Dear Commons Community,
The Jefferson County School Board controversy is turning Republicans to vote Democratic in upcoming elections. The controversy began last November, when three conservative candidates for county school board swept into office, establishing a majority on the five-person board. The newly-elected board members hired their own attorney and proceeded to clash with teachers and parents over issues such as pay, charter schools and kindergarten expansion. The move that garnered the most national attention, however, was a proposal for a new Advanced Placement U.S. history curriculum that would de-emphasize civil disobedience and disorder while emphasizing patriotism, citizenship and “respect for authority.” To protest the proposal, thousands of students left their classrooms and held demonstrations in solidarity with their teachers, who called in sick. However, parents are now fed up with the three members of the Board. As reported in The Huffington Post:
“For the first time in my life, I will probably vote a straight Democratic ticket.”
That realization came as something of a surprise to non-practicing attorney Wendy McCord, who has always thought of herself as a Republican. The mother of two children in Jefferson County’s public school system, McCord told The Huffington Post that she has been politically transformed by the actions of the new conservative majority on the county school board, which presides over the state’s second-largest school district…
Here in Jefferson County, a bellwether battleground that is almost evenly split between Republicans, Democrats and independents, a local educational controversy is resonating with county voters who otherwise might not have been engaged in this year’s elections. Frustrated Republicans like McCord could be the deciding votes in Colorado’s gubernatorial race, in which Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) faces a strong challenge from former Rep. Bob Beauprez (R), as well as its Senate race, in which Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is in danger of being unseated by Republican challenger Rep. Cory Gardner.
“Seeing how the narrow-minded, very focused agenda of the three people who got elected to the school board and now can do pretty much whatever they want, it has made me much more attuned with what’s going on with many of the political races,” McCord said. “I consider myself generally conservative but to have people with such extreme views running the show has been really frightening.”
What is really frightening is that there are more than a few like-minded extremists who are running the Republican Party in the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C.