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More on the Easley Recall

January 31, 2011
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This past week was an important one for community members backing the movement to recall DPS Board President Nate Easley. The recall petition was approved last Wednesday, and this past weekend volunteer petition gatherers began canvassing to collect the first of the 5,363 signatures that will be necessary to put a recall question on the November ballot.

Before gathering signatures, community members spoke about why they believe a recall is necessary:

HuffPost blogger and Denver education advocate Christopher Scott laid out more of the issues that haven’t been unpacked in the Denver Post:

Unlike the attempt to recall Merida, the community of NE Denver seems to be energized around getting rid of Easley. Their reasoning is pretty simple: because of a personal conflict of interest, Easley does not represent his constituents effectively.

The issue of conflicts of interest is at the forefront of Colorado politics at the moment, what with the controversy surrounding recently elected Secretary of State Scott Gessler. Upon taking office, Gessler decided that his government paycheck would not allow him to adequately provide for his family. So, like any good Republican, Gessler will keep a part time job as an attorney practicing election law.

Easley’s plight is similar, except that school board representatives do not get paid. Easley works as the Deputy Director of the Denver Scholarship Foundation, an organization intimately associated with the Denver school system. In fact, District superintendent Tom Boasberg has an active leadership role on the foundation, as does Boasberg’s closet school board associate, Theresa Peña. Together, Boasberg and Pena could exert tremendous professional pressure on Easley, who needs a paying job to feed his family.

And Denver progressive and DailyKos contributor Wade Norris also wrote about the events unfolding here, putting the recall in the context of what has been happening in Denver’s school politics scene, and how it relates to the national school “reform” movement.

Across our Nation, parents and educators are fighting against top down plans implemented by Sec. of Education Arne Duncan such as ‘Race to the Top’ and sudden school closings and teacher lay offs.

Now, a line in the sand is being drawn on this issue in Denver, Colorado as a recall effort has been mounted against School Board Member Nate Easley – specifically over his conflict of interest in employment and neglecting to listen and meet with concerned parents of Northeast Denver.

This recall will pit grassroots organizers against the ‘reforms’ that close schools from this administration and its Sec. of Education, Arne Duncan and will be the example to other boards who want to stop these reforms.

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