About

 

The Jefferson County School Board Watch is a group of people who are very concerned about the current direction the Jefferson County School Board.  We started this website in January of 2014.   Our purpose is to make sure that any and all actions taken by the Board are well publicized and widely available for public scrutiny.  Additionally, we try to provide the public with insight and information on the probable actions of the Board and their possible consequences.  We are also focused on taking what we have learned and, through various means, inform and educate the public on issues facing the School District.  From time to time, we will encourage the members of the public to express themselves, their feelings, beliefs, and conclusions to the Board.  We do not accept donations.  We are doing this strictly as a public service.

 


 

73 thoughts on “About

  1. JM – sorry, but it actually looks like only 4 charter/option schools made the top 10 so that would be 40%. The performance is not so amazing when you consider many of those schools have a lower percentage of “low income” (hence at risk) population and a less diverse population. They also have the ability to not accept students or move students out based on test scores and I would have to wonder about their ESL population. Given all that….only 40% in the top 10??!! Not so stellar.

  2. I attended the joke of a board meeting last Tuesday, the 27th. I did my share of shouting and getting escorted out. After that, I required two days to recover from the shock inflicted by the inconceivable arrogance of Mr Witt, the unbelievable glib of Mr. Newkirk (he took copious notes: most likely he took names of opponents to deliver to his gun-and-tea party goons for follow up action, like getting them fired — or fired at?—just speculating), and the utter dim-wittedness of Ms. Williams (she ACTUALLY uttered, I am not making this up: “we have to be fair and balanced”). My conclusion: these totalitarian executioners of our public schools and public commons care no two wits about the public concerns. They may give in, on rare occasions, to CORA requests or the badgering of Board members Dahlkemper and Feldman, if the badgering is long and hard enough and the lapdog attorney says they must to avoid an immediate law suit. But about the substance of what the people want, they waive their nicely manicured hands and say “Goetz von Berlichingen.” The only way they could have been more explicit in their contempt and disrespect for the public opinion was if they had thumbed their noses and stuck their fingers in their ears and sang “I’m not liiiisteniiiing!” Conclusion: the only way to stop these Expletives from doing much more damage is: (a) Recall and (b) personal law suits for breach of fiduciary duty. There is one other action I will take on Monday and on which I will report once accomplished. As to items 1) and 2): anyone cares to join me?

  3. We really don’t care too much about your opinion of where we charter school parents send our students. It is our tax dollars and our decision. Stop fumbling around trying to find excuses to take our tax dollars without funding our schools equally.

    • The point and purpose of this blog site and it’s related Facebook page is to keep people informed as to the actions of the Board in general, and WNW+Miller specifically. We find their motivations, pronouncements, and actions very worrisome and concerning. We are open to good, sound, logical debate.

      What will not be tolerated is the casting of aspersions, name-calling, or unthinking polemics. It is not freedom of speech when one person or group attempts to drown out the other side by sheer volume. We have prohibited people from posting on our Facebook site and this Blog when their actions are deceptive, bullying, disrespectful, or simply unthinking and repeated ranting. They may have the right to shout. We have the right to choose not to listen to them. They can shout all they want from their own blog site or Facebook page.

      Your comment was more of a polemic than a cogent argument. This has frankly placed you on the path for being banned. In fact, it is only that you have not been formally warned before that has stopped us. So long as you keep your posts to being informative, thought-provoking, with verifiable facts, you will be welcome here. If, on the other hand, we see any other comments that cast aspersions, focus on name-calling, fail to offer logical argument, or a type of polemic, then you will be prohibited from posting as well. Please do not let that happen. We do enjoy thoughtful posts even from people who oppose our views. If you approach us with logic, checkable facts, and appeals to reason, your comments will not only be approved, but also stand a far better chance of changing some minds.

  4. I am no Republican but your comments are illustrative of a rabid socialist ideology (no, not that of your average Democrat — very socialist). As a parent, it is my decision where I want to send my child to school. And as long as I am paying the same taxes, it is really none of your business where I direct those tax moneys for my children. What is an “appropriate” public education for my children isn’t your concern nor am I required to participate in your unicorn-focused world of social educational utopia. Does it matter if my child goes somewhere you think isn’t accredited? Should I have to use part of my taxes to pay for your children when my own children are in school? WNW are far from perfect but they do support equal funding for every student. The days of the teachers’ union running the show has to come to an end.

