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!

13 thoughts on “9/16 BOE Meeting Prep: Williams – DougCo is not South enough

  1. Dolores Umbridge has entered the building…

  2. Regarding the sentence, ““Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife, or disregard of the law.”

    Often, high school debaters consider the value premise that deliberately violating unjust laws is a moral duty. Should a student actually win a debate on that side, would s/he be in violation of the new proposal?

  3. If this meeting is closed to comments from the public, what can we expect to do during the proceedings. Will there be signs, petitions, etc?

    What is the approval process for this proposal? Is it the board only or does it go to a public vote?

    • The most important thing we can do is show up. Witt does not allow signs, and is fairly quick with the gavel. What he cannot restrict is what you wear. So buttons, t-shirts, hats, etc., can all carry a message. Further, signs can be displayed outside the building.

      The approval for this proposal is in the hands of WNM+Williams. All they have to do is vote 3-2 and it is in. As it is set up now, there will be no public comment, no public vote.

      Showing up says, ‘We will not allow you to hide your reprehensible actions in the dark. We will make sure that the public is alert, aware, and remembers.’

  4. How is this even legal? What oath do the Board members take? If it is to represent the people of JeffCo, clearly this is not the case. Has anyone stepped up to lead a recall campaign or sue the Board? I’m late to the game here and trying to understand what’s happening with regard to booting these extremists off the board before they do irreconcilable damage.

    • Unfortunately, there is not a lot of legal recourse that can be taken at the moment. If WNM+Williams goes ahead and approves this proposal, then the moment that committee tries to censor or ban a single text, then legal action might be possible. (Note: We are not practicing attorneys. This is simply the opinion of an non-lawyer.)

      As far as a recall, please see our page here: http://jeffcoschoolboardwatch.org/?page_id=2144

  5. Thank you for the response. The recall effort looks onerous and expensive. Is there any option to increase the size of the school board? Would that involve a similar level of effort as a recall?

    • We do not know the answer to that question, but we suspect it also would very complex. Anyone else out there with some specific knowledge on Tricia’s question?

  6. I have been thinking the same thing. If they were characters in the Harry Potter series of books:

    Voldemorte Witt but without the intelligence

    Wormtail Newkirk, without the good looks

    Umbridge Williams “hem, hem”

    Draco Malfoy, McMinimee, who really wasn’t committed to Dougco, I mean, the dark arts

  7. Hi. While I see many problems with this proposal, like the 3 person majority nominating 3 people and then filling all 9 slots with their people, leaving no voice for the minority. The negative parts of US history that we’ll be doomed to be repeated if not taught and learned and materials “promoting” some attitude instead of informing and leaving the students to think and debate, I read the actual proposal and what is written above, by an author who didn’t put their name on their article, and I have to question why the majority of your article is based on what you claim will be the result regarding facts.
    The text or the proposal states “instructional materials should present the most current factual information accurately and objectively. Theories should be distinguished from fact.” But you claim “Instead of a factual exploration of human sexuality, Williams would be in a position to force her personal views into the curriculum”, “Not content with banishing any fact, viewpoint, or scientific conclusion that offends them”, “a tool to strike out any scientific theory, practice, conclusion, or fact”, “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”.
    I think the strongest arguments are those based in reality. “This would violate point 5 of GP-12 Board Committee Principles” is a strong argument and any illegal action should be dealt with.
    Fantastic claims of the Underground Railroad, Civil Rights, Women’s Suffrage, etc being removed from history books is a bit of a stretch. It is ironic, sad and disturbing to see a “Tea Party’ member that wants to downplay the role civil disobedience (aka 1st Amendment) has played and will continue to play in our country.

  8. Hi. I’ve lived in Jeffco for 20 years and have always thought the school board too small. I don’t have any specific knowledge of what would be involved, just wanted to let you know I’ve had the same thought and would be interested in more info on that subject. Whatever happens, it looks like we’re going to need to be involved for the long haul.

  9. I don’t know how you can call them “fantastic claims”. They do seem to want to remove things that don’t “present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.” This is a quote from Julie’s actual document and that alone is enough to have me very worried about her intentions. History books that only present “positive aspects of the United States and its heritage”!!!! I for one don’t call slavery a positive aspect and can’t imagine not wanting covered.

    The only ideas I can imagine of her intent are horrifying.

  10. I feel like I have been asleep and now just waking up to a very ugly reality. This is why local elections are every bit as important as national. My question at this point is… How do we start a recall campaign and fresh vote now that we see the board for what they are.

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