The conservative cause has seen a serious setback in Colorado school board elections. Douglas County, which formerly enjoyed a 7-0 conservative-controlled school board, has now shifted to only a 4-3 majority. A more severe defeat occurred in Jefferson County (Jeffco). The Jeffco school board had a conservative majority of 4-3 after an election in 2013, and launched an array of reforms, including streaming all board meetings, opening union negotiations to the public, and reviewing AP US History material. This spawned teacher sick-outs and student disruptions last year, and a recall election was launched against three board conservatives last summer. This effort was successful.
Curiously, though, this has been far from a typical event in local politics: this recall was led by the teachers union, not a movement of grassroots activists. In an interview with 9 News, political analyst Floyd Ciruli stated that this is a philosophical battle. “The union fundamentally started this fight in terms of wanting its majority back, which it had before 2013, so they started the recall.”
The Jefferson County Educators Association, JCEA, states the following on its website: “From the moment the polls closed in 2013, JCEA leaders and staff have been focused on the plan that delivered tonight’s win.”
The huge amount of money spent on ousting the conservatives in these elections is also hard to swallow. School board positions carry no salary or great status, but the money spent on it may have reached as high as $1 million. This isn’t money you’d expect to be spent on county-level, voluntary school board spots. This is the money you’d expect in a much bigger proxy war between the lovers of freedom and the advocates of control. The recall advocates filled the Web with shrieks about how the Koch brothers were behind the conservative candidates. They also garnered vast sums to oust the conservatives, some from suspicious sources.
Whether or not conservatism can win again in this county is anyone’s guess. What is more certain is that the battle for American education is ongoing, and the unions are winning.
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