Despite Satisfactory Resolution, Jeffco Curriculum Controversy Limps On

If there’s one thing being a perpetual five year old has taught me, it’s that you have to know when to let something go. Continually bringing up the same thing may get you some attention, but in the long run it’s likely to do more harm than good. That’s especially true when you’ve already gotten what you want. Like my dad always says, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That is, of course, assuming that there are actually any flies left to catch.

The Jeffco curriculum controversy finally drew to a reasonable close at last Thursday’s board meeting, yet a handful of Jefferson County students—or more accurately, Jefferson County families—don’t seem ready to give up the misguided fight over curriculum review in the district. Sherrie Peif, an education reporter for Complete Colorado, reports that some students went out of their way to disrupt last Thursday’s board meeting—apparently with the full blessing of many adults:

Students randomly stood and read excerpts from history books, and at one point blew a whistle and then recited the Pledge of Allegiance, all while other members of the public were attempting to speak … After blowing the whistle, the students were all sent into the hallway, where they, again, began yelling and chanting loud enough to be heard inside the boardroom. They were eventually made to leave the building.

It’s hard to argue that the kind of behavior Peif describes is appropriate. It’s equally hard to argue it constitutes an effective approach. But what really confuses me is why we’re still talking about this issue at all.

The school board gave angry students and parents what they wanted by keeping both existing review committees intact with some changes. Although some decried these changes as a power grab, the fact is that they are in full keeping with both the Colorado Constitution and the requirements of Jefferson County board policy.

More importantly, last Thursday’s finalization of the committees’ structure created a much more representative review process that students themselves will be directly involved in. The students will be joined by board-appointed community members (one per board member on each committee), teachers, content specialists, and administrators.

And best of all, there currently aren’t even plans to review APUSH specifically. The committees exist on an ad hoc basis, and their agendas have yet to be determined.

So yes, I think it’s fair to be a little confused. The overwhelming majority of Jeffco students have already moved on from the controversy, the curriculum issue appears to have been settled in a way that only the pickiest activists could call unsatisfactory, and the recent election results have likely put a damper on the political momentum the anti-majority folks would need for a recall effort. That last piece is particularly obvious when one looks at the results from Jefferson County specifically, where attempts to sway voters with the school district’s controversies appear to have fallen flat.

The truth is, it’s not even clear what the students are attempting to accomplish at this point. With that in mind, I think it’s time to move on. Jeffco has more important education issues to discuss.