Owen Rickert: How Identity Politics Ruined My High School

A former high school student from Minnesota explains how social justice politics ruined the school he once loved.
Student: How Identity Politics Ruined My High School

Owen Rickert always loved his school.

The Blake School, a private college prep school, located in Hopkins, Minnesota, was a place he woke up excited to go to each morning. And then, about four years ago, something changed.

“Slowly the unification of our great community began to deteriorate,” said Rickert, who had attended Blake since kindergarten.

Rickert, currently a freshman at the University of Wisconsin, explained what happened to his school during his senior presentation last spring. In a nine-minute speech titled “Division,” Rickert explained how the Blake School’s new emphasis on race, gender, and privilege created fissures between students and kindled resentment.

“White. Black. Asian. Gay. Straight. It never mattered before. Yet now, we are all identified by what group we were assigned,” Rickert said. “We didn’t assign these; the school and society did.”

Where previously students had learned a core curriculum and were taught how to think, students suddenly found themselves being fed an agenda.

“We are not here to be manipulated to think a certain way,” Rickert said. “That is called indoctrination.”

As an example, Rickert cited the first day of school. He said students were required to introduce themselves by their pronouns.

“If someone sees themselves as a gender other than what they were born, I don’t care,” Rickert said. “But forcing me to participate in something where I have to proclaim what gender I am has no place in a school classroom.”

The school’s new emphasis on race and gender theory created an environment in which many students no longer felt comfortable to talk about and share ideas. Lectures on “white privilege” in particular seemed to chafe Rickert.

“All of a sudden the suggestion is put in front of every white person in this school that racism is inherent in them because of the color of their skin,” Rickert said. “White privilege equals shut-up; anything you say has no meaning because you are privileged.”

Rickert noted that school officials at Blake, a private institution, can run the school however they choose. Parents, similarly, are free to remove their children if they wish. He simply expressed his hope that the school he loved would rediscover its ideals.

“I’ve had many incredible teachers that helped me along the way, and for them I am grateful,” he said. “My wish for the Blake School is that it becomes what it used to be. A school where the students accepted each other’s differences, and the leaders of the school didn’t force their political agendas on us.”

We’ve noted these education trends at Intellectual Takeout before (here, here, here, here, and here), so many readers likely are familiar with the issues to which Rickert speaks.

But I was impressed to see a young man share them so clearly and calmly. Most of all, I was impressed with Rickert’s courage. There is perhaps not a single issue in America that is more difficult to challenge. Orthodoxy on social justice is expected today, at least in educated, corporate, and upper-class circles.

Those who challenge this orthodoxy know they place their careers and future prospects in jeopardy. If you doubt this, just look at what happened to Google’s James Damore or Apple’s Denise Young Smith.

Pushing back on this orthodoxy is not easy. People may loathe the ideology, but they are also afraid of it, something Rickert learned.

“As I was putting this speech together and discussing it with my friends, I was in disbelief in how many people actually agree with me,” he said. “Many have similar viewpoints but are afraid to say anything.”

I don’t believe this is some throwaway line.  I say this because I’ve experienced the same thing.

I get emails and calls from people “fed up” with the divisiveness of identity politics. Yet when I ask people to go on record for a story, they almost always decline.

This won’t do.

Writing articles about school indoctrination is all well and good, but it’s going to take parents speaking out about these issues at the local level to bring school officials back to their senses.

If parents are serious about seeing their children get a real education instead of divisive social justice mantra, they’ll need to find their voices—and their courage—like Owen Rickert did.

Convictions, even if they are right, are worth nothing if one is afraid to share them.


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Fiscally Conservative Saint Paul Republicans, Independents and  Democrats Need Pat Harris As Mayor

Dear Editor:
There is one candidate for Mayor of Saint Paul who is  Opposed to Mayor Chris Coleman’s outrageous 23.9%  City Property Tax Hike, and he has stated his Opposition on the public record without equivocation or qualification on his campaign web site.

I voted for him to be our next Mayor on the first day of early voting, and I hope you too will you cast your vote for Pat Harris!  Pat Harris knows seniors, single workers starting out in life or young families with their first home,  and small business owners can’t afford the irresponsible $27.3 Million property tax hike the city council and Mayor Coleman have proposed.

The extreme Property Tax  Increases do not stop there. The Saint Paul Public Schools want $9.2 Million more in taxes from homeowners in 2018, than the $7 Million more it collected last year; this net  $2,177,729 Million increase is an unsustainable  23.6 %  increase over last year’s actual tax hike! Oh and by the way, despite asking for these higher taxes, the School Board voted to cut Direct School Allocations in the 2018 Education General Fund to only 47 cents on the dollar going directly to the classroom!

Ramsey County wants $12.7 Million in higher taxes for each of the next two years, and it’s Regional Rail Road Taxing Authority is seeking the legal maximum in new taxes for an increase of $1.3 Million to it’s $22.5 Million budget!

All tolled the City of Saint Paul, the School Board, Ramsey County and the Regional Rail Road are asking for $50,797,041 in Higher, NEW  PROPERTY TAXES!

Enough is Enough! Saint Paul Property Taxpayers need elected allies at City Hall, and that is why as a Republican, who is seeking election to the Saint Paul School Board, I am asking you to vote for Pat Harris for Mayor too!

GREG COPELAND
Candidate For Saint Paul School Board


Greg Copeland sent this letter to the Editor which agreed with Pioneer Press Editor Mike Burbach.  Greg expressed to me (Publius Jr) he thought they wouldn’t publish his letter to the editor so I posted it here.

Should School Choice Matter To Christians?

Back in the day when Christianity was a part of the public school system our students achieved and had a balance of knowledge, morality and both of which help to understand who God is.  God is the source of knowledge.  Since 1962 & 1963 when Prayer and Bible Study was taken from public schools respectively our students achievements have taken a nose dive.  Student & Teachers moral values are scattered widely. Perhaps to help make all students achieve to the extent of their God given talents and to help them live fulfilling lives free of moral problems we should welcome Judeo-Christian values and teaching back to public schools.

