Photos: Jeffco Teachers, Students “Occupy Wadsworth”

jeffcokid1Photo via Twitter

FOX 31 reported Friday evening, as controversy over the radical agenda of the new conservative Jefferson County Board of Education continues to grow:

Teachers, parents and students lined several intersections along Wadsworth Boulevard, to show support for Jefferson County teachers and students, while also voicing frustration with the conservative, 3-2 school board majority.

“There is miscommunication happening and there is not transparency,” said Sarah Freza, a Jeffco parent and middle school teacher.

Many said there was not transparency when negotiations with teachers stalled, the long-time superintendent resigned, and a nationwide search for a replacement led to one finalist.


This is part of a effort called "Boots on the Boulevard" where protesters stand at major intersections along Wadsworth from 104th Avenue on the north end to Chatfield Avenue on the south end. They are upset with recently elected board members Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams who make up the majority.

"Right now, we feel very kicked to the side," [teacher Sarah] Jenkins said.

She is worried about teacher pay and respect for teachers. Protesters have also have concerns that Witt, Newkirk, and Williams have made cuts to full day kindergarten while adding funds to charter schools…

Protesters are also upset with the selection of a solo finalist for superintendent, Dan McMinimee, who is the current assistant superintendent of Douglas County. In Douglas County, a conservative controlled school board [has] launched a series of school reforms including a market-based pay for performance program for teachers and an effort to launch school vouchers.

For those not familiar with the local geography, Wadsworth Boulevard is the principal north-south artery of suburban Jefferson County, running directly through the county's heavily populated cities of Westminster, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, and Littleton. From our observation, the "Boots on the Boulevard" demonstration involved literally hundreds of teachers, parents, and students, at major intersections running the whole length of Wadsworth in the middle of rush hour. The level of visibility Jeffco teachers achieved Friday afternoon is greater than just about any earned media coverage could ever net them. It's reasonable to assume that much of the voting public in Jefferson County is unaware something controversial is happening with their new school board, or even that there is a new school board.

A whole lot of voters got the message Friday afternoon. More photos after the jump.

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12 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. I drove past one of the groups on Friday and I will confirm both that the number of people occupying the corner was large and enthusiastic, and that the people driving by were hugely supportive. I'd say they hade #OperationAmericanSpring beat handily.

    Glad you did a write-up on this, and good to hear that what I saw was part of an even larger event.

    I will also say – I saw an SUV decorated in Save Our Schools slogans yesterday, and I hope that this awareness campaign continues.

  2. Sunmusing says:

    Privatizing our educational system is a BAD idea…it will always be bottom line and profits…just say no to the corporations..

  3. mamajama55 says:

    I'm proud of Jeffco teachers. It's still a great district, and the new Supe and Board will be fought every inch of the way.

  4. BlueCat says:

    Unfortunately school board elecions are so under the radar for most that it's the easiest place for conservatives whose real goal is privatizing public education to get a foothold. That's how the religious right extremists got started in politics back in the day.

    • yameniye says:

      For years I pounded tables and yelled as loud as I could about the Dems failing to understand how important school boards, RTD, coyote herder and whatever else someone could be elected to are.  Several years ago, during the election that the DougCo school board was taken over by the Republicans, the candidates did not understand how imporatant it was to be loud and blatant at what was happening.  The Dems could not believe that the RNC out of DC could be paying millions to win.  Well, those millions did buy the seats and now DougCo schools are the Coloraod pathway to ignorance.

      Will the next election occur in time to save JeffCo schools.  I doubt it.  The good voters of JeffCo have been electing anti-school, anti-government Repubs for years.  Unless the JeffCo Dems come up with some fight, candidates and a lot of DNC money, they won't win.

      Republicans do not play by the rules; that is why the national RNC puts money into and runs local, non-partisan races.  They happily break the Colorado laws regarding party affiliation and because the Dems do not challange them, they get away with it.  It is time for the Dems to start attacking and winning.

      • mamajama55 says:

        Yah man, yameniye. I helped put out literature for Dahlkemper and Fellman. I don't know much about the other board members – what are they like? Will they stand up to the new Superintendant?

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          I'm somewhat of a "wild card" in all the JeffCo school board stuff, altho I represent only myself. I've lived in JeffCo for 19 years and have never had a kid in the school system. But I pay handsomely in taxes to support the district. While I'm a traditional conservative, I do support public schools.

          The prior board and superintendent didn't seem to care much for the taxpaying citizens who fund them, other than parents. Teachers also seemed to be ranked far ahead of taxpayers. I'm not sorry to see Stevenson go; she was pretty lacking in inspirational leadership during the Great Recession, among other things.

          The new board has some issues; llike ack of transparency with the hiring of their own lawyer and the sole finalist for superintendent. I'm inclined to still give them a honeymoon, as long as they don't follow the DougCo board lead, getting into voucher crap and trying to fund religious schools, in violation of the Colorado Constitution.     C.H.B.

  5. mamajama55 says:

    Here's video from CEA:

    Boots on the Boulevard! (You can't silence an entire community…)


  6. DATcolorado says:

    There was also a group at the intersection in front of Arvada West High School (64th and Simms) before 7 AM, last Tuesday and again this morning.

  7. terrimcb says:

    ·         The Jeffco school board's Republican backed board members (3 of the 5) are blatantly giving massive amounts of money to charter schools. That money is supposed to go to Jeffco public schools. How dare they do this to our kids!!! It is all about money. Charter school teachers don't have to have the extensive education that public school teachers are required to have. Further, the district does not have to pay as much per a student attending a charter school as they do for a student attending a public school. If you want a good cry, just watch any video regarding the Koch bros. and their involvement in our children's education/future.


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