4.11.15 When did Steve House become an education expert?

 In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made school boards.

― Mark Twain, Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World

A JeffCo parent shared this letter to the Jeffco School Board majority members with JCSBW about the fact that Steve House, the new Colorado Republican Chair, is on the board retreat agenda under the item “Guest Panel on Innovative/Creative Practices in Public Education.”

If your memory needs a refresher, the board retreat is being convened because Julie Williams said she wanted to hear about innovations in education before she could approve spending millions of dollars to build any new schools.  We’ll let the letter explain more:

Dear John, Julie and Ken,

I just received the email from Helen Neal with the link to the agenda for the Board Retreat next Thursday. I am disheartened and disappointed that Steve House remains on your Retreat Guest Panel on Innovative/Creative Practices in Public Education. On the agenda, Mr. House is listed as the Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. I see nothing that would even remotely connect him to education in his professional role. I even looked over his profile on LinkedIn. Here it is:

Lead a team with responsibility for technology evolution for developing ACO’s, CIN’s, and some MSSP’s.
Worked on HIE Sustainability models.
Working knowledge of Big Data, Analytics, and Business intelligence platforms and outcomes.
Worked on TeleHealth and patient engagement strategies.
Consulting work on many different IT and strategy projects.
Well studied in healthcare reform.
Familiar with product lines from most major IT vendors in healthcare.
10 years in Imaging involving Radiology, Cardiology, Nuclear, and Oncology.
Adams County Republican Party Chairman
Published author for Beauty and the Business 2010
Senate Aid in Colorado Budget Committee.
Graduate of the Leadership Program of the Rockies 2010
Graduate of the class of 2012 in The School of Persuasion
Award winning toastmaster
Nowhere in his “experience” does his list anything even remotely connected to education. Nor does education appear in the 50 skills he has listed.
Could you please explain to me (and the myriad other taxpayers who are concerned at this line-up of “innovation experts”) what Steve House has to do with education innovation? Why are you wasting taxpayer time and money on this farce? Consider the district staff who must attend your meetings. Why are you wasting their time? From what I can tell, I have more education expertise than Mr. House. What I don’t have, however, is a “certificate” from the Leadership Program of the Rockies. It seems that’s all it takes to make it in Jeffco these days. From our communications director to a guest panel on education innovation – educational expertise is no longer required to guide our school district, just participating in a right-wing organization one of whose main goals is to destroy public education.
We live in an amazing county, state and country – surely there are ACTUAL experts on education innovation that could provide useful information to the Board of Ed and the district. Mr. House has no credentials to be participating in the panel, and the three of you, in supporting his participation, are an embarrassment to public education. For people who rely so heavily on data, I can see none to support his role on the panel.
I strongly urge you to remove him from the panel on education innovation – his participation makes a mockery of the Board of Ed of Jeffco.
-Wendy R McCord

From the April 16 agenda:

PURPOSE: For the Board of Education to hear about innovative/creative ideas in public education from invited guests.

BACKGROUND: The Board discussed having a retreat focused on innovation and creativity in the delivery of public education.  The guest panel is the second of a two-panel discussion set.

Each speaker will provide at least a 15-minute presentation on his thoughts regarding innovation in public education, leaving an hour for discussion with the Board of Education.


The other two presenters on this panel are Tony Lewis, executive director of the Donnell-Kay Foundation, and Scott Fast, parent, Columbine High School, retired executive director, Accenture Foundation. The meeting also includes an agenda item for innovation within Jeffco Schools — an item that is only there because Lesley Dahlkemper insisted that it was important to hear and recognize that innovation is already happening right here in Jeffco.

The retreat starts at 5:30 pm this Thursday, April 16 in the board room. It will be streamed: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/10429076/events/3542310.

This is a meeting well worth attending or at the very last, watching. Why IS Steve House on the panel? Why did the board majority keep him on the agenda even after Jill Fellman and Lesley Dahlkemper questioned his complete and utter lack of educational experience whatsoever? And what on earth will he say in his presentation? Will it relate at all to whether NW Arvada and the Solterra area are able to build schools to accommodate their new development?

Keep watching, keep fighting JeffCo!