Guerin Green camp…

    In fact, it kind of sounds to me like Guerin Green is running her campaign. Which also wouldn’t be surprising because him and David Sirota are besties.

    But while no one is talking about vouchers, Andrea Merida (and now Emily Sirota) ARE talking about firing the district administration and letting Merida, Kaplan, Jimenez, etc. run wild.

    I assume we will only see a more negative, shrill, and probably irrelevant campaign from Sirota in the next few months. With Guerin Green behind her, we shouldn’t expect anything less.

    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

      I do think this diary deserved to be front paged. Why? Because a candidate posted here and followed up answering comments. The fact that you and I, or any of us on Pols, oppose someone’s election should not be a reason to keep their talking to us off the front page.

      I would support Michelle Bachman being front paged if she posted a diary and then responded to comments.

      • glasscup says:

        The dog-whistle nature of her post, her deceiving attack on DFER, and the attacks I’ve seen from her and Guerin Green and Andrea Merida, etc all frustrate me. But I suppose it’s fair to give her that space on here.

        I wish people in the community wouldn’t take her as credibly as some seem to be taking her. From everything I can tell, she’d be a very bad influence on the school board.

        The information about her thin / entirely lacking resume on these issues makes me wonder why she’s really running, besides settling scores for her husband David and his buddy Guerin Green

        • dwyer says:

          Again, I just ask that people identify where they live, pay taxes and vote when they are posting about the Denver School Board election.  That seems reasonable to me….I know that I will be subject to a pile-on….have at it, gang.

          • Irish Patti says:

            I don’t think vouchers are the answer or even an answer. After all the mud slinging last year with the DSB; I shut it out because I have no children. I am happy to pay taxes for a well educated populace.  

          • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

            And having DPS send a lot more kids on to C.U. would be of great direct benefit to me. So I don’t pay taxes in Denver, I don’t vote in Denver, but I do feel the impact of DPS.

            • dwyer says:

              CU has full classes; waiting lists.  Why do you care where your potential employees come from?  I sincerely do not understand, David.

              Plus, you may feel the impact of DPS, but that doesn’t make you knowledgeable about “on the ground” stuff.

              • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

                First off you’re correct – I have no idea what’s on the ground. That’s why my one question was on something basic.

                As to enough potential employees, the problem is there’s not enough qualified people. Our biggest constraint on growth is finding qualified people to hire. If the K-12 schools do a better job, it will raise the average of students fed into CU and that will raise the average coming out.

                • dwyer says:

                  Is CU  producing qualified people? If not, your problem is with CU.  If there are insufficient numbers in your opinion, then the question is why isn’t CU producing more qualified applicants?  Since CU has admission requirements and admission is competitive and there is a waiting list, I don’t understand how DPS figures into the mix?

                  • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

                    There have been numerous stories about how the students coming in to colleges today are no where near as prepared as the students of 15 years ago. C.U. looks to pull from the top X% out of our K-12 schools, but they do have to run that percentage against what the K-12 system is producing.

                    • dwyer says:

                      I don’t think that CU has remedial classes.  You have to be specific.  There are numerous stories about how students going into community colleges and state colleges that are not selective have to do remedial classes.  If this also applies to CU, cite your source.

                    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

                      Skating Through B-School

                      PAUL M. MASON does not give his business students the same exams he gave 10 or 15 years ago. “Not many of them would pass,” he says.

                    • sxp151 says:

                      Honestly not trying to be cute, but the whole point of the article is that business school is a joke and students in it don’t bother to study, and that’s why they couldn’t pass a hard test.

                      Not only does the rest of the article refute the point you seem to be making (that poor K-12 education has led to college students who are worse-prepared than in years past), the very next paragraph refutes it.

                      Dr. Mason, who teaches economics at the University of North Florida, believes his students are just as intelligent as they’ve always been. But many of them don’t read their textbooks, or do much of anything else that their parents would have called studying.

                      And the sad thing is a lot of current K-12 and college students would probably think your citing of an article and ascribing to it the opposite of its thesis is pretty good research. What kind of example are we setting?

                    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

                      I was Googleing fast and didn’t read it (which yes is poor scholarship). Ok here’s another A History of College Grade Inflation

                      With that said, the big problem I see in the students coming out is a lack of creativity. And that’s not measured in grades or tests or other measures (with a few exceptions). One of the few articles on this is at The Creativity Crisis

                    • PERA hopeful says:

                      Your question: Cite a source that says CU has to offer remedial classes to unprepared students.

