American teens are a rich demographic for political investment. Their unassigned stem cells can mature into conservative wisdom or attach permanently to the free radicals that cause liberalism.
As an engineer, one of the most valued books in my personal library is How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer. The author briefly uses politics to illustrate his lesson on cognitive dissonance, “Once we identify with a political party, the world is edited so that it fits with our ideology.” Based on Lehrer’s research, advancing an effective appeal to high school age citizens could pay off over 70+ years of voting.
As a long term strategy beginning in the 1960s, the hard-left began seizing public school districts as captured territory. Their systemic routine goes like this: Unionize the teachers, collect dues far beyond what is necessary to cover union salaries, use the excess millions to fund campaigns that elect union sympathizers to the school board, negotiate collective bargaining agreements with the union loyalists on the school board, persuade the cooperative school board to withhold union dues from teachers’ paychecks, establish an isolated “progressive” education culture, rinse and repeat.
Colorado communities began to catch on to this hustle about five years ago as voters stepped up to displace incestuous school districts with community minded parents and business professionals to represent them on the board. The shot heard round the world was fired five years ago in Douglas County by community challengers with a war chest of $120,000. Their purse was matched by the union who eventually lost every seat in the newly awakened neighborhood.
The war spread to battles across Colorado in 2013, with more than $1 million expended by campaigns on each side. Unions brought in reinforcements from the ACLU, the Democratic Party, and Barack Obama’s campaign operatives. And across this brief history, the hard left grip on K12 has sustained tremendous losses at the ballot box and in the Colorado courts.
But the greatest casualty for Colorado’s liberal education establishment was the 2013 loss of majority control within Jefferson County’s school board. The unions cannot blame the Koch Brothers or any other outside influences for losing all three seats up for election last year. The conservative challengers spent less than $10,000 each as voters opted for reform in Colorado’s second largest school district. And the shocking defeat may very well have prompted the most shortsighted overreach since George Custer left his Gatling guns behind to uproot that “small Indian village” on the bank of the Little Bighorn.
Ever since losing their stronghold over Jefferson County, frustrated union operatives have made a habit of disrupting every public school board meeting, looking for any opportunity to sabotage the reforms being advanced by the newly elected members. Last week, the union distracters jumped at what they saw as a chance to embarrass the board. In response to a plan to reassess AP American history curricula, a group of disgruntled teachers incited students to join them in a walkout. The protest accuses the new board of censoring American history.
So over the course of a week, high school students across Jefferson County skipped classes to stand on street corners and hold signs in objection to the supposed revisionism being imposed by the school board. I believe that the union has unwittingly created the most marvelous invitation to plunge a wooden stake in the heart of liberal control over education. Conservatives should not miss this opportunity.
The protest signs being held by the altruistic students read:
- Teach us the truth
- Save American History
- We want facts; not opinions
- People didn’t die so we could erase them from history
- Educate; Not indoctrinate
- We want transparency
- My education is not your political agenda
- We love our teachers
Conservatives should openly, publicly and aggressively encourage Jefferson County students to continue pursuing truth in order to “Save American history.” Along with their concerns that America’s most shameful moments are being downplayed, the students should be assisted in discovering how many more truths have been removed by liberals as being inconvenient to their philosophies.
They may come to understand the actual meaning of the words, “a wall of separation between church and state,” written by a president who attended church every Sunday in the U.S. Capitol. They may learn which political party defended the practice of slavery and which one ended it. They may grow to understand which political philosophy creates a Dallas and which one creates a Detroit. Greater still, they may dislodge the censorship of intelligent design.
They may come to appreciate the horrifying heroism and the powerful kindness of the U.S. military. And by staring into the face of Nazism, students could realize the parallels that their generation will face from Islamofascim.
Students could actually become “educated, not indoctrinated”, on the liberating effects of free enterprise and the dispiriting consequences of government control. They may even come to realize the unfair cruelty of the IRS, the EPA, and Department of Labor.
And when it comes to transparency, well what luck. Students can become directly involved in Colorado’s current statewide debate on the topic by supporting Proposition 104, on the ballot this November. This law would require that negotiations between teachers union representatives and school boards administrations be open for anyone to attend and observe. Unions are fighting it because it exposes their conflicts of interest and just how much money they make.
“My education is not your political agenda.” This protest sign just may be my favorite. Education became political when teachers were sucked into the union’s web. The best way to accomplish the sentiment for this sign would be to disallow unions from participating in school board elections. The next good measure would be to restore decorum at the board meetings by restricting attendance to the citizens for whom they are intended. See my Townhall article on this topic HERE.
I am glad that you love your teachers, Jefferson County students. And those who stood tall in the classroom, rather than walking out on their responsibilities, love you as well. No doubt, you value fairness and hold respect for our Republic. Those new members of the Jefferson County Board of Education were elected by the residents to represent them in those positions. They are local citizens, just like you. Please interact with them as you would have them interact with you.