Occupy Common Core: The Corporatization/Privatization of Education

Friday morning, March 28, an email was circulated calling for supporters of Common Core standards to rally in favor of the standards. In this email, it is stated that Missouri legislators are getting “pressure from right wing activists around the state”.

Right wing activists?

That, I must admit, caused me to actually laugh out loud. This is the latest in a run of empty assertions that have been made by the alphabet soup organizations of unelected educrats in Missouri in regards to the demographic of Common Core opposition.

I am not a conservative Mom. I am not a right wing activist. I am the antithesis of these things and unfortunately for MASA, DESE, MSBA, etc and et al, I also stand against Common Core. Let me shatter the illusion they would like to present to you, the one that identifies opponents of Common Core as right wing activists and conservative soccer moms.

My ‘political activism’ began after the tea party movement had launched, but my awareness of the corruption embodied in the implementation of Common Core began long before that. The rise of global corporatism and corruption, assumptions of power by branches and agencies of government in clear violation of Constitutional law and efforts to silence and marginalize dissenters drew me to an inevitable, inescapable conclusion: We, as a nation, are held in the grip of fascism. There is no clearer symptom of this condition than the government overreach exemplified by Common Core.

I have curated the website http://www.americanspring2011.com for nearly three years. My activism, such as it has been, was the direct result of the protests of workers in Madison, Wisconsin, the ‘Arab Spring’ and the for-profit police state that was rising around us. My education comes from years of schooling, common sense and practical knowledge. My beliefs spring from the moral code instilled in me by my family. My experience comes as a result of growing up in a small rural Missouri town, graduating with seven classmates. My views have been formed by the culmination of these and an endless number of lessons learned through the course of my life. My anger, my righteous fury, at those who would seek to implement ANY system that robs us of local control of our schools, is fueled by the love I have for my children and the hopes I have for their future.

I am neither a mother, nor am I a right wing activist. I’m a father who identified far more with the Occupy Wall Street message than the purchased political talking heads who hijacked the authentic grassroots movement, the tea party. The root message of the OWS movement was missed amid a flurry of symptoms of an ill society. What was lost in that movement’s translation, with its many signs and seemingly mixed messages, is that each of the messages displayed on the signs of the 99% were caused by the same root disease. Fascism. The levers of power of the most powerful military on the planet are in the hands of fascists. Their philosophy is a brutally simple one: enslave a population, through all means necessary. And now they have turned their sights on our schools.

By destroying wage protections, the door is open for economic slavery, as wages will be dictated by corporations like Wal-Mart. By increasing the militarization of police and constructing a data collection network, government and corporate powers have opened the door to tyranny. By extending the talons of government control to our schools, via the implementation of Common Core, the doors to our homes are not just opened, they have been kicked in. These conditions, each, describe fascism.

The threat of Common Core is not confined to schools, classrooms and education. It is much more personal than that and represents a greater danger. It is, in its base form, control. It institutionalizes a bully system through emphasis on student, teacher and district ‘performance’. It expands this ‘competition’ across our country, so that ‘failing’ districts become prime targets for replacement from private, for-profit educational warehouses, the kind of ‘education’ promoted by special interest groups like Fordham.

Fordham is subsidized not only by Bill Gates, but by the same Wall Street vulture who helped bankrupt the city of Detroit, by raiding the pensions of workers. John Arnold, former Enron executive, played a large role in that city’s demise. Now Detroit is being dismantled, with the goal of privatizing that city’s public services and turning it into a laboratory to conduct neoliberal economic experiments. This same mad scientist approach is now being made reality in our schools through Common Core.

Fordham certainly isn’t alone. A cabal of corporate interests and their representatives have their fingerprints all over Common Core. It has been supported by a consortium of players, united in this fascist takeover of education. Bill Gates is a major player. So is Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News with holdings in multiple private educational pies. So is Mike Huckabee. So is Jeb Bush. So are hundreds of others, scavengers all, each ready to take their bite out of the corpse of locally controlled education. All ready to fill their bloated bank accounts at the expense of our kids.

They support Common Core for precisely the same reason. It is a way to privatize what is public. It is a way to monetize our children’s future. It is a way to discourage learning, to control and monitor our children, to initiate them into a subservient way of thinking. It is a way to herd our children into the low wage jobs Chambers of Commerce have waiting for them. It is a way to discourage our children from seeking a college education that is becoming more and more unattainable through rising costs. It is a way to create a true life Idiocracy through bureaucracy.

Nor is Common Core the singular mechanism of this corporate takeover of education. Laws, some currently pending in the Missouri State Congerss, have been written and endorsed by ‘conservative’ politicians in this state that offers a clear picture of the handwriting on the wall. They have been debating, along with Common Core legislation, to allow a forty hour work week for children 14 and older. They have passed laws to expedite the process through which the state can ‘take control’ over districts that ‘fail’ accreditation tests. They have passed laws that have made it easier to fire teachers. They have set the stage for the next evolution in the transformation of education. It is a for-profit system, subsidized by parasitic interests that feed off each ‘failure’.

Common Core is the proverbial ‘no-win’ situation for parents. Without a vote and without consent, government has overstepped its authority and the citizens of the United States have been told they have two options for their children’s education: Government dictated corporate education via Common Core in our ‘public’, ‘locally controlled’ schools or privatized, for-profit corporate education via ‘failed’ districts. Each student who ‘fails’, each family whose child doesn’t ‘perform’ under this ‘educational’ model, are at risk of school/government led ‘intervention’. This ‘intervention’ is done not under the rule of law, but under the assumption of authority. It is the same assumption of authority that ‘supports’ arguments in favor of this transformation of eduction.

The state of Missouri used to have protection from this type of hostile takeover of Missouri school districts by the federal government. The statute, in an abridged, layperson form, set a higher standard for educating Missouri children than the federal government’s. This statute was used by Sherry Lagares to defeat the assumption of authority by the Camdenton school district. Shortly after the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in her favor, Sherry was called to Jefferson City as lobbyists from DESE, MSBA and other special interest groups fought to repeal that same statute. She watched as both corporate-sponsored politicians and corporate-sponsored emissaries kicked down the door protecting Missourians from Common Core. Now, her family has been visited by unbelievable acts of retribution by the same entities and players standing in support of Common Core in Missouri.

Common Core is a system that is built to profit from each child’s failure, regardless of their parent’s political affiliations. Those who stand in support of the corporatization of education do so in spite of false party labels. So to, do those who stand in opposition to this gross assumption of authority. To claim otherwise is disingenuous, it is foolish and it speaks to the blind ignorance of those who would take control of our children’s futures.

Our schools are where we lay down our political banners and pick up the crests of our families. It is on this battleground, the first, the most personal, that we don armor made of ironclad truth and carry shields forged in the fires of American determination. We gather under the flags of our children in protection of their future and here, we all have common ground.

I am not a conservative mom, nor am I a right-wing activist. I’m a liberal father.

But when I see a threat like this leveled against my kids and their future… I’m a real mother.

Advertisements

Missouri State Senators Concerned About Teacher Suppression

Wednesday, Missouri Senators heard testimony from a growing coalition of parents, teachers and educators who oppose the implementation of Common Core in our districts. During this testimony, the Senators were stunned to hear of the suppression tactics being used against teachers in districts across the state who chose to speak out in opposition of this transformation of education.

The State Senators called a sidebar Thursday, about testimony regarding teacher suppression efforts, taken by administrations around the state, against teachers who aren’t in favor of the corporate model of Common Core standards. They witnessed this type of behavior and suppression of teachers first hand in Jefferson City, courtesy of Lt. Governor Kinder. The Senators also had concerns about the veil of secrecy surrounding Common Core and lack of answers from DESE.

Debate continues in Jefferson City on several pieces of legislation regarding Common Core.

Stay tuned to http://www.americanspring2011.com for the very latest in news from Camdenton to the Congo. Follow on Twitter @AmericanSpring or on the Facebook page Guerrilla Radio with American Spring. Guerrilla Radio is on Monday through Friday from noon until two in the afternoon. Tuesday’s Prime Time edition of Guerrilla Radio is live at 8. All shows are archived on line for easy access.

Child Trafficking and Missouri Schools Part One: Suffer The Children

Featured

Editor’s Note: I have never encountered anything quite like the story you are about to read. Investigating it and writing it meant swimming in dark waters indeed, and staring evil in the face. What is going on with Kyle and Nicole Lagares is criminal. It is abominable.
It is truly evil.
Uncovering the nest of snakes that make up this child trafficking ring has been difficult to say the least. Many long, sleepless hours were spent in the company of demons. For that, I owe a special thanks to Jackie for putting up with me for the past two months. They have gone by with the slow drone of dog years.
My partner in crime, Leslie Chamberlin spent more hours than can be healthy researching leads and tracking down aspects of this story. For her efforts, I owe her a huge debt and with her, will soon share a sigh of relief.
What we have uncovered here is a pattern of behavior so heinous as to defy logic…and yet, here we are, looking it square in the face.
All our kids will soon be in danger.
These children already are.
Please help them.
Share their story.
It is their only hope.

Eight-year-old Kyle and seven-year-old Nicole Lagares are trapped in a suffocating nightmare they do not understand, held hostage by sinister forces hellbent on revenge. This twisted conspiracy was initiated by the very adults who are supposed to have the children’s best interests in mind. An insidious cadre of school administrators and lawyers, in collusion with the Department of Family Services and a Missouri circuit court judge, have conspired to terminate their father’s parental rights, placing them in an environment of ritualistic abuse. This orchestrated atrocity is motivated by revenge against a family who dared to stand up for their childrens’ right to an education more than twenty years ago. It is also proof of an institutionalized bully system that has been exported to school districts across the state. The case of Kyle and Nicole would be shocking if it were singular in its horrors. As this investigation discovered, it is only a part of the developing pattern of child trafficking in Mid-Missouri. The monsters who constructed Kyle and Nicole’s nightmare have had practice. They have done it before, in pursuit of the same dark goal: the elimination of a father’s parental rights in order to ensure children remain with those who continue to do unspeakable things.

