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Educational Malpractice, Pt 2: Failure of identity politics on display



“What a snake pit.” Those were the words of one teacher, commenting on Twitter in response to my February 6th article (detailing the malfeasance uncovered after a local principle blew the whistle in a fiery letter released to the public), to describe the Shelby County Schools system (SCS).

Another person commented, “I would wager there are more instances of this sort of behavior going on across the country in similarly-positioned school systems.”

Neither comment brought me any joy, but I suspect both are correct.

For this, I continue in my examination into my local school system, an examination of issues which are often diluted in reports published by our compliant, local press. Perhaps removing the veil can bring positive change to other school systems.

What hasn’t been said in the press, I intend to say.

The Death of a Successful School System

Shelby County Schools, headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, has not always been embroiled in scandal and failure. In fact, Shelby County Schools has a record of proven success, earning high ratings year after year.

That all ended, just 5 years ago, with the largest school system consolidation in American history: the Memphis City Schools (MCS) system was completely dissolved and then merged with the Shelby County Schools (SCS) system.

Historical Corruption and White Flight

In Memphis, history repeats itself: politicians who have been convicted of criminal corruption are routinely re-elected.

Take Rickey Peete, for example. Beginning in the 1980’s, Rickey Peete served on the Memphis City Schools Board, and was then elected to the Memphis City Council.

  • In 1989, Peete was convicted of taking bribes and extortion, and served a 2 ½ year prison sentence.
  • In 1995, Rickey Peete was again elected to the Memphis City Council, and was later re-elected 2 more times!
  • In 2007, Peete was, once again, convicted for extortion and accepting bribes, earning himself a 4-year prison sentence. “He and fellow council member Edmund Ford were charged in late 2006 with taking bribes from former County Commissioner Joe Cooper, who was recording their conversations for the FBI,” (Memphis Flyer).

Then there are the Fords; a family of politicians that could be described as a criminal enterprise. And, lest we forget, the FBI’s Operation Tennessee Waltz offers a sobering reminder of the corruption that has haunted the area.

Thus, plagued by decades of political woes and poor policies, more and more people moved out of Memphis – often incurring debt in order to do so – and into the surrounding cities hoping to escape the rising crime rates and the downward decent in quality and safety of the city’s troubled schools.

Although the areas of Shelby County which are outside of the City of Memphis are just slightly over 50% white, the departure of city residents away from Memphis is pejoratively called “white flight.”

The Funding Structure  –

All county residents’ county-wide property taxes were divided between the Memphis City Schools and the Shelby County Schools based on the number of students. This structure allocated more funds to the City of Memphis since the city’s schools had a higher number of students than the county’s school system.

The Memphis City Schools operated as a special school district. Residents of Memphis paid additional property taxes that were allocated to the city’s schools. As such, Memphis City Schools operated with a larger budget; funded by county and city residents, allowing for significantly higher per-student spending than that of Shelby County Schools.

In addition to various special programs, Memphis City Schools students’ athletics were publicly funded, while Shelby County students’ athletics were funded entirely by their parents.

Yet, Memphis City Schools were constantly facing funding difficulties, and threatening to dissolve the school system entirely became a norm.

In an act of desperation, hoping to keep the crooked fingers of Memphis corruption from taking over the county’s high-functioning, successful school district, the Shelby County Schools board began exploring legal ways of obtaining special district status for the county system, the same special district status that Memphis City Schools enjoyed.

A Hostile Takeover

By 2010, due to mismanagement and corruption, the City of Memphis had defaulted on tens of millions of dollars designated for the city’s schools. In a rushed vote brought on by funding woes and by the efforts of SCS to obtain special district status, the MCS school board hastily threw in the towel, voting to dissolve the charter of Memphis City Schools altogether.

A referendum vote was then scheduled for Memphis residents to approve the council’s choice for system dissolution. County residents did not have any voice in what was to happen to their school system should MCS merge into it.

If the referendum passed, Memphis representatives, based on population, would then secure the majority of SCS school board seats.

It passed, and the Memphis City Schools system officially ceased to exist.

Those Rich, Racist Bastards!

Leading up to the referendum vote, “journalists” and education “advocates” and politicians repeatedly put forth the premise that education in Shelby County was unequal, despite the higher public spending per pupil and the public funding of various support programs in Memphis City schools which would disappear should the city schools be dissolved.

