Rockwood School Board Quid Pro Quo?

From the "see, I told ya so" file . . . Rockwood NEA President Suzanne Dotta worked hard to influence the recent school board election. The candidates Ms. Dotta pushed won.

The new board hired Ms. Dotta as Director of Professional Learning within 72 hours of the election.

I expect Ms. Dotta to teach Rockwood's professionals how to game the system for personal gain at taxpayer expense.

If you'd like to question this apparent quid pro quo, the next Rockwood Board meeting is April 24.  Meetings are held at Crestview Middle School, located at 16025 Clayton Road in Ellisville.  Meetings begin at 7:00 p.m.

Eileen Tyrrell Is Only Rockwood Candidate In It For All Stakeholders

Eileen Tyrrell is the only candidate who represents ALL the stakeholders in Rockwood School District.

While other candidates focus on more money for the system, Eileen focuses on using Rockwood's (embarrassingly) ample resources better.

Here's what you need to ask youself:

  1. Do you plan to fulfill your duty to vote on April 8?
  2. What time of day do you plan to vote?

  3. Where will be and what will you be doing immediately before you go to vote?

See you at the polls on April 8 to vote for Eileen Tyrrell.

1.2 Million Reasons to Vote for Eileen Tyrrell on April 8

Do you live in Rockwood School District? I do. My kids all went to Rockwood schools. My wife taught in a Rockwood school for three years.

The teachers in Rockwood tend to think a lot like the people who live here. They're not a bunch of wacked-out lefties. Not most of them.

Still, that good education has come with HUGE price tag. Rockwood is one of the most expensive districts in Missouri. Property taxes for residents are almost double the average car payment.

And Rockwood's board and administrators have a long, ugly history of scandal, corruption, and waste. The Missouri Auditor and the Missouri Ethics Commission practically have field offices at Rockwood's headquarters.

For me, that last bullet is the root of all Rockwood's evil. School board members get arrogant and secretive. The Rockwood Board does the bidding of the NEA instead of representing the taxpayers who build and maintain the schools. They use your tax dollars to extort more of your tax dollars. They want it all.

That's why Rockwood needs a real champion of education and the people.

Vote for Eileen Tyrrell on April 8

If not for Eilleen Tyrrell, that crooked construction company would still be pocketing millions of your tax dollars illegally. Eilleen Tyrrell and Lisa Hunt Earls formed Rockwood Stakeholders for Real Solutions in 2011. Eilleen wanted to give taxpayers a voice.

Eileen Tyrrell gave you a voice, and that voice made your schools better. But it wasn't easy. RSRS continues to battle the NEA-appointed Board of Education at every turn.

The union bosses and their hand-picked BOE think your money is their play toy. And they don't like citizen activists like Eileen protected your pockets.

Last year, Eileen made a difficult decision. As one of the boldest, most tenacious ambassadors of accountability in education, Eileen decided she needed to represent you on the inside.

I support and Eileen Tyrrell for Rockwood School Board on April 8th--and every other day of the year.

I meet a lot of people through St. Louis Tea Party activities. Many of those people come out and do a lot of hard work. But that work takes a toll. Most cannot sustain their effort over a long period.

Eileen Tyrrell never gives up. Eileen has fought the good fight--and won--more than anyone I've met in the 5 years that the Tea Party has been around.

Now, the NEA is strong-arming teachers to fight Eileen. Some of those union-blinded teachers will put pressure on you and on your kids to stand by the old guard and their secretive, expensive, corrupt ways.

One Rockwood teacher wrote an impassioned Facebook post encouraging you to vote the way her union bosses tell you to vote.

But you're not like that. You chose to live in Rockwood because you know that hard, honest work wins out. You don't take orders from union bosses, and you don't let elected officials secretly divvy out your tax dollars to their friends.

I am confident that you will join me in supporting and electing Eileen Tyrrell on April 8th.

If you believe in government accountability and good schools you will click this link, send Eileen a few dollars to fight the NEA's millions, and ask just 2 other people to vote for Eileen on April 8th. That's the only election you need to care about.

Vote for Eileen Tyrrell on April 8th in Rockwood School District.



And the inspiring truth about teachers

Samantha. She's the daughter every parent hopes for. Diligent. Dedicated. Kind to a fault. Smart. Hard working. Loyal. Prettier than she knows.

She gets it from her mother.

She's about to graduate from college and become a teacher.

Like her mom.

She doesn't need a union.

She is a union.

With her mom.

And a million others.

