Category Archives: Nate Easley

Time for people to change their minds about Easley

as presented to the North City Park Community Association meeting  on February 22

Dear Neighbors of the North City Park Community:

Many of you may have recently been reading in the Denver Post about the campaign to recall Nate Easley, Ph.D., current president of the Denver Public School Board.  Unfortunately, the authors of these opinion pieces have presented their views without contacting community groups to verify their suppositions for the genesis of this initiative.   I want to take a few minutes to inform you of the real issues that caused members of the community to take this course of action as it relates to Dr. Easley’s performance as the representative of the Greater Northeast District of Denver.  Many of the community members involved with this action are former supporters of Dr. Easley and campaigned on his behalf in his election campaign.

  • Dr. Easley appears to have a conflict of interest with his additional position as Deputy Director of the Denver Scholarship Foundation while DPS Board member Theresa Pena serves on the governing board of the Foundation and DPS Superintendent Boasberg is an ex-officio member.  As President of the DPS Board, Dr. Easley is responsible to provide oversight and supervision to the Superintendent, while the Superintendent and Board member Pena have influence on the policies that could affect Dr. Easley’s continued employment/salary with the Foundation.  There is no record that any of these people have recused themselves from participating directly or indirectly in policy decision making or voting in matters that influence performance review, compensation, or continued employment with both organizations.  It appears Easley has accessed resources of the Foundation to conduct DPS business.
  • Dr. Easley has held secret meetings in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Law. He has also failed to provide public notice of meetings where school board policy was discussed or developed.  He has misused the law in an attempt to publicly reprimand three pro-community DPS board members.  He repeatedly violated the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) when he denied parents’ requests for school finance records.
  • Dr. Easley consistently misses meetings with and ignores the concerns of members of the greater Northeast community, the constituency group that elected him.   He was the deciding vote for DPS to shut down, phase out, and replace public neighborhood schools with private charter schools in Northeast Denver.  He does not return phone calls or emails from concerned parents.  Between October 2010 and January 2011 Nate Easley failed to appear at numerous meetings with concerned community members to discuss the future of public/neighborhood based schools in Northeast Denver.  Some excuses given for missing these meetings have been “entry of meeting was not made in his blackberry” or, with a meeting scheduled and confirmed two weeks in advance, community members learned the day before that he would be out of town. At a public meeting at the Hiawatha Davis Recreation Center in the spring of 2010, a seminar was held on the education of black students in Northeast Denver. At that meeting Dr. Easley stated emphatically, “If people don’t like the way DPS is being run, they should let their feet start walking!”   Do you think this is appropriate behavior for a responsible, elected representative for our community?

In his campaign for election to the DPS school board, Dr. Easley talked of his commitment to support neighborhood schools.  His voting record, however, shows a 100% commitment, with the Superintendent and corporate-backed board members, to closing neighborhood schools and replacing them with charter or magnet schools or no school at all.  The Denver Post opinion pieces talked about Easley’s desire to help disadvantaged students to be successful. Where is the evidence to support such opinions?! These students need classroom teachers of color as inspiration and role models.  Under Dr. Easley’s administration layoffs of teachers and DPS staff have occurred. This has had a dramatic adverse effect on senior African-American teachers in the district with no prior record of corrective or disciplinary action, having been targeted by district personnel department.  Termination or forced retirement of these teachers creates a real void in a population of educators whose numbers have been on a steady decline, even as the population of students of color has risen for the past 10 years.

The petition to recall Nate Easley was initiated by members of the Greater Northeast Denver Community.  This is truly a grass roots effort to correct an untenable situation.  While we cannot question Dr. Easley’s motives for seeking a position on the DPS school board, we can question his sincerity in representing the interests of the constituent community.   He has the right to change his mind on the issues on which he built his election campaign.  In turn, the people who elected him can change their collective minds and recall a representative who does not take time to be involved with their concerns and issues or represent their interests.

If you are in agreement, we need your help. If you need more information, contact us at email:  info@defensedenver.com.

