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Erick Erickson is sad.  Or mad.  I can't tell.  We'll just call it "smad" to make it easier.

Why is he smad?  Because the Common Core-based math book his third-grade daughter brought home contains four different ways to understand subtraction.

Here's the page out of her textbook that he's smad about:

Run!  It's maths!
What in the world is wrong with that page?  Well, according to Mr. Erickson:
The picture above is from my third grade daughter’s math book. This is the only page that explains that method for subtraction. There are, for the record, four ways to subtract that my third grader must learn.

This is the only page explaining that method. This is the only example. The very next page goes to arrays. The page after that goes to multiplication. This is it.

The traditional method of subtracting, borrowing and carrying numbers, is derisively called the “Granny Method.” The new method makes no freaking sense to either my third grader or my wife.

Let's unpack this smadness below.
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Talk about tone deaf...

GOLDEN, Colo. - Three conservative Jefferson school board members voted to approve a curriculum review committee Thursday night with a compromise of including students and parents against the fierce opposition of the two other board members.

Opponents in the packed room booed and chanted, "Recall! Recall!"

The boards' conservative majority -- Ken Witt, Julie Williams and John Newkirk -- passed the resolution against the opposition of Jill Fellman and Lesley Dahlkemper.

See my previous diary for background information.

I'm on my way to bed, but I will update in the morning with community reaction.

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Student protests continue across Jefferson County, Colorado.  In fact, now parents have joined in the protest.  We're even making news across the pond.

In the midst of board members appearing on both local and national television to falsely and negligently accuse teachers of using students as pawns, the College Board, creator and administrator of the Advanced Placement US History course structure and test, has issued a statement in support of students and teachers.

If the Board chooses to "review" the AP Curriculum, the College Board will pull the AP designation from the course.  No designation, no test, no college credit.  If that's not a giant FU to the board, I don't know what is.

This board is not concerned with student success or quality of education.  They are only concerned with their political agenda.

UPDATE: Board President Ken Witt's response:

(Apologies for the small, blurry pictures.  I'm pulling these from Twitter.)
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Mon Sep 22, 2014 at 08:32 AM PDT

JeffCo School Followup

by djrez

A quick post this morning to follow up on last Friday's diary about how the School Board in Jefferson County, Colorado wanted to eliminate Advanced Placement US History.

All schools are open today.  Teachers did not have a second "sick-out."

As Lucy Montrose pointed out in the comments to Friday's diary, the Denver Post's Politics Editor, Chuck Plunkett, swings a bit right.  That said, the Post published an editorial on Friday at 1pm which, given the paper's slant, could be characterized as excoriating.  

Whatever their purpose, the guidelines, if adopted, would give the impression that the board seeks a narrow, upbeat and even propagandistic curriculum instead of the broad and even-handed approach that is best.

The pursuit of a first-rate curriculum by the district is a worthy goal. If the board wants to appoint a committee to examine current offerings, so be it. But don't taint the process with language that hints at an ulterior and non-academic agenda.

That's about as good as we're going to get from the Post.  If the Rocky Mountain News was still around, they would have slammed JeffCo.

Thank you all, again, for your comments, Facebook likes, and tweets.  I'm told the diary made a quick appearance on the JeffCo Schools Facebook page before being removed.

Jefferson County includes seven house districts - 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, and 29.  Wade Norris is running against a Tea Party candidate in HD 27.  Janet Doyle is running against another Tea Party candidate in my own HD 25.  Please support them.

Finally, as to recall efforts:  The chances of a successful recall are always slim, especially when dealing with a school board.  Although Colorado recently recalled two state senators, I don't think the board has implemented any policies that rise to the passion-level that comes with firearms regulation.  I'm still ready to run in the next election, but only if I can displace a conservative candidate or replace a reasonable one who chooses to retire.

Standley Lake High School students take to the street with signs showing support for their teachers and a quality education. (Love the Jay-Z reference!)
Last year, a slate of conservative candidates, supported by Americans for Prosperity, took over the majority of the Jefferson County School Board.  Since then, they've followed the same playbook they used in Douglas County - alienating teachers, cutting pay and benefits, eliminating steps (annual raises based on experience), and eliminated pay increases for advanced degrees.  The playbook works well - conservatives across the country have demonized teachers enough that when teachers complain about pay and benefits, they receive little sympathy.

This week, however, the conservative board took it one step too far.

