Read to the DCSD Board of Education
March 25, 2014
My name is Laurie Vogel and I am a third generation teacher. I am also a parent, an involved community member, and a stakeholder. My first teaching job was actually a summer job at the age of 15 when I began teaching swimming lessons at the outdoor pool in Lusk, Wyoming. I’ve held teaching positions in Iowa, Wyoming, and Colorado, and I’ve been involved in teaching in some capacity ever since I was 15.
More importantly, I’ve been a parent now for nearly 26 years. For the last 23 years I’ve lived in the same house on the same street in Highlands Ranch. My two oldest daughters spent thirteen years at their neighborhood schools before going to college. My oldest daughter finished her degree in political science at CSU in 2 1/2 years thanks to her determination and the outstanding opportunities that were available to her at Highlands Ranch High School from
2003 to 2007. This past May, she graduated from The Gonzaga School of Law, passed the Colorado Bar in July, and is currently working on a master’s degree from the University of Illinois. She received a great education in Douglas County.
Tonight, you have already heard from my other three children and outstanding DCSD students. They are not just ordinary students but rather children who have grown up in a family that has always made them and their education a priority. For the last twenty consecutive years my husband and I have had at least one child and at times, four children in Douglas County Schools, and we have 4 1/2 more years to go.One year we actually a child in preschool,a child in elementary school, a child in middle school, and a child in high school. Trust me when I say that I know what is going on in this district and I have been a stakeholder for longer than most everyone in this room.
I am speaking out because I am more than concerned with the direction that your are taking MY school district. I am extremely frustrated that you refuse to rely on the expertise of those that know the most about educating our children. We all know and research supports that the family raising the children and the teachers are the most important factors in our children’s education. Please put a system of checks and balances back in place by adding parents, teachers, and principals to the decision making process of this district. You may say that you already are doing this because, I remember quite distinctly late last November when teachers were asked to be on committees to help with some work that had to be done. This work needed to be done on weekends before mid-January. Really? During the busiest times of the year? This is the same way you ask for community input–by holding regular board meetings over Spring Break; by changing the times and dates of meetings, and the times of public comment shortly before meetings; by changing the rules of public comment continuously so that no one knows on what, how, or when they can comment.The message you are sending is that you don’t want our input.
As a longtime stakeholder, parent, teacher, and community member, I am sick and tired of listening to what this board and the Superintendent says and then watching your actions. Actions always have and always will speak way louder than words.
In conclusion, a very wise man, who happened to be the former pastor of my church, always talked about keeping the main thing the main thing. And while he was not talking about education, I think this applies rather well to education and to the current state of affairs in Douglas County.
Please STOP pushing this political reform agenda with outside money and interests through as fast as you can. Please start valuing the parents, the students, and community members and their input. Please honor the expertise of parents and teachers in educating children and please keep the main thing of educating our children the main thing. Let your actions show us that you genuinely care about us as stakeholders, parents, teachers, and students, regardless if you agree with us or not. Your agenda should be continuous and ongoing improvement with well thought-out and developed plans and actions