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Why did I run for the Board of Education? | Keep Newkirk for Jeffco Schools

Why did I run for the Board of Education?

Why would anyone seek a four-year, unpaid, contentious public service position where at any given moment someone is upset with you?  Let’s begin with a little background:

My Jeffco education prepared me for a wide variety of life options and I’m very grateful for this.  Over the past decade, however, things shifted in a way that had me concerned about the District’s direction and what this means for the next generation.  This shift has been both academic and cultural.

Academic Issues

Over 53% of recent Jeffco graduates were rated “Not Ready” for college and career in basic math, science, and reading skills.  In math, for example, the average Jeffco student has experienced decreased proficiency with each year in the system:

Jeffco-Math-TCAP-CDEYes, this means one out of two Jeffco graduates who began their K-12 journey at the dawn of the millennium were told they hadn’t been adequately prepared to compete in the 21st-century global marketplace.

This trend was verified by the American College Testing board (via the ACT test required by every Colorado high school student).  Despite increased spending, academic achievement has been flat year after year after year.

One of the candidates seeking to replace me calls these results “brilliant, not broken.”  I respectfully disagree.  We are Jeffco – and we can do better than this:



Cultural Issues

One of the casualties in this age of social media seems to be civil discourse. Here are a couple examples that compelled me to run in 2013. The language is pretty raw, so if you are offended – well, you should be. These are the people teaching our children.

Example 1:

My daughter’s 8th-grade history teacher creates a vulgar “eff-you” video disparaging Americans who hold beliefs other than his own and then posts it on his student Facebook page. The lyrics advocate harming those with whom one disagrees (e.g. “It’s people like you that need to get slew”). Feel free to draw your own conclusions:


Example 2:

My former middle school hosts an anti-energy industry event with no balanced rebuttal nor any acknowledgement of the $205 million contribution the industry made to Colorado’s much needed educational revenues that year:

I subsequently decided to run for a seat on the Board of Education, and despite filing relatively late in the game and being out-funded 10:1 by my union-endorsed opponent, I was elected by a wide margin.  I attribute this to the majority of Jeffco stakeholders agreeing that we can, in fact, do better than this.

After the election, my eyes were opened even further.  Imagine my surprise at the incivility demonstrated by so-called leaders within our District. While the rallying cry of the recall supporters is “Take Our Schools Back,” take a moment and ask yourself if you truly want to go back to the old way of doing things:


Student Achievement in Jeffco



Teachers Union President Calls Jeffco School Board Members “Bastards”



Threats Against Children of Colorado School Board Members



Jeffco PTA President: Will you teach me to shoot?


What the A.P. History fight in Colorado is really about


“A” is for Agitation in Jefferson County, Colorado



“Mean Girls” Attack Jeffco Board, Officials on Twitter

Our children deserve better than this.  Vote No on the recall.

Next: What we’ve accomplished so far

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