Visitors, now that election season is drawing near, it’s time to highlight some of the pressing issues regarding Jefferson County ballot in November. Jeffco Visitors, this is particularly relevant to you, but general Visitors, I’d like you to track with me here. Sometimes sacred mantras -“Teachers Are Untouchable“- deserve to be debunked.
I have been a bit apprehensive about publishing this particular column, because it’s important to me not to stoop to the levels I’m about to show you. However, teachers in Jeffco are not a special breed, they are human, with flaws and strengths, just like everyone else. Jeffco as a school system is deeply flawed, and it is troubling to me that we have zero recourse against the incompetence I am about to describe.
Toward that end, I’d like you to meet two Evergreen Senior High School science teachers, the two reasons I banned my last child from attending ANY science classes at EHS.
Meet Cheryl Manning
Photo credit: http://www.ehs-manning.net/
When my first child started at EHS, he had had nine years of demanding Christian schooling. Classes were small, expectations were high, and children were trained to treat teachers with the utmost respect. I brought him to public school with great trepidation. I’ve been a teacher for years, and had my doubts about the consistency of delivery he would receive there.
Imagine my surprise when I got a robotic “D and F” call from the district his very first quarter of attendance. The automated call informed me that my child was currently receiving a D or F in one or more classes. With minimal work, I tracked it down and discovered that it was in Cheryl Manning’s ninth grade life science course.
I was furious. My child was an exemplary student, why is he slacking off now? Bright, verbal, attentive in class, and his first quarter he was getting an F in Science? I confronted him sternly. No child of MINE was going to fail in a lower-performing public school.
“Mom! I do all of my homework! I do! I turn everything in on time! I promise!” Mrs. Manning missed something! She tells everyone she’s behind on homework all the time! “
I dragged him in on Parent Teacher Conference night and had him stand in front of Mrs. Manning-
“Explain yourself!” I demanded.
His face reddened at my embarrassing demand.
“Mrs. Manning, I turn in all my homework. It must be in that pile somewhere?” He pointed to an unkempt, large stack of homework on her desk.
Manning poked through the stack, and retrieved several pieces of paper. She reviewed them, and entered some scores on her computer. “Oh, sorry, his average is actually an 86. ”
A solid B average. My bright, able son was performing consistently. I had to apologize to him right there.
After that trouble, I mistakenly allowed my girls to take the course when they entered ninth grade, as I thought they had no choice. (My girls are six months apart. One is adopted, so they took a lot of classes together.) Manning kept up with the homework, but I was regaled, sometimes daily, with off-topic stories of Mrs. Manning’s opinion about things. Her opinion about ADD drugs, her thoughts on name calling, her thoughts about her own upbringing, with emphasis on the abuse she endured as a child. Her opinion on science education, and most aggravating of all, her take on any education-related political issue of the day, which was as left-wing as can be. All of Ms. Manning’s opinions were presented as rock-solid, inarguable facts to these fourteen year old children. This is completely unacceptable. Teachers are to teach, not preach.
How ANY of this related to ninth grade biology concepts completely escaped me. There was no alternative to Ms. Manning’s class. My children were stuck, or so I thought. I gritted my teeth through Manning’s class, and my girls ended up in the next biology class. Again, no alternative, or so I thought.
Meet Dave Myers
(Jeffco Visitors, Myers has a secure public digital footprint. I couldn’t find a picture to show you. If you attend EHS, be very, very careful. Myers teaches biology there.)
Seven months before my husband died of metastatic colon cancer, Dave Myers gave a three day lecture on cancer processes. The lecture was filled with out of date, poorly referenced, inaccurate information. My girls, having a front-row seat to the suffering of their father, came home tearful and wide eyed after each day of the lecture. I reviewed their notes, and pointed out to the girls where Myers had lectured on wrong information. Naturally, my girls were upset and confused, particularly where Myers had pronounced metastatic cancers a ‘certain death sentence’. (To date, metastatic colon cancer has an 11 percent survival rate. Other metastatic cancer survival rates are all over the map, Myers was incredibly irresponsible for making such a pronouncement. Cruel to make it in the presence of students who were dealing with such a situation, and yes, he knew.)
