If Jefferson County teachers are going to play politics with Colorado kids’ educations, then they should do so in broad daylight. At least that’s what The Denver Post Editorial Board thinks (we as well). In an op-ed that slipped under the radar with all the hoopla surrounding the wrap-up of the midterm elections, The Post’s ed. board praises the recent decision to allow students’ parents the right to know which of their kids’ teachers called in sick which resulted in the school being closed for the day. As The Post writes:
Good for the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition (CFIC), which went to bat for a parent seeking the names of teachers at his daughter’s school who called in sick in September to protest Jefferson County school board policies.
… If public employees — not just teachers but also police, highway workers or, for that matter, secretaries — use sick leave en masse as a means of protest, they shouldn’t expect to hide behind a shield of anonymity. As Walpole noted, such actions “cost the district and the taxpayers a tremendous amount of wasted school heating costs and personnel expenses.” [the Peak’s emphasis]
To make matters worse for these teachers who don’t seem to know how to put student’s first, an in-depth article from The Washington Post last week, reveals the true reason for the “sickout” day was not the reported narrative of protest against a review of the AP History test, but rather a union-organized, self-serving protest over money (as Complete Colorado revealed at the beginning of October). As WaPo writes:
…even though Jefferson County is far more evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats than Douglas County, the union campaign [against the new school board] got little traction.
… The board scheduled its final vote on the new pay system for Sept. 18. For at least a week prior to that date, emails had circulated among teachers urging them to call in sick on Sept. 19 to protest what the union saw, correctly, as an inevitable board vote in favor of pay for performance. Arguably illegal, the teacher “sickout” might have turned many parents against the union. But at the Sept. 18 meeting, conservative board member Julie Williams also proposed a new committee to scour the AP US history curriculum for alleged left-wing bias. [the Peak’s emphasis]
The rest, as they say, is history. The education unions in Colorado quickly spun the “sickout” protests not as a teacher temper-tantrum about how good teachers were going to get bigger raises while bad teachers got no raises, but as a protest for academic freedom. Surely, the teachers and the unions dodged a bullet there as Coloradans have little stomach for whiny unions. Now that the real motive behind their “sickout” protests has been revealed, expect teachers and unions to tread a bit more lightly. Otherwise, the false narrative in the greater public right now will surely be corrected should this story rise to the front page again.
As it stands now, the Jefferson County School Board has essentially neutralized the issue, setting up a fully transparent Board committee that will include students and community members to review any curricula on a case by case basis.
Looks like Colorado education unions will have to find a new excuse for their disruption of Colorado kids’ educations.