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Koler: Conservative Voters, Shame

After giving the victors in the Coeur d'Alene School Board elections unenthusiastic congratulations, Duncan Koler of Citizens for Better Education writes in a Coeur d'Alene Press letter to the editor:

"To the thousands of conservative voters who did not vote — shame on you. You have likely prevented real conservative changes from being made in our schools, to improve academics, restore acceptable standards of behavior and preserve local control. You can expect a supplemental tax levy as a reward for your lack of commitment. We will continue to fight for our students and the taxpayers. Anything short of excellence in academics and the most value for our taxes is unacceptable. We have a long way to go to improve academics. But as to budgeting, it is fortunate for the incoming trustees that the board and Mr. Wardell have made great strides over the past year. Don’t mess it up!" More here.

Question: And when did Mr. Koler move to the Coeur d'Alene area — and begin trying to fix our education system?

Cyber Petition Targets Common Core

Concern over an educational effort known as Common Core has gained momentum lately, and now a petition is circulating opposing it. Among opponents' concerns: Fear of "nationalization" of Idaho education, involvement of federal dollars, and the sharing of personal student data. The goal of Common Core is to elevate and align education benchmarks nationwide, providing clear educational standards in English language arts and math for kindergarten-to-12th-grade students. Duncan Koler (pictured earlier this month speaking to local GOP women), an activist who worked long and hard to rid Coeur d'Alene schools of IB, the International Baccalaureate Organization's education programs, didn't sponsor the petition. But he has signed it. His primary concern with Common Core is what he sees as a loss of local control of education/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Are you concerned re: the Common Core movement? Do you even know what it is?

Koler Targets School Elections Again

If I'm reading the tea leaves correctly, the Kootenai County Republican Women are already on board in support of appointed Coeur d'Alene School Board Trustees Ann Seddon and Brent Regan — and candidate Bjorn Handeen. On the Republican Women Web site, Duncan Koler of Citizens for Better Education (CBE), which was instrumental in the elections of Trustees Tom Hamilton and Terri Seymour, is calling for help in supporting these candidates. Koler wants ground troops to begin walking precincts as early as April 6. Quoth Koler: "We need to be super-organized because the liberal opposition is fully mobilized. Both sides view this as a critical election." You can read the rest of the post here.

Question: Are you happy with the work of the current Coeur d'Alene School Board?

Koler Slams Press PYP Editorial

Duncan Koler, a Coeur d'Alene Press letter writer who has spearheaded the attack on the International Baccalaureate and Primary Years Programme in the Coeur d'Alene School District, is taking Press editor Mike Patrick to task today for a recent editorial:

Patrick, long on record as unable to “see” IB/PYP as a socio-political values-driven program, falls back on the standard liberal attack approach of labeling those who disagree as “conspiracy theorists.” This despite IB/PYP’s agenda being stated clearly on their website, in their speeches, lesson plans, workshops and everywhere else in their own materials. Mike, it was disingenuous to suggest hidden motives by the school board. (Who is the conspiracy theorist now?) Trustees Hamilton and Seymour ran against IB/PYP. The other trustees have said they would look carefully at IB/PYP, and that is being done. Why would consideration of IB/PYP’s stated agenda be off-limits? Full letter here.

Question: Which side represents your values on this issue more — Duncan Koler's or the Press?

Trustees Vote 4-0 To End IB Program

A controversial advanced learning program for high school students will be pulled from the Coeur d’Alene School District. The school board voted 4-0 Monday night to end the district’s affiliation with International Baccalaureate, an optional course of rigorous study intended to give students a deeper understanding of world affairs and help them prepare for college. IB classes ranging from chemistry to Chinese language to art and music will be eliminated at Lake City High School after juniors and seniors currently enrolled complete their studies. Board members said the IB program falls short in its enrollment, test scores, available college credit and costs. The Advance Placement program at Coeur d’Alene High School is a better value, several said/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

  • Also, the Coeur d'Alene School Board received only one application for the Zone 5 vacancy — a person from Zone 2 who is not eligible for the position by virtue of residency.