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Tue Nov 01, 2011 at 09:16 PM PDT

Thanks, GOP

by djrez

Last election, the national GOP, for the first time, spent party money in local school board elections in Colorado.  As a result, the board was populated by school choice and voucher advocates.

Tonight, last year's spending paid off.  The school board put forth what can't even be considered a half-assed effort to pass a bond/mill levy to maintain school funding in the county.  It, predictably, failed to pass.

I'm trying, with much difficulty, to maintain a bit of objectivity as I write this, because it's very personal.  The bond's failure means that my wife, along with every other elementary art, music, and PE teacher and every elementary librarian will lose their jobs at the end of the year.

EDIT - (I'm sorry that this isn't organized well and that it devolved into a cuss-fest at the end.  Feel free to skip the last three paragraphs.)

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Thu Sep 01, 2011 at 10:47 AM PDT

501(c)4 Organizations

by djrez

This post was written by our summer intern, Christopher Stanko.  Chris is currently a second-year JD/Masters of Accounting candidate at the University of Colorado Law School and Leeds School of Business.

IRC 501(c)4 organizations are tax-exempt, nonprofit associations or corporations.  They have historically been social welfare organizations, civic leagues, and local associations of employees.  For example, many HOAs and veteran's groups are 501(c)4.  However, 501(c)4 organizations have been used lately as lobbying and political campaign tools.  

(Originally posted at D. J. Marcus's Law Blog)

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Thu Feb 03, 2011 at 04:54 PM PST

Section 9006 Repealed

by djrez

After a mention by President in the State of the Union Address, last week, the Senate has finally passed an amendment to repeal Section 9006 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Since the PPACA originally passed, last year, the small business community has been in an uproar over the perceived increase in paperwork that the new 1099 reporting requirements created for them.  When I originally wrote about the new 1099 reporting requirements, back in May of last year, the post went semi-viral.  I actually received hate mail!

Originally posted on D. J. Marcus's Law Blog

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Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 07:48 PM PST

Tuesday Office Soundtrack - 12/14/10

by djrez

I've been writing a weekly series about music for the past three weeks.  Until this week, it had nothing to do with the law.  Now, that trend is over!  

I spent a lot of the day out of the office, meeting with clients, but there was still a chance to enjoy an album or two.  Today's big listen was Girl Talk's new release, All Day - available as a free download.  I've been exploring it for a couple of weeks, now, but really had a good opportunity to pay attention to it today while driving around.

Originally posted at D. J. Marcus's Law Blog.

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Normally, the IRS will grant tax-exempt, 501(c)3 status to non-profit organizations that serve an educational purpose.  Such an organization can usually expect to wait around six months for status to be granted (or denied).  The regulatory scheme is set up so that organizations must meet certain tests to obtain exempt status.

If one is to take the current federal court case between Z-Street and the IRS at face value, it seems that under some specific circumstances, the IRS is escalating certain tax-exempt petitions because of the political beliefs of the organization.  Not to be an alarmist, but this brings to mind, for me, the famous Niemöller quote: "First they came for..."  Though I’m not a Zionist by any means, I am concerned about this alleged viewpoint discrimination with regard to the tax exempt status petitions of non-profit organizations and the chilling effect it could have on free speech and educational non-profits.

Originally posted at D. J. Marcus's Law Blog

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The following is a list of tax provisions that will expire or are expected to expire at the end of the year if Congress does nothing to extend them.  They include the provisions of the Bush Tax Cuts that have been in the news so much, recently, as well as some of the Obama Stimulus provisions.  Some provisions actually expired at the end of 2009, but Congress will probably extend them retroactively to include at least the 2010 tax year.

Originally posted at D. J. Marcus's Law Blog

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Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 10:40 AM PST

EFTPS Phishing scam

by djrez

People and companies have been receiving emails, purporting to be from the IRS, stating that their EFTPS Electronic Federal Tax Payment System – or EFTPS – payments have been rejected.

Color me shocked, but phishing artists have come up with another way to scam people out of their money.  Some of the emails tell the recipient that the "company code" was entered incorrectly.  Others mention that the IRS couldn’t process the payment because the taxpayer made it on a holiday.  Despite periodic allegations of neanderthalism from irate taxpayers, the IRS is surprisingly competent at receiving your money, even when you make the payment on a holiday or weekend.

So, what do you do if you receive one of these emails?

Originally posted at D. J. Marcus's Law Blog

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