As promised, the new Board is well underway with its “Listening Tour”, forming advisory committees, circulating parent surveys and holding a series of group interest meetings. A thorough evaluation of Summit Learning Platform is underway and adjustments suggested by parents and students are being made. Appropriate policy on controversial content is also under consideration as are ways to turn around the vexing trend of falling enrollment. Explorations in educational choice are also underway starting with the consideration of Merit Academy’s charter application.
Yet, a handful of establishment malcontents still linger objecting to school choice, and claiming that declining test performance, plummeting enrollment and infiltration of political activism has been exaggerated.
Many are aware of the kindergarten teacher that published a column in the Colorado Sun proudly describing pushing BLM propaganda on students as well as informing the children of “the ignorance and hate that has roots here” in Teller County. That incident of overt indoctrination is not the only one however. In April of 2021 a parent directed me to radical Leftist doctrine openly referenced on the Woodland Park Middle School website under the “Families” menu. The “social justice” propaganda was part of the WPMS 7 Mindsets’ “Equity in Education” program and described itself as a “Movement for Justice … A Movement for Equity”. This “Movement” encouraged students to “stand firmly with the Black community in this FIGHT…[against]… countless injustices… Inequity is deeply rooted in contemporary society” Months later, 7 Mindsets dropped the subversive political content.
These two egregious examples of Leftist indoctrination might not prove a widespread problem. What these incidents do prove however is the inadequate response of the former Board members to these matters as they were presented to the Board by email and by letters at Board meetings. The former Board not only overlooked such mischief, but more importantly they expressed no concern and took no action upon being informed of the malpractice.
The former Board also errored in denying the Merit charter application despite the Colorado Association of Charter School Authorizers advising approval in a review commissioned by Re-2. Approval of the application would have retained Merit students and funding within the Re-2 District and provided Re-2 authority to evaluate performance before any subsequent contract renewals. While parents welcome the innovations and performance of public charter schools, the government school monopoly dreads competition and the latitudes in performance pay, certification and curriculum that educational liberty provides.
I’m confident that the new Board will also pursue, as promised, a renewed emphasis on civics and understanding our exceptional American heritage. In a time of unprecedented governmental malfeasance, particularly at the federal level, our students should be able appreciate the constitutional principles of individual rights, limited government and federalism, and to be wary of the ever present threats of tyranny and communism.
Our new Board members are addressing concerns about controversial content and platforms, and exploring means to provide educational choice – all to make Re-2 a better performing system with increasing enrollment. Please support the efforts of these excellent volunteers.