Category Archives: Missouri Education

Dear God, Another One

It is the second suicide in a short time… Merely a moth ago the state auditor took his own life. It all hinges around the gubernatorial campaign of Tom Sweich, who the St Louis-Post Dispatch called the front runner.  The auditor recently ended his own life. Now—it was his close aid, Mr. Spence Jackson who made a decsion that leaves us all asking questions. He decided to end his own life. It’s a strange time in Missouri.. It’s just a fact. 

A screen shot of a St. Louis-Post Dispatch online publication linked above. 

My heart is heavy. My resolve is weak. The rural and urban squabbles. Ferguson and beyond. The infighting among both parties. The constant tension. It’s taken it’s toll, everywhere and everyone invested in the region and the state. I have lost only some people, and a friend, one whom I regret losing dearly. One who matters, Mr. Hizer. The rest can go to hell–they were fake, closet addicts who wrote very poorly of Mr. Hizer at one point. (Needles and whatnot, long story)

But I speak of him fondly. To separate him from a destructive herd. This is what I said to him regarding the fierce debate borne of Ferguson. 

It’s a narrative constructed on a lie

It comes from people beating the drum of democracy, but they can’t handle simple questioning of their platform and tactics, from people also citing democracy and the right to speak freely. People have been asking me, as if I would know, “why are my comments being deleted?” What can I tell them, other than you’re hurting a political movements platform, which uses mob/bully tactics to throw their weight around, like suppressing speech. They deem someone, unfit for debate. Mostly veterans, from what I’ve seen.  When essentially, it’s people we all know, our friends and family, who are silenced by an elitist academic mob. Who grabbed the microphone for a moment. But how? Another post, I promise. Some may not even read this, but I sincerely would count this friendship, with Mr. Hizer, as a tragic casualty of the events that none of us created. It was thrust upon us all, but some stoked the flames and some tried to calm the waters. 
I was happy in my world national security and foreign policy, I didn’t know this local moment of fate would irrupt into a national debate and months of protesting and eventual riots that turned into looting. I didn’t know the protestors would use tactics that intentionally make authorities nervous, but I went to the protest, I know the people who got the audio of people chanting about wanting dead cops—last year.
There are two sides too what happened last year. 
Now, the “movement” wants to move onto consolidating the county–after 18 buildings burnt, Zemir Begic beaten to death with hammers, 2 cops shot, and now metro link beatings of white people over NOT AGREEING WITH the mob—people want to distance themselves from it all. Which I get, but they can’t, because they helped cultivate it.


One friend, who will remain nameless, only because he is a teacher—had his students, along with 1000’s of other teachers, doing hands up, don’t shoot pictures—which is now proven to be a bold face lie. 
As a responsible adult, and a parent who sends their kid to a Missouri public school, that is reprehensible to me. That is politicizing children, while instilling fear in them. It makes me sick. 

I have earned the reputation of saying precisely what I think of something. If you check the international headlines, you’ll find that my analysis of what was occurring in the Middle East, is quite accurate. Why would my same deductions of a local dramatis personæ, in a racially charge movement, be any less valid? (I talk about the use of American power a lot—long story)

Because I was free-lunch kid? Because I didn’t have family who could afford a lawyer to keep my trouble off the books, as it were? At the end of the day, if that’s your rationale for dismissing my observations of the media-industrial complex and how it effects the world at large and our local lives, than you aren’t as righteous as you think. (Mr. Hizer is often called righteous) 

I did not engage my good friends to win, I engaged to try and prevent the calamity that has befallen us. I certainly didn’t do it to impress my wife, she hates it all and all of you. Well, most if you. She admires Mr. Hizer. T’was hubris on my part maybe, but it was worth a shot. I regret NOTHING but the disruption of this friendship, with Mr. Hizer.

I do hope things return to their boring mundane reputation.

 What a day…. 

This has ballooned. The whole culture and climate. God help us on where ever it is bound to take us.

Library Enthusiast

I consider myself a library enthusiast. I happily pay my fines and fees, knowing it will help keep the lights on. It’s the least I can do, literally. I’m also a parent. My oldest daughter will be entering the first grade. I have 3 girls total and they are all being taught to be “library enthusiasts”. I feel it’s my job. One no one else is going to do. To instill in them faith in a system that allows for a person to see for themselves.

20140706-135931-50371202.jpg
Photo via St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Nine months ago, I started to look into the education system in our state. I started where most parents start: in kindergarten. We were lucky. Our oldest got an amazing teacher, who saw the upsides to the new controversial standardized testing in our state-Common Core, as it’s known. At first, I read Heart Of The Matter. I first heard of it on The Colbert Report, seen here, one night before my daughter was to start kindergarten. I read it because it was on that particular show. After which, I asked questions of every person who I came across, that worked in education. I wanted know about their opinions and experiences. For the most part, teachers were excepting, if not content, with the standards. All the while trying to block out the negative perception projected by those who are typically opposed to “progressivism”. Those who were saying “common core is evil!” (They were, which is precisely why I ignored them).