    • The point and purpose of this blog site and it’s related Facebook page is to keep people informed as to the actions of the Board in general, and WNW+Miller specifically. We find their motivations, pronouncements, and actions very worrisome and concerning. We are open to good, sound, logical debate.

      What will not be tolerated is the casting of aspersions, name-calling, or unthinking polemics. It is not freedom of speech when one person or group attempts to drown out the other side by sheer volume. We have prohibited people from posting on our Facebook site and this Blog when their actions are deceptive, bullying, disrespectful, or simply unthinking and repeated ranting. They may have the right to shout. We have the right to choose not to listen to them. They can shout all they want from their own blog site or Facebook page.

      Your comment cast aspersions (“rabid socialist ideology”) and made spurious arguments without foundation. This has frankly placed you on the path for being banned. In fact, it is only that you have not been formally warned before that has stopped us. So long as you keep your posts to being informative, thought-provoking, with verifiable facts, you will be welcome here. If, on the other hand, we see any other comments that cast aspersions, focus on name-calling, fail to offer logical argument, or a type of polemic, then you will be prohibited from posting as well. Please do not let that happen. We do enjoy thoughtful posts even from people who oppose our views. If you approach us with logic, checkable facts, and appeals to reason, your comments will not only be approved, but also stand a far better chance of changing some minds.

    • And herein lies the rub folks. William just hit on the very problem with today’s society. It is about me, me, me and my personal tax dollars and how they benefit my child. Forgotten is the fact that all of society is expected to contribute to public education in order to provide that education for ALL children regardless of who they are, where they live, the color of their skin, their family’s income, their religion, or even where they come from.

      Yes, William, you should have to use part of your taxes to pay for all our children when your child is in school because this is not about YOU, it is about EVERY SINGLE CHILD in this district. Society helped pay for your education when you were a child, presuming you went to public school, and now it’s your turn as a contributing member of society to help pay for other people’s children as well as your own.

      WNW could have found a better way to take care of any inequality in charter funding than breaking promises to taxpayers. You know what those broken promises mean? The likelihood that when the need for a new mill comes along voters will reject it because they can’t trust WNW or elected officials to uphold promises made to them. A mill is only good for about 4 years before a new infusion of dollars is necessary to take care of simple things like inflation, food costs, utilities, fuel, building maintenance, etc. When the next mill fails because of WNW’s broken promise and cuts to the classroom have to be made in order to heat the school buildings, ALL children will be directly affected by that.

  5. To jcsbw: Nice job with the cut and paste of your derisive and off-point comments. Be a little more careful next time to tailor it to what the author actually said. I look forward to being banned, along with everyone else that the teachers union seeks to stifle. Good riddance, comrade.

    To JeffCo Report: Your comment is perfect evidence of what you all have been denying all along: You are indeed anti-charter school. You are the sole arbiter of what is “appropriate” and if anyone disagrees and wants school choice . . . well then, that person is illustrative of what’s wrong with society. Your comments also aren’t remotely on point. I am not saying that people shouldn’t have to pay to educate other people’s children. I did that for years before I had my own children and will do it when they’re grown. I’m saying that as long as I have children, they should get the full benefit of my tax dollars just like any other child in any other Jeffco school. My child should not be shortchanged because you don’t like what school my child attends You don’t like charter schools but that is my choice and not yours. Charters are working miracles on a very lean budget thanks to your ilk.

    The word needs to get out that when electing school board members, the choice is easy — figure out who the teachers’ union is supporting and vote for the other candidates.

    • The teachers union is evil and responsible for all of societies ills! Teachers are thugs! How dare they express themselves! How dare they fight for their rights to collectively bargain! Those greedy, evil teachers. How dare they want fair compensation, how dare they question the agenda of this board majority. They should shut up, quit whining and just do their jobs. Those lazy so and so’s with summers off. Greedy, money grubbing teachers are why this economy is so bad!

      Does that sum it up for you, William? Or do you not like having words put in your mouth anymore than we do? You’re determined to believe we hate charters so go ahead and believe what you like.

      JCSBW is made up solely of parents and what we say and what we write has nothing to do with JCEA but it’s easier to blame them than it is to believe enough people in the community who are not teachers are upset enough to take action.

