A School Crisis in Colorado: Left-Right Rumble Misses the Real Enemy

Now the fact of the matter is that this horrible stuff did not come from the Jeffco board. It came from the state and federal educational bureaucracies, both of which are controlled by the union’s liberal allies. The board must bear some responsibility too, however, because even though it didn’t invent this very Progressive wrecking operation against the public schools, it has chosen to go gleefully along with it. Instead of engaging in a left-right food fight with the teachers, the allegedly conservative board could and should have made common cause with them on this vital issue. But they did not, and as they have now outflanked the teachers far to the left in their support of educrat madness, really do deserve to be thrown out.

There is a broader lesson in this for conservatives. There are three million teachers in this country, comprising close to two percent of the total electorate. They need not be our enemies. While teachers in general tend to lean liberal on most issues, across the nation they are being forcefully oppressed by the domineering central planners of the Progressive agenda. There is common ground to be found, and an opportunity to show classroom teachers that they could have much better friends elsewhere than those their leaders are in bed with currently.

But returning to the subject of the mass exodus from Jeffco schools; while the board may deserve to be taken to task for its failure to take a stand, it is the state and federal level bureaucrats and corporate education profiteers who are the ultimate sponsors of this mess -- whose ramifications go far beyond Jefferson County. They must be held to account.

Clearly the situation merits an investigation. Governor Hickenlooper says he is a great supporter of public education. If so, he should form a blue ribbon commission – independent of the state education bureaucracy – to look into the matter. Rank and file teachers should be invited to testify as to why they are quitting. Let’s bring all the facts to light, and put blame where it truly belongs. Yes, there certainly are differences between the reform agenda and traditional educational ideas, and they will inevitably cause friction. But there is a monster in the room that threatens both – Fed Ed. It needs to be called out, exposed, and rebuffed. There is nothing conservative about destroying the public school system. There is nothing progressive (small p) about it either. Let the chips fall where they may. We need to get this problem fixed.

— Dr. Robert Zubrin is president of Pioneer Energy, a senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy, and a resident of Jefferson County for the past 25 years. The paperback edition of his latest book, Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism, was recently published by Encounter Books.