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!

9/15 BOE Meeting Prep: WNM+Williams Bulldozes JCEA & JeffCo

Bulldozing HouseThe quiet summer is definitely over and WNM+Williams must have spent much of their summer planning this latest blitzkrieg. At Thursday’s meeting, they will finish ramming down JCEA and JeffCo’s throats Ken Witt’s ‘I just jotted down some ideas’ teacher compensation plan.  

This is on top of the news that Lori Gillis, who has been doing her best to keep honest books, is now fleeing, seeking sanctuary in the Arvada city government, and no one can blame her. Then last Thursday, JCEA took the serious step of voting a resolution of ‘No Confidence’ against Ken Witt. We expect this Thursday to be another battle between those who are trying to destroy the District and those who are desperately trying to save it.

Unfortunately for all of JeffCo, the situation is going to get worse before it gets better.

So we need everyone to ‘gird up’ and get ready. We need as many people showing up at the meetings, writing letters, and talking to people as we can get.

Monday Do List:

  1. Email the Board (board@jeffco.k12.co.us) asking why a teacher compensation package is being rammed through with no consultation with JCEA, no time to do a full staff study to understand the full impact, no full scale debate by the Board, and no opportunity for public comment.
  2. It is also high time that the rest of the public starts to pay attention to what is going on here. One of the ways we can make that happen is by getting the local media involved.  If enough of us send emails to them, then maybe they will start giving it the coverage it needs and deserves! Simply email (or enter a comment on their comment page) telling them briefly what is happening here in JeffCo and asking why they are not covering it more in depth?Pick three or four a day to do each day:

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)

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

And Keep Fighting Everyday!

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.

2nd Note:  This meeting is a “Special – S/D” (Study/Discussion) session. That means that WNM+Williams will not allow public comment, contrary to Board & District Policy (specifically policy BEDH, the second sentence of paragraph four).

BOE Meeting 2014-09-18 (Thursday night)
Date and Time:  Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.
Education Center, 5th Floor Board Room, 1829 Denver West Drive, Bldg. 27, Golden, CO

Key Agenda Items (9-15 BOE Meeting Prep – Printed Version)

Agenda Item 2.01 Community Engagement: Jeffco League of Women Voters
Type: Discussion
PRESENTING STAFF: Patricia Mesec, president, League of Women Voters of Jefferson County Lead members, LWV Jeffco
PURPOSE:  For the Board of Education to meet with members of the Jefferson County League of Women voters to discuss items of mutual interest, including the following questions (requested by the Board).

  1. What are your plans to address the needs of all students in Jefferson County, including children of poverty, English Language Learners, special needs children, and students in pre-school?
  2. How are the governing policies for the Board of Education developed, implemented and amended?  Are these policies the backbone of governance?
  3. What processes does the Board of Education use in responding to advisory boards, staff recommendations, surveys, and public comment?
  4. What strategies are you planning to use to reassure the community that you are placing a priority on maintaining the reputation of high standards and effective governance in Jefferson County Public Schools?
  5. Discuss the roles of the superintendent and the Board of Education and how they interrelate in the decision making process?

BACKGROUND: The Jeffco League of Women voters wrote to the Board of Education in March 2014 requesting time to meet with the Board of Education as boards have done in the past.

The League of Women Voters of Jefferson County Positions on Education and Government Boards and Commissions is provided below.

File Attachments: LWVJeffco Positions for BOE.pdf (72 KB) Cover letter for BOE LWVJeffco.pdf (415 KB)

Our Comments: Have you ever wished that WNM+Williams would be faced with a knowledgeable, strong group of people who not only ask questions, but can also ask follow-up questions when WNM+Williams use avoidance answers?  You may just get your wish this Thursday.

The League of Women Voters (national site here, JeffCo chapter site here) has a long and highly respected tradition of non-partisanship advocacy for little ‘d’ democracy, i.e., not only getting as many people involved in voting as possible, but also monitoring government groups for being responsive to their constituents.  If both sides live up to their reputations (WNM+Williams for furtive evasiveness and mendacity, the League for being experienced, tough-minded questioners), then the fireworks may begin early!

Read the LWV attachment.  It spells out pretty well what they expect out of government…and you can fill in for yourself where WNM+Williams fall short!  We will watch with this session with a lot of anticipation!

Agenda Item 2.02 Facilities Planning
Type: Discussion, Information
PRESENTING STAFF: Steve Bell, chief operating officer, Tim Reed, executive director, Facilities
PURPOSE:  For the Board of Education to receive additional information on districtwide facilities in order to provide direction on the development of the draft Facility Master Plan and urgent facility needs.
BACKGROUND: The Board of Education received preliminary facilities planning priorities on August 23, 2014 in anticipation of additional, in depth discussion in September.

File Attachments: PRESENTATION Facilities Planning.PDF (1,701 KB)

Our Comments: The largest part of the presentation focuses on coping with ‘over utilization’ of schools, also known as school crowding.  There are 17 schools specifically discussed: Meiklejohn Elementary, Wayne Carle Middle, Van Arsdale Elementary, Sierra Elementary, Oberon Middle, West Woods Elementary, Fairmount Elementary, Mitchell Elementary, Drake Middle, Deane Elementary, Stein Elementary, O’Connell Middle, Devinny Elementary, Rooney Ranch Elementary, Hutchinson Elementary, Kendallvue Elementary, and Dunstan Middle.  Some of the options include building new schools at Table Rock Mesa and Solterra (SW side of Green Mountain), expand Sierra Elementary, and re-opening Zerger at 9050 Field in Westminster.  Other options include expanding a number of existing Middle Schools from 7-8 to 6-8.  As well there is a proposal to build a South Area Athletic Complex to relieve the pressure on the two existing sites.

