Category Archives: Accountability

0213_Online learning is being increased to boost graduation rates–in order to receive school ranking and funding– By Zoe Kirsch_ Dallas Morning News – 6.6.17

Donna Jack
June 12, 2017

Online learning is increasingly being used to boost graduation rates.  Online learning replaces teacher classroom instruction time.

There is no measure of the quality of online learning — no quality contro!  Graduation rates are tied to the performance grade of schools.  Graduation rate increases are necessary for a school to receive funding – increases that must occur in order in order for principals to keep their jobs –and ultimately for schools to continue existing.

Do increased rates of student graduation from high school, automatically reflect what students have accomplished academically?  Or are graduation rate increases just empty goals to reach, in order for schools to get funding – and for principals to keep their jobs?  What does graduation from high school actually measure?  Does graduation necessarily measure anything – or does “graduation”insure any academic meaning at all?

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From: Donna Garner <wgarner1@hot.rr.com> Sent: Wednesday, June 7, 2017 9:19 AM To: Donna Garner Subject: HOW SCHOOLS GOT HOOKED ON ONLINE LEARNING TO BOOST GRADUATION RATES – BY ZOE KIRSCH – DALLAS MORNING NEWS – 6.6.17

6.6.17 – Dallas Morning News

“How Schools Got Hooked on Online Learning To Boost Graduation Rates”
By Zoe Kirsch, Contributor

 https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2017/06/06/schools-got-hooked-online-learning-boost-graduation-rates Continue reading

0165_Something’s wrong with the “management” of PERA which increased its unfunded liability from nearly $27 billion to $30 billion_Dec. 21 2016 article by Peter Marcus, ColoradoPolitics.com

Donna Jack
December 26, 2016

Expenses for public education have been increasing, and the proportion of our Colorado State Budget spent on public education each year, continues to increase.  This more-than-proportional increase each year, takes a larger chunk of the total of all other costs in our state.  The same goes for county expenses for education.

Part of the problem is the irresponsible amount of money put toward retirement  (also increases in other expenses).   Raises sound great, except the money isn’t there.  Wouldn’t it be best (understatement) to stop with the generosity.

Walker Stapleton has, for years, been trying to influence those in charge of the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA) to take measures necessary to reign in reckless wasteful spending, and begin to deal with the $30 billion in unfunded liabilities.

PERA needs to stop acting like “government” and be more responsible with our money.

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By: Peter Marcus, ColoradoPolitics.com
December 21, 2016

Over the protests of Colorado’s state treasurer, the head of the state’s retirement system received a 3 percent salary increase on Tuesday – his second raise in just over a year – bringing his salary to nearly $406,000 in 2017.

Greg Smith, chief executive of the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association, also will receive an incentive payment of 20 percent for leading the $47 billion, 300-employee retirement system, which amounts to nearly $79,000. Smith’s current salary is $394,000.

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, an ex-officio, voting member of PERA’s board of trustees – and a longtime critic of the system – assailed the raise, pointing out that the pension fund for the state’s more than 547,000 members faces about $30 billion in unfunded liabilities. Continue reading

0161_School Tax Failure had Roots In Recall_Dec. 17, 2016 opinion piece by John J. Newkirk (former Colorado Jeffco School Board Member recalled)

Donna Jack
December 19, 2016/updated Dec. 26, 2016

John Newkirk’s article was first published December 7, 2016, and then was published online December 17, with live links to his references.

As always, John carefully documents the claims and conclusions that he makes.

