5th 2015
Yes, Election Night Happened, But Keep Your Chins Up, Colorado Reformers

Posted under Courts & Denver & Education Politics & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Parents & Public Charter Schools & School Board & School Choice & Suburban Schools & Teachers & Union

Yeah, yeah, yeah, school board elections happened in Colorado this week. Ok, so I promised to give you a full report yesterday. But I got a little busy crying in my Cheerios with some important stuff to do.

Do I really need to review what happened with the Teachers Union Empire Strikes Back? After all, my Education Policy Center friend Ben DeGrow donned his Captain Obvious hat for Chalkbeat Colorado, observing “You can’t deny it was a setback for conservative reform at the school board level in Colorado. The unions had their day. There’s no doubt about it.”

Another of my Education Policy Center friends, Ross Izard, did a pretty good job laying it out in more detail. He optimistically notes that conservative education reformers have been bruised, but not beaten by the big recall in Jeffco or setbacks in a number of other districts:

The past two years have seen a number of major policy shifts. Jefferson County Public Schools signed a collective bargaining agreement that exemplifies how a teachers union contract can—and should—look. The three members of the conservative board majority began paying teachers based on performance rather than simple seniority, and respecting parental choice by funding charter school students fairly. They authorized a new charter school serving nearly 500 Jeffco families this year, stood strong for fiscal responsibility, and have pushed forward with plans designed to help low-income Jeffco students who most need assistance.

Trust me. As Jeffco transitions to a new school board, your favorite little edublogger will keep an eye on what befalls the reforms that have been enacted to help students. Now is not the time to slink away into my room and play more video games. I never grow up, and I never stop watching.

Still, that won’t stop the left-wing spin machine from continuing to lash out at the Koch Brothers, or from quoting former politicians (who resigned rather than be recalled from office) to tell us that the election result was a complete repudiation of the kind of policy achievements outlined above.

It should be noted (and repeated) that just a couple days earlier, one of the recall organizers made a pretty strong statement to the local CBS TV news station:

“I’m not against pay for performance and I’m not against charters and I don’t really know anybody who is,” recall supporter Tina Gurdikian said. “It’s just a matter of how this board is implementing those reforms and the disrespect that they’re showing to the community as whole when they’re talking about these things.” [emphasis added]

So in spite of the clearly painful election night outcome (and today’s court ruling that doubtless has extended the celebration at Colorado Education Association headquarters… more on that later), my youthful spirit remains hopeful about the future. Because while elected reformers may drop the ball, the reform cause continues moving down the field. And as much resources and organization the unions and their allies have poured in, their defense isn’t as strong as, say, this year’s Denver Broncos.

Friends, go back and read the Izard article… and keep your chins up! Learn the lessons that need to be learned, smile through the pain, and let’s move onward and upward to open more doors of opportunity for Colorado students!!


7 Responses to “Yes, Election Night Happened, But Keep Your Chins Up, Colorado Reformers”

  1. Walter Boggs on 10 Nov 2015 at 10:03 pm #

    Forget reform. Fight for choice.

  2. Ed is Watching » Ugly Smear Column Tries, Fails to Shove Conservative Education Reform Aside on 11 Nov 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    [...] hope you all enjoyed a nice, long break from recent depressing edu-happenings over the last few days. I also hope that your disappointment is tempered by hope for the future. [...]

  3. Ed is Watching » Federal Court Voids Intrusive Anti-Choice Order, Makes Me Smile on 12 Nov 2015 at 11:02 am #

    [...] you about. But the coverage has been thick. And after all that — including everything from telling reformers to keep their chins up to unpacking ugly smear columns — little me is eager, practically desperate, to talk about [...]

  4. Ed is Watching » New Research Shows Negative Union Impact on Education Outcomes on 19 Nov 2015 at 10:36 am #

    [...] the recent Jeffco recall election debacle, opponents of reform frequently hurled back charges that the likes of me and my friends spent too [...]

  5. Ed is Watching » Change is in the Air — I’m Just Getting a Little Older, Though, Not Going Away on 20 Nov 2015 at 10:32 am #

    [...] more fitting to my world, as part of Election 2015‘s Empire Strikes Back theme, union-backed candidates swept back into power in Jefferson [...]

  6. Ed is Watching » Big Surprise: Jeffco’s “Just Moms” Funded Primarily and Directly by NEA on 24 Dec 2015 at 9:24 am #

    [...] now nearing two months since the undeniably terri-bad local school board elections of 2015. I’m sure all of you remember The Night the Lights Went Dark, when very nearly every [...]

  7. Ed is Watching » Little Eddie the Liar? on 31 Dec 2015 at 7:54 pm #

    [...] post, I chided anti-reform activists—at that point in full rhetorical tilt just days before the catastrophic November elections—for leaping to unfounded statistical conclusions about the NAEP scale score drops in math that [...]

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