Published online in Your Hub
January 31, 2014
By Pat Crowley
While enjoying my morning cup of tea and a fabulous Colorado sunrise I began to reflect on some recent events that have occurred in Douglas County.
I realized that only in Douglas County can a school district be found guilty of violating the Colorado Fair Campaign Practices act, and no one is held accountable. No teaching or real education experience necessary to get elected to the school board here. Mislead the press, Chamber of Commerce and voters just enough to to garner an endorsement and accept large campaign contributions from outside the county and state and you’re in.
Only in Douglas county can a school board reinvent and reform a once thriving public school system to the point where its reputation is tarnished and large sums of money are spent on educational experiments that are not research based,or have a history of improving education.
Only in Douglas county can a superintendent pay $12,000 for a speaker to lecture to teachers that teaching content is no longer important, reading is no longer necessary and having books in a classroom is outdated.
Only in Douglas county can 48% of the voting population oppose the policies of the school board yet have no representation on the board itself and when a board member resigns, the new board president quickly announces that a new “like minded” replacement is preferred.
Only in Douglas County can the board of education draft 2 separate resolutions opposing Common Core Standards and State mandated standardized testing, while in reality, if you read closely, they just want to replace state and national standards with their own renamed, reinvented, untested, taxpayer funded, expensive versions.
Only in Douglas county, where the median household income is over $93,500, Is there currently no possibility of passing a bond issue because the voters that traditionally vote for increased funding for local schools, are the same ones that are being ignored.
Add the recent events to the many previous destructive changes, I was initially depressed. But I am seeing a glimmer of hope. At the last school board meeting, I saw over 175 people in attendance. 8 out of 10 speakers spoke out against the policies of the board, including 2 teachers. Some speakers represented organizations of thousands of people and their words were thoughtful and well received by the audience. My community is not backing down and I am hopeful that more teachers will begin to speak out even in the face of being verbally threatened by superiors to be quiet.
I am hopeful because the pro public school organizations here in Douglas County are growing, they are Taxpayers for Public Education, Strong Schools Coalition, Douglas County Parents, and The Community Accountability Committee. While all separate organizations, they have compatible missions to advocate for what is best for all public education students, parents, teachers and taxpayers. I want to have a united community again, happy parents, teachers, principals and taxpayers all working together with a new, qualified superintendents that is respected by the teachers and to have a board of education that values and includes the opinions of all stakeholders that actually live in Douglas County.