Archives for category: Colorado

Aaron Brink is the father of Anderson Andrews, who (allegedly) shot and killed five people and wounded nearly two dozen others at the gay bar Club Q in Colorado Springs recently.

Brink is a Mormon, a porn star and a former meth addict. When he heard that his son had been arrested for multiple murders, he was stunned to hear that his son was in a gay bar but relieved to think that he was not gay. He abandoned his son and his wife years ago. In his mind, being gay was far, far worse than being a mass murderer.

Look for this guy on video, probably YouTube. Abandoned his family. Hates gays. calls himself a “conservative Republican.”

Brink reflects the free-floating hatred that is regularly spouted by conservative Republicans.

The Denver Post reported that extremist Lauren Boebert has taken the lead by almost 800 votes. But thousands of ballots have not yet been counted—mail-in ballots, military ballots.

Keep fingers crossed.

The polls said that extremist Colorado Republican Lauren Boebert was a shoo-in for re-election to Congress. No way the gun-toting Christian fundamentalist could be beaten.

But they were wrong.

Boebert is now in a near tie with her Democratic opponent, Adam Frisch, slightly behind him with more votes to be counted.

VOX wrote:

As of late Wednesday afternoon, Boebert was narrowly trailing Democrat Adam Frisch, 49.7 percent to 50.3 percent, in the House race for Colorado’s Third District, which includes much of the western half of the state.

The closeness of the race is surprising given the district’s Republican lean and polling that heavily favored Boebert ahead of Election Day. A loss for her would suggest that voters are fed up with the controversy and antics that Boebert has trafficked in since taking office, and would be a notable rebuke of one of former President Donald Trump’s most vocal and bombastic backers in Congress. It also would nod to concerns expressed by her constituents — some of whom have said that she seems to care more about her celebrity than addressing issues in the district, including funding for infrastructure, which would bolster steel jobs in the area.

During her tenure in the House, Boebert, previously a gun rights activist, has spent much of her time on attention-grabbing stunts including Islamophobic comments targeting Rep. Ilhan Omar, attempts to carry a gun throughout the Capitol, and heckling President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address. She’s faced scrutiny for these actions as well as for controversial social media posts advancing false and dangerous theories suggesting that LGBTQ people “groom” children.

Frisch, a moderate businessman and former Aspen city council member, has attempted to appeal to voters tired of what he described as the “angertainment” Boebert provides. He’s also leaned into qualms constituents have had about the focus Boebert has put on her own image versus delivering for the district. A Frisch win would be a surprising pick-up for Democrats in a place that Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan political analysis firm, has rated as Solid Republican…

Polling up until this point had Boebert as the likely winner: FiveThirtyEight’s predictive model, for example, gave Frisch a 3 in 100 chance of taking the district.

Jeanne Kaplan served two terms as an elected board member in Denver. She has watched the board’s frenIed embrace of “reform” with dismay. open the link and read the full article, which appears on her blog. I am not putting the post into italics since she uses italics.

She writes:

Reap what you sow and the chickens come home to roost. The elephant in the room.  Aphorisms appropriate to describe what is happening in public education in Denver. 

After 20 years,  more than 5  superintendents, and 11 different school boards, the results of education reform in Denver have become clear, and they aren’t pretty. After opening 72 charters in the last 20 years, 22 of which have closed, the declining enrollments in neighborhood schools have forced the prospect of school closures.  Who knew opening 26 privately run elementary charter schools in competition with district-run schools would ultimately force the district to make some hard financial decisions?  And who knew that ignoring its own 2007 data showing stagnant population growth would lead to less demand for elementary school seats in the 2020s?  Apparently, not those with the power for the last 20 years.  And, as an ironic aside, many of the same people who were the decision-makers in the past and who were unable to make substantive change then, have now decided they will somehow make these previously unattainable changes from their outside “oversight” committee, EDUCATE Denver. In fact one of the co-chairs, Rosemary Rodriguez, was a DPS board member when on March 16, 2017, a Strengthening Neighborhoods Resolution passed, stating:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that a citywide committee be formed to review changing demographics and housing patterns in our city and the effect on our schools and to make recommendations on our policies around boundaries, choice, enrollment and academic programs in order to drive greater socio-economic integration in our schools.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in the face of the sharp decline in the number of school-aged children in gentrifying neighborhoods, the committee is also charged with how to think about school choice and school consolidation to ensure that our schools are able to offer high-quality, sustainable programs for our kids.