For opponents of Common Core and children’s advocates, Kyle and Nicole represent an unspoken threat. Theirs is the story of the loaded gun, held against the head of any parent who dares stand up for their children. It is a story of a parent’s fight to protect his children and how that desire to protect can be twisted into the very basis to strip parental rights.

The story of Kyle and Nicole Legares is about two precious children, their abduction and descent into a secret, unspeakable Hell.

“If you don’t stand up for my grandbabies, who will?”

That heartbreaking plea, from a grandmother in Lebanon, MO, came in a quiet moment. It was followed by the gut-wrenching, desperate sobs of a woman whose family has been targeted by the most despicable of forces. The raw urgency in her breaking voice and the helplessness that fueled it, stood as a punctuation mark for the horror story she had just concluded. For Sherry Lagares and her family, the nightmare seems to have no end.

Since the fall of 2012, each day has been an agonizing struggle filled with new torments and fresh fears. Each sleepless night is haunted by the knowledge that Kyle, her eight year-old grandson, is the ongoing victim of ritualistic abuse. He is a defenseless victim of the bully system that has been institutionalized in Missouri schools. Kyle has been marked as an ideal target by the darkest forces of Missouri’s educational system. He has been identified as a perfect lamb for sacrifice on the altar of experimentation in Missouri education.

The case of Kyle Lagares is a look at Common Core’s terrifying end-game, the unspoken, insidious agenda lurking in the muddied waters of ‘education reform’. It offers tangible proof, undeniable evidence, of the natural advance of the cancer that has invaded our collective body politic. The tragic reality of Kyle’s situation removes the hypothetical and demonstrates how far into our lives a determined, fascist government can reach. His case throws open the closet door and reveals the horrific visage of a monster that threatens to devour children and silence parents, the beast lurking in the shadows.

Kyle’s case began with unfounded accusations of ‘educational neglect’ against his father in the Camdenton school district. Dennis Lagares, formally Kyle’s primary custodial parent, is now facing the complete termination of his parental rights after a surreal set of events and circumstances. This detestable, wicked campaign against the Lagares family is an attempt by a coven of entities to test, legally, their assertion that the school’s authority over a student trumps a parent’s right to their child.

What is perhaps most sobering about the Lagares’ story, is that it simply represents the next stage in the bully system’s evolution. The evidence of that is found in school districts across Missouri as malignant tumors are being diagnosed in epidemic numbers. Good teachers are being forced out of our districts for daring to speak out against administrative policy in droves in Missouri. Teachers with experience in education have been targeted for elimination. They represent a threat to the continued privatization efforts in our schools. Their experience has taught them that our education system has been transformed into a corporate model, one that serves a bottom line instead of our children. Our educational system is deteriorating, rotting to its Core. This is a condition districts in the state have in Common.

The sickening tactics that are being employed in Kyle’s case are being brought to bear, in part, by a law firm representing more than 300 school districts in the Show-Me State. These unelected lawyers and their cabal of subservient superintendents have conspired with the Missouri School Board Association to assert more authority in our school districts, teaching elected board members that they are to follow the lead of administration, instead of the other way around. This assumption of authority has worked as a silent coup, a largely successful attempt to wrest control of school districts from locally elected officials.

Under the DESE umbrella, a wicked, sadistic model for corporate education has been unleashed in our school districts. Evidence of this hostile takeover is found in districts large and small. What began in the urban districts of St. Louis and Kansas City has replicated itself in small, rural districts across the state. The bully system, enhanced by ‘evaluations’ tied to Common Core and enforced by DESE’s unspoken endorsement, has been sold as the new norm by snake oil peddlers and silver-tongued con artists. These parasites have grown bloated both on tax dollars and the power they have assumed in our schools. Through them, the Cult of Corporatism is preaching the acceptance of education’s new gospel to board members and parents.

These false prophets have dismantled the framework of American education and erected in its place a dark temple of neoliberal principles, institutionalized oppression and expected failure. They have designed a system that is rigged to fail. This system, promoted with religious fervor by the vultures of privatization, profits from each failed test, each failed course, each failed teacher, each failed district. The carnivorous beast, the bottom line, preys on each child in its reach and with each new victim, its hunger grows. As Common Core implementation continues to advance, and as more children, teachers and districts fall to its ‘standards’, a cannibalistic feeding frenzy is set to ensue. It promises to rend the flesh of education as we know it.

In dissecting the Lagares case, the cold light of examination reveals the horrific extent to which this cancer as spread. When viewed in the frame of the big picture in Missouri education, it offers a terrifying future diagnosis. It provides a glimpse at the next logical step for the Cult of Corporatism: reaching into homes, holding our children under permanent threat of retribution, demanding parents comply.

It is not an empty threat.

The case of Kyle and Nicole, as well as the case of Casey Gipson, shows how this abominable use of schools opens the door to the darkest of all closets. It shows a clear pattern of children being taken away from their birth fathers and placed in homes with abusers. As with all such associations with the Cult, this spiderweb network of deceit, child endangerment and potential sexual abuse shows the sickening strands that bind the stories of Kyle and Nicole with Casey’s. The players in this pedophile protection coven appear in both cases, using tactics that are nearly identical in order to strip fathers of their rights.

The Lagares’ family ordeal is the new American Horror Story.

Educational Neglect

The claim of ‘educational neglect’ was first leveled when Kyle was enrolled in Camdenton school district. It was communicated to Sherry Lagares, Kyle and Nicole’s grandmother, verbally on November 11, 2010.

” I received a phone call from Renee Slack stating she had been contacted by Hadfield (Camdenton school district superintendent), that the Lawyer called and said she had to report Dennis and charge him with educational neglect. She said she was sorry and that she knew that Dennis had been picking up any homework and that Kyle had been hurt and that he had been very sick, but what could she do they were her boss. ”

Kyle had been injured, according to him, by his mother on October 20th, 2010. That day, Dennis left the house early, before the kids had gotten up for school. Kyle’s mother, Amanda, was responsible for taking the kids to school. That day, she drove past Dennis’ place of employment as if taking Kyle to school. When Dennis returned home however, he found Kyle there with a hurt leg. The boy was watching cartoons and wouldn’t say what had happened to him. Amanda claimed to have no idea how the boy hurt himself and Kyle did not go to school. According to Amanda, Kyle simply did not want to go to school that day.

Later that evening, when Amanda picked up Dennis from work, Kyle could not walk. Dennis questioned his wife but received no answer about what was wrong with Kyle.

Dennis took Kyle to the emergency room that night. The doctor who examined Kyle took x-rays. He said that Kyle had had a broken femur that had a new bone growing over it. As is the norm with injuries such as these, the doctor had concerns about physical abuse and began asking questions about the injury. These concerns appeared to be reinforced by Amanda’s refusal to answer.

Dennis was beginning to have his own suspicions. He asked the doctor if there were any tests that could be performed to determine how Kyle’s leg was broken. The doctor said yes, with a special test. He also contacted the school to find out if Kyle had hurt himself there. A secretary at the school, the school nurse and Ms. Slack all answered no, Kyle hadn’t been injured there. Dennis told Amanda that he had made arrangements for the special test.

The morning after the trip to the emergency room, Dennis took Kyle to work with him and Amanda fled into hiding, with Nicole. Kyle, after it was discovered his mother had left, told his father that his mother had hit his leg with a baseball bat. Dennis immediately filed a protection order and notified DFS that Nicole was in danger.

The Department of Family Services never interviewed Kyle or Nicole regarding this warning. They had determined that the mother’s house was ‘clean’ without having reviewed the children’s medical records. It was not the first time, nor would it be the last time, DFS’s involvement in this case would be called into scrutiny.

A previous complaint filed with Camden County DFS in 2007 was dismissed after a phone call from the Miller County DFS office. Among the issues raised in the 2007 complaint was Amanda’s killing of the family dog by stomping its head in. The dog was left in the living room floor for the children to see until their father came home.

This complaint against the children’s mother was not investigated. It was simply cast aside. As was the hotline call in October of 2010.

Dennis Lagares’ ex-wife, Amanda Rollins, is the niece of Janet Whittle, Public Administrator for Miller County. She was later replaced by Theresa Lupardus. Lupardus’ daughter and Rollins are known friends.

Laclede County DFS Agent, Justine Robinson (formerly Justine Trogen) was told to invalidate the abuse hotline call in the fall of 2010. She admitted that she had been told an agent from Miller County went to Shawnee Woods’, Amanda’s mother’s home, and that it was ‘clean’. Robinson explained to Dennis Lagares that she had no choice in the matter. His 2010 warning had to be unsubstantiated, even though a review of medical records was never conducted to verify the children’s injuries. Shortly after the 2010 hotline call was unsubstantiated regarding Kyle’s broken leg and Nicole’s abduction, Ms. Robinson received a promotion to supervisor.

November 11, 2010, Amanda contacted the Camdenton school district, reporting Kyle as truant. This prompted Camdenton superintendent Tim Hadfield, after consultation with the school’s law firm, Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole, to level the threat of a charge of ‘educational neglect’ against Dennis. The injuries Kyle had sustained, along with a case of strep, kept him out of school, leading to the phone call from Renee Slack. Kyle’s absence was at the recommendation of his doctor, medical records show. He was medically excused through the 11th of November. Dennis contacted Ms. Slack about Kyle, who still maintained a low-grade fever. Ms. Slack informed Dennis of the district’s ‘no fever’ policy. That day, after the threatening phone call from Ms. Slack and fearful for his son, Dennis withdrew Kyle from Camdenton and began homeschooling him.

