Unless you are completely unplugged you know there is a dust-up in Jefferson County education. Almost 11 months ago the political balance on the Board of Education flipped from a democrat controlled board to now a conservative controlled board. Unless you think otherwise, unions and conservatives have a hate-hate relationship so you knew this wasn’t going to go well especially if you’ve watched what has happened in Douglas County.
A little background on myself. I am a Jeffco grad, proud of my Standley Lake Gators (Chomp, Chomp) and I am a proud father of 3 children. My oldest will enter high school next year and my youngest are still in elementary school. My experiences with Jeffco as a parent have been very disappointing. My disclaimer is that most every teacher and administrator I’ve met have a love for what they do and I believe honestly want the best for my kids however, I don’t think the system will allow for it. I have three very different children, one who excels academically, one that struggles, and one that goes with whatever flow very well. From the very beginning with my higher achieving child I’ve asked how we can push her challenge her and not allow her love of learning to wain. The response has always been that sooner or later everyone will be at the same level. That is an unacceptable answer and I would hope that no one would allow that to take place. My middle child has struggled to learn and Jeffco doesn’t really have the resources to help him grow and learn the things he needs to learn but we continue to pass him along to the next levels making everything more frustrating because the foundations haven’t been built. This is also unacceptable. I also want to acknowledge this. The primary responsibility for the education of my children is on my shoulders. If my children aren’t learning it’s my fault which led me to the decision that I could no longer enroll my children in Jefferson County schools. Many people might applaud us in this environment because they think I’ve removed my kids because of the new school board and you couldn’t be more wrong. The quality of education in Jeffco has been on the decline for years and I’ve been disappointed for a very long time.
My opinion which many may disagree with is that people have seen this decline and when the opportunity to shake up the Board of Education may people voted for some change. Now I don’t know if everyone believed in the issues the conservative candidates ran on but I do believe many people wanted a shake-up because the status-quo was not providing good education. Some will claim the vote was bought and that is the only way these three candidate would have won the election which may be true but logic would then tell you that if this election was bought, all other elections are essentially bought and by the educational unions which put a ton of money into electing democrats into Boards of Education. In short here are some of my thoughts in short bullet points.
- Politics have no place in education other than to learn the different viewpoints.
- Politics has been in education for as long as I can remember.
- The new BOE is not trying to eradicate politics but rather swing the politics towards the conservative side.
- The new BOE has not done itself any favors by ostracizing the other two board members from the process.
- The old BOE often ostracized the conservative side making this a perpetual stain on the Jeffco Board.
- The union is pissed off that it has lost Douglas County and now Jefferson County to conservative members.
- Public schools are another bloated administration heavy where the money does not make it to the classrooms.
- Teacher pay should only be tied to performance of teachers have the freedom to teach how they see fit.
- PERA is killing education and some kind of reform needs to take place while keeping the promise of PERA to current teaches and reforming retirement for new teachers.
- Unions for public sector jobs need to go away.
- Charter schools work because they are locally controlled.
- We CAN NOT ignore high need ares where education must look differently and provided differently. All areas have different needs.
- We need to stop teaching towards tests and help students create a love of learning.
- Memorization is not the enemy.
- Discipline has left the home and teachers no longer have the respect of the students or the parents making education very difficult.
Ok, I could simply go on and on because I do care about education and I do care about our children. What’s happening in Jeffco is an atrocity to all parties involved. There is a reason why more and more people are looking for options outside public education and neither side of the political isle seems to care about the actual education of children but on furthering their own agendas. It makes me very sad and at times very angry! The current BOE isn’t to blame for the problem that’s been festering for years and the old BOEs aren’t completely to blame either but the unwillingness to come together and do what’s right, that is the problem.