Get Past the High Drama and Give Reform a Chance to Succeed

Some days I wish that improving schools for all students and giving all families access to the best educational options were easier to accomplish. But change can be difficult, especially when self-interested groups have their power and prestige at stake.

Emotions are tense and high in Jefferson County, where a fact-challenged, union-backed recall election against three school board reformers has consumed a lot of attention. The good news is that it means many people care about the future and about the value of education.

The sad part, however, is that a group of people are persuaded that restoring control to the union and traditional bureaucratic powers will help quiet down the turmoil that the union and allies have manufactured from the very beginning.

Try to do things a little differently? You know, focus on raising student achievement, funding all public students fairly, and rewarding highly effective educators, and what do you get? Bullying of reform supporters — which apparently gets you promoted to PTA president.

But at least board members’ children aren’t subject to this harassment, right? Uh, guess again:

This was a real 5-year-old kid, not a perpetual, tongue-in-cheek one. Therefore, I think the right thing to do for all recall backers would be to #standup4kids and denounce the ugly actions highlighted in that video!

Now, let’s be clear. The bad behavior of some recall supporters is not reason alone to reject the misguided issue campaign. The Denver Post of all places offers plenty of those reasons.

For something so significant, everyone needs to be informed before weighing in. Cue up another video (2 in one post!):

I have to say I’m not at my most comfortable amid all the drama. And deep down I’d really like to see things calm down for the sake of kids in classrooms across Jeffco, and all over Colorado. No one has put an edublogging prodigy like me in charge of the world, but if they did, I’d love to make it possible to aim higher and expand opportunity without causing so much angst and turmoil.

It’s probably all for the better that I’m not in charge. (For one thing, you all wouldn’t want to be heavily taxed to subsidize my Lego and video game habit.) But it would be all for the BEST to keep giving local reform a chance to help more kids succeed.