If you know someone whose child attends one of these schools, please let them know that Thursday’s meeting will involve their school to one degree or another.

We will not be surprised if WNM+Williams use this as an opportunity to push for charter schools in these areas.

Agenda Item 2.03 Choice Programming Update
PRESENTING STAFF: Terry Elliott, chief school effectiveness officer, Dr. Syna Morgan, chief academic officer
PURPOSE:  The Board of Education requested an update on the work in the district related to school choice practices and policies as well as an update on STEM programs in Jeffco Schools.
BACKGROUND: Jeffco Schools provides families the ability to select schools and instructional programming through the choice enrollment policy (JFBA).  Students can select to attend their assigned neighborhood school or they may seek enrollment into:

  • another neighborhood school
  • a charter school
  • an option school

During the 2013/2014 school year, the Board of Education created the Choice Steering Committee and tasked this committee to assess current practices supporting choice enrollment and programming.  This committee concluded its work in June of 2014 with a list of recommendations for consideration.  District staff has continued to enhance the processes and policies which support student choice.

Additionally, the expansion of STEM in two middle schools was discussed in January 2014 by the Board of Education and as interest in STEM continues to grow, the Board has expressed an interest in an update on this particular choice program in Jeffco Schools.

File Attachments: PRESENTATION Choice Programming.pdf (118 KB)

Our Comments: The presentation is heavy on color and large fonts while be light on actual content.  We will have to see how the discussion goes on most of this.  One thing that drew our eye was a reference to “Mining of responses to the Choice Parent Survey…” (slide 3).  This was the first we recall of hearing the results of the ‘Choice Parent Survey’.  There are a lot of questions we would like to ask about this survey, including:  Who administered it?  What was the methodology?  What was the sampling universe?  Where is the raw data?  How come this has not been published to the JeffCo School District Website?  At least it is not listed on the Choice Steering Committee page. In fact, this page, while showing that a Choice Survey was in the works, makes no mention of the final form of the survey, nor when it was conducted, nor when the “focus groups” mentioned in the original plans were conducted.

In short, this presentation raises a lot more questions than it answers!

Agenda Item 2.04 Progress Monitoring: Ends 5
Type: Discussion, Information
PRESENTING STAFF: Terry Elliott, chief school effectiveness officer
PURPOSE:  For the Board of Education to receive a progress monitoring report on Ends 5: every student will become a responsible citizen.
BACKGROUND: The Board of Education assesses the district’s performance through Board Ends policies, or goals, directing the work of the superintendent and district.  Ends policies are an essential component of the Board’s governance structure.  Updates on the five Ends policies are to be provided to the Board on a regular basis.

File Attachments: BOE Ends 5 Update Sept 2014.pdf (117 KB)

Our Comments: Normally this would be a ‘ho-hum, this is important but so non-controversial’ that we could safely ignore it.  However, Witt, in particular, has surprised us before.  Remember the “I don’t like that word” response to “diversity”?  So keep at least one eye open on this one….

Agenda Item 2.05 Teacher Compensation Model
Type: Action
Recommended Action: To approve staff recommendations regarding implementation of teacher compensation model.
PERTINENT FACTS:

  1. On September 4, 2014, staff presented information on the proposed teacher compensation model in response to Board of Education questions.
  2. On September 4, 2014, the Board adopted the proposed compensation plan for teachers for the 2014-2105 school year, and requested staff to bring back information on ‘over market’ and the timing of implementation.
  3. The attached presentation provides the Board of Education with the additional details required to begin implementing the approved plan.

File Attachments: BOE Meeting Sept 18 2014 Teacher Compensation.pdf (278 KB)

AND

Agenda Item 2.06 Resolution of Outstanding Negotiation Items
Type: Action
Recommended Action: To approve staff recommendations regarding implementation of teacher compensation model.
PERTINENT FACTS:

  1. On September 4, 2014, staff presented information on the proposed teacher compensation model in response to Board of Education questions.
  2. On September 4, 2014, the Board adopted the proposed compensation plan for teachers for the 2014-2105 school year, and requested staff to bring back information on ‘over market’ and the timing of implementation.
  3. The attached presentation provides the Board of Education with the additional details required to begin implementing the approved plan.

File Attachments: Resolution to Decide Unresolved Negotiation Issues Sept 18 2014.pdf (297 KB)

Our Comments: From being represented as an off-the-cuff idea by Witt at the August 28th meeting to approval at the September 4th meeting, now being finalized at the September 18th meeting, this is not just a WNM+Williams railroad, it’s a bullet train.

There are so many things wrong with this it is hard to know where to start, and we could do multiple posts just dealing with the words “above market”.  But we do not want to overwhelm you, so we will focus on just one aspect:  public trust & comment.

The lack ability for the public to comment on this proposal is horrific and non-democratic.  It has all the fairness and openness of a Kangaroo Court.  

