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Parents and educators in Douglas County, Colorado, opposed to corporate reform were pleased by the resignation of the superintendent, who has accepted a position in the schools of Humble, Texas.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Superintendent Fagen’s Resignation a Victory for the Community; More Work Remains to Reclaim the Douglas County School District
After years of calling for the removal of Dr. Elizabeth Fagen as the District’s superintendent, students, parents, and teachers of Douglas County are celebrating the departure of the state’s most controversial school district leader. Community members have long attributed the district’s hostile environment to Dr. Fagen and her divisive methods for implementing policies set by the elected school board. Frustrated that their concerns have been largely ignored by the school board, parents responded with a spontaneous social media campaign started in May 2013 using the hash tag #FireFagen. A petition asking for Dr. Fagen’s removal has grown to nearly 1,500 signatures. [click here for the change.org petition]
Dr. Fagen was hired by the Douglas County Board of Education in 2010. The superintendent is hired to ensure the accomplishment of the Board of Education’s goals and vision for the District. These policies have resulted in a marked increase in teacher turnover, multiple lawsuits for an unconstitutional voucher program, and a flawed pay for performance system.
While we are pleased with Dr. Fagen’s departure, Directors Silverthorn and Reynolds are unfit to represent the Douglas County School District, as evidenced by their recent treatment of high school student Grace Davis during a private meeting where they unsuccessfully attempted to dissuade Ms. Davis from holding a student protest criticizing the board’s anti-teacher policies. Ms. Davis’ parents were not notified in advance that their daughter would be interrogated for 90 minutes by the directors. Ms. Reynold’s unethical behavior led to her suspension and subsequent resignation from a volunteer position with the Girl Scouts. Both are currently under a third-party investigation regarding this matter; results of the investigation are scheduled to be released at the June 21 board meeting.
Amy DeValk, co-founder of Voices for Public Education (Voices), questions why the District would hold itself to a lower standard than the Girl Scouts of Colorado. “It is clear the Girl Scouts, a respected national organization, took the complaints against Reynolds seriously when they suspended her from volunteer activities, from which she later resigned. Why hasn’t the District taken any action to protect the students of Douglas County School District? Their threatening behavior towards Ms. Davis is indefensible, and any result of the investigation that does not call for the immediate resignation of Directors Silverthorn and Reynolds will be seen by parents as invalid. We will not allow this to be swept under the rug.”
Stefanie Fuhr, co-founder of Voices wants the people who are truly responsible for conditions in the district to be held accountable. “We recognize that Dr. Fagen was only a symptom of a larger problem. With Dr. Fagen’s removal, our community can now get back to the business of supporting Ms. Davis and every other student in the district. Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, Directors Silverthorn and Reynolds must resign from the board immediately so our community can heal and focus on what matters most for kids.”
Voices initiated an initial email campaign on April 21 demanding the immediate resignation of Directors Silverthorn and Reynolds. That campaign resulted in over 385 requests from the community to the school board for the resignation of Silverthorn and Reynolds. A second campaign will be launched requesting the board hold the two directors to a high ethical standard and demanding their resignations.
About Voices for Public Education
Voices for Public Education is dedicated to educating the community to empower to act and take back our public schools.
We educate by:
• Bringing in national education experts to discuss education reform and offer alternatives
• Building personal relationships to tell our story
• Supporting other community groups fighting education reform
We empower by:
• Working with our school communities to develop actions to take back our schools
• Giving teachers, parents, students and community members a voice in decision-making
We act by:
• Creating actions for both quick “wins” and long term goals
• Providing the resources and information for people to take individual actions
• Partnering with and supporting other grassroots organizations
Visit https://www.facebook.com/VoicesForPublicEducation/?fref=ts for more information.