7.30.15 Jeffco Speaks Out (Our 3rd Guest Column — Non-“Union Operative” Division)

LettersClipArt

Remember these comments, by a former Jeffco communications director on a certain right-wing talk radio station?

The so-called parents that they’ve drummed up…

There’s no way young students could have put those together.

There’s clearly some sort of mill where they create this correspondence….

When a so-called scandal erupted, which was always created by this group, then there would be these, right away there would be this flood of correspondence about this “issue” by these same characters — the Wendy McCords, the Tina Gurdikians, their buddies, there’s a long list of names.

But we’re not “so-called” parents or “characters.” We’re parents, taxpayers and voters, and we will not be silenced.

Here’s another submission from our guest column contest:

I am a grandmother in north Lakewood and do not have any affiliation with the teacher union. I am a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science in New York City and I was raised to value science and math and to respect my teachers. I am extremely upset to see what has happened in the Jefferson County School District.

My children graduated from Jefferson County schools more than twenty years ago and now I have a grandson going into fourth grade in Jeffco. I have never seen such disrespect of parents and teachers in all the years that I have lived here.

I see these conservative members of the Jeffco School Board taking credit for Jeffco achievements that were years in the making. They are taking credit for achievements that they have not worked for, and they have lied to the public about their goals. These three members have turned the School Board into a political football! I am worried for the future of my grandson.

— Diana Suslak-Spriggs

We’d like to hear your voice too. If you are a parent, student, community member, it’s not too late to enter the contest. Details are here.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!


 

7.28.15 Jeffco Speaks Out (Our 2nd Guest Column — Non-“Union Operative” Division)

LettersClipArt

Remember these comments, by a former Jeffco communications director on a certain right-wing talk radio station?

The so-called parents that they’ve drummed up…

There’s no way young students could have put those together.

There’s clearly some sort of mill where they create this correspondence….

When a so-called scandal erupted, which was always created by this group, then there would be these, right away there would be this flood of correspondence about this “issue” by these same characters — the Wendy McCords, the Tina Gurdikians, their buddies, there’s a long list of names.

But we’re not “so-called” parents or “characters.” We’re parents, taxpayers and voters, and we will not be silenced.

Here’s another submission from our guest column contest:

First I am not a part of JCEA; I am not a teacher and have no kids at this moment attending Jeffco Schools. But, I was a student for 12 years and will have grandkids that will attend. I also have taught private preschool where the kids will attend Jeffco.

I support the recall of the three board members because I see their agenda has nothing to do with helping teachers teach and kids learn. They are arrogant and they bully everyone who opposes their insanity. There is a no bullying policy at Jeffco Schools yet they do it all the time to students, parents, teachers, the other two board members and especially Cindy Stevenson.

They meet behind closed doors and make all their decisions before they come before the public. They pass things they want passed even if everyone else mentioned above opposes it. They disrespect everyone who does not support them and they are rude, obnoxious, and overbearing, not to mention just plain uneducated as shown in their big push to remove some American history from the curriculum because they found it offensive. In truth, it was insightful and a big part our history that would teach us the mistakes we have made so we can work not to make them again.

Jeffco Schools used to be a top district where people wanted to enroll their kids. Now it is a district people shy away from because these board members are scaring them away. They are downright bullies and they have ruined its reputation as a great district.

–Anonymous Jeffco Resident

We’d like to hear your voice too. If you are a parent, student, or community member, it’s not too late to enter the contest (teachers and staff, you’ll have a turn next). Details are here.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!


 

7.22.15 Jeffco WNW Recall Facts (part 2) & join us on Wadsworth!

The World Is Run By Those Who Show Up

Join us this afternoon for Boots on the Blvd 3.0: Drive the Blvd & Sign. We’ll be out at selected intersections along Wadsworth from 3:30 to 7 pm with petitions and signs encouraging drivers to pull into a nearby parking lot and walk over to sign. Look for us Wadsworth and the following cross streets: Bowles, Belleview, Hampden, Jewell, Alameda, Colfax, 38th, 44th, 52nd, 80th, and Church Ranch/100th. Bring your petitions, wave signs and let Jeffco know how important this is.