Sincerely,

Glenn R. Hanley, Ph.D.
Defense Denver.com

The Campaign for Truth in DPS and The Denver Post

by Edward Augden, retired teacher and community activist

Reading Alicia Caldwell’s commentary on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, one could easily believe her assertion that the campaign to oust Denver Board of Education chair Dr. Nate Easley was just about his voting record as a board member and that the effort is a “big money campaign” spearheaded by “education anti-reformers.” Many voters and taxpayers might be shocked and/or offended by such an effort if they only read the Post. Unfortunately, her column, as with a previous one by Ms. Caldwell on the topic, included mostly half-truths and omissions. As a former journalism teacher, and after reading this and other editorials on public education, I’ve concluded that The Denver Post editorial staff
has become a purveyor of propaganda for Denver Public Schools (DPS) rather than a seeker of truth.

For example, Sunday was, probably, the first time that Post columnists have even mentioned that Easley might have a conflict of interest. For the record, Mr. Easley, as board president, supervises Tom Boasberg, DPS superintendent. Boasberg, as ex officio member of the Denver Scholarship Foundation board of directors can influence Easley. A pertinent fact omitted by Ms. Caldwell, is that Theresa Pena, another school board member, also serves on that board, of which Dr. Easley is the deputy director. In that capacity, Ms. Pena has influence and control over Easley’s  employment. During the campaign Mr. Easley stated that there would be no conflict of interest. Since his actions as board chair contradict his campaign rhetoric, it would seem that the influence of his bosses is having its effect.

There are several glaring half-truths and omissions, but the slur against Diane Ravitch, a “darling of the anti-reform movement”, – really exposes the Post and DPS as being too blind to see what real reform is or – as still in denial that a student’s family background and poverty are greater factors in student achievement than teacher quality. Even more important, advocates of real democratic and creative reform reject the false notion that testing should play the dominant role in evaluation of student achievement. Ms. Ravitch, in her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System, debunks many of the myths being perpetuated by so-called “educational reformers” such as the
myth about testing and choice. An ethical, well-trained, journalist seeking truth would investigate whether or not Ms. Ravitch represents true reform or not. Ms. Caldwell, in her column, provides no evidence of that kind of curiosity.

“Choice” is being offered to parents in northeast Denver and that means school closures, teacher firings and/or  reassignments, hardship for students and parents who may be required to “choose” another school other than the one they currently attend. Such a choice is likely far away from the neighborhood school that may be converted to a charter school they would not be eligible to attend.

Another factor consistently ignored by the Post and DPS is that of ethnic and socioeconomic segregation. Despite the fact that the 2006 Harvard Civil Rights Study Project, “Denver Public Schools: Re-segregation, Latino Style”; has been published and is available on the internet, that study and its possible ongoing effects have never been mentioned either by DPS or the Denver Post. What might capture the attention of these two collaborators as to the destructive effects of segregation and poverty on disadvantaged, impoverished children? What might convince the Denver Post to report all the truth about Mr. Easley, his conflict of interest and how it’s influenced his voting record and behavior toward his constituents (missed meetings, unreturned phone calls, etc.)?

Although this commentary is less than the 780 words written by Ms. Caldwell, it will not likely be printed in the Denver Post because it exceeds the 150 word limit for letters to the editor and, most significantly, it “speaks truth to power” as do other letters to the editor that the Denver Post fails to print even those within the 150 word limit.

As the only major daily newspaper in the Denver metro area, the Denver Post could and should be a beacon of truth instead of propaganda on educational issues. Sadly, it is not.

A teacher’s open letter to Nate Easley

My cat just died, so I’m having a pretty lousy evening.  I’ve been  watching her die for the last three days.  I didn’t have enough money to  take her to the vet.

You know what else is bugging me, Nate?

