What Happens To An Incompetent Teacher at Jeffco? Sadly, Very Little. #NotAnotherDimeJeffco


Visitors, last month I published a column detailing the flagrant incompetence of two teachers that my children had to endure at Evergreen Senior High.

That column has netted me several ugly comments, a couple of near threats, and several anonymous, cowardly, lying reviews on Google regarding my early childhood facility, Evergreen Academy.

Regarding the comments, well, words have consequences, but if criticizing me for writing the truth is all you can do, then have at it. Regarding the threats? My course of graduate study could not have been better timed. I’m studying Criminology and Behavioral Deviance at a local university, and a very good name for the McCord-Fritzler-Kwasny crowd (who I am certain are behind the words) is “deviants”. It gives me great joy to now possess the digital forensic tools to track down these criminals, especially if they choose to escalate their behavior beyond harassing me. Wendy McCord, Shawna Fritzler, Scott Kwasny, Michael Blanton, Tina Gurdikian? I’m warning you off, so behave yourself.

Regarding the deceitful attacks through Google reviews? After my brother, John Newkirk, had the safety of his children and family threatened in Evergreen, I stopped being amazed at the lengths this crowd will stoop force their agenda on the Jeffco public. Evergreen Academy isn’t bulletproof, nothing is, but it’s a place full of love, kindness and skilled care for the youngest and most vulnerable in Evergreen. Keep up the lying reviews, anti-reformers, and you’ll likely find yourself at the mercy of a crowd of young parents who love what we do at EA.

Now, to the topic at hand. I’d like you to lean in with me here, Visitors, this is a little complicated, but I have faith in you. Colorado recently enacted a teacher effectiveness law, Senate Bill 191, in an effort to address teacher effectiveness.

In Jefferson County, new teachers are hired on a ‘probationary’ status for three years. Their contracts are year to year, and at the end of each year they can be dismissed for any reason allowed by law.

(For us civilians, that means that budget issues, student shifts, or poor fashion choices could lead to a dismissal during the three ‘probationary years’. Virtually any reason.) According to this law, probationary teachers must have three ‘effective’ evaluations to be considered for tenure.

“Ineffective” evaluations can be appealed, often at Union expense. You can appeal a poor evaluation and keep your job, and this can take months.

So, it hangs on the evaluations. Here’s where it gets interesting, Visitors. According to Senate Bill 191, HALF of the evaluation has to be based on student achievement. Seems reasonable, no? You are rated on all kinds of things: lesson planning, classroom structure, classroom conduct, can you play nice in the sandbox with other staff, and ARE YOUR STUDENTS MASTERING YOUR MATERIAL. Are they even close? Are they making progress from the beginning of the year to the end?

You have three years, THREE, to prove that you know your craft. Regarding effectiveness, achievement scores are NOT available to be included in your annual evaluation. Why is that? Generally, because the scores are returned to schools in July, long after ratings are completed. So, principals and fellow teachers who rate you, do NOT include effectiveness in your scores, even though they are required to by law. Here’s why that should concern you greatly.

jeffco-math-csap-tcap-2014

Where is the emphasis on achievement? Where?! Jeffco has 87,000 of our children, and is UTTERLY ineffective in teaching them math. Grade schoolers, (my favorite population and area of specialty) start out well, likely because of their natural eagerness to learn. Please, Visitors, I’m pleading with you, note the terrible, precipitous drop by high school.

How will we advance? How will our children gain the technology oriented skills they must have without foundational math? Reading and science scores are similarly terrible.

By tenth grade, FAR less than half of our children are NOT proficient in math. Where else can we look besides disinterested teachers? Yet, out of 4,700 teachers in Jeffco, not ONE teacher will lose their tenure do to ineffective teaching. (http://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/co/2016/07/14/denver-public-schools-set-to-strip-nearly-50-teachers-of-tenure-protections-after-poor-evaluations/#.V_AUGJMrJE5)

Cheryl Manning is safe.

Dave Myers will keep his job.

Effective teachers, of which there are many, will continue to get lost in a crowd of disinterested, lectern-pounding, ineffective teachers who will keep their jobs until retirement. This must stop.

Again, Visitors, this is just exhausting. Jeffco is a mess.

Here’s what you can do, in fact, this is the only moral thing you can do.