On November 16, 2010, while she was solely with her mother, Nicole was taken to Lake Regional Urgent Care. She complained that her “butt hurt”. It was also reported that she had a couple of ‘accidents’ while in daycare. December 7, 2010 she was again taken to the doctor, this time in Jefferson City. At St. Mary’s Hospital, she was diagnosed with erytherma of the labia and perianal erytherma. These irritations/conditions can be linked to sexual abuse.

Amanda took Nicole to doctors, clinics and hospitals across the state more than 20 times between October of 2010 and April 2012 while she had sole or primary custody of Nicole. A regular doctor was not established, instead it appears that Nicole’s mother went to great lengths to avoid establishing a medical history regarding her persistent problems.

Dennis faxed a letter to Miller County Department of Family Services on December 13, 2010 requesting that an outside county handle his children’s case because Amanda’s aunt works in the courthouse, so as to avoid any intentional or unintentional bias.Amanda and Nicole’s whereabouts were kept from Dennis. Agent Robinson would not return his calls or requests for information as to Nicole’s well-being. Dennis retained an attorney, who made similar requests for updates. Similarly, he was ignored.

Attorney Ruth Schulte contacted law enforcement and DFS on behalf of Amanda Rollins near the end of 2010. Law enforcement, the Department of Family Services and the Courts were no longer looking for Nicole or considered her in danger.

In December of 2010, Barbara R. VanTine was appointed the children’s Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). A divorce was pending, as Amanda had retained the services of lawyer Ruth Schulte. Dennis is ordered to pay a $500.00 deposit for VanTine’s role as the children’s GAL.

After a meeting between Rollins, Schulte and VanTine, Dennis had his first supervised visit with Nicole in late December, just before Christmas in 2010. A recording of this visit reveals that Nicole began complaining of vaginal pain and that it hurt to pee. When Nicole refused to leave Dennis, Rollins became furious. Per records, Nicole was seen by Dr. Brockman’s office on January 10th, 2011 with a significant bruise on her arm.

On New Year’s Eve, 2010, Amanda Rollins’ relationship with Shawn Patrick Colgan became public knowledge.

Patrick Colgan appeared with Rollins at the January appointment in Dr. Brockman’s office. He was holding onto her and hugging her tight. It was at this doctor’s visit that Rollins told the nurse it was Dennis’ suspicion that Patrick was molesting Nicole. Dennis made no such claim and had not seen Nicole with the exception of the supervised visit in late December. On that visit, Nicole was diagnosed with vulvagintes and irritation/redness, along with the bruise on her left arm. Rollins did not divulge that Nicole was in her care only at that time.

On January 19, 2011, a vaginal ultrasound was performed on Nicole at St Mary’s Hospital, per Dr. Brockman’s records. At this visit, Nicole was vaginally raw from the front of the vagina to her anus. As before, Colgan clutched Nicole when appearing at the appointment.

2011, for Nicole Lagares, was marked by repeated trips to doctors in the area. Rollins consistently refused to sign releases for medical records when Nicole was taken from facility to facility. It was clear she did not want Nicole’s medical history of genital rawness to be discovered by physicians. Several times during visits with her father, Nicole had blisters, sores and raw places on her feet, although no answers were forthcoming as to how these injuries occurred. Nicole, thanks to Rollins’ ‘doctor shopping’, was on a steady, potentially dangerous antibiotic regimen. Cultures taken to check for urinary tract infections were unable to be performed due to the quantity and regularity of the antibiotic treatments.

Nicole's feet.  Pictures of her condition were given to the GAL, Barbara VanTine.

Nicole’s feet. Pictures of her condition were given to the GAL, Barbara VanTine.

Photographs and medical records were shared with VanTine, along with pleas for intervention from Dennis. VanTine did not act in response to these photographs and reports. These went unheard. VanTine did however, win on an order to collect more fees.

During her Thanksgiving visit with Dennis and his family, Nicole once again complained of vaginal pain. Her grandmother examined her and Nicole was raw and red. Sherry applied basic first aid, showered Nicole and Dennis took her to urgent care in Lebanon. There she was diagnosed with irritation of the vagina, urgency and difficulty urinating and pain in her right flank.

January 3, 2012, Rollins took Nicole, suffering from abdominal pain, to Family Health Associates in Lebanon. There, Rollins told the nurse practitioner that Patrick Colgan is Nicole’s father and states that Nicole’s stomach pain shows up only when the girl is asked to clean her room. A culture is taken to check for urinary infection and once again, presumably due to the high volume of antibiotics the girl has been on, it does not grow a viable sample.

Ten days later, during another visit at the McDonald’s PlayLand with Nicole, Colgan shows up and began acting out violently toward Rollins, Dennis and other customers in the restaurant. Colgan refuses to leave when asked. Two days later, he is admitted to the VA Psychological Ward.

In February of 2012, Dennis received another extortion demand from Barbara VanTine, for her ‘service’ as GAL. The letter read:

“It has been some time since we [Rollins and VanTine] have visited. Please contact my office so you can update me on the children’s status. Also, find a copy of the court’s docket entry of January 11, 2012. Judge Koeppen sustained my motion for additional GAL fees at that hearing. You have been ordered to make an additional posting of $2,000.00. Please make arrangements to take care of this bill immediately. Thank you for your cooperation.”

On February 13, Dennis’ attorney, Lewis Bridges, received a letter from VanTine. In it, she offered and entered into a payment arrangement of $100.00 per month with Dennis until the balance of the additional $2,000.00 was paid off.

Later in the month, Dennis and his attorney, Lewis Bridges, met with VanTine. At this time they asked to see a billing statement for her services as GAL. There was no current billing statement reflecting the $2,000.00 fee. The last statement produced was presented to the court in September 2011. Judge Koeppen ordered Dennis pay this September bill, which he did. No statement reflecting VanTine’s service as GAL could be produced for the January 11 payment order issued by Koeppen.

Correspondence from VanTine to Dennis and his attorney, after their meeting, illustrates the relationship between the supposedly impartial GAL and Rollins’ attorney, Ruth Schulte. Repeatedly, VanTine uses phrasing such as “Before WE divulge where Nicole is attending school…” and “It is OUR goal to start some regular weekend visits with the children…”

Fax 2-23-12 ltr fr VanTine to LB Schulte re weekend visit-kids 2gether

On February 24, 2012, Dennis sent an email request for the most recent billing statement. That day, VanTine sent a copy of the same outdated August statement she had previously pointed toward.

A fax was sent to both Barbara VanTine and Ruth Schulte from Dennis’ attorney, Mr. Bridges. It was a request to attend the deposition of the custodian of records at the Harry S. Truman VA Hospital. The fax offered several dates so as to find an accommodating time for all attendees.

The deposition was regarding Patrick Colgan and his recent admission to their psychological ward.

VanTine replied to the fax the following day, March 1, stating that she would not be attending as Dennis was not able to pay the current bill. This, in spite of the fact she could not produce a statement. She did request a copy of the deposition, however. Schulte responded that she would like to attend and gives dates that would work for her. She stated she wasn’t sure where the VA Hospital was.

On March 8, VanTine’s office receives its agreed upon, monthly payment toward the $2,000.00 bill.

March 26, a current statement is finally produced by VanTine’s office for services as GAL. On this same day, a $300 payment is received from Rollins. April 10, 2012 reflects a payment of $800.00 from Rollins to VanTine.

In a court trial on April 17, 2012, the extent to which the deck is stacked against Dennis Lagares begins to emerge. Appearing before Judge Koeppen, VanTine does not file her agreed upon payment arrangement with the court. She does not disclose this agreement, nor did she disclose that Dennis was abiding by it. Judge Koeppen reviewed the payments received by VanTine’s office, comparing the payments made by Rollins to those made by Dennis. Judge Koeppen then states that Amanda has paid more than Dennis and issues an order that both parties are to pay, in full, the ordered GAL fees by August 1, 2012.

After this court appearance, Barbara VanTine, GAL for Kyle and Nicole Lagares, met Kyle for the very first time.

Dennis and Kyle began to see Nicole under temporary custody arrangements. It had been 17 months since father, son and daughter were reunited for regular visitations. It was immediately apparent that Nicole’s symptoms had not improved. She was taken on April 20, while in Dennis’ custody, to Dr. Campbell with Family Health Associates of Lebanon. While Rollins had previously taken Nicole there to see Dr. Campbell, this was the first time Dr. Campbell actually saw Nicole. She had previously been seen by nurse practitioners. Dr. Campbell diagnosed Nicole with genilalia rash erytherma, vulva, perianeal urethritis and NOS recurrent constipation. A culture revealed no UTI. Rollins refused to return calls from Dr. Campbell’s office.

Under the newly devised custody arrangement, Rollins had custody of both Kyle and Nicole the week of April 22 through the 29th. Dennis sent Nicole with a cream prescribed by Dr. Campbell and instructions were sent via email. On the 27th, Kyle called his father crying, begging to come home, but refusing to say why.

On the 29th, Rollins emailed Dennis. She told him that Kyle’s butt had been “hurting” and “bleeding all week”. She applied the cream prescribed for Nicole on them both.

4-2012 Kyle butt hurting

May 6, Rollins and Colgan regain custody of both Kyle and Nicole.

May 10th, Nicole is taken to see Dr. Samah Murad in Sedalia, Mo. Here, Rollins provided the hospital with false information, stating that Nicole had blood on toilet paper when she wiped on Saturday. Dennis, not Rollins, had custody the previous Saturday. The symptoms listed for this doctor visit were pain and blood while urinating.

On the 13th, Rollins takes Nicole to the emergency room in Warrensburg at approximately 8:30 pm. Rollins reports that Nicole has been in pain since she picked her up at 4 pm on the 6th from her father. A culture shows no UTI. Despite orders from Dr. Campbell, Rollins continues to feed Nicole antibiotics.

These doctor visits, as was Rollins’ rule, were not disclosed to Nicole’s father.

