DENVER – The Colorado Women’s Alliance launched an ad campaign Tuesday to counter union attacks on the Douglas County School District which implemented reforms that included directing taxpayer money to classroom teachers – instead of paying labor leader salaries.
“Women in Colorado are talking,” said Debbie Brown, executive director of Colorado Women’s Alliance, formed last year to promote education and advocacy on issues that concern women — including quality public education.
“Parents, teachers and leaders in Douglas County love the bold reforms and positive results they are seeing for students in Douglas County schools,” said Brown.
The three video profiles feature Tiffiny Vaughn, a middle school teacher; Pam Mazanec, a member of the State Board of Education; and Francine Thompson, a mother of schoolchildren.
“These women believe Douglas County has the best school district in the nation – and that’s not by accident,” said Brown.
The school district, she said, has achieved high marks because the school board, superintendent, teachers and parents united in an effort to invest in the future of their students, from reducing class size to creating incentives to reach high education standards.
“Money that used to be siphoned off for the unions is back in the school district making the classroom experience better for children,” said Brown.
Redirecting money from labor organizers to the classrooms set off an anti-school board campaign by members of the teachers’ union.
An attack in early June claimed teachers were making a mass exodus from the Douglas County School District. John Kissingford and Carlye Holladay, both teachers’ union members, told KUSA-9News that educators felt “undervalued, unappreciated, and they were looking for other options.”
“What’s really at issue here though is that we took money away from the union and we’re giving it directly to teachers,” countered Douglas County School Board President John Carson. “We’re not paying union officers’ salaries anymore with taxpayer dollars.”
The Douglas County School District has averaged a 10 percent turnover of teachers – a rate that is in line with Littleton, Cherry Creek and Boulder’s attrition rate. The rate has been closer to 20 percent in Denver and Aurora school districts.
According to the results of the Colorado TELL survey (Teaching, Empowering, Leading & Learning), 80 percent of Douglas County teachers strongly agreed that “school leadership consistently supports teachers,” and 87 percent said “school leadership communicates clear expectations to students and parents.”
Douglas County School District ranks among the highest in the state for TCAP scores – in grades 3-10, 80 percent of students were proficient or advanced in reading, and 70 percent earned proficient scores in math.
The first of the Colorado Women’s Alliance spots is embedded below.