9/30 Post – “What’s Wrong With These Punks?”


“Punks”

That is what Gretchen Carlson called our kids on FOX’s national news last Friday.

Ken Witt described them as “political pawns.” In his disinformation editorial in the Denver Post, John Newkirk called them ‘misinformed’.

We won’t even go into the hateful and derogatory things being said online about our students, you can see that for yourself.

Where we looked on with awe and pride as our young men and women, exercised critical thinking, came to a conclusion, and then took action, others see only ungrateful brats mesmerized by their evil teachers, rebelling against authority.  We see everything that made America a country to be the envy of the world.  They see ‘punks’ who threaten their peculiarly narrow and distorted vision of our country.

And they are planning on shouting down us and our kids at the Board meeting this Thursday.

Some places in the world, the side with the most might is right…and wins.  In the world of WNW supporters, the one who shouts the loudest is the most right…and wins. Reasoned debate and respectful disagreement are anathemas to them.  If there is more than one legitimate view, then theirs might be ‘wrong’.  A rational debate means that they might be shown that their view is incorrect.  That they might be ‘wrong’.  And they cannot tolerate that.

If you cruise their websites (Breibart, Julie Williams Facebook, Peak Politics, etc., ) you will find this kind of intolerant, self-righteous anger and hatred spewing out.  If you look closely, you will also see them calling out to fellow believers to swamp the Board meeting and its comment periods this Thursday night.  If they succeed in shouting us down, they will crow how ‘the public’ is on their side.  They will re-write what has happened these last two weeks to “present positive aspects of the” protests.  Based on what they have been calling our kids, we leave it to you decide how they might ‘present’ their protests.  It will probably range from “pawns” to “punks”.

Do not let them do this!

Not to us.  Not to JeffCo.  And most certainly not to our kids!

If you took pride in how our kids stood up and made the nation pay attention to what is happening here, sign up to speak at the meeting (click here to fill out the form.  Under Agenda Topic, type in  “6.01” and “In support of the Students protesting the Curriculum Review Committee” or something similar.  Click here to speak to the Board over things not on the agenda – such as not funding the desperately needed expansion of free, full-day kindergarten, or the money wasted on Brad Miller ($70k and counting!), maybe the complete ignoring of public comment, the slowness in responding to emails, and so on.

Then show up at the Board Meeting this Thursday at the Education Center (1829 Denver West Drive, Bldg. 27, Golden).  The meeting starts at 5:30, but be there early as there is sure to be a LONG line.  Go up to the front door and check in with the District person with the speakers list.

If the only people there who support our kids are their teachers, then WNW will use that to push the ‘uniformed pawn’ label on our kids.

They do not deserve that!

Our kids have come so far, grown up so much, and energized our efforts so greatly.  Now it is our turn to take the battle to take this battle to the Board.  We need to stop this unAmerican whitewashing of history…and to defend our kids against those who see them only as ungrateful “punks”.

We have always been fighting for our kids’ education.  Now we are fighting for their reputation as well.

Let’s Get Fighting, JeffCo!

 


 

9/29 Important Update! Curriculum Review Committee Now On Agenda!

Alert Symbol

The Curriculum Review Committee proposal is now on the agenda! Item 6.01.  Below is the actual Agenda Item Detail:

Agenda Item 6.01 Curriculum Review Committee
Type: Action
Recommended Action: to consider the draft proposal for a board curriculum review committee.
estimated time:  (estimated duration: 30 minutes)

PERTINENT FACTS:

  1. On September 4, Board member Julie Williams proposed creation of a Board curriculum review committee.
  2. On September 18, Ms. Williams and Board member John Newkirk offered proposals for creation of a curriculum review committee, to focus on the Advanced Placement U.S. History course.  The Board agreed to discuss the matter at a future Board meeting.
  3. The Board agreed to schedule a discussion of the draft proposal for the October 2 regular business meeting following student protests of the proposed Board curriculum review committee.

Please open this link for a list of pertinent district policies and the attachment below to review additional background material.

DRAFT PROPOSAL JJN-Rev2b-Markup-JW PROPOSAL Board Committee for Curriculym Review.pdf.pdf (76 KB)

It is now ESSENTIAL that everyone plan on showing up at the meeting!  Plan on getting there very early.  Most likely they will have the doors closed until 5:00 p.m., so be prepared to wait.  We expect heavy media coverage.  We also expect a LOT of students to show up.

