9/29 Monday Post: Do List & BOE Meeting Prep

2014 Sept Protests 1First let us say to our high school students that last week made  every American proud! Our ‘little rebels’ showed the country that at least in JeffCo we have not forgotten that protesting to stop censorship is patriotic!

So, our deepest thanks to high school students who left their classrooms last week and the Friday before.  You have shown us that our hopes for the future are in good hands.

With that said, we do offer one bit of advice – keep to your plan to protest on Saturday, and be in school on October 1st.  Any revenue hit caused by an undercount would not concern WNW in the least.  They have already shown how little they care for our District, our schools, and you, our students.  Instead, they would most likely delight in taking it out on the teachers, whom they already have accused of somehow mesmerizing all of you into making your protests.

So be in school on October 1st…and at the Board Meeting on October 2nd, followed by your demonstration on October 4th.  We welcome you to the fray!

The Monday Do List:

Email the Board (board@jeffco.k12.co.us) asking why Julie Williams’ “Curriculm Review Committee” is not on the agenda.  To bring more pressure on the Board, copy your email to three or more of the local media companies below:

Chalkbeat (Contact Form)
The Colorado Independent  (Email Address)
Colorado Pols (Email Address)
The Colorado Statesman (Email Address)
Colorado Media Publications (Contact Form): Arvada Press, Golden Transcript,  Lakewood Sentinel,  Littleton Independent, North Jeffco Westsider,  Westminster Window, Wheat Ridge Transcript
Columbine Courier (Contact Form)
The Denver Business Journal (Contact Form)
The Denver Post  (Email Address – 150 words max)
El Hispano (Spanish, Email Address)
La Prensa (Spanish, Contact Form)
Westword (Contact Form)

CBS 4 (Contact Form)
Fox31 (Email Address)
7News (Contact Form)
KRMA 6 (PBS): (Contact Form)
9NEWS (Contact Form)
CW2 News (Email Address)

And Keep Fighting Everyday!

Finally, go to the meeting on Thursday!  If you can’t make it, then make plans to watch it on line at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/JeffcoBoardRoom

Thursday Meeting Prep:

Note:  In an effort to make the posts shorter, we edit down to key information only.  We will include a link to BoardDocs site as well as one to the agenda in a form suitable for printing.

BOE Meeting 2014-10-02 (Thursday night)
Date and Time:  Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.
Education Center, 5th Floor Board Room, 1829 Denver West Drive, Bldg. 27, Golden, CO

Key Agenda Items

Agenda Item 2.05 Approve Agenda

Type: Action

Recommended Action: to approve the agenda for the regular business meeting of the Jeffco Public Schools Board of Education for October 2, 2014 as presented.

Our Comments: An amazing thing!  The Curriculum Review Committee proposal that caused JeffCo students to make international headlines…is not on the agenda!

As Lesley Dahlkemper noted on her Facebook page last Thursday, the normal practice is to discuss at one meeting and then vote at the other.  WNM+Williams has certainly done this for everything else!  But for some strange reason, they are not doing it now.  You don’t think that the ongoing national and international attention it brought could have something to do with it, do you?

Believe it or not, we want this item on the agenda!  We want Witt, Newkirk, and Williams to do their dirty deed in the bright lights of public awareness.  We want a full and complete review followed by an up or down vote.

But they do not seem to want to do that.  Instead, they seem to want to cheat the public of an actual decision in public.   Among other things, by having no agenda item for this topic, they can push any public comment to the very end of the meeting, when the press has gone, and maybe the high school students (who will undoubtedly be there) may have tired and gone home.

…Or maybe not.

The Public Agenda Part One call for public comment on “Agenda Related” items.  We suggest that an appropriate topic for comment is the lack of having the Curriculum Review Committee proposal on the agenda.   This is a completely appropriate topic for public comment:  Why is the Board not addressing the issue that brought such fame to tens of hundreds our high school students and such ignominy to the School Board?  For those of you who want to address the Board on the Curriculum Review Committee, we strongly urge you to sign up for the Public Agenda Part One public comment, listing Agenda item 2.05 as your topic, and your question being “Why is the Curriculum Review Committee proposal not on the agenda tonight, especially after local, national, and international attention has been brought to it?”

Agenda Item 3.02 Lori Gillis, Outgoing Chief Financial Officer

Type: Recognition

The Board of Education is pleased to recognize Lorie Gillis, chief financial officer, for her years of service as she leaves the district effective October 2.

Our Comments: Lori Gillis deserves our profound respect.  With her in charge of the District finances, we knew we could trust the numbers coming out of the District.  With her leaving, that certaintity will be gone.  But we cannot blame her for wanting to get as far away from the amatuerish machinations of Witt and Newkirk, not to mention the toadying presence of McMinimee.

We will miss her, and wish her well.

Agenda Item 4.02 Public Comment (Agenda Related)

Type: Information

Sign up online here to speak (the signup becomes available at 10 a.m.)

Our Comments: There are three items that definitely need people to speak to.

  • Agenda Item 6.01 – Alexandria School of Innovation charter application – list all the problems found by the Charter Application Review Committee (see our Comments below)
  •  Agenda Item 2.05 – Why is the Curriculum Review Committee proposal not on the agenda!  (See our Comments above)
  • Agenda Item 6.02 – Golden View Classical Academy – list all the problems found with this application (see our Comments below)

Agenda Item 6.01 Public Hearing:  Alexandria School of Innovation

Type: Discussion, Information

Pertinent Facts:

  • According to Board executive limitation policy EL-13, Charter Schools Application and Monitoring, the superintendent shall not allow charter school applications to be recommended if fiscal jeopardy or failure to make consistent progress towards their stated objectives is a likely outcome or is evident.       
  • On August 15, 2014, Alexandria School of Innovation submitted an application for approval by the Board of Education to become a district charter school.       
  • The Board of Education accepted the proposal for study on September 4, 2014.       
  • A public hearing is being held in order for the Board of Education to “obtain information to assist the local board of education in its decision to grant a charter school application.”       
  • Representatives from Alexandria School of Innovation will be present to answer questions from the Board of Education.

File Attachments: Alexandria School of Innovation, Department Reviews of Rubric for Alexandria.pdf (502 KB), Charter Application Review Committee for ASI – 9-9-2014 – Final.pdf (228 KB), ASI Jeffco BOE PP.pdf (7,278 KB)

Our Comments: This proposed charter school is a disaster waiting to happen.