Dennis notifies Rollins via email on May 9 that he has scheduled an appointment with a urologist at the University of Missouri Medical Center for the 14th. At that, Rollins became confrontational and made it clear she did not want Nicole to go. At this appointment, Dennis brought all of the medical records he had been able to run down during the past several months. Rollins did not disclose any of the recent doctor visits to Gina White, the NP at the UM Clinic. A urine sample was taken, again showing no growth. An x-ray taken during this visit revealed that Nicole was severely constipated, full of fecal matter. This occurred during Nicole’s time in her mother’s custody.

From May 19th through May 26th, 2012, Amanda Rollins and Patrick Colgan had custody of both Kyle and Nicole.

On May 26th, Dennis took Nicole to Mercy ER. She was again distributing vaginal redness and painful urination. No UTI was present, per a culture completed on the 29th. Another order to stop antibiotics was given. May 29th, Dennis took Nicole for a follow-up appointment with UM Urology. Rollins called, but did not attend. The diagnosis was dysfunctional voiding, over-active bladder. The symptoms look like a UTI but weren’t, according to Ms. White.

Dennis tried to schedule follow up from the hospital as directed, but Rollins refused. She sent him an email stating that Nicole was not to have any appointments with any health care providers. She was just fine, according to Rollins.

From June 17th through June 24, Rollins and Colgan once again had both children.

On June 23rd, Rollins takes Nicole to the Warrensburg ER at 8:17 pm. She does not disclose the fact that Nicole has been taking Oxybutin, prescribed by the urologist. She is diagnosed with a large amount of blood or hemorrhage cystitis. Nicole was given antibiotics.

During this trip to the emergency room, Kyle was left alone, helpless and exposed to Colgan’s tender mercies.

He called his father that night, told him he didn’t feel well, that he wanted to come home.

The following afternoon, Kyle and Nicole were returned to Dennis’ custody.

Kyle bore strangulation marks on his neck and a collage of assorted marks, abrasions and burns on his back. Dennis took pictures of these wounds and emailed Rollins, asking for an explanation. She waited a day before answering and then offered two different stories within minutes of each other. She warned Dennis not to “make more out of it”.

Kyle bears the marks of strangulation.  Later, the boy would draw a picture indicating he was strangled with a wooden spoon.

Kyle bears the marks of strangulation. Later, the boy would draw a picture indicating he was strangled with a wooden spoon.

From July 8th through July 15th, Rollins and Colgan again had possession of the children.

During this week, Nicole was again taken to the Warrensburg ER, with high fever, a trace of blood and painful urination. Rollins does not disclose her previous diagnosis’ and the doctor gave Nicole a large shot of antibiotics, contrary to previous doctor instruction. While Rollins and Nicole are at the hospital, Kyle is once again left alone with Colgan.

The abuse to Kyle intensifies.  His eye is shown here, swollen shut.

The abuse to Kyle intensifies. His eye is shown here, swollen shut.

This time, the boy returns home to his father with one eye swollen shut and bruising on his stomach and rib cage. No explanation is offered from Rollins. Kyle tells his father that his mother and Colgan are ‘doing stuff’ to him. He reports that his mother sprayed him with something in the face. Kyle said Rollins said that she thought it was sunscreen, but it was not.

On July 10, 2012, VanTine received payment in full from Dennis. This was filed on July 17th.

A final divorce decree, along with a special parenting plan, the children’s special education plan and a medical plan, is entered in the case of Dennis and Rollins in August 2012.

In August, Rollins resisted releasing the children to Dennis. After involving attorneys, she does surrender custody. During this exchange however, Colgan is seen on video wielding a bat. Upon realizing he was being filmed, Colgan threw the bat aside and charged after the car with the children in it.

Nicole is discovered to have a large bruise on her head and bruises all over her body on August 14. Her stepmother, Ginger, takes her to the Lebanon ER for a full scan and x-rays. In an email, Rollins denied any knowledge of the bruises her daughter had received.

Also on August 14th, 2014, Dennis and Ginger took the kids to enroll in the Lebanon school district. At approximately 2:30-3:00 that afternoon, they presented the secretary with copies of the special plans for both children. The secretary notified Becky Simpson, Special Programs Process Coordinator at Esther Elementary in Lebanon.

At 3:06 pm that same day, Dr. Tammy Lupardus, Director of Special Programs, was reacquainted with a name she knew well. An email exchange between Simpson and Lupardus was titled ‘FYI Lagares’. Confirmation of the address and Rollins as birth mother were sent to Lupardus, who immediately contacted Rollins regarding the children.

It was time for the school to step in and finish the job started on Kyle, Nicole and Dennis. In grandmother Sherry Lagares, Tammy Lupardus had a sworn enemy. She had previously used school lawyers to attack the Lagares family, after they won a lawsuit against DESE regarding Dennis’ time in the Camdenton school district.

The Cult once again had the children at their mercy, this time, through a diabolical use of the school…

TOMORROW: PART TWO CHILD TRAFFICKING THROUGH MISSOURI SCHOOLS

The Wake of Laker Nation

Featured

School is back in session in the Camdenton School District. Children once again fill the halls, their chatter echoing off cinder and brick, bright and cheerful. Their enthusiasm hasn’t yet been dampened by the promise of homework, tests and term papers. In the district’s middle school however, the mood is slightly more somber. It is marked by the noted absences of two administrators, Principal Sean Kirksey and Assistant Principal Joel Carey.

Sean Kirksey’s suspension for testing ‘irregularities’ has been a cause the community and students of the district have rallied around. His hearing, resulting from a DESE investigation into MAP test scheduling irregularities and breaches of security, is scheduled for Wednesday, August 28 at 9:00 am.

Mr. Kirksey’s hearing was originally scheduled for Friday, August 16. Tim Hadfield, District Superintendent and Tom Mickes, attorney for the school district, postponed the hearing, indicating there would be additional charges leveled against Mr. Kirksey.

In light of Hadfield’s attempt to include additional allegations against Mr. Kirksey, unrelated to the DESE incident, the school board hired a seperate attorney, Mr. Mike McDorman of McDorman, Ellsworth and Hardwick, LLC. The board met in executive session with Mr. McDorman to discuss the case of Mr. Kirksey and Hadfield’s handling of it on the afternoon of Friday, August 16.

The school board called for a deadline to resolve Mr. Kirksey’s case. This led to the rescheduling of Mr. Kirksey’s hearing for the morning of Monday, August 26. Despite attempts by Hadfield and Mickes to delay it further, the hearing has now also been scheduled for Wednesday, August 28. Tom Mickes, attorney for the administration, sought a longer extension that would continue to leave Sean Kirksey, his family and the students and staff of Camdenton Middle School stuck in limbo.

The case of middle school assistant principal Joel Carey is equally puzzling and has been shrouded in mystery. No formal announcement has been made by the school district as to the reason for his suspension. Mr. Carey’s suspension came soon after Mr. Kirksey’s, leaving many in the community scratching their heads and wondering what is going on in the district.

No charges have officially been presented to Mr. Carey as justification for his suspension. He, his wife and their four children have joined the Kirkseys in the land of uncertainty. Mr. Carey has also joined Mr. Kirksey in hiring an attorney.

These suspensions, and other decisions made by Superintendent Hadfield, have created a wildfire of controversy throughout the Camdenton school district and the Lake of the Ozarks area. The cases of Mr. Kirksey and Mr. Carey are the latest examples in a ritualistic, disturbing pattern of abuse that has tarnished the district’s reputation as a desirable place to work. This was evidenced earlier this year, when it was reported that Camdenton had less than half the applicants of neighboring district, School of the Osage, for a similar job opening.

A Culture of Oppression

The staff of the Camdenton school district do not have the protection of an organized teachers’ union, nor are they locally organized. While they have some protections through the MNEA and MSTA, teachers and administrators work under limited contracts. Teachers are awarded tenured status after renewals of these contracts. Tenured status offers little protection however, against an institutionalized bully system.

The scrutiny brought on by the case of Sean Kirksey has uncovered a culture of systematic oppression in the Camdenton school district. This culture, cultivated by Hadfield, has sewn seeds of fear and loathing throughout the district. Staff members, teachers and administrators have been taught by example, to keep their heads down and their mouths shut, lest they suffer the consequences. Those consequences, in the cases of former principal Kathy Eygabroad and Jan Michaelree, former speech and language pathologist, are severe indeed.

Their stories, like those of Mr. Kirksey and Mr. Carey, speak volumes about the inner workings of the district. The recent behavior of school Safety Officer Wynne Stephens, speaks volumes about how far and how deep Hadfield’s cancer has spread within it.

The culture of oppression in the Camdenton school district is protected and promoted by the district’s legal counsel. Tom Mickes, the attorney for the district, profits from this culture. He racks up legal fees while Hadfield feeds his firing fetish. The tax payers of the district are picking up the tab for his indulgences. It is an arrangement that seems to suit both Hadfield and Mickes well.

For the staff and teachers of the district however, it is a far different situation. They work in an environment where it has been clearly demonstrated that an educator may be fired at anytime, for valid reasons or not. Allegations and charges, threats and resignations, have become hallmarks of the district. These extra-ordinary pressures, in concert with the demands of high-stress, high-stakes testing, have combined to create an unhealthy atmosphere for our children. Hadfield, with his oppressive, bullying style, is leading us down a treacherous path that will eventually do more damage to our district’s accreditation than anything Sean Kirksey has been accused of.

32 Days

“I am not certain why I was targeted or what I did
to make the administration want me out.”

Jan Michaelree is a former employee of the Camdenton school district. Her work as a Speech and Language Pathologist earned her a nomination for Teacher of the Year in the district in 2010.

On April 27th, 2012, she had been forced by the administration to resign.

In a recent interview on Guerrilla Radio with American Spring, Ms. Michaelree spoke candidly about her experience in the district as a member of the Special Education department.

