I know I’ve said this before, but it makes me feel good when even the mainstream media sees through the antics of anti-reform efforts in Colorado. The Denver Post has been a model for sensible, truthful commentary in recent months. So much so, in fact, that I feel compelled to make a bulleted list of their recent columns on education issues to avoid a monster paragraph:
- An editorial about the Colorado Supreme Court’s dubious decision to kill Dougco’s local voucher program.
- An editorial slamming the abuse of recall elections by anti-reform activists and union supporters in Jeffco.
- A fantastic column about a serious union-driven legal threat to local control in Thompson
- A follow-up piece wondering aloud about the tortured legal logic underlying an unprecedented decision by a district court judge to force the Thompson school board to swallow a union contract it has repeatedly voted against in one form or another.
After all that, one would think they’d be all out of good stuff to say. One would be wrong. The Denver Post Editorial Board has really outdone itself with its latest column about why the Jeffco recall effort ought to be rejected.
From that piece:
The statement on Jefferson County’s sample ballot urging the recall of three school board members elected two years ago starts off badly, with a falsehood. It says the board “wasted millions of dollars, including hiring a novice superintendent for $280,000 — $80,000 more a year” than the previous superintendent. Except that the base salary of Superintendent Dan McMinimee is actually $220,000, less than a number of superintendents in the area.
The alleged indictment doesn’t get better, either. It also says — to cite one of several other examples — that the board’s “actions have pushed over 700 educators this past year to leave Jeffco schools,” even though the teacher turnover rate at a number of metro districts — including Denver, Aurora and Douglas County — is higher than Jeffco’s, according to state data. Is everyone who leaves a district when the economy is growing and teachers enjoy a better hiring market being “pushed” out?
Yowzer. I’m sure you remember that it was Complete Colorado’s Sherrie Peif who originally exposed the falsehood about Superintendent McMinimee’s salary (and a whole bunch of other lies) in her Know Before You Go series on the Jeffco recall. She’s also poked holes in the teacher turnover figure thrown around by recall proponents. I’ve written more broadly on the turnover issue before, and I’m glad to see the Denver Post acknowledge the economic factors that are more likely driving slightly higher turnover this year than reform efforts.
But as happy as I am to see the Editorial Board shred the lies on the recall petitions (and now the ballots), I’m more happy to see them acknowledge that recall proponents’ “ongoing beef with the board often was over policies that actually made sense and most parents might well support.” You know, like rewarding great teachers and funding charter students fairly. And a whole bunch of other stuff.
Most of all, I’m simply thrilled to see a mainstream outlet—and despite claims that the Denver Post has been bought by the Koch brothers, they couldn’t get much more mainstream—recognize the recall for the misleading affront to democracy that it is, and to reach the right conclusion on what that should mean when it comes times for folks in Jeffco to make a decision.
So, nice work, Denver Post! You guys keep being reasonable and maybe we can even be friends.