The Comment sign-up goes active at 10:00 a.m. this morning.  Sign up to speak on this subject here: BOE Comment.

Witt will not allow signs, but we can WEAR buttons, T-Shirts, hats, and so on.

So come on out Thursday, and come prepared to

 

Keep Fighting, JeffCo!


 

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!

 


 

9/28 Sunday Post Addendum – JeffCo Kids Speak For Themselves

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Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC just came out with an interview with two of JeffCo’s finest:  Ashlyn Maher of Chatfield High School and Kyle Ferris of Columbine High School, two of the student organizers of the protests.

This interview comes after Melissa Harris-Perry (“MHP”) already sent an open letter to Julie Williams on the Curriculum Review Committee the day before.

These two are so compelling, we decided to do a special addendum linking you to the two segments.

In her first segment, it looks for a bit as if she is not talking about JeffCo, but if you are patient she pulls it in to devastating effect…

Then this came out today:

Kids like this, deserve our best!  So let’s go out there and…

Keep Fighting, JeffCo!

 


 

9/28 Sunday Post: The Introduction of Reality – A Rebuttal to John Newkirk’s Myth Making

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(note:  This rebuttal was posted Saturday in the comment section of the Newkirk editorial.  This version has been modified slightly to better fit our blog format.)

In Friday’s Denver Post, John Newkirk published an editorial, giving his, Ken Witt’s, and Julie Williams view of the week that made the majority of JeffCo parents very proud of their kids. Needless to say, since it is their proposed “Curriculum Review Committee” that sparked the protests, Mr. Newkirk’s portrayal is not flattering. That is to be expected.

What is not to be expected, or at least SHOULD not be expected is how fast and loose Mr. Newkirk seems to have played with the truth. Through careful excision of facts, overly broad generalizations, logical fallacies, and baseless emotional appeals, Mr. Newkirk is making his attempt at doing locally what Ms. Williams proposal would do nationally – re-writing history to suit them.

Since Mr. Newkirk felt duty bound to remind us of the “mantle of responsibility” that we as parents are aware of, our sense of that responsibility compels us to go over his editorial and point out where he did less than his most honest best.

Below is the text of his editorial, in quotes. After each paragraph are our comments.

Crowds of high school students have carried signs and gathered along busy streets during what should have been normal school days in Jefferson County. Our community members who witnessed or heard about these protests deserve to know the rest of the story.”

Of course the ‘rest of the story’ phrase is meant to harken back to Paul Harvey, a much beloved radio announcer who started broadcasting in World War II. It is meant to imply that there is more to things than meets the eye and he, John Newkirk, is about to tell you some deep, dark secrets.

This is a very old tactic. Pretend that you are going to ‘lift the veil’ so as to better hide what you don’t want seen.

After all, few things kindle more passion in a parent’s heart than the education and well-being of our children. This is a good thing. It’s a sign that we, as parents, understand society’s mantle of responsibility will all too soon be passed to the next generation — and we want them to be ready.”

This is a platitude, uttered to try and get you emotionally lined up with him before he even tells you something of substance.

As a new Jeffco School Board member, it’s surreal for me to walk the halls of the schools I attended decades ago. While my memories of those years are fading, the faces in the schools are fresh and there’s an energy, eagerness, and passion to learn that I find inspiring.”

Another platitude. We are three paragraphs into the 12 paragraph editorial and he has said nothing of substance yet. Instead, he has devoted the first 25% of it to working on your emotions.

“Regrettably, however, not every Jeffco student is getting what he or she needs to succeed in today’s global environment. Recent achievement data indicate that fewer than 60 percent of our graduates are college- and career-ready in math and science. Only a third are proficient in writing, and nearly 30 percent of our graduates need remedial work before they enter college. While there are many Jeffco students who fall outside these disturbing trends — and they have earned our applause — far too many are left behind. This reality has to change.”

Okay, here is the first actual data. He spouts off a bunch of numbers…without giving you the context in which to place them. Context is vital when it comes to changing data into knowledge. If you took out a loan that charged you $100 of interest a year, it might seem reasonable…until you found out that the loan was for just $10. Your reaction, now that the data has been placed in context, is very different. If the loan had been for $100,000 then your reaction would be different again.

So Newkirk is giving you raw data without a context to give it meaning. He is not telling you that JeffCo is above the state average in most of those rankings, nor that JeffCo has a greater percentage of its high schools making the U.S. News & World Report Top High School list than any other group or district in the state.

