"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

The theatre of the absurd: Bond proposals from the Kirkwood School District in a recession

The email below is from a watchdog in Kirkwood. The School Board is proposing a $48 million bond issue; $15 Million would go for an aquatic center, and $33 Million is earmarked for creating kindergarten space, plus a new track at a middle school. You may read the proposals from the district's website here:


Question: if these bond issues pass, where will the money come from to pay the new kindergarten teachers? Answer: The school district will most likely have to implement a higher operating levy to pay for the new bonds issued.

Translation: More new taxes on the heels of the highest Federal tax increase due to take effect in January 2011. WHAT IS THE KIRKWOOD SCHOOL DISTRICT THINKING?

You will have the chance to ask the Board at the next public meeting, Monday, July 19, 2010. District offices: 11289 Manchester Road, Kirkwood, MO....7:00 PM.

(ht to Keith Williams for his email below):
Kmail Kmail@KmailNews.com 7 July 2010

Kmail Alert !!! Kirkwood News Flash !!!!

Have you heard the news? The Kirkwood School Board is on the verge of recommending that we borrow 48.3 million bucks! ( featuring improved sports facilities for our needy schools ) More detail on the good news later in this letter.

Isn't it wonderful? For the first time in years and years we have the very rare opportunity to lower property taxes without one iota of reduction in the quality of our premier Kirkwood educational programs ! But wait, why reduce property taxes for the next ten or twelve years when you can keep your yearly tax bill just as it is by spending a little more of your own money for something you really don't need?

Gee whiz, we only have 20/25 million dollars in our reserve fund so our credit card isn't maxed out just yet. Why not float some juicy new bond issues? Don't forget, how important it is to keep the county assessors office busy tinkering with your property assessments for years and years to come. Reduce your property taxes in this sinking economic environment? Why when you can spend, spend, spend. For what genuine useful purpose? Read on neighbor.

Everyone knows Kirkwood is recession proof, every household includes a millionaire with a dozen kids waiting in line to get educated. There is no tomorrow so why worry about today? Christmas won't be Christmas without the hefty new property tax bill due to be paid a few days later along with higher income and health taxes on tap for all of 2011.

Lucky you, Kirkwood home owner. The Board is considering new stadium type improvements for all our schools including Astro-Turf playgrounds, a swell new "aquatic" center for our deprived swim team , complete with additional waterproof class rooms. A nifty polo field for our equine students was considered but delayed until we can afford a Zamboni to handle both the Astroturf and road apples. Lots and lots of these vital just "gotta have" educational improvements in the bond issue hopper. Exciting, really exciting isn't it? Huh ?

In addition to the wondrous invisible improvements to our curriculum, we are all set to get permanent porta-potties for Webster football fans to use in Kirkwood every other year. These desperately needed educational improvements are featured in these carefully crafted plans for floating more school bonds in your sea of red Kirkwood ink. Your personalized name and address will be forever attached to the payment coupon.

All of these "educational" improvements can be installed for a mere 48 million dollars give or take a few million. It is pathetic that the Board has not included a single new book for the library. Will a couple of million dollars for things like books be coughed up later when the economy gets better or only when the board runs out of money for croquet balls?

Oh ! I forgot, because our total student enrollment has been shrinking of late, we will now get "free" new kindergarten rooms in all of our facilities. Darn, because of this pressing educational need, the cash required to install the Super-dome for Lyons Field has vanished. I guess we will just have to play football in the rain. These bonds are just what we need to make sure our kids education will be improved. Bravo!

Our savvy Board knows ACT/ SAT/ MAT scores will zoom upward when all these new facilities are installed and working. A new press box is certain to make our kids wiser. Test scores will undoubtedly soar. Surely Mizzou will embed a permanent football scout once we improve our press box to exceed national educational standards. Go Pioneers, go!!

How long will it take to turn out quality La Crosse players en-masse with only 48 million or so to spend? The World Cup is just a few dollars away from our grasp. Think of the savings in mowing costs when we get rid of that nasty grass. However, a hint of trouble is on the horizon. What is going to happen when the girls find out there will be no Kirkwood softball fields with pink Astroturf? Could it be that pink doesn't go well with the tanning salon wall coverings in the new aquatic center?

Meramec College pool will turn green with envy when the Kirkwood Swim teams abandons that shabby facility for our new Spartan addition to Kirkwood education excellence. Will the kindergarten kids float their rubber ducks at 10 AM or will learning how to splash be taught between water science projects in the brand new diving board TV conference room?

Oh well, maybe the School Board can squeeze a curling rink into this tight budget to help the non swimmers improve their mathematics scores. What a bargain, this lovely new pool for the swim team can be had for only five or six hundred thousand dollars per team member. Such a bargain. I can't wait to fund it, can you ?

All of these "fixes" to our sub-standard Kirkwood education will certainly impress the college entrance exam boards. All this just in time so you may mortgage your house to pay for your kids' college tuition. What is that you say? Frontenac and Ladue property tax rates are lower than Kirkwood? I can't imagine why, can you? Their school grounds and buildings must be substandard.

How about getting a firm grip on the run-a-way projects you already have going , take a deep breath and see how the high school astro-turf works out. After that triumph you can rush headlong into massive debt for a nice pile of carpet remnants with everyone cheering you on.

My suggestion for the School Board? Leave tax payers and our schools alone for a year. Our Kirkwood educational world won't collapse. After all, the current fiscal foundation you have built is solid and solvent you keep telling me. When the time comes that you really need something that would improve our kids' education, Kirkwood has never failed to provide.

