One of the harder lessons I’m learning in my youth is that quite often tall tales can spread life a wildfire before the truth has a chance to catch up and extinguish it. Thanks to lots of help from Complete Colorado, I’ve already pointed out the fact-challenged / math-challenged nature of the Jeffco school board recall. That’s the “wildfire.”
And some of the big people who really follow closely the K-12 educational goings-on just west of Denver — namely, Jeffco Students First — have posted a concise one-page fact sheet that effectively extinguishes some of the more egregious misinformation floating out there against reform-minded school board members.
The icing on this cake of tasty, truth-restoring goodness is a brand new 90-second video of a Jeffco mom thanking the school board for listening to families like hers that have kids who need different options to learn and thrive. Time to cue up Jennifer Butts:
Yes, you heard that correctly. She actually said “Thank you” to the three school board members under attack.
There should be no excuse for one-sided, error-ridden Denver Post stories, or obnoxious, twisted propaganda posing as an editorial from the Aurora Sentinel. But sadly they happen, perpetrated by people either who have no qualms about dishonesty or who have failed to develop critical thinking skills. Both are bad lessons for today’s students.
Some people become so attached to a cause, that as the misinformation it’s based upon gets unraveled by logical arguments one piece at a time, they find some other refuge to fall back upon. Like, one has to wonder if they will start claiming the College Board itself has now attempted to “censor” AP U.S. History. Because even though that particular issue has been satisfactorily resolved, recall backers like to keep dredging up their liberally fictional accounts.
Team Jeffco Recall has recycled the talking points national union operatives came to town last year to test, showing much more interest in what convinces people to support their cause than what is actually true. Not too many months ago the local union leader was saying “the fight is on,” and “beat these bas_____ back.” Now the recall campaign uses everyone but its official union spokesperson to swear up and down that the union has nothing to do with the recall.
Even if it were true that the union had no interest in or knowledge of the petition-gathering campaign, it would not absolve recallers of the responsibility to be truthful.
But then it gets much, much worse. A couple days ago it came to light that Team Jeffco Recall added a new and gruesome member — one that is so sick and hard for me to understand that when I repeated the name in a question, my Mom just shed a tear and told me to go back to my Legos and video games.
One has to wonder: If the Mean Girlz and friends are willing to go to such great dishonest lengths to attack elected officials they don’t like, what would they do to the positive changes these officials have adopted if they took back power? Changes like increased transparency, performance-based raises for teachers, and fair funding for students.
The recallers’ working theory seems to be to make as much angry noise as possible to cover over the deception at the core of their argument. It may be a poor philosophy of education, but scaring people with an imaginative disaster story can be an effective approach to motivate people to action, at least in the short term. Hey, if I took what was on those petitions at face value (and I were old enough to be a registered voter), I might have signed them, too.
But if a well-researched fact sheet and some critical thinking isn’t enough to pierce through the angry noise, maybe the voice of a real Jeffco mom will grab your attention. It grabbed mine.