Can you hear it?
Can you hear the faint, deep reverberations of thunder… the low grumblings of an angry sky?
There are storm clouds on the horizon.
The movement to strip away citizen-control over local schools is coming to a school system near you!
Spoiler alert: The power-hungry, equity warriors and distributionists are gearing-up to use the courts against you!
I won’t waste my word count on a lengthy recap. Thus far, I’ve been examining the issues of my local school system in hopes of raising the veil on educational malfeasance, bringing issues to light that likely occur in school districts around the county.
This is the last, and perhaps the most important, of a three-part series on education, covering the actions of a well-funded, collectivist army of adherents to the sustainability cult aiming to strip your community of local control of your schools.
You can read each of the previous parts by clicking on the links below:
A “hostile takeover.” That’s how Tennessee Senator Mark Norris described the takeover of the then-acclaimed Shelby County Schools (SCS) system after the Memphis City Schools (MCS) system chose to dissolve their schools and consolidate with SCS.
He was right on the mark.
(I summarized this hostile takeover and its roots in racialized politics in Part 2.)
For one year, the Shelby County Schools district was the largest school district in America.
Shortly thereafter, in hope of removing their children from being under the control of notoriously crooked Memphis city management, six Shelby County cities held voter referendums so that their citizens could choose whether they wished to incur property tax hikes in order to form and, subsequently, to financially support locality-controlled municipal school districts.
The voters of those six cities voiced their approval at the ballot box, and six separate municipal school districts were formed.
This revolutionary, grassroots educational reform movement (which the Memphis media pejoratively termed an “exodus”) has spread beyond the borders of Shelby County. Cities across the state of Tennessee are studying the various municipal school districts in Shelby County in hopes of forming their own smaller districts.
This has prompted pushback from control-hungry collectivists, and has rekindled a fire of racist and classist accusations toward the citizens of the six Shelby county municipalities.
This defamation is once again taking place on a national scale, with big name media outlets joining the fight against the citizens of Shelby County.
The deconsolidation movement is picking up steam both across the state of Tennessee and across the Country partly due to longitudinal studies detailing the negative impacts upon students which have become so characteristic of large school districts, accompanied by the statistical benefits which smaller districts offer students of every race and socioeconomic background.
According to the National Conference of State Legislators:
“The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that in the 2008-09 school year there were 100,713 public schools in 13,976 school districts serving 49.3 million students. That compares to an estimated 271,000 schools in nearly 130,000 school districts in 1920 serving 23.6 million students (Berry, 2004; Fischel, 2009).”
District consolidation actually began “as a duplication of the economy of scales models used in the automotive industry that saved production costs and delivered a quality product at a low cost (Howley 2011). However, as district consolidation grew tremendously and increased education’s accessibility, the price of education only increased (Howley 2011)” (Kennedy & Tolbert, 2012). Now, years after the trend toward school district began, “sources have revealed that there is no significant difference in costs (Cox & Cox 2010; Groan & Murray 2004; Streinfel, Foldesy, & Holman, 1991),” (Kennedy & Tolbert,2012).
In fact, some researchers now assert:
“Maybe school consolidation ‘worked’ for a while, but to judge from the size at which operational costs are minimized (3,000 students for an entire district and with serious inefficiencies becoming evident at 15,000 students), district consolidation has proceeded to a scale at which the claim of ‘working’ appears hollow.”
A study by Duncombe & Yinger (2007), concluded that large school districts (due to consolidation) incur the following disadvantages, often referred to as diseconomies (Howley, Johnson, & Petrie, 2011):
(1) higher transportation costs;
(2) labor relations effect (i.e., seniority hiring);
(3) lower motivation and effort from educators (i.e., working for a large bureaucracy is demoralizing);
(4) lower motivation and effort from students (i.e., being housed in a large bureaucracy is demoralizing);
(5) lower parental involvement (i.e., dealing with a large bureaucracy is demoralizing).