  • We got a new student at my school this week – a thirteen-year-old girl  from Honduras who just spent four months  alone in a detention center in Texas.  I’ll be “to blame” for her CSAP scores in two weeks.
  • We got a new student at my school this week – an 8th grade boy who  lives next to Bryant-Webster and attended there since 3rd grade.  He just returned from living with his mom in New Mexico for the past 6 months, and you know what?  He was DENIED attending Bryant-Webster.  Isn’t that a PUBLIC school, Nate?  You know, like a PUBLIC library?  Like a Post Office?  Where EVERYONE can go?
  • My daughter woke up with a fever on Monday morning.  I brought her to work with me, because I knew it was unlikely to get a sub at 7:15 a.m. on a Monday.  That’s how dedicated I am.

You’re being recalled not because of being Nate, but because of all that you stand for.  You and your rich folks’ clubs who pop in to “help” education could have been doing something all along to help education. Pay TAXES.  Are you willing to stand up for taxes so that schools don’t have to scrimp and save to help children who are desperate for a safe
place and a good education?  Probably not.  And that’s why you’ll be recalled, if I have to walk around and get the last  signatures myself.

Because I have to be in the union in order to create a more just system…and to beg for a salary that might allow me to have enough money to bring my dying animal to the vet.

Sincerely,

A Teacher Who Canvassed to Get You Elected

Easley Recall Effort Nets Signature Surge

by Roger K, Clendening (reprinted with permission)

The campaign to recall Denver Public Schools (DPS) board president Dr. Nate Easley made significant headway in just a few days after petitions were approved last week, recall committee members told DWN Wednesday.  As the petition drive heated up, State Senator Mike Johnson, D-Denver, came under scrutiny and was pointedly questioned for his allegiance to Easley after he expressed disappointment about the Easley recall effort in his Senate District 33 newsletter.  Recall campaign committee members this week reported that they’ve collected “nearly 1,000” of the 5,363 valid signatures they need to put the recall measure on the ballot, all within “two or three days” of hard work after getting approval last Wednesday from the city’s elections division.

Nate Easley

“We started, earnestly, last Saturday and by this past Monday, we had nearly 1,000 signatures on the petitions,” John McBride, a spokesman for the recall coalition and president of the Northeast Community Congress for Education (NCCE), told DWN in an interview Wednesday afternoon.  In addition to NCCE, the recall coalition includes the Black Education Advisory Council (BEAC), and Democrats for Excellent Neighborhood School Education (DeFENSE).  The groups, their members, and citizen-taxpayers from across the city are working collaboratively to collect the 5,363 valid signatures they need by the last week in April. If and when Denver elections officials determine enough valid signatures have been submitted, they will arrange to put the recall measure on the ballot, comprised of a yes or no on recalling Nate Easley, and on who shall replace him if the recall succeeds. As the recall effort was making headway, Sen. Johnston, who represents parts of Northeast and Far Northeast Denver, said he is backing Easley and hopes his constituents do the same. In taking that position, Johnston, considered by some an education “expert,” was sticking to his years-long agenda that includes “education reform” as espoused by corporate and foundation backers who financially support charters and privatization of public schools.  Johnson, in fact, was among those who called for closing and reconstituting Montbello High School a year before DPS followed Easley’s lead as board president last November, uniting with Theresa Pena, Bruce Hoyt and Mary Seawell – the four of whom comprise a majority seen as consistently favoring education reform via charter schools and privatization – in approving the largest “turnaround” of public schools in Denver’s history, all of them in Easley’s, and Johnston’s, district.

Over three years, DPS will spend $12.6-million (with some of the money expected to come from the Walton Family Foundation, a major financier of charter schools) to close some schools, replace some with charters, and “phase out” and “turnaround” others as part of its proposal to “strengthen schools” and “expand options” in Montbello and Green Valley Ranch.

In Johnston’s newsletter dated January 2011 Vol. 1, Issue 2, in a section entitled “Moving Forward in the Far Northeast,” he told constituents: “Over the past year, dedicated community leaders in the far northeast took part in a long and collaborative conversation about the future of schools in Montbello and ultimately supported the decision that we needed dramatic change to give all kids a better chance at success. “No one knew this better than Nate Easley,” he wrote, adding that Easley, a Montbello High School alum who was a “teenage father who earned a PhD and rose to become” DPS board president.  Dr. Easley, Johnston wrote, is a “courageous and accessible leader who took seriously his responsibility to do what was best for kids.”