      I don’t care what school you put your child in, that’s your choice. All of our schools are underfunded. My point is not that charters are bad or that equalizing funding was bad, my point is the board should have found a way to do it that didn’t violate the voter’s trust.

      But you go ahead and keep claiming the union is creating all these problems. We understand that considering the alternative, that parents and community are this upset, is too threatening to a lot of WNW supporters to consider.

  6. Bravo, William; your comments are dead-on!

    As for JCSBW, I’ve noticed that you threaten to ban every person who posts an opinion differing from yours, but never threaten to ban people who post opinions the same as yours. Many of your supporters’ comments are personal attacks on your detractors — not kindly-worded by any means — yet you never threaten them. Very hypocritical! People come here to seek the different points of view, and you are doing your best to silence those who are anti-union (not to be confused with anti-teacher, because one can be anti-union and still pro-teacher).

    If you’re going to threaten to ban people for posting opinions, rather than facts, you a) need to ban those on both sides of the arguement and b) won’t have a reasonable conversation of any sort. You need to be fair and equitable, and stop threatening (and banning) people who make reasonable comments, JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE THEM. It’s childish to slam the door in someone’s virtual face. Continuing your one-sided childish ear-plugging will result in a propaganda site, and will never be credible….

    I’m just sayin’….

    • Actually, Ms. Tanya, we have several people who disagree with us who have been posting comments both here and on our FB page for sometime. We have had to ban less than six or so people. When we do ban, we first give a warning, citing exactly where that person crossed a line. Only after they cross it again do we consider banning. Sometimes we will forgo a ban because we feel that other readers are doing a pretty good job of dealing with the person by themselves. But there are lines that will result in no hesitation bans, including name-calling, false and reckless accusations, and comments that are nothing more than ranting polemics.

      We have actually cautioned several readers who are supporters of ours for crossing or nearing those lines, and have requested verification of alleged facts and statements. Sometimes this has resulted in that reader requesting that their original comment be retracted, which is then done. Errors can be made by either side, and a recognition of when one has made an error and an attempt to rectify it is looked upon favorably.

      What we are not, nor have ever pretended to be is a neutral site. We state that up front in our “About” statements both on the blog site and the Facebook page. If you do not want to hear criticism of WNW, Miller, their supporters, their actions, intentions, policies, etc., then do not visit us.

      By the same token, we do reserve the right to prevent our site from being preyed on by would-be bullies, trolls, and polemicists. They can exercise their freedom of speech on their own site. This one is ours. We invite good, thoughtful, and incisive debate because we believe that it is a way by which issues can be clarified, myths dispelled, and minds even changed. So long as the rules are followed, no banning takes place. We may tell you that you are wrong, and cite evidence to support our position, but as long as it does not dissolve into a “Did to!” “Did not!” type of exchange, we encourage the interaction.

      If we were as sensitive as you say we are, we would not even publish your comment!

      We hope this clears up any misunderstanding about our site and how we run it.

  7. You know, you’re right. Schools are in general underfunded. I voted for the tax increase. But I am not sure why.

    Besides the fact that you scream about the possibility of equal funding for charter (read: non-union) schools, you guys have yet to indicate you’re willing to step up to the plate when it comes to accountability. There are many issues in this regard which are not all the teachers’ responsibility. The school board on down to the union is responsible But among the issues, to this day you (not just the teachers but also the administration, the staff, all the way down to the janitors) take off three weeks at Christmas, 8 or 9 days off at Thanksgiving, at least one ridiculous half day every month, and at least one additional day or two off every month, and then it’s time for 8 days off over Spring Break and then off for three months over the summer. With benefits, everyone is paid very well. Then my other child in a regular school is told that her paper has yet to be graded because grading papers when school is out at 2:35 infringes on her “personal time.” Please take some time to educate our children and work full-time like everyone else. No, I’m not advocating summer school or eliminating reasonable holiday breaks, but this is ridiculous.

    • We are glad you vote for tax increases for the schools.

      But there is a serious misconception a lot of people have about WNW and the charter schools. The issue has never been should charter schools get more money. Instead it has been and is about how WNW is going about appropriating that money, where they are taking it from, the process they used to determine the allocation, and the evenhandedness (or lack thereof) that they have taken with other District priorities, budgets, and goals.