The article below is from the website MyFaithVotes.org it is from a three part series about school board elections.  It was posted on October 26, 2017.  We’ve not changed it.  ~~Publius Jr


Article 2 of 3. [My Faith Votes] created this 3-part series on school boards elections to address some critical issues that every voter should consider in their local school board election.

Should School Choice matter to Christians?

There seems to be a giant wall of division between those who defend the current state of education (anchored by the teachers union) and those who believe in school choice, by way of vouchers, special programs, and educational savings accounts. As people of faith, should we take a position on school choice?

This is an issue that many believe is too complicated, better left to the educational experts and our government officials to solve. Yet, it’s an issue that gambles with the future of our children. And more importantly, it’s one that scripture speaks to clearly. In fact, at the core this is not a political issue – it’s a Biblical one.

School choice should matter to Christians for three primary reasons.

1. Choice Matters Because Parents Are Best Equipped to Care for their Children.

Nobody knows what a student needs to thrive educationally better than the student’s parents. A government or institution cannot possibly care for children in the same way that a father and/or mother can. We witness a great decline of society when we substitute the judgment of “experts” and bureaucratic systems for the judgment of parents.

Children are entrusted to parents as a gift from God. Psalms 127:3, “Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” A gift that comes with great responsibility.

Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Deuteronomy 6:6-7: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

3 John 1:4: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

When parents can’t afford to live in a “good” school district, or don’t have the means to private school or homeschool, and are told where their children must attend school, based solely on their zip code, their freedom to educate their children as they see best is restricted. Their parental authority is compromised.

“We’ve allowed ourselves, as parents, to be bumped from the ‘table.’ We’ve allowed policy makers, school administrators, and self-interested teachers’ unions to decide what’s best for our children. This needs to change.” – Pastor Jim Garlow (Well Versed, page 78).

2. Choice Matters Because Every Child is Unique.

We know from both research and common sense that every child is different and unique, created by God (Jeremiah 1:5). Cookie-cutter factory models don’t work for every child.

In recent decades there has been some movement towards school choice as a few states have begun to slightly crack the door open for limited educational freedom through the allowing of charter schools.

These charter schools give us a glimpse of what education would look like in a free market educational system.

These are schools that are often differentiated by their special emphasis in areas such as the arts, mathematics and the sciences, classical learning, technology, and a hands-on educational model approach.

In most traditional public school environments students are expected to learn at a pre-determined pace, mass-educated, moved along through the system according to standardized tests and curriculum. For many parents whose children have special needs or special giftings and talents there are no other educational options. As one of the most advanced societies in the world, we should be doing better. It should stir us to know that our educational system is rooted in socialistic and communistic ideals rather than innovative free market ideals where opportunity abounds, choice is the currency and prosperity is the result.

One more note: This is no reflection on the incredible teachers who have dedicated their lives to helping our children learn. Rather, it is an example of a broken educational system in America.

3. School Choice Empowers the Underprivileged

Here are the facts:

  • 50.7 Million students attended public elementary and secondary schools in the fall of 2017 (NCES)
  • Of those attending public schools, roughly 2.5 Million students attend charter schools in the United States (Business Insider)
  • Experts estimate that around 3.5 Million students are homeschooled in the United States (Business Insider)
  • 4.5 Million students attend private elementary and secondary schools (ONPE 2014 survey)

The bottom line, the vast majority of students in America receive a public school education. It’s reasonable to assume that many did not have a say in the matter because they lacked the economic means to live in a “good” public school district, to attend a private school, or to be homeschooled. Nor were they lucky enough to win a lottery to attend a charter school.

This is educational discrimination and it is simply not fair. This is un-American in every way.

Pastor Jim Garlow in his book Well Versed said it best,

“We have an educational system that discriminates against the single mother and the poor, by limiting options. It’s a system that allows wealth to determine a child’s education. If you are fortunate enough to buy a home in a good school district, your child has a better chance of receiving a strong education.

“However, if you cannot afford to live in a good district or pay for a private school, you have no choice but to send your child to the school located in your neighborhood, even if it’s a poor performing school.” (Well Versed, page 77).

Educational Choice is just one way of extending care and compassion for the less fortunate. (1 John 3:17, Philippians 2:4, Deuteronomy 15:11).

If we as Christians believe all people are equal in the sight of God and should be afforded the same freedoms regardless of economic status, then it is our responsibility to care about the education of all people, regardless of their zip code. It is our responsibility to do what we can go give all families a choice in where they educate their children.

Thanks for reading part two of our education series! If you missed it, read last week’s article, “Why Should You Care about Your Local School Board.”

 

What’s Behind the Exodus of Black Students from Public Schools?

 

For a number of years, public education has been of utmost importance to those in the black community. This is partially because black access to equal public education was a hard-won victory procured by the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.

But lately, black families appear to be questioning whether public schooling is the proper education model for their children. This is evident in the rising number of black families choosing to homeschool their children and in the large numbers of African Americans who support choice options such as vouchers and charters.

The most recent evidence of the distrust black families have toward public schools can be seen in Minneapolis. According to The Star Tribune, the district has experienced a heavy exodus in recent years, much of it driven by black families:

“But now one-third of Minneapolis’ school-age children go to charter schools or public schools in other districts, a trend that raises long-term questions about the district’s financial future. Black student flight accounts for more than half of all kids leaving the district, out of proportion with the 43 percent of the school age population they represent.”

Black Students Leave Minneapolis Public Schools

Why is this drain taking place? The Star Tribune mentions three reasons.

1. Poor Environment
According to many black parents, the environments offered by their district public schools are not the type of atmosphere in which they want their children to be. Many are scared by the fights and behavior issues they see and hear about in public schools. Many black families are also headed by single parents, and as such, see the value of putting their children in a smaller, family-like environment which will fill a void in “nurturing.”

