Colorado Teacher Protest Hits More Schools

October 1, 2014 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Colorado Teacher Protest

A Colorado teacher protest against the school board’s proposal to change the history curriculum has lead to more than 700 students walking out of class and forcing officials to close two schools. The protest began last Friday with about 50 teachers from Golden and Jefferson high schools staging a sick-out in order to fight what many are calling a radical proposal from the newly elected school board in Jefferson County.

The Colorado teacher protest is growing with each passing day. The unrest started on Friday when more than 50 educators from two high schools staged a synchronized sick-out day in order to protest against what they are calling “the radical conservative agenda,” being pushed in a proposal written by the school board’s member Julie Williams.

During the second day of the Colorado teacher protest, which took place on Monday, officials were forced to cancel class after more than 100 students walked out and 80% of the educators failed to show up to work.

By Wednesday, the number of the participants in the Colorado teacher protest had escalated to 700 students from 5 different schools including Evergreen Chatfield, Alameda International and Dakota Ridge high schools.

On Thursday, it was estimated that more than 1000 participated in sick-outs and student walk-outs. Students dressed as Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King took to the streets shouting “education without limitation.”

So, what is the cause of the Colorado teacher protest, which has paralyzed the largest school district in the state?

It all started in March after the the College Board, the organization that sets standards for the courses made some changes in the Advanced Placement US history curriculum.

The changes were applauded by teachers, but they were deemed “radically revisionist” and anti-American by the Republican National Committee.

The state of Texas, which was appalled by the reviews, made the decision to ban the AP history class outright. And now, Colorado wants to review Advanced Placement US history curriculum.

Julie Williams and two other conservatives members of the board John Newkirk and Ken Witt believed the modification should be made following these criteria:

“Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

Many students, parents and teachers called the language in the proposal scary and claimed that the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity special-interest front group poured thousands of dollars in board elections in order to have members who will preach extreme conservatism.

A hearing on the controversial review is set for October 2. Many predict the massive Colorado teacher protest will force officials to strike down a good portion of the proposal.

The Colorado teacher protest is also about a teacher compensation proposal that does not sit well with some.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Linda Weinmunson says:

    “Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”
    Oh the horror! (Sarcasm off)
    If these things are offensive to these so-called teachers and students they should move to Russia or Cuba. They would love it there. This just proves why they should change the advanced placement(?)history class. How horrible to be taught respect for the law! This country is going to hell.

    • Steven says:

      These things are not “offensive” to these people but its the, fact that they are essentially banning the teaching of the civil rights movement and the. Vietnam war protests. History will be censored if this goes into effect. This cannot happen. Go to http://advancesinap.collegeboard.org/english-history-and-social-science/us-history
      To see the curriculum. There is no anti-American sentiment. There is just the requirement that some things be taught that some people don’t want you to know. Its like how some people don’t want evolution taught in schools.
      Why don’t you move to north Korea, china, or some other nation where their media and information is censored to fit the governments agenda.

      • Lloyd P says:

        Steve, what are your specific complaints about the JCPS Board proposal for a Citizen Review Panel for Curriculum. The Board has had a fully functioning Citizen Review Panel for budget issues for over 30 years. Are you implying that the APUSH Curriculum is so weak that it will not suffer the light of a citizen review? Remember, that the budget committee does not consist solely of CPA types, so please no argument only about a trained historian.

        The panel has not even been seated. Nor has it received any specific assignments. This committee will outlast this board and be functioning 50 years from now. The best way of obtaining adequate funding is to have full and complete citizen buy-in to the academic programs.

        Under Colorado Law any suggestions of this committee will need to survive a public comment period before being implemented. How about awaiting the hyperbole until that time, when public comment to specific proposals is actually possible.

        As far as your suggestion about leaving this country, my family has done more than most in maintaining it’s freedom. I am part of a 6 generation chain that has served this country during times of war. My father spent 65 years as a partially Disabled American Veteran from hi8s service in WW II, during while my uncle died as a test pilot, another uncle spent 3 years as a POW, and yet another uncle spent over 2 days in the water and 2 months in the hospital following his ship being sunk during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. My son in law is the survivor of an IED attack on the Humvee he was driving and has a partial permanent disability at his young age. My son served as a Combat Medic in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Finally, buddies of mine never made it back from Nam. Don’t you think my family has paid it’s dues to be in this country?

  2. Lloyd P says:

    The teacher protest is not about the APUSH Curriculum. Rather, it is about the District’s response to a new Colorado Law that is forcing school Districts to develop teacher evaluation criteria that is at least 50% based on student growth. Jefferson County has developed a system that the teachers and a third party arbitrator felt unfair. Reading through the Jeffco criteria it does not seem to be unreasonable when compared to evaluation matrices used in private industry. Heretofore, all non-probationary teachers wage increases have been based on a matrix of teacher degrees, time spent teaching, and some additional for higher math and science teachers.

    The Teacher’s would prefer a plan such as that being used by the Poudre Valley Public Schools. This plan is based on the University of Washington’s Educator Professional Development and Classroom activities model.

    Perhaps a far larger part of why the teacher’s like the Poudre system can be recognized when you get in under the hood.

    For student growth, the 2013-2014 school year was declared a hold harmless year. Then the model requires two years of data to go into effect, using a running two year view. This means student data will be gathered in 2014/2015 and 2015-2016. Further the model calls for using both adjusted and unadjusted data. The data adjustments have not been developed yet. This will obviously take time, and therefore actual student growth will not be used in the evaluation matrix.

    Instead, there is an assumption that all teachers earn a 2.5 rating for student growth. Weighted at 50% this provides 1.25 points to the matrix. The UW model rates on several categories using a 1 to 4 point rating for each category. Therefore, a teacher that is uniformly ranked as ineffective across all matrix categories would get a 1 pont rating on the UW piece of the rating. Weighted at 50% THIS GIVES A MINIMUM RATING OF 1.75 POINTS. tHE CUTOFF FOR AN INEFFECTIVE TEACHER IS 1.5 POINTS, SO THAT BOARD HAS SIGNED A CONTRACT ENSURING THERE WILL BE NO INEFFECTIVE TEACHERS FOR THE LIFE OF THE CONTRACT. Jefferson County did not agree to such clap trap and is therefore receiving bad press for standing up for the rights of future students not sentenced to an ineffective teacher’s class.

  3. Lloyd P says:

    One wonders why the reporter for this story did not look under the hood for the teacher’s protest. Reporting should be more than accepting Union press releases.


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