By Pat Crowley, Parent of 2 former DCSD students & Community member
Published online October 31, 2016 in Denver Post Your Hub
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the election of three new school board members, it has become painfully apparent that the old “reform” board members believe politics are more important than proper education policy. The strings of their puppet master organization, Leadership Program of the Rockies (LRP), are showing. LPR, by its own declaration, “fills a unique niche in training emerging leaders with an ideological compass.” LPR is the free market, Ayn Rand-loving training ground for potential politicians. The group believes all schools should be privatized, promotes vouchers and opposes any tax measures to support public education. LPR’s influence stretches beyond Douglas County to all of the Reform school boards in Colorado. LPR members have indoctrinated and financially supported many Reform candidates in past elections, including the Jeffco BoE members who were recalled last fall. Alex Cranberg, a LPR board member, donated $25,000 to each of the Douglas County reform candidates in 2013, including Board President Silverthorn, VP Reynolds, Director Geddes and the recently resigned Director Benevento. Reynolds and Silverthorn, as well as some prior reform board members, are LPR alumni, having received substantial “leadership” training in how to further their extreme agenda in our community.
Benevento’s seat on the board now needs to be filled, and the board has been unable to agree on a replacement. Several highly qualified and experienced residents of District E applied to fill the open position. Unfortunately, Silverthorn, Reynolds and Geddes are playing politics and are refusing to compromise. Rather than putting students first, they are only willing to support one candidate. It doesn’t seem to matter that he is the least qualified or that he has only lived in District E since June; he is in possession of the golden ticket, he’s a fellow LPR grad and devotee.
A similar scenario was followed when 2 candidates were presented for final interviews for the interim superintendent position last month. One candidate, a recently retired DCSD Principal with irreplaceable institutional knowledge of our district, had 30 years of educational experience and tremendous bipartisan support. The other candidate, an engineer and former IT professional, had no education credentials and no experience with neighborhood schools. She opened and has been running a local chain of charter schools. Her winning credential was that she is also an LPR alum.
Children’s educations are being negatively affected by politicians pushing anti-public education ideology, rather than supporting the public schools as they swore to do when they took office. The Colorado constitution says that all children have a right to a comprehensive, free public education. We can and must do better for the children of Douglas County. They are our future.