Friday, January 27, 2012

Open Letter to Rep. Janine Nollan On Common Core and HB 2543

Rep. Nollan,

We have talked on many occasions about our interest in public education. I know you missed our interim study on the Common Core. I am attaching it here. I ask you to review it carefully and contact me with any questions as we will be attempting to have the Common Core repealed again this year and would appreciate your assistance.

It is important to remember that as Conservatives, we want LESS government, not more. The CCSS will REDUCE our options and choices, not broaden them and ALL public education reform today should be about broadening our choices and giving parents and our state the opportunity to manage education for Oklahoma's children and not have that decided by others who do not live in our beautiful state and do not know our way of life!

In this vein, your bill HB 2543 which forces home school parents such as myself to 'register' my children with the state. Having discussed this with you on a passing basis one time, I know you have personal concerns about home schooling, but I reminded you at that time that what you were describing was a deviant, not the norm. I urge you to read my blog where I recount Charlie Meadows experience as a judge for the Oklahoma Home School Speech and Debate contest.

I ask you to please look further and deeper into home school. Do NOT penalize those of us who want to educate our children at home because there are some that take advantage of our freedoms but do not. Reducing the freedoms of others is NOT the way to insure the safety of children. Once government begins to oversee EVERY aspect of our lives - and we are well on our way toward that situation today - ALL freedom will be lost. You must, as did our Founders, believe in the resilience and autonomy of our families in the face of government and allow those to fail who would fail and those who would succeed to do so.

God bless your efforts and thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you on this issue. OCHEC has already warned their membership of your bill. Please assure us all that you will drop this bill and work outside the system of government, inside the home school movement, to advocate for best practices in home school environments.

Very Sincerely,

Jenni White
President, Restore Oklahoma Public Education

Deception, NOT Excellence in Oklahoma Education


Or…Short Memories Allow Business As Usual in Public School ‘Reform’

How would you feel if I told you that taxpayers are paying the salary for a man at the Department of Education who committed voter fraud in a school board election


Many conservatives were astounded when our new REPUBLICAN State Superintendent of Education, Janet Barresi hired the lobbyist for the OklahomaEducation Association (OEA – Oklahoma’s branch of national NEA) as her chief of staff.  In fact, while I have written many a blog detailing ROPE’s disagreements and frustrations with Dr. Barresi’spolicies from a Conservative perspective, even we Conservatives understand public education MUST be a particularly bi-partisan issue. The move to hire Mr. Robison, however, simply didn’t pass the smell test. 

What I found recently, is simply MIND BOGGLING, and explains why.


April 12th, 1988 framed a particularly divisive school board election in Oklahoma City Public Schools.  Arthur Stellar, then-OKC Public Schools (OKCPS) Superintendent, had recently been given a $6,200 annual pay and benefits increase by existing school board members.


This did not sit well with the OCFT (Oklahoma City Federation of Teachers – local arm of the American Federation of Teachers) who vowed to defeat the three incumbent board members up for reelection that year.  In addition, the OKCPS teachers would be deciding their union of representation May 18. The OCFT had held bargaining rights for teachers since 1977, surviving four previous challenges from rival union OEA-OKC, and teachers would once again be deciding their fate in mere weeks.


Betty Hill, sitting President of the Board (general manager of Jim Hill Heating and Cooling Co. at the time), was the only one of the three who chose to run under these conditions. Her opponent was OCFT-endorsed, Jesse Isbell, a Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. Employee. 


Isbell received 437 district votes. Hill’s total was 305. This forced a runoff election which was to be held on May 3, 1988.


Elections for districts 4 and 5 resulted in elections for OCFT-endorsed candidates, indicating little more than a planned union takeover of the board.


BUT WAIT! Ted Metscher, president of the OCFT and Joel Robison, president of the state AFT (and a physical education teacher within the system) were BOTH found to have voted in the April election while LIVING OUTSIDE THE OKC public school district! Both men were listed on the polling record for Mark Twain Elementary School. Both men listed the business office of the OKFT as their addresses, though Metscher lived in Norman and Robison in Bethany. 


Oklahoma law requires that voters list their home addresses, and the Oklahoma County prosecutor at the time (), publically stated that using a business address to register a vote was a violation of both misdemeanor and felony laws.