Witt brought this proposal up as a surprise at the first regular Board meeting, but he did it in such a way as to prevent the public from commenting on it.  

The normal, above-board, and honest way to handle this proposal would have been for Witt to notify Helen Neal, the Chief of Staff for the Board and Superintendent, of this proposal several days in advance. Then it would have had it’s own agenda item number and been placed in the discussion session of the meeting. The proposal would have had time to be examined by all the Board members and the public. The public would have been able to prepare comment and questions for the Board prior to it’s adoption.

That is not what Witt did.

He brought it up in agenda item 1.01 which simply mentioned the JCEA negotiations.  If you look at the time stamp on the document KW comp2014 7 points.pdf you will see that the email was sent at 6:21 p.m., while the meeting was going on! Likewise with his misleading graph.  Yet the language and graph presentation make it obvious that this was something that he (and others?) spent a lot of time on.

He then pushed through a vote to force the staff do a study in time for the next meeting, only five business days away!  Five days to examine the impact on 8,000 teachers and a significant if not majority of the JeffCo budget!

At the Sept 4th meeting, Witt had the plan scheduled in the Study/Dialogue section of the agenda (item 1.02), with only discussion and information showing as being planned.  This meant, as with the previous meeting, when WNM+Williams pushed for a vote on the compensation plan (contrary to their own policies), it was done prior to any possible public comment!

In this upcoming meeting (Sept 18th), we are seeing the past repeat itself.  By scheduling the issue in a “Special Meeting”, WNM+Williams are deliberately avoiding any public comment on this plan!  This is because WNM+Williams have consistently refused to allow public comment in Special Meetings, contrary to Board Governance & Operations Policy BEDH – Public Participation at Meetings (see the second sentence of paragraph four).

One the ultimate ironies of the situation is that Open Negotiations – Proposition 104 is based on the idea that close door negotiations between a school district and teachers is a bad thing.  Here in JeffCo, the JCEA welcomed open negotiations.  It is WNM+Williams that has tried to do everything in secret, even from the rest of the Board.

This compensation plan is being rammed through with all the finesse of a bayonet drill…and the first victims are JeffCo teachers.  The next victims will be JeffCo students (as their best teachers leave) and then the JeffCo community and taxpayers.

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: None so far, but something promised for sometime Monday.  We will update the post as soon as it becomes available. JW PROPOSAL Board Committee for Curriculum Review.pdf (21 KB) (Posted on JeffCo BoardDocs site Monday, September 15th)

Our Comments (9/14): What Julie Williams has been trying to do since August 28th might actually happen…sort of.  She was wanting an up or down vote on a resolution calling on the state to require a new look at the ‘unamerican’ slant of AP history, the burden of PARCC tests and the unfairness of Common Core.  Twice now Witt has cut her off at the knees.  This agenda item which is supposed to be a discussion of the idea of a resolution is all she managed to get.  It will be interesting to see if Witt does a bit of ruffled feather soothing, or if he goes on with his normal tone-deafness when it comes to other people’s feelings.

Please keep in mind that we are not taking sides in the Common Core and PARCC issues, and the actions Ms. Williams would like to take on the ‘unamerican slant’ of AP history fills us horror.  Still, we are also puzzled at how Witt feels he can completely ignore one of his essential votes. Indeed, the one vote that has already few occasions broken ranks with him.  We certainly hope that Witt continues to take Williams for granted, as we feel pretty sure that sooner or later, those chickens will come home to roost.

Updated Comments (9/16):  Now that we have read Julie Williams proposal, if possible, our horror has increased. There are several points that truly terrifying.

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 nominate members.  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 their from becoming a member.  In short, they can control the entire makeup of the committee, and then pass it off as ‘representing the public’ when in fact it would do no such thing.

2) This is no longer a committee to review PARCC, Common Core, and AP History, but a Board Committee that is empowered to review all JeffCo texts, all the time.  There is no limit on their scope, nor on how long they 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).  This would allow her and her fellow believers to enforce their views on our kids.  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 Freedom Riders of the 50’s and 60’s who fought Jim Crow segregation laws in the South by deliberately violating them.  In fact, all of the history of the Civil Rights movement would either have to frowned on or redacted (and we know how WNM+Williams love redacting) from the history texts.  The Underground Railroad that smuggled escaping slaves from the South into the North and later to Canada, would have to be described in the same terms we would use for terrorists and criminals today.  Ironically, this requirement would also mean that the event that her personal political group takes its name from, the Boston Tea Party, would also have to be condemned!  Likewise, that phrasing would require texts denounce the acts of the George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Henry Lee, John Hancock, and the rest of our founding fathers as illegal and immoral!

But it does not stop there.

Because of the broad range 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 in the realm of text, her committee would become the final arbiters of.  She would now have a tool to strike out any scientific theory, practice, conclusion, fact that offends her view of the world.

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 the Curriculum Review Committee, and then insert their own views, representing them as ‘fact’.

This is structured not be a neutral, representative, curriculum review committee with a narrow focus and limited powers.  This would be her equivalent to the ‘House Un-American Activities Committee’ of the McCarthy era.  George Orwell’s 1984, written small.  Apparently this is acceptable to WNM+Williams (does anyone believe that J. Williams even sneezes without asking Witt’s permission?) because they would get to be ‘Big Brother’.

