Saturday, October 11, 2014

The JeffCo School Board fiasco Part III

This is Part III of a series of posts I am writing about our county school board.

As schools closed and students began walking out in protest of a proposed curriculum committee, all of a sudden Jefferson County Public Schools was in the news across the country.

The curriculum committee would be a form of censorship.

The board is not transparent.

The student's walking out of class are pawns of their teachers and the ever-powerful union.

Students are being manipulated.

This is all really about the teacher's union.

There are certainly no shortage of opinions. Those who have always supported public schools are voicing their opinion. Those who have always disliked teacher unions are voicing theirs.

Some are going hard core. Ross Kaminsky, an apparent conservative who does not care for teacher unions, wrote this in a recent note to our local paper: "But truth is the first casualty of war, and so it was in Jefferson County as the unions implemented their plan to use students as human shields while assailing the school board with misinformation." This was in response to a part of his note in which he wrote that the school board was really fighting censorship.

The student human shields have a lot at stake. Pawns as they might be, AP History is important to them as they can get college credit for it. (I am still learning more about AP topics so will write more in another post.)

As I watched students leaving class in protest and listened to the nationwide name calling against students in JeffCo schools, some coming from our own school board members, my first thought was that all of these name callers have never met a teenager. Pawn? Easily manipulated? Seriously?

Those who support our "reformist" school board say it's all about the money. And union power. My challenges about our new board have indeed included issues about the money. The $80,000 for an additional lawyer just for the three "reformist" board members. The huge increase in pay for the new school superintendent, especially when so many conservatives complained about the pay of our former school superintendent. $300,000 for a charter school that is struggling and money had not helped before.

And one of the semi-funny issues is the pay of the new superintendent. I listened to many folks complaining about how much our past superintendent was paid. These folks are supportive of our current board majority. Yet I didn't hear any complaining when the new superintendent was hired at a salary of about $80,000 more than the past one. 

As the new superintendent said this week, "the past week has been quiet". Indeed it has. I'm curious to see what the next steps are. I'm also looking forward to our local elections to see if tea party candidates are affected in JeffCo based on the support of the board majority. I want to see if more people start voting based on what the board is doing.  

Thanks for reading. 

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