2. Dismal Academics
Although the alternative schools to which black families are sending their children are not always high-achieving in the academics department, they often outrank the district schools they left behind:

“On average, math scores for black students are 10 percentage points higher in the schools that Minneapolis black students are leaving for, than for black students staying in the district.”

Clearly, black parents are recognizing that choosing the best possible option, even if that option isn’t the most stellar, is better than leaving their children in a far less rigorous environment.

3. Ignored Parents
Perhaps one of the most interesting reasons cited for the flight from Minneapolis Public Schools is the fact that parents feel they are treated as an after-thought and left in the dark as to how their children are doing:

“Lynda Nwonye is a downtown Minneapolis mom whose son is a fifth-grader at Best Academy, a charter school on the North Side. She moved him there because of her grievances over communication and other things with Minneapolis Public Schools, and said she won’t come back.

The thing that I really like about his school is they give you an overabundance of information,’ she said.”

These three reasons for the black flight from Minneapolis Public Schools are revealing, particularly when viewed in light of school finances.

According to the Minneapolis budget for FY 2017, the district spends almost $24,000 per student. Because many of the alternative schools to which black parents are sending their children are charter schools, the children automatically receive a cut in the tax funding spent on their education. As a 2014 research report explains, Minneapolis charter schools receive 34 percent less funding than their district counterparts. Based on current spending levels, parents that choose to send their student to a Minneapolis charter school take an automatic cut of over $8,000 in funding.

Clearly, black parents are recognizing that it is more valuable to provide their children with a better, safer education which they can actively monitor, rather than one which is amply funded, but doesn’t meet the aforementioned desires.

And as more parents march with their feet and choose alternatives, one can only wonder: Are the days of traditional public schools numbered? Is it time to rethink how we educate American children?


This post What’s Behind the Exodus of Black Students from Public Schools? was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Annie Holmquist.

This was reposted.  The original story was published on September 20, 2017

It isn’t Logical to not teach Logic in Modern Schools

Logic is More Important than Ever – So Why Don’t Schools Teach it Anymore?

One of the great ironies of our age is that schools have stopped teaching logic in an age when it’s more necessary than ever.

We live in a time defined by vast information, mass marketing, and propaganda. It’s been 70 years since Dorothy Sayers observed that by teaching young men and women to read but not think, “we have left them at the mercy of the printed word.”  She continued:

“By the invention of the film and the radio, we have made certain that no aversion to reading shall secure them from the incessant battery of words, words, words. They do not know what the words mean; they do not know how to ward them off or blunt their edge or fling them back; they are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being the masters of them in their intellects.”

Unfortunately, things have only gotten more complicated since Sayers wrote these words in 1947. With the advent of TV, the internet, social media, and smart phones we’re peppered by a continual stream of messaging from people, corporations, and organizations. They tell us what to buy, desire, and think—all the time.

“There’s a clear need for people to think more clearly in modern life and they need the tools to do that,” says Stanford computer science professor Michael Genesereth, author of a new electronic textbook. “Logic is one of those tools. And the need for it grows more important as these kids move on to college.”

Despite this need, few people reading this article have a single school in their district that offers instruction in formal logic. Why?

In her essay, Sayers said the disrepute into which logic has fallen is “entirely unjustified.” But she offers two explanations for why it happened.

The first reason is that modern man has been led to believe that “we are conditioned almost entirely by the intuitive and the unconscious.” The second reason is we’ve come to believe that universal assumptions are either unprovable or mere tautologies.

Both arguments are weak, Sayers points out. The former is a self-fulfilling prophecy (is there a better way to create human drones than denying them the tools of reason?); the latter ignores the fact that logic is primarily a tool to detect and expose bad arguments, not a device to establish a perfect moral order.

There are many reasons to teach logic to young people: it improves speaking, reasoning, and civil discourse. On the other hand, I can’t identify a single valid reason to deny students instruction in logic.

In an era in which the phrase “fake news” is commonplace and demagogues spread falsehoods with shameless ease, the teaching of logic to young people would seem a no-brainer to Americans of every creed, ideology, and political party. Am I wrong?


This post Logic is More Important than Ever – So Why Don’t Schools Teach it Anymore? was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Jon Miltimore on August 7, 2017. Reposted by GregCopeland911.wordpress.com on August 15, 2017.


Raheem Williams: School Choice is not Racist

School Choice and Racism: A Myth Devoid of Context

There has been a lot of recent discussion on the racial impact of school choice. Critics have used research reports to corroborate their claims that school choice increases racial segregation. While these claims have a factual basis, they are in dire need of context.

School choice can increase racial segregation, but not for reasons anyone should fear.

First, we need to differentiate between de facto (by choice) and de jure (under law) segregation. People choose who to openly associate with. This is reflected in the neighborhoods they live in, the clubs they join, and where they choose to work. Forming groups is natural, though occasionally problematic.

As a nation, we fought hard against legal segregation—a fight school choice advocates have no intention of reviving. Today, it is illegal for public schools or schools that receive public funding to discriminate on the basis of race or disability (among numerous other traits). No credible proponents of school choice want to rollback these basic civil rights.

The documented increase in segregation as a by-product of choice exists in a different context than the racial issues of the civil rights era. Charter schools in urban minority neighborhoods often offer an alternative to failing traditional public schools. The harsh reality is that the traditional school district model has failed minorities. Therefore, it is not surprising that alternatives designed to offer more choices to parents and students have disproportionately attracted students of color.

In this way, the segregation effect is no more harmful than that of modern Historical Black Colleges/Universities (HBCU). With their traditional mission to serve black students, these institutions are embraced – not criticized – for the outcomes they offer a historically disadvantaged group. Similarly, the segregation effect of school choice should not be seen as an instrument of racism, but rather as progress against a failing of the traditional public school system.