The residents of the suburbs and of unincorporated Shelby County were labeled racists and their genuine concern for their children was painted as an attempt to maintain boundaries of segregation. County residents were framed as rich white people who hate black people and who are inexcusably greedy, selfishly hoarding their riches in hopes of keeping black children in poverty.

In the county schools, technology such as Promethean Boards and learning programs such as Accelerated reader were entirely funded by parents. This technology was absent from Memphis City Schools. The stark contrast in parental involvement the positive effects of high levels of parental involvement on student achievement was brushed aside, as if invalid.

With complete disregard for the studies highlighting the negative effects of system mergers on students, especially low-income minority students, the “advocates” persisted.

The gross failures of the Memphis City Schools system which had persisted because of systemic corruption, a climate of mediocrity, and vast ineptitude was simply re-framed as “separate and unequal education.” 

City residents swallowed this racist, classist, shamefully dishonest ploy hook, line, and sinker.

Memphis City Schools system officially merged into Shelby County Schools in 2013; representatives from Memphis secured majority rule of the SCS board, effecting every single public school-attending child in the county.

Shelby County Schools became the largest school system in the country.

Curiously, and reeking of Memphis politics, the attorney representing the Memphis City Schools during the years-long merger process then became the superintendent for the new, unified Shelby County Schools system.

The Results

Predictably, the endemic dysfunction that characterized Memphis City Schools now characterizes the Shelby County Schools system. The same failing schools are still failing. The same inept leadership keeps on leading.

Even rumors of school board corruption still persist.

The worst result, which was completely predictable I must add, was the phenomenon of once high-performing schools across the county subsequently dropping precipitously in quality.

For example, what was once a top-performing elementary school around the corner from my house is now a level 1 school (at the bottom of the rankings).

The problems that plagued Memphis City Schools were never addressed.

 It was far easier to feign virtuous, employing the abhorrent politics of identity, than it was to seek genuine solutions. So, it should be absolutely no surprise that the results have been, in a nutshell, the spread of failure.

Thankfully, for at least some of Shelby County’s children, the story doesn’t end here. There was a great divorce that took place, benefitting thousands of students.

Yet, it is because of this “divorce” that the residents of Shelby County are once again being plastered as racists and classists, rich whites, on a national scale; and residents have become the target of well-funded, Marxist proponents of the “sustainability” movement.

This, I will discuss in Part 3 (the final part).

Paige Rogers is a Christian artist and author, and a former professional practitioner in the field of Early Childhood Development. She is the creator of, a blog offering Christian reflection, exhortation and discernment alongside various artistic techniques visually documented through Paige's unique artistic endeavors. A lover of learning, Paige is an avid enthusiast of history, civics, political geography and human nature, physical geography and the sciences. She is an incurably inquisitive and chronically creative “egghead.” Paige is a strong supporter of America's service members and veterans.

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Breaking: survivors are experts on everything



We were told that survivors of the horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida, knew more about gun violence than we ever could.

We were told that their suffering made them experts.

We were told that we couldn’t scrutinize their claims, either because they’re children or because to do so would demean their suffering as survivors of an unspeakable tragedy.

In short, we were told they were off limits.

I can understand granting leniency to grieving survivors. People should be left alone to mourn. But once they take to the podium to push an agenda, they become public figures, and public figures are subject to public scrutiny.

In addition to that, I care nothing about the fact that the Parkland activists are children. Their youth will not stand as Kevlar in the public sphere. If they want to take the stage with adults, receive the right to vote as adults, and lobby for legislation like adults, then I’m going to evaluate, criticize, and tear apart their arguments exactly the way I would for an adult who said such embarrassingly idiotic things.

To do any less essentially concedes permission for insufferable ignoramuses like David Hogg and Cameron Kasky to continuously spread lies and malicious attacks against Dana Loesch, conservatives, and an organization whose sole mission is to defend a constitutional right.

More importantly, once these survivors are handed an open mic on gun control, they’ll feel justified and even obligated to sound off on other topics they know equally little about.