      There was no asking the Charter schools what they would do with the extra money. No demand to see that the spending of the money will be effective in raising the test results of the students. No insistence on seeing specific Jefferson County statistics on the efficacy of additional funds, or that the Charter school programs are efficacious in and of themselves. There was no complaining that the budget was already stretched, or that the money would be ‘wasted’ because the school scores would probably drop anyway. In short, $3+ million dollars were tossed out the window in the general direction of the charter schools, while a new math elementary math curriculum was given the third degree and how days of District staff work required to prove its’ efficacy, and all of the reports showing the efficacy of free, full-day kindergarten for poor kids was rejected out of hand, and the efforts to spend the money was deemed ‘unfair’.

      Where is the balance? Where is the evenhandness and concern for the entire district, instead of a few favored groups? That is what highly concerns us and we object to.

      To your point about how ‘everyone is paid very well’, that canard has been floating around so long it goes back to Reagan.

      First, if you think the vast majority of teachers do not work over Christmas, Spring Break, Thanksgiving, and summer, you either do not know any public school teachers, or are unwilling to see just what they actually do. Second, they are not paid for the summer break. In fact, most of the time, they are paying to attend additional training. The Washington Post two years ago reported that on average, teachers work a 53 hour week: “The 7.5 hours in the classroom are just the starting point. On average, teachers are at school an additional 90 minutes beyond the school day for mentoring, providing after-school help for students, attending staff meetings and collaborating with peers. Teachers then spend another 95 minutes at home grading, preparing classroom activities, and doing other job-related tasks.”

      Judging all teachers based on a comment from a single one actually falls into a type of faulty generalization known as “cherry picking“. By the logic you used, we should conclude that all people named “William” vote for tax increases simply because you did. We are sure that there are several people with the name “William” who would vehemently disagree with that conclusion!

      If you would like to get a good look at the life of a grade school teacher, may we suggest you pickup Tracy Kidder’s book

      , a look at the life of school teacher through the course of a school year. While written in 1989, the classroom dynamics, and the demands on a teacher’s life have not grown easier – if anything, the reverse.

      As with many things, trying to view complex situations through simple generalizations leads people down the wrong path. Trying to apply a simple solution to a complex problem rarely results in it’s resolution, instead, it generally makes it worse.

      WNW is following this approach. They seem to have come into office, already convinced that they know exactly what the problem really is and what is the correct solution, regardless of what the actual facts are.

      • May I add to the conditions experienced by JeffCo classroom teachers, as described above?

        This coming school year, middle level teachers in my school will have up to 30 students added to their rosters, at least the content area teachers will. So, in my case, nearly 150 teens. 150 teens. Teens. 150 of them.

        To accommodate that extra section, a planning period has been taken away. I read somewhere recently, maybe in a blog responding to a CNN article on the recent teacher tenure laws ruling in Los Angeles Unified District, that “no longer will teachers have 4 hours to plan!” The writer seemed jubilant! Psh. I’ve never had 4 hours during the work day, and I’m in my 20th year of teaching. I’ll have five sections of middle level English students. Teens. I had two full hours to get my act together last year, and I wrung the blood out of them turnips.

        So, now I’ll have all of 50 minutes to accomplish what I can of: using the facilities, planning after studying brand new curriculum documents, assembling resources, copying materials, making a few phone calls, reading and answering email, grading papers, entering grades, meeting with colleagues, keeping my mind from flowing out my ears. We have upwards of 8 on-line systems to maintain. The time logging into them is significant.

        Then, what, 30 minutes of “duty-free” lunch that I am always too ramped up to take anyway.

        And meetings? I’m not sure how admin is going to handle the data meetings, the team meetings, the department meetings, the colleague meetings, the staff meeting, the committee commitment, the professional development meetings–wait, let me put cotton in my ears for I’m losing my mind even now. Will the meetings (that are really necessary) happen during the one-hour during the day? Will they happen for the first full hour after school each day? When we’re “required” to provide extra support for students after school, because the pace of curriculum does NOT allow for extra help during the day, I wonder when the meetings will take place?

