Both Amendment 66, board vote 
were pocketbook issues for some

Well, another election cycle has come and gone, and now begins the analysis of what really happened and what it means.

Electoral decision-making is a fork in the road that has always been seen as fraught with the possibility of misadventure.

Literature is replete with examples of meeting the devil at a crossroads, and travelers assumed it was easy to have evil befall them because there is almost always an unfamiliar path and that can mean disaster.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of peril with the well trodden path, but people tend to cling to that one, which we saw in the Mesa County school district races, where the prevailing winds blew in candidates supported by the education establishment.

I have to say, the teachers’ union did a great job of organizing for this election. Its leaders and members just outhustled their opponents and projected a solid front for their candidates.

It paid off, for which they should be congratulated. I might have wished for a different result, but I can’t begrudge people the fruits of their labor.

I honestly felt pretty sure that one of the reform candidates would win, possibly even two. But I think, in hindsight, the union’s slate of candidates were so thoroughly locked together in their campaign and perception, that it paid off by dragging a weaker candidate along to victory with the others.

Whether the effort put into trying to elect reform candidates will translate into greater scrutiny of school board activities after the election is an open question. My best prediction is that it won’t.

For whatever reason, no matter how much everyone talks about the importance of the educational system, ultimately, it seems the feeling is, we have people to take care of it and that’s the end of the discussion. As commentator P.J. O’Rourke said, “Everyone wants to save the world but no one wants to help mom with the dishes.”

To many people, these smaller elections seem like interviewing someone to wash your car — not that glamorous or seemingly important. It’s not until someone ruins your paint job that you wish you had spent a little more time on the hiring process.

School board elections will always turn out one enthusiastic group and that’s people who work for the school district. While the rest of the voters are concerned with sort of fuzzy, high-minded ideas like “better results,” the school district employees get to vote for their bosses.

If that was the deal in your workplace, I bet you’d show up bright and early to vote, as well.

What was interesting to me was the fact that most of these same people voted to defeat Amendment 66, the class-warfare tax increase on the ballot that was supposedly going to go for schools or something, and, by golly, it was going to be great.

These results seem strange unless you realize that people voted with their pocketbook in both of those races.

The education lobby convinced employees and their families that if they elected reform candidates, they were doomed, while those with eyes in their head could read Amendment 66 and had a hard time seeing benefit, but they could easily see expense.

The interesting statistic in all of this is the under votes in the election — that is, people who voted in other parts of the election but didn’t mark anything for certain board seats or issues. A fairly consistent 11 percent of voters in the election didn’t vote for any school board candidate, but only about 7/10 of 1 percent of those voting chose not to cast a vote on Amendment 66, which was crushed.

It’s a fascinating example of how important it is for political operatives to clearly frame their points of view.

While Amendment 66 supporters were hazy on the details, opponents nailed their talking points of unclear purpose, loss of local control and an enormous tax increase.

On the Amendment 66 question, voters felt confident enough in their viewpoints to vote decisively and firmly, while in the school board election, a significant number of the electorate was unsure about the candidates and chose to do nothing.

Statewide, effectively framed conservative issues and candidates won — merely good intentions did not.

Rick Wagner writes more on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.


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PART 1. Well our little homeroom popularity contest is over for the school board, and I think Rick Wagner’s point about the under votes is right on the money.
To me the main point is that we get the government we deserve, which is one reason I despise cutesy triangulation duopoly politics.
I would hasten to make it clear that I have nothing personal against any of the candidates, winners or losers. (Actually, I am acquainted with one of the winners, like and respect him although I didn’t vote for him.) My “beef” is with a system I view as intellectually corrupt, my opinion being based partly on such books as “The Closing of the American Mind,” by Allan David Bloom; “Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling,” “The Underground History of American Education,” and “Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling,” by school choice activist John Taylor Gatto.
I agree with MVEA President Darren Cook’s opinion that “our strategy was better.” I couldn’t disagree more with his assessment that the idea of the public education (“public education” is an oxymoron) system being broken is a “myth”.
One example of what I’m talking about is: now the election is over, so we can go right back to teaching kids the Warren Commission’s lie that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin of JFK, when he was on the second floor eating lunch and paraffin tests prove that he had not fired a rifle. Before he was murdered by LBJ man Jack Ruby, Oswald himself is reported to have said, “I’m a patsy, I didn’t shoot anybody.” The kids will not be taught the type of information contained in the likes of “Who Really Killed Kennedy?: 50 Years Later: Stunning New Revelations About the JFK Assassination,” by Jerome R. Corsi and “The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ,” by Roger Stone. And although humans have enough raw brain power that by the time they graduate from high school kids could be taught what hedge fund managers know about how to keep their labor from being stolen by wannabe-clever manipulators, public school kids will not be taught that. They will not be taught how to be intellectually curious, self-owning and financially independent. They will be taught how to be good little obedient cogs in a neo-feudalistic globalist corporate fascist wheel. They will be taught how to make change in fast food stores for minimum wage.