As seen in an official Twitter interview on Monday, David Hogg has apparently graduated from his factless tirade against firearms to a more encompassing position as shaman supreme for identity politics. To name just a few examples, Hogg flaunted his virtue-based expertise on white privilege, the patriarchy, college debt, healthcare, and net neutrality. He insisted that the underrepresentation of women and minorities in government is responsible for the lack of diversity of thought in politics, that the NRA is turning America into a dictatorship with its dirty money, that the political elite only want people in retirement homes voting, that Bernie Sanders is to blame for difficulty in suing gun manufacturers, and, of course, that the NRA has blood on its hands.

Never mind that virtually everything he and his classmates said was false. Never mind that there’s no such thing as a full semi-automatic weapon. Never mind that the 2nd Amendment applies to far more than just handguns, or that almost every problem he listed is the result of bigger government, for which he now enthusiastically stumps.

Because he’s an expert, you see? He’s a survivor, so his moral legitimacy outweighs your capacity for reason. Forget what your fully developed prefrontal cortex is telling you, forget everything you’ve learned by actually studying the issues at hand, and listen to this wise, irreproachable child! Don’t worry about every stupid thing he’s said or done, and certainly disregard the virtue signaling.

Instead of criticizing, be grateful that you’ve lived to see these marvels of the universe, these angelic children who’ve come to save us from woe. Like a phoenix from the flame, they have risen out of the ashes of devastation to become the mainstream media’s most indispensable analysts. What would we do without them? How would we know which policies to implement and whom to accuse of murder by association?

After all, studying the issues is futile. Thank goodness for survivors — children so morally superior that they’ve become the undisputed experts on every problem facing America.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

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The Money Pit: California’s not-so-high-speed rail



Have you heard this story, a couple finds a million dollar distress sale mansion on the market for a mere $200,000? Some upgrades are needed, but overall it’s a bargain. What ensues is comedic brilliance as the owners find out the house is barely standing. They pour more and more money into the house in the classic Tom Hank’s comedy “The Money Pit.”

Just like this movie, the California High-Speed Rail has become our Money Pit, but unlike the movie, this is no laughing matter.

In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 1A, a $9.95 billion bond to partially fund an 800-mile high-speed electric train traveling up to 220 mph. The goal would be that the state would fund a third, one-third by the federal government, and the last third via private investment. Total cost was estimated at $35 billion.

What has transpired since 2008? No more federal funding and no private funding. From 800-miles we went to 520 miles, as a cost savings measure. From 220 mph we are at 110 mph in large sections of the rail, to save money of course, and a possible completion date of 2020, is now estimated to be completed by 2033.

With all these cost-saving measures you would assume the cost would come down. Unfortunately, for California taxpayers, this money pit keeps getting worse.

The price tag for all these cost-saving measures brought to you by the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the California Legislature is currently estimated at $77.3 billion. But wait you want more savings and fiscal responsibility, too bad, because this $77.3 billion estimate may ultimately cost California taxpayers $98.1 billion. My prediction is it will be even higher.

At this point, it might be cheaper and faster to build a Death Star instead. Not to mention more useful.

This is not what the voters were promised. We did not approve a not-so-high-speed train with a price tag most likely ten times the initial projected cost to California taxpayers.

This boondoggle of a money pit must be stopped. Those billions can be used to help repair our roads, highways, bridges, dams, water reservoirs, and critical infrastructure.

If elected to be California’s next State Controller and Chief Financial Officer, I will look at all legal means to cut funding to this project. In my opinion, if we bought one thing and are getting something else, then the authorization to fund this project has not been authorized by the people, and thus the Controller may have the legal authority to stop payment until the project complies with Proposition 1A.

I hope, I won’t have to do this, and the Legislature does its job and kills this project. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. We made a promise to taxpayers to be good stewards of their trust and money. Let’s restore that trust and do the right thing, and let’s put an end to this money pit.

Konstantinos Roditis is a candidate for California State Controller. You can learn more about his campaign at, and you can follow him on Twitter & Facebook.

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Culture and Religion

An open letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander, US Senate on the nomination of Chai Feldblum



The Honorable Lamar Alexander

Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee

United States Senate

CC United States Senators

March 17, 2018


Dear Senator Alexander,

It has come to my attention that President Trump has re-nominated Chai Feldblum to her position as commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This news has brought me grave concern.

On behalf of the American people, it is up to you and the rest of the Senate to remedy this unfortunate situation.

