A mini-uprising from Jefferson County parents appears to have scuttled another attempt by the conservative Jeffco school board majority to inject partisan politics into the work of Colorado’s biggest public school district. Here’s the text of a letter we were forwarded from a Jeffco parent to the board, questioning an upcoming appearance by new Colorado GOP chairman Steve House at an upcoming board retreat:
Dear John, Julie and Ken,
I just received the email from Helen Neal with the link to the agenda for the Board Retreat next Thursday. I am disheartened and disappointed that Steve House remains on your Retreat Guest Panel on Innovative/Creative Practices in Public Education. On the agenda, Mr. House is listed as the Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. I see nothing that would even remotely connect him to education in his professional role. I even looked over his profile on LinkedIn…nowhere in his “experience” does his list anything even remotely connected to education. Nor does education appear in the 50 skills he has listed.
Could you please explain to me (and the myriad other taxpayers who are concerned at this line-up of “innovation experts”) what Steve House has to do with education innovation? Why are you wasting taxpayer time and money on this farce? Consider the district staff who must attend your meetings. Why are you wasting their time? From what I can tell, I have more education expertise than Mr. House. What I don’t have, however, is a “certificate” from the Leadership Program of the Rockies. It seems that’s all it takes to make it in Jeffco these days. From our communications director to a guest panel on education innovation – educational expertise is no longer required to guide our school district, just participating in a right-wing organization one of whose main goals is to destroy public education.
We live in an amazing county, state and country – surely there are ACTUAL experts on education innovation that could provide useful information to the Board of Ed and the district. Mr. House has no credentials to be participating in the panel, and the three of you, in supporting his participation, are an embarrassment to public education. For people who rely so heavily on data, I can see none to support his role on the panel.
I strongly urge you to remove him from the panel on education innovation – his participation makes a mockery of the Board of Ed of Jeffco.
We’re not privy to whatever discussion that took place between the receipt of this letter by the conservative Jeffco board and now, but the board’s agenda for the upcoming retreat in question has changed as of today:
Subject: Retreat: Guest Panel on Innovative/Creative Practices in Public Education (EL-11)
estimated time: 7:30 p.m. (estimated duration: 2 hours)
Tony Lewis, executive director, Donnell-Kay Foundation
Scott Fast, parent, Columbine High School, retired executive director, Accenture Foundation
Steve House, chairman, Colorado Republican Party withdrew [Pols emphasis]
So much for that! The only thing that remains is for an intrepid reporter to ask two questions: why House withdrew, and for what reasons the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party was picked for this “retreat” to begin with.
You know, beyond the obvious reasons that have nothing to do with education.
Jeffco seems to have plenty of progressive people if the number can be judged from the activist kids and parents who have taken on this regressive board. How did the board get elected to begin with?
Concerted activists running a coordinated “ticket” in a normally non-partisan, low interest, down-ticket race, catching Jeffco voters off guard.
It’s the right-wing’s guerrilla warfare against our country’s fundamental values. If they can spread fear, ignorance and cynicism from the bottom up, they could, over time corrupt and degrade our entire society.
@CDW, It’s easy to run as a stealth candidate for school board. You just mouth a bunch of platitudes about engaging the community and the value of education, etc., etc., etc. It’s non-partisan, so with a few non-disclosed campaign contributors it’s not so hard to get elected. It’s MUCH harder to get re-elected once the cat is out of the bag.
School board elections are notoriously low participation events so it’s easy for a small dedicated group to win. Even among the small percentage that vote in these elections most know little more than that they saw a name on a yard sign or something. They are also non-partisan which doesn’t mean they’re actually non-partisan. It just means people don’t run as members of any party and it can be a chore for the average busy voter to find out what their affiliations are. This has been going on for decades. The ultra right so called “moral majority” got it’s foot in the door of political power starting decades ago by taking over school boards and in other low interest, low participation elections. You can bet that many of the now appalled parents didn’t even vote. Many of those who did spent little to no time finding out anything about the backgrounds of the people they were voting for. They just heard a few nice sounding platitudes about accountability, cutting waste, yadayadyada.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
Westword cover story on Jefferson County School Board monkey business.
Least surprising development ever. Why did House withdraw? We all know these are partisan hacks.
