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!”

The Denver Post props up Nate Easley

(originally sent via email – sign up for our newsletter to the right)

The Denver Post thinks we’re a joke.  They say that we’re just a “handful of people” that want to hold Easley accountable.  Well, as you know from our reports about the unrest and push-back in response to the hostile takeover of the greater Montbello schools, it’s not just a handful.  It’s an entire community, and Easley is feeling it.  He even now claims he attended a meeting with parents recently!

Well, it’s about time, Nate.  But it’s too little, too late.

Here’s how to push back even more

We need your  help in responding to the mythology that the Denver Post is hawking.  Choose one or all of the following actions:

  • Please go to the online version of the article (you can find it here) and post a comment in rebuttal.
  • Please send a letter to the editor (the instructions are at the bottom of this email).
  • Write an article on your favorite education, community-centered or political blog.
  • Share this email with friends using this link: Forward to a Friend.

We’re providing the talking points you can use in your piece, below.

How to send a letter to the Denver Post editors

E-mail: openforum@denverpost.com (straight text only; no attachments)

Mail: The Open Forum, The Denver Post, 101 W. Colfax Ave., Suite 600, Denver, CO 80202

Fax: 303-954-1502

Guidelines: The Post welcomes letters up to 150 words on topics of general interest. Letters must include full name, home address, day and evening phone numbers, and may be edited for length, grammar and accuracy.

To reach the Denver Post editorial page by phone: 303-954-1331

And don’t forget to copy us on your submission!

Talking points from the “Take back our schools” campaign

The Take Back Our Schools Campaign for DeFENSE (Democrats for Excellent Neighborhood School Education) is a coalition of parents, educators & students leading a grassroots effort in Northeast Denver and Montbello to recall DPS Board of Education president Nate Easley for:

  • Being a rubber stamp for the school district, voting nearly 100% the time with corporate backed members of the school board for policies that are not reflective of his constituents’ interests
  • Saying he would promote neighborhood schools during his campaign, then when elected voting to increase the number of corporate charter schools
  • Saying he would work with teachers collaboratively during his campaign, then when elected conspiring with school officials to fire groups of teachers without a fair process
  • Not being responsive to the concerns of the Montbello parents and students when he voted to shut down neighborhood schools without a comprehensive transition plan for students
  • Being a “no show” at numerous Northeast Denver community meetings hosted by the school district or concerned community groups
  • He did not show up at 3 community meetings held between Oct 2010-Jan 2011 sponsored by the school district to discuss the future vision of schools in Northeast Denver
  • He did not show up last year to any of the community meeting at Manual High School during the principal search process
  • He did not show up last year to confirmed community-led meetings with the Black Education Advisory Council, the Northeast Community Congress for Education or with concerned Montbello parents
  • Holding secret meetings that should have been open to the public in violation of the state’s open meetings law requiring transparency when school district policy is being made;
  • He misused the law in an attempt to censure (publicly reprimand) 3 progressive school board members who were invited by a lawyers group to attend an education information meeting
  • Engaging in a conflict of interest in his dual roles as DPS Board of Education president and as the Deputy Director of the Denver Scholarship Foundation where he is employed and subject to undue influence related to his votes by school officials who sit on his board (superintendent Tom Boasberg and board member Theresa Pena).
  • Using the resources of the his employer, the Denver Scholarship Foundation, to conduct school board business
  • Hired a staffer paid for by his employer to conduct DPS public relations business in the community
  • Used his employer’s administrative resources to manage his DPS administrative tasks

Thank you for everything you do to ensure an equitable education is available for EVERY child.

The DeFENSE Team

Nate Easley wants to silence student voices

Wait…what?  Did Nate Easley just try to keep Montbello-area students from speaking truth to power about the closure of their schools?  Watch the video and judge for yourself…

So…maybe if he DID actually listen to student voices as he claims at the beginning at the video, perhaps he’d hear them say, “We don’t want you to carve up Montbello High,” sort of how these fine young people are saying here…

Thanks to EdNews for making the student video available.

Get a grip, Nate Easley. You were elected by the parents of these students to put their interests before any climbing up the political ladder you might have in mind.

DWN: Montbello, NE neighborhoods put fight back in motion over “Disastrous” DPS school ‘Turnaround’ Plans

reprinted with permission from the Denver Weekly News

By Roger K. Clendening
Residents representing neighborhoods in Northeast and far Northeast Denver last night called on Denver Public Schools (DPS) to put the brakes on “disastrous turnaround” plans for Montbello High School and northeast feeder schools or face a rebellion from citizen-taxpayers that could include a boycott of DPS schools. Black, Hispanic and Anglo residents, from Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, and neighborhoods in northeast, southeast and southwest Denver, met for hours Wednesday night at the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club to craft strategy and tactics in the war to stave off what many of them maintain is more than an educational plan they see as “disastrous” for current and future
residents.