Both men actually admitted to voting ILLEGALLY, citing their voter fraud as simple “mistake”.
Metscher was quoted as saying, “My statement is it is a mistake and it’s been corrected. I’m reregistered and I’m sorry.”


Robison said, “I’m not going to say I didn’t realize. It was just a mistake.”


Union members ALSO committing voter fraud in the election were Joel Robison’s wife, Donna (a special education teacher at Classen Fifth-Grade Center), and Georgia Ianello, the former head of the OCFT (who lived in the Putnam City School district).


Though the OCFT placed information in teachers’ school mailboxes BEFORE the election including individual district maps, 35 people who lived outside the boundary lines for District 3 voted in that election, including 8 Oklahoma City schoolteachers, and one principal.


As one commentary in the Oklahoman stated (April 28, 1988), “…it is incredible that people involved in educating children should demonstrate ignorance of, or perhaps disdain for, such a fundamental principle of the democratic process as the sanctity of the vote. With that caliber of union leadership, it is not hard to imagine the kind of school board Oklahoma City would have if it should come totally under union control.”


By April 30th, Both Metscher and Robison had resigned their AFT posts and lost their union salaries as the OSBI began to investigate “voter registration fraud”. 


Betty Hill won re-election to her post in District 3, May 3 with 53% of the vote. 


May 18th, OKCPS teachers elected OEA-OKC to represent them as their bargaining agent.


In early June, a more than 230-page OSBI report focused on the actions of Robison and his wife, Donna, Metscher and Ianello was delivered to the district attorney’s office allowing OK County DA Robert Macy to file criminal charges. Though all four were found to have fraudulently cast their votes in the April 12th election, all were accused only of the misdemeanor charge of “willfully and knowingly” voting illegally in an OKCPS election. The maximum punishment was to be 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Arthur Stellar, OKCPS then-Superintendent explained that OKCPS actions “could run the gamut from an oral reprimand to termination,” but also indicated that no action would be taken against the teachers until the outcome of the case had been determined.


Macy’s decision frustrated many, including Hill and then-OKCPS board President Kay Floyd who said, “I worry about the message that sends to kids, the public, everybody…I have a problem with them being in the classroom.”


The second week of July, Robison, his wife Donna, and Ianello faced their first court appearances on their misdemeanor charges.


In August, both Joel and Donna Robison had resigned their teaching positions and moved to Wichita, Kansas.


By October 18, 1988, the Robisons were given each a 30-day suspended sentence and fined $1,000 (the maximum fine allowed) after reaching an agreement with prosecutors. Each wrote in a court affidavit: “I voted in a school election in a district or precinct in which I did not reside.”


Today, after serving many years as the Chief Lobbyist for OEA, Joel Robison, a man convicted of voter fraud in a school board election tainted by overt union dealings, is the Chief of Staff for the Oklahoma State Superintendent.


Yes, all of us have made/will make mistakes in our lives. Yes, certainly as a Christian one should extend grace and forgiveness. Yes, those who make mistakes must go on to lead their lives in a fruitful, meaningful way and we must allow them to do so.


Mr. Robison could have continued anywhere as a physical education teacher, yet he came back to Oklahoma, switched union allegiance, continued on in union employ and was then put in a position to lobby on behalf of ALL Oklahoma taxpayers for issues affecting our children in public school. Mr. Robison broke the public trust and is now helping to oversee the agency charged with KEEPING the public trust.


We think THAT is stepping over the line.

Resources available from the NewsOk archives under the following titles:

Teachers’ Union Officials Crash School Election, Chris Brawley, April 27, 1988
Records Show 35 Crossed School Election Boundaries, Chris Brawley, Chip Minty, April 27, 1988
Bad Omen for School Board, Editorial, April 28, 1988
OSBI Opens City School Vote Probe, Chris Brawley, April 28, 1988
Oklahoma School Board Candidate Undaunted by Suspect Votes, Chris Casteel, April 29, 1988
More Ineligible School Voters Named, Chris Brawley, April 30, 1988
Runoff Vote to End Hot School Contest, Chris Brawley, May 2, 1988
Union Blameless, Leader Claims, Chris Brawley, May3, 1988
School Board President Re-Elected, Chris Brawley, May 4, 1988
State Official Urges Revision of School Election Laws, Chris Brawley, May 9, 1988
Unions Seeking Backers in City’s School System Teachers, Support Personnel to Choose, Chris Brawley, May 15, 1988
Teacher Union Presidents Quit After Probe Starts, Chris Brawley, April 30, 1988
OSBI Files Report on Possible Fraud, Chris Brawley, June 12, 1988
Criminal Charges Planned in School Election Fraud Probe, Nolan Clay, July 6, 1988
Illegal Voting Charge Filed on Teachers, Chris Brawley, Nolan Clay, July 8, 1988
3 Teachers in Court on Election Charges, Editorial, July 12, 1988
Vote Fraud Suspect Unaware of Restrictions, Attorney Says, July 16, 1988
Board Member Concerned Over Teachers’ Jobs, Chris Brawley, September 1, 1988
Jury to Hear Case Against City Teachers, Nolan Clay, September 23, 1988
Teachers Enter Pleas of Guilty in Voting Case, Nolan Clay, October 18, 1988
Ex-Teachers Fined for Illegal Voting, Nolan Clay, October 14, 1988
Teachers Should Accept Blame, Editorial, October 21, 1988
Teachers Disciplined Confidentially, Chris Brawley, November 1, 1988

Sunday, January 22, 2012

ESEA Reauthorization...Does It Even Matter When Obama Can Go Around Congress?

Because Congress is to renew the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) every five (5) years (ostensibly), there has been recent debate in Congress surrounding this issue. Well, no, I lied. 

There really has been very little debate because, as many of you know, our President governs by Executive Order (translated through quotes by Veruca Salt, "I want it NOW!" and Mel Brooks, "It's good to be the king!") and does whatever he wants without the bother of consulting the Congress of the People.

The ESEA is no different.

The roots of the ESEA begin with Lyndon Baines Johnson's War On Poverty in 1965. LBJ - a presidential usurper with no real aspirations for the country but his own (and as such created Devil Deals with every liberal Democrat and Progressive he could find to get himself into office) was so pleased with himself over the first five Titles, he added two more in 1967.

Still and all, the law giving us the now infamous first ESEA numbered only 31 pages, and contained these words in the second to the last paragraph,
Federal Control of Education Prohibited
Sec. 604. Nothing contained in this Act shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration or personnel of any educational institution or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system.
Other than Ronald Reagan, who actually upset critics and supporters alike by threatening to do away with the newly-formed federal Department of Education, every president since LBJ has considered the ESEA nothing more than part and parcel of the fabric of America, re-constructing and re-naming it as though part of their job description. Historically, even Republican presidents - supposedly to be more of the Reaganesque view that, "Education is the principal responsibility of local school systems, teachers, parents, citizen boards, and state governments" - have added more federal regulations to the ESEA, giving it an ever-increasing role over the states in a near shattering of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.

In fact, it is the contention of one of Oklahoma's Constitutional attorneys, after considerable study, that Congress has spent the decades since inception of the ESEA, eroding the rights of the states once upheld in school law, leaving citizens, school boards, and state legislatures, with little to do now but kowtow to FEDERAL school law.

Wow, have we come a long way in American education reform. Today's ESEA - termed by George W. Bush as the No Child Left Behind Act - has it's OWN webpage on the White House servers where it has over nine THOUSAND more sections than the original. My how government does grow when watered by those with little to no knowledge, or regard, of the Constitution.

Though apparently everybody hates NCLB, it was supposed to have been re-authorized by President Bush in 2007. Due to a number of factors, including the 2008 presidential election, the passing of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman, Ted Kennedy, in 2009, and the Republican rout of the House in 2010, NCLB re-authorization has found itself continually put 'on hold'.

Though Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, began telling the nation in late 2009,
More than any other issue, education is the civil rights issue of our generation and it can't wait—because tomorrow won't wait—the world won't wait—and our children won't wait.
it wasn't until February, 2010, that NCLB moved back to the national radar screen when President Obama called for its re-authorization, indicating he would integrate at least six new policies of his own, including continued Race to the Top incentives.