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School Tax Failure had Roots in Recall
By JOHN J. NEWKIRK,·SATURDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2016

Note to the reader: In 2013, concerned Jefferson County taxpayers elected three conservatives (including yours truly) to represent their interests on the Board of Education. Within minutes of the election — two weeks before we were even sworn in — the teachers union began a campaign to unseat “these bastards.” My latest Opinion column delves into the recall election’s surly evolution and its ultimate consequence. It’s also an admonition to the teachers union to heed the old Chinese proverb: When you set out to destroy someone, first dig two graves. ________________________________________________________________

Newkirk Opinion Column, December 7, 2016

To the casual observer, the failure of Jefferson County’s school tax proposal last month was a head-scratcher. Why did our district vote down new school taxes when neighboring districts passed theirs? Why did Jeffco say yes to Democrats Hillary Clinton and Michael Bennet, but no to Democrats on the Board of Education? Why did so many residents who’d never opposed a school tax vote no for the first time ever? A surprising number of voters have contacted me about this, and their common threads bear repeating. So, to best share their sentiments, allow me to channel the gentleman from Virginia for whom our humble county is named: Continue reading

0120_Summary of education issues in the 2016-2017 school year_Bond and Mill Levy Override (taxes) to be on November ballot__Data-gathering video and transcript_PERA — by Donna Jack

Donna Jack
July 26, 2016/edited July 27, 2016 10:30 PM

THIS IS A SUMMARY BLOG OF MANY EDUCATION ISSUES.

School Board meeting Thursday, July 28, 2016.

July 22nd, Helen Neal sent out a notice of the first 2016-2017 school year Jefferson County Colorado School Board (Jeffco BOE) special meeting – study/dialogue session.  Helen is Chief of Staff Superintendent/Board of Education.  Near the end of this blog is a link with more information and information about the meeting.  There you will find information telling you how to get on the notification email list concerning all school board meetings (three or more a month).
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Because of what public schools have become, I am sad

to see the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year in Jefferson County, Colorado.  I have witnessed this mess progressively developing since I became aware of the problems in the 1960s.

Some of you may not be aware that schools are not what the taxpayer thinks they are paying for.

Some things that sadden me:

Parents, once again, will be told how great their children are doing (or how miserable they are doing, and that they need to be put on drugs, and fixed by the system).  Parents  will be told how wonderful the schools are, and how excellent their school district is, compared to other school districts (but not told that all school districts keep declining every year).

Most students will be stressed because of all the pressure to “perform” — caused by the lack of tools they have been given to succeed in school (like reading!).  A huge percentage of students are put on mind-control drugs to make them more docile/compliant.  Most kids don’t want to  hurt their teachers and their school, so their own failures to perform will put more pressure on them — they will miss the chance to experience excitement in learning and the adventure of exploring and discovering — they will not enjoy school — they will be dumbed down.

Teachers will be overburdened and discouraged by the controls and requirements that will be forced on them.  They will use their teaching skills less this year,  and they will increasingly be relegated to being “room monitors” while “experts” and computers will individually “school each student.”   They will continue gathering every bit of information they possibly can, on each of their students, and coordinating with every person who has contact with each student.  All the information on a child will continue to be gathered and placed on a dashboard, to make it easier for each child to be analyzed by more people.

The public will be told that the schools must have more money, in order to better teach students.  It is not true.  Increased amounts of money keep being poured into the schools — and the results are:  more social experiments and social engineering — less education — less morality — and more poorly-educated people.

Continue reading

0119_the Denver Post weighed in on the “troubling spin” Colorado’s PERA pension system executives are putting on their 2015 returns

Donna Jack
July 26, 2016

At https://www.copera.org/, you read that:   “Colorado PERA provides retirement and other benefits to more than 500,000 current and former teachers, State Troopers, snowplow drivers, corrections officers, and other public employees who provide valuable services to all of Colorado.”

Below is Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton’s email dated June 30, 2016, forwarding a June 23, 2016 article by The Denver Post editorial board.

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From: Walker Stapleton <info@stapletonforcolorado.com>
Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:15 PM
To:
Subject: ICYMI: PERA’s troubling spin

Trouble viewing this email? Read it online

Friends,

In case you missed it, last week the Denver Post weighed in on the “troubling spin” Colorado’s pension system executives are putting on their 2015 returns that fell way below their goals.

We have been highlighting this issue for 6 years now. We must roll up our sleeves and address this problem head on!

Continue reading

0083_Government Give-Away Programs_Title 1_Gifted and Talented, etc.