DON’T VOTE FOR THE JEFFCO BOND ISSUE #NOTANOTHERDIMEJEFFCO

VOTE NO! This is a 565$ Million dollar ask for a system that is completely broken, disinterested in student achievement and thoroughly infested with corruption and inefficiency. More on that later.

IT REALLY IS A BILLION DOLLARS

You must, simply must, demand that Jeffco do its job, and that is to educate! This bond issue will take ONE BILLION DOLLARS to repay, while student achievement will continue to decline.

This simply makes no sense. Demand it, visitors. Demand accountability.

We owe it to our kids.

Much respect,

Victoria

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Evergreen Senior High: The Good, The Bad, The Completely Unacceptable


#NotAnotherDimeJeffco 

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

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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.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 8.46.32 PM

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.

#NotAnotherDimeJeffco

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.

Much love,

Victoria

 

 

 

“Unmasking” Americans for Prosperity


Good day, Visitors.
Last fall, as you all know, my brother was recalled from his seat on the Jefferson County School board here in Colorado. Jeffco, as it is known here, is a declining school district of about 85,ooo students and a budget of over a billion dollars. John ran as a fiscal and social conservative, he and two other like minded colleagues were elected and proceeded to implement the responsible promises they made during their elections.

This earned the ire of the national teacher’s union, who pre-funded a recall of these candidates by pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into an effort that started within days of the election.

One of the union targets in this process was the organization called Americans for Prosperity.

AFP  and it’s sister organization Americans for Prosperity Foundation were founded by the wealthy industrialist Koch brothers and are part of their broad based political network.  And, if the Scott Kwasnys and Wendy McCords of the world are to be believed, both organizations are the spawn of the devil.  AFP and the Kochs are the root of all right wing political evil. AFP is populated by rich white folks bent on denying opportunity to struggling Americans. AFP and it’s ilk are completely out of touch, disinterested in the struggle of hard working Americans and especially Americans of difference and color.  AFP and it’s nefarious agenda must be opposed at all costs.

That’s quite a false narrative, Visitors.

During the recall debacle, AFP largely flew beneath my radar. I was too busy doing my part to try and halt Jeffco’s continuing decline, busy attempting to spread some truth in my corner of the union-corrupted world.

After I spoke at one of the Jeffco board meetings, I was leaving the openly antagonistic audience when a lean, good-looking young man approached me. He stuck out his hand- “Hi, I’m Darrin Levy. I’m one of the local field directors of Americans for Prosperity. Can I have a word?”

Darrin Levy

Our chief torchbearer- Darrin Levy

Darrin suggested that I join an informal class that the local AFP Foundation had organized, called the Grassroots Leadership Academy. My curiosity was piqued. I didn’t know a blessed thing about AFP or the AFP Foundation, but if the union minions despised them they must be worth checking out.

What followed was a remarkable six week class that was marvelous in it’s simplicity. The mission of AFP  Foundation is refreshing- here it is.
Americans for Prosperity Foundation is dedicated to educating and training citizens to be courageous advocates for the ideas, principles, and policies of a free society — knowing that leads to the greatest prosperity and wellbeing for all — especially the least fortunate. http://americansforprosperityfoundation.org/

You folks know me, this resonates. But what does it look like? My time is limited, I’m a single mother and small business owner. I can’t be wasting an evening a week on something unless it is truly worthwhile.

What followed was a terrific collection of foundational classes on the benefits of economic freedom. We heard from immigrants who really did view America as this golden prize worth striving for. We heard about the history of this remarkable experiment in this country. We heard and practiced concrete, practical ways to tell our own stories about the benefits of economic freedom.

Part way through the class I had a discussion with Darrin. I was enchanted with what I was seeing, and was interested in some of the more community-oriented benefits of AFP Foundation. Darrin told me about this wonderful, down-to-earth AFPF community program called “Bridge to Wellbeing”.  Bridge is a series of empowering programs that unapologetically helps local community members grab life by the reins, turn knowledge into power, and live more prosperous lives. Organized by AFP Foundation, these programs are taught by local experts and experts from around the country. Local participants attend at no cost to them.

Here are some examples, Visitors.

Passion to Profit-  Hear from local entrepreneurs about how they turned their passion into a thriving small business. (LOVED this one, Visitors.)