My personal experiences this past school year forced me to try and understand the institute as a whole, from top to bottom. It seems daunting, even impossible at times. I’m forced to use as many resources as I can find. I’ll be honest and vulnerable. The truth is I need all the help I can get understanding how our education system works.

I don’t know a teacher’s perspective. I don’t know what it’s like to finish school and want to make a difference. I don’t know the disenfranchisement teachers face. I don’t know what a dedicated individual working with underprivileged kids goes through to acquire funding for kids, that some people see as a bother. I don’t know what it’s like for the Washington University educated folks to work in very impoverished areas, for meager pay.

I need perspectives from other parents. I need insight and knowledge on how the power players operate, by people working along side policy makers and lobbyists.

This is me being honest and knowing my limitations. I hope it’s read and understood. A confrontational tone from teachers, parents, or administrators is the last thing we need.

Like we saw from Mike Jones, Vice-President of the Missouri Board of Education recently, when he confronted Steve Stenger at a County commission meeting. You can hear thorough coverage of the event via NPR. The tone was hostile. It actually shifted the focus to Mr. Jones’ actions and his relationship with County Executive Dooley and away from the kids for a moment . It’s understandable, an election is coming up, but this is education. It shouldn’t be subject to the counterproductive squabbles of local politics.

At the same time, those administrators who are appointed, not elected, shouldn’t be showing contempt or making light of the elected process. Like , Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro did in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Comparing our elected process to a “homecoming queen” election.

20140706-143813-52693723.jpg

I’m told to organize and network with other parents, but quite frankly, the parents who are interested in organizing are homeschooling or paying for private school tuition. So, I feel very much alone and outside looking in to a very complicated institute.

I do have faith, that good people will rise to the occasion and this problem will be fixed. Hopefully, my enthusiasm for libraries can help the process along, it’s a great place to start, but so much more is needed.

I will keep digging and striving to understand the system I’ve placed my daughters in at the tender age of five. I’ll always enthusiastically begin any dig at the St. Charles County Library…enthusiastically.

Library Enthusiast

I consider myself a library enthusiast. I happily pay my fines and fees, knowing it will help keep the lights on. It’s the least I can do, literally. I’m also a parent. My oldest daughter will be entering the first grade. I have 3 girls total and they are all being taught to be “library enthusiasts”. I feel it’s my job. One no one else is going to do. To instill in them faith in a system that allows for a person to see for themselves.

20140706-135931-50371202.jpg
Photo via St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Nine months ago, I started to look into the education system in our state. I started where most parents start: in kindergarten. We were lucky. Our oldest got an amazing teacher, who saw the upsides to the new controversial standardized testing in our state-Common Core, as it’s known. At first, I read Heart Of The Matter. I first heard of it on The Colbert Report, seen here, one night before my daughter was to start kindergarten. I read it because it was on that particular show. After which, I asked questions of every person who I came across, that worked in education. I wanted know about their opinions and experiences. For the most part, teachers were excepting, if not content, with the standards. All the while trying to block out the negative perception projected by those who are typically opposed to “progressivism”. Those who were saying “common core is evil!” (They were, which is precisely why I ignored them).

My personal experiences this past school year forced me to try and understand the institute as a whole, from top to bottom. It seems daunting, even impossible at times. I’m forced to use as many resources as I can find. I’ll be honest and vulnerable. The truth is I need all the help I can get understanding how our education system works.

I don’t know a teacher’s perspective. I don’t know what it’s like to finish school and want to make a difference. I don’t know the disenfranchisement teachers face. I don’t know what a dedicated individual working with underprivileged kids goes through to acquire funding for kids, that some people see as a bother. I don’t know what it’s like for the Washington University educated folks to work in very impoverished areas, for meager pay.

I need perspectives from other parents. I need insight and knowledge on how the power players operate, by people working along side policy makers and lobbyists.

This is me being honest and knowing my limitations. I hope it’s read and understood. A confrontational tone from teachers, parents, or administrators is the last thing we need.

Like we saw from Mike Jones, Vice-President of the Missouri Board of Education recently, when he confronted Steve Stenger at a County commission meeting. You can hear thorough coverage of the event via NPR. The tone was hostile. It actually shifted the focus to Mr. Jones’ actions and his relationship with County Executive Dooley and away from the kids for a moment . It’s understandable, an election is coming up, but this is education. It shouldn’t be subject to the counterproductive squabbles of local politics.

At the same time, those administrators who are appointed, not elected, shouldn’t be showing contempt or making light of the elected process. Like , Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro did in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Comparing our elected process to a “homecoming queen” election.

20140706-143813-52693723.jpg

I’m told to organize and network with other parents, but quite frankly, the parents who are interested in organizing are homeschooling or paying for private school tuition. So, I feel very much alone and outside looking in to a very complicated institute.

I do have faith, that good people will rise to the occasion and this problem will be fixed. Hopefully, my enthusiasm for libraries can help the process along, it’s a great place to start, but so much more is needed.

I will keep digging and striving to understand the system I’ve placed my daughters in at the tender age of five. I’ll always enthusiastically begin any dig at the St. Charles County Library…enthusiastically.