These former school board members and former and current civic leaders have formed a “shadow school board” to evaluate and oversee the current superintendent and school board.  Why?  It appears they don’t like what they are seeing being proposed by the current superintendent. What don’t they like?  It appears they have determined the current superintendent is not committed enough to their reform agenda.  You know – the one that has been in place when they were in power, the one that has produced the biggest gaps in the nation, more segregation, and more resource inequity.

As school closures have risen to the fore this week Chalkbeat disclosed these statistics:

“Over the past 20 years, Denver Public Schools has added a lot of schools. It has added students, too — but at a much slower rate.

  • The number of public schools in Denver grew 55% between the 2001-02 and 2021-22 school years, while the number of students grew just 12%.
  • Denver went from having 132 schools serving about 72,000 students in 2001-02 to 204 schools serving nearly 89,000 students in 2021-22.
  • The number of elementary schools in Denver grew 23% over the past 20 years, while the number of students grew just 4%.”

Through expensive marketing and often false narratives, charter schools have had free reign to prey on susceptible families resulting in DPS losing 7400 elementary school students who would have otherwise most likely attended a neighborhood school. Then add in:

  • a state law that prohibits a district from shutting down low enrollment charters, 
  • a district that has ignored demographic information predicting declining enrollment, 
  • a district that employs “attendance zones” and a secretive CHOICE system to often force place students into heavily marketed, often unwanted CHARTER SCHOOLS, and 
  • a competitive financial model called Student Based Budgeting (SBB – money follows the kid) to fund schools, depending on student needs, the goal of which is to close the achievement and resource gaps.

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado is known for her love of guns and God. The Denver Post spoke to several experts on Christian nationalism, and they agreed that she is an extreme voice for her religious beliefs. She won the Republican primary in her district and is near certain to win re-election for her extremist views. No matter what the Founding Fathers wrote, no matter what the Constitution says, Boebert foresees the reign of Christ in the days ahead. She is a proud religious zealot.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s pattern of pushing for a religious takeover of America, spreading falsehoods about the 2020 presidential election and warning of an impending judgment day amounts to Christian nationalism, religious, political and social experts say.

Those ideals threaten the rights of non-Christian — and typically non-white — Americans but also endanger the foundation of the country’s democratic process, those experts say. The far-right Western Slope congresswoman represents a high-profile and incendiary voice in the movement, which is infiltrating virtually every level of American government and its judiciary.

Boebert leaned on those talking points Friday — in her official capacity as a member of Congress — at the Truth & Liberty Coalition’s From Vision to Victory Conference in Woodland Park.

“It’s time for us to position ourselves and rise up and take our place in Christ and influence this nation as we were called to do,” Boebert, of Silt, told the crowd, which responded with applause…

“We know that we are in the last of the last days,” Boebert later added. “This is a time to know that you were called to be part of these last days. You get to have a role in ushering in the second coming of Jesus.”

Boebert and her contemporaries, whether in Congress, state or local governments, can be expected to increase the volume and frequency of their Christian nationalist rhetoric as the November midterm elections approach and even beyond, Philip Gorski, a sociologist and co-director of Yale’s Center for Comparative Research, said.

“This is new and worrisome,” Gorski said. “There’s an increasing number of people saying ‘We’re in this battle for the soul of America. We’re on the side of good and maybe democracy is getting in the way. Maybe we need to take power and if that means minority rule in order to impose our vision on everybody else then that’s what we’re going to do.’”

Boebert’s comments Friday in Woodland Park serve as a dog whistle for violence, said Anthea Butler, chief of the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Religious Studies. Especially in the context of the congresswoman’s penchant for firearms and her framing the issue around the November elections….

“I believe that there have been two nations that have been created to glorify God. Israel, whom we bless, and the United States of America,” Boebert said in June. “And this nation will glorify God.”

In the same address Boebert said she was “tired of this separation of church and state junk” and claimed that God “anointed” Donald Trump to the presidency….

She doesn’t explain why her God anointed a man to the Presidency who has no religious beliefs and is known for adultery, lying, and cheating his fellow citizens.

Boebert is perhaps best known for her gun-rights advocacy and said this summer that Jesus had been killed by Romans because he didn’t have enough assault rifles “to keep his government from killing him.