                      Dave’s response: Link to an article about a professor at the University of Northern Florida.

                      Move to strike; non-responsive.

        • dwyer says:

          I think once you start attacking candidates, it is important to name your place of residence.

    • dwyer says:

      See, when you start using the pronoun “we”, then I think  you need to declare where you vote.

  11. sremesMA says:

    I tried to do my research on this, so I called Anne Rowe, Emily’s opponent, and she very politely told me that she doesn’t support vouchers. She was more than happy to have a discussion about the issues and its relation to southeast Denver, which is NOT Douglas County. It seems like Emily Sirota and her allies made this whole thing up to create a controversy. DPS doesn’t need more politics.

  12. cunninjo says:

    I’m not the biggest DFER supporter, but when Sirota says

    celebrates on its website “the revival of the private school voucher movement.”

    it is a gross misstatement of what the DFER blog post says. If you read the blog Sirota links to it doesn’t champion vouchers at all. In fact, after simply explaining how the voucher movement is gaining momentum it criticizes voucher programs for only serving a small number of students rather than improving the overall education system.

    If the DFER article is an indication of the organization’s stance on vouchers, then I would say they are clearly anti-vouchers.

    Again, here’s the link Sirota used –

    • glasscup says:

      I bet Guerin Green wrote the post for her. Same old despicable politics we’re used to from this gang.  

    • sxp151 says:

      I heard Grover Norquist’s organization does not really champion tax cuts, because if you read their blog posts, they say taxes are still too high!

      • cunninjo says:

        Like I said, I don’t support most of what DFER stands for but to say they are pushing for a voucher program in DPS, or anywhere for that matter, is simply wrong. DFER may work on certain issues like parent trigger laws that also draw support from pro-voucher organizations, but that doesn’t mean DFER supports vouchers. Environmental groups teamed up with natural gas companies to force power plants to move away from coal. Does that mean those environmental groups are pro-fracking?  

  13. baaramewe says:

    I’m really not familiar with where DFER gets their funding from. I suspect is from the same people that fund Stand For Children (SFC. And I know that SFC is a dangerous group that receives much of their funding from corporate interests.

    – Bill Gates

    – James Crown

    – The Walton Family

    – Broad Family

    They don’t care about children. They want to undermine working and middle class families by eliminating bargaining rights for teachers unions. Where would Colorado Democrats be without CEA? A driving force of the progressive movement.

    Stand for Children: Defunding unions one state at a time.

    Here’s their Co Founder Caught on Tape about the subject and Colorado:

    • Fidel's dirt nap says:

      about your opponents support for vouchers you are just going to jump over to a different subject ?

      You people are pathetic fucking liars, and Emily Sirota sucks.

    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

      The reason DFER exists is because our K-12 system is a disaster and they are working to improve it. That doesn’t mean everything they back is successful, but that’s their goal.

      As to undermining working and middle class families – crappy K-12 schools does more to undermine them than anything else. If the choice is truly between supporting the union vs. supporting a quality education for children – put me on the side of the children.

      With that said, it’s not that clear-cut a choice. Yes there are a number of union people who’s sole goal is job security for their members. But there are also quite a few that are focused on improving schools. Unfortunately when someone like you posts, it lumps all union members in that first group – which is too bad.

      • baaramewe says:

        I agree our school system is a disaster. Evidence is your inability to separate arguments. Are you a product of DPS?

        My posts have all been related to Stand for Children. All I have said about DFER is

        I’m really not familiar with where DFER gets their funding from. I suspect is from the same people that fund Stand For Children (SFC).

        There are very passionate and well-intentioned people in DFER, but the path to hell is paved with good intentions, David.

        I agree there isn’t a clear-cut choice.

        As to undermining working and middle class families – crappy K-12 schools does more to undermine them than anything else.

        You’re on the right track. Truth is, we can tell a child’s chances of success by what zip code they live in. Undermining and taking money away from working families does not help their children and local communities. Strong communities and good paying jobs = better schools.

        What good is it if we improve education while demolishing working/middle income America? To let our children graduate high school and progress into a society where there are two classes: The super rich and the super poor?

        There are some bad teachers, but I have yet to meet one who went into the profession “for the money.” They care about our children and our communities. Their working environment is our children’s learning environment.

        I support working/middle income families and unions because it gives parents in our local community the environment, health care, and resources our children need to excel in the classroom.