As you gear up for this afternoon we wanted to equip you with answers to some questions sent in a recent mail by Jeffco’s Republican Party. Your neighbors, friends and coworkers might ask you these questions, so here are some points to get you started:

Do they think rewarding effective teachers is wrong?

Denver and Boulder are giving their teachers raises of more than 5%. We’re “rewarding” highly effective teachers with a 1% raise and effective teachers with 0.5% percent. Which reward would you pick?

Do they think we should increase our debt for new schools when $18 million was available to build a new school?

The board’s $18 million builds one school with 600 seats, but the district expects 2,000 to 5,000 students in the next five years. Northwest Arvada schools are already at or over capacity. The board’s decision will mean that those schools add “dry” temporary buildings (“dry” = no water, so kids have to go inside the main building to wash hands or use the restroom), which will also incur landscaping and other costs at schools to accommodate the temps. Do you want your tax dollars to pay for temporary buildings without sinks or restrooms, plus the associated costs of setting up the buildings? Or would you rather save money and do it right the first time by building schools that will last?

Do they think all children deserve access to a great public education? 

Yes, and that is why we support recalling Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams. Their agenda is actually about slowly strangling public education and is having a negative impact on our students.

Do they think parents and local communities should have input on decisions for their school?

Yes, but the board majority has ignored that input repeatedly in favor of their own agenda. They have ignored community input on both of the last budget surveys, and on school choice because it didn’t align with their politics.

They talk about listening to parents, but actually receive almost all of their direction and money from outside of Jeffco, hypocritically touting local control while being puppeteered by financiers and policy ideologues, most of whom have little investment in Jeffco. It’s time to recall them and elect board members who support all of Jeffco’s students.

This email also made a number of claims that we’d like to start addressing. We’ll tackle the claims about students today.

CLAIM 1: The board has improved student achievement because it raised the bar for students.

FACTS:

  • Student achievement scores have remained largely steady in Jeffco for the past few years. We continue to score above the state average and are proud to have kept our scores steady while student achievement in Douglas County declined last year, but there is no discernible difference in scores before and after WNW’s election.
  • Results from this spring’s PARCC tests won’t be provided to the district until sometime in the 2015/16 year — which means there isn’t any data about how the kids did available yet.
  • At the May school board meeting, Ken Witt told district staff that Jeffco was failing its students in math. Why? Because district staff could not provide immediate data on what student scores would look like on PARCC tests (see above about PARCC results).
  • BOTTOM LINE:There is absolutely no significant data to support that achievement has been improved.

CLAIM 2: WNW worked with the Superintendent to provide students a “larger voice.”

FACTS:

  • WNW repeatedly went out of their way to deny students the opportunity to speak at board meetings through the 2014/15 school year.
  • After a student group requested a meeting with the school board, Ken Witt put a student’s social media post — with her full name — on the projector for everyone to see during a school board meeting, and used the post as an excuse to refuse to talk to the student group.
  • The Superintendent had already been talking to students in an effort to address concerns about the curriculum review committee, and the idea to include students came from him, not WNW.
  • BOTTOM LINE: WNW has spent its time silencing student opposition, with only token moves to give students a voice in school decisions.

Don’t forget to join us on Wadsworth this afternoon, and no matter what,

Keep fighting, JeffCo!


 

7.20.15 Join us Wednesday, July 22 for “Drive the Blvd. & Sign”

2014 Sept Protests 1

It’s time to get those petitions and some signs to wave ready for the Drive the Blvd. & Sign event: Wednesday, July 22, from 3:30 to 7 pm. Petitions will be available at  intersections along Wadsworth to make it easy for commuters to stop by and sign.

And we need your help. Click HERE to sign up for a corner, or to wave a sign to let drivers know they can pull over and sign a petition. Bring your kids, bring your friends, and remind the community why we support the effort to recall Jeffco School Board members Ken Witt, John Newkirk and Julie Williams. If you don’t have petitions, we can get you some. We also really need people waving signs, including students who are too young to carry petitions.

