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September 19, 2014 09:59 AM UTC

Two Jeffco High Schools Closed Today as Board Backlash Grows

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: Colorado Public Radio's Jenny Brundin:

Teachers are riled by a couple of issues: one is an ongoing disagreement over pay and the intentions of the new conservative board members. The other is a board proposal to set up a curriculum committee to review what materials teachers use in the classroom.

The resolution stated that history classes in Jefferson County schools should promote “patriotism and the free enterprise system.” It generated controversy at Thursday night’s school board meeting. The resolution was tabled last night but could come up for discussion at a later date.

The controversy prompted about 60 Standley students to line Wadsworth Boulevard, near their school, waving placards and drawing a cacophony of honks from passing cars.


Ken Witt, Julie Williams, and John Newkirk
Ken Witt, Julie Williams, and John Newkirk of the Jefferson County School Board.

As KWGN Channel 2 reports (among others), classes were cancelled today at Standley Lake High School and Conifer High School after a wave of teachers called in sick this morning:

Standley Lake and Conifer high schools will be not have classes Friday because of several teacher absences, the Jefferson County School District said…

…Despite classes being canceled for the day, some students went ahead with a planned protest in support of the teachers.

Teachers are upset with the school board over the district’s new teacher pay model and a proposed curriculum review panel for AP U.S. history classes.

Under the plan, the starting teacher’s salary would go up about $5,000 a year, but raises will be determined based on performance. Teachers rated as ineffective or partially effective would receive only a 1 percent raise or the possibility of no raise at all.

We've been following this story closely as the right-wing Jefferson County School Board announced a plan — unveiled last night — to make changes to how schools teach history and other subjects. 9News education reporter Nelson Garcia has more on the controversy:

The proposal reads: "The charge to the committee is to review curricular choices for conformity to JeffCo academic standards, accuracy and omissions, and to inform the board of any objectionable materials."

[School Board Member Julie] Williams says this is necessary after all the changes to academic standards under the Common Core movement…

…The second part of the proposal reads in part, "Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law."

"I don't think we should encourage kids to be little rebels," Williams said. "We should encourage kids to be good citizens." [Pols emphasis]

The actions of the Jeffco School Board — under Republican control following an election last November — have created plenty of concern for months. Parents and teachers have been concerned about a number of decisions, including the hiring of a new Superintendent (with no competition for finalists), but this move by the conservative board to quite literally change curriculums has stoked a much hotter fire in the community. Public Education has always been the biggest policy issue for Jefferson County voters, and with both teachers and the PTA vocally opposing the Republican school board, candidates from Governor to U.S. Senate could suffer mightily at the polls from this public backlash.


36 thoughts on “Two Jeffco High Schools Closed Today as Board Backlash Grows

  1. Money speaks louder than words.  In the past, Jeffco had the reputation for not supporting school bond issues.  Now, they are earning a reputation for, shall we say, unenlightened thinking.  Where does money come into play?  Because home buyers will avoid Jeffco (like I did a decade ago), and home values will fall.  That is what will create a real backlash.

  2. The righties are the ones who are always carrying on about the threat of reeducation camps, usually attributed to Obama. Guess they just want to open theirs first in our public schools so they can be sure our kids will grow up to be good little blind followers if righties ever take full control, including winning the WH, again. Seems like they're finally getting the attention of Jeffco parents and not in a good way. What is this? The Communist China Education as indoctrination model?

    1. What Moddy says.  Work within the system.  How much better off would we be today if messers Hancock, Adams, Jefferson, et. al. had just gone to King and Parliament and worked things out?

    2. One way to work within the system is through public comment. The school board takes public comment, except  .  . . in this instance, they completely, and unilaterally changed the teachers' compensation structure without any public comment.  At the end of the day, the compensation structure may be good, bad or indifferent.  But it was adopted without any negotiation or buy in from the teachers. They are going to push back. If, or when, they adopt the "curriculum review committee" there is going to be more push back. 

    3. Sometimes a little civil disobedience is called for modster. Especially since it's so hard to get the pubic's attention on school board issues. Most don't vote in board elections at all and those who do often have no idea of what the candidates actually want to do. They vote based on vague ideas that conservatives will be more fiscally responsible. They are often horrified when they discover what these zealots really want.   

      They need this kind of wake up call.  Where was your devotion to following the law, not that I'm even ceding you the premise that the teachers are breaking any, when all those Sheriff's refused to implement gun control laws passed by majorities? Never mind. I know not to expect an answer.