Flip The Switch– Ways to lower your energy bill.

Healthy Eating, Happy Family – How healthy eating can keep you out of your doctor’s office, and benefit your budget.

My favorite, of course:

Is My Child’s School Any Good? -We teach you how to check.

(Look at more of these cool things here http://americansforprosperityfoundation.org/bridge-to-wellbeing/)

Well, I was hooked. This is great material, with immediate benefits to the people and community I love.

In addition to participating in the Grassroots Leadership Academy Class, I also got to experienced a one day event sponsored by the Americans for Prosperity, the sister organization to AFP Foundation.  It was a super day! I mingled with over 100 other citizens who were also gaining activist skills. We gathered at the capitol and listened to legislators and other everyday Americans who were also concerned about eroding freedoms in Colorado.

The goal here was twofold- to continue our education as citizen activists. Secondly, to help our representatives hear about our “Six for Sixteen” agenda. (Six for Sixteen is AFP’s attempt to educate legislators about six very impactful issues for Coloradans. You can read about it here.  https://americansforprosperity.org/36932-2/

Among these six issues is one  that spoke to me. The idea of equalizing the playing field for charter schools is simply foundational to bettering education in Colorado. It’s astonishing to me that publicly funded charter schools do not get the same amount of per pupil funding that other government-run schools get. This is clearly a union sponsored stranglehold that must be broken. Ideally, funding would be attached to the student, and parents can make the best choice for their kids. Equalizing funding for charter schools is a good start.

Another issue on the ballot  for November is  a proposed  amendment to the Colorado Constitution known as ColoradoCare, or Amendment 69.

“ColoradoCare bares a lot of risks for our state. Our new campaign will help citizens everywhere get the facts on this proposal which, if passed, would force Coloradans into government run-healthcare, push Coloradans out of their current plans, double the state budget, hike taxes on Coloradans by at least $25 billion per year, impose a new 10 percent payroll tax, while risking European and Canadian-style rationing of care and long waiting lists for procedures.” http://amendment69co.com/

AFP is actively campaigning against this trainwreck, thank heaven. The Colorado Heath-OP collapsed last year (http://denver.cbslocal.com/2015/10/16/largest-health-insurer-on-colorado-exchange-collapses/) leaving local taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars. Amendment 69 is an expansion of this disaster,  a looming juggernaut of ‘feel-good’ politics that simply won’t work.

AFP is me, an activist citizen concerned for Colorado. AFP is anyone who will not sit in our comfortable situations, content that we have ours. Join me if you like, to help stop this gradual erosion of our freedoms in this America, the most wonderful country on earth.

Much love,

Victoria

 

 

 

 

 

The Lying Mouthpiece of Jeffco Teacher’s Union: Meet Scott Kwasny


Readers, especially Jeffco visitors, I’m almost boring myself here. Honestly, this whole Jeffco debacle is such a relentless drumbeat of hate speech, deceit and disruption, I find myself running out of adjectives. Those of you who have been with me for a while, remember the Louisa stories I developed a while ago?

Louisa (who was me, of course) was a medieval warrior princess. She had lost her prince in a terrible battle to the death. (That was Chris, dying of cancer). She was burdened heavily with the responsibility of her community, largely of families and children. Louisa discovered, as time went by, that this work suited her. It was tremendously consequential, and only successful with the aid and succor of local villagers.

In short, Louisa and her village had to come together to prosper. Corny, but true. We, all of us, have to band together to stand in the gap for Jeffco’s disadvantaged kids.

Check out this guy:

Kwasny-Fist-Detroit

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Meet Scott Kwasny.

Kwasny is Jeffco Teacher’s Union hired gun. He was hired by Jeffco Teacher’s Union one month after my brother and his colleagues were elected in 2013. Prior to moving to Denver, Kwasny was a well-paid agitator for the American Federation of Teachers in Detroit.(NINETY THREE percent of Detroit kids can’t read well. Mission accomplished, Kwasny? http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/detroit-public-schools-93-not-proficient-reading-96-not-proficient)

For my international Visitors, there a two chief education-related labor unions in America. One, the NEA, or National Education Association, was the union I referenced in a previous column. It was one of three unions that pre-funded the recall election with hundreds of thousands of dollars. (This is what made  Wendy McCord, Tina Gurdikian, Terri Straut et al, liars, as they swore this was a parent-driven effort. )

American Federation of Teachers, or AFT, is the other big-dog player in the pro-Union scene in American education today. As of this year, AFT has over a million and a half members. They give millions of dollars to political causes, all of the funds coming from rank and file members. 95% of AFT donations are of a liberal, left-wing bent. AFT has publicly endorsed Obama, both Clintons and has given tens of millions of dollars to political causes. AFT has given far more than any private corporation in America. AFT, and Scott Kwasny, are the epitome of education politics in America today.