On the topic of student achievement, broken down by demographic categories (race, socioeconomic status, etc.), the benefits of smaller school districts are clear. As one report (compiled for the state of Ohio) states:
“Currently, there are many studies comparing district and school size to student achievement. Many of the studies indicate that students, especially lower income, perform much better in smaller districts (Howley 2011). A study, analyzing students in Ohio – concluded, “Smaller districts reduced the influence of poverty on achievement in the range of 20 percent to 70 percent across grade and unit levels,” (Howley 2011). Therefore, consolidating these districts would likely negatively affect their students…. More than anything, the policy report believes that deconsolidating would be the best option for urban school districts.”
“In addition, multiple studies found negative correlations between low-income students and large school district size. Martin L. Abbott’s research found that large district size strengthens the negative relationship between low socioeconomic study and student achievement (Abbott 2002). Independent variables such as median household incomes and percent of students receiving free or reduced lunch supports the argument that the low-income students receive the most negative effects of large school district size. Craig Howley’s The Matthew Project: State Report for Ohio analyzed district performance on state achievement tests. Using school size, district size, and percent of free or reduced lunch as the independent variables, Howley discovered reducing school and district size will reduce the negative influence of poverty on performance (Howley 1999). In support of this argument, Jerry Johnson’s research on reading and mathematics scores in the state of Nebraska concluded smaller school systems in Nebraska reduce the harmful effects of poverty on student achievement (Johnson 2003).”
Nevertheless, these studies are of little interest too venture “philanthropist” organizations and big-money donors with dreams of widespread control, like those who fun “Edbuild.” (Details below.)
Venture Philanthropy Quietly Declares War on Local Citizen’s Control of Schools:
According to its website, “EdBuild is a catalyst organization, working to fundamentally disrupt the status quo of illogical & inequitable school funding.” The goal of Edbuild’s “national voice work” is to “build a public narrative around the illogical and detrimental construct of local school funding policies that create the incentive and ability to segregate along socioeconomic lines.” Edbuild’s “public narrative” work is “entrusted to a social justice organization to pursue greater systemic equity in the system via the judicial branch.
According to its website, Edbuild’s funders include the Center for American Progress, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Walton Family Foundation, and a host of other left-leaning venture philanthropies.
The state of Mississippi has hired Edbuild to completely re-image the state’s entire educational funding structure. Half of Edbuild’s fee for this job is being paid for by the state of Mississippi.
The other half of “the cost is being paid by the numerous entities that have contributed to the non-profit company” (Daily Journal). Edbuild “did not provide additional information about the private sources.”
Edbuild’s “Public Narrative”:
In June of 2017, Edbuild released a report on school system “deconsolidation” entitled, “Fractured: TheBreakdown of America’s School Districts.”
Edbuild specifically targeted the school system deconsolidation which occurred here in Shelby County, Tennessee, claiming:
“The case of Memphis and Shelby County is an extreme example of how imbalanced political power, our local school-funding model, and the allowance of secession can be disastrous for children. In 2014, six largely white and wealthy Tennessee suburbs broke off from the impoverished Shelby County school district after nearly a decade’s struggle. The county’s suburbs had long sought to keep their tax dollars from benefiting the more needy student population in Memphis…”
Ahhh, yes… Those greedy, stingy citizens of Shelby County, every single one of whom is an incarnation of Ebenezer Scrooge, fought long and hard to deprive poor, starving, needy children of the life-saving funds so desperately needed to survive in this cold, cruel world (sarcasm).
(Isn’t that what motivates you?)
“The repeal of the ban on new districts cleared the way for almost any Tennessee community seeking to segregate itself from its poorer neighbors,” the report claims. “Tennessee has some of the most permissive secession laws on the books, due entirely to the legislature’s solicitude toward the interests of these wealthy suburban areas.”
Edbuild’s CEO and founder, Rebecca Sibilia, who “holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science,” has since stated:
“This isn’t a story of one or two communities. This is about a broken system of laws that fail to protect the most vulnerable students.”
“This is the confluence of a school funding system that incentivizes communities to cordon off wealth and the permissive processes that enable them to do just that.”