Frustrated beyond words, I made an appointment with the administrator at the time. I had had issues with Myers before, brought things to his attention, and Myers had rejected my concerns outright. I did not have high hopes for this session. I asked for the administrator to mediate.
I brought my girls’ notes in to Myers. The administrator asked for Myers to give an accounting, and Myers stated that he was ‘teaching to the standard’ during a twenty-minute lecture. I pointed out to Myers that my girls EACH had three days of dated notes. A “twenty minute lecture” was certainly not the case.
I asked Myers about various cancer processes that he had taught about. I reminded him that my husband was in a fierce cancer battle, and would he like me to ask our oncologist to come and lecture to the class, and get the most cutting-edge information possible?
Myers launched into a disgraceful display. I was, according to Myers, a “harpy” who had “zero reason” to come in and criticize him for “teaching to the standards”.
Visitors, I’m afraid I was less than tactful. I was also completely traumatized by the impending death of my husband. I burst into tears.
“Who the HELL do you think you are, Myers? If you are ‘teaching to the standard’, understand the standard is WRONG! I am offering you the chance to get some current, up to date information, and you are NOT INTERESTED!”
The administrator hustled me out of there.
Visitors, this is just wearisome. What I want to point out to you next is the depth to which teachers like Manning and Myers will stoop to accomplish their non-academic political agenda.
Check this out.
This is a screen shot from a web page that an pro-union, anti-reform organization called Jefferson County School Board Watch posted during the recall battle for my brother’s seat, last year. Typical of the Wendy McCord, Shawna Fritzler, Scott Kwasny crowd, this thing was a tissue of lies from beginning to end. What’s really incredible though, is this part.
We’ve come to expect complete and total deceit from Wendy McCord and her crowd. (See “The Endless Lies of Wendy McCord” and “The Endless Lies of Wendy McCord, 2.0” both parts, on this blog)
What completely flabbergasted me is that Cheryl Manning, Board Certified Teacher of Science at Evergreen Senior High, would make this up.
I was visiting my 96 year old dad that day, Visitors. Taking him out for ice cream, in fact. This is verifiable with his care providers. I was nowhere near Manning or McCord that day. But, as we know, the truth doesn’t matter to this particular wing of rabid Jeffco faculty, they make it up as they go along. (See, “The Lying Mouthpiece Of Jeffco Teacher’s Union: Meet Scott Kwasny” on this blog) Manning, however, was vicious, libelous, and relentless. And, she’s teaching your children.
I conferenced with my brother about this mess. John Newkirk, as you know, lost his seat under a successful tide of union-funded lies last fall.
John is a scholar and a gentleman. He was one of the few politicians who put up with harassment, criminal threats, union-sponsored hate speech to advance a truly altruistic agenda. He was for Jeffco kids, period, and paid an incredible price for his efforts.
His counsel to me was restrained. There is nothing you can do, Victoria. Incompetent teachers like Manning and Myers are protected. That’s one of the long list of things the reformers Williams-Newkirk- Witt were trying to change, and the voters voted FOR this kind of incompetence.
Visitors, there is something you can do, in fact, there are a lot of things. However, this column has run long.
First off, if you are a Jeffco voter who mistakenly voted FOR this mess, pay attention to the monstrous Jeffco bond issue this fall.
Vote Against It! This is over half a BILLION dollars for a district that simply will not take steps to advance the educational picture in Jeffco. The problems and corruption in Jeffco are far, far more entrenched then the ones I have described here. More on that later.
Secondly, if you have children like mine, understand how concurrent enrollment works. This is what you can do – when my last child entered EHS in 2011, I refused to let the EHS science staff anywhere near her. Go to the high school counseling office, and get the forms for “Concurrent Enrollment”. Go to Red Rocks, or the community college nearest you, and sign your child up for whatever you please. My daughter was 15, and we had to get a special permission for her to attend because the policy is usually 16. This was EASY. She then sailed through collegiate biology, anatomy and astronomy, which was taught in an objective, unbiased way. Yes, transporting her was difficult, but it was worth figuring it out. She graduated with her class at EHS, with substantially less damage then my other three endured.
You’ve got this.