” I am not certain why I was targeted or what I did to make the administration want me out. I speculate that it was because I advocated for the students’ needs even if it meant disagreeing with administration. I spoke out and acted on what I believed to be ethically, morally, legally, and professionally right. I stood against decreasing IEP minutes just because they were transitioning to a building where there was fewer staff to meet their needs, for ELL students to get the same consideration for intervention as all others, for students who did not meet criteria for special education to still have specific and targeted interventions to address their specific weakness and for individualizing education instead of generating cookie cutter services. I did not believe in the statement, “Not all kids deserve Cadillac services.” Because the truth is…yes they do. Camdenton is a Cadillac school.”

“I was nominated for Teacher of the Year in 2010. I had more productivity (meaning evaluations, collaborations, IEP’s etc.) and dismissals due to goals met than any of the other SLP’s in the district. My students made more functional change in the classroom than documented by other SLP’s. For the first three years I was employed at Camdenton, my evaluations were exemplary with glowing narratives about teamwork, being an asset to the building and the district, and embracing the school mission and vision. I do not say all this to give myself kudos. I say it to illustrate that I did not think I had to worry about losing my job.”

Ms. Michaelree went on to describe the events that led to her resignation from the district. After being denied a promotion to process coordinator because she was “too valuable” in her role as an SLP, she was instructed to train the process coordinator they did hire, along with two new special education teachers.

The following year, she was bullied out of the district.

“The year 2011-2012 began without incident. I had my first evaluation in October which read that I met expectations (that is the highest mark a teacher can get) in all areas with a narrative about me being a team player, an asset to the building and the district, and embracing the district mission and vision. On January 25th, I had my second evaluation and again received “met expectations” in all areas except one item on which “recommended growth” was checked. This was the 1st time I ever scored anything other than “met expectations”. ”

In her interview on Guerrilla Radio, Jan went on to describe the reason for the item marked “recommended growth”. Her daughter was causing them to be a few minutes tardy for school during a period that school year. Upon receiving this evaluation, Jan fully accepted responsibility for improving the situation and addressed it immediately. Tardiness was not an ongoing issue.

“On February 10th, I had another evaluation but unbeknownst to me the Assistant Director of Interventions was present (she has since resigned from Camdenton). She had a Professional Improvement Plan prepared which listed several paperwork errors I had allegedly made. I was told to fix the paperwork and call all the parents explaining the mistakes and requesting signatures that I had done so.”

“As I went through the allegedly errant paperwork many of the files did not show the mistake that had been documented.”

Jan took her questions to her supervisor, the process coordinator. The process coordinator is the person responsible for proofreading all paperwork. The process coordinator confirmed Jan’s position. He couldn’t see the alleged errors either. According to Jan, the process coordinator went to administration for guidance. He was told Jan’s situation was an administrative matter and to stay out of it. Jan then requested another meeting with administrators for clarification on her alleged errors.

Her building principal and building assistant principal said they could not help her, as they didn’t know anything about Special Education paperwork. As a result, they called on more senior administrators.

Jan presented the paperwork to them and showed them that the errors that were alleged did not exist. To that, Ms. Michaelree was told the “errors” existed when they were doing file review and they accused her of falsifying records. As Jan indicated, she would have to be “super talented to change all those files in two days.”

Still, Jan Michaelree went forward with addressing the alleged, mostly imaginary “errors” and went through the humiliating process of contacting parents and telling them that she had made mistakes regarding their children’s paperwork. She completed this task within thirty days. School policy allows for these corrections to be made within ninety days.

On March 8th, Jan had another meeting with administration. They were joined by Kristy Kindwall, the district’s former Director of Interventions. Kindwall took the lead for the administration.

Kindwall dismissed Jan’s work on the alleged “errors” and instead took a different angle of attack. Kindwall accused her of not seeing students that were assigned to her caseload. In this meeting, the administration added these accusations to her improvement plan without documenting that she had successfully addressed the previous set of fictitious “errors”.

“On March 16th, I had yet another evaluation accusing me of more errors. So I worked relentlessly to rectify these allegations even though I had pages of documentation of how my students were not missing services and how I was called upon to attend meetings, collaborate with teachers, juggle schedule changes due to assessments, etc. and how my paperwork was not in error and always submitted to my process coordinator for review.”

On the March 27th meeting of the school board, the renewal of contracts for professional teachers was on the closed session agenda. At this meeting, the board discussed Jan Michaelree’s case at length with Kristy Kindwall. A vote was taken to table a decision on Jan’s contract until the next board meeting.

That meeting of the board was on April 9th. Jan Michaelree requested that she be added to the agenda of this board meeting, to present evidence in her own defense and dispute the allegations made against her by Director Kindwall. Jan’s request was submitted in writing more than seven days before the board meeting, per public school board policy.

This request, in what has become a pattern for Hadfield, was denied. Hadfield made the decision that the school board would not be allowed to see or hear Jan’s evidence. The school board, elected representatives of our community, were denied hearing any proof that would refute Kindwall’s baseless allegations. The community was denied the opportunity to hear the circumstances surrounding Jan Michaelree’s case.

Jan was forced into silence while Kristy Kindwall, under the supervision of ringleader Hadfield, was allowed to butcher her reputation. Ms. Michaelree was effectively gagged and bound while Kindwall gutted the former teacher of the year nominee in front of the school board with groundless allegations. These tactics, employed by Kindwall and supervised by Hadfield, were successful.

The board voted 1-to-6 against the renewal of her contract.

The next day, Jan was approached by Human Resources administrator Jim Rich. He presented Jan with an offer she couldn’t refuse. Rich said that the board had extended a compromise, aimed at keeping her silent and protecting the district from legal exposure. She was told that if she would submit a letter of resignation, the board would accept it, instead of the board accepting responsibility for voting not to renew her contract.

Jan agreed, wanting to continue her career in education. She submitted the letter.

At an early morning board meeting on April 27th at 7:00 am, her resignation was accepted by the school board.

This however, was not enough.

Later that day, April 27th, Jan was summoned into a meeting where she was accused of testing a child without parental consent. This allegation is a violation of the law.

Jan was handed a letter saying that she was being put on administrative leave. She was escorted out of the building by her principal, as though she were a criminal.

All of this, after she had been successfully bullied to resign from the district, on the day her letter of resignation was accepted by the school board in an unusually timed meeting.

Jan looked into the last allegation that resulted in her being forced to leave the school grounds. She was not present at the meeting where parental consent was acquired. She was with her students at that time, as instructed by the administration earlier that year. She asked her supervisor, who has responsibility for ensuring paperwork is complete and accurate, previous to testing the student, if consent was obtained. He had been present at that meeting with the child’s parents. He confirmed it had been obtained.

A clerical error, made by the process coordinator, was responsible for the parental consent box not getting checked appropriately. The process coordinator filled out the paperwork incorrectly and failed to check that consent for language testing had been granted. The process coordinator and case manager were the only staff members present at the meeting with the parents. The case manager confirmed that consent for language testing was acquired and wrote a letter to the school board stating so.

Jan received her first evaluation containing “recommended growth” for tardiness on February 10. The school board voted against the renewal of her contract on March 27. It took 32 working days to destroy her professional reputation under Hadfield’s leadership.

An Avalanche of Allegations

When allegations of test scheduling irregularities and security breaches were leveled against Sean Kirksey, it prompted one concerned parent, Ms. Mindi Sales, to investigate. Her research into MAP testing rules and guidelines produced more questions than answers regarding Mr. Kirksey’s suspension.

The facts surrounding oversight of testing are crystal clear.

From Mindi Sales’ research:
‘ According to the Spring 2013 DESE Test Coordinator’s Manual which is put out by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, it states on page 11 under the title “Test Coordinators’ Roles” number 7: “Maintain the district’s testing schedule and be prepared to provide it to DESE upon request. If the testing schedule changed in any way, the DTC is responsible for updating this information.” ‘

She went on to explain: “Each district has a Test Coordinator, which is the Assistant Superintendent in our case. She is the one in charge of the MAP testing for our district. Then each building has a Building Coordinator, which at the middle school was a counselor.”

The DESE district coordinator for the middle school was assistant principal Roma France. The responsibility for the testing schedule for the school district ultimately falls to her. If Sean Kirksey made alterations of the schedule, including dividing a Language Arts test over a two-day period instead of administering it in one day, those alterations would need to be approved by Ms. French, per her DESE responsibilities.

If Mr. Kirksey made these changes, Ms. France’s duties as district test coordinator, responsible for testing oversight, should have required her to inform the principal that such changes were violation of testing guidelines. If the school went ahead with an altered schedule, it would have been due to Ms. France’s failure to meet her responsibilities as a trained DESE coordinator.

In the aftermath of these allegations, Ms. France was tasked to investigate the mishandling of the schedule she was ultimately responsible for. Her investigation, upon which DESE’s review was based, did not point to a failure on the part of the building coordinator or herself. Instead, the finger of blame was pointed at Sean Kirksey.

DESE, in their review of this questionable investigation, ruled that the irregularities would not impact the district’s accreditation in any way. These minor violations were not found to have a significant effect for the district. The effects for Sean Kirksey however, are far more severe.

The administration’s campaign to fire Sean Kirksey is a clear case of over-prosecution. Hadfield has elected to doll out fifty dollars worth of punishment for a fifty cent ‘crime’. This, along with her research into DESE testing guidelines and responsibilities, prompted Mindi to write a formal request to add the case of Mr. Kirksey to the Agenda for the school board meeting of August 12.

She, like Jan Michaelree before her, submitted this written request to Hadfield more than seven days in advance of the meeting, per school board policy.

She, like Jan Michaelree before her, found her request denied by Hadfield.