“What we’re talking about here is the notion of people pulling out of a tax base that’s for the public good… That’s akin to saying you’re not going to pay taxes for a library because you’re not going to use it.”
However, Ms. Sibilia failed to mention, whether purposely on her part or perhaps out of a lack of knowledge, that every single property tax paying citizen of Shelby County continues to fund the large Shelby County Schools district regardless of which city one resides. The residents of the six smaller cities, who each formed municipal school districts, then pay additional property taxes – taxes on top of their Shelby County property taxes – which subsequently fund their own city-bound schools.
Nevertheless, the report maintains the stance that “…these better-off neighborhoods transform public education from the public good it’s meant to be—providing the same opportunities to all of America’s children—to something far less accessible.”
Nowhere does the “report” ever address the financial states of the Memphis City Schools system prior to its dissolution, in 2013, into the Shelby County School, nor does the report address the racial and socioeconomic “segregation” between the Memphis City Schools system and the Shelby County Schools system prior to the merger. I discussed both in my last article, including the funding superiority that MCS had over the SCS; funding which Memphis residents forfeited by choice.
Having smaller school districts, the “report” erroneously states, is “bad financial management. Creating new, duplicative bureaucracies to educate a small number of students in a secession district is inefficient, and it’s wasteful of the state tax dollars paid by all citizens.”
“The financial impacts of the secessions were immediate. In just one year, Shelby County’s budget was slashed by 20% [source #133, as listed in the report]. Declining enrollment has forced drastic measures: Seven Memphis-area schools have closed since the 2014–15 school year alone,134 and the district laid off about 500 teachers in both 2015 and 2016 [source #135, as listed in the report].”
(Hmm…. Something doesn’t smell right…)
Edbuild, it appears, suffers from a bias-induced proclivity toward misstating information for political expediency. For example:
- By reading source #133 (linked above), we learn that the SCS budget decreased because:
(A)“Much of the cost-cutting is being driven by shrinking enrollment.” – The drop in enrollment was due to three factors: the formation of municipal school districts; the state of Tennessee took of over 27 failing schools, adding four more schools the year this article was published; and the high rate of mobility in the City of Memphis. (In other words, the 20% stated in the “report,” which wasn’t even stated in the article sourced, was due to a combination of factors, rather than being the sole result of school system deconsolidation as the “report” claims.)
(B) “The $90 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is [was] scheduled to dry up.” (*This did not end up occurring after all.)
- By reading source #135 (linked above), we learn that the “district, which is one of Memphis’ largest employers, already has rehired or replaced at least half of the displaced teachers and expects to find placement for most of the rest.” (In other words, the “report” cites outdated and irrelevant information regarding teacher employment, because the layoffs, in the end, did not actually occur.)
I suppose this type of bias shouldn’t be surprising for an organization who’s methodology for “research” largely depends on “new stories.”
“We searched the internet for news stories, meeting minutes, legislation and any other pertinent material about attempted or successful school district secessions…”
“Using internet search engines, we found news articles, meeting minutes, legislation and other pertinent material…”
We all know how unbiased the news media is, after all.
Finally – and here’s the kicker – the “report” asserts:
“Calls for ‘local control’ carry a troubling historical resonance, especially in areas like Birmingham, Memphis, and East Baton Rouge. It may no longer be legal to segregate school systems by law, but school district secession allows states to exploit the legal loophole created by Milliken to resegregate their schools, and state funding laws provide explicit and numerous incentives to do so.”
The non-profit has set big goals, all of which at to be achieved at a rapid pace. “EdBuild’s workstreams were constructed with actionable end goals in mind, meaning that we have made a strategic choice to achieve our mission within 5 years, and then close our doors.”
Edbuild’s “report” lists the following “solutions” to the menace of school district deconsolidation (also referred to as succession):
- “Disallow secessions entirely” using a “blanket ban.”
- “If states are unwilling to enact blanket rules prohibiting secession,” legislation “must be carefully crafted to ensure” racial and socioeconomic equity of both the new district and the district being left behind. Otherwise, succession must not be permitted.
