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POLS UPDATE: The hits keep coming for conservative Jeffco school board member John Newkirk, 9NEWS reporting this afternoon:
During a public hearing Tuesday evening to discuss the proposed budget for next year, Jefferson County School Board member John Newkirk made a comparison that some are calling offensive…
Newkirk wants the district to increase funding to charter schools to make funding more equal compared to district schools.
Scott Kwasny with the Jefferson County Education Association shot video of the meeting Tuesday night and provided a clip to 9News with Newkirk’s comments.
“We had a diversity day at Evergreen High School that I attended last month, and one of the people we heard from was a lady from the Deep South,” Newkirk said during the hearing. “She is African-American, and she spoke of growing up there in the 60s and how certain people would be treated differently from others just because of their skin color, and that thought was so foreign to me. It just made me just shake my head and go ‘what were they thinking?’ And, I think we almost have a metaphor here at this moment. Why would the district discriminate and say that certain students would be worth less than others just based on where they choose to go school? So, this is a quintessential what were we thinking moment here. This district has the opportunity here to validate that inequity by not working upon it.”
Got that? Being a charter school student is like being black in the 1960s Deep South.
Backpedal time, Mr. Newkirk.
Activist parents of Jefferson County Public Schools students don’t rate a mention with conservative school board members and radio talk show hosts, when discussing the future of district schools, teachers, students and programming.
In fact, if you take the words of Krista Kafer and Jeffco board member John Newkirk at face value– from their interview on the Dan Caplis show on 710 KNUS, on Monday, May 25– the only players with any stake or voice in the debate are “childish” teachers, “useful idiot” students, paternalistic board members, and self-righteous radio hosts.
Smells like desperation, to me – a desperate attempt to minimalize the force and action of dedicated and commited parents’ organizing and sacrifice, to bring accountability to board members who do not represent their interests.
Kafer and Newkirk disingenuously call for an “adult debate”, while chiding teachers and mischaracterizing their alleged participation as “disgusting”, “mean”, “vicious” and “bad examples” for students. And they try to demonize activist unity as blind allegiance to the teachers union and more incredulously, to a universal rejection of performance pay. Even if this were true, which it’s not, it’s based on the false premise that Jeffco rejected performance incentives in previous negotiations.
I’d be insulted, too, were I a concerned parent in Jeffco. Conflating the Advanced Placement U.S. History curriculum review protests as an extension of contract negotiations, trying to blame teachers for the collective irreverence of Twitter and social media, and portraying a massive rally of first amendment expression as, in Newkirk’s quip below, “Occupy Wadsworth” only serves to further marginalize and stir the hive of Jeffco parents and voters.
Kafer and Newkirk would like their audience to believe that the negotiation “hiccups” of JCEA with the Jeffco board exist in a bubble, independent of the same issues which confront public school defenders across the state and nation. And even more insulting, they suggest that the driving motivation of Jeffco activists is derived solely from self-interest of teachers, and without concern for the students, communities, and the district to which they have devoted their professional careers.
Families in Jefferson County, who have organized and sacrificed to bring attention to their causes, will recognize the agenda-driven spin of Kafer and Newkirk for what it is. They will not be dissuaded by right wing talking points. In fact, this might just add fuel to their fire.
The audio is provided below.