Question: So did the Coeur d'Alene School Board stop the all-out assault by the United Nations to indoctrinate Coeur d'Alene school children?

Koler, Quinn, Hazel Apply For Trustee

The Kootenai Board of County Commissioners has received six (6) applications for the vacant position in Trustee Zone 1, Coeur d’ Alene School District 271. The applicants are: Christa Hazel; Duncan Koler; J. Casey Morrisroe; James L. Purtee; Wanda Quinn; and Luke Sommer. The Board has also received approximately 65 questions from the public which will be reviewed by the Commissioners and the current sitting school board members for consideration as part of the interview process. Interviews will be conducted jointly by the Board of County Commissioners and the four trustees of District 271. The public is welcome to attend the interviews.
The interviews will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 26 in the Kootenai County Administration Building, Meeting Rooms 1A/1B/Kootenai County Board of Commissioners news release.


Missoula Trustee Quits Over IB

Missoula County Public Schools district trustee Larry Foust, not a year into his term, abruptly quit the school board Tuesday evening, leaving board members with their jaws hanging open. Foust, a recently retired 37-year MCPS teacher, resigned after reading a short letter he had written for the special board meeting, called to approve the ballot language for the upcoming May school trustee elections and to discuss the budget. Foust, reached at home, said he has been increasingly frustrated at being asked to approve school direction and policies enacted before he began to serve last May – particularly the International Baccalaureate Program, an academically elite program that will open next year at Hellgate High School. “We should be concentrating on educating the ‘unwashed masses,’ the kids who don’t have all the nurturing,” he said. “All the kids who need a good, basic education”/Jamie Kelly, Missoulian. More here.

Question: Sounds like this guy is attacking the International Baccaulaureate program from the opposite side that Coeur d'Alene School District patron Duncan Koler is. What say you?

Koler Reacts To CdA Press Criticism

Duncan Koler (pictured), an outspoken opponent of the Coeur d'Alene School District's International Baccalaureate program, reacted strongly to recent Press stories criticizing his positions, including opposition to school social programs. Fumes Koler: "Unfortunately, this is not the first time our Press has abandoned journalistic ethics (an oxymoron?) to feature false, defamatory attacks dressed up as 'news.'" Then this: "Mike Patrick’s editorial ran online on 1/14, and in print as his lead editorial on 1/15.  First the title: 'Empty stomachs, vacant hearts.' Are you kidding me? (I considered titling this My Turn “Bleeding hearts, empty heads,” but decided that would only be half-true.)" Later, Koler says: "I accurately used the term 'social services bureaucracy' to describe the vast scope of undertaking by our school district.  I also impliedly questioned whether combining education and social services responsibilities was the best way to deliver both education and the necessary social services, stating, 'I’m not sure that’s how I would do it, but that’s a fact about what our education system is today.'  I did not state that needy children should go hungry or otherwise be deprived of necessary support." More here.

Question: Doth Koler protesteth too much?

Letter: Kids Come First, Not Koler

In regard to your Sunday Editorial and Mr. Koler's "rant," thank you for recognizing his misplaced fear of socialism and touching on the need to help the children of our community anyway possible. It would have been more poignant to thank School District 271 for what they are doing despite current budget restrictions. Then "implore" the community to show support verbally and at the polls for a school district that stresses educational success and shows compassion for the children in their care/Nancy Heffter, letter to the editor, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do local school districts to a good job serving the area's kids despite budget restrictions and diehard critics?