“[D]istricts must consider the fiscal effect of the reorganization, the socioeconomic and racial composition of the new and old district, and the geographic characteristics of the affected district.
- School funding should no longer be generated from property taxes, and unequal property taxes between localities but end: all cities’ property taxes must be the same.
- Remove local control of the schools and disallow voters’ rights;
- End locally governed funding structures.
- Overturn, repeal, or otherwise work around (to undermine) the Supreme Court ruling in Milliken v. Bradley.
“The only way to truly ensure that school district borders are not used as a tool of segregation and inequity is to revisit the Supreme Court case that created this problem: Milliken v. Bradley. In granting school district boundaries such exalted status that state governments cannot enforce desegregation plans across them, the Court valued those borders above the fairness and equity of states’ education systems. As a result, every new boundary that is drawn—whether for legitimate or discriminatory reasons and whether in the interests of students or not—immediately takes on this near inviolability. This, combined with state funding formulas that allow for inherently inequitable local property taxes ensures that boundaries can be drawn to specifically disadvantage our most vulnerable children.”
Milliken v. Bradley:
This SCOTUS ruling is the thorn in the side of every power hungry, collectivist, social engineer there is.
In 1974, a district court, via court fiat, instituted a desegregation plan for Detroit schools which included busing rural/suburban white children who attended non-Detroit school district schools into the inner-city Detroit School district.
The Supreme Court ruled that school district borders were sovereign and, thus, this desegregation plan failed.
As briefly described below:
“Issue: Whether the racial composition of the schools at issue amounts to racial segregation in violation of constitutionally guaranteed rights to equal protection? Whether the District Court had the authority to craft a remedy to the problem that encompassed the operations of school districts that were not parties to the litigation and had not been presented with the opportunity to be heard?
Holding: No, the policies at issue here do not violate constitutional guarantees as Court-ordered desegregation does not guarantee any particular racial composition in public schools but instead bans intentionally discriminatory policies. The district court judge, even if he had been correct on the underlying claims, exceeded his authority by adopting an overly broad remedy that significantly diminished the local control of schools without affording those schools the opportunity to be heard.”
However, Edbuild, in its “report,” laments this SCOTUS decision. Edbuild supports instituting desegregation across school district borders to achieve “Edbuild-approved” race quotas.
While it sounds implausible, this movement is gaining momentum, especially after the recent court ruling in Alabama which has officially stopped school system deconsolidation in the Birmingham area.
So, here we are, America.
To spite the stats supporting school deconsolidation, there are wealthy groups, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, etc. (who fund Edbuild), who seek to continue to socially engineer America all the way down to our local school systems. These people and groups are supported by the media and present factually inaccurate “reports” that go entirely unquestioned by local media outlets and news providers (like the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, as blatantly obvious here and here).
The five-year plan is already in full swing.
If you want to keep local control over your schools, you’ll have to be prepared to join the battles ahead, the looming courtroom wars. For the sake of your children and for your community, don’t sit idly by only to become a sitting duck.
A storm is coming.
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).
Video: You’re Not A Liberal!
A Truth Revolt Original from Bill Whittle that succinctly explains why Leftists aren’t Liberal.
Published on Oct 10, 2014
The 4:20 minute mark in the 6 minute video has its most important point:
The founding fathers were the True Liberals because they believed in Liberty – with both words having the same origins.
They believed in individual Liberty, private property, limited government and the common sense civil rights of free-speech and armed self-defence. They believed in the freedom to be left alone.
The point of the video is that the collectivists of the nation’s Socialist-Left do not meet the definition of the word Liberal. They believe in collective rights, Collective ownership of property, unlimited government, limitations on speech and gun confiscation.
Those of that mindset (Leftists) are not Liberal by any stretch of the imagination.
Educational malpractice Pt. 1: fraud, sex and football in Memphis, TN
“I CAN NOT and WILL NOT continue to work in an environment that covers up gross negligence among multiple Principals and Senior and Junior District Level supervisors who participate in sexual relationships with teachers/employees/support staff whom they supervise, which directly violates Tennessee law and requires revocation of their license and termination from supervisory positions. This is a common and accepted practice.”