They care. And try. And teach. Or try.

Your kid would be blessed to walk into Sam's classroom one day.

Or her mom's.

But strong unions won't let her teach and care the way God and her mom prepared her to teach and care. The union doesn't care. Except for itself.

Teachers' unions are my nemesis

Samantha is a listener.

Sam's mother is my wife.


If You Vote in Kirkwood School District, Listen Up

In the past 15 years, Kirkwood School Districts operation costs have skyrocketed almost 100 percent. But the people paying the taxes for that district have seen a cost of living increase of only 44 percent. kirkwood-station

Obviously, at some point, the system will crash. Unless you do something now.

On April 2, you can elect two fiscally responsible members to the board of education.


Eric Peterson and Amy Russell


Here’s what you should do:

1.  Visit Kirkwood Pioneers for Educational Progress to learn all about the issues that threaten your district’s financial future and the opportunities to make the district even stronger.

2.  Get to know Eric Peterson and Amy Russell.

3.  Tell your friends you’re voting on April 2 for fiscal responsibility and better schools.

That’s it.

Unless you want to be a real High Information Voter. Then you will want to read K-PEP’s Executive Summary. You’ll be the real education expert in your conversation groups, and your opinion will carry a lot of weight with other voters.

Just because you don’t have children in school right now doesn’t mean you’re free of the duty to be informed and to vote.

Good school districts raise property values and improves lives. Fiscally irresponsible districts threaten the whole community.

Don’t leave this duty up to anyone else. Take responsibility for your community by getting informed and voting.

Here’s The Dirty Little Secret About Teachers Nobody Is Telling You About

I know a teacher pretty well, and I know nasty little secrets she’s not telling.

She sneaks out of bed at 4:45 every morning. No one else is up. No one’s watching her. At that hour, she can do whatever she wants without consequence.

She sneaks downstairs and puts on her make-up in front of the TV. She also encrypts mysterious lesson plans into a little black book. Names and numbers. Goals and strategies. Like a KGB agent plotting a mission to flip a Navy Radioman.


At some point, she eats breakfast and creeps back upstairs to do her hair and get dressed.

Yeah, it’s 14 degrees out, but this teacher’s on a mission. She fires up her Jeep and backs out of the driveway at 6:25. She’s packing her lunch and books and papers and a plot. A plot no one’s telling you about.

That plot’s what’s so threatening to America.

See, there are kids who don’t think as straight as your kids. They struggle. They’re vulnerable.

This teachers knows who they are. She knows their weaknesses and their strengths. She knows how to get into their heads and plant subversive ideas. And she’s really damn good at it.

So these kids who’ve been pre-selected for failure get these ideas in their heads that upset the plan. They start scoring better on secret little tests, so the teacher gives them bigger tests.

They go from 50 to 74 in just a year. Plus they get along better with other kids.

Kids who should be ashamed of their flaws instead grin those obnoxious, gapped babytooth-missingtooth-grownuptooth-grins because, for the first times in their lives, they scored with their grade level.

That’s how dangerous this teacher is.

Now the question is: what the hell do we do about her?

We spent our adult lives vilifying the evil Public School Teacher. We molded caricatures of these creatures sure to rally public sentiment against their nasty breed. We developed narratives – complete with pathetic victims --- designed to make the kindest heart turn to stone when confronted with The Teacher.

And these evil teachers, shrewd as they are, ignored our work and went on trying to turn little, predictable failures into happy people with meaningful lives.


But we have hope. In every district there’s one or two crappy teachers—imposters, really. People who use the classroom to advance personal political agendas and hold back the smart kids. Just like there’s Navy sailors who sell secrets to the Soviets and priests who diddle little boys and CEOs who hide debt and lie about revenue. At least we can take solace in the knowledge that not all teachers are heroes.

Reality Check

For conservatives, ragging on teachers, blaming them for our stupid kids, is a sport. Yes, the teachers’ unions are working to undermine America. But so are 4 out of 5 Fortune 500 CEOs.  Do you really think the CEO of GE gives a crap if America remains the world’s strongest economy? Eighty percent of Fortune 500 CFOs would, in their words, destroy shareholder value in order to meet Wall Street’s quarterly expectations. And we’re demonizing teachers?

Teachers are not their unions. From kindergarten to 49-years-old, all but a couple teachers I’ve ever met live and die for their kids.  And I bet I’ve met more than you have.  (For one thing, I was in college for 32 years.) Sure, the Department of Education has been a disaster for learning, but teachers didn’t create the DoE. Jimmy Carter and Congress did. And Ronald Reagan didn’t kill it as he promised.

