The Hubris of Julie Williams

UPDATE: The College Board weighs in strongly in support of students protesting against the Jefferson County school board's proposed "censorship" of the AP history framework, via 9NEWS:

"The College Board's Advanced Placement Program® supports the actions taken by students in Jefferson County, Colorado to protest a school board member's request to censor aspects of the AP U.S. History course," The College Board said in a statement.

The statement cites concerns with a portion of the proposal submitted by Jeffco School Board Member Julie Williams which reads "Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law."

The College Board states, "These students recognize that the social order can – and sometimes must – be disrupted in the pursuit of liberty and justice. Civil disorder and social strife are at the patriotic heart of American history – from the Boston Tea Party to the American Revolution to the Civil Rights Movement. And these events and ideas are essential within the study of a college-level, AP U.S. History course." [Pols emphasis]

We have a theory who the kids are going to listen to–and it's not Julie Williams.



Yesterday, FOX 31 caught up with Jefferson County Board of Education member Julie Williams–the member of the new hard-right conservative majority school board responsible for a proposal to "review" new AP history curriculum standards, in hope of ensuring they do not "encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law," and "present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage" while promoting "citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system." Her proposal has resulted in massive student protests all week in Jefferson County, as thousands of students walked out of class and took to the streets to demand that history "not be a mystery."

Williams has been difficult to reach by the press in the last few days as protests over her proposal raged, so FOX 31's interview was a big chance for her to set the record straight.

Or to make things much, much worse for herself, which is what happened.

FOX31 Denver’s Kent Erdahl spoke with Julie Williams Thursday night, the board member who is at the center of this controversy. The goal was to find out what she has in mind and what her reaction is to the protests which have been taking place for a week now…

Many say the fear comes from Williams` original criteria for her proposed committee which states … “Materials should present positive aspects of the United States,”  “Promote patriotism” and “should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

“Basically, what I am asking for is for history to be taught complete, without bias. So the good, the bad, the ugly without bias,” Williams says.

Kent Erdahl asked her, “Isn`t discouraging things like civil disobedience bias?” Williams answer, “I`m not talking about changing the history to not teach that. I`m saying we shouldn`t be encouraging our kids to disobey the law and that`s what`s happening right now. [Pols emphasis] Our kids are being encouraged to walk out of the schools.”

As we've noted a few times while covering the antics of the new Jeffco school board majority, Julie Williams is a member of the Neville "political dynasty" of arch-conservative political activists and politicians, which is very well known both in Jefferson County and at the Colorado Capitol. Williams is the sister-in-law of former GOP state Sen. Tim Neville, once again a candidate for the Senate in District 16. Tim Neville's son is Joe Neville, chief lobbyist for the infamous Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. Joe Neville's RMGO this election season is supporting a number of RMGO-endorsed legislative candidates.

And you know, it's a funny thing: RMGO doesn't have much trouble with people breaking laws.


Remember when Sen. Greg Brophy (R-RMGO) said these words from the well of the Colorado Senate? Brophy was hailed as a champion of freedom by RMGO and the gun lobby after he announced he would not obey House Bill 1224, the magazine limit law enacted last year.

Now folks, we don't know about you, but we'd say Brophy's declaration of "civil disobedience" to Colorado's magazine limit law sounds an awful lot like "encouraging our kids to break the law," doesn't it? Do you think the RMGO's "I Will Not Comply" T-shirts (above right) might be "encouraging" people to break the law?

Does Julie Williams own one?

In a way, this sums up the whole problem with any politically biased "review" of history, to smooth over the unsightly parts and not "encourage disregard for the law." Any time you try to review/rewrite/sanitize/whatever you want to call it history–any time you treat history as something you can bend to the politics of the moment–it comes back to bite you, from the civil rights movement to…well, even Greg Brophy.

And yes, sanitizing civil rights history in the U.S. is far worse than making a hypocrite of Greg Brophy. Almost incomparably worse. But Brophy's and RMGO's open support for lawbreaking does one thing very well: it throws the hypocrisy of Julie Williams into sharp relief.

51 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Moderatus says:

    Wrong again, Colorado Pols. The gun control bills are unjust violations of our constitutional rights.

    Is that really how you feel about truancy laws?

    Survey says: XXX

    • OrangeFree says:

      What constitutional rights were violated? You can still buy guns, you can still buy bullets. 