She blamed a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 students and two teachers dead, on “godlessness that is here overtaking America” and she frequently says drug use and violent crime are on the rise because of the Latin American people illegally immigrating through the southern border.

“It’s the idea that government power should be in the hands of ‘real Americans’ and those ‘real Americans’ are defined by an ethnoreligious category that usually entails white conservative Christians,” Kristin Kobes DuMez, a professor of history and gender studies at Calvin University, said. “This is not compatible with democracy.”

The end goal for certain sects of Christian nationalism, which subscribe to so-called Dominion theory, is to conquer what are called the “seven mountains” or seven areas of influence, Gorski said. They are family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government.

“Once they do, that will trigger the second coming of Christ,” Gorski said, citing their prophecy.

Boebert is moving in those circles, which also have ties to militia groups, Gorski added.

I wonder if there will be room in Boebert’s new world for people who don’t share her beliefs?

A controversial Afrocentric charter school for Black students was approved by the Denver school boardhttps://www.denverpost.com/2022/09/23/5280-freedom-schoool-denver-dps-charter/, after initially rejecting the proposal. The board worried that the charter would not attract enough students to be viable. Other charters in Denver have closed because of declining enrollment. If you read the comments that follow the article, the main theme of writers is shock that the Denver school board would open a racially segregated school.

The Denver Post reported:

After the state ordered Denver Public Schools to reconsider a charter school centering Black students and culture, the school board Thursday approved the school to open next fall.

But the approval comes with conditions, including that 5280 Freedom School must fill all of its open seats in its first year. The school plans to open with 52 students in kindergarten and first grade, and add grades each year up to fifth grade.

Denver schools are funded per pupil, and other new charter schools have had to delay opening because they didn’t enroll enough students. Existing charter schools have closed because their enrollment declined, and the district is considering closing some of its own schools due to low student counts.

The school board initially rejected the 5280 Freedom School for fear it would struggle to attract enough students to be financially viable….Last month, the State Board of Education ordered Denver to reconsider its decision. State Board members said it was unfair to assume that 5280 Freedom School would face the same challenges as other charters.

Valerie Strauss posted an article by Darcie Cimarusti about the spread of charter schools affiliated with Hillsdale College. Cimarusti is the communications director of the Network for Public Education. The Hillsdale charters, called Barney Schools, promise schools where students get a patriotic education untouched by “critical race theory” and safe from the dangers of sex education, with more than a touch of fundamentalist Christian theology.

She writes:

Hillsdale College is a small, nondenominational Christian school in Michigan with a satellite campus on Capitol Hill. Hillsdale President Larry Arnn headed former president Trump’s 1776 Commission, and last year Hillsdale College released a “1776 Curriculum” as a counter to the New York Times’ 1619 Project and its corresponding K-12 curriculum.

Hillsdale spreads the gospel of the right-wing through their K-12 curriculum and the Barney Charter School Initiative, which currently claims member schools in nine states across the country and “curriculum schools” in 19 states. The college’s mission to maintain “by precept and example the immemorial teachings and practices of the Christian faith” morphs into a call for “moral virtue” in their K-12 charter schools.


The school’s expanding K-12 footprint aligns with former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s admission that “greater Kingdom gain” is the ultimate outcome of the religious right’s school choice agenda. Hillsdale has made gains in this aim via charter schools, which are publicly funded but operated by entities outside traditional school districts.


Hillsdale does not “own, govern, manage, or profit from” the charter schools they work with, and they do not charge for their curriculum. But Florida-based Academica, the largest for-profit education management organization (EMO) in the nation, stands to make money on Hillsdale’s crusade.


Hillsdale’s classical charter school initiative was designed to turn the tide on what the college sees as “a hundred years of progressivism” in public education. Charter schools that contract with Hillsdale agree to center Western tradition in their K-12 curriculum, and to focus on the “four core disciplines of math, science, literature, and history.” Students must learn Latin and receive explicit instruction in phonics and grammar. The core disciplines are taught through the reading of primary source material and the “great books” which are also chosen to guide students’ moral development. Hillsdale’s curriculum not only narrows the course of study available to students, it rewrites American history, particularly when it comes to civil rights.