Hadfield, on advice from Mickes, stated that personnel matters ‘should not’ be discussed in front of the public. It was their goal that the board not hear public concerns about Sean Kirksey’s suspension and pending hearing. Together, Hadfield and Mickes constructed a thin legal rationale to justify silencing the very public who pays the district’s bills. Their desire to avoid public scrutiny is troublesome, particularly when this ‘legal cover’ is selectively applied.

While hiding behind the argument that personnel issues shouldn’t be discussed with the public in order to protect the district from risk, Hadfield has repeatedly violated Mickes’ advice. Through the Lake Sun, Hadfield has leaked details of personnel matters designed to sway public opinion in favor of his administration. It would seem that, in Hadfield’s regime, he alone decides when and how Mickes’ legal advice is applied.

Hadfield unilaterally denied Mr. Kirksey’s request to have his hearing open to the public. It was Hadfield’s position, formulated with Mickes, that Mr. Kirksey should be denied the right to a public hearing. The legal justification Mickes offered for wanting to conduct the hearing in closed session was one predicated on the idea that to having Mr. Kirksey’s hearing open would somehow legally expose the district to harm. This, of course, is the same legal opinion that prevented the matter of Mr. Kirksey being added to the August 12 meeting of the school board.

This is the position one takes when they have engaged in wrongdoing and feel they have something to hide. It is not one consistent with how a school should operate.

Hadfield and Mickes have been instrumental in wanting to postpone Mr. Kirksey’s case. Their determination to terminate Sean Kirksey seems not to be confined to the questionable DESE allegations. They have repeatedly indicated their desire to add additional charges against the middle school principal.

The school board and their attorney have instructed Hadfield and Mickes that there will be no further delays in the case of Mr. Kirksey. His hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, August 28 at 9:00 am.

Improbable Cause

American Spring has learned, from sources close to the situation, details surrounding the suspension of Middle School assistant principal Joel Carey. They point to a deeper level of collusion between the office of attorney Tom Mickes and Hadfield. Tax dollars are exchanged to protect an abusive administration while it routinely engages in systematic bullying and harassment. This behavior has corrupted the moral foundations of our district. The parasitical relationship, between a sadistic administrator with a history of bullying and the district’s attorney, is on full display in the case of Joel Carey.

Joel Carey was officially suspended shortly after Sean Kirksey. His suspension was the result of an investigation conducted by an “independent contractor” chosen by Mickes’ law office.

The investigation into assistant principal Joel Carey, according to the report, was prompted by Camdenton School District human resources principal, Jim Rich.

According to the report, shared exclusively with American Spring, Jim Rich lodged a complaint against Mr. Carey. Rich, in the last year of his contract before taking retirement, stated that a third party had told him Mr. Carey had said something negative about him. The report also states that Rich was afraid to go to the middle school to ask Mr. Carey about this heresay.

The result was a phone call to Mickes’ office from the administration. The law firm recommended an independent contractor to look into Rich’s complaint. The investigator, according to his own findings, could find absolutely no evidence of the claims made against Mr. Carey by Jim Rich. The investigation vindicated Carey.

The false allegation became the improbable cause used as an excuse for the district to conduct an investigation into Joel Carey’s behavior as assistant principal. The investigator, working at Mickes’ behest, pursued a line of questioning that appeared destined to end in the murky waters of ‘sexual harassment’.

Sources close to the investigation confirmed that some of the questions posed during the investigation seemed to lead potential witnesses down a pre-determined path. It was this line of questioning, completely irrelevant to the implausible cause used to begin the investigation, that led to Carey’s suspension.

The investigation into Joel Carey uncovers the horrible truth about our district under this current administration.

It was initiated as a direct result of gossip, by the district’s human resources principal. The allegations made by Rich, which began the investigation, were found to be, according to the investigator, unsubstantiated. The investigator, referred by Mickes’, said the accusations that were levied against Mr. Carey by Jim Rich were not true. He could find no evidence to support Rich’s assertions.

The harassment of Joel Carey did not stop there. An investigation that yields no charges will not produce billable hours. For reasons that are not clear, the scope of the inquiry was expanded, resulting in allegations of ‘sexual harassment’. Ironically, the investigation did not end in concrete charges. According to the report, the new allegations were “more likely than not”, true. This hardly sounds like proof of wrongdoing, particularly when the context of the investigation is considered. It would appear that, continuing in the persecution of Joel Carey would instead expose the district to a wrongful termination lawsuit.

It is important to note that this investigation has yet to yield any charges in the case of Joel Carey. He has not been presented formal charges of any kind as of this writing. Joel Carey, his wife and their four children are suffering under huge strain, caught in the same unbearable limbo as the Kirksey family. The Camdenton school district has produced a different sort of alumni, as they join the Michaelrees and Eygabroads, all victims of a morally corrupt system that is becoming institutionalized in the district.

As previously mentioned, Mr. Carey has hired a lawyer. This will ensure more billable hours for Mickes, while he and Hadfield seek to use the results of this questionable investigation to, presumably, add more charges against Sean Kirksey.

If they are allowed to create the perception that Carey is a predator and Kirksey knew of this behavior and covered it up, it is suddenly a lot more plausible to fire both. Never mind that the investigations in both cases are highly questionable.

Follow The Money

There is a decided, dedicated effort to spin fact from fantasy, to manufacture a justification the public will endorse for the firing of two more educators from groundless allegations. The enablers of Hadfield’s bully system collect thousands in tax payer dollars. Evidence of the profit motive is found in the bills that were approved for payment by the school board on August 12th. At that meeting, the board saw in black and white, proof of the financial impact of protecting the bully system. The district paid Mickes’ law firm more than $25,000 for the previous month and his work on the persecutions of Kirksey and Carey. Mickes’ profits directly from Hadfield’s sadistic streak. The more allegations Hadfield and his administration invent, the more money is diverted from education to Mickes’ firm.

Tom Mickes knows how to turn a buck at the tax payers expense. He has built a cottage industry in Missouri education. He has a long history in representing school districts in the Show Me State, but his influence over education doesn’t end there. Mickes has had his talons in several different political and educational pies during his career.

Mickes was asked to resign from the firm he previous worked with due to his financial stake in a company that sold textbooks and manuals to the same school districts the firm represented. The firm he founded in the wake of this conflict of interest scandal represents several lake area school districts, including Camdenton, Eldon and School of the Osage. Mickes also represented the Camdenton school district in a suit brought by the ACLU.

During a board meeting addressing the district’s decision to settle that case, Mickes was famously heard to say that the $25,000 the district had to pay as a settlement ‘could have been a lot worse’. He stated that his legal fees would have been much higher, had it not been for the Alliance Defense Fund. The ADF is closely aligned with organizations such as Focus on the Family and Eagle Forum. They aided Mickes during this legal fight.

During an examination of Eagle Forum last year by American Spring, it was revealed that at a conference sponsored by Phyllis Schlafly, several far-right tactics were discussed by various speakers, headlined by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Other attendee included former Rep. Todd Akin and current MO-4 Rep. Vigilant Vicky Hartzler.

At that conference, a philosophy was promoted that seems to have some relevance to the lawsuit with the ACLU. “Picking insignificant legal fights” with the goal of shifting the bar further to the right was the subject of one of the event’s featured speakers.

Mickes, when discussing the settlement with the ACLU, broke into several political diatribes. These rarely had anything to do with the lawsuit directly, they instead were meant to instill the notion that he was a good conservative fighting the good fight against the ‘evil’ ACLU. He overplayed his hand however, when he chose to state, loudly and clearly in front of the gathered crowd:

“Here in Camdenton we practice the King James Version of the Constitution.”

By his actions, it would appear that Mickes’ pocket version of the Constitution is an Old Testament translation. It is long on punishment and sinfully short on mercy. It is about the whip, damnation and subjugation. It has nothing to do with decency, morality or understanding.

That statement does not instill confidence throughout the district in Mickes’ ability as a lawyer. After all, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are the documents upon which our laws are founded. If the lawyer who is depositing thousands of our dollars each month to ‘represent our interests’ doesn’t even have a basic understanding of the separation of church and state, how effective can he be at real litigation?

Mickes has shown a history of relying on bully tactics to terrorize staff members into resigning without a fuss. This is a man whose legal shadow is long and deep. This unelected educational equivalent of an ambulance chaser has given himself nearly complete autonomy in personnel decision made around the Lake of the Ozarks and the state of Missouri. He has, in his role as lawyer, set himself up as judge, jury and executioner. Mickes, like Hadfield, appears to have a taste for the axe. In Mickes’ case however, he gets paid each time it falls across another accused teacher or administrator’s neck.

In his capacity as counsel for the Eldon school district, Mickes recently made headlines in the case of coach Jimmy Lincoln. Lincoln was represented by Mike McDorman, the same attorney the Camdenton board hired as their representative in the case of Sean Kirksey. This sound decision by the school board likely didn’t sit well with Mickes. In his position as legal counsel for many districts across the state, Mickes isn’t used to being challenged within district’s he is paid to represent. In our own Camdenton school district, the facts point to Mickes as an attorney who has far too much power over personnel matters.

During the same school board meeting in which the school board approved Mickes legal bills, another conspirator received an installment of tax dollars for their continued cooperation in creating an illusion around Camdenton’s school district. Joyce Miller, a bully of the same feather as Hadfield, and the Lake Sun collected their monthly installment for their contributions in misleading the public about the truth hidden in the wake of Laker Nation.

The Lake Sun continues to promote whatever storyline Hadfield provides, without concerning itself with matters of fact or context. When challenged about the clear bias shown in their pieces, their editorial staff cries a familiar refrain: “no one will talk to us”.

The reason for that should, by now, be obvious. The Lake Sun, under its current publisher and editorial direction, has engaged in a willful attempt to manipulate public perception in favor of the bully system. This was on full display during the last school board election cycle, as the paper printed a barrage of editorials and articles seeking to condemn board members who stood against the standard operating procedures of the bully system.