Someone I respect greatly once said “Know where someone sits, before he takes a stand.” So, we know this about Kwasny. A fairly young man, he worked for several years for hard-left union causes in AFT. Jeffco Teachers Union is a hard-left organization, therefore, when they lost to conservatives in 2013, you can assume that they would hire a hard liberal like Kwasny to bring Jeffco back into the union fold.

This is where it gets interesting, Visitors. Kwasny is very, very good at what he does. Mainly, because the man has no moral compass, and will say, and do, anything to get a win. Check this out- This is the beginning of a  Facebook conversation I had with Kwasny during the election season:

Scott Kwasny

  • If you think that you have fought for social justice and that helps you sleep at night than so be it… you are only ten years older than me. I am a hard working father and husband who has a very different belief system than you and your brother…for example – I would not kick a child out of my daycare because they had 2 mothers or 2 fathers. I spoke to a woman this past weekend who said that is exactly what you did. Keep on pretending, Victoria.

     
     
  • 10/26, 10:02pm

     

    Victoria Lierheimer

    Scott, I will get on you every single time you post another lie like the ones you just said. I have never, not one single time, ever discriminated against a gay couple, and I will give you names of gay folks in this town who will attest to that. You are a liar of the worst sort, one in a position of influence and power, and I have dedicated my life to protecting innocents against people like you.

    Consider this, Visitors.  I make a point of wide-open inclusivity in my non-denominational Christian school, even to the point of irritating my more conservative friends. Why? Because I’m convinced it’s what Jesus would do. These days, we have family structures of all kinds. Young, old, May-December, divorced, not married, gay, straight and single, straight and living together-gracious, I have to write it all down or I get lost. It’s important to me, again, as I’m certain I’m pleasing God by doing so. Incoming family structure is not important at EA. How that child is parented, that’s the only important thing.

    Irrelevant to Kwasny. He makes it up as he goes along.

    Here’s another:

    Scott Kwasny 10/6 9:27 pm 

    John Newkirk is nothing but a gold plated trust fund baby who’s never done anything by himself, only slid along the coattails of his father, a well-respected man in the community. He doesn’t know anything about Jeffco kids, he’s never had to work a day in his life! Victoria Lierheimer, John Newkirk’s sister, isn’t even a teacher! She’s the ‘principal’ of a failed religious academy. #standup4kids

    10/6, 9:38 pm

    Scott Kwasny Actually, let’s deal with this here, you lying coward. As a union employee and hack yourself, you now have access to my teaching license? My 28 years of licensed teaching preschool, kindergarten, grade school, and middle school English? In both public and private settings? What, you don’t like school choice? Addressing the needs of languishing schools like Alameda? Ali Lasell, Brad Rupert, Amanda Stevens, Ron Mitchell, this is who you have fighting your battles for you.         Readers, remember these names, remember Scott Kwasny as an excellent, gold-plated example of the type of a lying union employee who doesn’t give a plugged nickel about the well being of your children, or the state of Jeffco Schools, and instead wants to shove his union agenda down your throat. #norecall#standuptounionbullies (that’s you, Scott Kwasny)

     

    Brrrr.  Absolutely chilling. Most of you know that I’m studying for a masters degree in Criminology, with an emphasis in pathopsychology.  I’ve always been interested in questions of behavioral deviance, and my course of study could not have been better timed. Kwasny, as you can see, is a sterling example of the hired-gun henchman who will discard all morality, engage in all kinds of deviance, all in the name of politics.

    As the election continued, all kinds of deviant and criminal behavior surfaced. I uncovered five artificial FB identities, three fake twitter accounts, and at least two stolen identities, all surfaced on line in order to spread slander and hatespeech in the name of this successful recall.

    Kwasny and his crowd won this round. One can only hope that the forces for good will win the next one.