      1. The sheriffs didn't "refuse" to enforce the gun laws. The gun laws are unenforceable. There has not been ONE charge filed for the mag ban, and no one has been prosecuted for failing a background check. The gun laws are useless.

        1. Yes, some did.  And saying the laws are unenforceable doesn't make it true.

          Also, why would anyone be prosecuted for failing a background check?  It's not illegal; you just don't get the gun.

        2. Here's the deal asstard, many sensible folks — myself included — will absolutely not sell any of their firearms to anyone without the buyer passing a background check. The gun laws are useless because no one's gone to jail? — well, boo-fucking-hoo — you are a stupid MF.    If you can't pass a background check, then buy stick.  

          Oh, and fuck off!!

        3. I see. Sheriffs won't enforce it. Pretty hard, under those circumstances, for anyone to get charged with anything. The fact that no one has been charged with anything proves it's unenforceable. That doesn't even qualify as circular logic. It's completely logic free. 

          And the Sheriffs did clearly state that they weren't going to enforce those laws. Proudly. Hint; that qualifies as a refusal. Oh and if someone doesn't pass a background check and therefore isn't allowed to buy a gun, that just means the person doesn't get to buy a gun, not that there are charges filed. And yes, people have been prevented from buying guns where he law is enforced.

          If you live in a county where the Sheriff promises not to enforce the law, that just means the seller doesn't have to worry about selling to a banned buyer because nobody is paying any attention.  You've got the talking points but you don't have the ability to put them together in a way that makes any sense.

          I blame it on the education system. Had you ever been taught logic, the disciplines of both inductive and deductive reasoning and trained in writing old fashioned circular form essays (set forth your point to be proved or opinion to be supported, present your evidence to support the point and/or reasons for the opinion you hold, conclude by pulling it altogether decisively and returning to your now well supported premise) you'd know A) how to detect unfounded crap in the garbage that comes to you through the Borg and B) how to defend a position.

              1. The catnip will help you sleep if you make tea of it. I'll post my cold-killer soup recipe if you need it, too. And you thought Cook was just a Pols handle. Feel better, B.C.

          1. I think that's called a metatroll.  That was so well executed, it makes me want to stop correcting and start trying to do that.  I'm concerned my efforts would pale in comparison, though.

    4. While I (shockingly) agree with you in principle, I also realize, as BC points out, that sometimes drastic action is required to shake up an untenable, static situation.

      I'm remeinded of the old saying: "Sometimes, if you want to get the mule's attention, you must first hit it between the eyes with a board."

      (Not that I would in any way ever condone cruelty to animals! It's merely an old, rural expression.)

    5. Mod, progressicat has a point.  Maybe we should use an 18th century remedy, like they did back in the day she fondly remembers, and tar and feather the striking teachers.  Then, like their 18th century forefathers, they wiould move to Canada.

  3. "I don't think we should encourage kids to be little rebels,"

    Thoreau is turning over in his grave….

    I hope the non-voters of Jefferson County are happy with the fascists they have allowed to take over their local education system.

    1. Thoreau – that hippie. He spoke out against the Mexican-American war and communicated with his creator by living by Walden Pond for a year.  He was the first American to promote the ideas of  civil disobedience

      In fact, his refusal to pay his taxes to pay for the war – and against the institution of slavery –  was why he spent the night in jail. Henry David Thoreau, with Waldo Emerson, Frederick Douglass, and Walt Whitman, would be just some of the thinkers left out of the literature and history curricula by the new Jeffco Board oversight committee.

      It's definitely not limited to AP classes, anymore.

    1. And I believe she speaks for many, maybe a majority of Jeffco parents. This isn't working out exactly as the rightie zealots had hoped. They pushed it too far and now people are paying attention and not liking what they're seeing. Go Jeffco students and parents! 

  4. I'm all for encouraging patriotism – but not blind patriotism. If we'd practiced blind patriotism, we'd probably have had President Joseph McCarthy. And internment camps for Muslims.

    And what's this about promoting the "free enterprise system"?

    I guess teaching about labor unions is out? The New Deal? Can't let our kids know aobut that. Eugene V. Debs and the socialist movement? Let's pretend that didn't happen.

    Ridiculous. I'm glad I don't live in Jefferson County. I want my kids to learn about history so they can make their own decisions. 

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