While there is nothing inherently racist about school choice, there is a subtle, unintentional racism espoused by its opponents. In its purest form, school choice seeks to expand the number options available to all parents and students. However, wealthy families already can and often do practice school choice. They can afford to buy homes in areas with high-performing traditional public schools or send their kids to private school. Without school choice, students from low-income households cannot enjoy these same advantages.

There is a subtle racism built into the assumption that poor people should not be allowed to decide what is best for their kids—a luxury the rich already have. There is a subtle racism in demanding poor children, who are often people of color, be locked into schools we know are failing them.

We have a lot of problems to address in our education system, but racism in school choice is not one of them. It is not racist to extend privileges to the poor that the rich have enjoyed for centuries. It is not racist to increase the autonomy of families to make decisions about their children’s education. It is not racist to empower underprivileged minorities. School choice advocates do not want to destroy public education, they want to save it. In the various debates surrounding education reform, it is important to remember our shared goal. We want better schools that lead to more opportunities for all of America’s children.

[Image credit: By Jbak87 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

This post School Choice and Racism: A Myth Devoid of Context was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Raheem Williams.


This article was reposted from Intellectual Takeout, it was originally published on August 10, 2017.

Raheem Williams is an economic research specialist at the Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise(PCPE) at North Dakota State University. He received his B.A. in economics at Florida International University and his M.A. in financial economics from the University of Detroit Mercy. He is the founder of “The Policy,” a forum that promotes public policy dialogue across socio-economic levels. You can find more from this author on the PCPE social mediaplatforms.

Is NPR Pushing Propaganda about the Benefits of Preschool?

 Annie Holmquist | May 4, 2017

The other day, NPR published an article on the benefits of Pre-K education. Highlighting a recent consensus statement on preschool released by The Brookings Institute, the article went bonkers on social media, presumably because of the following announcement:

“Some of the nation’s top researchers who’ve spent their careers studying early childhood education recently got together in Washington with one goal in mind: to cut through the fog of studies and the endless debates over the benefits of preschool.

They came away with one clear, strong message: Kids who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than kids who don’t.

Such a statement is true – the education experts did determine that preschool education does prepare children more effectively for kindergarten. What’s disturbing, however, is the information that NPR withheld from the thousands who read this statement.

According to the Brookings document, the jury is still out when it comes to knowing whether or not preschool education can help children in the years after kindergarten. Some evidence suggests it does. Other evidence suggests preschool has no effect either negative or positive on a child’s future school career. Still other evidence suggests that preschool has a decidedly negative effect. Studies in this latter category include the following:

  • A 2015 NBER paper found that children enrolled in a Canadian childcare program (similar to universal preschool) exhibited greater anxiety, aggression, and crime, while also enduring decreased health and life satisfaction in the 20 years after the study took place.
  • A 2015 Vanderbilt University study found that children enrolled in Tennessee’s state preschool program fell behind their non-preschool peers in both academic and cognitive measurements by the time they hit first, second, and third grade.

These findings are recent and quite troubling. What’s even more troubling, however, is the fact that NPR  – and other news organizations and public figures – seem to push these findings aside, boldly convincing the public that preschool education is a necessary and advantageous path to pursue. It’s as if they are desperate to get children into an institutional setting at the earliest possible age, regardless of whether such a setting is good for them or not.

But then, maybe that is the goal. Early 20th century Princeton professor and theologian J. Gresham Machen once noted:

“Place the lives of children in their formative years, despite the convictions of their parents, under the intimate control of experts appointed by the state, force them to attend schools where the higher aspirations of humanity are crushed out, and where the mind is filled with the materialism of the day, and it is difficult to see how even the remnants of liberty can subsist.”

Is Machen right? Could the effort to extol the benefits of preschool without considering all the evidence be simply another way to get children to march lockstep with the education system’s way of thinking at an ever earlier age?

Read other articles by Annie Holmquist


MELSA’s Transparent Language & Lynda.com Learning a Blessing to Many

Sometimes you don’ t have to look very far outside of a school to learn new things.  Not everything we adults have learned came from the inside of a classroom, sometimes having a zest for learning new things, new things just seem to find you.

If you attend any of the Metropolitan Libraries you may find MELSA’s (Metropolitan Library Service Agency) newest tools for flexible learning on your own time.  There are two such online tools that you can partake of for FREE. That’s right we said FREE.  They are Transparent Language and Lynda.com.

Transparent Language

Transparent Language Online is a powerful language learning system that uses flashcards to teach you a set of words or phrases. It is the fastest possible way to lock foreign words and phrases in your long-term memory.

Once you have created your account you will be able to access Transparent Language Online from any computer with Internet access.
Subscription purchased by the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), with funding from state and federal tax revenues.

To access the Transparent Language Account Set Up click here. This access is from Ramsey County.

You will identify your current language then select from a huge array of languages the one you want to learn.  The education course has a tutorial how to use the software and how to interact with it.  You will need a headset with a microphone to practice the spoken word, otherwise you can go around that and listen and practice writing the new words.

It could be a way to help you to prepare for a vacation where English is not the first language spoken, or to converse with a new neighbor who immigrated legally to this country.

How Does One Navigate Transparent Language Online?


Lynda.com

Lynda.com teaches the latest software, creative, and business skills. Users will get unlimited access to a vast online library of high-quality, current, and engaging video tutorials taught by recognized experts and working professionals.

Use your library card to login to Lynda.com for free.

To use Lynda.com without the Library will cost you quite a bit.  Thanks to the Library system here and across the country you can learn the latest software for work, school, or just learning something new that is interesting to you.

This is from the About Us section of Lynda.com:

Lynda.com leading online learning platform that helps anyone learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. Through individual, corporate, academic and government subscriptions, members have access to the lynda.com video library of engaging, top-quality courses taught by recognized industry experts.

For 20 years, lynda.com has helped students, leaders, IT and design pros, project managers—anyone in any role—build software, creative, and business skills. Now part of LinkedIn, Lynda.com serves more than 10,000 organizations. With tutorials in five languages, Lynda.com is a global platform for success.

