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Churchill loses appeal, Blue Ribbon schools

The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday handed former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill his third straight courtroom defeat, ruling that he’s not entitled to back pay or to reinstatement in his position.

A district court and the Colorado Court of Appeals had previously ruled for the university and against Churchill.

The ethnic studies professor gained notoriety for an essay in which he compared victims of the World Trade Center attacks to Nazi official Adolph Eichmann. After the essay came to light in 2005, the CU Board of Regents launched an investigation into Churchill’s academic writings. After a lengthy investigation by faculty committees, the Regents fired Churchill for plagiarism and other violations of academic standards.

In 2009, a jury ruled that Churchill had been fired improperly but awarded him only $1 in damages. A Denver judge later set aside that verdict, ruling that the Regents were immune from the lawsuit. That set off the chain of appeals that went to the state supreme court.

David Lane, Churchill’s lawyer, said the case will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to The Associated Press.

Read the high court’s summary and full decision.

→ Five Colorado schools are national Blue Ribbon award winners based on their academic performance, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has announced.

The schools are:

  • Avon Elementary School in Avon
  • Garnet Mesa Elementary School in Delta
  • Pear Park Elementary School in Grand Junction
  • Slavens K-8 School in Denver
  • Summit Middle Charter School in Boulder

“Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential,” Duncan said. “Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers.”

The award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement.

The program recognizes schools in one of two performance categories. “Exemplary High Performing” schools are recognized among their state’s highest-performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests. “Exemplary Improving” schools have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds and demonstrate the most progress in improving student achievement levels as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests.

In all, 269 schools were recognized as 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools. A complete list is available at http://www.ed.gov/nationalblueribbonschools.

→ The Yes on 3A + 3 B campaign for Denver Public Schools tax proposals held a campaign kick-off event and press conference Sunday in front of West High School to promote the benefits of the district’s request for a $466 million bond issue and a $49 million increase for operating expenses.

Speakers included DPS School Board President Mary Seawell, board member Happy Haynes and Henry Roman, president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association.

“The bond and mill measures represent the most critical projects that need to be funded to help our children attend schools in safe, modernized buildings and improved learning environments and have access to the kinds of programs and services that increase their academic achievement,” Seawell said. “All students will benefit, all schools will see a change.”

Combined, the typical Denver residential property owner would see an increase in their property taxes by $143 per year, or about $12 per month for a home valued at $225,000.

Read this EdNews story about the Denver school board’s 5-2 vote to place the measures on the Nov. 6 ballot. Find information on Yes on 3A + 3B at www.yeson3A3B.com or follow @Yeson3A3B campaign on Twitter and “Yes on 3A + 3B” on Facebook.

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