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Teacher Sickout Closes Two Jefferson County, Colo., High Schools

Two high schools in Jefferson County, Colo.— where students have been rallying against proposed curriculum changes—were closed on Monday after a large number of teachers called in sick late Sunday night, The Denver Post reported.

The Jefferson County Public Schools—or Jeffco Public Schools—have been the subject of protests over a new teacher compensation package and a proposal to review the A.P. U.S. History curriculum with the goal of portraying U.S. history and heritage in a positive light.

The teachers and some parents disagree with the compensation package, which bases pay on evaluations; others see the proposal to create a committee to review the  A.P. U.S. History curriculum as an attempt at censorship.

Hundreds of high school students in the 85,000-student district—the state's second largest—staged daily walkouts last week to demonstrate against the curriculum proposal, with parents joining in on Friday, according to media reports.    

A district spokeswoman told The Denver Post on Monday that about 81 percent of the teachers at Golden High School had called in absent, and a yet-to-be determined number had done the same at Jefferson High School. Classes were cancelled in two schools on Sept. 17 because of teacher absences. 

The paper published a concise backgrounder on Sunday on the changes in the district—including a discussion of the election of three conservatives to the school board, one of whom, Julie Williams, proposed the changes to the A.P. History curriculum—and the local dynamics that has led up to this point. 

Students told the paper last week that they planned a district-wide walkout this week.

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