The Alexandria proposal is less prepared and has more problems than the proposed Cornerstone Academy from last spring (that one was supposed to come back when they had fixed their issues – they have never come back).  Below we highlight the concerns the Charter Application Committee has about Alexandria:

  1. The proposed management (STEMVentures) does not have a currently operating school.  The owners of STEMVentures were involved in the DougCo STEM Academy startup, but after a series of fiascos, including the principal, vice-principal and several staff members resigning just a few weeks before year after the school opened, the Brannbergs were removed from control.
  2. The DougCo application STEMVentures made last year was for a K-6 STEM school.  DougCo turned it down, stating it had deficiencies that needed fixing.  Instead of fixing those, STEMVentures instead applied to JeffCo at the last minute for a 6-12 STEM school!
  3. They want a five-year contract, but three is normal.
  4. Their enrollment projection is not fully backed up.  Need more data on the actual demand.
  5. Apparently all they did was add an engineering course to a typical High School curriculum and think that qualifies it as “STEM”.
  6. JeffCo already has STEM programs at Deer Creek, Bell Middle schools.  Chatfield and Golden High Schools are expanding STEM pathways, Project Lead the Way is at Bear Creek.  Several other schools are exploring STEM options.  Deer Creek is working with Martin-Marrietta and Golden High School is working with the Colorado School of Mines.
  7. Evidence of support goes back to 2009 data – FIVE YEARS OLD!!  No new data supporting demand.
  8. Letters of Recommendation are not from top management, but mid-level and could have been a form letter they sent out.
  9. Boilerplate pages and paragraphs were repeated verbatim throughout the application.
  10. 153 letters of intent, but target of 450 students in the first year!  No detail on the ages of the 153, so no way of knowing if they will be of 6-12 age range.  No evidence that the 153 are close to the south JeffCo location they say they want to serve.
  11. Unclear if cited parental support is from DougCo or JeffCo parents. Why are they not disclosing students names to the District?
  12. Grading system is confused.  First part of application shows them using EM&N (“exceeds standards, meets standards, needs improvement”), the middle part has them using percentage scale (i.e., 90%, 75%), then at the end they are back to EM&N!  Which is it?  Why are they so sloppy as to have this kind of mistake?
  13. Compared their proposed Colorado school with one in Fairfax, Virginia!  Very different demographics!
  14. Outdoor education!?  What?  Why?
  15. They will need very talented teachers but their proposed pay scale would be low.  Where will the qualified teachers come from?
  16. No specifics on fund-raising other than they will do it.
  17. Talk about start-up grant money, but do not mention any other start-up money to hire the staff to write the grants applications and material such applications involve….
  18. They are applying for CDE startup money in years 0,1, & 2.   The norm is years 1, 2, & 3.  Will the CDE go along and give money to them before they actually startup?  (They seem to want startup-startup money.)
  19. Student population numbers do not make sense over the projected years.  They do not seem to realize that one years 6th graders become next years 7th graders.  They plan on adding an elementary school, but have no proof they will have the room.
  20. Salary estimates have many errors – an 8% raise for everyone in year 2?
  21. No margin for error on their budget.
  22. They project 60% of their teachers will be first year teachers!  For a STEM School!
  23. The budget does not work.
  24. They have “Class A” and “Class B” Board of Directors.  STEMVentures nominates three Class A.  Eventually parents can elect two Class B. (There is no way for parents to actually control the school!)
  25. Directors can be employed and receive compensation from the school!  (Can you say, “conflict of interest?”)
  26. Job Descriptions are written so specifically as to predetermine who gets what job.
  27. Relationship between STEMVentures and Alexandria school is unclear in the application (STEMVentures is a for-profit company).
  28. They claim they will draw from across JeffCo, but will be located near DougCo.  How will they draw from anywhere north of Bowles?
  29. Want to give preference to accepting students from the “founding families” of the DougCo STEM school!?!
  30. They do not address how they will work with low income students or low achieving students.
  31. In one part of the application they state they will go with the District lunch program, then in another part they say they will not have a lunch program at all!?!
  32. No transportation plan.
  33. None of the plans show the six classrooms they would need.
  34. They have not requested a Type D waiver for Judy Brannberg, the proposed head of the school.
  35. Special Ed – they intend to hire staff from the District for their first year which is not possible.
  36. The review group did not have an opportunity to directly meet with the Brannbergs.

The conclusion of the review team was that STEMVentures should take another year to improve their plan and application.

We will add in a couple notes of our own:

The Brannbergs actually have NO education degrees or licensed training.

 The only way DougCo could get the original STEM Academy to succeed was by kicking the Brannbergs & STEMVentures out.

This is less an application for JeffCo and more a door-to-door salesperson looking for a less critical customer.

In short, their application raises a lot more questions than it answers!

Agenda Item 6.02 Public Hearing: Golden View Classical Academy

Type: Discussion, Information

Pertinent Facts:

  1. According to Board executive limitation policy EL-13, Charter Schools Application and Monitoring, the superintendent shall not allow charter school applications to be recommended if fiscal jeopardy or failure to make consistent progress towards their stated objectives is a likely outcome or is evident.
  2. On August 15, 2014, Alexandria School of Innovation submitted an application for approval by the Board of Education to become a district charter school.The Board of Education accepted the proposal for study on September 4, 2014.    A public hearing is being held in order for the Board of Education to “obtain information to assist the local board of education in its decision to grant a charter school application.”Representatives from Golden View Classical Academy will be present to answer questions from the Board of Education.
  3. File Attachments: Golden View Classical Academy application, Department Rubric for Golden View.pdf (522 KB), Charter Application Review Committee for GVCA – 9-9-2014 – Final.pdf (215 KB), PRESENTATION GVCA to JeffCo.pdf (1,367 KB)

Our Comments: This proposed charter school will definitely benefit from going second – after the Alexandria proposal ANYTHING else will look good.

As we stated in our 9/4 Post, there is a lot that concerns us about this school.  Not the least of which i  Below we highlight the concerns the Charter Application Committee has about Golden View:

  1. They seem to think that “Core Knowledge” is a curriculum rather than a recommended standard or process.
  2. Teachers are to go each year to Hillsdale College in Michigan for professional training.  No budget is given for that.
  3. Plan calls for 498 students in the first year, but they only have 171 family responses so far.
  4. They switch  back and forth from Saxon Math to Singapore.  Can be very difficult in professional development (and confusing for the students).
  5. Concern over having to spend District & State dollars to send staff out of state to a religious college for training.
  6. Concerns over political, religious, and partisan affiliations the school would have with Hillsdale.
  7. Outside group controlling a JeffCo school like a puppet?
  8. Teacher contract is longer than JeffCo normal (201 days) but no mention of additional pay is made.
  9. No explanation where start-up money comes from.  They have the Daniels Fund giving $30k in year zero for “marketing”.
  10. Liability insurance is too low.
  11. Self-perpetuating board – no chance of parents ever gaining control.
  12. Their definition of part-time is 35 hours – not compliant with ACA. (One reader of the post has told us the school may have enough employees to avoid that issue – Hat Tip to Brian Terpstra)
  13. In one place, they say staff cannot be on the Board, in another place they say the staff can be on the Board.  Which is it?
  14. They want to not have to follow the District Conduct Code – not possible.
  15. They want to not have to give the state mandated alcohol/sex education course.