Since then, our president - given his propensity to give away the hard earned cash of Americans - has had to concern himself more with the more pressing "George-Bush-Caused" issue of national economic failure, and a deeply divided Congress not particularly interested in coming into agreement on any NCLB action.

These months of inaction have not sat well with our President, however, and he finally stepped beyond "can't wait" to "won't wait" in September of 2011, when he elevated himself from President to King with the words,
And so was born, the recipe for a little Arne Duncan/Barrack Obama confection called the "NCLB Waiver". 

This "Waiver" allows states to:
  • escape the 2014 100% proficiency standard, 
  • receive relief from the accountability standards for "failing" schools
  • receive flexibility in using federal funds to meet their needs under NCLB
In return, the states who take a waiver will be "strong armed" into:
  • transitioning to College- and Career-Ready Standards and Assessments (Common Core State Standards)
  • establishing a differentiated recognition, accountability, and support system that gives credit for progress towards college- and career-readiness
  • setting basic guidelines for teacher and principal evaluation and support systems

Why the rush? Why can't the President wait for Congress to act? 

One major reason, really; at the centerpiece of the NCLB legislation was that little pie-in-the-sky notion that ALL children in ALL states would, after essentially being coached to respond to a series of tests, become 100% proficient in math and reading by the year 2014 (as deemed by NCLB's measuring stick, AYP - Adequate Yearly Progress).

Though probably readily obvious to you and I that no state would be able to meet those kinds of standards - ever - what happens to states when 2014 comes WITHOUT 100% proficiency? A whole range of 'sanctions' can occur, from getting less money to more money to a complete takeover of the school by the state. No beheadings, no draw-and-quarterings - just a whole lot of bureaucratic nonsense based on bureaucratic nonsense.

So why, then, would the President choose to go around a "do nothing" Congress in what essentially amounts to an NCLB "statutory bypass" - a re-write of existing law without the law-making body of the United States present in the room? 

Many have pondered that notion and many are concerned

First of all, the argument advanced FOR waivers seem particularly disingenuous. In support of the necessity of a waiver - over waiting for Congress to reform the law - Arne Duncan has (or Arnius Duncanus as he has been called by Checker Finn) told the media that 80% of all schools in the US could miss AYP, illusorily indicating the havoc this would wreak in Departments of Education all over the union.


Second of all, there is a legitimate question about the legality of this waiver process. It is true that waivers have been granted by presidential administrations a number of times for a number of different reasons. There is a big difference, however, among waivers given to states to advance Medicaid and welfare reform, and Duncan's waiver which grants state waivers conditional on compliance with a particular reform agenda that is dramatically different from EXISTING law

“Our principal concern is that the Executive branch does not possess the authority to force states into compliance with administration-backed reforms instituted through the issuance of waivers." 
“We acknowledge that NCLB allows the Secretary to grant waivers for existing provisions under the law, but nowhere does the law authorize waivers in exchange for the adoption of administration-preferred policies.”
“This initiative is an overstep of authority that undermines exiting law, and violates the constitutional separation of powers. The responsibility for legislating lies with Congress, and forcing policy reforms through NCLB waivers violates this most basic of constitutional structures.”

Could it be that the reason for the rush - for "scaring" Congress into accepting NCLB waivers instead of a re-write of the law - is just another way to get states to adopt national curriculum and testing (originally illegal by the first ESEA) before Congress can act to re-write the existing law to stipulate against that? 

It is interesting that only ONE document read for this paper mentions that allowing each state to simply amend their existing ESEA accountability plans would not necessitate a waiver request, or require the states to meet any new requirements associated with the NCLB waivers. 

Additionally, not only has the administration proposed NCLB waivers, but now WAIVERS for the WAIVERS! So, if you're a state that can't get all your ducks in a row to apply for a waiver, you can apply for a waiver from meeting the deadline to apply for a waiver. It certainly does seem as though the administration is offering ALL possible 'voluntary' routes to their end game of Common Core, teacher evaluation and accountability. 