If you’re wondering what areas Lynda.com can instruct you in here are the categories:  Business, Design, Developer, IT, Marketing, Web, Photography, Video, Audio+Music, 3D+Animation, Education + Elearning, and CAD.

For each learning category there are three areas to explore: Topics, Software and Learning Paths.  In some categories there will be a Guide as well.

In each tutorial you’ll have a video and a text that is highlighted as the audio covers a topic.  You can stop it at any time and review what you just saw.

If say life interrupts your learning. You can log off where you are at and your account will list where you left off and resume after life has settled down.

The tutorials are by people who are credentialed in the field they are teaching.  As there is a need for new software or tools, more tutorials will be created.

The Library isn’t just about books only anymore…but it will always be about learning.  ~~ Publius Jr.

 

 

 

Carl Jackson: Why We Need to Make Politics Local Again

The following article is from the Black Community News website.  It was posted on November 21, 2016 by Carl Jackson.  See Greg Copeland’s comment in the Comment link with the article and included at the end of the article.  All politics is local, and when Congressional District candidates run on things outside the borders of the area they want to represent they create a disconnect from their voters.  What is important to us, might not be important to others around the state or the country.  The common denominator with Republicans is that more Government means less local freedom, so we are for less Government, more local freedom.  ~~ Publius Jr.


voting_3Despite a crushing defeat delivered to Democrats across the country on Election Day, the Democratic analyst sitting next to me at the local Fox television studio here in Orlando, Florida, who once worked as an upper-level staffer for outgoing Rep. Alan Grayson, remained hopeful and optimistic – actually, giddy might be a more accurate description. Another Democratic strategist, also in studio, was visibly upset by the election results but was determined to get right back into the fight. Why? Some local races were going their way.

It’s no accident that the left is out rioting and protesting the results of the Nov. 8 election. They’ve grown accustomed to getting their way over the last 10 years. It also should come as no surprise to us that they’re interested in dismantling the Electoral College, which gives every state a say in national elections no matter its size and population. Additionally, it helps preserve states’ rights and their self-identity by assuring that larger states like California, Texas, New York and Florida cannot shape the political narrative and culture for the rest of the country. However, what you may not realize is that when the left loses a national election, it doesn’t stop their agenda to form a socialist America from moving forward. It just slows it. That’s what I witnessed on full display in studio election night. The left lost big on Election Day, but like Arnold Schwarzenegger, they’ll be back.

I live in Seminole County, Florida, where 15 percent of registered Republicans and 27 percent of registered Democrats didn’t bother to vote in this election cycle because they weren’t excited about their choices for president. Obviously, Democrats sitting out the election at a higher percentage gave Donald Trump the advantage to win the White House, but the low turnout amongst Democrats also allowed Republicans to remain in charge of our state House and state Senate. That may not happen again.

My concern is that the reason so many voters decided to stay home, other than their lack of enthusiasm for our presidential picks, is because they simply don’t know which party runs the state Capitol. In other words, regardless of the impact and immediacy state and local races have on their everyday lives, federal campaigns were the determining factor for why they stayed home. Even though Republicans won most of their races, this is disconcerting to me because many local politicians are running their campaigns based upon national platforms that have little or nothing to do with local politics. This strategy consequently increases government overreach locally because voters aren’t aware whom to hold accountable at home when policies adversely affect their well-being. State politics too often mirror federal elections when the truth of the matter is federal campaigns should take their cue from states.

Based on the number of Democrats that sat out the Nov. 8 election in my county alone, it would be wise for Republicans to trumpet their accomplishments locally, loud and often. Never underestimate the ability of Democrats to quickly turn an entire state blue by enticing out-of-town residents to move into big cities where voters are concentrated. Cases in point: St. Louis, Missouri, Chicago, Illinois, Baltimore, Maryland, and we’re witnessing the same trend take affect here in Orlando’s Orange County where gentrification is on the rise downtown.

In a lengthy column posted on FiveThirtyEight.com a couple weeks ago entitled “All Politics is National,” one of several charts they posted showed that only 76 percent of people polled could identify which party controlled the U.S. House. From that same group of voters, only 47 percent could tell them which party ran their statehouse. That’s a troubling trend for voters like myself that believe in states’ rights. It also explains why the Democratic strategist I mentioned earlier were still hopeful despite losing national elections big. They were comforted by the fact they made some unexpected gains locally and statewide.

As of Nov. 8 Republicans control 68 of 98 state legislative bodies and will occupy 33 of the 50 governor’s mansions. That’s a good thing! However, since voters are more aware of national politics and tend to ignore their local politics, all it takes is one national wave election to totally shift the mood and policies of our country. Frankly, the tendency to run national politics in local districts is a serious threat to the Tenth Amendment no matter which party is in charge.

Besides the ability to practice free religious expression and pursue any dream you hope to fulfill, part of the greatness of America is getting to experience and appreciate the uniqueness of our union from state to state. I’m sure you don’t travel to Texas to experience what it feels like to live in New York, do you? That would be silly! However, it’s exactly what the left wants.

To ignore state and local politics is to nullify American exceptionalism. As conservatives we can’t let that happen. Let’s vow to get to know all of our politicians from the county commissioner to the statehouse and to the White House, and I’ll see you back at the ballot box in 2018.

Originally published at WND.com

Photo credit: lettawren (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

CarlJacksonCarl Jackson is a radio talk show host – his web site is www.carljacksonshow.com. Media wishing to interview Carl Jackson, please contact media@wnd.com.

The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.


Here is Greg Copeland’s Comment (also in the comments section above)

GREG COPELAND

Carl Jackson is right!

Citizens that ignore their local governments will pay ever higher property taxes for less city services, and put their public school boards in the control of the teachers unions, where the students’ educational needs always come in second to the welfare of adults who work to their contract; not for the taxpayers and the children’s parents.