Press: Koler Rants Against Progress

The man who's leading the charge against subversive education — otherwise known as International Baccalaureate - is trying to muster support for his position that compassion and the opportunity to actually educate less fortunate children is a cross that should not be borne by public schools. What's sad is that Duncan Koler probably isn't the only Coeur d'Alene School District patron who feels that way. When Koler railed last week against what he called the "social services bureaucracy" that he alleges the school district is becoming, he packaged feeding, clothing and providing health care for children into his list of mistaken steps the district is taking, leading it down the slippery slope of socialism. Duncan's sarcastic rant Monday (you can hear it on cdapress.com) followed a December presentation on a backpack program that's gaining a strong foothold in Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls/Mike Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (SR file photo: Sean Glenn, 8, and his sister Jenna Glenn, 6, eat breakfast at Ramsey Elementary in Coeur d'Alene. Ramsey is a summer meal site, part of a federal program to provide free breakfast and lunch to any child who shows up)

Question: Should schools be involved in meeting social services needs of children?

School Critic Rips Programs For Poor

Item: Schools are 'social service bureaucracies': Duncan Koler criticizes programs that help needy children/Coeur d'Alene Press

More here: At Monday's school board meeting in Coeur d'Alene, Hayden anti-IB activist, Duncan Koler, criticized the district for proposing to add an advanced pottery class to its course offerings for students. Koler also found fault with some of the services the school district offers children in need of food, clothing and health care, referring to a presentation made at the December school board meeting. Trustees at that meeting heard about the district's homeless program and a privately funded initiative that sends backpacks filled with food home with kids the counselors know do not have enough to eat during the weekends.

Item: Do you agree/disagree that public schools offer too many services to children in need?

Koler: Cheerleading Isn’t Fact-Finding

I attended the "Community Chat" on Sept. 26, which became a pep rally staged by IB teachers and students. I listened to a host of IB students speak emotionally about how much IB means to them. There is no doubt that these students are bright, but IB didn't make them that way. In fact, when confronted with the very poor IB exam scores and resulting lack of college credits for IB courses taken, the best "critical thinking" response both IB teachers and students could muster was, "we're not in it for the grades or the college credits." IB students and teachers resist any effort to objectively measure the academic success of IB. Instead, it's all about how they "feel" about the program. Grades don't matter. College credits don't matter/Duncan Koler, letter to Coeur d'Alene Press editor. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Duncan Koler re: International Baccalaureate program?

Hucks: Deep 6 P.O. Box 1167

Baseball clubs retire numbers of famous players. Mebbe the U.S. Postal Service should retire P.O. box numbers of infamous customers. Take the Aryan Nations, for example. Please. Seems P.O. Box 1167 outlived racist Richard Butler’s Church of Jesus Christ Christian in Coeur d’Alene. Earlier this year, that number was bestowed on Citizens for Better Education, a group backing conservative candidates in the Coeur d’Alene school trustee elections Tuesday. The post office number created a brief hubbub in the local blogosphere Thursday as some wondered if there was a connection between the two organizations. No one knew for sure who was involved in Citizens for Better Education until activist Duncan Koler, of Hayden, came forward to tell Chelsea Bannach of this newspaper that his group “strongly opposes” anything to do with the Aryans. It’s time to deep-six P.O. Box 1167/DFO, Huckleberries Online. More here.

CBE Backer Says Aryan Rumor ‘False’

Earlier today, some Twitter/Facebook friends noted that a group backing two Coeur d'Alene School Board candidates had the same post office box number of the defunct Church of Jesus Christ Christian (Aryan Nations). Chelsea Bannach contacted Duncan Koler of Citizens for Better Education about the coincidence. This is her report:

Duncan Koler said he believes the rumor is a "political stunt" started by opponents of the two school board candidates Citizens for Better Education supports. "The whole purpose is to hurt the candidates and there's nothing to support this," he said. "It's blatantly false." He speculated that opponents who favor incumbent candidates are "trying to paint a connection where none exists." Koler said speculation that their group is affiliated with Aryans or their church, the Church of Jesus Christ Christian, is "outrageous." The post office box in question was just assigned to Citizens for Better Education in January when the group formed, he said. The post master could not confirm this due to privacy issues. More below.