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Independence Institute “Indoctrinates” CO School Board Candidates with Helpful Policy Information

It’s hard to believe it’s Friday again. I’ve been scurrying around the Independence Institute office helping my policy friends get ready for their first of five 2015 Colorado School Board Candidate Briefings. This one was held in Loveland, Colorado, last night. Attendees received a presentation on Colorado education policy, and had a chance to ask questions of the policy folks. It was a great time!

But as my friend Ross Izard points out in a recent Greeley Tribune op-ed, Loveland is now ground zero for one of the most important education fights in the state. That means anti-reform forces north of the big city are busy shouting at the top of their lungs about the evils of education reform. Nowhere is that panicked shrieking more evident than on the Thompson School District Reform Watch Facebook page, which is absolutely stuffed with some of the most creative conspiracy theories I’ve ever seen.

Somewhat ironically given the page’s frequent complaints about a lack of transparency, the operators have chosen to remain anonymous. Hey, that’s their right. But because I like to talk the talk and walk the walk, feel free to check out the About Eddie page here on Ed is Watching if you’d like to learn more about me and the grown-ups who help me write these posts.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Among the Reform Watch page’s most recent posts are a number of pokes at the Loveland school board candidate briefing last night. Below are a few of my favorite snippets from posts over the last couple of days (screen captured just in case they get deleted):

The Independence Institute Saga continues…with holding regular seminars and training sessions, sometimes to unsuspecting and gullible citizens and candidates. As with their sister group, the Leadership Program of the Rockies, they are Americans for Prosperity, Friedman, KOCH and ALEC all rolled into one.

Last night the II was in Loveland with their Reform School Board Candidate Training Program. We are trying to get information on who all was in attendance at the Chop House for this event. The rumor mill has named some very interesting people who are not from the TSD communities. (See our Eye Opener post on Sep. 9th for the details of what these sessions are all about). We also know that the TSD candidates were invited.

When you take a look at the II website, remember that you are reading from the Americans for Prosperity Manual. At first, it may look good, but as they say “The Devil is in the Details”. Beware!!

That last one is particularly great, as it seems to translate roughly to “This stuff seems to make a lot of sense, but we just know it’s bad for reasons we have not yet identified.”

The posts about the candidate briefings could have been strengthened if they had also mentioned that II staff arrived at the Chop House last night in a black helicopter emblazoned with the Koch Industries logo. Or that David Koch was the keynote speaker, his shadowy likeness projected into the room using secret holographic technology. Or that the attendees, many of whom came from districts outside of Thompson, were forced to submit to polygraph tests and blood oaths before they were allowed in.

I have no idea what Reform Watch is planning to do attendees once they “get information on who all was in attendance,” but I know that our newly trained operatives are ready to withstand any type of interrogation. But all hope is not lost. There is a way for anti-reform activists and their candidates to find out exactly what happens at an Independence Institute candidate briefing: Go to one.

You see, the scary picture painted by Reform Watch falls apart when one accounts for the fact that these briefings are open to all school board candidates in Colorado, regardless of their political views. In fact, there’s still room in some of the sessions, so any registered candidates that are interested still have time to sign up.

If the “other side” really wants to know what goes on at an Independence Institute candidates briefing, all they have to do is show up. Be warned, though, that candidates who leave our briefings will be prepared to go out into the world and… speak intelligently about Colorado education policy. Truly terrifying stuff.

I’m proud of the work my Independence Institute friends do to prepare school board candidates from all sides to discuss important education policy issues confidently and accurately. Education is big, scary, complicated stuff for those who haven’t been directly involved in it, and candidates often express their sincere gratitude for even a little guidance as they navigate the murky waters.

And hey, providing candidates with resources and information is an awful lot more helpful (though admittedly less entertaining) than trying to draw haphazard horns and fangs on reform-minded folks with anonymous Facebook posts.