As was discovered in the American Spring investigation into the paper’s coverage of Brian Henry’s resignation proves, the editorial staff of the Lake Sun knowingly misled the public by omitting important context regarding the resignation of the former assistant superintendent. Instead, as a direct result of this decision, Henry’s resignation was allowed to become the rallying cry against those board members who stood in opposition of these tactics.

This was not the only false narrative promoted by the Lake Sun during that election cycle. Another of these focused on the aforementioned Kristy Kindwall.

Kindwall, whose contract came up for review earlier this year, received a renewal from the board, 4-3. The three dissenting votes were cast by the school board members targeted by Hadfield and the Lake Sun. These same board members voted against offering an extension of Henry’s existing contract. The votes of board members Jim Bescansez, Laura Martin and John Beckett against the renewal of Kindwall’s contract were used by the Lake Sun to continue a campaign of misinformation.

The tabloid characterized these votes as “micro-managing” and “playing politics”. These three board members were promoted as obstructionists and extremists bent on undoing the order and sanctity of our school district. John Tucker, Gatehouse publisher, led the charge with a series of hack-job editorials designed to maintain the ‘status quo’.

Context was omitted in the Lake Sun’s coverage of Kristy Kindwall’s resignation. Kindwall received her contract extension, after all. What was not reported was that Kindwall made the decision to leave the school district well before the Lake Sun’s propaganda piece on her resignation.

The last of her children had graduated from the district, she was newly divorced and was offered much more money to take a job in a different district. She elected to take a position for more money in the Saint Louis metropolitan area.

The Lake Sun knowingly tied their manipulations of Kindwall’s resignation to the false narrative they first presented with Brian Henry’s resignation. They glued their misrepresentations to their assumptions with bile and venom, failing to provide the smallest grain of truth and context to their readership.

What also went unsaid in the Lake Sun coverage of Kindwall’s resignation was that the only school board members who had personal and professional experience with Kristy Kindwall, voted against her contract renewal.

Board members Laura Martin and John Beckett both have special needs children in the school district. In their roles as parents, Ms. Martin and Mr. Beckett had real world, practical experience in dealing with Kindwall. This personal exposure to her management style and tactics gave them a unique perspective that informed their votes against her contract renewal. Mr. B. had previously worked with Kindwall during his time as a teacher in the district. This experience certainly weighed in his decision to not renew her contract.

The case of Jan Michaelree shows that Kindwall, like Jim Rich and Brian Henry, before his resignation, was one of Hadfield’s ‘McCoys’, a co-conspirator in perpetuating a bully system that punishes those who go against the regime. The collusion between the Lake Sun and Hadfield serves to conceal these actions from the public. They have worked in concert to create a web of half-truths and manipulations to hide the actions of an administration clearly out of control.

Unfortunately for the public, it was revealed on Friday morning that the Lake Sun is not alone in attempting to manipulate the truth in order to suit Hadfield’s needs. KRMS radio allowed Hadfield to do a public relations appearance, providing him a platform to proclaim how this year is off to the “best start” in his tenure. Manny Haley did not challenge Hadfield on this assertion. He did not ask, or was not allowed to ask, questions about the cases of Kirksey and Casey. Instead, Hadfield was given a soapbox from which he spewed a load of candy-coated crap.

He stepped up and proudly and boldly declared, “Nope! Nothing’s wrong here!” If you listened between the lines however, you might have heard:

“Pay no attention to what’s behind that curtain!”.

A Spreading Moral Cancer

The environment created by school administration, the school’s lawyer and local media outlets has become the perfect incubator for the spread of a moral cancer that is rotting the body politic of our community. Together, they have schemed to keep the public blind to a bully system that has become institutionalized in the most personal level of local government, our school system.

This incubator of oppression has hatched district safety officer Wynne Stephens. Stephens serves double duty in Camdenton, serving on the city police department as well as in his capacity as resource officer for the school district. On two separate occasions, Stephens has acted in a way described by concerned parent and founder of the Facebook page ‘Mr. Sean Kirksey for Camdenton Middle School Principal’ Mindi Sales as bordering on ‘harassment’.

The first incident surrounded her intentions to give away free T shirts in support of Kirksey’s cause. Stephens was responsible not only for rudely demanding that Mindi leave the parking lot, but he failed to disclose alleged ‘threats’ that were phoned in and directed toward Ms. Sales. This decision, when coupled with the fact that the anonymous caller followed Mindi and her children to a new location, first cast Stephens motivations in a disturbing light.

A second incident of harassment, this time at the middle school orientation, confirms that Stephens is a willing participant in Hadfield’s bully system. He made Ms. Sales physically uncomfortable while she attended orientation. He invaded her space and sought to intimidate her.

Mindi Sales is a mother. Her daughter, a student at Camdenton Middle School, was with her. Stephens’ harassment and his attempts to intimidate her led Mindi to meet with Camdenton Police Chief Wright the following day. There, she expressed her concerns to the Chief.

To date, no official comment has been issued by the Chief’s office regarding American Spring inquiries regarding Stephens’ behavior and the anonymous threats that were made against Mindi Sales. It is expected that Chief Wright will choose the route we are all too familiar with. We assume there will be no comments forthcoming on potential wrong-doing by officers under her command.

The desire of local government officials and employees to keep their dealings hidden away from public scrutiny is born from a very real fear. If the public is informed, if we are told the truth, we may refuse to be governed by those unscrupulous, uncouth, immoral and unethical betrayers of our trust. It is necessary to have consent in order to govern. Those determined to keep us in the dark, those who seek to silence us, are not seeking our consent. They would rather ask for forgiveness for continued and repeated violations of their office rather than ask for permission from the people they pretend to serve.

They have embarked on a desperate campaign to keep their actions hidden from public view. They have scurried like cockroaches exposed to the light, attempting to silence those who would demand real accountability of school administration instead of a succession of show trials based on trumped up, manufactured allegations. As cases continue to pour from the wounds Hadfield and Mickes have inflicted on our school district and money continues to hemorrhage from our district’s coffers, public outrage and awareness has spread.

A United Front

The scandalous suspensions in Camdenton Middle School have brought the Laker Nation together in a way that was wholly unforseen. A patchwork coalition of concerned citizens from all walks of life and background have rallied around the case of Sean Kirksey. There is a common understanding that it is much more than the fate of one administrator that is on the line this week during the hearing of Mr. Sean Kirksey. In many ways, the outcome of Sean Kirksey’s hearing will become a clear commentary on what type of community Camdenton and the Lake of the Ozarks is.

For those who have supported Kirksey’s rights, his hearing is an opportunity for the board to function as they are supposed to. The members of the Camdenton school board represent our community. They, in that capacity, will have the final say in the case of Mr. Sean Kirksey. They have the opportunity to stand up in front of the community they serve and make a stand. The members of the board can stand up to Hadfield, Mickes and the bully system they have instituted and say “not in our school”. They have the opportunity to send a message, loud and clear, that Camdenton is better than that. They have the ability and responsibility to cast a vote that will restore morality and compassion in our school district. They have the ability and responsibility to cast votes that will improve our children’s environment.

They have the opportunity to serve our community and restore common sense, transparency and legitimacy to a process that has been severely abused by Hadfield in the past.

They have the power to tell Tim Hadfield, we don’t trust your leadership because we can’t trust you.

They have the responsibility to answer to our community if they choose instead to endorse Hadfield’s brand of cancer.

We will be here, all of us, to make sure you do.

Editor’s note: Thursday night, on a special edition of Guerrilla Radio with American Spring Prime Time, at 8pm, we will be joined by Kathy Eygabroad, who will add her experiences in the district to the growing list of casualties left in the wake of Laker Nation. Hope you will join us. It is sure to be informative.

The False Narrative

Friday, the Lake Sun published an article that relayed the results of a DESE report, addressing allegations of testing irregularities and breaches of security in the Camdenton Middle School. The article became subject of a public debate on social media, prompting Lake Sun content manager Eric Dundon to comment on the Facebook page ‘Mr. Sean Kirksey for Camdenton Middle School Principal’. He attempted to defend the Lake Sun’s article and their reporting of Mr. Kirksey and the district’s MAPP testing violations. His comment came after several citizens pointed out a lack of pertinent facts in the article and complained about bias against Mr. Kirksey.

Unfortunately for Gatehouse and the Lake Sun, they have made a deliberate choice in creating a false narrative in support of the current school board, its policies and administration. The Lake Sun, during school board elections earlier this year, reported on the resignation of Brian Henry and packaged the blame and laid it at the feet of three-then school board members, Laura Martin, Jim Besancenez and John Beckett.

Their reporting of the resignation of Henry, and later of Ms. Kindwall, was a carefully crafted public relations campaign. The paper’s characterization, when compared to the facts, appears to be pure propaganda designed to damage the reputation of three board members in the public eye. This smear campaign has its roots in the Lake Sun ‘article’ from December 19, 2012, ‘Details behind resignation emerge’.

In this article, the Lake Sun functions more like a tabloid than a news organization. It is void of fact and full of conjecture, speculation and rumor-mongering. The smear piece was the first to reflect publisher John Tucker’s admitted bias and does not carry a byline. After reading it, the reason for anonymity is obvious. It is not reporting, nor is it informing. This false narrative only shares a vague dirty, second-cousin relationship to journalism.

It begins by referencing anonymous sources ”close to the situation” of the resignation of Dr. Brian Henry. The piece goes on to say that Henry’s may be the first resignation of teachers and administrators who were “exasperated” and claims that the district may be “at risk for losing other talented educators”. The Lake Sun defines the “root of the problem”. They clearly attempt to make the case that the actions of then-board members Laura Martin, John Beckett and Jim Besancenez were responsible for Henry’s resignation.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Lake Sun claimed this “alliance” of board members “micro-managed” administrators by asking and emailing them questions. This, according to the Lake Sun, was “interfering with the day-to-day operations of running the district”. The Lake Sun then went on to claim that “Martin, Beckett and Besancenez voted against renewing Henry’s contract earlier this year”.

