As teachers in Jefferson County Colorado called in sick prompting classes to be cancelled, the Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bob Beauprez remained steadfast in his call for a “Teacher’s Bill of Rights.”
In radio interviews and campaign stops, grassroots activists report that Beauprez repeatedly mentions a Teacher’s Bill of Rights, but has yet to give specifics. In a May 3, 2014 radio interview, Beauprez offered a few extra details when he said, “We also need to give teachers the flexibility to control their own classroom to deal with problem kids and problem parents so that they can teach.”
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Many parents question why teachers need a bill of rights when they have the union to go to bat for them. Others have expressed concern that it might make teachers a protected species, while further eroding the rights of parents.
In the age of the fight for parental rights, the idea of a Teachers Bill of Rights has some parents fuming—especially with Common Core thrown into the mix and reports from around the country of parents being bullied when refusing Common Core aligned standardized testing. And that includes Beauprez’ home state of Colorado.
Last school year, Moffat County Colorado parent Kindra Jazwick risked truancy charges for refusing the TCAP and CMAS tests for her children. The administration at Craig Middle School refused admittance into the school building during the entire testing window and refused to count those days as excused absences. According to Jazwick, the truancy paperwork was drawn up and shown to her by the principal, but was never filed. However, the saga continued as the school tried to give her children failing grades over the unexcused absences—even though she took her children to school everyday during the test window only to be denied entry.
Meanwhile across the state in Fremont County, Heidi Wolfgang reported that her daughter was forced to take the TCAP last year, despite her refusal letter. Upon receipt of the refusal, administration at Canon City Middle School threatened to expel her daughter. Under threats of expulsion, Wolfgang finally agreed to the testing which was then scheduled for a time in which her daughter took the test in seclusion. She states that her daughter felt especially intimidated because a number of teachers stayed with her in the room to ensure that she completed the test. Both Jazwick and Wolfgang have since withdrew their children from public school because of the bullying tactics and disregard for parental rights.
In activist circles, voters question whether Beauprez is in touch with what is happening on the ground or if accounts like those of Jazwick and Wolfgang are not worthy of his attention.
Beauprez continued to promote a Teacher’s Bill of Rights in a September 3rd Common Core Webinar. However, Beauprez’ handlers refused to ask the gubernatorial candidate, “Who is the problem parent?” The question had been submitted by more than one Webinar attendee. Several “stop common core” activists came forward after the Webinar calling it “a waste of time” that consisted of mostly talking points.
Rather than outlining a detailed policy on a Teacher’s Bill of Rights, Beauprez leaves moms and dads across the state wondering if the problem parents might be those who choose to exercise their parental rights. Refusing standardized testing, opting children out of sex education class, or demanding alternative reading options should a book contain inappropriate material could potentially label a mother or father as a problem parent.
According to education activist Anita Stapleton, she would be considered a problem parent in today’s times as she fights Common Core and all its mandates. Stapleton states that she had been reaching out to the Beauprez campaign without success to get clarification on the issue. Stapleton said, “I want Beauprez to tell us what he means by a Teacher’s Bill of Rights. What does the Teacher’s Bill of Rights entail? Define the problem parent. Would he develop a Parental Bill of Rights for public school parents and what would that entail? And how would he do either when the state Constitution restricts the executive branch from dictating education mandates?”
As Beauprez refuses to answer these questions, moms like Jazwick and Wolfgang are left to wonder if they too might be considered problem parents.