    Respectfully,

    Victoria

     

     

 

The Endless Lies Of Wendy McCord


Jeffco School Board Recall Petitions Submitted

Tina Blackmore Gurdikian and Wendy McCord at today’s (7/28/2015) rally for submission of petitions in the Jeffco School Board Recall campaign.

Visitors, I have had it. Simply up to HERE. Wendy McCord and the bottom feeders at her organization Jeffco United were forced by a judge to disclose their donor list on Christmas Eve.  McCord, you remember, was the lying, hatemongering  spearhead of the recent successful recall.  McCord’s noise was characterized by treating  ‘union’ as a dirty word. This is a grass roots effort! A coalition of angry mommies! The donor lists show a vastly different story. This was, from beginning to end, a battle funded by the educational establishment as maintained by national and state teachers’ unions.

Most of you who have been with me since Chris died, know that I have an overdeveloped sense of justice. Chris would kid me about this all the time.

“You can’t fix everything, honey.”

“You are not the police officer for the world.”

“Sure, you’re right, they’re wrong, what of it?”

Often, he’d be right. I can’t fix everything. Unfairness and injustice abound in the world. The weak get overtaken all the time. Powerful people run roughshod over the powerless, poor folks get the shaft, people of color get discriminated against and children get neglected. As Christians, we are promised that trouble will always be with us.

So, what to do?

Seriously, I’d ask him. What to do? Ignore all of this around us? Be happy that we have made our way to an affluent white enclave like Evergreen, and be thankful that hey, at least we have ours? We’re OK? Everyone else be damned?

Hmm. Let’s look at the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25 verse 40 for a minute.

th-1

THIS is why I fight. This cause is mine. I have been an advocate for children my entire professional life, and this verse contains the social justice imperative which cannot be ignored.

When I got my first teaching license in 1986, I was pretty naive. I thought that anyone in the profession was there for the good of our students. I honestly thought that everyone there was like me. Bright enough, interested, engaged, and convinced that some skill and intentionality would be rewarded with results in the classroom. Wages in the eighties were abysmal, so we weren’t in it for the money, obviously.

Fast forward to current day. Wages are actually competitive now, and compared to some fields for new grads, teachers actually do pretty well. We do get more than 14 weeks vacation, and PERA, or the Public Employee’s Retirement Account, actually does much, much better than Social Security. Add that to a powerful union that makes firing an incompetent nigh on impossible, and you’ve got a pretty cushy berth for a contracted Jeffco teacher.

Rewind to two years ago. A set of conservative board members which included my brother, John Newkirk, was targeted by a group called “Jeffco United”. Jeffco United was organized by lawyer Wendy McCord, pictured above. Wendy is an Evergreen local, which means she has a household income larger than most Jeffco families, by about 50%. (It’s a demographic fact that Evergreen denizens make more. Neither good nor bad, just a fact.)

Wendy went on a lawless, deceitful, and ultimately very successful jag to unseat the conservative board majority.

Jeffco United received 99.9 percent of it’s funding from the three teacher’s unions in Colorado.

http://coloradopeakpolitics.com/2015/12/29/blowback-media-pissed-about-jeffco-teachers-union-lies/

99.9 percent, Visitors. Over a quarter of a million bucks, and this from the ladies who SWEAR this was a ‘grassroots effort’. An effort backed by citizens. Liars, through and through.

Visitors, this is the point where my verbosity gets the better of me. I am sorely tempted to pour out pages of statistics like these:

*Alameda High School, once run by Ron Mitchell, is a school of color. More than eight out of ten Alameda kids are not white. The same number of kids fall UNDER the poverty line. NINE out of TEN of Alameda grads can’t do math on an tenth grade level. This started during the ten years Ron Mitchell ran Alameda. Ron Mitchell is now Jeffco Board of Education president. This is just so bad as to be unbelievable.

*HALF of Jeffco kids are not at grade level for reading. HALF.

*ONE THIRD of Jeffco kids who go to college need remedial work. ONE THIRD.

The list goes on, and on, and on.

Our schools are broken. Wendy McCord successsfully campaigned that they stay that way.

