School Board Ballot Day & You: 300 Words, 2 Years, and 2 Million Page Views

Today, the first November 2015 Jeffco ballots are being mailed out.

In two years, we’ve had approximately 2 million views on our website and Facebook pages, which averages out to 6 views for every voter in Jeffco. We are grateful that so many have spent time to research what’s going on, but all of it will be for naught if the election keeps WNW in power.

We know that the differences are stark, but not everyone does:

WNW + Merritts + Johnson are financed almost entirely from sources outside Jeffco, like the Koch Brothers. The “Clean Slate” of Rupert, Lasell, Stevens, Harmon, and Mitchell, is not.

When considering what’s best for Jeffco, WNW + Merritts + Johnson look to those financiers and attorneys like Brad Miller who have been have specially trained to fight public schools. The Clean Slate is an independent group actually listening to Jeffco stakeholders that value public education.

WNW + Merritts + Johnson cynically claim that “kids are first” but are concerned with political posturing, appealing to a narrow ideology, and “who has the microphone.” The Clean Slate is a pragmatic group of skilled professionals that do not march together on all of the issues and do not come with a preordained agenda.

WNW + Merritts + Johnson habitually blame teachers and call themselves “transparent,” and then meet behind closed doors and stake out their next broadside on teachers. The Clean Slate includes two former teachers and a former principal, and they all actively seek input from all Jeffco stakeholders.

If you haven’t yet shared your thoughts with many others, we ask you think about what you might do this upcoming week. Your opinion matters to others more than you think. There are still undecided and even uninformed voters, probably including some of your friends. Many want to know more about what’s going on, but don’t know who to ask. You can make a difference. The future of public education, in Jeffco and possibly across the nation, is at stake.

Clean Slate

Ron Mitchell, Ali Lasell, Susan Harmon, Brad Rupert, and Amanda Stevens

Keep fighting, JeffCo! 

Election day is Nov. 3. Vote!


 

One Mom’s Recommendation: ‘Clean Slate’ of Lasell, Rupert, Mitchell, Stevens, and Harmon

This from a Jeffco mom who trusts teachers:

My daughter’s elementary school teachers came and knocked on my door yesterday to give me a brochure for Jeffco United.

I was so grateful.

They gave their all to their students all day, then they dug a little deeper and found more to give back to our community.

Here’s the bottom line:  Our teachers have been so mistreated by our current school board majority that they were considering a strike.  Instead, they’re collectively donating hundreds of hours of their personal time to support the recall and the five “Clean Slate” candidates Jeffco desperately needs.

It is no surprise that our teachers are feeling re-energized by the possibility of the Clean Slate winning.  Each member is a patch in a quilt that pieces together powerfully.  Here’s how it looks:

Clean Slate

Ali Lasell used her 25 years of teaching in Adams 12 to develop a skilled hand in advocating for all students.  She is willing and practiced at listening to community members, parents, and school employees.

Brad Rupert comes to the voters as the jack of many trades.  His legal background in business, real estate, and his many volunteer hours in agencies helping to provide food to families in need make him an essential player in addressing Jeffco’s facilities and funding needs.

Ron Mitchell is a bold, honest, hard-working man who dedicated his career to Jefferson County Public Schools.  He brings one clear mission back to the table:  Get the politics out and the good teachers back in.

Amanda Stevens is amazingly skilled at listening to many ideas and bringing them together into one workable, thoughtful solution.  Her years in the classroom taught her how to look at the district’s data and turn it into schools addressing the needs of the actual teachers, principals, and students who depend on their school board to make good choices.

Susan Harmon will be an experienced voice for collaboration.  These five candidates may be running together, but that doesn’t mean they always agree.  Susan has the necessary skills to keep dignity, respect, and teamwork at the forefront during times of tough decision-making.

We send our children to Jeffco’s teachers hoping they’ll learn.

Now, we have the opportunity to learn from their teachers as well.  If these are the candidates our teachers are knocking on doors to support, then we need to be the voters that elect a school board they can proudly work for.

STORY #6 FROM 2013-2015 POLL RESULTS: WILLIAMS POSTS LINK TO ANTI-LGBTQ HATE GROUP, SUGGESTS KEEPING KIDS HOME FROM SCHOOL ON “DAY OF SILENCE”

Last week, we put forth a poll asking you to select the Top 10 most disturbing stories out of the 30 that we selected from the current Jeffco School Board majority’s tenure.

We are amidst counting down the Top 10, as voted on by more than 400 people. Today is Story #6:

What Happened: Julie Williams is well-known for posting hyper-inflammatory links on her Facebook feed (example: a speaker suggesting that parents pull their kids out of public schools because teachers are just ‘glorified babysitters’ and that the only reason parents haven’t done it sooner is because they’ve become lazy and dependent) and for not reading things before she develops a strong public opinion about their contents (example: the AP U.S. History framework).

4-18-fb-post

This regular combination of Williams’ habits came together in an explosive way this spring when she published a link on her Facebook page to a savecalifornia.com screed that encouraged parents to keep their kids home from school and “away from perverse indoctrination” on April 17, which had been deemed a “Day of Silence” designed to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment. SaveCalifornia is on the official list of hate groups kept by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Williams claimed she didn’t read the SaveCalifornia newsletter before posting it, and later apologized and deleted it from her Facebook page.

By the way, notice the commenters and their comments in the above image.

Why It Matters: Time and again, Williams wrote and said during her 2013 campaign that her “door would always be open to all voices” in Jefferson County. There didn’t need to be any more evidence that she was just stating mindless political platitudes that someone coached her to say, but this kind of action made it clear that if she ever had such an intent, she didn’t understand what it really meant.

