Join us this afternoon for Boots on the Blvd 3.0: Drive the Blvd & Sign. We’ll be out at selected intersections along Wadsworth from 3:30 to 7 pm with petitions and signs encouraging drivers to pull into a nearby parking lot and walk over to sign. Look for us Wadsworth and the following cross streets: Bowles, Belleview, Hampden, Jewell, Alameda, Colfax, 38th, 44th, 52nd, 80th, and Church Ranch/100th. Bring your petitions, wave signs and let Jeffco know how important this is.
As you gear up for this afternoon we wanted to equip you with answers to some questions sent in a recent mail by Jeffco’s Republican Party. Your neighbors, friends and coworkers might ask you these questions, so here are some points to get you started:
Do they think rewarding effective teachers is wrong?
Denver and Boulder are giving their teachers raises of more than 5%. We’re “rewarding” highly effective teachers with a 1% raise and effective teachers with 0.5% percent. Which reward would you pick?
Do they think we should increase our debt for new schools when $18 million was available to build a new school?
The board’s $18 million builds one school with 600 seats, but the district expects 2,000 to 5,000 students in the next five years. Northwest Arvada schools are already at or over capacity. The board’s decision will mean that those schools add “dry” temporary buildings (“dry” = no water, so kids have to go inside the main building to wash hands or use the restroom), which will also incur landscaping and other costs at schools to accommodate the temps. Do you want your tax dollars to pay for temporary buildings without sinks or restrooms, plus the associated costs of setting up the buildings? Or would you rather save money and do it right the first time by building schools that will last?
Do they think all children deserve access to a great public education?
Yes, and that is why we support recalling Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams. Their agenda is actually about slowly strangling public education and is having a negative impact on our students.
Do they think parents and local communities should have input on decisions for their school?
Yes, but the board majority has ignored that input repeatedly in favor of their own agenda. They have ignored community input on both of the last budget surveys, and on school choice because it didn’t align with their politics.
They talk about listening to parents, but actually receive almost all of their direction and money from outside of Jeffco, hypocritically touting local control while being puppeteered by financiers and policy ideologues, most of whom have little investment in Jeffco. It’s time to recall them and elect board members who support all of Jeffco’s students.
This email also made a number of claims that we’d like to start addressing. We’ll tackle the claims about students today.
CLAIM 1: The board has improved student achievement because it raised the bar for students.
- Student achievement scores have remained largely steady in Jeffco for the past few years. We continue to score above the state average and are proud to have kept our scores steady while student achievement in Douglas County declined last year, but there is no discernible difference in scores before and after WNW’s election.
- Results from this spring’s PARCC tests won’t be provided to the district until sometime in the 2015/16 year — which means there isn’t any data about how the kids did available yet.
- At the May school board meeting, Ken Witt told district staff that Jeffco was failing its students in math. Why? Because district staff could not provide immediate data on what student scores would look like on PARCC tests (see above about PARCC results).
- BOTTOM LINE:There is absolutely no significant data to support that achievement has been improved.
CLAIM 2: WNW worked with the Superintendent to provide students a “larger voice.”
- WNW repeatedly went out of their way to deny students the opportunity to speak at board meetings through the 2014/15 school year.
- After a student group requested a meeting with the school board, Ken Witt put a student’s social media post — with her full name — on the projector for everyone to see during a school board meeting, and used the post as an excuse to refuse to talk to the student group.
- The Superintendent had already been talking to students in an effort to address concerns about the curriculum review committee, and the idea to include students came from him, not WNW.
- BOTTOM LINE: WNW has spent its time silencing student opposition, with only token moves to give students a voice in school decisions.
Don’t forget to join us on Wadsworth this afternoon, and no matter what,