“We Are Not Pawns”

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Posted Tue, Oct 14, 2014

 6-year old Aubrey Magid attended the meeting to stand up for her teachers. This issue is important to her because she likes school. [Photo by Rochelle Ball]

6-year old Aubrey Magid attended the meeting to stand up for her teachers. This issue is important to her because she likes school. [Photo by Rochelle Ball]

GOLDEN, Colo. – Parents, politicians, teachers and students of all grade levels gathered on Oct. 2 at the Jefferson County Public Schools building to protest the proposed changes to the Advanced Placement US History curriculum during a school board meeting.

Hundreds of people who opposed the changes arrived at the administrative buildings hours before the school board meeting. The normal overflow area was

at capacity, forcing the nearly 300 not admitted to listen to the meeting in a field outside the buildings.

This regularly scheduled school board meeting follows walk-out and sick-out protests in district high schools, prompting numerous schools to cancel classes due to absenteeism.

The protests began after a conservative-majority school board planned to create a new committee to review curriculum in an effort to challenge the curriculum set by College Board, the organization that maintains standards in AP classes.

According to Julie Williams, a member of the Jeffco School Board and the leader of the proposed committee, the changes would “present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage”, as well as to “promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system.”

“It’s very stressful on our teachers,” said Richard Yardberry, whose wife is a Jeffco teacher and son is a Jeffco student. “We need to make it easier on them, letting them focus on teaching rather than politics.”

Courtney Smith, a teacher in Douglas County, said teachers in her district are attending meetings and protests in support and solidarity for JeffCo teachers. “We’ve been in the same spot for five years. [Efforts to] destroy public educations are expanding.”

The topic of future generation’s education didn’t just impact parents and educators; infants in stroller’s donned signs that said “Future JeffCo Kid” and elementary-aged students wore shirts that read “JeffCo Rebel.”

Ryan Martinez, a 7th grader at JeffCo Open School in Lakewood, was stands up for his own education, saying he deserves an education that matters. (Photo credit: Rochelle Ball)

Ryan Martinez, a 7th grader at JeffCo Open School in Lakewood, was stands up for his own education, saying he deserves an education that matters. [Photo credit: Rochelle Ball]

Ryan Martinez, a 7th grader at JeffCo Open School in Lakewood, was standing up for his own education. “I want an education that goes in depth,” Martinez said. “Everyone should be able to have a history that matters.”

Another protestor, 6-year old Aubrey Magid, attended the meeting to stand up for her teachers. Her reason? “I like school!”

“We wonder what in the heck happened, what’s going on?” said Jane Goff, representative of the 7th Congressional District of the State Board of Education, who’s currently campaigning to keep her seat. “I was a teacher before… I graduated from Jefferson [High School]. I spent 35 years in this district. It’s close to home. It’s something I can’t get over.”

To a group of 11 graduating seniors from five area high schools, the issue doesn’t affect them, but for future siblings and eventually children that may be JeffCo kids, they voiced their concern. The students gathered in front of the building where the meeting was in session and chanted “we are not pawns”, and didn’t stand down when supporters of the proposed changes were face-to-face with them.

When they were asked why they did it, one student replied “there is a time and a place for disobedience, and that time is now.”

Despite appeals from democrats and republican to repeal the proposed committee, the vote passed 3-2.

6 Responses to ““We Are Not Pawns””

  1. Joseph Says:

    I like how you used one of your quotes as your headliner. You also captured great pictures that went with your story too.

    Reply

  2. Emily Says:

    Great story. Very informative and gave a great view of what the students and parents were going through. The only thing I would suggest is getting quotes also from those that were in favor of the measure.

    Reply

  3. Aaron Lambert Says:

    Very well reported and written story! You captured compelling quotes from some of the people there that really paint a picture of how they’re felling about this issue. Kudos on the photos, too! Great job!

    Reply

  4. Brandyn Says:

    Really nice article. I liked how you ended the story with what happened. You should consider writing a follow up story too.

    Reply

  5. Kelsey Hammond Says:

    I really like all the quotes. They make the article flow better and easy to relate to. The photos are great as well. I like how the at the end you told us the result too.

    Reply

  6. Irma Laliashvili Says:

    Very well written article, Rochelle. I like the photos that you captured and the quotes that you used. Great job!

    Reply

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