March 20, 2023
By David White
Opinion Article - https://montrosemirror.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/525ISSUE.pdf pages 21-22
Montrose County School District – Plans for Cultural Change Coming to YOUR Public Schools for the 2023-2024 School Years
Are we, as a community, sufficiently “woke” yet? Perhaps in some quarters we are, but apparently not enough for your State Legislature, School Board and the Superintendent of the Montrose & Olathe School District, Dr. Carrie Stephenson.
Beginning next school year and the year after, here are some major changes coming to our local schools:
- Teachers in grades 1-12 will now be REQUIRED to teach LGBTQ culture beginning in 2024 as a result of legislation passed back in 2019 under State House Bill HB19-1192 (The Inclusion of American Minorities in Teaching Civil Government), a bill which was hidden in the shadows of the notorious Sex Ed bill of the era (HB19-1032) that former Senator Don Coram was a prime sponsor, however, unlike HB19-1032, there is no opt out provision for HB19-1192;
- Homework, long a staple of our education system and one not necessarily beloved by students but beneficial for many reasons, is about to become a piece of educational history for virtually all grades.
- Dress code revisions pretty much throw out much of was left in the way of proper dress and decorum for students under the guise of “empowering parents” and students.
- Elimination of what remains of any truancy policy. Can’t get the kids to school? Oh well, there’s always tomorrow or next week or next month!
HB19-1192 is the State’s attempt to literally cram down our collective throats primarily LGBTQ ideology cloaked in the historical significance of contributions (real, imagined or just spun up via popular lore) of the LGBTQ population. Beth Suppes, a member of the Delta County School Board, wrote an excellent article that appeared in the Delta County Independent on February 8, 2023 that is worth a read. You can find it here: https://www.deltacountyindependent.com/opinion/op-ed-lgbtq-culture-and-the-states-education-standards/article_4b7697de-a678-11ed-a70f-7ba6ced61a7c.html#tncms-source=infinity-scroll-summary-sticky-siderail-next)
She accurately states that: “These standards now require teachers who use the Colorado State Education Academic Standards as the content standards for history and civics to include the history, culture and social contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individual and the intersectionality of significant social and cultural features within these communities.”
Here are some of the first-grade additions that will be required due to this bill:
- Identify and explain the relevance of notable civic leaders from different community groups, including LGBTQ;
- Identify and explain the meaning of various civic symbols important to diverse community groups (Including the LGBTQ pride flag).
This policy mandates a more diverse, inclusive social studies curriculum. It holds promise for advancing intersectional justice for Colorado students. Like any good Marxist type of education system, you’ve got to get to the youth at a very young age to mold their minds and therefore their thought processes and the decisions that come from them in order to totally change the culture.
The upcoming changes to homework requirements, according to the internal “think tank” within the school district’s leadership that created them are in response to the feedback from all stakeholders that informed the “Strategic Plan’s High Expectations Homework Initiative.”
According to the initiative, they state that “Research shows that elementary students are better served by spending their time outside of school engaged in practical play applications of the content learned during the school day. Homework is not an appropriate tool for this age group as research shows little to no benefit to student learning outcomes. Student school/life balance is crucial to the development of the whole child.”
The guidelines for secondary grades are a bit more open to giving some homework under certain circumstances but it can’t be more than 5% of a student’s grade. To learn more about how your children and grandchildren will be further “dumbed down” and how more stress will be placed on our teachers as students fall further behind with lower tests scores no doubt a probable outcome, read the new homework policy here:
The dress code is going to be changed too if my recent read of the School Board at their March 7th meeting is any indication of the direction they’re heading. Do you like to send your kids to school in their pajamas. You’ll be able to do that along with letting them wear hoodies, hats, and other clothing that may cause issues that were previously dealt with but are now to be reversed. If they break the dress code, they must be talked to privately so as not to hurt their feelings. They can’t be removed from the classroom or be made to change clothes either. Students SHALL NOT be referred to as a “distraction” based upon their appearance or attire so says the new policy. On and on it goes. You can read what is in the new dress code as well as the presentation that was made to the School Board here:
I attended 6 parent teacher conferences last week as a grandparent/guardian of two of my grandkids. I surveyed 4 of the 6 teachers I met with. Not a one was consulted about the changes to any of these policies despite what the Superintendent is telling the School Board and public about her engaging teachers. Perhaps the ones I met with didn’t make the cut in order to skew the outcome in favor of the administration’s decided woke bent. Regardless, where is the public polling?
Why is there an attitude at the district that if you’re not a “stakeholder” in the public schools (i.e. a parent or guardian), you have no say in what goes on? That’s their attitude and it’s wrong. Every property owner is a taxpayer and by default, is a stakeholder. Every member of the community is a stakeholder. The largest percentage of 2022 property tax revenue generated in Montrose County goes to the Montrose County School District…a whopping $18,406,499 and yet you who are paying the bill are left out of the mix. Disgraceful.
Dr. Stephenson, the majority of the School Board and some within the teaching and non-profit community are more interested in seeing the weakening of the learning process through these “woke” policies and ideologies rather than strengthening it. Every School Board meeting is replete with woke terminology such as is found as follows:
- The “Community Input” period (aka “Call to the Public”) at School Board meetings contains the following wording: “This is the time the Board has set aside to listen to any positive comments or concerns from the audience. Personal criticism of members of the Board of Education or employees of the Montrose County School District are out of order.” Positive comments only?? Wow! Censorship of contrary input is not allowed as far as I’ve seen.
- The new Dress Code starts out with the statement: “The Board is committed to equitable educational access for all students, and this student dress code will be implemented equitably and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry or need for special education services.” According to the School Board Chairwoman and the Superintendent, this language is required by the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB), however, it was later noted in the March 7th meeting that the Board doesn’t have to follow everything CASB prescribes, so why are we going along with all of this? I’ll tell you why…because equality in education wasn’t enough. We now must have “equity” and it’s cousin, “social justice” or we’re not being fair to all concerned.
- Equity is a solution for addressing imbalanced social systems. Justice can take equity one step further by fixing the systems in a way that leads to long-term, sustainable, equitable access for generations to come. (https://onlinepublichealth.gwu.edu/resources/equity-vs-equality/)
- Words such as “Physical, Emotional, Psychological Safety”; “Compassion”; “Social Struggles”; “Inequitable Enforcement”; “Improved Culture”; “Sexist”; “Autonomy”, etc. pepper the presentation on the dress code and are heard throughout meetings by the Board. On and on it goes.
At the proverbial end of the day, all of this is being done to fulfill an agenda being perpetrated by special interest groups who have found a following in the leadership that presides over most of our community’s elective officers and appointed boards and their staffs.
I’ll be the first to speak out against unfair practices, bullying, lack of discipline and unfair treatment of students among many other issues our schools deal with, but this systematic dismantling of the guardrails and structure of our schools is unconscionable. The administration and school board claim that these changes are all being done to “empower parents.” I call that a cop out to the vocal minority who don’t want to take responsibility for their kids and their education. This is patently unfair to most of our teachers who must deal with the woke ideology that is taking us down. Those that disagree with these new policies will have no alternative but to find a new way to keep structure in their kids lives through homeschooling, private or charter school education or other avenues. I’m ready to demand a refund of my tax dollars!
History, Culture, Social Contributions, and Civil Government in Education Commission Report
Submitted to: The Colorado Department of Education and the Social Studies Standards Revision Committee