(Can you imagine the HELL that would break lose if that kind of nonsense happened in Evergreen? I can tell you what would happen. All of the white soccer moms up here would jump in their late model SUVs and go looking for blood. )

Wendy McCord did an excellent job of orchestrating the chorus of lies, damned lies, and outright endless hatemongering. Check these out.

Wendy-McCord-Lying-About-Unions

Uh huh. With 265,000 dollars coming from the unions, and what, 3 grand coming from your ‘coalition’.

McCord-Union-1 (1)

This one is particularly staggering. If you inspect the donation records that McCord was FORCED to disclose, you can see the 265k$ was there when this post was made. Nowhere near six figures, Wendy?  Lie much?

And my favorite. She posted this after some imagined slight from John.

Wendy-McCord-Lies-2

From who, Wendy? You? While you were out there peddling the oppressive, sickening tales that Jeffco is just fine? Your destruction has set us back decades, and this truly makes me sick.

Well, visitors, I’m just about at my limit. For our next column, we’ll explore more destructive perfidy of organizations like Jeffco School Board Watch.

Until next time.

Warm regards,

Victoria

 

 

Just Who the Heck Are You, Anyway? On Affleck, Clooney, Mendez and Argo


    So I just got back from the opening night of Argo with some friends. Ben Affleck and George Clooney produced the thing, and Affleck was the star. No spoiler alert, suffice it to say it was an edge-of-your-seat affair about a Latino CIA spook who was instrumental in the release of the hostages during the 1980 Iran hostage crisis.

English: Cover movie poster that was created b...

English: Cover movie poster that was created by the CIA as part of their cover legend. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Go see this thing. Affleck has made a successful transition from man-candy actor to legitimate director, and perhaps, most astonishingly a patriot! In the liberal Hollywood establishment, this is amazing.

I love a good movie that makes you think. Lately, those of you who have been with me for a while, know that I’ve been ruminating a lot lately about people’s character. The “Chandler” posts, after I stopped bleeding, were actually pretty instructive. What kind of person do I want around me, anyway? Who are you?

In Argo, the “Tony Mendez” character kept reassuring these hostages ‘It’s what I do, and I’ve never left anyone behind.’ No one asked him to risk his life to be murdered by crazed Iranians, it was what he did. Over and over, he drilled the hostages in procedure, and persistence, and teeth-rattling bravery. It was what he did.

Recently, some very kind friends have made some comments to me about my persistence in the face of religious persecution by the state of Colorado. I don’t have the irrevocable hard copies in my hand, so I can’t get quite specific yet.  Suffice it to say the government of Colorado doesn’t like faith-based preschools, and did it’s very best to eradicate mine.

No. It’s what I do. No. I can’t stand a bully. No. I will NOT allow bullying in any form, even from the government. No. NO! The outcome of this battle was never assured. I could have lost just as easily as won.  I have found that character is not often influenced by win/lose selfish scenarios.  I WOULD NOT allow something that’s just wrong to happen, if I have any say in the matter. Even if I lost, I would lose with my side of the street clean, no regrets, nothing done differently.

Melanie Curtis, my business and life coach, is constantly encouraging me to a higher self, a better, more loving, more aware place to be. During the entire preschool ordeal, she helped me clarify why I was doing this, and how far I was willing to go. Would I, like Jefferson, pledge (work) lives, fortunes, and  sacred honor?

Hell, yes. It’s the principal of the thing, dammit. I have lost wages for nearly four months. My teachers didn’t get a raise. We couldn’t go to the annual teachers conference that I look forward to every year. My character and motivation was impugned at every opportunity by desk bound critics held hostage by their own anti- school choice, anti-family agendas. My teachers were subject to extreme, humiliating inspections and questioning that government based preschools simply never get.

No. I would rather lie down on a train track than give up what’s so important to me. During the whole ‘Chandler’ ordeal, I often heard the refrain “People change.” Actually, not so. It’s more like people are revealed. When the chips are down, when bravery, money, self-control, persistence, unselfishness, kindness or other hard things are required, you get to see what people are made of. I find if you frame it like that, I am actually thankful for some of the trials Jesus promises us. You really get a lot of clarity.

One of my companions tonight was someone who has proven herself to be in my  trusted inner circle. “Rebecca” has a serious, nagging, constant health issue. It prevents her from driving, and doing other activities of daily life.