Final Comments:

We feel the bulldozer photo is apt for this meeting.  WNM+Williams have lined up the bulldozing of a new compensation plan down the throats of JeffCo’s teachers. They are doing this without the time for a full analysis, without any real idea of the full ramifications of the plan, without knowing it’s cost, and without knowing it’s full impact.  They are doing it without consulting JCEA, without full debate on the Board, and without public comment.

The only bright spot will be early on, when the League of Women Voters asks their questions about open, honest, government processes that include full public comment as an integral part.  Watching WNM+Williams trying to bob & weave their way through those questions should provide some amusement at least.  It will also show an even brighter spotlight on the perfidious actions.

And that is what we need to strive for now.

It is at this point that WNM+Williams and their hidden backers expect you to fold and give up.  They are counting on it.  They have been trying to wear you out.  If we give up, stop talking, blogging, attending, and demonstrating, then they can continue their bulldozing of JeffCo with little public notice.  That will allow them to construct a pleasing narrative for the rest of the world.  A narrative that would bear little semblance to reality.

And we stop that by showing up at this meeting, and the one after that, and the one after that.  We take the first crucial steps in stopping them by making sure that everything they do is done in the blazing light of full public scrutiny and criticism.  The glare from that brightness, ultimately, WNM+Williams cannot tolerate, and they will be driven out.

We have already started and have made enormous headway.  Our first posts in January only a couple of hundred people.  Now we regularly reach several thousand, while some of our posts have reached tens of thousands.  And the curve is on the upward swing!

Let’s show WNM+Williams how wrong they are!  Show up Thursday night! WNM+Williams may not allow us to speak verbally, but we can show our resistance to their arrogance visually.  Wear t-shirts, buttons, and hats that proclaim our insistence on open and honest government.  Let them know, by our presence, that in the end, we will take back our District.

And we will do that because we…

Keep Fighting, JeffCo!

 


 

9/13 Saturday Post: The Kindergarten Puzzle…Solved?

FFK Puzzle 1Since last spring, most of us have wrestled from time to time with this question: 

Why do WNM+Williams* seem to dislike poor Kindergarteners so much?

After all, even though they voted to increase the District’s goals for 3rd and 4th grade reading and math, they continue to reject a time-tested, proven strategy that is relatively low-cost, straight-forward, and fairly simple, e.g., expand free, full day Kindergarten for schools with high numbers of children on free or reduced lunches.  This is not even a new program, but rather a modest expansion of an existing one, in line with every major educational study on improving test scores.

But WNM+Williams have raised one objection after another:

March 13th – Witt led an attack on free, full day Kindergarten expansion (FFK) saying there were studies that showed such programs did not really work.  Dr. Beck, then JeffCo’s Chief Academic Officer (now superintendent of a school district in Oregon) said she knew of no study that said that, that, in fact, multiple studies show just the opposite.  (Here are links to a few articles on the subject:  Full Day Kindergarten, Early Childhood Education for Low-Income Students:A Review ofthe Evidence and Benefit-Cost Analysis, Early Childhood Education, Education Funding And Low Income Children:  A Review of Current Research)

April 3d – Dr. Beck said she had reviewed the literature and all of it said this type of early intervention pays big dividends.  Julie Williams said she thought the “only difference between half and full day kindergarten were naps, more recess, and some ‘specials’ such as music or art.”

Witt demanded of Dr. Beck to know if any of the studies she cited had been done specifically in JeffCo, and when Beck said no, Witt then said that the national studies meant nothing and he wanted to see some that were specific to JeffCo.  He then led Newkirk and Williams in voting 3-2 to remove the funding.

(Dr. Beck and her team offered to conduct that research for the board this school year if the board would allow the program to move forward but “compromise” is a dirty word to WNM + Williams.)

May 1st (Bear Creek High School and over a thousand people attending) –  Several kindergarten teachers, spoke to the board of the huge results they see in their low income students attending full day K and pleaded with the Board majority to fund the kindergarten expansion.  Most impressive, a group led by Wendy McCord Tina Gurdikian, Kelly Johnson, Terri Straut, Amanda Stevens, and Tammy Story presented a report assembled from statistical data from JeffCo that showed conclusively that free, full day kindergarten (FFK) generates a strong, consistent improvement in the test scores of children who participate (see full report here: FFDK Report).  Regardless, after a motion to restore the funding for full day K expansion by Lesley Dahlkemper, WNM+Williams voted it down saying that giving poor children free, full day kindergarten would be unfair to the parents who could afford it for their own children!

June 5th – Dahlkemper and Fellman brought the issue up again, immediately after WNM+Miller voted to increase the already increased diversion allocation of funds to charter schools to more than $5 million, using mill levy funds and thus breaking promises to voters and the community.  Obviously, if the District had additional money available for the charters, then there had to be some available for poor children. This time Newkirk, in typical Newkirk fashion, threatened to cause general chaos (this seems to be his MO) by questioning the entire FFK program, and said he threatened to explore canceling all of it and ‘repurpose’ the funds. Witt, again, led voting down the expansion of Free Full Day Kindergarten to poor children, 3-2.

