You may recall the case of Republican Brian Watson, whose apparent failure to pay his taxes led to his defeat in a bid for the state legislature (HD-3) in 2012 and is now dragging on Rep. Mike Coffman's re-election bid in CD-6.
Watson lives in Greenwood Village, which is in Arapahoe County, but has apparently decided that Jefferson County needs his help to fix education problems that don't really exist — at least not in the manner in which he explains. Watson hosted a fundraiser at his home last night for a group called "Jeffco Students First," which is sort of a euphemism for "Vouchers for Jeffco Students First." The full invitation is after the jump, but here's the part that really jumped out at us:
Patricia and I are pleased to invite you to our home for a discussion about public education in Jefferson County where nearly 40% of students either don't graduate on time or are not prepared for college when they graduate.
This could be a laudable goal — if it had anything to do with, you know, facts and stuff. According to the Colorado Department of Education, Jefferson County's 2012 graduation rate was 81.4%, higher than the state average of 75.4%. Jefferson County graduation rates are also trending upward (79.1% in 2011 and 78.1% in 2010); it's worth noting that Jefferson County is also the largest school district in the state.
Well, what about dropout rates? Jefferson County's dropout rate in 2011-12 was 2%, which is the exact same as the Cherry Creek 5 School District surrounding Watson's home residence.
But what about the "Remediation Rate," or college readiness statistics? Maybe that explains Watson's figures? In a way, it does, since the new STATEWIDE report from the CDE shows a Remediation Rate of 40% (an increase in recent years attributed to a change in the way the CDE calculates these figures). Those numbers are not broken out by county, as far as we can tell, so there's no apparent way that Watson or anyone else could calculate that "nearly 40% of students either don't graduate on time or are not prepared for college when they graduate" from Jefferson County schools.
Maybe Watson mean to say that 40% of all Colorado students are not prepared for college, which would be accurate but irrelevant to a fundraiser for working on policy in Jefferson County Schools. Whatever Watson meant to do, perhaps he should just do it somewhere else — like, near where he actually lives, for starters.
I believe a great public education system assures the future of our Republic; too many students in Colorado are not provided the opportunity to achieve at levels that make them career and college ready so they can start companies, create opportunity, file patents, lead people, and protect our Freedoms.
Patricia and I are pleased to invite you to our home for a discussion about public education in Jefferson County where nearly 40% of students either don't graduate on time or are not prepared for college when they graduate. We hope you are able to join us, as we raise funds for Jeffco Students First, a 501(c)3 working to improve achievement, accountability and transparency in Jefferson County public schools. We look forward to seeing you at this special event!
We will be joined by Jeffco Students First Executive Director Sheila Atwell
for a brief discussion on what strategies work to improve public education.
Pete Coors • Robert Blackwell • Lynn Johnson • J. Christopher and Serri Robbins
John Newkirk • Les Burch • Terry Considine • Patricia and Brian Watson
Steve Schuck • Alex Cranberg
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Minimum Donation: $50 per person is requested
At the Home of Patricia and Brian Watson
[ADDRESS REDACTED VIA POLS], Greenwood Village, CO 80121
Kindly RSVP to info@jeffcostudentsfirst.
org. Please make checks payable to: JeffCo Students First.
Thank you for your time and support,