Donna Jack
March 27, 2016

excerpts from:  WHAT IS TITLE 1 FUNDING?
http://www.formulafairness.com/title1

1. – “ ‘Title I’ is the federal program that provides funding to local school districts to improve the academic achievement of disadvantaged students”

2. – “If a school district qualifies for Title I funding, it is entitled to the money. However, the district must submit to the state education agency a plan for how it will use the funds to improve academic achievement among disadvantaged students.”

3. – “ ‘Disadvantaged’ students are those who come from low-income families, are in foster homes, or are neglected or delinquent, or who live in families receiving temporary assistance from state governments.

4. – “The districts have wide discretion in determining how the money is to be used. About 83% of Title I money is used for programs serving pre-K through 8th grade. These programs must specifically serve students who are failing to meet academic standards or at risk of failing because they are disadvantaged. However, if more than 40% of the students in a school qualify as disadvantaged, the school is allowed to run ‘schoolwide’ programs that serve all students, not just the disadvantaged.”

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A FRIEND TOLD ME OF HER YEARS WORKING WITH TITLE 1 FUNDS

I recently visited with a friend who for years had been in charge of deciding how to distribute Title 1 funds in her school district. The process she went through was extremely complicated and I found it most interesting.

Over the years, she witnessed the number and percentage of Title 1 recipients grow rapidly. Continue reading

0080_Will Tens of Millions be “stolen” from us by dishonestly-elected Jeffco BOE members? Petition and ballot were identical lies

Donna Jack
March 7, 2015/revised Sept. 2, 2016

March 2, 2016 the message below was sent by a friend.  Just wanted you to see what is happening in our school district since the 5-person school board has been unanimously dishonestly taken over by five union-supported members.

Message received March 5, 2016

I’m writing with urgent news about the next Jefferson County Board meeting tomorrow, March 3.

“The previous JeffCo board had committed for the Jefferson County School District to pay $18 million and incur NO debt to build a new school.  Now the new board is set to approve financing $31 million to build the same school and plan to finance an addition for another school at $17 million – PLUS interest for both projects!  The board may vote on this resolution as early as tomorrow, March 3.”

We are paying dearly, because voters trusted people who told lies. Continue reading

0042_November 25, 2015 letter to new Jeffco 5-Democrat BOE: Are transparency and accountability beginning to vanish?

[pdf of this letter]   

This letter online through school district website:

http://www.boarddocs.com/co/jeffco/Board.nsf/files/A4UNGY5D3077/$file/c151021O.pdf

Letter:

TO Jeffco BOE Members:

Ron Mitchell, romitche@jeffco.k12.co.us
Ali Lassel, alasell@jeffco.k12.co.us
Susan Harmon, suharmon@jeffco.k12.co.us
Amanda Stevens, ajsteven@jeffco.k12.co.us
Brad Rupert, crupert@jeffco.k12.co.us

Copies: The Jeffco BOE as a whole: board@jeffco.k12.co.us;Superintendent, Dan McMinimee, dmcminim@jeffco.k12.co.us; the public.

Dear Jefferson County Board of Education members Ron, Ali, Susan, Amanda and Brad,

Please continue the accountability and transparency demonstrated by the previous Jeffco BOE majority.

Some people that witnessed the great accountability, transparency, and respect demonstrated by the previous Jeffco BOE republican majority, now have some legitimate concerns.

You were elected for several reasons, and two of the reasons you were elected were: 1) the blatant lies printed on the petitions, and 2) the identical dishonest wording on the ballots for the recall.

You can compare and see the exact same false claims on both the recall petition and the ballot for recall.

See a video about The Denver Post recommendation to vote no on the recall.

And read The Denver Post Editorial Board, recommendation for a no-vote on the recall, dated October 13, 2015.  They said their recommendation not to recall, was based on the false statements on the ballot.

Then on November 19, 2015, even before you were sworn in, you had  eliminated all (1 hour) of the public testimony to speak about the agenda for the meeting, which under the previous board majority, had been given before the agenda was talked about.  Continue reading