More Jeffco Students Protest History Proposal
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS/AP) - More Jefferson County high school students are protesting a proposal to emphasize patriotism in Advanced Placement history classes.
Students at Bear Creek High School in Lakewood protested Thursday in the fourth straight day of demonstrations. Meanwhile, superintendent Dan McMinimee met with students at Conifer and Chatfield high school about the issue, as he has done elsewhere this week.
Students are upset by the proposal, drafted by board member Julie Williams, that would form a committee to inspect curriculum in those advanced history classes. It would ensure teachers covered concepts like patriotism, the free-enterprise economy and respect for authority -- and eschewed subjects about civil disorder and social strife.
At Chatfield, students asked McMinimee questions about the plan in the school's auditorium.
"I think it's important that they know I am trying to listen to what they have to say. I need to go directly to the kids," McMinimee said. "That's why we are in the business -- for kids."
Students at Chatfield said they appreciated McMinimee's talking with them, but said he needs to take action to assuage their concerns.
"(His coming) did say he was willing to come out and work," student Scott Romano said. "But all it was was questions, and all it was was a chance to talk with him. There is no action being taken from what happened today besides just more questions being asked. And questions aren't actions."
Ken Witt, the president of the school board, said he thought portions of the proposal that are drawing criticism should be rethought.
"I think it's too specific and too pointed," he said. "In fact, we should be focused on the goal of having curriculum which provides a balanced and thorough presentation of the material."
A Chatfield student said Thursday she worries modifying history curriculum would snowball into changes in other classes.
"It is very concerning because it doesn't stop at history. It continues on to changing texts books to not include evolution, teaching students not how to think but what to think and that is what we don't want to happen here," student Ashlyn Maher said. "We understand nothing has happened yet but we want to make sure nothing does happen."
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McMinimee said he was disappointed some students felt his appearance at the schools was just a political maneuver.
Witt, a part of the conservative majority, told The Denver Post he supports the committee but wants to get rid of the description of what kind of materials are deemed appropriate.
Witt said he thinks students are being used as pawns by teachers, who are unhappy with the history proposal as well as a new pay plan.
A teacher told CBS4 Thursday she worries changing the curriculum would extinguish some perspectives.
"A democracy is messy. It's messy, it's a struggle. It requires your participation," said Stephanie Rossi, a history teacher at Wheat Ridge High School and the vice president of the Jefferson County Education Association. "It requires your voice. I didn't want anybody's voice to be chilled because we're afraid to talk about certain people in history who have in fact made our democracy a greater democracy."
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