Here’s What It’s Like To Be Married To A Teacher

Do you have any idea how many times I’ve been driving down the highway wishing my wife would just fucking quit teaching so I didn’t have to hear about her students?  I mean, she married ME, not THEM, but even on Valentine’s Day the only thing she talks about is how this one fifth-grader is mentoring kindergarteners and that one is reading at grade level and another one hasn’t been suspended in a year.

So I ask you: who’s the selfish, angry, greedy bastard in all of this? The teacher who lives and dies for her students, or the Tea Party “leader” who’s sick of hearing about her damn kids?

If you think Bill Hennessy works for America’s future, you’re wrong. It’s his wife. A teacher. And as much as I love her, I’m afraid, in that regard, she’s not an exception. That’s the way teachers are.

Happy Valentine's Day, baby. A little late, but that’s because I didn’t pay attention to Sr. Ann Gregory when she tried to teach me about calendars in second grade.

My fault, not hers.

American Schools Replace Great Fiction With Government propaganda

[Originally posted on]

English was my favorite subject in school, so much so that I can still recite from memory large passages of the books we read, like A Separate Peace:

I went back to Devon School not long ago, and found it looking oddly newer than when I was a student there 15 years before.

And who doesn’t know this by heart:

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.

Literature, more than other subject, advances individualism. Writing unleashes the individual. Reading unleashes the mind from conformity. As I read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, I am free to think, feel, and believe whatever I wish regardless of what some teacher or professor wants me to believe.

Here’s what scholar Karin Sarsenov says of the subject in her paper, The Literature Curriculum in Russia: Cultural Nationalism vs. The Cultural Turn:

Teaching literature in school is by its very nature a tricky endeavor. On the one hand, the canonical works taught remind us of the ultimate transcendence of the individual. The fact that a particular writer is taught in school means that this person’s views, intentions, experiences, feelings, politics and aesthetics have surpassed their contextual situatedness, overcome the forces attempting to marginalize them, and have emerged as the dominant cultural discourse. In this respect, masterpieces represent the ultimate manifestation of individual agency. In the intimate experience of reading, individual agency is also accentuated – reading is a process which cannot be controlled from outside, and in which the inherent hermeneutical openness of art allows for unexpected – and sometimes perhaps even unwelcome – interpretations [emphasis added].

As a tool of individualism, then, literature poses a threat to central control of education and of the mind. So, now, the federal government has begun a purge of literature from primary and secondary education curricula.

From the Telegraph:

American literature classics are to be replaced by insulation manuals and plant inventories in US classrooms by 2014.

A new school curriculum which will affect 46 out of 50 states will make it compulsory for at least 70 per cent of books studied to be non-fiction, in an effort to ready pupils for the workplace.

How We Got Here

Forty-six states have surrendered control of school curricula to the federal government under the remarkably successful and sweeping “Race to the Top” challenge.

By entering the challenge—with no promising of winning the money—states agreed to replace local school district curricula with federally mandated subjects and standards: the common core state standards. The process took less than two years, and ensures that the federal government will dictate every aspect of a child’s learning forever.

Propaganda Replaces Art

So what will replace Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird?  Recommended Levels of Insulation by the the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Invasive Plant Inventory, by California’s Invasive Plant Council.

Common Core Standards doubles down on the 100-year-old compulsory education ideal of producing conformists, disciplined, unquestioning factory workers. Seth Godin challenged this failed system even before Common Core Standards appeared on the scene:

As we get ready for the 93rd year of universal public education, here’s the question every parent and taxpayer needs to wrestle with: Are we going to applaud, push or even permit our schools (including most of the private ones) to continue the safe but ultimately doomed strategy of churning out predictable, testable and mediocre factory-workers?

As long as we embrace (or even accept) standardized testing, fear of science, little attempt at teaching leadership and most of all, the bureaucratic imperative to turn education into a factory itself, we’re in big trouble.

By replacing individualistic fiction like Catcher in the Rye with government propaganda and calling it “literature,” we’re following the Soviet model of producing cogs for the state machine.

So where’s the liberal outrage at this anti-intellectual policy? Or has the left swallowed whole the statist view that people are mere tools of the central planners?

Colleges Suffocate Free Speech

Colleges in the United States are systematically destroying free speech, free thought, and creative writing. Sixty-five percent of colleges and universities censor students, even in creative writing classes. [youtube=] Hillsdale or nothing.