“That is why I was disappointed to hear this week that there is an effort to recall Nate,” Johnston continued, adding that “I will be standing strong to support Nate and hope that you do the same.” He then asserted that “there is too much work to be done on behalf of Denver’s kids to waste time trying to go backwards.”

But Johnston’s support of Easley angered many, according to interviews. In particular, though, it “saddened” Earleen Brown, an education and political activist who, as the former president of the Green Valley Ranch (GVR) Metropolitan District, is deemed a blossoming political powerhouse by many.

“I am saddened and disappointed to read that you are publicly supporting Nate Easley,” wrote Brown in an email she shared with DWN. By doing so, she wrote, “you are obviously and publicly supporting the conflicts of interest that exist as a result of (1) Nate Easley’s position as President of the Denver Public Schools Board of Directors and (2) Nate Easley’s position as Deputy Director of the Denver Scholarship Foundation – at the same time.” “Surely,” she went on, “you have not forgotten (from our meetings and electronic communications) the intense ethical, legal, and financial battles that residents of Green Valley Ranch endured because of similar conflicts of interest that existed when one T.J. Stone served as (1) board member and President of the GVR Metropolitan District Board of Directors as well as (2) board member and President of the Homeowners Association of Green Valley Ranch – at the same time.”

Pictured discussing the merits of the alternate proposals to DPS plans for turning around scools in Far Northeast Denver in October 2010, are GVR resident Earleen Brown (center) and retired educators Dr. Glenn Hanley and Mary T. Sam. In an email to Sen. Johnston, Brown wrote, “I am saddened and disappointed to read that you are publicly supporting Nate Easley.”

“I was President of the GVR Metropolitan District during the time when the community was devastated by the conflicts of interest imposed upon it by one T.J. Stone,” wrote Brown in providing Johnston with an example that should bring home the point of Easley’s conflict. “I and other community leaders met with you, Michael Hancock (City Council member for the northeast and now a mayoral candidate supportive of the DPS “transformation” in his district) and Angela Williams (now a State Representative covering the district) during those many months of community turmoil. “

“Angela has taken action,” Brown wrote. She has introduced a Bill which “prohibits individuals from serving concurrently on the board of directors for a metropolitan district and HOA within that district. The bill also requires HOA members to abstain from voting on issues where they or their family would benefit financially.”(Emphasis in Brown’s email)

Brown went on to remind Johnston that her property tax statement, the 2010 real estate tax due in 2011, reads: “60% of these taxes are determined by and collected for the Denver Public Schools.”  “I am opposed to the current DPS turnaround/closure plans,” she pointed out to Johnston. “I support public, neighborhood schools, and the right of every child to have an opportunity to receive a high quality education.”

She went on to challenge Johnston, wondering whether, in deciding and determining his support of Easley, if he can support Easley’s purported conflict of interest; violation of state open meetings law; violation of open records law; and Easley not being responsive and representative of constituents in his district.

Johnston had not responded to an email or a telephone message by DWN’s deadline.

Ms. Brown questions Sen. Johnston’s support of Easley’s conflict of interest

Ms. Earleen Brown is a well-respected member of the community.  We have reprinted her letter to state Senator Michael Johnston here with her permission.

January 31, 2011

Michael,

I am saddened and disappointed to read that you are publicly supporting Nate Easley; by doing so, you are obviously and publicly supporting the conflicts of interest that exists as a result of (1) Nate Easley’s position as President of the Denver Public Schools Board of Directors and (2) Nate Easley’s position as Deputy Director of the Denver Scholarship Foundation – at the same time.

Surely you have not forgotten (from our meetings and electronic communications) the intense ethical, legal, and financial battles that residents of Green Valley Ranch endured because of similar conflicts of interest that existed when one T.J. Stone served as (1) board member and President of the GVR Metropolitan District Board of Directors as well as (2) board member and President of the Homeowners Association of Green Valley Ranch – at the same time.