This would be the school of Julie Williams dreams.  For all that makes us shudder, as we said before, they look great compared to Alexandria.

Our Final Comments: It is very interesting that Witt is now scheduling the real meaty stuff for “Study Session” meetings where public comment is not allowed, but the regular meetings where the public is able to speak are filled with mainly fluff and almost no voting.  We some how doubt it is all coincidence.

Whether this meeting has any real substance to it will depend primarily on you.  If you tell your neighbors.  If you email the Board.  If you sign up to speak.  If you go and let WNM+Williams know, in no uncertain terms, that they cannot avoid public scrutiny for ever, then something of consequence will occur.  We will have moved one significant step closer to taking back our school district!

So turn the “If”s into “I did”s and help us…

Keep Fighting, JeffCo!

 


 

9/27 Saturday Post: Trust, Respect, Integrity – A Primer to JeffCo School Board Issues

2014 Sept Protests 1 This last week, JeffCo high school students let out a roar that was “heard ’round the world.”

I want to start this post by thanking them. I thank you for what many adults have only been talking about, but somehow could not pull together. Unlooked for, unasked, unexpected, you students stood up and made everyone look, listen, and think. Along the way, you took responsibility for your own education.  We could not be more proud of you.

Next, I want to thank the teachers, staff, principals, and original JeffCo leadership, including Dr. Stevenson, for the work they have done with these kids. If anyone had any doubt about whether Jeffco turns out good citizens, they can put it rest now. JeffCo turns out citizens who not only know the meaning of freedom and democracy, but are willing to sacrifice to defend it. Thanks to you teachers, JeffCo students have the admiration of the world.

But now it is time for the entire Jeffco community to be alert and listen. We commend these students for taking a lesson from so many notable American heroes on the power of peaceful civil disobedience. In exercising their rights to free speech and assembly these students managed to shine a light on the board majority much brighter than anyone had before. They brought to light issues with the board regarding curriculum censorship and respect for teachers.

WNW is trying to dismiss their efforts by calling them “union puppets” and doubting their ability to organize in such a short time-frame. Anyone who knows teens, knows how ludicrous this is. Frankly, every teen I know has a mind of his or her own, and is quite willing, given the chance, to express it. I’m quite certain many teachers often wish they had the kind of power over students attention that Witt and Williams acuse them of, especially on Friday afternoon.

As far as planning and executing the protests, well, if you doubt the ability of teenagers to plan such a mass event in such a short time, then simply offer up your house to a group of teens for a party tonight and see how fast they can text, tweet and FB the details.

Now imagine that power in the hands of the best and brightest of our students. The students that will take so many AP classes (and pass the tests) so that they will enter college as sophomores.

But now that the week is over, we need to be be diligent and not lose sight of the bigger picture. The proposed curriculum review committee is just one small piece of what is happening in Jeffco.

For months JeffCo School Board Watch has been monitoring the actions of the current board majority. One of their first actions was a back door deal to hire a ‘board only’ attorney despite District policy BDG that expressly provides for representation through the existing district attorney. At a minimum of $90,000 per year that continues to mount did they knew they were going to need an attorney for themselves and not the District?

Next two of the majority attempted to kill the expansion of the Deer Creek STEM, making public comments that the extra space in the school would be a great place for a charter.

The next month WNW extended $650,000 in no-string loans to charter schools that were faltering and already had outstanding loans. This from candidates that promised fiscal responsibility.

This was only the beginning. After the resignation of Jeffco’s Superintendent the board spent $44,580 in the ‘national’ search for a replacement, only to disregard all candidates but an Asst. Superintendent from DougCo. This was despite pleas from the public and the board minority to be given choices of candidates. This was also against the advice of the firm that was hired with that money.

The litany of issues continued to mount as the board majority violated the teacher contract, then threw out months of financial planning to vote in a pay scheme with a mere two weeks of research and NO teacher input.

Then along comes the Julie Williams’ proposal to review all Jeffco curriculum beginning with AP U.S. History (APUSH) and Elementary Health (these children do not have the power to assemble like those affected by APUSH, but are in the same boat of losing a vital curriculum).

Her proposal, copied mainly from a Texas proposal, states among other things that the committee will “inform the board of any objectionable materials.” Coupled with a committee selection process that would prevent the seating of any minority board candidate Ms. Williams would now like for us to all believe we have misunderstood her intent. And according to her own press release that she “thought everyone, or at least everyone involved in education understood the huge debate and controversy surrounding the new APUSH.” And that to be accused of censorship – “…is just ridiculous.”

It is this type of language and lack of respect for other viewpoints that has created skepticism about her motives. Furthermore, the district already has in place two committees that review curriculum and a textbook committee. These committees have educators and community members. In fact there are 24 policies in place to review or establish curriculum. YES! 24 policies!

These policies have allowed for the successful removal of material from school libraries when deemed necessary (such as graphic horror novels in elementary school libraries). Since the District already has a curriculum review process in place, with public input, and a way for parents to file complaints against material, why does Julie Williams feel the need to create another committee? Perhaps to inject her own viewpoint into the curriculum?

With the recent bad press from this move, Newkirk has attempted to edit the language of the proposal that created so much controversy. This has come across as an attempt to put lipstick on a pig. Newkirk’s letter to parents that have voiced opposition says, “At the risk of sounding blunt, the distress underlying many of the emails I’ve received compels me to get straight to the point: Chill, folks.” I’m sorry, but have you ever written to your boss, the people that put you into your position “Chill”?

It is this kind of defensive response that has created months of angst throughout the district. Furthermore, rather than listen to the concerns he defends the proposed committee by citing the Texas BOE. Perhaps not the best line of defense given that Newsweek just ran an article on the errors and revisionist history in the Texas history books since Texas BOE has relented to an extreme conservative takeover. (Note the word EXTREME).

As with every controversial move made by this majority there seems to be the familiar retort from the board majority. We just don’t understand like they do.

Unless Witt is responding – then we get these gems: “Teachers are using students for political action” ~ Ken Witt 9/23/14, 9news. “the union message coming down through the teachers to get kids to deliberately get out and protest something they don’t have any facts about whatsoever.” ~Ken Witt 9/25/14, Denver Post.