    • mamajama55 says:


      Typing something in giant red letters doesn't make it true. Just FYI

    • Progressicat says:

      Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose:

      Scalia, J, – Heller

    • horseshit GOP front group says:

      The amount of times a bagger mentions the constitution is inversely proportional to how much she or he really understands it.

    • Arvadonian1 says:

      The courts don't agree with you..magazine limits and background check have been upheld time and again by the courts.


    • DawnPatrol says:

      Yes — answer OrangeFree's question, or forever hold your tongue on this topic.

      If there is, or there was ever proposed, such a genuine violation of the gunnutz' constitutiuonal rights, SHOW US! Quit parroting Rush Limbaugh and Wayne "No, it's NOT French" LaPierre, stand up, be your own man/woman/android for once, and state your position clearly! Here's your chance. Enlighten us!

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      Exactly what constitutional right are you talking about?  The one about the well-regulated militia?  The gun bill does nothing to infringe on the workings of a well-regulated militia.

    • BlueCat says:

      No court has ruled that those laws are violations of our constitutional rights. They're the ones who get to decide, not you. Not legislators. You may remember that legislators pass the laws. The courts decide whether or not they comply with our constitution.

      There were no walk outs going on before those proposals were set forth.  Where were all the students disobeying the law because they were taught to do so in their courses then?

      Students may have been taught about laws, about laws that were considered by many to be unjust in the past and about the civil unrest and strife those laws and opposition to them caused but they weren't being directed to break laws in their classroom course work.  A non-problem. Like voter fraud by impersonation at the polls. Another problem that doesn't predate the Republican proposed solution.

      Those who believe that the gun laws violate the constitution have every right to express that opinion and to hold protest rallies and to urge that the courts overturn those laws. Nobody is stopping them or teaching our students that gun rights advocates shouldn't have the right  to free speech. 

      Sheriffs and others are teaching disrespect for the law by example. Not always a bad thing if the law is really unjust but the proposals say students shouldn't be encouraged to break the law, period. That would go equally for those gun laws you don't like as long as they stand. 

      To be fair it would also include laws against equal marriage rights except that numerous courts have already over-turned them. True it hasn't reached the Supremes. and true it was being disobeyed prior to court decisions. But it's you, not "libruls", who are the ones arguing for the teaching of pure obedience to every law. That would have to be every law standing and couldn't exclude laws you don't like that you hope will be over-turned.  

      Naturally it would include obeying the laws against blacks marrying whites or sitting at white only lunch counters before those laws were struck down. And people were arrested and prosecuted for those things. They chose to disobey while willing to pay the price.  Kind of why opponents of the board aren't crazy about obedience to authority being the ideal of what our students should be taught.

      Try thinking before you type.

    • spaceman65 says:

      I'm pretty sure the Supreme Court said that the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.  But that's only because I actually read DC v. Heller.  You might want to do the same.  Knowledge is good, even when it refutes your position.


  2. Progressicat says:

    Well, now old Julie's getting a taste of First Amendment remedies.  Wingnutbag.

  3. denverco says:

    This could be the one big incident that costs the gop in this years elections, both local and statewide. The parents of these kids are also involved and supporative – and mad at conservatives and they will vote.

  4. skeptical citizen says:

    Julie Williams should resign or be recalled.


    • BlueCat says:

      At least it doesn't include a proposal to teach Christian values. Or Judeo-Christian values. That's always supposed to make it not a state endorsement of religion at all. Like when I was a kid and they'd throw in one lonely little dreidel song at the public school Christams concert thereby making it not just a Christian program at all. And besides Christmas is a secular holiday too, don't ya know.  Ho ho ho!

    • gertie97 says:

      Noooo, no resignation yet. Don't take away her shovel until Nov. 4.


  5. Early Worm says:

    You failed to highlight my favorite part of the story. Williams has complained that the AP History curriculum is flawed because it omits numerous important historical figures.  Their names are not in the standards, but the reporter checked the textbooks: "FOX31 turned, instead, to the textbooks. We examined the ten AP U.S. History textbooks approved for use in Jefferson County school. All of the names and events Williams claims are omitted are found in every single one. They most often appear on multiple pages."  Williams is either wilfully ignorant or is a liar. This is exactly the type of critical skills the students are taught in APUSH. Don't accept statements at face value.  When possible, examine the primary source, which will be more reliable than a secondary source, or, in this case, a blowhard politician.  I am guessing that Williams never took APUSH.  She admits that she did not review the standards.  She just regurgitates what she is fed. 

    • BlueCat says:

      One of those skills might be researching before opening your mouth.