Representatives John Kline (R) of the House Education and Workforce Committee, and Tom Harkin (D) of the Senate Education Committee have both indicated concerns about NCLB waivers being "premature" and a tact that "bypasses the legislative process". Additionally, Representative Kline has expressed concern over the need to revamp current school law and allow states to command their own educational destiny.
Toward this end, Kline has produced draft legislation for an NCLB re-write, made up of two bills:
It seems readily apparent from this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink examination of NCLB,  citizens must become EXTREMELY well-versed in this issue if the federal footprint on our children's education is to be reduced. Fortunately, ALL Republican candidates for president have indicated their desire to scrap or severely reduce the influence of the federal government on education once elected. This year, we must make it our duty as taxpayers and voters to support and vote for those candidates best prepared to usher in a new era of public education funded by the state and managed locally by the parents that support them.

Here in Oklahoma, Superintendent of Schools, Janet Barresi not only applied for an NCLB waiver but indicated she would do so nearly immediately after Duncan's announcement. Recently she has received a "positive response" from the Department of Education for her effort, though ROPE has asked both she and our Governor, Mary Fallin, not to apply based on our research.

It is a constant frustration for ROPE to know that while both women (Barresi and Fallin), ran under the banner of "Conservative" (and in fact supported them based on their assertions) both have been willing to run to the Federal government with their hands out time and time and time again. Those of us who are actual Conservatives, and who know the Oklahoma Republican platform regarding education, must hold our Governor and our Superintendent accountable for their actions. If we can not - if we do not - our control over what our kids are supposed to "learn and know" will be held above our heads at the federal level where we can't possibly influence it, while they jam their hands in our pockets to pay for it.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Home School Speech and Debate Contest - A Review

Below is the unadulterated post made in Charlie Meadow's OCPAC email for the week of 1/16. 

I wanted to re-post his post simply because of the fact that - even when I speak about home schooling to Republican lawmakers - I am often greeted with some form of horror story. It seems - just as with most things I suppose - people are only willing to (or do) remember the 1% of ANY subject and that's usually the 1% that made them upset/mad/uncomfortable, etc. 

In fact, I remember speaking with Representative Janine Noland at the Capitol one day. Home school was mentioned in that conversation somehow, and she proceeded to tell me that she isn't sure about home schooling because she knows of a child who has been taken out of school by his crack-addicted parents and receives no schooling at all at home now and how awful that is. It frustrates her that this child could ultimately fail in life and land on the public dole.

Well sure that's awful and I feel sorry for that kid - and his parents - and I understand her frustration, but isn't it ultimately a PARENT'S prerogative as to how their child/children is/are schooled? If we are truly Conservative (and/or Republican) we must, ultimately, fight for the rights of parents to raise their children in the manner they see fit.  I would, in fact, have to argue that because of the amount of welfare, and other subsidies, available to struggling people/families today, there's no actual impetus for a parent to attempt to really parent their children. I mean, why should they if the state is going to step in and provide willing support at any stage of the process? 

Why don't we quit subsidizing failure and give parents ultimate REPONSIBILILITY for their children and see how quickly they assume that job. It's amazing how fast the prospect and/or actuality of failure causes changes in human nature. We just don't see that much anymore because we quit allowing failure. Today, failure is a bad word and ultimately unavailable as an option for those that TRULY need to understand its lessons.

At any rate, I digress as I mainly wanted to make Charlie's commentary available for even more public consumption. If you know of anyone who seems squeamish about the prospect of home schooling/home schoolers, please, pass this blog on!

++  HOME SCHOOL DEBATE AND SPEECH CONTEST

I had the opportunity and privilege to be a judge this past Thursday
and Friday evenings as well as Saturday morning for the Oklahoma-Texas
regional qualifier round for a national home school speech and debate
tournament. With somewhere over 200 students entered, it was an
amazing experience.

Thursday evening I was judging biographical speeches. These speeches
had a maximum time limit of 10 minutes with the speeches having to be
prepared and memorized by the students. The first student did a 9
minute speech about Karl Marx and the effects that his ideas have had
upon the world over the past 160 years. I was particularly impressed
as I would guess 7 out of 10 people 25 and under who were educated in
the government schools have never heard of Marx, and then of the 3 who
might have heard of him, they couldn’t tell you much about him. Don’t
believe me? Start asking anyone you see 25 and under if they have ever
heard of Marx. Other speeches were about Sigmund Freud, Al Capone, one
young lady gave a compelling speech about her great grandfather who
was a heavy bomber pilot in WW II.