Are we to believe the kids can’t even read the proposal, since they ‘don’t have any facts whatsoever’?

It is this complete lack of respect for any dissenting opinion and the accusations of being union puppets that have led us to this point. This writer is not, nor has ever been a union member. And this highly educated writer, does understand. I simply don’t agree. And until the board majority can possibly grasp that dissenting, well-informed, unadulterated opinions exist and have the right to be heard it seems we are at an impasse.

Perhaps the board would benefit from reading their own policies. Policy GP 02- 7 clearly states, “The Board will encourage diversity of viewpoints in discussion and policy-making. Each Board member, irrespective of their personal position, will be accountable to the public, not as individual Board members, but as a collective body, and, will support the final determination of the Board, as a legitimate Board decision.”

Take heed Jeffco BOE majority. You ARE accountable to the public!

In this case, the public means teachers, residents, taxpayers, parents and most importantly THE STUDENTS. They have voices and they are making those voices be heard loud and clear.

If you do not heed those voices, the next ones you hear maybe uttering a word that begins with “R”.

-JeffCoFacts

Endnote: Ms. Williams press release claims that the APUSH curriculum is “unresearched.” This seems ludicrous. I have to ask, what would a hand picked committee of 9 community members be able to add, that was not covered by the writers of the curriculum? Those writers are

Kevin B. Byrne

Emeritus Professor of History
Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN
Editor,
OAH Magazine of History and Assistant to the Executive Director of Organization of American Historians, 2004-2006

Edward M. Dickson, Jr.

History Department Chair and Teacher
Providence Day School, Charlotte, NC
Winner, Organization of American Historians Tachau Pre-Collegiate Teaching Award, 2002
National and State Winner, Daughters of the American Revolution, Outstanding Teacher of American History, 2011
Winner, North Carolina History Teacher of the Year, 2012

Jason George

Academic Dean and Assistant Upper School Director (former History Department Chair and Teacher) The Bryn Mawr School for Girls, Baltimore, MD

Geraldine Ann Hastings

Social Studies Department Chairman and History Teacher
Catonsville High School, Catonsville, MD
Winner, National Secondary Social Studies Teacher of the Year, National Council for the Social Studies, 2003
National and State Winner, Daughters of the American Revolution, Outstanding Teacher of American History, 2004

John P. Irish

History Teacher
Carroll Senior High School, Southlake, TX
National and State Winner, Daughters of Colonial Wars, U.S. History Teacher of the Year, 2014

Emma Jones Lapsansky-Werner

Professor Emeritus of History
Haverford College, Haverford, PA
Member, Executive Committee, Organization of American Historians, 2003-2007 Author,
Neighborhoods in Transition: William Penn’s Dream and Urban Reality

Cassandra A. Osborne

History Teacher (retired)Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge, TN
Director, Oak Ridge Schools, SECME, Inc. (formerly Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering)
Second Place, Daughters of the American Revolution, Outstanding Teacher of American History, 1991

Suzanne M. Sinke

Associate Professor, History
Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Fulbright Teaching and Research Award Winner, 1999-2000 and 2013 Member, Executive Board, Social Science History Association, 2003-06 Member, Executive Board, Immigration and Ethnic History Society, 2005-08 Author,
Dutch Immigrant Women in the United States, 1880-1920

Timothy N. Thurber

Associate Professor, History
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Author,
The Politics of Equality: Hubert H. Humphrey and the African American Freedom Struggle, 1945-1978

Hardly the kind of people who would develop a curriculum without research!

 


 

9/16 BOE Meeting Prep: Williams – DougCo is not South enough

censorshipYesterday, the promised PARRC, Common Core, & AP U.S. History proposal file from Julie Williams was finally posted on BoardDocs.  Aside from the usual poor grammar, the file was chilling in scope and detail.

We have updated our 9/15 post to reflect the addition, but it is so important that have also excerpted that section as a separate post here.  If you care about honest history, limited government, free speech, the impartiality of science, and freedom from censorship, you need to read this document and our comments.

Julie Williams is no longer funny.

Agenda Item 2.07 Resolution: Study Committee on Common Core Standards, PARCC assessments and AP U.S. History
Type: Action

Recommended Action: To discuss the proposal to establish a Board study committee on Common Core Standards, PARCC assessments and Advanced Placement U.S. History; and, to determine next steps on the proposal.
PRESENTING STAFF: none
PURPOSE: For the Board of Education to discuss the proposal presented by Board member Julie Williams to create a Board study committee on Common Core Standards, PARCC assessments and Advanced Placement U.S. History.
BACKGROUND: On September 4, Ms. Williams agreed to bring an action plan for Board discussion to create a Board study committee.

File Attachments: JW PROPOSAL Board Committee for Curriculum Review.pdf (21 KB)

Now that we have read Julie Williams’ proposal our horror has increased, something we did not think possible.   Her proposal is truly terrifying.

Apparently even DougCo is not far enough South for Julie to look for inspiration.  Her text, as has been noted elsewhere on Facebook, is obviously a slightly modified version of a Texas law concerning their State Board of Education (see Texas Education Agency – SBOE Operating Rules Jan 1, 2013 – Section 2.9-4A to 4B(iii)), only Julie appears to have removed even the limited protections against abuse that the Texas law has in it.

In effect, she proposes to place on top of the District-based existing curriculum and text selection process a Text Book Purity committee.  This committee would be staffed by WNM+Williams partisans.  They would be in a position to enforce their particular world, social, economic, and moral views on our children.

There are four main aspects to this monstrosity:

1) The committee selection method is badly flawed.  In 9/4 meeting, Leslie Dahlkemper asked if each Board Member would be allowed to appoint members and was assured that would be the case.

That is not what Williams wrote.  She proposes that each board member only be allowed to nominate members, not appoint.  The Board would then vote on each candidate, a majority vote being required.  This would go on until all nine members are ‘elected’.

Any guesses as to how those votes would turn out? 

This would allow WNM+Williams to prevent any person whose viewpoints differ from theirs from becoming a member.  In short, they would control the entire makeup of the committee, and then pass it off as ‘representing the public’ when in fact it would not.

2) This is no longer a one-time, limited committee to review PARCC, Common Core, and AP History, but a Board Committee that would be empowered to review all JeffCo texts, all the time.  There is no limit in their scope, nor on how long the members would serve.  Further, they would continually review texts.  This means that they would be in a position to oversee the implementation of a policy that they helped formulate.  This would violate point 5 of  GP-12 Board Committee Principles

3) Williams is trying to sneak in another issue:  Sex Education.  She specifically states that the Committee’s first two priorities are AP U.S. History and “elementary health curriculum” (last sentence of the second paragraph).  Instead of a factual exploration of human sexuality, Williams would be in a position to force her personal views into the curriculum for our children.

