Reader’s Thoughts on Being Told that WNW Vote is “Godly” Choice

Another Guest Column for our “Faithful and Fed Up” series, this time from a reader of faith who is beside herself that her vote is being tied to Witt, Williams, and Newkirk’s “Godly” attributes:

FaithfulFedUpSomeone told me today that voting against the recall would keep “Godly” people in their leadership positions.

I felt gutted.

I found the suggestion that I would prove my respect for God if I voted for Ken Witt, Julie Williams, and John Newkirk infuriating.

Let’s start by saying that I disagree with them.

To me, “Godly” people don’t shame and humiliate a student who is bravely standing up to voice her experience as a student in Jeffco to her school board.

To me, “Godly” people don’t comfortably compare the atrocities that Black people in the south suffered through during the 60’s to being in a charter school.

To me, “Godly” people don’t arrogantly run a school board while pompously ignoring the needs and wants of the very community they were elected to serve.

To me, “Godly” people don’t tell students to stay at home during Jeffco’s Day Without Hate. We have a suicide problem directly linked to hateful things like that.

To me, “Godly” people don’t speak at workshops co-hosted by a political group that openly suggests violent acts in order to defend and preserve White power.

However, I will pause and respectfully acknowledge that many people may agree and even feel grateful for some of the changes this board majority suggests. Some voters might like to see our history and health curriculum modified to align more closely with their religious beliefs. So, to them, I say, vote.

As one person who considers herself “Godly,” I retain one strong belief:

Those in public office need to run their office with honesty, transparency, and a willingness to listen to their community members. A quick look into the origins of most religions will guide you to leaders who follow those clear guidelines about respect.

So, this Godly person is going to vote for the Clean Slate. Ali Lasell, Amanda Stevens, Ron Mitchell, Brad Rupert and Susan Harmon all bring with them a strong commitment to doing what is right. I have no doubt that they will follow the Golden Rule and treat others and they would like to be treated.

They will think of their own children when they make decisions that impact mine, they will consider the needs of the many, and they will let community input guide their decisions.

10.8.15 Witt’s Carnival Sideshow

If you saw Witt’s stunt this morning–and it’s hard to imagine that you didn’t because social media has not stopped talking about it since–you know that it was merely a distraction.

  1. The Independent Ethics Commission has no jurisdiction over Colorado school board members (see page 6).
  2. The IEC isn’t meeting until Nov. 6 — after the election.
  3. There’s no reason for them to call a special early meeting (see #1, above).

Witt’s complaint only asks if voting on the matter in a public meeting was a violation of sunshine laws, failing to make the distinction between voting in public and deciding in public. Sunshine laws exist to prevent elected officials from merely rubber-stamping behind-the-scenes decisions in public.

Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams made the decision to hire Brad Miller before the Dec. 13 board meeting.  We know because Bob Kerrigan, president of the Thompson School District Board of Education, told his fellow board members that Jeffco had a school board attorney — and told them this on Wednesday, a full day before the Dec. 13 Jeffco BOE meeting where the issue was first discussed in public.

Not only did Kerrigan know that Jeffco had already hired a firm 24 hours before the BOE met to discuss the issue, he knew that Jeffco would be hiring Brad Miller himself, as reported by the Reporter Herald on Dec. 12:

Kerrigan then revealed that a contract had already been drawn up by a Colorado Springs-based law firm that currently represents Jefferson County schools.

The proposed contract, dated two days after Kerrigan was elected board president, begins: “We are pleased that the District has asked Millers Sparks LLC … to represent Thompson.”

It’s an issue we’ve written about multiple times, and it’s one of many, many reasons to vote yes on the recall.

Meanwhile, we’ll leave you with some of today’s highlights, such as the 7 News story “Jeffco Public Schools board president Ken Witt stunts for attention as he faces recall” (and hopefully this clip will open with the anchor saying “Bizarre news out of Jeffco today” because that’s by far our favorite).

And we’ll end with one of the many, many funny social media posts that we saw in our feed today:

Charles Buchanan on Twitter

Kinda wish Witt had ended the press-stunt with a citizens arrest of himself. #Copolitics #JeffcoRecall #JeffCo

Keep fighting, JeffCo!


 

Recall 101: Your Guide to the Candidates and Issues

DSCN0244You asked and we did it: a Recall 101 page highlighting the top issues that prompted the recall.

There’s a tab at the top of our website homepage so you can access it easily and share it with others. Thanks to our readers for the suggestion!


 

10.4.15 WNW Rewrite History Again

Have you seen the latest mailer from Americans for Prosperity?

One side claims that equal funding is working. Their proof? ACT scores (from tests taken before charter schools were equally funded) and graduation rates from 2012-13, before Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams had been elected.

That’s right: the AFP claims that actions taken by the current board majority months after they were elected influenced events that had happened before the election.

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Yep, this is another attempt to rewrite history.

The mailer references a February 2014 Denver Post article about improved graduation rates in Jeffco. The rates are from the 2012-13 academic year, and those students graduated nearly six months before the 2013 election.

The mailer also references ACT scores, but full equalization wasn’t approved until after all of Jeffco’s juniors had taken the 2015 ACT. How would that work? Oh wait, it doesn’t!

We’d also like to remind our readers that as recently as Thursday evening, WNW were citing “poor” ACT scores as the very reason they need to appoint a new membership to the newly-formed District Accountability  Committee and throw out all the work that has been done by volunteers to write bylaws for the new DAC in the past few months. One part of Newkirk’s DAC membership proposal reads as follows: “Whereas, the Board of Education has concluded that the percentage of students meeting the college and career ready standards on the ACT test taken by all students in Colorado is not acceptable…” (emphasis ours). Witt also has argued that the urgency of this issue is why they need to rush ahead with a new DAC membership, even if the application makes it clear the membership application process is a farce.

Don’t forget that WNW also tried to censor AP classes and has suggested that they’d rather see other options like concurrent enrollment instead of Advanced Placement.

Note that a previous AFP mailer claimed that so-called reforms like pay for performance — which Witt didn’t even introduce until August 2014 — also increased the 2012-13 graduation rate. The AFP is clearly delusional.

The reality?

  • Improvements in the number of Jeffco students who are career and college ready is due to the dedication and diligence of their teachers and parents
  • Improvements in Jeffco AP scores is due to students, parents, teachers and community members who fought long and hard last fall to keep those classes untouched by WNW’s partisan agenda
  • Improvements in the 2012-13 Jeffco Schools graduation rate are due to the dedication of teachers, staff, and former Superintendent Cindy Stevenson, and those largely took place between 2008 and 2013.
  • All five of the clean slate candidates — Amanda Stevens, Ali Lasell, Brad Rupert, Susan Harmon and Ron Mitchell — have said they will will keep equalized funding, so our Jeffco charter families can rest easy on that issue.

Our teachers continue to be dedicated and our students continue to succeed, but this is despite the havoc wreaked by Witt, Newkirk and Williams. Meanwhile, more than a thousand teachers have chosen to leave rather than deal with the lack of respect shown to them by WNW, and more are considering it.

It’s time to recall Witt, Newkirk and Williams. Please spread the word. Make sure that your friends, family, and co-workers know that WNW and the AFP are rewriting history again, and set them straight on the facts.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!