On Friday evening I was judging impromptu speeches which had a maximum
time limit of 7 minutes. The young people were given a list of topics
then they had 30 minutes to research and prepare a speech. They were
allowed to use notes on a 3X5 index card, but no electronic devices.
What were some of the topics chosen? One speech was about the question
of whether or not Japan was decommissioning their nuclear power
capabilities too quickly? Another was about Iran’s capabilities to
prohibit the flow of crude out of the Arabian Sea? Then there was a
speech about the possibilities of Iraq being able to prevent sectarian
violence without outside help? This is just a sampling of the type of
difficult speeches which had to be delivered. These kids did an
incredible job.

Then on Saturday, I had a brief orientation for judging debates.
Having never been a contestant or trained regarding formal debate
contests, my only hope is that the team I didn’t pick as a winner were
not thrown to the lions! Having been active in Toastmasters for about
3 years, I was very comfortable judging speeches, but a formal debate
was a challenge for me to accurately score such an event.

Bottom line, these young home schooled kids, I would guess they were
between 12 and 18, were an outstanding example of the good job their
parents are doing in the training-up of their children. Most of these
young people will go on the accomplish a great deal in life and make
outstanding parents and citizens. This was the first time this
tournament has been held in Oklahoma. Several OCPAC members served as
judges, if we are fortunate enough to have it in OKC again, I would
suggest as many folks as possible serve as judges. It will give you
real hope for the future.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

ROPE Endorses Crystal Hodges for OKC School Board District 4 - Here's WHY!

February 14th, Oklahoma will vote on school board races across the state. February you say? Isn't that a fairly cold month here in Oklahoma - making any but the firmly ideological and/or patriotic sure NOT to go to the polls? Of course! Partly because of this factor, school board races tend to suffer from lack of turnout, at times causing school board seats to turn on less than 60 votes.

Unfortunately, school board races aren't deemed ‘sexy’ by the media. School board elections rarely gain much media attention and usually fly so far under the radar that many citizens have no idea a school board race is even ensuing in their neighborhood (district) at all - ever.

ROPE has recognized these frustrations from our beginnings. Last year we assisted both Piedmont and Edmond with school board candidate forums, in attempt to bring light to the process.

This year, we would like you to be aware of a particular school board race here in Oklahoma City. It is the Oklahoma City School Board seat in district number 4 previously held by Steve Schafer. Here is the map you can use to determine whether or not you reside in district 4.

Description: Description: LinkAs you can read in this article from the Oklahoman covering a recent candidate forum held by Friends of Egemere, there are three candidates running for this particular seat; Patrick Gaines, Laura A. Massenat and Crystal Hodges. As you can imagine, we have done a bit of research on these three candidates and we are happy to share that information with you.

All three candidates are registered with the County Election Board as "Republican", so this should be a very difficult race to judge, right? Well, not so fast. There are, some could say, EXTREME differences among the three Republican candidates in this race.

Let's start with Patrick Gaines.

Mr. Gaines is the owner and proprietor of Gaines Government Services, LLC - a local lobbying firm. Mr. Gaines is a registered lobbyist in Oklahoma for medical and insurance providers. He has a candidate Facebook page where he can be seen with Representative (and candidate for SENATE) Al McAffrey. Mr. Gaines also has an Al McAffrey For Senate sign in his front yard as can be evidenced here:



Here is a screen shot from the Al McAffrey For Senate webpage:

While Al is "FIGHTING EVERYDAY FOR OUR PROGRESSIVE VALUES", ROPE continues to fight AGAINST his progressive values – particularly in education.

Please also note McAffrey’s voting history, where he voted AGAINST preventing the use of Sharia law in Oklahoma court cases (against the will of 70% of Oklahoma voters) and the repeal of collective bargaining requirements for cities (which continue to cost Oklahoma taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars OUTSIDE what we pay for public services themselves.)

I don’t know about you, but my momma used to tell me, "You are known by your associates".

Yes, we should be cordial to all people and definitely attempt to hear all sides of an issue. Yes, school board races are considered non-partisan (which is how Progressives took control of school boards under the radar long ago). However, when one person says one thing, “I’m a Republican”, and acts another way by promoting the candidacy of a PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT, (outside his job as lobbyist which requires him to elicit support from both sides of the isle) while also publicly appreciating that PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT’S support for his campaign, ALL voters should be concerned.

