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Jeffco school board OKs compromise plan in curriculum review showdown

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Hundreds packed the Jefferson County Board of Education headquarters building and the grounds around it Thursday night to decry a controversial proposed curriculum review committee that has been at the center of nearly two weeks of student protests.

By the end of the evening and after a bitter debate over the timing of the vote, the board approved by a 3-2 margin a compromise measure that would reorganize existing curriculum review groups in the district to involve more student, teacher and community voices.

The decision effectively scuttled a plan introduced late last month by board member Julie Williams to create a curriculum review committee that would have relied on teaching materials that promote patriotism and “positive aspects” of U.S. history and avoid encouragement of “civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

The meeting — the first since the curriculum controversy that has attracted national attention burst onto the scene — began with more than two hours of public comment.

The board room was packed, with camera crews from media outlets from around the country lining one side of the room and reporters on laptops in front of the dais.

Outside, a long line of sign-waving people marched down Denver West Parkway denouncing Williams’ proposal.

Williams, who was part of a conservative majority elected to the school board in November, began the evening by defending her plan as an attempt CLICK TO KEEP READING

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Comments
  • comment avatar WBG October 3, 2014

    How is everyone missing the fact that this whole fiasco comes down to one person (Julie Williams). Not a school board, not the president of the board of education, just one person with odd and controversial ideas. You have the power to get rid of the one bad apple in the bunch so do it. Don’t stop the education of your kids because on one controversial board member.

  • comment avatar Nell October 3, 2014

    Excellent point. Whatever the outcome of this debate, it should be the result of a consensus of educators and parents, not an ideologically and politically driven school board majority and a committee of hand-picked, like-minded people. If the board is really interested in teaching students how democracy works, then show them by having a two-way community conversation.

  • comment avatar Candace October 3, 2014

    But if they follow the DougCO model this will not happen. Meetings will be behind closed doors, those who disagree with Ms. Williams beliefs will be tossed from the committee and before you know it you will have all your good teachers leaving and your ‘public’ education system being destroyed. DougCO has board members that have stated they don’t believe in public education and they are doing everything they can to end it down here.

  • comment avatar Mama5 October 3, 2014

    And yet the Jeffco teachers are opposing balance:

    Last part of the Board’s suggestions;

    a nine-member committee would be convened to regularly review course plans, including in Advanced Placement U.S. history, to ensure that the contents “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority, and respect for individual rights.” Materials should not “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife, or disregard of the law,” according to proposal, which also says that content related to political and social movements in history “should present balanced and factual treatment of the positions.”

  • comment avatar Mary October 3, 2014

    What have the students “won”? The draft was tabled and set for corrections before any demonstrations began. There was obviously going to be more discussion about it at some point. Hard to see any win or Constitutional victory here, except by those who saw the proposal as something that had already been implemented.

  • comment avatar Lisa October 3, 2014

    First and foremost, they have won a voice, and a very articulate one, in their own educations.

  • comment avatar Erica B October 3, 2014

    When were the new AP US History guidelines originally intended to be implemented? This is an honest question as I do not know. Sometime this year or starting next school year?

  • comment avatar Kay October 3, 2014

    Which guidelines are you talking about? The ones from the College Board that are being used in the current school year or the ones that may eventually result from a curriculum review committee that hasn’t been formed yet, from a proposal that has been tabled? If the latter, which is what all the fuss is about, they couldn’t possibly be implemented until next school year, as the teachers have already begun with this year’s plans. Normally curriculum changes aren’t adopted mid-year. Not to mention the controversial curriculum famed in walkouts and picket lines doesn’t actually exist.

    Curriculum changes and reviews are also typically lengthy processes, so my guess is if they even exist by the end of this year they might not be implemented until 2016-2017 year. Again, the “new” APUSH guidelines that everyone is all upset about don’t yet exist, which is what makes it all the more bizarre that students are protesting, the College Board is weighing in, and the ACLU and a bunch of other organizations are geared up for battle.

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