- Colorado students walking out of class in protest of the Jefferson County Board of Education's proposed history curriculum changes are being used as pawns by teachers, according to the board's head, Ken Witt.
- Witt argues that the district's teachers are upset about a a new pay structure and that the history protests are really just part of a larger union plan for negotiations.
- The protests, which lasted all of last week, started after the Denver-area school board proposed narrowing history instruction to themes centered around citizenship, patriotism, and respect for authority.
According to students interviewed by the Associated Press, their teachers asked if they were going to protest after seeing an "event" on Facebook, but they never instructed the students to participate. So it sounds pretty student-motivated. In fact, when the board describes the students walking out as "pawns," they aren't giving their high school students enough credit. If they truly believed their students were critical thinkers, it wouldn't be hard to fathom students having an opinion and making subsequent moves. If the students are not informed enough about the board's history proposal and the walkouts are misinformed, that rests more on the board's communication abilities than any teachers.
According to one student interviewed by the Associated Press, the only reason she decided to protest was because she went to a meeting held by the board to answer questions about the new proposal and "officials couldn't offer any concrete answers about the future of the proposal."
Turning this into a union thing is probably not going to benefit anyone in the long run. But given how contentious unions are, it sounds like the board is trying to get some sympathy from the public.