At the Sept. 14 Jefferson County School Board forum, there was much agreement across all candidates with respect to their support of many issues including school choice, transparency, student achievement and student preparedness.The challengers voiced their explicit agreement with the incumbents often enough that one might wonder why they are even bothering to run.
That said, one glaring difference amongst the candidates became obvious.
The incumbents – Brad Rupert, Susan Harmon and Ron Mitchell, all spoke passionately about the unfairness of vouchers and privatization and how such policies would siphon off district funds to private schools and for-profit interests.These policies would provide financial benefit disproportionately to the more affluent students and families in our district and would further disadvantage the special needs and less privileged students and families who for many reasons do not and will not have access to private school education – with vouchers or without.
It is true that the challengers did not directly advocate for school vouchers and privatization.
However, when given the opportunity to stand up for our public schools they dodged the direct, simple question and chose instead to pledge support to Colorado’s state constitution – an inconsequential platitude, unresponsive to what was asked.
I can only assume that if either of these candidates were elected to the board they would expend prodigious energy, effort and political capital in pushing a voucher-driven, privatization agenda (relentlessly pursued by previously recalled BOE members) that would weaken our public schools and put our most vulnerable students at a disadvantage.
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