4) Not content with banishing any fact, viewpoint, or scientific conclusion that offends them, Williams proposes that this committee require that texts promote “respect for authority” and “Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife, or disregard of the law.”

This means that Julie Williams’ preferred history texts would have to condemn the Underground Railroad that smuggled escaped slaves from the South into the North.    The Women’s Suffrage Movement, which included leaders being taken to jail for trying to vote, would have to be portrayed as wrong. Freedom Riders of the 1950’s and 1960’s who fought Jim Crow segregation laws in the South by deliberately violating them would have to be described as terrorists and criminals.  In fact, all of the history of the Civil Rights movement would either have to be damned or redacted from the history texts (and we know how WNM+Williams love redacting).

Ironically, this requirement would also mean that the historical event that her personal political group (South JeffCo Tea Party) takes its name from, the Boston Tea Party, would also have to be condemned!  Likewise, the same phrasing would require texts denounce the acts and writings of the George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Henry Lee, John Hancock, Thomas Paine and the rest of our founding fathers as illegal and immoral!

But it does not stop there.

In effect, Williams proposes a non-academic censorship group whose job it would be to delete any fact, viewpoint, or analysis that does not agree with their own worldview. The proposed committee structured and charter is not one of a neutral, representative, curriculum review group with a narrow focus and limited powers.  Because of the breadth of the Committee’s charter, not just history texts would be subject to review, but also science texts, English literature, economics, theater, music, debate, journalism, foreign language,…in short anything and everything in the curriculum would come under her committee’s shadow.  With that, WNM+Williams would now have a tool to strike out any scientific theory, practice, conclusion, or fact that offends their view of the world.  This would result in the only acceptable ‘texts’ being ones that have  WNM+Williams own views expressed as fact.

This would be WNM+Williams’ equivalent to the ‘House Un-American Activities Committee‘ of the McCarthy era.  George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, written small.  All of this seems to be acceptable to WNM+Williams because they will get to be ‘Big Brother’.

The fact that Witt is allowing Williams to go forward with this means either he agrees with her on it, or is willing to let her go ahead as the price for her loyalty.  He has now placed himself in a spot where all apparent options look bad. If he backs her on this, he will lose any possibility of being seen as anything other than an extremist.  If he moves to stop her, he will save himself from the extremist label but at the cost of double-crossing one of his two supporters.  In the end, he will have shown himself to be either an extremist or someone who is badly beholden extremists.  In either case, not someone you want as President of a School Board.

What can you do? 

We have to get the word out and fast! 

Write emails to the Board, the media, other officials.  Here are links to the existing local and state officials, as well as county candidates and the Denver area news media:

2014 Jefferson County Election Candidates,
Jefferson County Officials,
State Officials,
Denver News Media Email.

Then talk to your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, acquaintances, complete strangers.  Show them Julie Williams text and then get them to do the same.  We can stop this if we can bring enough public outrage.  If not Witt, perhaps McMinimee will step forward (this would take enormous power away from him and Morgan), and make the point that this is a BAD IDEA.

But most importantly, SHOW UP AT THE MEETING!

Thursday, September 18, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
Education Center, 5th floor Board Room, 1829 Denver West Drive, Bldg. 27, Golden, CO

We need to show Leslie Dahlkemper and Jill Fellman that they are not alone in this battle.  At the same time, we also need to make plain to WNM+Williams that they can NOT slip something like this by unnoticed.

We know you have heard this before, but we really need you to come out and…

Fight Even Harder, JeffCo!

9/13 Saturday Post: The Kindergarten Puzzle…Solved?

FFK Puzzle 1Since last spring, most of us have wrestled from time to time with this question: 

Why do WNM+Williams* seem to dislike poor Kindergarteners so much?

After all, even though they voted to increase the District’s goals for 3rd and 4th grade reading and math, they continue to reject a time-tested, proven strategy that is relatively low-cost, straight-forward, and fairly simple, e.g., expand free, full day Kindergarten for schools with high numbers of children on free or reduced lunches.  This is not even a new program, but rather a modest expansion of an existing one, in line with every major educational study on improving test scores.

But WNM+Williams have raised one objection after another:

March 13th – Witt led an attack on free, full day Kindergarten expansion (FFK) saying there were studies that showed such programs did not really work.  Dr. Beck, then JeffCo’s Chief Academic Officer (now superintendent of a school district in Oregon) said she knew of no study that said that, that, in fact, multiple studies show just the opposite.  (Here are links to a few articles on the subject:  Full Day Kindergarten, Early Childhood Education for Low-Income Students:A Review ofthe Evidence and Benefit-Cost Analysis, Early Childhood Education, Education Funding And Low Income Children:  A Review of Current Research)

April 3d – Dr. Beck said she had reviewed the literature and all of it said this type of early intervention pays big dividends.  Julie Williams said she thought the “only difference between half and full day kindergarten were naps, more recess, and some ‘specials’ such as music or art.”

Witt demanded of Dr. Beck to know if any of the studies she cited had been done specifically in JeffCo, and when Beck said no, Witt then said that the national studies meant nothing and he wanted to see some that were specific to JeffCo.  He then led Newkirk and Williams in voting 3-2 to remove the funding.

(Dr. Beck and her team offered to conduct that research for the board this school year if the board would allow the program to move forward but “compromise” is a dirty word to WNM + Williams.)

May 1st (Bear Creek High School and over a thousand people attending) –  Several kindergarten teachers, spoke to the board of the huge results they see in their low income students attending full day K and pleaded with the Board majority to fund the kindergarten expansion.  Most impressive, a group led by Wendy McCord Tina Gurdikian, Kelly Johnson, Terri Straut, Amanda Stevens, and Tammy Story presented a report assembled from statistical data from JeffCo that showed conclusively that free, full day kindergarten (FFK) generates a strong, consistent improvement in the test scores of children who participate (see full report here: FFDK Report).  Regardless, after a motion to restore the funding for full day K expansion by Lesley Dahlkemper, WNM+Williams voted it down saying that giving poor children free, full day kindergarten would be unfair to the parents who could afford it for their own children!

June 5th – Dahlkemper and Fellman brought the issue up again, immediately after WNM+Miller voted to increase the already increased diversion allocation of funds to charter schools to more than $5 million, using mill levy funds and thus breaking promises to voters and the community.  Obviously, if the District had additional money available for the charters, then there had to be some available for poor children. This time Newkirk, in typical Newkirk fashion, threatened to cause general chaos (this seems to be his MO) by questioning the entire FFK program, and said he threatened to explore canceling all of it and ‘repurpose’ the funds. Witt, again, led voting down the expansion of Free Full Day Kindergarten to poor children, 3-2.