Certainly, it was better that she deleted and apologized than not having done so, but the public had by then grown so weary of both her carelessness and her creation of a hostile environment for so many in the district she is charged with helping lead.

Students struggling with sexual orientation have a far higher suicide and suicide attempt rate than average, and experience bullying, depression, and anxiety at significantly increased rates too. If Williams isn’t entirely personally comfortable with sexual orientation questions, the least she could do as a leader of an enormous organization would be to keep quiet about it.

Williams often does not seem to treat her school board behavior any differently than a private Tea Party meeting. She seems to think that her mandate from the voters is so broad that the totally unfiltered Julie Williams is what’s best for the county. While we are increasingly enamored of politicians who “speak their mind,” Williams represents a total lack of discretion when her duty to not be careless is doubled by the fact that the primary people she serves are kids. Even after two years, it’s obvious that she is simply woefully unprepared to be a public official, much less one “leading” an enormous number of youth coming from a variety of backgrounds.


 

 

Interview with Charter Parents: Radio Jeffco Podcast Highlights Pro-Charter, Pro-Recall Parents

[Podcast link below]

Short post this morning, because instead of asking you to take time to read, we are asking you to take some time to listen to this link instead. In Radio Jeffco’s third and latest podcast, they interview two Jeffco charter school parents who love their charter schools, but speak out about the necessity of recalling the board majority.

Charter parents

Do you have friends who are charter school parents and who mistakenly think that the board majority is supportive of charters, and no one else is? They need to listen to this. WNW are counting on charter parents voting for them en masse, when in fact a vote for WNW hurts charters in the long run, especially with the “Clean Slate” loudly and clearly supporting home-grown charters especially.

Click below to join Radio Jeffco hosts Katie Vernon and Bob Zachman for this fascinating interview with Emily Adams and Margaret Lessenger about their experiences with Jeffco Charter Schools and the future of our district.

Link here, then scroll down to the third podcast:

Podcasts

Our mission is to share the voices of Jeffco residents concerned about outsiders trying to take control of our schools and community.

And here is the Facebook link for Radio Jeffco so you can be informed of their future podcasts:

Radio Jeffco

Radio Jeffco. 386 likes · 389 talking about this. We want Jeffco residents making their own decisions about public education in Jeffco.

STORY #7 FROM 2013-2015 POLL RESULTS: NEWKIRK AND WITT DIRECTLY PREVENT JILL FELLMAN FROM ATTENDING MEETING SHE WAS SCHEDULED TO ATTEND

Last week, we put forth a poll asking you to select the Top 10 most disturbing stories out of the 30 that we selected from the current Jeffco School Board majority’s tenure.

We are amidst counting down the Top 10, as voted on by more than 400 people. Today is Story #7:

What Happened: This is the most recent story in the list, one based on a message that Jill Fellman sent out just a few weeks ago:

“Many people who support the recall of the school board majority have recognized that it is not just the substance of what this group is doing, but the dismissive and disrespectful way they are doing it. Here’s the latest example. There is an Agenda Setting Meeting with the Superintendent and his Cabinet a week or so before every board meeting. The purposes of these meetings are to determine how much time agenda items might take and to give appropriate direction to Cabinet members to ensure agenda items meet the needs of the Board. According to practice, Mr. Newkirk and I alternate going to these meetings. Today was my day to attend the meeting – so, I drove to the Ed. Ctr. Mr. Witt arrived at the meeting with Mr. Newkirk and informed me (in the presence of several staff members) (1) I was not needed and (2) Mr. Newkirk would be attending the Agenda Setting Meetings until the election. I’m a big girl, and I can deal with the lack of respect that I see every day from this Board majority. At the same time, our District deserves elected officials who treat each other and the public with respect, even when they disagree on policy. It’s up to Jeffco voters to make that change.”

Newkirk, Witt and their allies were trying to “stack” the District Accountability Committee (DAC) with their allies only and no dissenting voices, and that’s just what they did.

Why It Matters: How many ways can we count?

  1. Spiting Transparency: WNW ran on a campaign of transparency and keep boasting that because school board meetings are live-streamed, they are setting new standards in transparency. Then this kind of stuff gets reported all the time. It’s completely disingenuous.
  2. Really, Who Does This? OK, a few weeks before that we saw Mike Huckabee’s crew physically prevent Ted Cruz from joining Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis on her jail-release-celebration stage. Then again, the Davis situation was…unusual. Newkirk and Witt let Fellman drive to the meeting, enter the meeting, and then they told her to leave? What was she going to do if she stayed? Actually speak and maybe disagree?
  3. “Listen, Listen, Listen, Decide” was a mantra of Newkirk’s campaign.  Did he decide to just skip the first 3/4 of that mantra? Or is listening only with people who he agrees with?
  4. People Expect Much Better from Elected Officials. And they should. They are representing the public as a whole. Witt recently held a press conference to “prove” that he’s not the type to make decisions behind closed doors. Does repeatedly having meetings behind closed doors, including when you kick out fellow board members who were slated to be there, sort of erode that trust?
  5. Witt stated that he was “glad to have a discussion” with the public about the accomplishments of the school board. Then why this kind of behavior?

We could carry on, but we’ll leave it at that.

Suffice to say that if they survive the recall, this kind of behavior will be commonplace!

Vote Lasell, Stevens, Rupert, Harmon, and Mitchell, and remember that Merritts and Johnson are aligned with WNW! 

Keep fighting, JeffCo! And remember to VOTE by Nov. 3!