All of these wild, wild spending plans come to a boil when the school board meets July 19th. At that time the Board will vote to put these multi million dollar bond issues on the November ballot or not. Why not put this stew pot of projects on the back burner and let them simmer for awhile?

It would not be the end of Kirkwood education as we know it if the Board were to give some additional study to all of these issues before trying to obligate Kirkwood to this massive new unnecessary debt.

How about it Kirkwood? Do I stand alone? I'd love to hear your opinion, perhaps the Board would too.

Keith Williams for Kmail and Kirkwood

A Missouri school district behaving fiscally responsible!

I enjoy finding tidbits such as this:


What's the secret? How did the Cape Girardeau School Board accomplish such a feat without raising taxes? It presented a balanced budget, which entailed salary freezes, fewer positions and other cutbacks.

As the old advertising saying goes, "watch this space". We'll be chronicling the bond proposals the Kirkwood District is suggesting to the voters. The Board is requesting bonds totalling $48 MILLION to build an aquatic center ($15 Million), and the physical expansion for kindergarten spaces and other construction ($33 Million) in the midst of a severe recession.

This is a district with a 5,000 student population. This is a district which gave 4.5% raises to its teachers the last two years. This is a district that chose to astroturf its football field.

It would appear the Cape Girardeau School Board understands its educational and fiduciary responsibilities. We'll be investigating why the Kirkwood School Board doesn't follow in the Cape's footsteps.

Is this the type of change our students need?

American children in failing schools deserve better:


Congress gave Arne Duncan a $4.35 BILLION dollar check, and this is what he does? He closes successsful schools for inner city children. Where is the disconnect in this scenario?

Do you feel hopeful for Missouri children? Do you trust the Department of Education to make the best decisions for your child? How do you feel about your state signing away its rights to set standards for your child? Why should our children be any different than the students in DC?

Do you believe the Department of Education REALLY wants students to succeed? If so, why was this successful program discontinued?

It took a hurricane to create functional New Orleans schools--what will it take for Missouri schools?

Check out this great article on HotAir today. When a hurricane wipes out schools, what's a city to do? This report shows how reinstating failed systems is not the way to proceed. Kudos to New Orleans for promoting a system to truly help students, not the unions.


What is it going to take for our government to make sweeping changes such as New Orleans instituted? How many schools/districts need to fail before we see changes that work? Throwing billions of dollars AT THE SAME STRUCTURE HASN'T WORKED IN 40 YEARS.

We want REAL change for our schools. We want our kids to succeed, not line the pockets of unions and promote the agenda of a governor and Board of Education which acquiesces state power.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fact IS stranger than fiction. UPDATED!

I'm not saying this is happening here in Missouri...yet. Just keep your eyes and ears open. Especially if your school wants to provide "gender neutral" bathrooms.


Our Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, considers gender-neutral bathrooms to be a constitutional right. Meanwhile, after 40 years and billions of dollars spent on education, test scores have basically flatlined. Does anyone else think maybe our priorities are not where they should be focused?

Be a watchdog. You can't make this stuff up. It's happening around the country. It will get here eventually. You better be ready to fight it.

Update: It's as close as Iowa:


Eighth graders in Shenandoah, Iowa are learning how to perform female exams, and putting a condom on a 3-D, anatomically correct male sex organ. Stuffed animals are shown simulating sex acts. I am sure this type of teaching will create an increase in standardized testing.

Will THESE become national standards for health class?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The sad state of Americans' knowledge of American history...courtesy of Jay Leno

Happy Independence Day! Quick, quick....from which country did America declare her independence? Check out this clip from Jay Leno asking this and other history questions to Americans:


I love the title of the piece: "Leno demonstrates effectiveness of American education on history". I was curious if my incoming freshman in college would be able to answer Leno's questions. He passed it with flying colors. He thought it was quite easy because he had American revolutionary history in 4th, 5th, 7th and 11th grades.

This video came out on Saturday. I will call Kirkwood District Tuesday to determine if the district supersedes the state's history requirements, or if my son's education was a state standard. You can access the "Show Me" standards here:


I don't see specifics on American history standards listed here. Could it be Kirkwood District has more rigorous standards than the state? If that is true, is Kirkwood's capability to set its own standards lost with Missouri signing on to national standards? The national history standards have not yet been formulated. Who knows what "board" will decide what is important for your child to learn? I know Missouri has some of the highest standards currently in the nation. What will happen when a new set is introduced?

I don't know why these people Leno interviewed were so clueless on their own nation's history. Either a.) they didn't pay attention; b.) American revolutionary history wasn't a high priority for that state/school district; or c.) a combination of both factors occurred resulting in unbelievable ignorance of this country's struggles and ideals.

Check this test out on Independence history...take it for yourself and see how you do:


Are you ready to appear on Leno? How many questions can your child answer correctly?

Kudos to Kirkwood School District for providing a firm foundation for my son in learning American revolutionary history. I am concerned we will be teaching our children a different type of revolutionary history in the next few years; the history of how America is solely global, we have no rights to borders, we must approach the United Nations before we can protect America's interests, etc.

If I were a parent of a school aged child, I would make sure he/she is tutored by ME to understand the founders and their intent for this country. Call your school district this week to determine which version of American history your child is learning. Better yet, have them answer Jay Leno's questions. This may be your answer.
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