On Monday, October 21, 2013, a rare thing has happened in Douglas County Colorado. Parents are angry about what has been happening at the Board of Education are also afraid to speak out. One such parent approached the Douglas County Examiner and asked if we would help them publish their thoughts about this election. That "letter to the 'Examiner'" is below with the name withheld.
You can see and feel the inspirational sights and sounds of parents, teachers and students joining together, rising up in a true non-partisan effort and with zero budget speaking out and making things happen in the usually quiet suburban area South of Denver. The kids and their education and protecting and keeping some of the best teachers in the country in the Douglas County School District is what is important to this vocal and active group.
“It’s time to draw the curtain on the DCSD BOE Wizard of OZ routine - “By their works you shall know them”
For more than 30 years I have participated in the election process for federal and state representation. ….. I can remember every president I voted for, and many congresspersons. Some Republican, some Democrat.
Not once do I recall if I voted in a BOE election, and if I did, whom I voted for. After all – BOE is a ceremonial role for inspired PTA super moms or local business owners – Right? It’s not a real election – Right? Schools just run themselves like they always have. What can the Board do to the school system?
I must admit I’m about as centrist as you can get. I’m one of the millions of silent citizens that sit a percent or two from neutral in their political persuasion. I like balance in my governing bodies. Frankly, I routinely fight off suggestions of euphoria or panic from the right or the Left. This year, after hearing rumors about the changes in DCSD schools, I felt I needed to become more educated about the situation in Douglas County. I could not figure out fact from fiction based on the rhetoric published. What is all the commotion about?
WOW! What an eye opener. I had no idea what was happening.
What I’ve come to appreciate: wrapped in a cloak of patriotic words such as pay for performance, school choice, 21st centering learning, union busting, and transformation, the current DCSD BOE, backed by the conservative branding of Bill Bennett, the Friedman Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and deep funding from several conservative “angels”, has positioned itself as an inspired body dragging the schools out of the muds of mediocrity towards a great vision of educational prosperity.
The supposedly non-partisan governing body of DCSD is nothing as I imagined. It’s hard hitting, big business; deep pocket influence peddling at it’s toughest. Determined to execute upon a partisan ideology to privatize the school system, the DCSD BOE has associated itself with the same organizations and think tanks that move and shake the Tea Party and conservative Republican interest. Yes, the very same folks that wish to dismantle “Big Government” wish to “transform” the public education system.
My fundamental issue with the BOE is not about the vision of great education. (21st Century Education – bring it on. Accountability to performance – great.) I’m all in. What I’m disturbed about is that the governing body of the PUBLIC Education system, the system funded by my tax dollars and chartered with educating my children, is attempting to set up a system of education that competes with the very entity they are charged with protecting and enhancing. AND – they think they are entitled to use my own money to fund this competition.
Can you imagine the board of Ford Motor Co. going to its employees and customers saying, “Hey – folks are not happy with the product we produce, so I’ve got an idea. I’ll pay a subsidy to anyone that wishes to go buy products from Toyota or KIA or whom ever they choose to patronize.” … “Competition is good for us”
Rather than holding themselves accountable for improving the existing school system, the BOE has dis-engaged from the employees and the students of Douglas County and abandoned their charter as stewards for a great Douglas County PUBLIC School system, in favor for Private Choice.
The current BOE has sequestered itself behind closed doors; cut off dialogue with it’s employees whose satisfaction rating is the lowest in recent memory; misrepresented facts about the performance of the school system; grossly missed forecasts of expenses and revenue, setting aside more than $60M above required levels; reduced the amount of instruction my child will receive; and has initiated an attack on the very system it was voted to protect and enhance.
I encourage every single person to become educated and to vote. This is the most significant vote you will make for your children. Put our money back in the schools. Stop the war on our teachers. Put our high school students back in the classroom and not in local coffee shops and unattended homes during school hours.
Put balance and accountability back in the DCSD BOE.
From a DCSD parent voting for: CHASE, HODGES, KEIM AND SCHOLTING.”
The current BoE has created an environment in the county that makes parents, teachers and students afraid to speak out against them for fear of getting fired or other types of retribution. We were happy to provide a safe forum for this parent to speak out.
This isn't the only mom or dad in the district that feels like this one. View the "Roar for Four" video linked above. "When you make a mom mad, you are gonna hear us roar!"
When you see the moms, dads and kids standing on street corners holding up signs throughout Douglas County between now and the election you will know that these are the parents for change. Make sure to honk if you love teachers as you pass by, it will make their day.
For the latest happenings in Douglas County Colorado please subscribe and follow us on Twitter @ParkerColorado.