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Archive for Public Education

Jeffco Schoolboard Recall


To start out this post, I have to say, I hate recall elections.  They are a blight on the democratic process. I have always been consistent in this. I spoke out when Republicans used the “recall” process to remove two Democrat Senators in Colorado Springs just as strongly as when I spoke out against the Scott Walker recall. It is disgusting, it undermines the will of the people. In the case of the Colorado Springs’ Senators, the excuse was, oh, well, they passed laws that were anti-second amendment. Yes, so did a majority of State Senators, and so did Governor John Hickenlooper. Was it a bad law? Yes, it was a terrible law, but I’m sorry, when you elect anti-second amendment Democrats, that’s what you are going to get. Why should there be any surprise in this?

The same goes for Scott Walker. He spelled out exactly what he was going to do when elected. The people elected him anyway. Then he did exactly what he said he was going to do. And we are shocked, why? Yes, there’s a small minority interest group (with a national, organized powerbase) that doesn’t like what he did, but that should not give them the right to out him like they tried to do.

The same is true for this current Jeffco recall. The conservative school board ran on a platform that included many of the changes they said they would enact. The people who elected them were fully aware that this was the type of board they were going to get. These members did not hide their intentions when trying to get elected. To recall them is to completely disregard the collective will of the people of Jeffco. If they are doing a crappy job, then let that be determined properly and legally, when their term ends and they are up for re-election.

In researching this cartoon, I wanted to get inside of the heads of those behind the recall. I went on their websites. I watched their TV clips. I listened as they spelled out a variety of reasons for the recall.

First, they claim that the state of Jeffco schools is a disaster. I suppose this is subjective, because I, as a Jeffco resident and tax payer, am very happy with the changes. Based upon the increase in higher teacher pay, more local control, and more financial equity among individual schools, to me, it looks like things are actually moving in the right direction.

Secondly, these proponents of the recall kept pointing back to the changing of the AP program and the consequent student walk out. That whole debacle was a manufactured farce to begin with, as I have documented in other blogs. The school board only mentioned they wanted to bring the curriculum up for review, to see if it needed to be changed. The outrage over the review was remarkable. Accountability comes with reviews. To be outraged at the review indicates zero desire for accountability. And of course, the student walk outs, make no mistake about this either, had nothing to do with ideology, and everything to do with taking the afternoon off. Most students, when pressed, could not even answer why they were marching.

Another big claim they make is that the board “broke the law,” in regards to the compensation of the new superintendent. My guess is that these people realized that simple policy differences are not enough to warrant a recall, and in order to get enough signatures to hold the recall, if they added “and they broke the law,” people would sign the petition, most likely without even asking questions.

When you say “broke the law,” the imagery most people get initially is probably going to be something like bank robbers with guns. I have not done enough research into the alleged accusation to know if it is warranted, but from what I have read, it sounds much more of a technical issue than anything else, and the conservative board insists that the charges are baseless. If they truly did break the law, then a prosecutor should have already brought charges. And, in case anybody forgot, this is America, where you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. If they did break the law, a recall is not what you need, you need a trial. Due process is guaranteed to everybody, not just those who politically agree with you.

Finally, there is one website that makes the claim that these school board members should not serve as head of public education because (wait for it)… they are Christian. Well, there you go. Didn’t realize that Christian discrimination is a cause for recall. (Granted, it was a line item among several other reasons, but it still caught my attention.)

The point of the cartoon is, there is a lot of good the school board has done, whether the haters wish to acknowledge it or not. This good has been documented. Some mistakes have been made as well, yes, but if we ousted everybody who made a mistake, no Democrat would be holding office (and to be fair, neither would Republicans). This recall is disruptive and ruinous. Achievement rates in Jeffco have improved since these changes have been implemented. The unions who are ultimately behind the recall are destroying the train of progress that has been established. This recall hurts the children most of all. These conservatives have put a system into place. Let’s let it run its course and let these school board members do their jobs.

In full disclosure, I happen to be good friends with one of the conservative board members. Does this taint my perspective? Of course, and I’m willing to admit it. However, because I do know this individual, I can give personal testimony that this person is a good and decent individual, who desires only the best for the children of Jeffco. None of the villainous accusations made against him are true. He is a family man, a genuine guy, and a true American. 

Defeated CO SB 57-Transparency

Colorado Senate Bill 57 was a measure that would have required school districts to disclose how they use tax payer money. Who would be opposed to that? Well, unfortunately, enough people to defeat it. To read more go to http://transparency.i2i.org/2009/03/no-sunshine-for-colorado-school-districts/

There are no winners

A Call for Transparency

Unfair for Who?