        What else can I tell you about the typical day in the life of a classroom teacher? I haven’t read the title referenced above, and I don’t have to, because I already sympathetic to the plight–yes, plight–of the teacher. The lay-person should get into a classroom for a week. Or three days. Or the first 30 minutes of the day when those 30 teens are eyeing you and deciding they’re going to trample you. This is why WNW’s plan to drive out the “expensive” veteran teachers in JeffCo, and lure in the newbies, is going to hurt kids. Kids will be hurt in the short run. Because learning ONLY takes place when there children feel security, power, and belonging in the classroom. When the teacher can’t manage behavior or redirect kids’ energy, absolutely zero learning will take place. Bank on it.

        And those newbies may have content knowledge, those TFA teachers or those Alternative Licensed teachers, but they will be crushed—oh wait, I sense the remedy–put kids on computers and they’ll be alright, right? Classrooms on computers will self-manage?

        Don’t even get me started on the problems with tech budgets keeping up with the perpetual motion of innovation and expectations to teach to them. Psh, again.

        So, will I take my work home? I don’t know. “Better keep your grade book up-to-date.” is the response to my concerns expressed.

        I am worth every dollar that I earn even with this time off for which I’m not paid. I worked for 8 of the last 15 summers, and earned an MA for 5 of them. Now, with the prospect of taking a pay cut to demoralize me even more, I’m worth more than every dollar that I will earn. Pay me more.

  8. For those of you that keep referring Daniel McMinimee as Mini-me please read.

    What do you call a small person?
    This is a tricky one, and there’s no right answer. Midget is a definite no-no, as is mini-me. We are comfortable with the word dwarf, but because of the negative way in which it has been used, many people aren’t. But most would be comfortable with “little person,” or small or short person. It is important to remember that while we may look unusual, we are not a different species: “it” is not an acceptable pronoun.

    Please educate yourself before posting.

    • Our reference to McMinimee as “MiniMe” was in no way meant to be demeaning to short people, but in retrospect, we can see why it could be construed that way. Our reference was to the character portrayed by Verne Troyer in the second and third “Austin Powers” movies featuring Mike Myers. We were struck that Witt chose someone as close to his own pattern as you might find in the education world, just smaller (in social stature).

      Still, the point you and others made is well taken, and we will stop the reference.

  9. Oops, a few typos in my previous post.

  10. Thank you for the Jeffco Report response on June 3rd. You expressed my feelings with regard to the fact that the community should be responsible for taking care of all students education in their community. Therefore, the majority of any tax support for education should go to traditional public schools. I have tried to follow several Jeffco financial reports to better understand district and charter school funding which, at best, is difficult to understand. An area I am really confused about with regard to the Charter School argument that they should be able to take their taxes wherever they want. My understanding is that per pupil funding is greater than $6000…but who is paying $6000 per year in taxes to support education? Just does not make any sense to me but, as I said, the funding issue is hard to understand.

    • Hi, DV. You are right, no one is paying $6000 a year in property taxes to go toward education. Prior to the passage of the Gallagher Amendment, the majority of school funding came from property taxes. In the late 1980s, Colorado passed the Gallagher Amendment which drastically lowered property taxes. When this happened, the state had to pick up the slack in school funding, so to speak. (Colorado pays some of the lowest property taxes in the country and that is reflected in our ranking of 48th or 49th in per pupil funding.)

      The actual amount parents would receive if vouchers were legal and they could dictate where their property taxes for education went (and the State Supreme Court has ruled vouchers are unconstitutional plus Colorado voters have twice voted them down) is about $2500-ish.

      For people who believe they should be able to take their taxes wherever they like, well, this is why we have elected officials, a representative government. We choose who we want in office to determine where best our tax dollars are spent. As members of the general population, we can lobby our elected officials to spend our tax dollars in certain ways but we can’t take our portion of taxes to, say, repave our driveways or say we want our personal tax dollars to go into expanding I-25 or Highway 36. It is no different for public education. Then there is the matter of public dollars going to private institutions; that those institutions don’t have to meet state standards or serve all children as our public schools do, etc.

      Instead, we have to ensure we elect people to office who have the public’s best interests at heart rather than a political agenda. (Those people seem to be harder and harder to find.)

      WNW are the perfect example of what happens when the public believes their local elections, like their school boards or city councils, or even state legislators are not important or believe they don’t affect them. In truth, these local elections matter MORE than who our president is.

      Does that help at all or did I miss the mark?

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