I was President of the GVR Metropolitan District during the time when the community was devastated by the conflicts of interest imposed upon it by one T.J. Stone. I and other community leaders met with you, Michael Hancock, and Angela Williams during those many months of community turmoil. Angela has taken action – she has introduced a Bill which “prohibits individuals from serving concurrently on the board of directors for a metropolitan district and HOA within that district. The bill also requires HOA members to abstain from voting on issues where they or their family would benefit financially”.

A notation on my property tax statement (2010 real estate tax due in 2011) reads: “60% OF THESE TAXES ARE DETERMINED BY AND COLLECTED FOR THE DENVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS.”

I am apposed to the current DPS turnaround/closure plans. I support public, neighborhood schools. I support the right of every child to have an opportunity to receive a high quality education.

In determining your support of the DPS turnaround/closure plans, I hope you examined the full impact that the plan would have on our public neighborhood schools and community here in Far Northeast.

In determining your support of the DPS turnaround/closure plans, certainly you examined, discovered, can explain and provide details:

(1) How approximately 1600 seats currently at Montbello High School can be reduced to approximately 300 seats in 2012 without the loss of approximately 1300 seats. Where will those 1300 seats go?

(2) How and where all seats affected by the DPS plan will be filled within the DPS boundaries, without loss of students, and without “busing” students outside their neighborhoods.

(3) Current # of DPS student enrollments per school and per grade.

(4) Current # of students living within DPS boundaries, but attending schools outside of DPS boundaries.

(5) List/contrast per school and per grade, the current student enrollment and any changes (per school, per grade, positive and negative) that will take place as as a result of the DPS plan.

(6) List/contrast the dollar value of current student enrollment/seats in each DPS school and per grade, versus any financial changes/influences (positive or negative) that will be realized by imposing the DPS turnaround/closure plans.

(7) If and how my taxes will be impacted by the evidential loss of public education seats/students in the Far Northeast.

In determining your support of Nate Easley, certainly you can explain why you support:
(1) Easley’s conflict of interest,
(2) Easley’s violation of state open meetings law,
(3) Easley’s violation of open records law
(4) Easley not being responsive and representative of constituents in his district.

Thank you.

Earleen Brown

_____________________

A little background context:

For more than 30 years, the schools in the greater Montbello area have languished in neglect by the DPS central administration, woefully under-resourced and shoved to the side. At Montbello High School alone, they have had 8 principals in the last 10 years. Now, after the neglect that has caused weak academic performance, the district finally responds by pushing through a complete hostile takeover of the area’s schools. The DPS administration’s solution for neglect has been to close schools, phase out and displace school populations and completely ignore the wishes of the community.

The changes now ratified by the DPS school board for the greater Montbello area are:

  • Ford Elementary: Replace with Denver Center for International Studies ECE-5 program
  • Green Valley Elementary: Hire new principal and staff
  • McGlone Elementary: Hire new staff under newly hired principal
  • Oakland Elementary: Replace with SOAR charter elementary school
  • Rachel B. Noel Middle: Phase out the current program for seventh- and eighth-graders while starting a new 6-12 arts program with 100 students per grade that will grow one grade a year. Also, co-locate a KIPP middle school within the building.
  • Montbello High School: Phase out the current program while starting a 9-12 collegiate prep academy for 150 to 200 students per grade that will grow one grade per year. Also, co-locate a new Denver Center for International Studies 6-12 school within the building. Also open a high-tech early college.

Keep in mind that these changes are being foisted upon the community after a sham community process.  They will result in many of the area’s children having to apply to attend school in buildings they could freely attend unencumbered before.  If they are not accepted, they will have to go somewhere else to school, perhaps even across town.

Also keep in mind that a significant number of these children are English-language learners, and according to the court order that DPS must satisfy, there must be language support services for each of these students.  However, none of the new proposed programs actually provides these services as mandated, and the charter schools are not required to provide them.

Keep coming back here to learn more about the situation, and how Nate Easley’s conflict of interest causes him to vote against the needs of his community 100% of the time.

It’s time to take back our schools.

Dear Nate: do you know about the problems at Rachel B. Noel?

