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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).

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Democrats

Gavin Newsom is proof California is completely lost

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Gavin Newsom is proof California is completely lost

California Governor Gavin Newsom has one of the most prolific string of political failures ever seen in the United States. It seems like everything he touches turns to sludge. San Francisco, where he was on the Board of Supervisors or Mayor for 14 straight years, has become literally covered in human feces and is the homelessness capitol of America. As governor, his short tenure has already seen a state whose economy was crumbling fall further faster. But when it comes to getting elected, he’s a champion.

Why? Because California is completely lost. Those of us who live here realize it’s true. Despite unquestionable evidence that the state’s progressive policies are making things steadily worse, from high-and-still-growing taxes to unprecedented crime rates to the homeless problem that is not isolated to San Francisco, we continue to elect Democrats to drive us deeper into the hole. Despite the high taxes, we’re constantly running on budget deficits. How is this possible for a state so rich?

The answer is in the promises the Democrats make. And unfortunately, they keep many of their promises, which yields billions of dollars spent on a high-speed rail that was ill-conceived if it actually happened. But it didn’t. It’s massive amounts of money that accomplished nothing. Even when the programs “work,” they fail. More money has been spent per capita to stave off homelessness in San Francisco than anywhere else, yet it keeps getting worse.

Perhaps the biggest problem California has is believing the politicians. We get fed rhetoric that is so thick, it must be true because nobody would lie so blatantly. Except they really do lie. One of the latest was so big and ridiculous, even left-leaning PolitiFact had to call Newsom out.

Pants On Fire: Not Even Politifact Is Buying What Gavin Newsom Is Selling On San Francisco’s Homeless Problem

Politifact isn’t exactly the type of fact checking organization that rushes to defend Republicans or to take Democrats to task, so that they decided to take Newsom to the woodshed is worth mentioning.

When a lie is so egregious even your cheerleaders have to balk, you know you’ve gone a bit too far. But don’t expect Newsom to repent and come clean any time soon. As is part of the Democratic playbook, particularly in California, the most likely response is that he’s going to double down on his false claims. That’s what Democrats do when they’re caught in a lie.

If you’re curious, here’s Newsom’s most recent huge lie:

Gavin Newsom’s ridiculous claim: ‘Vast majority’ of San Francisco’s homeless people come from Texas

California Gov. Gavin Newsom claimed the “vast majority” of San Francisco’s homeless people come in from Texas.

San Francisco’s own homeless surveys contradict this. They show a large majority reported living in the city before becoming homeless, and just a fraction coming in from out-of-state.

Newsom’s office pointed to data from San Francisco’s bus ticket program for homeless people. But that defense doesn’t hold up. It shows just a small fraction, less than 7 percent, left for Texas, and doesn’t demonstrate that they originally came to San Francisco from that state.

In the end, we found Newsom made a ridiculous claim.

We rated it Pants on Fire.

Don’t blame California lawmakers for the state’s failures. They’re doing exactly what California residents want. People like Gavin Newsom are only fulfilling their promises to spend more, accomplish less, and keep the Democratic monopoly strong.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Democrats

Dianne Feinstein’s comment on Dayton shooter skipped one important point

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Dianne Feinsteins comment on Dayton shooter skipped one important point

Gun control is the talk of the town as the week comes to a close. Well, that and Greenland. And Jeffrey Epstein. But the mass shootings two weeks ago has DC buzzing, media furiously reporting, and activists on both sides of the debate furiously Tweeting at each other. Senator Dianne Feinstein weighed in on the discussion by pointing out some important facts about the alleged Dayton shooter, Connor Betts.

Her facts are correct. Her analysis is off because it missed one important point. We’ll get to that in a minute, but let’s declare once and for all (though I’m sure I’ll have to repeat myself later) that the 2nd Amendment IS NOT ABOUT HUNTING OR HOME PROTECTION. Our right to keep and bear firearms was put into the Constitution by our founders because they recognized what could happen if the people had no recourse against an oppressive government. Just as Venezuelans didn’t realize they danger they were putting themselves into when they allowed their guns to be taken away, so too do many Americans put way too much trust in government.

The authoritarian left wants guns because they know they’ll never achieve their endgame as long as the people can defend themselves from tyranny.

Feinstein is correct that the Dayton shooter was able to cause an extreme amount of death and injury in a short period of time. Police were quick to respond, otherwise it could have been much worse. But as our EIC pointed out in a Tweet, Feinstein’s narrative is worthless when you look at it from the opposite perspective.

Gun control is not the solution to our mass shooting problem. If anything, gun control has enabled shooters to enact their crimes without fear of many “good guys with a gun” to stop them. We must never give up our 2nd Amendment rights.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Democrats

President says AOC ‘fuming’ that Tlaib, Omar are becoming the faces of the party

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President says AOC fuming that Tlaib Omar are becoming the faces of the party

President Trump took to Twitter to make fun of the opposition party as two of its most outspoken members, Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, continue making headlines and stirring up controversy. He even threw in an accusation against Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for good measure.

There are no indications that this is accurate, but that’s not the point. This isn’t hard policy or thoughtful analysis. It’s a petty jab, and while many Americans, including some of his fans, are against him taking shots at the opposition in such a manner, this is the society we live in and it includes a President who takes jabs on Twitter. You can stress over it or sit back and enjoy it. I choose the latter.

For AOC’s part, she took the jab with a chuckle.

Beyond the diversion this offers ahead of a weekend, reality is probably more closely reflected by the President’s Tweet than Democrats are comfortable admitting, at least the part about them being the face of the party. “The Squad” makes more headlines among the four of them than the rest of the Democrats combined, and this includes the powerful heads of committees who are actively investigating President Trump ahead of a possible impeachment.

Both Democrats and Republicans have different degrees of infatuation with “The Squad.” Are they a real threat to our republic, as many on both sides claim, or are they merely a diversion from real decisions being made in DC?

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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