PART 2. I would like to dispell once and for all the ridiculous propagandistic notion that public school teachers care any more about children or education than anybody else. They don’t. We all love God, mom, apple pie, old dogs, watermelon wine and children. So let’s knock off the cutesy rhetorical manipulations.
I believe local reformers lost because they weren’t sufficiently clear and convincing in their message as to exactly why reform is needed. “Children testing low” is too vague. The reform candidates did not bother to explain the mechanics (maybe they don’t understand them) as to exactly why school choice is far more beneficial to the real-life education of students than the teachers’-union-controlled status quo. And let’s don’t be naive here. Teachers unions are about benefiting teachers, NOT children. That’s not a slap at teacher, all unions are by definition designed and intended to benefit their memberships over other considerations. That’s just the mechanics of the beast, not an ad hominem condemnation.
As a former executive board member of a statewide blue-collar union, I can bear first hand testimony to the fact unions are a microcosm of corrupt government. They are governed by inherently evil and inevitably corrupting One-Ring politics just the same as the fear-mongering, cover-up-corruption national governments are. If unions were honest — they aren’t — organized labor could long ago have owned their own banks, hospitals, universities and libraries. They aren’t honest, so they don’t have those things. End of story.
The one demographic I would like to take a rhetorical “shot” at is the Economics-101-challenged simpletons who believe all of life’s problems can be solved by a big enough raise and the taxpayers being willing to shell out more bucks. They tend to be too ignorant to understand the suicidally destructive effect on all civilized human societies which a fraudulent criminal global debt-as-money oligarchy has. Of course all governments love to create money out of thin air because that gives them power over all other aspects of society, including buying political candidates and elections. The real-life problem with that is that China, Russia, India and others are tired of America’s dollar being the world reserve currency. A currency war has already begun which will reduce the United State to second-rate nation status. The kids aren’t being taught the truth about Economics-101, Politics-101 and Constitution-101, so they will suffer from the ignorance and manipulativeness of those who pretend to “care” about them most.
I believe the local reform candidates lost partly because they refuse to speak clearly to those issues. More’s the pity.

When I went to school, My parents taxes paid for almost everything from the bus ride to after school sports, art and music programs. If there were any additional fees,(lunch ticket money etc.) they were only a few dollars. The most expensive thing my parents paid out-of-pocket for were school pictures and my class rings.

Today, high fees are being charged to join most after school activities, bus service has been cut to unsafe levels, and many programs have been cut due to so called “Lack of Funding”

How did our tax dollars become so grossly mis-managed?

Quite frankly, I think the system needs to get their house in order before asking the taxpayers to dig deeper in their pockets.

John, head for anger management classes.  Obviously you know nothing about schools nor why a teachers association even exists.  To blurt out a teacher does not have a kids interest first is plain ignorance on your part!

To further think that a restaurant owner should be able to dictate a curriculum over trained professionals who spend hundreds of hours weighing the pros and cons of any certain curriculum is ludicrous.

Votes for people who have an understanding of education and what it entails is only prudent rather than follow the political or personal whims of lay people who think they are going to change the world.  As for the statement about education is broken he is exactly right.  There are thousands of people who get a great education in the public school systems, maybe you’re even one of them, who can attest that their experience was great.

Given the challenge of educating all who walk through the doors educators do a damn good job!  About time they quit taking a butt kicking from those who constantly criticize but never offer reasonable solutions.  Reform is not about salary schedules and curriculum .  It is about teaching techniques and technology and that takes money and training and equipment.  With some $30 million in cuts it doesn’t add up that much can change so wad up your losing ballot and add some positive solutions.  Start by visiting some schools!

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