Members of the group Jeffco Kids First, the group working with Laura Boggs to manage and promote the slate of Shelton, Miks and Wilhite (SMW), regularly make comments comparing what their candidates have raised vs what Varda, Reed, and Parker have raised.
SMW supporters, in virtually every post on social media, are obsessed with pointing out the fact that VRP have accepted the endorsement and donations from the Jefferson County Education Association (JCEA). Gasp. The big scary union…a union that doesn’t have a big union boss, but is actually made up of and led by the Jeffco teachers working with your children.
And then comes a big bombshell from Dave Johnson, another candidate for the Jeffco School Board District 2 seat.
While we’re no stranger to dark money in Jeffco, the implications of this revelation should have everyone asking themselves, “If they asked Dave, and he said no, who said yes?”
Guess it remains to be seen how much they support them. Perhaps the conservative slate is neither “grassroots” nor “independent.”
Meanwhile, Paula Reed took campaign finance head on this week, talking about her fundraising strategy. Note: one can hardly be surprised that a retired 30-year Jeffco teacher accepted an endorsement and financial support from her Jeffco colleagues.
While JCSBW fully endorses Paula Reed for the District 2 seat, we also want to give props to Dave Johnson for exposing a hard truth here.
JCSBW supports three candidates — Varda, Reed, and Parker — who will support all of our local schools and all our students. October 25th is the last day you can mail your ballot. Find a drop box near you and vote today.
Laura Boggs is puppeteering your local school board election – again.
For those who are new to the Jeffco Schools scene, Laura Boggs is a former Jeffco School Board of Education Member who was censured – twice, for agreeing with a radio host that the then superintendent “should be shot” and for threatening to “tear this county apart.” Yes, that Laura Boggs:
She’s also known to have hidden behind an easel in a meeting trying to avoid being noticed, and even wrestled a high school classroom from a teacher’s control and then told the students that school is “stupid.” Yes, that Laura Boggs.
Unfortunately this very same effective manipulator Laura Boggs, “conservative” “reformer,” who, by the way, is really neither, has been identified as the mastermind behind the current opposition slate of Shelton, Miks, and Wilhite (SMW). People have been saying on social media they want proof; well, here’s the proof, clear as day.
This email screenshot is being spread all over social media in response to outrage that Varda, Parker, and Reed didn’t show to a Christians Who Care forum. More on that later. In this email, the forum organizer clearly identifies SMW as “her candidates.” Enough said. This alone should give everyone pause and raise your blood pressure, and hopefully, send you running to tell everyone you know who might be considering voting for “her candidates” to think again.
When the campaign took issue with Boggs being copied on the emails, this is how the forum organizer responded:
Further, Boggs has been an active part of the “grassroots” “independent” group that is promoting the opposition slate since the beginning, as seen in this Facebook discussion from January 2021.
Elections matter. We say this every election. And, seemingly, every election, Laura Boggs tries to come back. So what’s at stake this time? What’s different this time?
The short version: the (“conservative”) politicization of school boards on a national level as part of a national strategy. Laura Boggs and her Jeffco pals are trying to tap into this national strategy.
The above quote comes from Fairfax County, VA—one of the largest school districts in the nation–where a so-called “grassroots” group calling itself Parents Defending Education is working for a Republican takeover of what should be nonpartisan school boards.
In one recent example, a parent told the Fairfax County school board that the high school library contained two books containing pedophilia—a claim that is completely untrue. As is often the case with such groups, Parents Defending Education isn’t particularly interested in facts, instead retweeting her public comment and repeating the allegation. Conservative school board candidates also continued to repeat the lie, arguing, “I believe that parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.”
Mind you, no such books exist in the school library.
The story also notes that a group of parents in that district have been fighting to block new diversity and inclusion programs in the school district there, as part of a broader national movement led by people opposed to lessons on racism, history, and LBGTQ issues—often referred to by the now-population catchphrase “critical race theory.”
Bringing it Home
And now, Laura Boggs and Friends are cutting-and-pasting onto your social media all over Jeffco…
Careful readers may have noticed that and several other similar phrases being thrown about on social media and news stories in Jeffco. We’ll post a few screenshots for those of you who, wisely, have avoided social media for a while. For example:
Or there’s this one:
And this one, in response to a post for Varda, Reed, and Parker on Nextdoor:
Hive mind? Just a steady stream of slogans from the same echo chamber?
Unfortunately, it’s part of this larger strategy to politicize school boards—one that has been alive and well in Jeffco for some time now.
Today, JCSBW just wants to focus on one of the issues: all the stuff found under the catchphrase “Critical Race Theory.”
That battle over Advanced Placement United States History from 2014? Here it is again, wrapped in shiny new packaging.
