The Jefferson County School Board Watch is a group of people who are very concerned about the direction the Jefferson County School Board has taken since the November 2013 elections.  That election saw an unprecedented amount of money spent in a low turn-out election to elect three members with apparently strong libertarian leanings.  We are very worried that this new majority will take actions that result in severe damage to JeffCo schools and it’s students.  Our purpose is to make sure that any and all actions taken by the Board are well publicized and widely available for public scrutiny.

17 thoughts on “About

  1. Maybe these Libertarians will actually improve your school system if you let them? My daughter went to a few different schools in Jeffco in the last 5 years and they were a joke! You liberals need to step aside so the responsible adults in this country can fix the mess you have created in our schools.

    • We believe that these so called Libertarians will actually destroy our school system. That is why we work to stop them. We are sorry you feel the schools were ‘a joke’, but those of us who work on this blog and many, many, other people have had the opposite experience.

      It is because we are responsible adults that we are opposing the hidden agenda, misleading statements, and hypocritical posturing of NWN+Miller.

      Are you aware that on average Charter schools are no better than comparable regular schools? Check out this Salon article “The truth about charter schools“. Or that many are poorly run and managed because the Districts are not allowed to oversee them? Did you know that there are four charter schools in this District that are in financial trouble? The audit firm that performed the 2nd Quarter Audit highlighted them in their report (page 3). Thanks to current Charter School law in Colorado, the District is not able to monitor Charter Schools’ finances and step in before things get bad. Instead, the District has to wait for the Charter school to come to it, desperately begging a loan. Right now, the District has lent out or has on reserve over $850,000 to cover these four schools. That’s money that could have been used to hire and pay twenty experienced, licensed, and degreed teachers. They could have helped over 600 students improve their reading, math, science, art, and music knowledge and skills. Instead, the money is being spent or held for schools whose administrators apparently had a hard time making their checkbooks balance.

      That is part of the ‘mess’ JeffCo has been cleaning up. JeffCo has also increased it’s on-time graduation rate and lowered it’s drop out rate, both doing far better than state average. It has some of the top high schools in the country as recognized by U.S. News and World Report. Lakewood High School even won Katy Perry’s video contest with a single-take shot of the entire student body that was so smooth Perry’s people asked for confirmation that it was not done by an experienced professional!

      Now WNW+Miller steps in and their idea of cleaning up a mess is to burn down the building! Hardly the act of ‘responsible adults’.

      No, ma’am. We will not step aside and allow you to destroy what our community has built.

      Don’t Screw With Our Kids!

      • According to the results posted by coloradoschoolgrades.com 70% of the top 10 high schools in Colorado are charter or option schools…..

      • As we have said before, we are not anti-charter school. We are anti-poorly run charter schools that leave the District on the hook for their mismanagement. Their actions are depriving other students in the District of funds that could have been spent on new literacy programs, new books, maintenance on public school buildings, etc.

      • In response to JM, yes, I have looked at the coloradoschoolgrades.com research as well. If you study the measures that are used, they would be typical of high performing charter schools. The schools are allowed to exclude students for any reason including special needs, poor preparation, etc. and students can choose to leave if they are not “making the grade”: if you will. As jcbsw references, this isn’t an issue of charter schools, per se. It is more that the comparisons are not even, the expectations are not even and the result are, predictably, not even so it isn’t a reasonable comparison. Other schools do exceptionally well that are public/neighborhood schools, but when the ability to exclude children exists and/or is tolerated, you will never get the same result. I refer to that behavior as creaming.

        It is the same behavior that causes me to worry about the rest of the kids. The more creaming that occurs in most charter school territory, the harder it is to get the right level of learning in a neighborhood school. Estimates are that as long as a free/reduced lunch population remains below 20%, a school can function and students can learn – especially those in the low income category (despite what reformers say SHOULD be true and I would love to live in their world because I want it to be true too, there is still a direct correlation between poverty and school scores). However, when the tide turns, it is significantly harder for the school to function and for the scores to be turned around. or raised.

        So, one has to ask. What is the end game? Let certain highly motivated, highly skilled, highly supported families opt out? Is it to assure that EVERY child has a chance to succeed? Is it that each child is met with his/her own teaching need? Those are different goals and require different solutions. So, while the numbers and slogans are all great and/or show certain things, where we choose to focus determines what outcomes we get.

  2. Apparently the community voted in these people to prevent you guys from screwing up the district any more. My daughter went to one of the charter schools there and it was by far the best school she has ever attended. So, if there was a money problem it was most likely because they receive much less per kid than the average public school receives even though the are picking up the slack from the failing public schools. You can preach to your kind all you want, but I can promise you this, you are screwing your kids, not the conservatives. So, go coddle your children and insure they are not ready for adulthood until they are 26 years old while the rest of us raise strong, intelligent, independent children who will be ready for the world at 18.

    • Really? Screwing up the children? My son attended Jeffco schools and he is currently a sophomore at the School of Mines. Yes I am liberal. He happens to be conservative. He was taught to ask questions and to be able to support his beliefs with proof and data. At 19, he is very ready for adulthood, and I couldn’t be prouder. He can think for himself and is able to check the sources of his information. He is one example of many.