In my One-Party Town, billed as “the most livable city”, Saint Paul, Minnesota public school students are over 75% students of color as well as students whose families live in poverty, and their academic achievement gap in reading and math has been a national disgrace for at least a quarter century; but the liberal Democrat Mayor Chris Coleman, for all of his nearly dozen years in office, has routinely declared; ‘Closing the GAP Priority #1!’. The routine never ends and the teachers union rubber stamp school board routinely demands more money to spend on adults salaries which of course boosts pay checks, but with no boost in student academic scores.

Citizens need to wake up and vote out the fools on the rubber-stamp Teacher Union-Run Public Education Boards that perpetuate the cycle of Urban Poverty for our poor children caught on a Merry-Go-Round where there is no Public Accountability for the spending or the failure.

There’s Something Rotten at the 1050 Kent St Property

Yes Indeed there is something rotten at 1050 Kent. It is The Saint Paul School Board which has been bought and paid for by Education Minnesota and the Teachers Union Bosses in the Washington DC Headquarters which gave $100,000 to buy the Saint Paul School Board Majority in the 2015 Election, under a fraud on voters calling themselves: The Caucus For Change.

Ironically all four of these Caucus members voted to buy the Polluted Hazardous Industrial site at 1050 Kent, next to Lake Loeb in a residential North End Neighborhood, for $2 Million, after it stood abandoned for over 13 years.  The former industrial site owners admitted to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, MPCA, in 2006 about the pollution and created a ground water monitoring program to track the TOXIC Chemicals on-site and also placed a public deed restriction that would not allow any public school to be built on the property!!

The four so-called Geniuses installed by the Teachers Union ignored the sites Toxic Chemicals, and the pleas by the Neighborhood NOT to Build the $24 Million School on this polluted land. Known as the River East School, it is to be used exclusively for up to 80 students with a mental health diagnosis, served by a staff of 60, all whose health could be at risk given hours of exposure over a 180 day school year.

Now the Teachers Union has endorsed yet another candidate for School Board, Jeanelle Foster, who says she does not have enough information to oppose building the River East School on polluted land. Foster wants to join the quartet of hacks that voted, 4-2 to buy this industrial toxic chemical cesspool with its unknown future legal liability for St. Paul Taxpayers.

The last thing Saint Paul Students, Parents and Property Taxpayers need is another inexperienced novice on the School Board who does not know enough about how to evaluate a proposed multi-million dollar capital construction projects to cast a NO Vote to keep our disabled school children and our staffers safe!

River East School should not be built at 1050 Kent!  We need an independent school board member, who understands public construction projects as former six year member of the Saint Paul City Long Range Capital Budget Committee for over six years which oversaw the funding and/or building of the Wabasha Street Bridge as well as Arcade and Earl Street and the planning for Phalen Corridor as it’s Vice Chairman, Greg Copeland. Greg Copeland was also City Manager of Maplewood where he over saw millions in residential street reconstruction project and city building maintenance projects.

Under the mounting public pressure of Community Opposition and the November 8 2016 Special School Board Election the school board last week said after spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of staff time that it would delay the start of construction for one year.  A moral victory for Students, Staff and Taxpayers, but a “delay” is not a vote to rescind the Board’s Vote to spend $2 Million Dollars to buy this Toxic Site.

Greg Copeland has pledged he will make the motion to stop this public health and safety disaster and fiscal descent into a sinkhole of legal liability for city taxpayers if he is elected to the School Board on November 8th!

GREG COPELAND
ALL  MINDS  MATTER!
Saint Paul School Board Candidate

Pioneer Press St Paul School Board Candidates Survey on Greg Copeland

This was taken from the Pioneer Press Candidates Page (http://www.twincities.com/2016/10/07/election-2016-st-paul-school-board-candidates) for the Special Election for St Paul Public Schools Board of Education.  They did not post his picture even though they have had his photo on file back to 2013. ~~ Publius Jr.


Greg Copeland

  • Age: 62
  • What qualifies you to hold this position? Saint Paul Taxpayers need an Independent Advocate on the School Board to be their Watchdog and to blow the whistle on what has become a School Board that is the captive of the Teacher’s Union, which spent over $100,000 to buy four seats in the 2015 Election. Group-Think in our Public Schools does not embrace Our City’s Diversity.
  • What would your top priorities be if elected? 1. Hire a New Superintendent. 2. Create an Education Plan for each individual student to ensure their personal, academic & career goals will drive their course work. 3. No Property Tax Increase! Fund Student Achievement! Make Academics Priority #1 by cutting spending on Central Office Administration & The Million Dollar Race Equity Office.
  • What do you think is the primary role of government? Our Republic must preserve Liberty! Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote; “… imperative is the need to preserve inviolate the constitutional rights of free speech, free press, and free assembly in order to maintain the opportunity for free political discussion to…be responsive to the will of the People, and that changes, …may be obtained…”
  • Website or contact: GregCopeland911.wordpress.com

Ben Shapiro: White Privilege, Multiculturalism, and Other DFL-leftist Myths

On September 21, 2016, Ben Shapiro spoke to students at Yale University about “White Privilege, Multiculturalism, and Other Leftist Myths.”  This video is a bit over an hour but it addresses the myths that the DFL in this state create to ensnare voters and trap students in a cycle of despair.

The St Paul Public School Board enabled former Superintendent Valeria Silva to spend up to $3,000,000 for Racial Equity Training to be done by the Pacific Education Group based in San Francisco, California.  What this means is that like Jean O’Connell they believed that the achievement gap was due to race instead of the overwhelming number of students who come from households that are at or near poverty incomes.  Jean said that she isn’t colorblind when it comes to testing. She just presumed that the non-caucasian students would do poorly.

Pacific Education Group “trains” teachers and other staff in the district’s administration to understand about White Privilege.  Really the for profit group should be renamed the Pacific Brainwashing Group.  They are not anywhere close to an educational organization.

This video exposes the myths that the Leftists in Education have been telling for years and have been getting away with…and with your tax dollars.