No, probably not.  But here is an inside report for your information.  It came in from one of our parent organizers.

I feel that people gathering recall signatures need to know that:

  • Nate Easley or any other board members did not visit Rachel B. Noel last fall, even when our Open House was posted on the DPS website, and when it was well known that we had just begun implementing a federal turnaround grant.  Wouldn’t the president of the school board want to know what’s going on at a school before he or she voted for sweeping changes?
  • DPS’s solution for co-locating three schools in this building is to divide the RBN library, a focal point of the building, into classrooms!  Has Nate Easely or any of the board members he leads seen the plans?  Do they agree with the plan to completely phase out the library? And, this re-location solution won’t even work past year 3–the building is not big enough.
  • Easley was on the FNE committee–did it not raise a red flag for him when A+ sent out an e-mail survey to committee members and community members at 5:00 on a Friday evening of a 4 day DPS weekend?  The survey was due back Monday at noon, 1.5 days before the staff and many of the parents would be accessible.  If he really represented the community, wouldn’t he want real, meaningful community engagement?
  • Many of the comments written by Noel staff, parents and community partners at the FNE meetings never made their way to the committee members or DPS staff now in charge of implementing the new plan.  Did Nate Easley ask after each FNE meeting to see the comments being made by his constituents?
  • New principals have been or are being selected at several FNE schools, through a process which is apparently not transparent and does not align with the district’s standard principal selection process.  Several FNE principals voiced their concern about the way in which decisions are being made at a recent principal’s meeting, the minutes of which were recorded by……..Oakwood Homes
  • The school board is responsible for hiring the superintendent and making sure he or she implements board policy and district strategies effectively.  Who is in charge?  Is Boasberg calling the shots while the board rubber stamps every idea?
  • Nearly 2/3 of the staff will be reduced in the next two weeks.  Even though they said Noel would “continue the transformation”, our student projections will force such major staff reductions that our transformation/phase out plan will change significantly.
  • In addition to the conflict of interest being cited by the recall committee, I think the community needs to know how little the board was involved in this process, even though Easley was “on the committee”.  I know most of this is not new to you, but the more I think about what a mess this is, I feel the community needs to understand that they are not being well represented.

What’s your response, Nate Easley?

Where’s Nate Easley now?

Look who’s showing up to important-looking mayoral candidate forums during working hours way across town from his own district…

An emailed invitation from KIPP schools. Click to enlarge.

Isn’t he supposed to be at work at 8:30 a.m. on a Friday? Is the Denver Scholarship Program giving him time off for board business?

If he’s got time for these important appearances as a “special guest,” why doesn’t he have time to return calls or show up to meetings in his own community?

And to make matters worse, they’ve even got the logo of the new charter school that’s replacing Rachel B. Noel Middle School, which he voted for.  But community doesn’t realize that their kids can’t automatically go to that school now.  If they’re not accepted, they have to try to find some other middle school for their kids…maybe even across town.

It’s too late, Nate.

Protesting corporate takeover of public education is nationwide

You see, taking back our schools is not just something we do in Denver.  It’s happening all over the country.  Watch this video.  Internalize what the protesters are pointing out about NYC schools.

Doesn’t it sound familiar?

The time to take back our schools for our kids has arrived.  The petition to recall northeast Denver school board member, Nate Easley, has been approved, and this weekend we’ll be talking to voters for the first time.  It’s an entirely grassroots effort.  There is no money to pay campaign workers.  We have nothing to defend our children’s futures except our hands and our hearts.  Will you take back our schools with us?
It makes no difference what part of Denver you live in.  EVERY DPS STUDENT is being affected by the top-down, community-crushing decisions being made at central administration.  Every community is facing the prospect of weak academic programs, dictatorial principals, tone-deaf school board representation and misguided experimentation on our children and their futures.  And worst of all, NONE OF THEIR “REFORMS” ARE WORKING. Will you take back our schools with us?
With the election of Nate Easley in November 2009, neighborhood schools won.  Even though he’s turned his back on the community that raised him, we can win again by holding Easley accountable for his eggregious conflict of interest that only props up a bloated central administration that soaks up 50% of every education dollar and further weakens our children’s chances for success.  A community-driven reform of our schools is possible.  It’s happening in our district right now.  Will you take back our schools with us?
Click on the green button to the right to help us hold Nate Easley accountable.