The American Legacy Academy (ALA) was recently approved to open in the Weld RE-4 School District in Colorado. According to ALA’s website, the charter school will offer a back-to-basics, classical education as a Hillsdale College curriculum school. The approval of the charter school is a victory for local culture warriors who have stormed board meetings with grievances over masks and critical race theory.

New, large housing developments are leading to significant population growth and a severe public school capacity problem in the Weld RE-4 district. Nevertheless, in November 2021 voters rejected a bond initiative to build new public schools, leaving district officials to lament that they “have a problem without a clear solution.”

Since the bond’s defeat, district employees and community members have been working together to educate the community and put together another bond proposal. A district survey showed that 70 percent of residents favored a “district-built, traditional or non-charter school” in RainDance, one of the new neighborhoods.

But the supporters of ALA and the for-profit charter chain Academica have different plans. Academica is working closely with ALA’s founding board to open the charter through its related organization, Academica Colorado. According to ALA’s application, Academica Colorado will provide comprehensive services to the charter school.

Working hand-in-hand with Academica, ALA tried to purchase the RainDance property from the district for $2.1 million to build a charter school. Craig Horton, executive director of Academica Colorado, was the first member of the public to speak in favor of the purchase at a recent board meeting, just before board members voted down the proposal. Horton stated: “We’re providing a tax-free solution for two elementary schools. You’re walking away from the ability to relieve overcrowding and save taxpayers up to $80 million by building two charter schools in place of two elementary schools.”

At the meeting, ALA supporters said they would only support the district’s bond effort if the charter is approved, essentially holding the education of the district’s students hostage.

However, there are parents in the district who want to see a neighborhood public school on the property, not a Hillsdale charter school affiliated with Academica. They, too, spoke out. Autumn Leopold and Kimberly Kee, who administer a private Facebook group called RE4 Families Want Schools For All, told a local reporter: “We really just want a compromise that works for everyone and serves the entire community.”

Conservative culture wars

What is playing out in the Weld RE-4 district is part of a greater conflict in the state. A recent poll of Colorado voters showed a growing split in support for charter schools. Only 36 percent of Democrats polled expressed support, compared to 79 percent of Republicans. Perhaps most telling are the reasons. Among the reasons Republicans say in the poll that they favor charter schools is because they don’t teach a left-wing agenda while some Democrats and Independents oppose charter schools because they see them as religious.

The entrance of ALA follows raucous school board meetings over mask mandates, critical race theory, and other hot-button cultural issues that have been playing out in Weld RE-4 for some time. Tensions ultimately boiled over, leading to an unsuccessful campaign led by local resident Luke Alles to oust two board members. Alles is the executive chair of Guardians of RE-4, a local group “founded by three patriot families” that is pushing for the ALA charter school to open.

The first link on the Guardians website resources page is to the Colorado Department of Education’s “Charter School FAQ.” Another leads to a recently released film titled “Whose Children Are They?” The documentary-style film was produced by Deborah Flora, a syndicated conservative Christian talk radio host and failed Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. When the film was released in March, Flora simultaneously announced that she was founding a new nonprofit, Parents United America, which she created to defend “parental rights” against “ideological state guardianship.”

The film is a veritable who’s who of the culture wars. Parents and teachers active in CRT battles are given voice, as are dozens more who claim public schools are grooming children through LGBTQ-infused curriculum and disadvantaging female athletes by allowing trans girls to compete in sports.

Representatives from organizations identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as hate or extremist groups make appearances, as do spokespeople for conservative Koch-funded groups, including the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit American Enterprise Institute.

The overarching narrative is that the ultimate villains are the teachers’ unions and the U.S. Department of Education. Conservative political activist and writer David Horowitz, [whose group is] considered an extremist group by SPLC, claims teacher unions have been infiltrated and are controlled by Communists. Public School Exit founder Alex Newman suggests that the Education Department was formed not only to teach Communist propaganda but to “de-Christianize” and “make the schools less patriotic.” The film claims this campaign began 100 years ago when progressives like John Dewey “intentionally undermined our education system.”

In early 2022, Fox News host Pete Hegseth launched a five-part series, “The MisEducation of America” on Fox Nation. The series shares the same themes, a similar format, and many of the same interview subjects as “Whose Children Are They?” “MisEducation,” which Hegseth claims is the most watched content on Fox Nation, supposedly “uncovers the secrets of the left’s educational agenda.”

