Jeffco Schools

Student protests continue for fifth day

Posted 9/24/14

And so it continues.

Sixteen of the district’s 17 neighborhood high schools have raised voices against a resolution to review the Advanced Placement U.S. …

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Jeffco Schools

Student protests continue for fifth day

Posted

Sixteen of Jeffco School's 17 high schools have raised voices against a resolution to review the Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) curriculum with the addition of Lakewood, Bear Creek and Columbine high schools walking out in protest. 

More than 500 students walked out of Lakewood High School today, with about 1,000 protesting up and down Kipling, Wadsworth and Bowles avenues. Chants of “Education not limitation” were heard, among cheers and hundreds of honking cars.

“I’m so impressed,” said Karen Novess, an onlooker and supporter of the protests. “I support them immensely, I support what they’re standing up for.”

Among the morning’s protestors, cyclists, neighbors, school and district officials watched as students elevated signs reading “American history or white history?” and “Education not indoctrination.”

“Hopefully the school board will notice and realize this is something none of us want,” said Lauren Zimmerman, a sophomore and APUSH student. “This is not an option.”

Protests began Friday, Sept. 19, following the absence of more than 50 teachers and closure of Conifer and Standley Lake high schools during a "sick out" Friday, Sept. 19. Protests began following a curriculum discussion at the Jefferson County School Board meeting on Sept. 18.

“Whether we agree or not, it’s their right to protest … but I do agree,” Novess said.

Since then, Jeffco Superintendent Dan McMinimee and board member Julie Williams have issued separate releases, explaining both the board process for resolutions and addressing the concerns.

“I must not have explained myself clearly. I thought everyone, or at least everyone involved in education understood the huge debate and controversy surrounding the new APUSH,” Williams wrote in her release. “To be accused of censorship? Seriously? That is just ridiculous. I am advocating for just the opposite.”

According to the release, her concerns stem around the exclusion of certain historical figures, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Thomas Jefferson, as well as key events such as the Boston Tea Party and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Upon review, the new nationwide curriculum framework does not list Martin Luther King Jr. specifically, but spends 15 percent of the course instruction time teaching the time period surrounding the Civil Rights Movement and mentions the movement frequently.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams are also mentioned once in the framework as examples for a long-essay question about the nature of the American Revolution.

After several attempts, Williams could not be reached for comment.

As of Thursday at noon, the resolution was not slated to be on the Oct. 2 board meeting agenda, but that could change. According to board policy, the board must receive the full agenda by the Friday prior to the meeting, but a member can add an agenda item for discussion at any time.

The board of education will have a regular business meeting at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 2, at the Jefferson County Education Center, 1829 Denver West Drive, in Golden.

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