Do we add another DFL Mythmaker to the St Paul Public School Board, or do we break this cycle of dysfunction by electing someone who will reverse this slide of expensive failure?

Greg Copeland Talks about Education with Hmong on Oct 16, 2010

It’s been 6 years since Greg Copeland addressed a forum put together by the Hmong American Veterans Association and the Capital City Business Council at “Downtown Lav 52 Km” Restaurant at the Days Inn Maplewood.  This Hmong Community Forum was for candidates to meet the Hmong Community.  At the time the Senate District 66 seat was held by entrenched career politician Ellen Anderson and Greg Copeland was the Republican endorsed Candidate.

Candidate Greg Copeland talked about the opportunities that the Hmong People had been given and how their hard work had blossomed in the areas of business and in education–particularly in charter schools.  Greg Copeland then talked about how the State of Minnesota, and the City of St Paul have disrespected Hmong business owners who had businesses on University Ave by taking away parking in favor of a Light Rail line.

Greg Copeland talks about other issues that face Hmong and other people being that it is a forum for Minnesota Legislative Offices.

He talks about how he thinks, “Government can be a Bully,” but ironically they are pushing to end bullying in schools.

Years later at a St Paul City Council Meeting Greg would stand up for Arjo Adams who was eventually run off his property because the City called St Paul wanted to put in a new access to the Bruce Vento bike trail.  Arjo was a bit eccentric but he was not what the bullies on the City Council portrayed him to be.  The code enforcement inspectors “found” things that gave the City cause to condemn then knock down Arjo’s house.  It is much like the health inspection case Greg talks about in the video below.

Greg Copeland is a fighter, a champion for the people, and for kids who just want to learn without being beat up or threatened; or told they can’t achieve because of the color of their skin or what country their parents came from, or that their parents can’t afford all the technological gizmos other kids have.

Kids and Teachers deserve someone who will stand against “The Other Party,” to hold the St Paul Public Schools Administration accountable for their actions.

Vote Greg Copeland on November 8, 2016.


Why Do We Need Another Like Minded DFLer on This School Board?

We have a clear cut choice this November 8th.  Do we elect more education insiders, or members of the teachers union, or do we go with someone who is tired of seeing property tax levies increase for a school district that has seen a steady decline in the number of children who can function properly in society beyond the walls of St Paul Public Schools?  Graduating 75% of the students is not good enough.  That means 25% are doomed to fail.

Greg Copeland thinks that the students in St Paul Public Schools are being underserved by a top down school district that spends money on Race Equity Training for students when that money should go directly to the classroom for better trained teachers and school counselors.

Parents have opted to send their children to some place other than St Paul Public Schools because the current school board wants to keep dangerous students that are violent, bring guns, and sell dope at schools.  Those students are not tossed out to protect the students who do want to learn, and teachers who want to teach and not cower at their desks to the threats of mobs of students that might beat them up and leave them with a brain injury.  The Teachers Union group that took over the board last year didn’t bring change until it was obvious when teachers and students are being beaten up that something or someone had to go.  All throughout the 2015 Campaign the 4 DFL endorsed candidates kept saying they weren’t going to expel students that were violent, nor were they were going to fire Silva.

It isn’t just about student violence, it is becoming a hostile learning environment for Students of Faith.  Students who know that the Inclusive Policy on Transgenders is wrong and when they speak up saying that it is wrong they are the ones who are called to the principal’s office.  Why should girls have to put up with boys who want to use their bathrooms or locker rooms. Why should Students of Faith stay?

Josh Verges, the education reporter for the St Paul Pioneer Press, wrote an excellent report on Sept 16, 2016, on why families are choosing to take their children out of the St Paul Public Schools for schools that are safer, have challenging academic standards, and an approachable staff.


We have not altered the content of the article.  We did turn off links and deleted ads.  ~~ Publius Jr.


Why are families leaving St. Paul schools?

PUBLISHED: September 16, 2016 at 8:05 pm | UPDATED: September 19, 2016 at 12:55 pm

After two false starts, St. Paul Public Schools has quit trying to figure out why families are leaving the district for other schools.

The school board declared enrollment to be a priority soon after four new members took office in January. But the first budget they passed — which prioritized direct school funding over district-level support — has undermined an effort to understand why students are enrolling in charter, private and neighboring schools.

Jackie Turner, chief operations officer, said the budget cuts forced the placement office to lay off the employee who administered a first-of-its-kind survey to families that left the district during the last school year.

“The position has been cut. This was not something that the community supported. Our community really wanted money to go to the schools,” Turner said in an interview.

Board chairman Jon Schumacher said he’d like data on what attracts families to the district and what’s pushing them away.

“I’m interested in understanding what our strengths and what our challenges are as a district,” he said. “These are all numbers that are really critical.”

But Schumacher stopped short of saying he’d push to make sure there’s money for surveys in the next budget.

He said school principals would be another source of information on what’s causing people to leave.

K-12 enrollment has been fairly flat in recent years, down 153 in five years. But it’s fallen far short of internal projections as St. Paul students have opted instead for charter schools and suburban district schools.

Their departures have exacerbated budget woes. The district now is preparing for a third straight year of spending cuts.

SURVEY SAYS … NOT MUCH

The district began conducting exit surveys under the previous school board.

Turner told the board in spring 2015 that they would survey the parents of the 147 kindergarteners who had left during the school year but still lived at the same address.

“We want to use that data to better inform how we work with our schools,” she told them.

That small effort begat a more comprehensive study into the motivations of 1,790 families that withdrew their 2,243 children from district schools between October 2015 and March 2016.

Beyond learning why they left, the district sought to make contact with individual families and discuss how they might bring them back. But the effort fell flat.

The district got responses from just 101 families, a 6 percent response rate. And of those, 40 families said they withdrew because they moved to a home outside St. Paul, making them unlikely candidates to return to a city school.

Turner identified some additional flaws in the survey’s administration: surveys were not sent immediately after a family withdrew; they were sent out only in English; and the district didn’t have the available staff to follow up with families.