With all the above, one has to wonder, what do WNM+Williams have against poor children in desperate need of a good start?  There are hundreds of vulnerable five and six year olds who are this year missing out on the benefits of full day of Kindergarten.  This is an educational deficit that can never be made up.

Why do WNM + Williams not care about the future of these children?

Or maybe they care about something else more…perhaps something that would increase the number of charter school expansion?

Our first clue to this was actually posted before JeffCoSchoolBoardWatch was even existed. You can find it in the following video posted on YouTube by Transparency JeffCo.  Pay very careful attention to what Cindy Stevenson says at the 50 second mark and Witt’s response:

Did you catch it?

When Dr. Stevenson said there was plenty of space at Deer Creek Middle School, Witt’s reaction was, “A good place to co-locate a charter school.”  At the time, we thought it was simply a pavlovian response on his part. ‘A school building with space?  Put a charter school in it!’  It never occurred to us that this type of reaction could or would result in premeditated action…but it sure seems to.

This summer we decided to go back and reread a lot of the material that had been produced during the budget cycle.  It was then that we stumbled on the second and decisive clue.  If not a smoking gun, it at least, is a recording shots fired in the dark.

We began rereading the self-titled “Minority Report” written by Tom Coyne and Rachel Swalley (a copy can found here: SPAC Minority Report).  Both of these people were specifically placed on the Strategic Planning and Advisory Committee (SPAC) by Witt & Associates.  On the bottom of page 11 of this 70 page report, we read:

…SPAC received a proposal from District staff for an additional $600,000 to be spent on adding 13 more full day kindergarten classrooms at five schools. However, this issue was not on the Choice Committee’s agenda, despite the fact that the availability of classroom space is a critical constraint on their potential options and ultimate recommendation to the Board.” <emphasis added>

This report was given to the Board on March 6th, one week before WNM+Williams first voted down the FFK expansion.  It was made available to the Board members prior to that. We believe that when WNM+Williams read those two sentences, they deliberately decided to short-change the most vulnerable in our society, in order to further their own peculiar sense of ‘equity’.

Even then, they could have come right out and said why they were turning down the FFK expansion.  WNM+Williams have the votes to do almost anything they want.  But, as we have seen for nine months now, for some reason, WNM+Williams seem to need to believe that their true agenda and motivations are always hidden or masked.

So instead, they hurled one absurd objection after another at the staff and teachers.  As soon as the District staff refuted the first one, they hurled a second.  When teachers and parents refuted that one, they came out with a ridiculous ‘fairness’ argument.  When that was shown to be farcical, Newkirk resorted to threatening the entire program if any further argument was made.

And they won.

There is no expansion of Free, Full Day Kindergarten in JeffCo this year.  Those classrooms with WNM+Williams precious emptiness will be empty all year.  WNM+Williams undoubtedly hope that some outside corporate group will see the opportunity to use public school property to launch a charter school…and make money off it.

And this, we believe, is the most likely reason Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams voted against the best interests of almost 300 At-Risk children.

Is there even more to it? Perhaps….

Former Jeffco BOE member Laura Boggs has regularly disparaged schools with high proportions of low income students, asking pointed questions about race, ethnicity, and crime.  Her questions often seem to presuppose that those children, many of whom are English Language Learners, do not deserve a public education.

Boggs is staunch supporter of WNM+Williams and is reputed to have met repeatedly with Witt, who is also reputed to be something of a follower of hers.  It would not be much of a stretch to think that WNM+Williams feel the same way.

Whatever the motive, WNM+Williams action has put many of our low income schools at greater risk of not being able to improve test scores, which may lead some even to be declared ineffective for those children.  The consequence?  Given this Board, those schools will then be turned over to charter schools, who very well may offer the same free, full-day kindergarten that WNM+Williams have rejected.  Except, of course, this time WNM+Williams will cheer them on, since instead of having FFK funding spent by public schools, it will be spent by quasi-private ones, many of which will be run by for-profit companies.

In the meantime, we will have lost another year’s worth of desperate children.  None of which will matter to WNM+Williams as they seek to implement their radical political “reform” agenda.

—–

So what are you going to do about it?

If you have not emailed the Board.  If you have not called your local office holders and candidates (see these lists: 2014 Jefferson County Election Candidates State Officials Jefferson County Officials).  If you have not contacted your friends, family, and colleagues.  If you have not stopped people in the street, in the stores, in our schools, and told all of them about the atrocities that this new majority is visiting on the children of JeffCo, now is the time to do so.

Join us, as we

Keep Fighting, JeffCo!

 

* – As we noted in our 9/8 post, it seems only appropriate that we change our acronym. Miller is now is acting more obviously as a peer of Witt and Newkirk instead of a subordinate contractor..  Whereas Julie Williams is behaving more like a bewildered, but loyal tag-along.  She apparently takes the betrayal and neglect by Witt and Miller as a minor thing.

Note:  JeffCoSchoolBoardWatch.org is a group of volunteers who work hard at keeping people informed about the actions and probable consequences of the new majority on the School Board.  We do not accept donations, nor are we a political organization.  We see ourselves as an information source for the community.

However there is a group that also has a charter to keep people informed about WNM+Williams and does accept donations:  SupportJeffcoKids.org.  If you want to get involved more in the fight against this ongoing atrocity, please visit their site.


 

9/9 – Bad News! Lori Gillis Resigns!!