We’ll be gathering at these locations (from south to north):

  • Bowles and Wadsworth
  • Belleview and Wadsworth
  • Hampden and Wadsworth
  • Jewell and Wadsworth
  • Alameda and Wadworth
  • Colfax and Wadsworth
  • 38th and Wadsworth
  • 44th and Wadsworth
  • 52nd and Wadsworth
  • 80th and Wadsworth
  • 100th/Church Ranch and Wadsworth

If you can’t make it the whole time, stop by when you can! We all understand how busy schedules are, but your presence even for an hour or two does make a big difference.

This is our opportunity to remind Jeffco that we support the recall as a community. We’re not “so-called parents” or “riled-up mommies,” but parents, grandparents, community members, business owners, taxpayers, voters and valuable residents of Jeffco who are tired of the lack of transparency, back-room decisions, and poor fiscal management of the district by WNW. Let’s also remind them that we are Jeffco and this is a grassroots movement — unlike Americans for Prosperity who will be knocking on doors this Saturday.

Haven’t had time to sign yet? Stop by! We’ll be there from 3:30 to 7. Can’t make it that day? There are still plenty of drive and sign locations available through July 25, and you can find those HERE.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!


 

7.17.15 Don’t mess with Jeffco parents

"Riled up" or not, our numbers are not small.

“Riled up” or not, our numbers are not small.

We recently received this letter from a Jeffco parent:

In this week’s issue of the Columbine Courier, former Jeffco School Board member Laura Boggs lumps the supporters of the Board majority recall into two groups: “teachers” and “riled up mommies.”

Wow! How condescending can the board supporters be to identify parents as “riled up mommies?” The term is clearly meant to demean the mothers that disagree with them. (Note a similar accusation was made by former Jeffco communications director Lisa Pinto on a recent radio talk show.)

Perhaps Ms. Boggs needs an introduction to the mommies of today.

The mommy authors of the petition are a LAWYER turned stay-at-home mother and an Environmental Compliance Specialist. (Let’s not forget a dad is also on the petition.)

And yes, I am a mother and I support the recall. By the way, Ms. Boggs, this mommy holds an aerospace engineering degree, not a degree from the school of hard knocks.

I worked as a Flight Design engineer for Atlas rocket launches for years before choosing to become a stay-at-home mother. During the years I have stayed home I have served on church council, board of directors of a non-profit, school accountability chairperson, PTA secretary, and I have served the community in a myriad of other ways.

I have volunteered time reading in the classroom with struggling readers and challenging advanced math students (oh yeah this mommy has a minor in math that required differential equations and a few courses beyond four years of calculus). I have been the quintessential “mommy” as I schlepped cellos for the elementary orchestra tour in my mini-van.

At the same time I was creating newsletters and doing the bookkeeping for a non-profit company. I returned to the work force part time so I could continue to volunteer in my community and in my kids’ schools, including most recently circulating recall petitions. And I am just one example of the parents in our community that are volunteering in this effort. I am in awe of so many of the women and men that I have met during this process, many with credentials far beyond mine.

So yes I am riled up. And if you want to use the term mommy, well as they say where I come from, “Bless your heart.”  Don’t underestimate the power of TODAY’s riled up mommies. We are educated. We are passionate. And when it comes to our kids, you really don’t want to see us riled up.

And to the voters I have one message: Who do you trust with the education of the children in your community? Personally, I think teachers and riled up mommies are a much better choice than politicians and businessmen that have never spent time in the classroom.

— Alice Wurst

P.S. Fellow moms (and dads, because I know you are part of this too) I invite you to comment. For a mother to attack in this manner is infuriating and disheartening. Show Ms. Boggs and the community who we are. Do not be painted as some “mommy” to be dismissed. Stand up for each other and most importantly STAND UP FOR OUR KIDS.

Keep fighting, JeffCo!