Yellow Journalism at the Denver Post

by Ed Augden (retired DPS teacher and community activist)

If there is truly to be a civil, honest discussion of educational reform and related issues such as the proposed recall of  Nate Easley, Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education president, then the Denver Post must be civil and honest  in its news coverage and its editorial commentary. The Denver Post’s editorial on Sunday, Jan. 23, was not civil or fully honest. The editorial writer ridiculed the petition complainants and made the fallacious claim that the recall effort is primarily focused on Easley’s votes as a board member for certain “reform” actions in northeast Denver (his district) and northwest Denver.  Certainly, the writer must have read the petition’s language. It states clearly that the primary reason for the recall effort is Easley’s apparent conflicts of interest.

Mr. Easley is the deputy director of the Denver Scholarship Foundation. In his role as board  president, he directly oversees the foundation. As an employee of the foundation, he reports to the executive director of the foundation. Both Tom Boasberg, DPS superintendent, and Theresa Pena are board members of the scholarship foundation. Thus, the roles overlap and Easley is in the position of being Boasberg’s employer and employee. In such conflicting roles, Easley should recuse himself from voting on Boasberg’s evaluation or salary. He has failed to do so and has, consequently, violated DPS board policy and state law, according to the petition complainants.

The editorial writer completely omitted the principal reason for the recall effort. Certainly, Easley’s votes have directly contradicted his campaign promises and those are legitimate concerns.  However, as the petition clearly states, Easley’s apparent conflicts of interest are the reasons stated, not his voting record.

This pattern of deceit by both the Denver Post and DPS administrators and the board’s majority members is familiar to residents of northeast and northwest Denver. The proposed plan for northeast  Denver is familiar to students, parents, teachers and interested community members. In 2006, DPS, supported by the Post, implemented the “redesign” of North High School. The principal, in the process of implementing an improvement plan, was reassigned, the faculty required to reapply for their positions (most declined to do so) and a new principal transferred from a nearby elementary school. During the two years of “redesign”, many students were traumatized when they returned for the fall semester to new teachers and counselors and a new principal. During the new principal’s tenure, test scores declined (Isn’t testing a primary “reform”?), the dropout rate increased and the school population declined. North High has failed to recover. Yet, nothing of this failure ever appeared in Denver Post news stories or was commented upon by its editorial writers. And, of course, DPS simply ignored the results, quietly reassigned the new principal to her former position and has yet to acknowledge the plan’s utter failure. Boasberg’s only public comment about these actions is that lessons, although not identified or qualified, have been learned. Have Post reporters or editorial writers ever questioned Boasberg, his subordinates or board members about these schemes?

As a former journalism teacher in Denver Public Schools, I know that newspapers should adhere to a journalistic code of ethics. The Denver Post has failed that code in its reporting and commentary of educational issues in DPS. The Easley editorial is just the latest instance in which the newspaper failed to be a beacon for the pursuit of truth, fairness and impartiality, reporting and commenting upon educational issues. As mentioned, nothing of the North High fiasco ever received coverage in the Denver Post. The same pattern is being repeated in northeast Denver. The Post has yet to raise any questions or concerns about the upcoming “turnaround” of Montbello High School and other schools in northeast
Denver.

As the only remaining major daily newspaper in the Denver metro area, doesn’t the Denver Post have the responsibility to be truthful, fair and impartial in reporting the news and shouldn’t the same standard be applied to commentary?

Denver rebuts the Denver Post

The tide has definitely turned against corporate-reform darling, Nate Easley.  But don’t take our word for it.  Read just a few of the letters to the editor and other pieces written in response to the cloying propaganda printed by the Denver Post to try to save him.