Too bad House laid off Moddy and AC, otherwise you’d get the “real story.”:)
I can do modster: What are all you libs complaining about? Why can’t the Board invite anyone they want? Why do you hate freedom? You’re grasping at straws. Benghazi!
Inject partisan politics into the JeffCo school debate? What the hell has this page been doing on almost a weekly basis?
Oh – I get it – when it is something that Pols agrees with it isn’t partisan! Its just good common sense!/heavy, heavy sarcasm.
Ignore the facts! Deflectors on FULL! Release The Fladen!!
I don’t think “inject” means what you think it means.
Is that really all you have, Elliot? Is the JeffCo school board that hard to defend?
I guess they are.
This is a political blog. That means it’s supposed to be (duh) political. School Boards aren’t. It’s really that simple. Either you know that and you’ve got nothing so you’re doing your usual look over there/Johnny does it too bull or you don’t know that which makes you pathetically ignorant.
I’m pretty sure Eliot is friends with the Novitas people who are managing comms for the school board.
So it’s door number one.
The shill hatch.
He did his duty and has crawled back under his rock, ready to make another devastating argument once the order has been given by his Maters. Or, some random hate-filled bigot with a spare fiver. Or a Chik-Fil-A coupon.
I mean, a guy’s got to have his standards, right?
Actually, I got slammed with some personal problems that I am not going to get into in addition to having to prepare for trial on Tuesday (which I will now need to seek a continuance for)
God, I hope you just do prep stuff. I hate to think of anyone depending on you to actually present any kind of cogent argument on their behalf in court!
I hope that things work out well out for you. Life before politics, I guess.
Injecting partisan politics into the Jeffco School system is like peeing in the ocean. I don’t think Pols reporting is so much “injecting” partisan politics, Elliot, as it is “scraping off”….
The end of this month marks my 20th anniversary as a JeffCo resident and taxpayer. My taxes directly support the JeffCo school system. Also, I have never had a kid in the school system during the 20 years.
The prior school board; and prior superintendent; seemed to view taxpayers like myself as nothing more than “marks to be fleeced and flim-flammed.” In 2004, I mistakenly voted for a mill levy increase and bond issue, which were promoted under the false premise of “do it for the kids.” A middle school near my home needed an addition built on to replace temporary trailers that had been set up. Was an addition built? Of course not. The ultra liberal school board simply leveled the entire building and built a new school. Same happened with Golden High School; new building instead of renovation. I have not voted for any tax increase or bond issue since.
I voted for change with the current school board. And I will admit that they haven’t lived up to expectations altho I consider them marginally better than the big spender candidates that they beat. JeffCo still isn’t where it needs to be; which is not far left or far right; but somewhere in the center. C.H.B.
If you had kids in school you probably wouldn’t consider things like whitewashing history and presenting non-science as science to be marginally better. Whether the best way to go is to build an addition to an existing building or to replace it is a legitimate discussion and concern to have but to the students and the parents, the top priority is quality of education. In that department this openly partisan board has forcefully championed the deplorable agenda of the wackos in control of today’s Republican Party.
Like I said, they haven’t lived up to my expectations. But I’d hate to see these religious right clones replaced by more big spenders.
To each their own priorities.
I have been a JeffCo resident for 25 years. For 12 of those years (and counting), I have had children in the public school system. As more of a direct consumer of the School District, I think that I may have more of an appreciation for the new facilities that have been constructed than you. But, I recognize and appreciate that someone could disagree with the District past spending priorities. If the new school majority expressed any interest in “reducing wasteful spending” on facilities, I might see your point. But they have not. Their agenda is increased spending for charter schools and restructuring (reducing) teacher compensation. They have spent every dime, and more, that the prior board spent, but more on lawyers and public relations. They have publicly insulted the teachers, the prior superintendent, fellow board members, and students in the District that dared to disagree with them. Simply put, they do not behave like adults. They are ignoring imminent problems with population growth and inadequate facilities. C.H.B., the majority is in over their heads.
Early Worm: insults are relative and in the eye of the beholder. Like I said, the three have not lived up to expectations. Getting my vote the next time won’t be easy for them. And, my impression has been that growth in JeffCo school population has been flat, not growing. Got some citations?
CHB – My comment was not directed to overall population growth but growth in Arvada and parts of western Lakewood. Northwest Arvada needs schools The Board needs to figure out how to fund construction of new schools, but has their heads in the sand.
