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

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“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).

Democrats

Andrew Gillum concedes to Ron DeSantis in Florida gubernatorial race

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Andrew Gillum concedes to Ron DeSantis in Florida gubernatorial race

It was arguably the most watched gubernatorial race in the nation this past midterm election season and it didn’t disappoint. It took a recount and multiple lawsuits to finish, but in the end Republican Ron DeSantis defeated Democrat Andrew Gillum.

The mayor of Jacksonville finally conceded for the second time today, nearly two weeks after election day. He already conceded once on election fight.

Andrew Gillum concedes in Florida governor’s race for second time

https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2018/11/17/andrew-gillum-concedes-florida-governors-race-second-time/2041301002/In a four-minute video posted live on Facebook, Mayor Gillum stood with his wife R. Jai, a Tallahassee park in the background and both dressed in Florida A&M University orange and green. Gillum first thanked his supporters. Then, he officially acknowledged Republican Ron DeSantis as the winner.

“R. Jai and I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Mr. DeSantis on becoming the next governor of the great state of Florida,” Gillum said in the video posted at about 5 p.m.

DeSantis Tweeted acknowledgement of the concession.

Florida is a bellwether for the 2020 presidential election. The closeness of the race and the apparent corruption in the state means both parties have a lot of work to do. The state needs to get their act together before then as well.

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Democrats

Stacey Abrams doesn’t concede in her non-concession speech

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Stacey Abrams doesn't concede in her non-concession speech

Republican Brian Kemp will be the next governor of Georgia. He defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams by receiving 50.2% of the vote, negating the possibility of a runoff election.

Abrams isn’t happy about it. She said today she’s unwilling to concede but acknowledged that Kemp would be certified as the winner. In a strange political doublespeak way, she fought back against a system that prevented her from rightfully winning.

Or something.

Bottom line: She lost. She, President Obama, and Oprah Winfrey failed to get her enough voters to win the election. Whether she actually concedes or not is irrelevant.

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Democrats

Kamala Harris pushes fraudulent ‘petition’ to build her 2020 fundraising spam list

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The worlds of marketing and political campaigning have many things in common. Their intention is to persuade people. They’re both selling something. They employ tested colors, designs, and buzzwords to get people excited. One of the keys to their success is something called “list-building.”

With ballots from the 2018 elections still being counted, Senator Kamala Harris is wasting no time building her 2020 list. To do it, she’s employing a deceptive technique, promoting an online “petition” that’s really nothing more than a way to get people to willingly give her campaign their contact information. These people will be targeted with campaign fundraisers later.

No official announcement has been made about her 2020 presidential run, but it’s hard to believe she’s not running after purchasing 1,100 Facebook ads to promote these “petitions.” A Facebook ad doesn’t have a set cost, but we can assume big money is being put into these list-building ads because of the sheer volume. To put it into perspective, Beto O’Rourke spent around $5 million on Facebook ads for his Senate campaign. Presidential campaigns can easily spend 25 times as much as an expensive Senate campaign.

Unlike a valid petition people often sign to get a candidate or proposition on a ballot, these list-building petitions don’t actually do anything. People are told they’re demanding this action or that, but in the end they’re just giving over information. Some go so far as to ask for everything, including name, address, phone numbers, email, and occasionally even income. These lists grow much more slowly because of the depth of the information requested.

A more common technique is to ask for minimal data to encourage people to fill it out. At the end of the day, all a campaign really needs is an email address they can later use in fundraising campaigns. Here’s an example of an ad Senator Harris’ campaign recently put out:

Kamala Harris Petition

The meta data reveals the page was titled, “Acquisition: 180822 Mueller FB.”

“FB” means it was a Facebook campaign. “Mueller” was the topic. “180822” is the tracking number for A/B testing. “Acquisition” is the goal. Anyone who signed this “petition” has just had their contact information acquired. Mission accomplished. They will soon be receiving emails asking them to donate to the Kamala Harris 2020 presidential election fund.

As for the results of the “petition,” they will go nowhere. There won’t be a Congressional action that is enabled by the thousands of people who “signed” it. You won’t see Kamala Harris standing in front of the White House reading off the names of the people who participated in the “petition.” She couldn’t do that even if she wanted to because the “petition” only asks for a first name. Are there really people out there who believe signing a petition only requires a first name?

Senator Harris is promoting fraudulent petitions with the sole purpose if building her 2020 fundraising spam list. Anyone who “signs” it believing they’re demanding protection for Robert Mueller is a sucker. That’s exactly who she wants to target.

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