With all the above, one has to wonder, what do WNM+Williams have against poor children in desperate need of a good start?  There are hundreds of vulnerable five and six year olds who are this year missing out on the benefits of full day of Kindergarten.  This is an educational deficit that can never be made up.

Why do WNM + Williams not care about the future of these children?

Or maybe they care about something else more…perhaps something that would increase the number of charter school expansion?

Our first clue to this was actually posted before JeffCoSchoolBoardWatch was even existed. You can find it in the following video posted on YouTube by Transparency JeffCo.  Pay very careful attention to what Cindy Stevenson says at the 50 second mark and Witt’s response:

Did you catch it?

When Dr. Stevenson said there was plenty of space at Deer Creek Middle School, Witt’s reaction was, “A good place to co-locate a charter school.”  At the time, we thought it was simply a pavlovian response on his part. ‘A school building with space?  Put a charter school in it!’  It never occurred to us that this type of reaction could or would result in premeditated action…but it sure seems to.

This summer we decided to go back and reread a lot of the material that had been produced during the budget cycle.  It was then that we stumbled on the second and decisive clue.  If not a smoking gun, it at least, is a recording shots fired in the dark.

We began rereading the self-titled “Minority Report” written by Tom Coyne and Rachel Swalley (a copy can found here: SPAC Minority Report).  Both of these people were specifically placed on the Strategic Planning and Advisory Committee (SPAC) by Witt & Associates.  On the bottom of page 11 of this 70 page report, we read:

…SPAC received a proposal from District staff for an additional $600,000 to be spent on adding 13 more full day kindergarten classrooms at five schools. However, this issue was not on the Choice Committee’s agenda, despite the fact that the availability of classroom space is a critical constraint on their potential options and ultimate recommendation to the Board.” <emphasis added>

This report was given to the Board on March 6th, one week before WNM+Williams first voted down the FFK expansion.  It was made available to the Board members prior to that. We believe that when WNM+Williams read those two sentences, they deliberately decided to short-change the most vulnerable in our society, in order to further their own peculiar sense of ‘equity’.

Even then, they could have come right out and said why they were turning down the FFK expansion.  WNM+Williams have the votes to do almost anything they want.  But, as we have seen for nine months now, for some reason, WNM+Williams seem to need to believe that their true agenda and motivations are always hidden or masked.

So instead, they hurled one absurd objection after another at the staff and teachers.  As soon as the District staff refuted the first one, they hurled a second.  When teachers and parents refuted that one, they came out with a ridiculous ‘fairness’ argument.  When that was shown to be farcical, Newkirk resorted to threatening the entire program if any further argument was made.

And they won.

There is no expansion of Free, Full Day Kindergarten in JeffCo this year.  Those classrooms with WNM+Williams precious emptiness will be empty all year.  WNM+Williams undoubtedly hope that some outside corporate group will see the opportunity to use public school property to launch a charter school…and make money off it.

And this, we believe, is the most likely reason Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams voted against the best interests of almost 300 At-Risk children.

Is there even more to it? Perhaps….

Former Jeffco BOE member Laura Boggs has regularly disparaged schools with high proportions of low income students, asking pointed questions about race, ethnicity, and crime.  Her questions often seem to presuppose that those children, many of whom are English Language Learners, do not deserve a public education.

Boggs is staunch supporter of WNM+Williams and is reputed to have met repeatedly with Witt, who is also reputed to be something of a follower of hers.  It would not be much of a stretch to think that WNM+Williams feel the same way.

Whatever the motive, WNM+Williams action has put many of our low income schools at greater risk of not being able to improve test scores, which may lead some even to be declared ineffective for those children.  The consequence?  Given this Board, those schools will then be turned over to charter schools, who very well may offer the same free, full-day kindergarten that WNM+Williams have rejected.  Except, of course, this time WNM+Williams will cheer them on, since instead of having FFK funding spent by public schools, it will be spent by quasi-private ones, many of which will be run by for-profit companies.

In the meantime, we will have lost another year’s worth of desperate children.  None of which will matter to WNM+Williams as they seek to implement their radical political “reform” agenda.

—–

So what are you going to do about it?

If you have not emailed the Board.  If you have not called your local office holders and candidates (see these lists: 2014 Jefferson County Election Candidates State Officials Jefferson County Officials).  If you have not contacted your friends, family, and colleagues.  If you have not stopped people in the street, in the stores, in our schools, and told all of them about the atrocities that this new majority is visiting on the children of JeffCo, now is the time to do so.

Join us, as we

Keep Fighting, JeffCo!

 

* – As we noted in our 9/8 post, it seems only appropriate that we change our acronym. Miller is now is acting more obviously as a peer of Witt and Newkirk instead of a subordinate contractor..  Whereas Julie Williams is behaving more like a bewildered, but loyal tag-along.  She apparently takes the betrayal and neglect by Witt and Miller as a minor thing.

Note:  JeffCoSchoolBoardWatch.org is a group of volunteers who work hard at keeping people informed about the actions and probable consequences of the new majority on the School Board.  We do not accept donations, nor are we a political organization.  We see ourselves as an information source for the community.

However there is a group that also has a charter to keep people informed about WNM+Williams and does accept donations:  SupportJeffcoKids.org.  If you want to get involved more in the fight against this ongoing atrocity, please visit their site.


 

9/1: Monday Do List & Thursday Prep

WNW Warning SignWe hope you are having a great Labor Day Weekend.  If you would like to know more about the history of this holiday, Wikipedia’s article is great place to start.  In our case, we should definitely recognize, honor and celebrate the labor of our teachers, district staff, classified workers, volunteers, and everyone else who has worked hard to make JeffCo the state’s best school district.

Blog nitty-gritty stuff:  With the summer break over, our posting schedule is going to shift a bit.  With the Board meetings occurring primarily on Thursdays, with some Saturdays and Tuesdays thrown in, the regular Monday-Wednesday-Saturday routine will go away.  We will still try to have a weekly “do list”, but it may come on Tuesdays, as it did last week.  We will try to have reviews of a Board meetings posted within two days of the meeting, but this will probably slip sometimes.  Likewise, we will work hard to have a pre-meeting brief out at least two days prior to a meeting (earlier when we can).  Saturday posts maybe the reflective type or maybe a review of a meeting the previous Thursday.  Our guiding principle will always be the most important and timely news first.  We do have some new ideas we will be trying out and we look forward to your feedback on them.