    • Miss Jane says:

      Your last point is becoming abundantly clear.  I would like to know who is doing the feeding, as well as who she intended to have placed on this "committee".  I'm thinking she had names in mind.  She didn't do this all by her little self and some info from the internets.

    • mamajama55 says:

      Like the myth that students no longer say the Pledge of Allegiance in the United States. "Bring Back the Pledge!" these people  demand, in emails, Facebook memes, and the occasional lightweight legislation.

      Fact: Only five states in the US do not REQUIRE reading of the Pledge of Allegiance every single day in every school. I've worked in three Colorado school districts, at all grade levels, and Colorado students always say the Pledge every day – including the "under God" part.

      Individual students can and often do "opt out" of saying the Plege for their own reasons. I personally find it an uplifting way to start the day, and I've felt that way since Obama became President.  Righties can thank Obama for bringing millions of Americans back into feeling included in patriotism.

  6. Pam Bennett says:

    Once again the importance of candidates running for and winning every elected seat becomes evident. 

  7. The realist says:

    Send Julie back to school.

  8. DaftPunk says:

    Littwin: Don’t know much about AP history

    As you may have heard, Jefferson County School Board member Julie Williams is upset about the direction of the Advanced Placement U.S. History course curriculum. And so she has proposed that a committee be formed to review it to ensure that the curriculum — written by, you know, historians — is sufficiently patriotic and sufficiently respectful of authority.

    As Williams puts it, she wants to make sure that the AP course emphasizes the “positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.”

    So what exactly in the coursework has caused Williams such concern?

    She has no idea…

    “I’m not familiar enough with everything that is in AP history to make that judgment.”

  9. DaftPunk says:

    Holy Fuck!  I just checked out this wackadoo's Facebook page.  Besides being unable to construct a cogent sentence in English without spelling or punctuation errors, she claims to be a "healthcare professional" who is swimming in the deep end of the vaccines cause autism pool, including this gem: Human Fetal DNA Fragments In Vaccines Are A Possible Cause For Autism – According To This Stanford Scientist

    Never was a more powerful argument made for always voting and paying attention to down ticket races than this nincompoop's position on such an influential body.

  10. mamajama55 says:

    On Melissa Harris-Perry show today, the Jeffco Student Protests are one of the lead stories.

  11. mev says:

    Here is a link to the actual AP History framework document:

    It is insightful to read and also fairly obvious from her interview above that Julie Wilson has not done so, e.g. saying she barely looked at the framework and her complaints on people/events omitted mostly parrots conservative blogs and RNC position.

    More critically, I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding on what a framework is intended to do.  It is not a checklist of events and people to memorize to complete a college-level history class.  IMO: approaching history as a memorization exercise dumbs things down – and the committee that created the framework also makes this clear:

    Julie Wilson's criteria (Materials should…Materials should not….) further compounds her stepping in crap here.  It is unfortunate that she hadn't instead focused more on "materials should support instruction at college level required for an AP course" but instead pushes to dumb things down with a checklist of missing events/people to memorize approach.

    • mamajama55 says:

      Exactamente. Because nouns make better talking points than verbs do.

      Modern educational standards are all about verbs and adverbs : students will be able to…..(verb) (adverb) and then a noun. EX: (from the AP course link you provided)

      The course provides opportunities for students to identify and analyze patterns of continuity and change over time and connect them to larger historical processes or themes.

      Whereas, conservative talking points are all about lists of nouns to "cover":

      the Alamo, Thomas Jefferson, Manifest Destiny, Civil War, Ben Franklin, etc.

      Nouns are static, frozen in time, while verbs, and adverbs describe ongoing, imperfect, evolving processes. We can't put that on a bumper sticker, for Pete's sake.

      That's also the other reason shills like AC and Mods can't manage to type "Democratic". Democratic is an adjective, and they prefer nouns, hence "Democrat" – plus Democrat sounds like Bureaucrat, autocrat, has a negative connotation.



  12. mamajama55 says:

    Melissa Harris Perry interviewed two Jeffco student protesters this Sunday, Sept. 28. The latest videos will probably be uploaded onto the show site about 11 or 12 MST.

  13. mamajama55 says:

    Jeffco student and teacher on national news: Melissa Harris Perry show this am. Prominently featured: Pam Mazanec, a Colorado school board member who said on Facebook that the US ended slavery voluntarily. Mike Littwin skewered her statement in a column in the Independent Oct 2, where it received hundreds of Facebook comments, and it has been blowing up on local Facebook pages since.

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