Who’s Lucky?

There’s a “special” school in St. Louis County. Its seniors graduated on last Friday. BenGraduating

How sad it must be for those kids. They’re not graduating from the district’s “normal” schools with their peers. For various reasons, they’ve been relegated to a school for misfits.

Seeing the building makes the bad feelings worse.  It’s a former grade school, crammed inconveniently behind a bank and a Taco Bell. Its Eisenhower era architecture stands out  amidst its Mortgage Boom surroundings like a dandelion on golf course. And the high school kids—some in their early 20s—appear freakishly large in the building.

The clown car impression intensifies inside the gymnasium. Its small, undersized basketball court barely holds the families of sixty or so graduates.

The scene was such a contrast for me.

I graduated with almost 600 other kids. Of them, I knew only a small percentage, really. At my high school graduation in the cavernous Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis – which I and all locals will forever call “The New Cathedral” – we sat in alphabetical order for the first time ever.  I had never met the two girls sandwiching me.  (One of them I would have remembered, trust me.)

I was lucky.  I graduated on time with my peers. I was never set back. I got by with a lot—a lot of misbehavior that earned expulsion for other kids. Like I said, I was lucky.

Or was I?

The ceremony at Fern Ridge High School moved me. Me and everyone around me.

Mr. Chris Oliver, an English teacher moving onto a new career after this year, served as the key note speaker. He talked about the wretched state of factory education in America, of course. He talked about the graduating seniors, too.

And he cried.  He paused to compose himself three, four, five times.

I cried, too.  It’s been a while since I’ve had a job that moved me. Chris’s job surely does.

Or did.

Chris said, “Fern Ridge should be a model for all schools in America.” I think he might be right.

At Fern Ridge, Chris was freed from the strictures of a “safe” curriculum handed down like divine instructions on granite tablets. Instead, this school expected him to use his skills and his heart to reach the students—students who have already rejected the factory model of education.

Chris was free, as he said, to “say something crazy” in his classroom.

That means Chris’s students were free to learn and to think. Fernies, as they’re called, do not memorize and regurgitate. 

After his talk, Chris kicked off a Fern Ridge tradition. Teachers stood, one by one, and read an original Tanka to a student.

More tears, but lots of laughs.

(You can’t read Tankas to every student in a class of 600.)

The administrators and teachers on the dais beamed throughout the ceremony. Why shouldn’t they? I said that this was no factory high school. The kids were no factory products. They were, as one of the Tankas described a girl in the class, round pegs in a square world.

America’s education system couldn’t hold these kids.  Most were too intelligent and passionate to make it in regular schools where conformity, anonymity, and banality earn non-descript praise from a faceless bureaucrat.

Education in America—regular, factory education—banished creativity, expression, and brilliance long ago.  Like all socialist schemes, public education “covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd [source].”

Students with the courage to cut through that network of rules and stand above the crowd are sentenced to places like Fern Ridge,  or to Missouri’s Options program, where they can earn a diploma without corrupting the numb kids in the regular schools.

When my son accepted his diploma from the principal, I was proud, of course. I was even more humbled and a embarrassed. Not because my son graduated from an alternative school for kids who refused to conform, but because I didn’t.

Way to go, Ben.

3 Great Reasons to Send Your Kids to Vacation Liberty School

Register today for Vacation Liberty School.  Here's 3 reasons why you should: 3.  Most school systems don't care about liberty; they care about conformity.  The only way kids will learn an appreciation for the blessings of libertyLiberty Bell is if their parents send them to schools that put liberty at the center of the cirriculum.  That's what Vacation Liberty School does.

2.  Many teachers would love to teach more about the blessings of liberty to their skulls full of mush, but they can't. School boards and idiotic testing mandates prevent them.  So parents who care about liberty need to teach kids about it on their own.  That's where Vacation Liberty School can help.

1.  Liberty is never more than one generation away from extinction.  So send your kids to Vacation Liberty School this summer. 

The St. Louis As a Mom team is gearing up for a one week summer program designed to teach 5th thru 8th gradersabout the founding principals of the US. Their Vacation Liberty School program is based on the structure of Vacation Bible School, but uses a curriculum that has been used elsewhere in the country to teach youngsters about our country's core beliefs. You can learn more at the website:

VLS will run from June 13th to 17th and costs $25 per child. We need to register attendees now so that we can make sure that we have enough teachers, volunteers, and supplies.

Thanks much!

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Link to brochure.
Link to org website.
Gateway Academy website.