In that case, we can glean the following about Patrick Gaines:

  • He is a registered Republican backing a Progressive Democrat for Senate.
  • He has had this self-same Progressive Democrat at one of his fundraisers as evidenced on his school board candidate Facebook page where he is happy to tell the world that this Progressive Democrat supports his school board candidacy.
  • Patrick Gaines is a lobbyist. “To lobby”, according to Merriam-Webster, is: to attempt to influence or sway (as a public official) toward a desired action.

Thus, we could conclude that Patrick Gaines will lobby the Oklahoma City School Board (as a board member) toward more Progressive Democrat ideals.

Let's now turn our attention to Laura A. Massenat:

Mrs. Massenat has, to her credit, been very active at the Oklahoma City School Board meetings where she frequently “lobbies” for more nutritious lunches. Mrs. Massenat is also registered with the County Election Board as a Republican and also has a candidate Facebook page where she appears with Al McAffrey AND Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid at a recent campaign fund raiser.



For the uninitiated, Ed Shadid has been one of the more ‘controversial’ councilmen on the Oklahoma City Council. Though he has thankfully attempted to stand firm in the face of the cronyism that IS the Oklahoma City Council, he is also on record as a supporter of Agenda 21-based incentives such as “preventing urban sprawl”. In a blog written last June, he states,

As social beings we are designed to function “as part of a herd” as my mentor, Dr. Billy Stout, frequently reminds me.”

WHAT?! Sorry, I don’t baaaa during any part of my day thank you, and I am – like a lot of you – more likely to kick the sheepdog as run with the pack away from him!

What about Mrs. Massenat’s ideas on school function or programming? A recent poll posted to her Facebook page can give us some idea of her thoughts.

Granted, the poll was peopled with votes from Facebook ‘friends’ and certainly can’t be construed as a statistical poll of any kind, but if her constituents are more concerned about school lunch choices than how often kids are tested and to what/for what result, how will actual issues dealing with the education (or un-education) of Oklahoma City district 4 kids fit into her agenda?

This question, combined with the issue of her political supporters, certainly raises a lot of concerns. Thus, we would be unable to consider Laura Massanat’s candidacy for the position of school board member.

This leads me to Crystal Hodges, who, as you might imagine, ROPE endorses wholeheartedly for this seat.

Crystal is a former Navy Nuclear Electronic technician who received a degree in Elementary Education following her honorable discharge from service. She and her husband Peter have 3 children whom Crystal schools at home. You can read more about Crystal’s thoughts and qualifications on the “about me” section of her candidate Facebook page.

Not unbelievably, concerns have been expressed about the legitimacy of Crystal’s candidacy simply because of the fact that Crystal chooses to school her children at home. In fact, it has even been posited that Crystal should not be ALLOWED to sit on the school board in her district for this reason. Please, allow me to make a few points here:

· Home schoolers (such as me) often choose to opt their children out of public school for religious reasons. Many of us prefer to school our children using a Biblical world view which, sadly, has not been available in public schools since 1965.

· Many home schoolers (such as Crystal and I) often either have education backgrounds themselves, or take part in a co-op or other program to assist in the schooling of their children (our family, for example, participates in a local Classical Conversations program).

· Many home schoolers (such as Crystal and I) have advanced degrees - as evidenced in a very large study done on nearly 12 thousand home school families in 1998.

· Like my own sister, and others who choose parochial and/or private schooling, home schooler’s PAY PROPERTY TAXES TO FUND PUBLIC SCHOOLS in their neighborhood and across the state of Oklahoma though they do not use the services for which they pay. To say that a home schooler can NOT occupy a school board seat in their district is tantamount to consigning these individuals to TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.

· Home schoolers are often more aware of the issues surrounding public education than those parents whose children attend public school simply because we have studied the issue prior to choosing a method of schooling for our children.

Consequently, due to Crystal’s outstanding qualifications and experience – and the obvious concerns about her opponents – ROPE has chosen to endorse Crystal Hodges for the Oklahoma City Public Schools District #4 Board of Education seat.

We ask YOU to do whatever you can to support her as well!