In the fifth and final episode, titled “Our COVID- (16) 19 Moment,” the “experts” agree on this: the only path forward is for parents to remove children from the public school system and place them in Classical Christian Schools. If that’s not an option for families, they suggest a classical charter school.


Colorado

ALA will not be the first classical charter in Colorado. According to the 2019 Colorado Department of Education State of Charter Schools Triennial Report, 24 of the state’s 255 charter schools followed a classical curriculum in the 2018-19 school year.

Academica’s Craig Horton, a retired police officer, was a founding board member of a prominent classical charter, Liberty Common Charter School. Liberty’s headmaster Bob Shaffer is prominently featured in “Whose Children Are They?” — as is Kim Gilmartin, director of New School Development for Ascent Classical Academies.

Ascent, which is a Hillsdale College-affiliated CMO in Colorado, has two classical charter schools in the state, with ambitious plans to open several more.

Horton was also heavily involved in the formation of CIVICA Colorado, part of a national CMO CIVICA, which contracts with Academica. While CIVICA does not formally claim to be a classical charter, CIVICA principal Sheena McOuat stated: “I make sure a lot of politics that are in other schools, sex ed or critical race, they don’t come into my building and it aligns with a lot of people.” McOuat’s husband, Corey McOuat, is one of the founding board members of the American Legacy Academy.

The Colorado Department of Education, which recently revealed that it is struggling to spend down a $55 million dollar federal Charter School Program (CSP) award the state received in 2018, still went ahead and awarded CIVICA a $990,000 start-up grant. ALA hasn’t applied for CSP funds yet, but when representatives appeared before the Weld RE-4 board, they spoke confidently about access to a million-dollar grant.

Wyoming

The new Academica classical brand CIVICA is moving into Wyoming as well. Its Republican governor and legislature recently cleared the way for charter schools by passing legislation to take the decision out of the hands of local school districts and give it to a political body. The State Loan and Investment Board now has the ability to approve charters and is currently composed of Gov. Mark Gordon, Secretary of State Ed Buchanan, Auditor Kristi Racines, Treasurer Curt Meier, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Brian Schroeder. All of them are Republicans.

Horton, with the assistance of high-ranking state Republicans and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, is now attempting to open two new classical charters in Wyoming. The two schools — Wyoming Classical Academy and Cheyenne Classical Academy — which propose to open in the fall of 2023, will be Hillsdale College Member School Candidates.

Schroeder, the head of a private Christian school recently appointed state superintendent, attended a parent information meeting hosted by the Cheyenne Classical Academy at the Cheyenne Evangelical Free Church. He told the gathering of prospective charter school parents that “the evangelists of secularism saw two institutions, government and education, as the perfect twin vehicles through which they would remake society in their image.”

Conservative Christian Republicans are now positioning themselves, with the help of Academica and the charter lobby, to use taxpayer funds to challenge “the evangelists of secularism” with a national push for classical charter schools.

Meanwhile, the Weld RE-4 school board’s approval of American Legacy Academy’s application paves the way for two Hillsdale classical charter schools in the district. The schools will ultimately serve approximately 1,300 students, feeding them directly into the Hillsdale pipeline of conservative thinkers trying to “save the country.”

At scale, the approval could also add, at minimum, $580,000 a year to Academica’s bottom line. In the charter application, enrollment figures show that the two charters will serve 1,296 kids in total. In the draft contract between ALA and Academica, the base compensation is $450 per student. If 1,296 students are indeed enrolled, Academica would earn $583,200, not including earnings for facilities and other services

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Trump Republican from Colorado, apparently never took a class in civics, government or history and is an embarrassment to the Congress in which she serves. She won her primary on Tuesday. Boebert is a high school dropout who earned her GED in 2020, according to Wikipedia. She is a born-again Christian and a strident advocate of guns; she and her husband own a restaurant—Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado,where staff are encouraged to carry guns. From the following report, which appeared in the Washington Post, it is certain that she is ignorant about the Constitution and the Founding Fathers.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.)…says she is “tired” of the U.S. separation of church and state, a long-standing concept stemming from a “stinking letter” penned by one of the Founding Fathers.

Speaking at a religious service Sunday in Colorado, she told worshipers: “The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our Founding Fathers intended it.”

She added: “I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk that’s not in the Constitution. It was in a stinking letter, and it means nothing like what they say it does.” Her comments were first reported by the Denver Post.