The data they were able to collect, through multiple-choice questions, pointed to familiar themes. Parents cited safety concerns, unresponsive staff members and a lack of rigor in the classroom.

“I don’t think it provided the results that we were intending to receive in order to use it as a document to determine the reasons why families left,” Turner said.

Why They Left St Paul Public Schools Bar Graph

Turner said the district would have refined the survey for future years but doesn’t have the people to do that work.

“This would have gotten better each and every year we would have done it. We didn’t have an opportunity to do that,” she said.

MANY REASONS FAMILIES LEAVE

Joe Nathan, founder and senior fellow at the Center for School Change, said stakeholder surveys are a basic function for an organization. He said that beyond the reasons families pick district schools or don’t, the board should understand what parents think of arts classes, special education support and parent training programs, for example.

“I think it’s very important for the system, if it wants to grow, to understand the specific concerns,” he said.

Monica Haas, a parent who fought to protect schools from budget cuts this year, said surveys are worth the cost if they ultimately boost enrollment.

“If you look at the amount of money we’re losing just based on enrollment … that money alone is worth putting some actual effort in looking at why people are leaving,” she said. “But you have to do it in the right way.”

Haas moved three of her daughters out of district schools before they reached middle school.

She said one daughter was threatened with a hunting knife by a child who was back in class the next day. Another daughter’s teacher suggested they try a different school because with other high-need students in class, she didn’t have enough time for the girl. The third, she said, spent a day shadowing her assigned middle school and was unimpressed by what she saw.

“I still hold out hope for my youngest daughter,” now a third-grader, she said.

Haas, who was running in the special election for school board until she failed to secure the DFL endorsement, said she’s heard a variety of concerns from other parents. Whether it’s elementary arts classes, special education services or smaller classes for English language learners, they are issues the district can and should address, she said.

“There are very specific reasons why these families are bolting,” she said. “I really want this district to succeed, and I don’t think they can do it unless they really look at why people are leaving.”

Soucheray: It won’t make any Difference who the Super is. No Difference at all

This story was copied from Joe Soucheray, a columnist at the Pioneer Press.  The story was originally published in the Pioneer Press on June 17, 2016.  We have not altered the content, but have closed some links and added a different headline.  ~~ Publius Jr.


St. Paul Public Schools superintendent Valeria Silva is interviewed in her office in St. Paul on Friday, February 5, 2016. (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)
St. Paul Public Schools superintendent Valeria Silva is interviewed in her office in St. Paul on Friday, February 5, 2016. (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)

Soucheray: Another search. Another superintendent. Another member of the Super Club.

By JOE SOUCHERAY | jsoucheray@pioneerpress.com
June 17, 2016

What can be said on Valeria Silva’s behalf is that it won’t make any difference who succeeds her. That isn’t exactly the gift of a gold watch, but as a school superintendent who might get bought out of her contract, she can buy a watch manufacturing company.

It is called the Super Club. Most of us have been on to it for years. School superintendents have a better gig than NFL coaches and are surrounded by at least as many assistants, sycophants, factotums and manservants. Supers come into your town and tell you important things about the community and how they intend to have the students rise above the fray. They tell us that we all have to work together and believe in the great promise of education and, oh, by the way, we need more money. Soucheray

Supers are rainmakers. They always need more money.
Silva isn’t at all unique. She can be a super with the best of them. They are all untouchable and they all land on their feet. You might say, well, they are touchable, because they can be removed by school boards. Yes, and then comes the landing-on-their-feet part. Silva succeeded Meria Carstarphen. They all last about three to five years on average, though Silva has outlasted the average. Their act wears thin and new school board members who are eager to tell us that they know what they are doing better than the super start grumbling, and the next thing you know, the taxpayers are on the hook to buy the super out of a contract.

Carstarphen went from St. Paul to, I believe, Austin, Texas, and is now the super in Atlanta.

It doesn’t make any difference. A great fuss and bother will be made to hire a consultant and scour the nation for the next best answer, and it just doesn’t make any difference.

Silva is being held accountable by a grumbling school board for falling reading scores and student violence. What was Silva supposed to have done, visit each home in the city and read to a kid? Falling reading scores are an inattentive parent problem.

Silva presumably can be held accountable, at least in part, for the appalling increase in the lousy behavior of students. She had to be a part of the brain trust that bought into a San Francisco consultant group called the Pacific Education Group. They came in here and sold a bill of goods that said, basically, if a minority kid acts up, it isn’t the minority kid’s fault. It is the fault of systemic racism and therefore the kid should be excused and not too severely disciplined.

That works real well. You would think that after a few teachers suffered concussions after fights with violent students, they would dump that horse manure, but that’s not what supers do. When you get in the Super Club, you defend tooth and nail your brilliant decisions, even when they are complete failures.

Oh, it is a wonderful, exclusive club. In the first place, once you are a super, you are rarely seen by the public. Carstarphen lived on Summit Avenue near Fairview. I know a guy in that neighborhood who knows everybody in that neighborhood, one of those guys. He never once saw Carstarphen, not even out for a walk. Not once.

Supers surround themselves with about 100 assistants, each of whom has a clipboard and a laptop and are on alert to tell the super when to go to her next meeting. Even as Silva’s buyout is being considered, the district faces a $15.1 million deficit. Nevermind that that is inexcusable. You want to know where you could save the money? Go to 360 S. Colborne St., the district castle, and thin the herd of redundant bureaucrats and administrators. That’s another thing supers do. They bring in more people to pile on top of the people that the previous super brought in.

Go ahead and buy her out for $600,000, a longevity bonus, a car allowance and 32 vacation days. She might even have to emerge at some school as a teacher or an administrator, but that part of her contract is unlikely to be realized. She is, after all, a super.

And then get ready for the next expensive dog and pony show which will be exactly like all preceding dog and pony shows.

It won’t make any difference who the super is. No difference at all.

Joe Soucheray

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