The claim is that (mostly white) children might feel badly about themselves if they learn about our country’s past. Last time around the fear was that our children might not become patriotic if they knew our country’s history (i.e., American Exceptionalism).
If the opposition is elected, we’re going to be right back to this same battle.
First, a recent Colorado Sun article highlights a curious pattern in which conservative candidates around Colorado are focused on the same issues.
Meanwhile, the Colorado Sun also reported that in Colorado Springs, Church Voter Guides published candidate responses to a series of questions, including queries about critical race theory, sex education and coronavirus protocols, and the El Paso County Republican Party sent a questionnaire to board candidates in that county that included questions about critical race theory, mask and vaccine mandates, and false allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 elections.
See the pattern yet?
If not, how about this from the Summit County School District where another so-called “grassroots” group claims to be concerned about budget issues, academics, and politics in schools.
One of the Summit County candidates is also very concerned about school library books (just like in Texas), and wants to see books with “left-leaning points of view” balanced with books from a conservative perspective. She also is concerned about social justice and gender identity being incorporated into coursework, claiming it’s “the job of parents” to teach those issues at home.” Not content with that viewpoint, she raised the bar, claiming that teachers think they have the right to “almost raise our kids for us.”
One version of this played out here in Jeffco night before last, at a candidate forum by a group calling itself “Christians Who Care” —a group that is loosely organized at best because JCSBW couldn’t find any information about the group at all. Much ado has been made on social media because the pro-public education candidates, Danielle Varda, Mary Parker, and Paula Reed pulled out of the forum at the last minute.
Let’s start with the questions that candidates were provided ahead of the forum (typed as written in the screenshot, with three bolded by JCSBW for emphasis):
What are your qualifications for being a Board of Education candidate, and what do you see is the most important issue you would like to address?
55% of Jeffco’s 3rd graders are not at grade level reading. 74% of sixth graders are not at grade level math. Overall student achievement as declined as has student enrollment. In contrast, annual spending continues to increase. How do you explain these statistics and trends, and as a Board of Education member, how do you plan to address these issues?
We are aware that the Union has endorsed certain Board of Education candidates. How does a Union endorsement or non-endorsement influence your decisions, when making critical education-related decisions?
Several of the most highly contested issues in the educational systems in Jefferson County relate to mandated masking and vaccinations. As a Board of Education member, how would you address parents’ concerns? [JCSBW note: Neither Jeffco nor Colorado has a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students and any future mandate would be approved by the state legislature, not the school board.]
As a member of the Board of Education, how would you address the increasing intrusion of government into educational systems wherein the rights and responsibilities of parents are eroded?
From a Christian and parent perspective, how will you address the canceled culture/Woke mentality in schools with special attention to the political themes of Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory?
No wonder VRP declined to show to this forum. It was clearly a trap.
JCSBW apparently is not “woke” enough to understand what “woke indoctrination,” “woke curricula” or “woke mentality” are, much less “canceled culture,” but none of them are tied to grassroots movements.
We’re quickly coming to the end of the Board’s search for a new CEO of Jeffco Schools. The district’s Superintendent Search website shows the Jeffco School Board is still on track to announce one or more finalists the week of May 1.
What We Know So Far
On Wednesday, the hired search firm, Ray & Associates (R&A), released data about the search thus far. R&A initially contacted 825 potential candidates, representing 46 states. Sixty-nine people submitted applications, with the size and location of Jeffco attracting significant attention.
R&A evaluated and screened applicants based on the strength of their administrative experience and academic background, then focused on the qualities and criteria Jeffco wants in its next leader. The top candidates were then given a comprehensive interview by R&A and thoroughly investigated through references, state officials, other school administrators and people who knew them.
Eleven candidates — representing Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Tennessee — qualified for additional consideration. At the end of tomorrow night’s board meeting (which begins at 5 pm), board members will hold an executive session to learn the names of and discuss these candidates. However, they also have the ability to review all applications received, not just those R&A has pre-selected. We recall from one of the community forums hosted by R&A that board members will also have a chance to view video responses from each candidate to a series of questions.
On April 26, board members will interview the candidates they select tomorrow night.
When asked recently about the public’s role in this process, Jeffco Chief Human Resources Officer Amy Weber said that board members and the district want a process that ensures the deepest pool of qualified candidates, and many of the potential candidates have expressed a need for confidentiality.
Updates and recommendations on the district’s plan to move all middle schools to a 6-8 grade configuration, including a discussion about proposed additions to some middle schools. District staff are recommending capital construction at Drake and Dunstan at this time to address overcrowding in area elementary schools.
If you cannot attend the meeting in person, you can watch the live stream. Videos of the meetings are also available there to view later.