The Constitution’s First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” has been widely interpreted to mean the separation of church and state — although the phrase is not explicitly used.


Gwen Calais-Haase, a political scientist at Harvard University, told The Washington Post that Boebert’s interpretation of the Constitution was “false, misleading and dangerous.” Calais-Haase said she was “extremely worried about the environment of misinformation that extremist politicians take advantage of for their own gains.”

Steven K. Green, a professor of law and affiliated professor of history and religious studies at Willamette University, agreed, saying, “Rep. Boebert is wrong on both matters.”


“While the phrase separation of church and state does not appear verbatim in the Constitution, neither do many accepted constitutional principles such as separation of powers, judicial review, executive privilege, or the right to marry and parental rights, no doubt rights that Rep. Boebert cherishes,” wrote Green, the author of “Separating Church and State: A History.”

Colorado is a blue state where the privatizers have poured in millions of dollars to win school board seats. It’s the rare blue state that has gone all-in for privatization, led by Senator Michael Bennett (who served as Superintendent of Schools in Denver, although he was never an educator). Colorado’s Governor is Jared Polis, who is super-wealthy and founded two charter schools. Betsy DeVos hailed Denver as an exemplar of school choice.

Our friend Jeanne Kaplan served two terms on the elected Denver School Board and is a passionate advocate for public schools and civil rights. She has observed the bipartisan consensus around the DeVos-ALEC agenda with despair.

In this post, she brings good news. The “reformers” (aka privatizers) encountered a setback in the state legislature.

She begins:

At 9:23 p.m. MDT on May 11, 2022 Education Reformers in Colorado suffered their first serious setback in the Colorado legislature. While SB 22-197, the so-called Innovation and Alternative Governance Bill passed both houses of the legislature, the resulting legislation was actually a defeat for reformers/privatizers in Colorado, a first such legislative stumble in many years. At the very least the adopted Bill placed a roadblock in the previously unobstructed march to privatization. At the most it was a sign of the weakening of privatization. We can only hope.

While education reformers/privatizers will try to convince you they got a victory in the fight for the soul of public education, that is not the truth. The Bill that passed and will likely be touted as a great success has little substance. In fact, one could say, “There is no THERE THERE,” for the final version neutered the original intent of the legislation and codified:

  • No third party governance with binding arbitration.
  • Retention of decision-making powers for duly elected school
  • An advisory non decision-making role for the State Board of Education should any disputes reach it.

After much ado SB 22-197 ended up being a nothing burger with very few of the original ingredients in place.

The Bill’s original purpose was to install an alternative, third governance model with binding arbitration for disputes between a school district (read DPS) and an Innovation Zone (read City Fund’s RootEd/Gates Family Foundation funded Denver Innovation Zone Schools.) Reformers took this inequitable, highly divisive idea very seriously. Simply put, they wanted special treatment for 12 (!) Innovation Zone schools. The Bill was sponsored by two Denver Democrats Senators, James Coleman and Chris Hansen, both of whom have been highly subsidized by various local and national reform organizations. In real time this bill was crafted specifically for for 12 out of about 1800 public schools in Colorado. After garnering no sponsorship in the House, Jen Bacon, Denver Democrat and former DPS school board member stepped in to co-sponsor the bill. With her leadership and knowledge of the importance of local control for school boards she was able steer the conference committee into producing a more palatable Bill. It must have been very awkward for Senator Chris Hansen to have to admit to his colleagues, the difference between his original bill and the one they were now voting on was the loss of binding arbitration. There were of course other changes but binding arbitration was the big one, for it would have undermined local school boards’ authority by allowing for the appointment of a “third party” to resolve disputes.

The privatizers are constantly on the hunt for new ways to undermine public schools. in this instance, they were thwarted. That’s good news.

Jeannie Kaplan, a former member of Denver’s elected school board, has warned for years about the subversion of Denver’s school election by well-funded, out-of-state “reformers.” Their money makes it difficult for ordinary citizens to run for the school board.

In this post, Jeannie reports that Dark Money is back and is prepared to fund candidates who support charter schools and other elements of the failed “reform” agenda. She has identified the groups that act as pass-throughs for Dark Money, she has tallied the total (to date) of $360,000, but it’s usually impossible to identify the original source of the money.