With its headquarters located in The Home of the Blues, the Shelby County Schools system has been singing the blues lately, and for good reason.
It was back in June of 2017, when the trouble really kick-started. Trezevant High School principal, Ronnie Mackin, released a head-turning, six-page resignation letter in which he outlined a series of complaints against Shelby County Schools, including, among other things:
- grade-changing (which a three-lawyer panel investigation proved to be systemic);
- sexual improprieties between faculty, staff, and district supervisors (an issue reported in another area high school as well);
- breaches in security at the school (one incident was later uncovered on surveillance footage);
- racist conduct by school system administrators, supervisors, and other district officials;
- financial mishandlings and possible theft of school funds (SCS later opened a separate investigation into this matter);
- and pay-to-play for certain athletes.
Mackin closed his resignation letter with a series of powerful declarations, several of which I have included throughout this article in italicized form.
Back in August of 2016, Principal Mackin – brand new to Trezevant High School – approached Shelby County Schools (SCS) district leadership after uncovering wide-spread grade-changes. Students’ report cards did not align with their official transcripts.
Some students’ grades were changed from failing to passing, while others received credit for courses not taken. This, according to Mackin, put 121 out of 145 seniors at risk of not graduating.
“I CAN NOT and WILL NOT continue to work in an environment where it is common knowledge that certain schools have cheated to attain “other than normal” achievement gains.”
Trezevant High School’s 2015-2016 graduation rate was 49%, which improved 16% in the 2014-15 school year which remains well-under district, state, and national averages.
As Mackin later elucidated, “Changing grades from failing to passing, artificially raising graduation rates, and falsifying college transcripts have become part of a big business,” noting the compensation structure within the school system which are “based on a mythical system of accountability,” and which ultimately encourage unethical behavior.
An internal district investigation by Shelby County Schools was begun.
“I CAN NOT and WILL NOT continue to work in an environment that promotes dishonesty, fraud, and misrepresentations of academic progress in order to promote athletic success.”
Because a large number of the grade-changes effected football players, Trezevant’s football team was forced to forfeit all games until the investigation had been completed, which prompted protests from students.
The Trezevant High School football team won the state championship the prior school year.
Over the course of the remaining school year, Principal Mackin’s car was vandalized with racist language (“white boy b**** a**”), and a whisper campaign against him ensued within the community, which according to Mackin’s resignation letter, was instigated by several SCS district officials.
Such incidents included:
- the implication the Mackin, as a white man, was culturally illiterate and ineffective at his post;
- a voicemail on a parent’s phone by Mackin’s supervisor encouraging that parent to seek legal action against Mackin “under false pretenses”;
- and district officials instigating parents to perform a background check on Mackin (which ultimately found nothing).
“I CAN NOT and WILL NOT continue to work in an environment where district level supervisors are not only allowed to bully and harass school level Principals, Teachers, and Support Staff, they are encouraged.”
The district’s internal investigation had concluded in October of 2016:
“We have identified 131 students currently enrolled in the district whose transcripts were altered by a staff member of Trezevant . . . All these students were previously enrolled at Trezevant at some point during their time in high school. 92 of these students are still enrolled at Trezevant, 44 of whom are seniors. The remaining 39 (of the 131) are now enrolled in 22 different high schools. Of these 39 students, 15 are seniors. (Other schools will be contacted as needed.)”
The incident was settled and swept aside.
But not for Ronnie Mackin.
“I CAN NOT and WILL NOT continue to work in an environment that allows District Leadership to collude, interfere, and influence DUE PROCESS in order to protect employees tied by long standing acquaintance, sexual relationships, and fraternal/sorority affiliations from being disciplined fairly and according to policy.”
After Mackin’s fiery resignation letter was made public, a full 10 months after he had first uncovered and reported the grading discrepancies to the school district, SCS appointed a panel of lawyers to investigate the incident.
Now, the panel’s findings have been released, and the picture painted by the findings is bleak.