Using millions in taxpayer-financed but Obama administration “turnaround” dollars, DPS says it will shut down Montbello High School’s comprehensive configuration, replacing it with a 9-12 grade collegiate prep academy for 150 to 200 students per grade that will grow one grade per year; collocate a new Denver Center for International Studies 6-12 grade magnet school within the building; and add a “high tech” early college.

Shut Montbello down “disastrously,” just like what DPS did at Manual High School, one neighborhood leader remarked, adding that fellow taxpayers committed to progressive rather than “disruptive” DPS school changes need to remember the history of Black and Brown citizens around the country who often had to resort to boycotts as an effective way to get what they deemed was the most equitable public education services for their children and grandchildren.

Moreover, “This is not just about education,” insisted Ron Bush, a long-time DPS employee who also owns real estate in Montbello and Green Valley Ranch. “It’s about gentrification and capitalization,” he explained.

Pay attention to shifting and often declining values of homes in Montbello and Green Valley Ranch, and how folks will “still” be getting offers for thousands more than their homes are appraised, Bush warned. Already, he noted, there are examples of homes getting sales offers of $150,000 more than their appraised value.

Remember, he said, who owns Green Valley Ranch. “Oakwood Homes,” his neighbors chimed in.  Why do you suppose Oakwood Homes  “adopted” Montbello High School years ago, one neighbor was heard to ask rhetorically. In an interview with DWN after the meeting, a DPS  employee who requested anonymity out of fear of retribution by DPS, spoke, too, of the real estate issues related to DPS plans, and said she  would answer that question this way: “Because these disastrous DPS changes – part of larger plans to privatize public education by businesses who will recapitalize with our school tax dollars – will better enable DPS and business to cleanse those schools, and these neighborhoods, of Blacks and Browns steered years ago to Montbello and Green Valley Ranch from Five Points and Park Hill to help  gentrify those neighborhoods.”

Students, teachers, parents, and other residents committed to progressive, transformative changes in DPS schools, rather than the so-called “turnaround” plans for Montbello and its feeder schools, were urged to speak out at upcoming DPS meetings:

  • DPS’s “final report” to the community on these proposals is set for 6:00pm on Oct. 26 at Rachel B. Noel Middle School, 5290 Kittredge St. in Denver.
  • DPS Board, 900 Grant St. – November 8 – Special Public Comment on Turnaround Recommendations (Note: No time listed on the DPS website. Call 720-423-3210 to get the time of this “Public Comment on Turnaround Recommendations”) meeting
  • DPS Board – November 15 – Work Session 4:30 – 8:30pm
  • DPS – November 18 – Regular Meeting 5:00 – 6:30pm Public Hearing 6:30 – 7:30p (This is the meeting during which Board is scheduled to vote the Turnaround Recommendations for Montbello and others schools “Up” or “Down.” To get your name on the roster to speak at this meeting “for” or “against” the recommendations, you need to call the DPS office at 720-423-3210 no later than 5:00pm on Friday, November 12)

Download the article below.

Denver Weekly News: Montbello Turnaround

Stand for Children’s big money

An out-of-state special interest group fueled by oil company dollars is “organizing” parents in North Denver.  Stand for Children came to Denver to elect pro-charter school board candidates to the Denver School Board

(“Stand for Children’s first push in Colorado is the election for Denver’s school board — the governing body that is effectively Boasberg’s boss”— Denver Post, 9/29/2009)

Do we need pro-charter, oil money fueled organizations telling us how to vote in North Denver? Do we want out-of-state special interests targeting our elected officials?  We don’t need organizations spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to attack our representatives.

Stand’s ties to right-wing political operatives is clear….

While Stand claims to be a parent organization that supports education, in reality it is an “astroturf” (fake grassroots) organization that works to elect anti-education funding Republicans in Denver, pumping money and volunteers into an effort to defeat Democratic legislator Rep. Dan Kagan in House District Three

Stand's association to right-wing entities

Stand uses a shadowy “527” organization to bring out-of-state corporate money into Colorado, to fund their operations against school board members and other elected officials that fight for neighborhood schools.
Stand has raised over $120,000 since August alone, making it the biggest repository of big money in education “reform” in Colorado.
Huge donations come from Chicago (Bruce Rauner, $49,995) and New York (Jonathon Gray, $29,995).  Over 72% of Stand’s donors are from outside of Colorado, according to recent campaign finance filings.  Using a 527 allows Stand to white-wash giant corporate contributions before they are spent in local school board races.

Download this information as a flier below.

Stand’s Big Money Flyer