As you are aware, the EEOC deals with cases of workplace discrimination; having the power to enforce federal laws, investigate discrimination complaints, regulate and pursue legal charges against private businesses, and influence public opinion. It is imperative that any federal agency entrusted with such powers be steered by the conscientious counsel of unbiased leadership.

A former college basketball coach once said, “Offense is not equal opportunity.” However, since her appointment by former President Obama in 2010, Ms. Feldblum has exploited her position at the EEOC to offensively further her own fanatical advocacy goals at the expense of religiously-oriented American citizens, the Bill of Rights be damned.

Religious liberty, inviolable and protected from governmental infringement by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, is richly ingrained in our country’s values, having been secured by the blood of our ancestors. In fact, religious liberty, often referred to by the Founders as freedom of conscience, was considered by early Americans to be so precious that, even in the midst of America’s fight for independence, conscience objections were considered sacrosanct.

Consider the words of America’s first President, George Washington, in a letter to Benedict Arnold during America’s Revolutionary War:

“While we are contending for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate the conscience of others, ever considering that God alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to Him only in this case are they answerable.”

For Chai Feldblum, however, religious freedom must be subjugated with the full force of the government’s ugly fist.

She is, in a word, tyrannical.

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines tyranny as “a rigorous [strict] condition imposed by some outside agency or force,” as imposed by a tyrant.

A tyrant is defined as “one resembling an oppressive ruler in the harsh use of authority or power.”

Ms. Feldblum has made several deeply troubling statements that betray her tyrannical intentions, wholly at odds with America’s founding principles:

  • “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win… Sexual liberty should win in most cases. There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases the sexual liberty should win because that’s the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed in any realistic manner (emphasis mine).”
  • “I believe granting liberty to gay people advances a compelling government interest, that such an interest cannot be adequately advanced if ‘pockets of resistance’ to a societal statement of equality are permitted to flourish, and hence that a law that permits no individual exceptions based on religious beliefs will be the least restrictive means of achieving the goal of liberty for gay people (emphasis mine).”

Ms. Feldblum’s seditious statements are in dramatic contrast to what Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1774, in Emblematic Representations:

“The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy (emphasis mine)”

In addition, Ms. Feldblum’s thesis on the proper role of government is unequivocally incompatible with the words spoken by President Thomas Jefferson during his first inaugural address, 1801:

“A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.”

Chai Feldblum’s offensive advocacy through the EEOC is so extreme and outside of Constitutional bounds that, in 2012, the usually divided Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously against Feldblum’s EEOC attempt to void the “Ministerial Exemption,” which allows leeway for religious organizations to carry out routine, religiously-related matters of hiring and terminating employees.

While Ms. Feldblum claims to represent the LGBTQ+ community, she speaks only for a small, yet loud portion of the demographic; one comprised almost entirely of radical LGBTQ+ activists.

In truth, Ms. Feldblum’s fanatical, extremist, ideologically-driven agenda only serves to marginalize a significant portion of sexual minorities, in addition to women and countless Americans of religious orthodoxy.

Ignoring the conservative, sexual minorities who disapprove of the forced subjugation of religious Americans, Ms. Feldblum propagates stereotypes of the various people she claims to represent, and actively encourages neighbors to go to war with neighbors.

Feldblum insists on a “zero-sum” game, where religious Americans and members of the LGBTQ+ community are incapable of living peaceably side-by-side. As the architect of former President Obama’s Transgender executive order, Feldblum further victimizes traumatized women and children, insisting they must tolerate an unsafe existence, as grown men are ushered into their locker rooms and bathrooms in the name of “progress.” Feldblum insists on subjugating religious, yet same-sex attracted business owners in the private market, drastically hindering their pursuit of happiness through economic independence. Feldblum insists that all LGBTQ+ Americans think as she does.

Ms. Feldblum is a tyrant; wholly unworthy of another five years at the helm of the EEOC.

Speaking on the sacredness of religious liberty in America, Samuel Adams stated, August 1, 1776:

“Driven from every other corner of the earth freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum.”

The responsibility, Senator Alexander, now rests with you and the Senate to protect religious liberty as vigorously and as confidently as our Founding Fathers.

If you fail to perform this duty, this great test of your legacy as one of the leaders of the free world, may the words of Samuel Adams haunt you for the remainder of your days:

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”


Most sincerely,


Paige Rogers, Tennessee

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