      As far as $$ for charter schools- Any charter school that has the same level of poverty as the average Jeffco schools (34%) should be entitled to the same portion. Currently that is not true. Most are under 10%.

  3. Thank you for this website!! Thank you for watching out for our kids!!

  4. Your website is nothing more than propagation of paranoia fear, doubt and a whole lot of whining and crying because your team lost control of the board. Sing sour grapes all day long but as a Jeffco product, resident and parent I feel it’s time for a change. Educational choice is very important, we need more charter schools and choices. The past leadership did noting but choke educational choice in the district. My children attend a Jeffco Charter school that has a wait list of more than 2,000 and year in and year out smokes the neighborhood jeffco schools in test score. Thank God for change. 1983 Golden High School Graduate and Parent

    • We object to the direction that the WNW+Miller faction of the Board seems to be taking the District. We believe this is not the direction that the majority of the JeffCo public wants or would agree to.

      Interpreting our concerns about the behavior and direction of WNW+Miller as ‘sour grapes’ is very short sighted on your part. If you pay attention to posts and comments on this site and it’s Facebook link, you will find a lot of people agree with us. This should give any rational public official pause.

      We are pleased that you are pleased by your children’s school, but the issue of school waiting lists is not as straight-forward as it seems. The issue is complicated by the fact that children can be entered into more than one lottery. Many of the children who apply for a particular school do so not because that school is their first or even second choice. They have signed up for three or four or more school lotteries, and then will pick the one that suits them best. The result is that the sum total of all waiting lists is actually two to four times greater than the number of students actually waiting. The only way to avoid any kind of waiting list would be to develop so an incredible amount of excess capacity for every kind of school. This is not only very difficult, it would be very expensive and also be a enormous waste of District resources.

      We encourage change. But we want well researched, well thought out, well planned, and well executed change that is then well measured. We are opposed to change based on Pop Psychology, education fads, and copyrighted “approaches” from for profit sites.

      • Amen to that last paragraph beginning “We encourage change.” Change itself is not inherently good or bad; it’s all about the planning (or lack of) that occurs prior to change.

  5. Why are you hiding? You have no contact information and you have hidden your whois domain information… Type paranoid Liberal.

    • To quote Henry Kissinger, “Even paranoids have enemies.” 🙂

      In truth, we do this anonymously for two main reasons. First is that while you maybe a reasonable person who would never try to intimated, harass, or otherwise stalk someone you were at political odds with…not everyone is that way. We prefer not to expose ourselves, our families, and our neighbors to that sort of risk.

      Secondly, and even more importantly, we choose to be anonymous because this site is not about the writers, reporters, and support people. It is about what we write about.

      And that is as it should be.

  6. Rex, while I would prefer to know who is behind this site I can fully understand why they do not want to subject their families to possible harm.

    Paranoid? I don’t know.

    Why were people photographing license plates at a meeting in Lakewood? At the last board meeting I saw someone taking a picture of the board, and the guy sitting behind him (who by his behavior was supporting WNW) take his phone out and take a picture of the guy in front of him taking a picture! He was about a foot behind him taking a close-up shot.

    Why do supporters of WNW feel a need to document those who disagree with them? This behavior does not engender trust in the community.

    Paranoid? I don’t know.

  7. This is a fantastic website !!! I wish all issues had similar coverage. That being said, I am sympathetic to the aims and goals of the school board, but I do not agree with their approach to implementation. Seems like bullying. Your site is doing a good in enhancing transparency. I do wish though you were not so doctrinaire on some possible changes that really do need time before the application of left-of-center doom-and-gloom critiques is warranted.

    • Thank you for the kudos. We work hard to make this a site where open, honest, and vigorous debate can be held. We do draw the line on name-calling or unthinking polemics…from either side. We will also identify logical fallacies when they crop up, but mainly to help the responder understand that they have strayed from sound reasoning at that point.

      There probably is not a single member of JeffCo School Board Watch who thought things were perfect or even close to it. Many of us were and are active as parents, professionals, and community members in working towards improving the District. But we favor a combination of solid research, reasoning, careful planning, testing and measurements before making significant changes, much less radical ones. We are not people to be swept away by educational fads or fashions. There is a large Missouri streak in us, “Show Me”. So far, WNW seems immune to studies, research, statistics (that do not fit their preconceived ideas), and carefully thought through plans. Even when confronted with direct evidence that contradicts their positions, they close their eyes and push on.

      We understand your viewpoint about us being ‘doctrinaire’ although we would not label it as such. From our standpoint, WNW has taken over our stagecoach and is driving the horses, full tilt, in the dark, with their eyes deliberately shut, trusting their ‘inner instincts’. We see them racing all of us towards a cliff and are desperately shouting at them to open their eyes and ears.

      Would you have us wait for the doom and gloom to actually appear before we shout warnings? If so, what good are the warnings? And who will be paying the price not just now, but for the rest of their lives?

      The stakes are far too high and the cliff approaching far too fast for us to ‘wait and see.’

  8. Keep up the good work! Conservatives have been trying to destroy public education over the last 30 years. Glad to see folks are (finally) fighting back!

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