        I’m against corporate funded groups like Stand for Children, because they want to take all that away.  

  14. dwyer says:

    I plan on writing a diary consisting of all the questions I have asked that have simply gone unanswered.

    • glasscup says:

      And what our names are?

      Why bother with a diary? Just call Guerin Green and he’ll find out for ya. I’m sure Emily Sirota and her husband can connect you guys.

      In other news, quit with the witch hunt about where people live. Many if not most of us live in Denver. But it doesn’t matter. I don’t live in Colorado Springs, but I have what I’m sure you’d agree is a valid opinion on the way the miserable way the city’s policies on gay rights reflect on the state.  

      • dwyer says:

        I don’t know that “most of you” live in Denver.  There are huge splits in the democratic party and they are not confined to Denver; there is heavy involvement of local and national advocacy/foundation/reform groups in DPS. There are a hell of a lot of agendas being pursued.  I am asking that the players identify themselves as to their residency.

        We are talking about a specific election in Denver.  For that reason, the attempt to influence its outcome by people from outside of Denver pisses me off.  Comprende?

        And if you live and vote in Denver, and welcome outsiders influencing this election, that pisses me off, too.

        • nothing that happens in Wisconsin or Texas (or Iowa, or South Carolina) effects you?

          What happens in Denver is a lot closer to almost every poster here than what happens in Wisconsin, and has a much greater impact . . . time to get a grip my friend.

          If you really wanta be pissed, be pissed about what’s happened in Vegas — it stays there.  Comprende?

        • Genius says:

          So, just to be clear, you would be very upset if the CEA or NEA put money into the denver school board races, or in any way assisted any of the candidates, correct?

          • dwyer says:

            In Denver, the DCTA, which is the local branch of the NEA, does endorse. I think that is fine.  I think that CEA and,or NEA funnel any support through the local organization.

            I don’t like “secret agendas.”  I have asked people to identify their place of residence to know if they are eligible to vote in the Denver BOE election.  This evidently is very threatening to some people.  Why are people so reluctantly to identify their voting residence?  I think it is obvious. If a poster doesn’t live in Denver, it impacts their credibility  to rant and rave about  specific candidates in the race.

            The comments here are ugly about various candidates. I don’t like that coming from outsiders.  It is a cheap pile on.

            This election is going to be bad enough without that.

            • PERA hopeful says:

              So why were you commenting on the thread about Douglas County vouchers?  And on the Ames straw poll?  And on lots of threads that have nothing to do with Denver issues?

              Give it a rest, dwyer.  I live in the Adams county part of Westminster, but am still interested in what is happening in schools in other parts of Colorado.  I don’t know anything about this election, so I haven’t commented on it.  But, if I did have knowledge and an opinion, I like to think I could express it without you getting all up in my grill because I don’t live and vote in Denver.

        • cunninjo says:

          Which means my tax dollars pay for about half of DPS’ per-pupil funding. And considering DPS is the states most populated school district, it receives A LOT of my tax dollars. I have every right to be concerned with the way my tax dollars are being spent in DPS and any other school district in the state.

          I understand your concern with national groups influencing local education, but that problem is not unique to just one side of this debate.  

          • dwyer says:

            You get to vote for state senators and representative who get to decide how much money goes to the individual school districts. You should be contacting them with your concerns about DPS.

            For the record, I am not sure what the debate is.  I am not supporting any candidate in this BOE/DPS election.  I would like to see a discussion centered on the facts about DPS by people who are knowledgeable and impacted by virtue of being Denver voters and taxpayers.  

            That is it.

    • raymond1 says:

      Also note that she never answered “isn’t Rowe anti-voucher?” I even posted that as a comment (the sole comment!) on Sirota’s posting of the same thing on SqState – no answer.

  15. dwyer says:

    That is all.  

    I think I am commenting on the Douglas voucher question because it was brought up in a diary authored by a candidate for the Denver Board of Education.

    Ames?  I think that has to do ultimately with a national election.  I can’t remember if I commented on it or not.

    Thank you for identifying your voting residence. I would just ask if and when you decide to comment on the Denver BOE election, you would refrain from using the personal pronoun/adjective plural ie. “We” and “our”..if possible.

  16. dwyer says:

    I missed the “outings.”  i miss a lot.  I don’t know all the players politically and so may just have spaced it.

    Okay, now I have a reason not to like Green, other than just a personal dislike.

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