I went to public high school in Jefferson County back in the 60’s. The Coors baseball field at Alameda and Harlan used to be Alameda Junior High School. I don’t remember this deep hatred towards teachers by Republicans back then. The simple fact is a lot of people wouldn’t be accepted in the Christian Madrassas. Just say they need to a quality education to compete.
In terms of fiscal restraint, you do know that the current school has been hiring cronies with hefty increases in their salaries. Not something that looks like a bell weather of wise restraint.
About not seeing any results from your bond vote, you do know that sometimes infrastructure is defined to be high speed Internet which is equipment that won’t be visible from your porch. What you don’t say is what the relative performance of the school district was before and after the bond vote. If the final tally is that the children in Jeffco were still performing above expectations than maybe you’re investment was not just for political posturing.
What I hate is how your schmuck friends can politicize anything and turn into a good versus evil drama every fucking time. What possesses your conservative friends to be such fucking assholes about everything. Put the gun down and go watch the kids sing. Let’s get along somehow. It’s the 21st Century.
My kids went to Creek Schools. And I state with pride that I voted for every mill levy increase and bond approval that came along. Because, CHB (which I thought at first stood for cheeseburger and I’m afraid my opinion has altered only slightly since), as a liberal, I don’t mind paying for things I like, like education. I’m not a conservative who wants everybody else in the universe to pay for nice things that only conservatives can have and refuse to pay for for themselves. (That doesn’t scan grammatically, I hope it conveys what I wanna, wanna say.)
And Fladen, you’ve already slipped into insignificance, kindly slink out of sight. Buh-bye.
Citizen exlurker: I pay my own way in life and don’t expect others to pay for it. I do without stuff that I can’t pay for immediately, altho the next car in a few years will have a loan. Sorry if that does not meet your stereotypical definition of a “conservative.” Nice that your kids went to Creek schools. But we’re talking here about JeffCo.
Well mine went to Littleton Littleton school district not jeffco unincorporated”‘Littleon”) schools which, from the time he started kindergarten to the time he graduated High School, always tied or superseded more affluent Cherry Creek as the state’s top performing district. During that time Littleton citizens passed every mill levy increase requested by large margins.
Pretty sure there was some connection between financial support for our schools, library and museum and our share of South Suburban Rec District and the quality of all of the above which we found well worth the very small per ca pita increases. We got schools as good or better than expensive private schools. We got a quality library and the best small town museum I’ve ever seen with two historic living farms and a fishing pond for families to enjoy, permanent and rotating quality exhibits, voluntary entry contribution so any family could enjoy an afternoon with the kids interacting with the animals, learning about our agricultural past watching the blacksmith, the ducks and other water birds, seeing how people lived in the 1860s and 1890s with lots of special events throughout the year. We got summer concerts. We got great parks and trails including the South Platte Park one of the nations premiere metro wild parks. Our district rec centers offer everything much more expensive private gyms offer with state of the art equipment and numerous classes at a much more affordable price than in the private sector. Al of the above also provides a lot of jobs which puts money back into the local economy.
We don’t see this as paying other people’s way. We voted for the increases because we had enough sense to know that the small increases requested would buy us all so much improved quality of life for such a low cost. Littleton, (once again, not Jeffco unincorporated Littleton) as a result, has been a great place for everyone from students to young singles and families starting out to seniors, with a wealth of affordable or free (except for the small tax increases) amenities and schools. We don’t consider this ‘big” spending. We certainly don’t consider it wasteful. It’s very modest spending for big results and rewards. It just makes sense.
Honest to God. Don’t know what happened to my opening parenthesis. It belongs between the two ‘Littletons”
Did you really just say that?…Love ya, CHB, but you are wandering into that “I built it” territory. As Stephen stills said…”the self made man, babe, is truly shallow”…..
We all live in the world together, brother…or sister……whichever…
Some people don’t mind paying for things that don’t appear to benefit them directly. But, if it’s any consolation, that sort of “I only want to spend money on things that I think are important and that seem to benefit me directly” is a stereotypical “conservative” view.
And if they really had to completely pay their own way they’d be well and truly screwed. If you believe that you could possibly have a decent life paying your own way and you’re not a billionaire (mere multi-millions wouldn’t be enough), then you’re just clueless. And, of course, I don’t mean you, Pikes Piqued.