That being said, should the District work on improving those numbers? Absolutely! But that is not really in dispute. It’s sort of like us Coloradans saying to each other, “Boy, I sure hope the snow pack is better this year than it was last year!” We applaud the sentiment, but it is hardly in dispute.

Finally, he misuses the words “trends”. He used it in such a manner as to imply that things are getting worse. This is the exact opposite from what is really happening. Key JeffCo test scores improved in the last year. Do we want them to improve more? Yes! We also want the Broncos to do better in the playoffs against the Seahawks this year. He is pretending there is opposition to improving things when in fact there is none. We ALL want things to improve.

My physics teacher taught me that for every action, there is a reaction. How little I realized the degree to which this applies to public policy. The reaction to a new board majority of non-union candidates has been loud and prolonged. This is, I suppose, largely due to fear of the unknown and change in the status quo.”

Now we start getting to the real thrust of his writing. Note, he said a “board majority of non-union candidates”. This is a deliberate misrepresentation of facts. He is implying that the previous boards were dominated by union members. Nothing could be further from the truth. His logic, no doubt, was that since the previous Boards actually worked with JCEA (which is actually not a union) instead of trying to get out of its Collective Bargaining Agreement with them, those boards must have been dominated by ‘union’ board members.  Mr. Newkirk seems to dismiss out of hand that the District might find working with highly trained professionals in pursuit of commonly held goals is not possible.

Logical or not, it is a statement designed to lead you to a false conclusion. He then goes on to say that the reason for the growing opposition to him and the rest of WNM+Williams agenda is because the opposition is comfortable and is cowardly.

This is a straw man tactic, a logical fallacy (check it out in Wikipedia). He defines for you what the opposition is, using deliberate misleading statements. The follow-up to it will be a dismantling of this opponent made from his straws, and then he declares that he has won.

First year high school debaters recognize this trick.

“The situation has erupted in the past week, first with a teacher sickout at two high schools, then student walkouts at several others. While the board and our district leaders value the voices of students, cutting class to make a political statement is a different matter, especially when union-led teachers have misinformed those students rather than encouraged them to exercise critical thinking skills.”

There are three separate exclusion of facts, one serious downplaying of events, one outright falsehood, and one concluding gross misrepresentation in that paragraph.

He did not say that the sick out was after he, Williams, and Witt unilaterally, with no consultation with the teachers, no public comment, and no in-depth financial analysis, unilaterally imposed a radical new compensation plan on the teachers, and tied it to an evaluation system their own ‘fact finder’ found to be so inconsistent and inaccurate as to be of no value.

He did not say that the sick out was also after Julie Williams made her proposal for the “Curriculum Review Committee” that, contrary to the agenda title, was not to review Common Core, PARCC, and AP U.S. History, but to review ALL JeffCo curriculum for their version of political and scientific correctness. “Theories should be distinguished from fact. Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage.” AP U.S. History was simply the first subject to be targeted, with 5th Grade Health Sciences being the second (can you say “sex education”?).

He did not say that the first student walk-outs were on the same day the of the teacher sick-out and that it was in support of their high school teachers and in opposition to the proposed “Curriculum Review Committee”.

He downplayed the extent of the walk-outs, not mentioning that it happened over six school days, in 16 of 17 high schools, and that it concluded with students of all grades attending class as persons from American history who caused ‘civil disorder, social strife, or disregard of the law’ and by doing so, made us into a better nation and people!

He alleges that the students were misled by their teachers…and offers no proof other than his assertion. On the other side, if you go to the various FaceBook pages the students put together to coordinate their walkouts, you will find over and over again that this was student conceived, organized, and executed. Anyone who saw Lakewood High School’s winning Katy Perry lip-dub video last fall KNOWS these are highly capable young men and women.

Finally, to say the high school students of JeffCo did not use critical-thinking skills simply because they did use them…and concluded your position is wrong and dangerous, is at best Aesop’s Sour Grapes, and at worst a deliberate belittling of our kids.

We will concede that Mr. Newkirk, or his PR writer knows how to pack a lot of distortion into a small paragraph.

For example, the revised AP U.S. History framework has been widely criticized for leaving out key parts of our nation’s underlying story, yet when board member Julie Williams suggested engaging the community in this discussion via a curriculum review committee (hardly a new practice), she and the board were instantly accused of “censorship.” No action has been taken on either the committee or the curriculum, but that didn’t stop opponents of the board majority from exploiting these flash protests to overshadow the truly positive stories.”