Alert SymbolChalkbeat is reporting tonight that Lori Gillis, the District’s Chief Financial Officer has resigned.

(Chalkbeat – Jeffco schools’ CFO resigns amid “a lot” of change)

According to Chalkbeat tonight, Ms. Gillis is leaving in order to join the city management of Arvada, where she lives.

Ever since WNM+Williams forced out Cindy Stevenson as Superintendent, Lori Gillis has borne the brunt of their reckless assault on the District.  More than once, she desperately tried to bring their attention to the dangers their machinations will expose the District to.  From her cautioning on the level of reserves, to the warnings about the District’s bond rating, her pleas for attention to the state of the district infrastructure, and now Witt’s calculated attack on the teacher compensation system, Ms. Gillis has been the one person in the District who not only stood up and said what needed to be said, but did with the gravitas of her experience, position, and integrity.  Most of the time, they ignored her, but at least we, the JeffCo public, heard her cautions and warnings.

With her leaving, we will now have to look on any financial numbers coming out the District with a very jaundiced eye.  WNM+Williams and McMinimee have each already given us plenty of reason to be skeptical of their veracity.  We will now have to be as skeptical about future financial reports and estimates.

We have little doubt that WNM+Williams as well as McMinimee and Morgan are glad to see her go.  Their efforts to DougCo-ize JeffCo will do better without unbiased financial reporting of the results of their actions.

We wish her well.  Our loss is definitely Arvada’s gain.  Perhaps, after some time has passed, she may lend her expertise to the JeffCo public again as we begin examining numbers we will no longer be sure we can trust.

Now, more than ever, we need everyone to

Keep Fighting, JeffCo!


 

9/8: WNM+Williams – Breaking Trust, Breaking Faith, Breaking the Rules

broken-trustAt the Board Meeting last Thursday (9/4), Witt, Newkirk, Miller plus the blind support from Julie Williams, showed us just what we can expect out of Board meetings now that McMinimee has begun to exert control over the District and WNM have decided that they can rely on the blind following by Julie Williams.  The Reformista Train has been assembled and is beginning to rumble down the tracks.

(Side note: it seems only appropriate that we change our acronym, since Miller now is more obviously acting as a peer of Witt and Newkirk, whereas Williams is acting as the bewildered, but loyal tag-along.  She apparently takes betrayal and neglect by Witt and Miller as a minor thing.)

At almost every point in the meeting, WNM+Williams is ignoring the Board’s rules, their own previous promises, logic, reason, and democratic principles.  In short, they are not doing things the “American Way”.

In doing so, they are breaking their own rules.  By breaking those rules they are now  side-stepping public notification of pending Board actions, blind-siding Board members not part of their clique (i.e., Fellman and Dahlkemper), and are poisoning the well of public trust for democratic government.

For example, let us look at the specific description of the first two items on last Thursday’s agenda.  Below is the exact, verbatim Agenda Item Details for items 1.02 Proposed Model on Compensation and 1.03 Board Attorney Work. Pay careful attention to Type of item each one is supposed to be:

1.02 Proposed Model on Compensation
Meeting      Sep 04, 2014 – Regular Meeting

Category    Study/Dialogue Session 5:30 pm
Subject       Proposed Model on Compensation
Type            Discussion, Information

estimated time: 5:30 p.m. (estimated duration: 30 minutes)

PRESENTING STAFF:
Amy Weber, Chief Human Resources Officer

Lorie Gillis, Chief Financial Officer
Jim Branum, District Legal Counsel

PURPOSE:
To further discuss Board of Education requested information regarding funding of the teacher compensation proposal presented to the Board at its meeting on August 28, 2014.

——————————————–

1.02 Board Attorney Work
Meeting      Sep 04, 2014 – Regular Meeting
Category    Study/Dialogue Session 5:30 pm
Subject       Board Attorney Work
Type            Discussion

estimated time: 6:00 p.m. (estimated duration: 20 minutes)

PRESENTING STAFF:
Brad A. Miller, board attorney

Dan M. McMinimee, superintendent

PURPOSE:
For the Board of Education to discuss the scope of work for the board attorney and past eight months of work with the Board of Education.

——————————————–

In 1.02, the “Type” field shows “Discussion, Information”.  In 1.03, the “Type” field shows only “Discussion”.

Now look at items 7.01 and 7.02 under the Discussion section of the Agenda:

7.01 Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) Resolutions and Delegate Selection
Meeting              Sep 04, 2014 – Regular Meeting

Category            Discussion Agenda
Subject               Colorado Association of School Boards Resolutions and Delegate Selection (GP-1)
Type                    Action, Discussion
Recommended Action    to appoint a member to represent Jeffco Schools Board of Education at the CASB Fall Conference and Delegate Assembly in September and the CASB Annual Conference in December.

estimated time: 8:35 p.m. (estimated duration: 30 minutes)

PERTINENT FACTS:

  1. The Board of Education will review the resolutions directing the efforts of the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) during the 2015 legislative session and provide guidance to the Board’s delegate to the Fall Conference and Delegate Assembly on September 26-27, 2014.
  2. The Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) holds its annual Fall Conference and Delegate Assembly in September in preparation for legislative work in Colorado on public education.
  3. At the Delegate Assembly, positions are taken on resolutions which effect state school districts.  As the largest k-12 school district in the state, the work of CASB may impact the district’s work.