It’s not clueless at all and you know absolutely nothing about my lifestyle. I pay for what I need and don’t live the Ritz Carlton lifestyle. What’s that saying that so many of both political persuasions, especially fake Christians with their media empires, don’t really follow: “live simply so that others may simply live?”
“I built it territory…….” I thought that was more like President Obama territory (you didn’t build that); a line badly taken out of context.
Back to the main topic here. I pay my Jeffco school taxes even though I don’t directly benefit. Do I mind? Not really, but then I don’t have a choice as the county treasurer would not like it if I don’t pay up.
It’s too bad CB that the only reason you pay your taxes is the fear of government penalties.
In that deep blue liberal state of Massachusetts, they call April 15th, Patriots Day, because it is the day that true patriots step up and proudly fund the best government in the world.
What a bunch of phony Americans, your denizens of the far right are to hate the government that is considered the best in the world and by extension the brave men and women who serve and protect all our citizens. Why don’t you just spit on their graves with your distaste for contributing to the welfare of us all. I pity your hollow people who parrot trite sayings about freedom and accountability but run the other way when asked to contribute from their wealth that was acquired from living in a relatively peaceful place. Hollow patriots who howl about how horrible living in the USA is and what a terrible government we have all the while blaming it for not doing more with less. Weird ass patriotism if you ask me CB. How the hell can you stand to be around such rank hypocrisy?
My point has nothing to do with “lifestyle” or being frugal CHB. I don’t have to know anything more than that you are someone who lives in this country and that there is a lot more involved in providing you with a decent life than what you, or anyone without the income of a small nation, could possibly manage on your own. There’s all the infrastructure of a civilized society making it possible for us to have ways of getting from one place to another, having communication and distribution systems, a safe supply of food and water, help in emergencies, relief in disasters, law enforcement on our streets, defense…. the list of things you couldn’t possibly afford to pay for all by yourself goes on and on and without them businesses that provide jobs couldn’t function. Commerce of any kind couldn’t function. Schools couldn’t function. Hospitals couldn’t function. Nothing you rely on every day could function.
So, yes, if you think only takers who ought to be paying their own way benefit from taxes and mill levies and government spending while you, on the other hand, are virtuously and independently paying your own way, you must be pretty clueless. You have the advantage of all kinds of things you personally couldn’t afford every minute of every day of your life. We all do. The difference is, those of us with common sense know it. The shrink government to bathtub drowning size crowd, including today’s brand of conservative Republicans and so called libertarians, don’t and delude themselves that they are independently paying their own way for the life they enjoy as part of a civilized society.
Absolutely right. Look at Co Spgs, where my cheapskate brother-in-law let his neighbors pay for their street lights, because it was light enough for him to see his way into the house. He wouldn’t pay the extra money for his street light to be turned back on.
Then when the fires came and those amazing firefighters made a stand and held the fire at the one street that kept his home from burning down, unlike so many others, he actually was a bit ashamed of all his gloating about how little taxes he paid in Co Spgs.
So, being the woman I am, I told him that I was glad MY excessive tax dollars went to pay for firefighters to save HIS home.
I actually like the guy, dyed in the wool Repub that he is. And he’s good to my sister. So we put up with his near total lack of a clue.
I have an uncle who is the only wacko  Fox rightie in my deep blue family. Funny thing is, he’s a retired fire fighter and his late wife was a school secretary so both of them were on the public tax funded payroll and bi both enjoyed super generous tax supported healthcare and pension all their lives. The fact that this is so typical of fire fighters and police officers who lean hard right defies common sense.
My uncle was fortunate enough to have served when retirement health coverage and pension were truly gold plated and his pension is at least twice what he ever made while he was working. He’s got more in retirement than any other family member though they made more during their working lives, courtesy of tax payers and the “big government” he rails against.
On the the other hand, he’s mid 80s now, loves us to pieces and we no longer discuss any of this which is easy enough since before he was a firefighter he was a cub reporter in 1950s Chicago. Between the two careers, he has lots of great stories, a superb collection of old fire fighting memorabilia and hair raising old crime scene photos to share when we get together! Plenty of non-political stuff to talk about. Also I know he would run into a burning building to rescue me so….
oops. wacky editing error!