As the Commercial Appeal reported:
“At least 53 students graduated from Trezevant without earning their diplomas, according to findings from the report released Tuesday. That increased the graduation rate 14 percent over a four-year period from 2012-2016. During that time, 461 grades at that school were changed from failing to passing.
Kirby High had 582 failing grades changed to passing grades.
After Trezevant, Raleigh-Egypt High had 429 such changes.”
The report called for even further investigations, indicating Trezevant was merely the tip of the iceberg; a recommendation which the SCS board subsequently encouraged. Eight different schools are now undergoing audits.
The state Department of Education also urged the district to investigate further, ordering expansive audits for all Shelby County Schools for the next three years.
In addition, the State has requested the names of all who were involved in altering students’ grades.
“The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury’s office is investigating Trezevant at the request of Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich. Those investigators have the freedom to expand their investigation as necessary,” the Commercial Appeal reported.
Shelby County Schools accreditation is even on the line. As Fox 13 Memphis reported, it’s the damning findings found in the panel’s report “that now has AdvancED, the agency that issues and oversees important school accreditations, wondering what’s going on inside SCS?”
The board has also moved to fire Trezevant’s head football coach, who had since been moved to a different area high school.
In a January op-ed in the Commercial Appeal, Mackin put the practice of grade-changing into full perspective:
“Students have become commodities (priced at around $11,500 per student) to some educators who are willing to promote them and get them out of school in hopes for big returns in the future.
This is child exploitation and abuse.”
“I CAN NOT and WILL NOT continue to work in an environment where students are the last priority…”
Had it not been for the actions of one brave (and royally ticked off) principal, a man who chose to sacrifice his own 19-year long career for the betterment of our community’s youths and who has continued to speak out, the improprieties within the school system would have never been uncovered, nor addressed.
We may never find out the degree of rot within the adult culture of Shelby County Schools, or just how many bad actors we have employed.
It has only been a few years since Memphis schools were rocked by a teacher licensing-exam “cheating ring” that spanned three states. The mastermind was a 23-year employee, having served as a teacher, an assistant principal and a guidance counselor for the school system. Multiples teacher were indicted.
Dorsey Hopson, who serves as the superintendent of Shelby County Schools, said at the time, “It would be unfair to let what may be 50, 60 or 100 teachers who did some wrong stain the good work of the large number of teachers and administrators who get up every day and go by the book.”
Sadly, there is one thing of which we can be certain: where there is one bad actor, there are many.
Fallen apples don’t rot far from the tree.
NOQ Report Daily
An open letter to MAGA – Read it all
Dear Illinois Conservatives, what is the Repubican Party accomplishing for you?
Breaking: survivors are experts on everything
So-called conservative media enters through the wide gate
My city is conducting covert taxation by shaking us down. I bet yours is too!
Video: The Racist roots of Liberty control – Who doesn’t like certain people getting rights?
Video: We are fighting the Left, not Liberals – Dennis Prager.
Steven Crowder: Male privilege is a myth
PragerU Video: Why I Left the Left
Video: What is Socialism (and why It’s closely tied to Gun Confiscation)
Mike Pence defends President Trump’s comments
President Trump on Roe v. Wade
Rich Lowry on Dick Durbin’s desire to make a DACA deal work
Thomas Homan on California becoming a ‘sanctuary state’
Leon H. Wolf on both major parties growing government and budgets
Guns and Crime2 days ago
When gun control failed, SRO saves Maryland school
Guns and Crime1 day ago
My city is conducting covert taxation by shaking us down. I bet yours is too!
Democrats1 day ago
The Money Pit: California’s not-so-high-speed rail
Politics1 day ago
Michigan’s Tenth Amendment defiance of Trump and the GOP
Democrats3 hours ago
Breaking: survivors are experts on everything
Federalists3 hours ago
Dear Illinois Conservatives, what is the Repubican Party accomplishing for you?
Everything2 hours ago
An open letter to MAGA – Read it all
Media4 hours ago
So-called conservative media enters through the wide gate