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.
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.