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Education

Educational malpractice Pt. 1: fraud, sex and football in Memphis, TN

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“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);
  • kickbacks;
  • 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.)”

Shelby County Schools maintained the stance that the grading discrepancies were isolated to Trezevant High School. The school secretary was fired and the head football coach was suspended for 5 days.

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.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Lee

    February 7, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Interesting report. Sadly, not surprised. I would wager there are more instances of this sort of behavior going on across the country in similarly-positioned school systems.

    • Paige Rogers

      February 7, 2018 at 10:44 pm

      I’m afraid you may be right.

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Culture and Religion

Liz Wheeler to Catholic girls: ‘Stop pretending you’re a victim because you broke the rules and rolled up your skirt’

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Liz Wheeler to Catholic girls Stop pretending youre a victim because you broke the rules and rolled

Students at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego are protesting their dress code. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence; there have been plenty of protests over the years, especially by feminists, in opposition to school dress codes that require girls to wear skirts. But this protest is different. The students are protesting because girls are no longer allowed to wear skirts.

Principal Kevin Calkin, the principal at Cathedral Catholic High School, changed the dress code in the most recent iteration of policy. Now, it states: “The most significant change is that skirts will no longer be an option for girls. Dress code is a perennial challenge. The dress code exists for at least three good reasons: to foster unity, to encourage modesty, and to minimize pressure to conform to particular styles or clothing brands. Basically we hope to foster a faith-based environment where students are focused on learning and not on outward appearances.”

But students brought signs and demanded the old policy be put back in place. Signs had various messages from “My body, my choice” to “Even Jesus wore one.”

The policy was put into place after the principal and others on staff had handed out “hundreds of hours of detention” to girls who would break the knee-length minimum for skirts, especially by rolling up their skirts to reveal more of their lower bodies.

One America News host Liz Wheeler lambasted the students, who apparently can’t tell the difference between rights and privileges. Only in America can students feel so victimized because they can’t wear skirts to school.

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Education

Jocko Willink: Discipline = Freedom

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Jocko Willink Discipline Freedom

PragerU has a new video from Jocko Willink on Discipline on the hard road to inevitable success.

In this year’s 2019 PragerU Commencement Address, Navy Seal (Ret.) and best-selling author, Jocko Willink, offers some hard-learned, practical advice. It all starts with Discipline. That’s what will get you on the road to personal fulfillment and success – and keep you there. Watch and find out why.

We cannot do justice to this short [5:43 min] Commencement Address, so this will just be summary of the main points:
[Our emphasis]

One of the best things I’ve learned is that anyone has what it takes to travel the hard road – to walk The Path that leads to success. That includes you. It won’t be easy. It will demand everything you’ve got to give. But you can do it, and I want to give you three key principles I’ve learned that will help you to get it done.

Principle number one: Discipline. Equals. Freedom.

That’s not a contradiction – it’s an equation. Discipline might appear to be the opposite of freedom. But, in fact, discipline is the path to freedom.

Discipline is the driver of daily execution. Discipline defeats the infinite excuses that hold you back.

Some people think motivation is what will compel them to get things done. But motivation is just an emotion – a feeling, and like all feelings, it’s fickle: it comes and goes. You can’t count on motivation to be there when you need to get through truly challenging times.

Principle Number Two: Stay. Humble.

In life, you are going to have to do things that you don’t want to do. Maybe things that you don’t think you should have to do – things that offend your precious ego.


Now, being humble does not mean that you shouldn’t be confident. You certainly have to believe that you are a capable person. But don’t let confidence turn into arrogance. So keep your ego in check and stay humble.

The third and final principle: Take. Ownership. Of. Everything.

I call this “Extreme Ownership.”

In the military, the best leaders and the best troops were the ones that took ownership of everything in their world – not just the things they were responsible for, but for every challenge and obstacle that impacted their mission.

So: be disciplined in all that you do. Don’t subject yourself to the whims of motivation. Stay humble and be willing to do what needs to be done.

And: take extreme ownership of your life and everything in it.

Then: choose the hard path – the path of responsibility, hard work, and sacrifice. The Path of discipline, humility, and ownership that ultimately leads to freedom.

If you follow these principles, then nothing in the world will stop you.

I’m Jocko Willink, host of the Jocko Podcast and author of Extreme Ownership, for Prager University.

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Education

Liz Wheeler: Shocking California sex education classes

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Liz Wheeler Shocking California sex education classes

Indoctrination. There’s no other way to explain what’s happening to our children in the public school system in California. They are being indoctrinated into a progressive worldview on a daily basis, and sex education is arguably the clearest example of institutional, systematic indoctrination into this worldview.

Should children be taught at an early age age transgenderism? Should students at any age be taught by schools about bondage, anal sex, oral sex, or anything that many Americans still view as improper sexual activities? These are discussions that should be between parents and their children, not schools. But parents are incompetent in the eyes of progressives, especially those who have an agenda to subvert faith-based beliefs of abstinence, chastity, and traditional sexual relationships through marriage.

OAN’s Liz Wheeler is spot on, as usual, in pointing out how the methodical indoctrination into progressive sexual worldviews is pervasive and required in the California public school system. Parents, be warned.

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