——————————————–

7.02 Monitoring: EL-6, Financial Administration
Meeting              Sep 04, 2014 – Regular Meeting
Category            Discussion Agenda
Subject               Monitoring: EL-6, Financial Administration
Type                    Action
Recommended Action    to approve the monitoring report on Board executive limitation policy, EL-6, Financial Administration.
Goals                  EL-6, Financial Administration

estimated time: 9:05 p.m. (estimated duration: 5 minutes)

PERTINENT FACTS:

  1. An important component of the Board of Education’s governance model isGP-6, Annual Work Plan exhibit and  GP-6, Annual Work Plan policy which provide a schedule for monitoring the work of the superintendent.
  2. The monitoring report on Board executive limitation policy,EL-6, Financial Administration, is scheduled for review four times a year: September, November, February and June.
  3. The monitoring report is brought forward to approve the superintendent’s reasonable interpretation of the executive limitation.

——————————————–

Did you notice the difference?  Items on which the Board is expected to take an action, have as Agenda Type “Action” followed by a Recommended Action and a list of Pertinent Facts. Further, these items occur after public comment has been made on agenda items.  So the any action the Board takes is after they have heard from the public on it. But both of the items in the “Study/Dialogue” section show only “Discussion” or “Discussion, Information” with no “Recommended Action” and no list of “Pertinent Facts” and are held before public comment. Why?  Because no action was supposed to be taken on this items!

But it was.  In the first case, Witt used an almost “oh, by the way” maneuver at the 8/25 meeting (see our post) to get his and Miller’s ‘compensation plan’ into the minutes, officially making it the first meeting in which it is mentioned.  Then in this meeting, he and Miller list it under the “Study/Dialogue” portion, which technically means that no action on the subject was to be taken in that meeting.  But now this is the second meeting in which it is brought up.  So with Julie Williams slavishly following Witt, WNW voted to cram a new compensation program down the throats of the District, the Teachers, and the Taxpayers.

Then they did it again.  Witt & Miller listed the Miller contract for “Discussion” and then broke the Board’s own rules again by pushing in an unscheduled, inappropriate motion to extend Miller’s contract for 12 months.

And they did so before hearing a single word from the public on these actions!

In short, WNM+Williams mugged Dahlkemper, Fellman, the JCEA, and the JeffCo community and taxpayers.

What puzzles us most is:  Why are they doing this?

We do not mean why are they pushing through their highly partisan and political agenda. We expected nothing less. What has been puzzling us is why are they playing dirty political games in order to do it?

They do not have to!  They have the majority.  They could follow every rule to a “t”, allowing Dahlkemper and Fellman a full and respectful time period in which to raise their objections, and still vote their agenda through.  They could have simply said back in the Spring, “We have already decided on McMinimee from DougCo as our next Superintendent” instead of going through the charade (and expense) of a ‘national’ search. They could have proposed Witt & Miller’s compensation plan, allowed for full discussion, and then voted to approve it in the October regular meeting.  They could accomplish everything they have set out to accomplish in an above-board, honest, and open fashion.

But they choose not to.

Why?

We do not have an answer.  We do have some speculations, but they feel incomplete. Perhaps, some of us at the Watch have said, they cannot really believe that they are a majority, and so still act like a minority, sneaking their items through.  Others argue that their actions indicate that they fear how the public might react if the full extent of their destructive goals were known. A small number wonder if they have a dual goal:  not only destroy the school district, but also destroy the publics’ trust in its’ governing institutions (this is sometimes referred to as a ‘scorched earth’ strategy) thus preventing any real rebuilding of the District.

Whatever the reason, one effect is already apparent. Most observers of the Board would now trust a used car salesman sight unseen before they would trust Ken Witt, John Newkirk, or Brad Miller.  They might trust the word of Julie Williams, but only so long as Witt is not around to crack the whip on her.

A quick summation of the actual actions is below:

Agenda Item/Type

1.02 Proposed Model on Compensation / Discussion, Information
Contrary to Robert’s Rules of Order and the Board’s own policies, an unscheduled motion to adopt this model was made and passed over the vehement objections of Dahlkemper and Fellman.  In our estimation, if this model is put into force, District legal costs will go up, the average District teaching experience will go down.  Trust in the District leadership by the average teacher, already incredibly low, will drop further.  McMinimee is already showing his true colors by not fighting this tooth and nail to protect his best teachers.  The best and most experienced teachers will leave, fleeing to Districts that know how to value them (this is already occurring – see Support Jeffco Kids post on this).

1.03 Board Attorney Work / Discussion
After Miller and McMinimee consumed the vast majority of the alloted 20 minutes, mainly complaining how ‘unfair’ the observations and comments have been on how he was contracted, why he was contracted, and his actions taken while under contract.  At this point, Harry Truman’s adage, “If you can’t stand the heat…” started running through our heads.  