Yet during the hardest part of Chris’s cancer ordeal, Rebecca’s  Godly character held like a steady, bright flame. She babysat my kids, cleaned my house, had her kids help steady mine, with never a single complaint or sigh of impatience. Rebecca is a gift. In a somewhat frail package, Rebecca has the character of a rock.

Some Christians say hard times are coming. I’m not the apocalyptic type, but these days, I wonder. Who would have thought I’d nearly be driven out of business because of my faith? I wonder.

I  do wonder. But I stand firm. With the help of God and my trusted countrymen, because it’s what we do.

Much love,

Victoria

On Purple Fingers And Rowdy Debates


This young Iraqi girl was too young to vote, but asked for her finger to be inked anyway.

So the riot fences have come down. I-25 and Hampden is open again, and the kids who live in Centennial Halls can get out of lockdown. By most accounts, Romney scored a KO against Obama, and the kids at Denver University had a riotous time watching all of these shenanigans.  My girls got several chances to be in the lottery to get a ticket to see these two, but alas, were relegated to the Driscoll Green and the JumboTron.

Faith has a young Iraqi friend at DU, and this kid is a doll. Let’s call her “Amira” or Princess. That’s not her name. Since Faith has had the privilege of getting to know Amira and her family, she’s had her eyes opened to what a special country we live in. In 2005, Amira’s countryfolk risked their lives in the “Blue Finger Revolution” to vote in 2005. Similar  pictures greet us from Tunisia and India over the past years, where the disenfranchised muster up the courage to (literally) risk their necks to vote for their leaders. The ink is long-lasting, sometimes taking a week to fade away.  I’m told sometimes people, especially women, hide themselves until it’s gone, they feel so threatened.

So it makes me wonder. I look at the faces of these brave women, and think about my own priorities. Mitt kept on saying “Is it worth borrowing money from China to fund (Fill in the blank)?”

What a statement. Magnificent.

Good question. Chris used to love to talk politics with the children. Given the events of the past few years, I’ve found my energy for this type of thing starting to wane. But since my children have become adults, I find myself focusing my priorities again. Who do I want spending my money, anyway?

My family just wrote out an enormous check to the Obama administration on behalf of my deceased mother. She would be completely frosted.

“Vickey!”  (She’d scold.) “That man thinks abortion is OK at any time! Your cousins couldn’t ever have babies, and it broke their hearts! You’d think he’d have a clue!”

(Susan B. Anthony List, http://www.sba-list.org, september)

“Vickey! How much is the national debt? Sixteen TRILLION dollars? (US National Debt Clock, usdebtclock.org)

My, the list would just go on. My mother knew her mind. Do you know yours? My kids are getting to know theirs. An acquaintance of mine once told me blindly, “George Bush was the worst president we EVER had. ” Really? What are your facts to back that up?

Thank God, no one will threaten our well being because of our politics, like in Amira’s country. But for heaven’s sake, let’s be adults about this. Miss Victoria is going to take the red pen out of her schoolmarm hair and make a list:

Miss Victoria’s Important Stuff:

The candidate I vote for will:

1. Be pro-life. Prolife or prochoice, understand what you are defending. We have legal abortion in this country up to and including the ninth month of pregnancy. What’s up with that? In the business I’m in, I see the heart break of infertility every single day. One in four couples in this country can’t have kids, or have more that one. Fifty million abortions is the best, most compassionate solution we can come up with?

2. Be pro SMALL business. Anyone paying attention knows that businesses with fewer than twenty five employees make up the majority of job growth. Be nice to us.

3. Be consistent. I just HATE when people discard their core values for convenience or pleasure.  Did you know in the eighties that Al Gore was a consistent pro-life vote in Congress? Then he ‘changed his mind’ when Clinton tapped him for VP. Yuck. Stand up and be counted for WHATEVER you stand for.

4. Be a decent human being. Quit with the trade-in wives, the mistresses, the padding your accounts at my expense. Sheesh, enough is enough.

Well, isn’t it a wonderful thing that we can all grab a soapbox and spout? What a country! My kids are after me to make sure I forward their ballots to them at college. Let’s follow the children, and go get our fingers inked in November.

Much love,

Victoria

Author’s note. I’ve found the President of the United States in 2032. At least I hope so. His name is D.K. and he’s a brilliant economics student back east. I hope to introduce you to him soon. Much love, V