These are the letters that the Denver Post are too afraid to publish.  Read on…

Dear Editor,

I am one of the 190 who were rubber stamped for non-renewal last May. Dr. Easley, School Board President, not only rubber stamped all principals’ decisions despite the public showing at the May meeting but condemned the two board members that stood up for the nationally certified and highly qualified experienced personnel that were up for non-renewal.

Even more concerning is his current conduct regarding Montbello. It is easy for DCIS and other magnet schools to look perfect because they only take the students that fit best into their program and conveniently as well as legally get rid of any student that does not make them look great. To be fair Denver Post should report the number of students originally accepted into magnet schools that do not graduate from that school. But then, with my ties to DC politics, I don’t expect any news agency to present a balanced point of view.

DPS is completely within it’s legal rights to ignore parents wishes, non-renew highly qualified/nationally certified experienced personnel, and will continue on its current path with the support of Dr. Easley, Mr. Boasberg and the rest of Grant Street or Fox Street.

I personally have moved on to better districts and better jobs, but I had the flexibility as a single person without children with a paid for home and car, to live off of unemployment until January 2011.

–Ms. B.

This is a classic game disinformation and propaganda by the Post and the “reformers.” Every time someone is against their interests, they take out the bogeyman, the union.  It’s such a lie.  The right and the middle see unions as bad, so it’s a great way to distract from the argument of Nate being a patsy for the status quo.

It’s not a union vs. Nate/”reformers” battle, but a battle against 5 years of incompetence vs. real improvement.  The reformers and Nate want the status quo, which is effectively bankrupting our future.  Our side wants revolutionary change, something reformers haven’t been able to give us after 5 years of empty promises.  As for the union, they are as weak as most every union in this country and they are not the motivating force behind the recall.  It’s people who are fed up waiting for these dramatic changes that Bennet/Boasberg have promised who are behind the recall.

–Mr. W.

To the Denver Post:

The editorial deriding the recall of Denver School Board president Nate Easley reads like an effort to disenfranchise parents from neighborhood schools. It is parents who want neighborhood schools strengthened rather than closed and replaced. It is parents who don’t accept the only option for school reform is a privatized charter. It is parents–not unions and teachers–who show up at DPS’s “input” meetings, only to realize DPS secretly plans school closures far in advance with a charter already chosen, and  such meetings are complete hooey. It is parents who experience the district’s failure to support what works (a successful math program) or remove what doesn’t (inept principals) and then watch in horror as DPS and its board deems the school a failure and replaces it with an unproven charter.

The district has stonewalled parents for so long that the Post shouldn’t underestimate the number of angry people. Easley’s transgression is not his beliefs about reform, but his failure to acknowledge what his constituents want for their children’s schools. His recall is about Denver parents regaining a voice in their schools.

–Ms. A.

Dear Editorial Staff of the Denver Post,

Please find below my letter in regard to yesterday’s editorial, “School board member’s recall would be setback.”

U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has the Denver Post’s Editorial Board as speed dial number two, right behind that of DPS Superintendent, Tom Boasberg.  It seems that those who live and send their kids to schools in suburban America believe that they know more about fixing urban public schools than the parents whose children attend those neighborhood schools.  Hundreds of us parents have volunteered countless hours in Denver’s neighborhood schools solely to benefit the kids.  We know how to fix Denver’s schools.  When will our superintendent come to us for help and advice?  When will our school board members stand up to our superintendent and demand that he fix our neighborhood schools rather than pronounce them failures and replace them with privately-run institutions?  Does the Rocky Mountain News have to come back to life to force the Denver Post to return to good journalism?  That is no joke.

Regards,

–Mrs. T.
DPS Parent & Graduate

And one of our favorite allies, Sabrina Stevens Shupe, just penned a wonderfully eloquent indictment of Easley.  As she says,”…good leaders make sure to stay connected to those they serve, to make a case for why change is necessary, and to do their best to ensure that the final decision reflects the whole community’s interests, not just those of its most powerful members, or those with whom they already agree.”  We certainly agree with that sentiment.

Read Sabrina’s smackdown of Nate Easley here.  As one of our core organizers likes to say, “no, no Nate!”