Monday Do List:

  1. Read the Thursday Prep notes below, then sign up to speak.
  2. Write an email to the Board, asking them to explain something important to you. (board@jeffco.k12.co.us)
  3. Tell at least three friends, neighbors, co-workers, family members, or strangers about what is going on and try to get them to come to a Board meeting (just one time is generally enough for people to see why WNW needs to be opposed).
  4. Put up a sign in car or window, letting people know that you oppose WNW.
  5. Keep Fighting!

Thursday Meeting Prep:

Note:  In an effort to make the posts shorter, we are going to edit down to key information only.  We will include a link to BoardDocs site as well as one to the agenda in a form suitable for printing.

BOE Meeting 2014-08-28 (Thursday night)
Date and Time:  Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.
Education Center, 1829 Denver West Drive, Bldg. 27, Golden, CO

Key Agenda Items (printable version here)

Subject: 1.02 Proposed Model on Compensation
PRESENTING STAFF:
Amy Weber, Chief Human Resources Officer, Lorie Gillis, Chief Financial Officer, Jim Branum, District Legal Counsel
PURPOSE:  To further discuss Board of Education requested information regarding funding of the teacher compensation proposal presented to the Board at its meeting on August 28, 2014.
BACKGROUND: On August 28, 2014, the Board of Education discussed a teacher compensation model changing the method by which teachers advance in salary, and including a component to raise starting teacher salaries.

As the same meeting, the Board adopted a resolution directing staff to provide information regarding funding this alternative teacher compensation proposal as presented and discussed by the Board.

The Board request staff information be presented in the September 4, 2014, work session, if available.

File Attachments: KW comp2014-15 diagram.pdf (28 KB);  KW comp2014 7 points.pdf (43 KB)

Our Comments: Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”  This proposal is remarkably sophisticated for something Witt just ‘thought of’.  This makes us very wary.  Ignore the graph.  It is not based on any actual numbers and is simply a marketing gimmick to make you think something really good has been proposed.

There are at least three reasons we can think of that make this a very dangerous proposal:  

  1. It violates the spirit of the agreement between the District and JCEA back in 2012.  JCEA was promised a pay raise without any connection to any evaluations.  This proposal in effect breaks the written verbal contract between the District and the District’s teachers by retroactively tying any pay raise to the evaluations, which are flawed.  
  2. The idea of capping salaries to the ‘market rate’ is badly exposed to mischief and manipulation.  First, it does not define what the ‘market rate’ even means.  Is it the maximum amount that another district will pay?  If so, which district?  Is it the average amount several districts pay for similar experience?  If so, which districts?  There are not many in Colorado with which JeffCo can honestly be compared.  Cost of living alone makes this kind of comparison a faulty equivalence.  
  3. Finally, the whole idea of capping regular salary says to the top teachers, “you need to go elsewhere for adequate pay that will benefit you in retirement, because we will never pay you more than average.

For someone who boasts about running big businesses, Witt has forgotten a cardinal rule:  do not limit the compensation of those who make you successful.  This is a classic mistake IBM made one time.  It limited how much commission a sales person could get, regardless of the amount of sales they generated.  They hemorrhaged their best sales people as a result.

If Jeffco wants to attract and keep top teachers, then it must be willing to pay top salaries, not ‘market rate’.

In short, an analysis of this proposal reveals it to be one that attracts young, inexperienced teachers, and pushes hard for older, experienced ones to leave. That is a recipe for mediocrity.

1.03 Board Attorney Work
PRESENTING STAFF:
Brad A. Miller, board attorney; Dan M. McMinimee, superintendent
PURPOSE: For the Board of Education to discuss the scope of work for the board attorney and past eight months of work with the Board of Education.
BACKGROUND: The Board of Education hired Mr. Miller, of theLaw Office of Brad A. Miller, after a vote of the Board onDecember 12, 2013.  The Board has received counsel from Mr. Miller for the last eight months and in April a request was made to schedule time with the Board to review the scope of work with the board attorney.

Our Comments: So Dahlkemper and Fellman at last get their review of Miller and his responsibilities…eight months and $60,000 (minimum) later.

There two things about this that we do not like.  First, the issue is brought up in the Study/Dialogue section of the agenda.  That means no action should be taken, just ‘talk’.  Second, the presentation is being made by McMinimee & Miller.  On this point, why is McMinimee, who is not a member of the Board presenting on Miller’s work as the Board’s attorney? Miller does not work for McMinimee. McMinimee is not responsible for Miller’s conduct, scope of work, billing time, nor work product.  Strictly speaking, Miller should not say anything to McMinimee without a specific instruction from the Board in the form of a voted upon and recorded motion…which has not happened to our knowledge.  This does not even address the fact that McMinimee has only been working for the District for two months, so he is in no position to render even a casual opinion as to Miller’s work prior to July 2014.

This is another example of Witt & Miller trying to be clever instead of smart. They think they can slide all of this by us while minimizing Dahlkemper and Fellman’s opportunities to point out how outrageous the whole contract is.  We trust that Ms. Dahlkemper and Ms. Fellman will once again rise to the occasion and point out the foolishness of that hope.

4.02 Public Comment (Agenda Related)
Sign up online here to speak to the Board of Education.  (will be available 10 am Monday).

Our Comments:  For right now, Witt seems bent on limiting comment to one hour and only at regular meetings.  Let’s make it a good hour!  Sign up as soon as you can!  Agenda items you might want to speak on include:

  1. Witt’s compensation proposal and it’s unfairness due to:
    a) breaking the promise to give all teachers a raise
    b) capping the salary of experienced teachers to no more than ‘average’
    c) setting a comp system that will drive away experienced teachers and replace them with inexperienced ones.
  2. Miller’s Review
    a) Why does the Board need legal advice separate from the District?
    b) Why is his billing redacted to the point of being meaningless.
    c) Why did WNW know about this long before Dahlkemper and Fellman (the first of Witt’s ‘surprises’)?
    d) In May 2014, why did Miller threaten Fellman for not voting the way he wanted?
    e) How is what Miller does not able to be done by the District’s law firm?
  3. The two charter school applications
    a) Why were the actual application documents not included in the agenda attachments?
    b) Items about the applications you want the District staff to scrutinize very carefully.

…we could go on, but we are sure that many of you have your own list.

5. Consent Agenda
Our Comments:  
Normally we skip over the Consent Agenda as it generally contains just run-of-the-mill items that need Board approval and do not indicate any specific direction.  This time, however, we found at least two we felt you needed to know about.  