In this paragraph, Mr. Newkirk is slipping. He only managed to squeeze in one misleading factual exclusion, one gross misrepresentation, one self-contradiction while trying for an uninformative hyperbole, and one deliberate misrepresentation, all in a longer paragraph.

Only the right wing has been critical, with Texas being the most extreme…until Julie Williams proposal, which actually goes further than the Texas one.

This committee, per her proposal would not represent the community. Instead, it would have been made up of people that Witt, Newkirk, and Williams selected (since they would outvote Dahlkemper and Fellman). In short, it would represent WNW, not JeffCo.

Also there are already two review committees made up of parents, teachers, and

District staff, as well as formal process for a parent to use when they object to the use of a particular textbook.

The phrase “exploiting these flash protests’ is interesting. Newkirk was strongly hinting in the previous paragraph, and his confederates, Witt and Williams, have outright said that the protests were JCEA led. Yet here, Newkirk says they were ‘flash protests’, which implies they were sudden (instead of planned) and unexpected (instead of led). Which way is it, Mr. Newkirk? Finally, he tries to get you to believe that this proposal is genuinely a ‘good thing’ by saying it’s virtues were ‘overshadow’ed.

He implies the Board really took no action. He does not say that is because their own attorney, Brad Miller, told them they could not proceed since the original title was misleading! Even then, Ken Witt tabled the motion to a later date. This has not gone away. WNW is simply waiting for a better time.

Effectively, in this paragraph, Newkirk realizes he has a loser if the real content and purpose of the proposal is known. So he tries to hide 95% of the poison, and disguise the remaining 5% as a harmless substance.

To cite just a few examples, for the first time in years this board has taken steps to equalize charter student funding and increase teacher pay. We’ve upped entry-level salaries by up to 13 percent and approved significant raises for all our effective teachers.

“In contrast, in 2011, the prior board cut compensation by 3 percent. There were no teacher sickouts then. In 2012 and 2013, the board froze salaries and, once again, there were no sickouts or protests.”

Now we are back to the citing statistics without context (actually a VERY good way to mislead people).

Of course the previous boards cut the teachers pay in 2011 and then froze it in 2012 and 2013. Those boards actually worked with JCEA in this because the Recession had cut school district funds so drastically. Note, that Newkirk also left out the that the District then made an explicit promise for a return to step pay increases (which their comp plan does not do) as soon as revenues recovered. Unfortunately for the teachers, that did not happen before WNW took over. And WNW does not think that they are bound by any commitment given in the District’s name.

For the third ear in a row now, our two veteran board members have not approved a teacher pay raise, but curiously the protests are directed only at the three new board members. It makes no sense until you put it in the political context of a new era in Jefferson County, an era in which the teachers union no longer controls the Board of Education.”

A regurgitation of the misrepresentation in the fourth paragraph plus the failure to provide context in the previous paragraph, all wrapped up in a overly broad and unsubstantiated concluding sentence. In short, re-heated leftovers that were not any good the first time.

Shortly before signing the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln admonished Congress that “as our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”

Here is the taken out of context historical quote that Newkirk loves pulling up. Lincoln was, of course, talking about the first step in freeing black Americans from slavery – an action that in large part got started because of the civil disobedience, willingness to cause social strife, and disregard for the law of many, many people who sheltered runaway slaves as part of the Underground Railroad. This is a far cry from trying to blame public reaction to their effort to censor American history on teachers. Mr. Newkirk might want to be careful if he ever visits the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The sheer effrontery of him using this quote might cause the building to quake.

It’s time to disenthrall ourselves with policies of the past that are leaving far too many students behind. Only then will we embrace what can be a very bright future for our children and thus, for our nation.”

His empty summary that actually says nothing about why JeffCo students chose to protest him and his cohorts. He even does not perceive the irony of him defending a highly edited past, while telling us we must leave the past behind.

We would also advise him to ‘disenthrall’ himself from the use of ‘disenthrall’.  Even if he knows the true meaning, it is pretty pretentious, not to mention repetitious.

Our Final Comments:  As we said before, the real sad part of this editorial is the fact that we are not surprised by it. It is entirely in keeping with Witt, Newkirk, Williams, and Miller wanting to keep their dark doings dark, all while not being troubled with small things, such as honesty, respect, or integrity.