Teachers union uses students, media as pawns in giant Colorado battle over history ‘censorship’

A disgruntled teachers union in Colorado is fomenting a curriculum controversy over “censorship” to use students and the media as pawns in a dispute over pay, a Colorado education expert told BizPac Review.

On the surface — and in most media coverage — the “student” protests at five high schools in the Denver suburban area of Jefferson County that started Monday are about a proposed American history curriculum that would push patriotic themes and downplay coverage of civil disobedience — what some misinformed students are calling “censorship.”

In misguided “outrage,” students have walked out of classes to clown in front of TV cameras while pretending to protest (with more than a few of them no doubt enjoying Colorado’s newly legalized marijuana in between chants).

Here’s how one student put it:

“An idea is to censor a lot of U.S. history so they can’t talk about some of the negatives, or they don’t want to talk about civil disobedience, which is censorship. And censorship’s communism, censorship’s national socialism, censorship is terrible.”

Well, that’s fine as far as it goes. But the reality is, the “idea” the young man is so concerned about is in its infancy. A curriculum review committee isn’t even meeting again on the subject until October, according news reports, so the protests might seem just a tad premature, if not entirely manufactured.

Put your money on entirely manufactured.

Ben DeGrow, senior education policy analyst with the Independence Institute, a conservative think tank in Denver, said Wednesday “the curriculum is a cover issue.” The real problem, he said, is the Jefferson County Education Association and its unhappiness with the conservative majority elected by Jefferson County voters last year.

Since the election, DeGrow said, the union has consistently tried to undermine the board’s operations — and the history curriculum protests are just the latest example. If the proposed curriculum change were withdrawn tomorrow, the union would likely find another issue to squeal about.

“The unfair attacks on the school board, I don’t think that would stop,” DeGrow =said in an interview from Denver.

The real concern, he said — what the union is causing the disruptions to try to halt — is a board proposal to tie teacher pay to teacher performance. It’s the kind of pay most American workers understand — and the kind of efficiency public employees unions fear more than anything.

But the fight goes even deeper than that.

“The whole controversy is really about union control being threatened,” DeGrow said.

What’s sad, as usual, is that the media is playing along with the libs once again. It’s clear from the coverage – online or on the air – that teachers’ union issues are in play. It just gets mentioned way at the end of the broadcasts or deep in the articles.

Check out a typical example here, from KMGH, Denver:

The kids get top billing because they’re photogenic, they’re passionate, and they’re great dupes. (Getting told it’s OK to skip class isn’t a bad way to be a dupe.) They don’t yet know that one of the most malignantly self-serving forces in American politics is an American teachers union.

“I think the kids are just misinformed,” DeGrow said. “By teachers, other school employees, and parents they think they can trust. Which is unfortunate.”

“What we’re seeing is a disgruntled union, pulling the strings and feeding them information behind the scenes.”

In a New York Times article, “In Colorado, a Student Counterprotest to an Anti-protest Curriculum,” school board president Ken Witt said much the same, arguing that teachers deliberately described the proposed curriculum changes as “censorship” in an attempt “to incite and upset the student population.”

It appears to be working. And not just on the students.

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].

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