Charter School Application – Golden View Classical Academy (EL-13)
Recommended Action: to accept for study the charter school application for Golden View Classical Academy
File Attachments: CAES Charter App Study GVCA.pdf (340 KB)

Our comments: Golden View is an effort to place a “Classical Education” charter school in Jefferson County.  It is ‘partnered’ with “The Barney Charter School Initiative” which is a ‘project’ of Hillsdale College, of Hillsdale, Michigan.  Hillsdale college was described by the conservative National Review as a “…citadel of American conservatism.”  Hillsdale’s stated mission is to be “…a trustee of modern man’s intellectual and spiritual inheritance from the Judeo-Christian faith and Greco-Roman culture…”.  Their “Barney Charter School Initiative” is an outreach of the College with the goal:

“To advance the founding of classical charter schools, Hillsdale College works with school founding groups of parents and local citizens who care deeply about education, who plan to apply for a charter, and who are interested in an association with Hillsdale. As a relationship forms with a group, Hillsdale will assist in creating and implementing the school’s academic program.”

In short, this is an application from a group that is fronting for an extremely conservative college that has the goal of establishing a series of franchise-type charter schools pushing it’s own brand morality, economics, and social structure.  And they want to pay for it with JeffCo tax dollars.

At this point, we do not know where they plan to try to locate this charter school, nor how many parents have indicated interest (their Facebook has 459 likes, but it is unlikely that all of them would have children to go to the school).

Charter School Application – Alexandria School of Innovation (EL-13)
Recommended Action: to accept for study the charter school application for Alexandria School of Innovation
File Attachments: CAES Charter App Study ASI.pdf (339 KB)

Update:  We have since learned that STEM Ventures is in fact registered with the Secretary of State’s office as a for-profit Charter Management Organization (CMO).  It makes money by providing management for charter schools.  This then would make their efforts to spawn a new charter school in JeffCo just as much a ‘franchise expansion’ as the Golden View application is for Hillsdale.  We have modified our comments below appropriately.

Our comments: The Alexandria School of Innovation would be the creation of non-for-profit organization called STEM Ventures. Their website, while great looking, is strangely absent of hard facts.  There is no “About” hyperlink on the site.  After looking through almost every option, we finally found references to the founders under the “K-12 School” “Staff” tab. From this, it appears STEM Ventures is run by a man named Barry Brannenburg and his wife Judy.  

Of the other people mentioned: Cindy Williams currently is a consultant to mining companies and formerly was a VP with Newmont Mining.  She does not list STEM Ventures on her LinkedIn page. Maureen Moore Roth apparently works for Maptek full-time and part-time for STEM Ventures.  She also used to work for Newmont Mining. Diane Phillip is something of a mystery.  The only information we could find on her is on the STEM Ventures site. Carmel Connolly is apparently the organizations’ administrative assistant.

We found no actual teaching experience on any of the staff they listed. The Brannenburgs seem to have no history outside of STEM Ventures. There is no list of Board Members other than one reference to a Walter Berger.

According to an article in the Lakewood Sentinel, STEM Ventures originally applied for a charter for their Alexandria school in DougCo, but DougCo had ‘questions’ that would force them to re-apply next year, delaying the Alexandria project for a year.  The Brannenburg’s did not want to wait, and so they applied to JeffCo instead.

The funny thing is, we cannot find any reference in the DougCo Board minutes of their application or the ‘questions’ DougCo had.  It is very possible we are simply not familiar enough with the DougCo website to locate them.  If anyone can locate the original application and the minutes of the Board meeting where the application was turned back for additional information (STEM Ventures would have had 15 days in which to respond), please send us a link to them.

Another interesting thing is that STEM Ventures takes credit for creating the DougCo STEM Academy in the article, but not on their website.  From people we know in Douglas County, STEM Ventures was removed by DougCo as the administrator for the STEM Academy.  One parent told us that the school was highly disorganized, the teachers underqualified, and much that had been promised remained just promises.

In fact, the STEM Venture website lists no charter schools at all, much less ones that they have created and/or run.  As we stated above, they have no one on their staff list with actual educational background in any professional capacity.

Our reluctant conclusion is that at best STEM Ventures is a well-meaning two-person organization for-profit company that simply does not have the experience or expertise to actually start up and run a successful school.  They were rejected by DougCo (if they indeed submitted an application) and are now trying their luck here in JeffCo with our new “positive atmosphere for charters” or, perhaps, a greater gullibility than DougCo?

Final comments on the Charter applications:  In a sense, we are seeing the two extremes in the charter school movement applying at the same time.  In Golden View, we have a non-profit arm of a politically conservative college trying to extend their franchise reach into our District. In Alexandria, we have hapless amateurs would-be entrepreneurs thinking that earnestness a cool marketing plan is an adequate replacement for actual ability. The ‘choices’ these two bring to JeffCo are political indoctrination or mismanaged highly idealistic optimism business opportunism. How about a third option? Well managed public schools with integral STEM and GT programs that are not focused on extracting profits and leave the political education to the parents?

6.01 2015/2016 Budget Development Process
File Attachments: Presentation Budget Development Process 09 04 2014.pdf (671 KB)

Our Comments: You better stick around for this one. Slides 4 & 5 list “Student Based Budgeting” as something that is going to be explained to the Board. The slides doing the actual explanation are not included yet. But we have done some preliminary searches and found that this is a program/concept from a non-profit called Educational Resource Services (ERS). Here are two links on the subject: SBB Webinar, SBB-guide.pdf. One is a recorded webinar that explains their ideas, and the other is a pdf guide. Watch and read through them, then formulate your questions for Thursday night. The Board will have a study session on Student Based Budgeting on September 18th.

7.01 Colorado Association of School Boards Resolutions and Delegate Selection (GP-1)
Recommended Action: to appoint a member to represent Jeffco Schools Board of Education at the CASB Fall Conference and Delegate Assembly in September and the CASB Annual Conference in December.
File Attachments: 2014 CASB Resolutions.pdf (1,763 KB)

Our Comments: We expect either Newkirk or Witt to be named delegate. Williams has an outside chance, but very small. Witt feels he cannot trust her mouth out of his sight. There is only an infinitesimal chance of Dahlkemper or Fellman getting the position.

9.01 Public Comment (Not On Agenda)
Sign up online here to speak to the Board of Education.(will be available 10 am Monday).

Our Comments: Here is your chance to speak to the Board about anything not on the agenda.  There are plenty of topics.  How about allowing public comment at study sessions, as is indicated in the District policies?

10. Develop Next Agenda

Our Comments:  This one is always worth hanging around for.  It’s when WNW+M3 try to sneak in their next pet project without anyone noticing.

So be around to notice!

11. Adjournment

Sorry for the length, but things are heating up again!  So make your plans, sign up for comment, send emails, tell your friends, and…

Keep Fighting, JeffCo!