Newkirk, showing himself to be in command of inappropriate and inaccurate remarks, while not in command of rational thought, logic, reasoning, and accuracy by stating that since both Dahlkemper and Fellmans’ husbands are attorneys, they (Dahlkemper & Fellman) get free legal advice, so it is only appropriate that Witt, Williams, and himself get taxpayer-funded advice(?).  This really offended Fellman, who pointed out that her husband works on local government law, not education law.  Newkirk, sticking his other foot in it, said that Witt told him that Fellman’s husband was heavily involved in the Lobato case, which Fellman hotly denied.  All of that was, of course, another effort by Newkirk at misdirection.  (Is Witt feeding these dumb attacks to Newkirk?  If so, is it only Williams nose Witt has a ring in?)

At the end of it, again, contrary to Robert’s Rules of Order and the Board’s own policies, an unscheduled motion to extend Miller’s contract for 12 months was made and passed over the strong objections of Dahlkemper and Fellman.  

Initially, our opinion was this was a very needless action on the part of WNM+Williams…unless they fear that they are going to lose control of the board in the next year (are they hearing the word ‘recall’ in their darker moments?).  Upon further thought, we now believe that WNM+Williams will use this action to try to shut down any further efforts on Dahlkemper and Fellman’s part to keep raising the issue.  We hope and trust that this effort fails.  In the meantime, Miller has already sucked up over $60,000 of taxpayer money already.  Now he gets a least another $90,000.

The next two items we thought worth following were

5.06 Charter School Application – Alexandria School of Innovation

and

5.07 Charter School Application – Golden View Classical Academy

Since these were on the Consent Agenda, there was no discussion, and indeed, not much that could be done either way.  Anyone can submit an application.  Both now enter the evaluation process.  Both applications have serious flaws (see our post), including in how the Boards limit inclusion of parents and are structured to make sure that the originating organizations never lose control of them.  In the past, JeffCo staff have cited this last issue as something that needs to be fixed before the application is approved. How this will fare under McMinimee with WNM+Williams pulling his strings remains to be seen, but we are not hopeful.

Note:  Every single existing charter school in JeffCo needs to be very concerned about this. If these two applications, which have governing boards that cannot be run by the parents, are approved, then existing charter schools may try to change their Board member selection process.  This would functionally eliminate parental influence over a charter school’s activities, curriculum, agenda, teacher selection, and management.

This corporatization of charter schools threatens not only severe disruption of traditional school districts, but imperils the entire concept of public education and democracy.  When parents and taxpayers have no say in what schools are approved (or disapproved), what teachers are hired and under what conditions, what management style is used, what disciplinary actions can be taken, what textbooks are used, and what is actually taught, then we no longer have a public school system and we will have lost another key part of our democracy.

We strongly encourage current charter school parents to thoroughly think through the ramifications of these new types of ‘charter’ schools.  In our opinion, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

6.01 2015/2016 Budget Development Process

1) School Accountability Committees are supposed to have more say in what an individual schools budget priorities are.  That has been on the road map for sometime.

2) WNM+Williams really did not like last years community survey on budget priorities, and so promptly ignored the results.  This year, the District says a third party tool will be used.  Our projection is that WNW will probably not like the results of any truly non-biased survey and will continue to find fault with the results and ignore them.

3) Lori Gillis is very excited by the idea of Student Based Budgeting.  Apparently, JeffCo ha been looking into this for the last three years.  Training of principals begins next month.  There was no real explanation of ‘locked’ versus ‘unlocked’ resources, or what kind of dollars are assigned to various needs or categories.  As our previous post put it, “The devil is in the detail” and we want to see all the detail as soon as possible.

7.01 Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) Resolutions and Delegate Selection

First, Jill Fellman is currently JeffCo’s delegate to CASB.  Since this was a holdover from pre-WNW days, no one expected that to last much longer.  WNM+Williams voted to make Newkirk the new delegate, but they may run into a snag.  The same snag may be blocking the resolutions they wanted to present at CASB…since the registration time for the conference delegates and resolutions may already be past.  (Isn’t that what the Board Secretary’s position is supposed to track, Mr. Newkirk?  Did Mr. Miller fail to warn you?)

None this may make much of a difference since Witt already said he did not see much value in JeffCo being a part of CASB.  Many observers feel this is preparatory to a WNM+Williams adopting another DougCo stance and functionally pull out of CASB.

7.03 Committee to Study Common Core, PARCC and AP History

This was added to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting at Williams request.  She wants a committee to examine the PARCC test, Common Core compliant curriculum, and AP U.S. History texts for historical distortions (can you say ‘un-American influences’?).  Surprisingly, Williams went along with Witt on tabling this issue until the next meeting.

We find ourselves in an odd place.  We are horrified at Williams efforts in this vein, as it smacks of censorship and an effort to ‘cleanse’ our students history textbooks of anything even remotely critical of the United States in general, or Williams’ personal American mythology in specifics.  On the other hand, to watch Witt once again have her on a leash and give Williams a tug, functionally saying “Down, girl!”, may even be more repulsive.

Williams obeyed Witt yet again.  And once again, lost face in front of her supporters. We are left to wonder how long will she allow that to go on….

The next scheduled Board meeting is September 18th.  The agenda has not yet been posted, but the Board Work Calendar (which WNM+Williams is only following about 60% of the time) should include Community Engagement with the JeffCo Diversity Council (there is that word that Witt hates!) and Facilities Planning.  As soon as the agenda is published we will work to get a post out on it.

In the meantime, don’t let WNM+Williams get you down.  In the long run they can only win if we don’t…

Keep Fighting, Jeffco!