By Craig Masters
Flashback…Nov 12, 2007…Colorado Commissioner of Education, Dwight Jones, today announced that six school districts are being removed from the state’s list of districts on “academic watch” due to significant growth in student achievement. If a district fails to improve and get off the academic watch status it could face decertification and official take-over by the state.
From the 2007 CDE press release: “The list of upgraded districts includes Greeley-Evans School District 6, the largest district ever placed on academic watch in the state. Greeley-Evans School District 6 serves 18,000 students; the other five districts with changes to their accreditation status serve less than 7,000 students combined.”
During a September 2007, visit to Greeley-Evans School District 6, State Department of Education Commissioner, Dwight Jones, praised the district’s reform effort and the district’s strategic “plan” as a good model for other districts around the state.
Today, December 20, 2011…
Armed with that praise for the “plan,” board candidate, Judy Kron, sought re-election to the district 6 school board in 2009. In a Greeley Tribune story only partially available online to non-subscribers, Judy Kron was “going to pull the district out of the mire of its academic watch status.” The campaign rhetoric worked well enough and Kron was re-elected.
Two years have now passed and with Kron firmly sitting as an outspoken board member: the students are no better off. In fact, according to documents obtained from the state department of education, the students in all three categories (elementary, middle, high school) are NOT meeting even the somewhat low “expectations” in any category except “dropout rate.” Let’s pause for a minute and give Ms Kron and the board of district 6 a round of applause.
According to the Colorado Dept. of Education, members of the board of district 6 haven’t even gotten off their butts long enough to learn that the percentage of ‘highly qualified’ teachers has in fact declined from 2007 to 2010. Like every other aspect of the “Improvement Plan” submitted to get the state to remove D6 from academic ‘probation’, whatever they tried to improve the teaching staff qualifications, failed.
Now that the citizens are learning where the problems are – at the top and with the board – Kron and the others, excluding the lone dissenter, Brett Reese, have voted this month to go forward with a new “plan.” Instead of firing the superintendent and cleaning house of the dead wood occupying the administration building offices, this bunch of “money first – student last” thinkers have decided they can buy another plan and maybe convince the voters that a pretty new building is all they need to get the students to learn enough to at least make the district look like it is improving enough to meet even low “expectations” and avoid decertification entirely.
A “facilities plan” for $137,000; really, Ms Kron. While a pretty new bundle of artist renditions might help the board members feel better about ignoring the failing students’ needs, the truth is that no master plan at any price is going to help the students until the underlying problem of poor leadership and uninspired teachers is addressed.
After reviewing the reports of the December meeting of the Board, it is apparent the citizens/parents of Greeley-Evans school district 6 are going to have to take the education of their children into their own hands – because clearly this board and the current administration is going to continue to try to cover up the problem of poor education with papermache masks made from taxpayers’ dollar bills.
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