This would be one of the central premises of the Lake Sun’s smear campaign against these board members. Unfortunately, while it is long on speculation and allegations, it is short on facts.

In a December 18 interview with the Lake Sun, Henry asserts that there had been a “struggle with the administration and a few members of the board. He made claims that, for these board members, “politics…have overtaken some of the discussions” and that he “wanted to get to a spot where education is first”.

While Henry and the Lake Sun conspired to make a compelling case, neither the administrator nor the newspaper bothered to report or discuss the facts that led to Henry’s resignation. Instead, they focused on the creation of an utterly false narrative that would determine the future of the Camdenton School District by misleading voters through the suppression of the facts.

Dr. Brian Henry, along with Superintendent Tim Hadfield had sought contract extensions from the school district prior to Henry’s resignation. The extension Henry and Hadfield sought would have given them effective ‘tenure’ by adding another two years onto their current contracts with the district. At the time of his resignation, Dr. Henry’s contract that still had two years left. Both Henry and Dr. Tim Hadfield, district superintendent, sought contract extensions that would ensure their job security through approximately 2016. The three board members in question, voted against offering any such extension for the administrators. They were guided, in part, by the belief that it wasn’t fair to the public or future boards to extend these contracts beyond their current length. Additionally, this type of extension is not typically offered to other employees throughout the district. This vote, taken against these contract extensions, is what the Lake Sun crafted their smear campaign around.

The Lake Sun, in their Dec. 19 article, falsifies and conceals these facts: “Martin, Beckett and Besancenez voted against renewing Henry’s contract earlier this year.”

Indeed, the three board members mentioned, DID vote against these contract extensions, while the rest of the school board voted in favor.

Henry was already under contract. He, in fact had two years left on that contract. This vote had nothing to do with a contract renewal, it had to do with offering an extension that would keep Henry beyond his current contract. This one simple, undeniable fact was buried by the Lake Sun. It didn’t fit the narrative they and their publisher wanted to construct in order to attack the reputations of sitting board members while simultaneously undermining chances for their re-election.

This is not the first time the Lake Sun has deceived their subscribers and the voters of our district. According a source intimately familiar with the newsroom, this has been an ongoing practice at the paper. According to a former Lake Sun/Gatehouse employee, the manipulation of the news is commonplace:

“It wasn’t uncommon for one of us to go to a meeting, tell Joyce (Miller, editor-in-chief of the Lake Sun) what happened briefly and she would write the story making it sound more controversial than it was. More and more of her stories are written this way than not.”

“If a story was assigned to us, it was our own personal duty and ethic to write it as fair and balanced as possible. Once that story left our hands, it wasn’t uncommon for it to be changed and edited.”

“Through him (John Tucker), decisions were even made based on advertisers and ad sales. Everything was done to please advertisers, yet still get web clicks.”

This type of pseudo-journalism is better suited for gossip columns than for news organizations, yet it is part of the daily routine at the Lake Sun. Their ‘coverage’ of the district, as seen in the case of Mr. Kirksey, continues to present a one-sided, biased account of goings-on in our school system. It is not fulfilling a public service or need, it instead has endeavoured in staining the reputation of a popular, well-respected administrator.

The Lake Sun has continued their legacy of manipulating truth. They have presented an abbreviated retelling of allegations made against Mr. Kirksey while refusing to investigate the very nature of the charges. They have continued on a campaign that will satisfy their advertisers, many of whom have ties to the current board. By doing so, they can follow their own self-styled business model, they can satisfy advertisers while increasing web traffic.

It doesn’t seem to matter that, along with Mr. Kirksey, the public are victims of this unethical arrangement. It does not seem to matter that the truth must be sacrificed in the scramble to satisfy this tabloid business philosophy. It doesn’t seem to matter that integrity is the cost of doing this kind of business and that credibility is the trade-off for more controversial stories and larger profits.

One thing is undeniably clear in final analysis: The Lake Sun cannot be counted on for accurate reporting. That isn’t the business they are in. The paper has been reduced to acting as public relations for local business leaders and the political elite. Their brand of ‘truth’ only extends as far as the checks they cash.

Everything else is up for bid.

The Transformation of Education

A Note From the Editor: Stacy Shore has led in the fight against Common Core in the state of Missouri. She has worked tirelessly in Jefferson City to educate our lawmakers about the dangers presented by this corporate take over of education. We are lucky to have her in our community.
There will be an educational meeting on June 3rd at the Camden County Library. I strongly urge you all to attend. Common Core is one of the tools they are using to privatize our schools. Through it, private companies are allowed to collect data on our children. It is an insidious means to undermine the very foundation of our educational system. No wonder this weekend, Obama was encouraging those kids who weren’t great students to become plumbers…

By Stacy Shore

http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/vision-education-reform-united-states-secretary-arne-duncans-remarks-united-nations-ed

The following are all quotes from Arne Duncan’s speech. These are all his words. My commentary is amplified below each excerpt.

Our goal for the coming year will be to work closely with global partners, including UNESCO, to promote qualitative improvements and system-strengthening. With such a shared commitment, we believe that we can greatly reduce the number of children out of school and ensure that the children who are in class are actually learning.

UNESCO = United Nations

I want to caution you that several misconceptions often crop up in the coverage of the Obama administration’s agenda. Media coverage of our reform agenda understandably tends to concentrate on the unexpected, such as the fact that President Obama, a progressive president, has supported the expansion of high-performing charter schools. Or that he favors incorporating student achievement growth as one of a number of factors in evaluations of teachers and school performance.

(Privatization of education)

The second assurance governors provided was in the area of data systems. More robust data systems and a new generation of assessments can assist teachers and principals to improve their practices and tailor their instruction in ways that were largely unthinkable in the past.

Does the governor have the authority to give the assurance that he would ramp up access to our childrens’ data? I see a pattern here with Gov. Nixon! What gives him that right?

Districts now have to engage in interventions to foster dramatic change in these schools. This will be some of the hardest, most controversial, and most important work you will see coming from the United States this school year, and in the years ahead

Okay, so any time an Obama Admin bully uses the word “change” our ears should all perk up. Why “controversial”?

Our vision of reform takes account of the fact that, in several respects, the governance of education in the United States is unusual. Traditionally, the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy.

Why do they consider the way our Constitution protects our individual voices “unusual”?

As the federal role in education grew, so did the bureaucracy. All too often, the U.S. Department of Education operated more like a compliance machine, instead of an engine of innovation. The department typically focused on ensuring that formula funds reached their intended recipients in the proper fashion. It focused on inputs—not educational outcomes or equity.

There is that social equity piece.

The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more to support reform and innovation in states, districts, and local communities.

There you have it…Arne Duncan admits the Federal role through CC will “reform” their role in education.

I’ve said that America is now in the midst of a “quiet revolution” in school reform. And this is very much a revolution driven by leaders in statehouses, state school superintendents, local lawmakers, district leaders, union heads, school boards, parents, principals, and teachers.

Quiet because they have silenced parents for too long while they ram this stuff down our throats. I don’t intend to be quiet. The sneaky ways that they have adopted to pass the buck must stop.

I said earlier that the United States now has a unique opportunity to transform our education system in ways that will resonate for decades to come. Last year and this year, the federal government provided unprecedented funds to support education and reform.

“Transform”? Again I say, when that comes out of the Obama Admin, does that scare you? It should. An in this sentence he is admitting proudly the federal govt. role in pushing the reforms through funding. Don’t let anyone lie to you and tell you this initiative is “state led”. Read this entire article. Save it in your favorites and send it to them if anyone ever is dumb enough to argue that fact.

But today, 37 states and the District of Columbia have already chosen to adopt the new state-crafted Common Core standards in math and English. Not studying it, not thinking about it, not issuing a white paper—they have actually done it.

Is your blood boiling? States signed on without “thinking about it”. Just as easy as that. No research, no studying, just did it. So much for “state led”.

So, in the end, transforming education is not just about raising expectations. It has to be about creating greater capacity at all levels of the system to implement reform. It has to be about results.

Reform? What kind? Keep asking that question. This is not about learning. This is about reforming and changing us as Americans.

The urgent need to provide an excellent education for every child is a right that cannot be denied. We can’t wait because our children can’t wait. The time for change is now.

There is that “change” word again. Ugly, isn’t it?

Shock and Awe: Domestic Terrorism and Boston

Yesterday in Boston, our nation collectively held its breath.  We whispered quiet prayers for victims and their families.  Shortly after news of the tragedy unfolded, we regained our equilibrium and immediately, had suspicions.  Perhaps being jaded is an inevitable byproduct of being an American.  We have, after all, watched the assassinations of JFK, MLK and RFK and witnessed as their platforms of peace and equality dissolved into so much alphabet soup.  We have seen NAFTA promoted as a gateway to a prosperous America while it whittled away and hollowed out our nation’s industrial core.  We have seen the elections of 2000 and 2004, with vast disparities between exit poll data and final vote tallies.  We have seen the events of 9/11 and the police state it has created around us.  We have been led into a senseless wars of aggression, based on lies and unfounded allegations.  We have watched as our media has been cowed into silence, serving no more benefit to society than tabloids.  We have watched the Nobel Peace Prize be awarded to a man who began a program of targeted killings and signature assassinations, of indefinite detention and continued the use of torture, by our personnel and through our proxies. We have seen the creation of a surveillance state, enacted by threats of terrorism.  This year, the European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize, while enacting austerity measures that have included the outright theft of deposits from Cypriot banks.  We have grown accustomed to the propaganda that masquerades as news.

Maybe then, it is understandable why the events of Monday are viewed through the mirrored shades of skepticism.

Immediately after the events in Boston, literally before the smoke had cleared, CNN was chomping at the bit to invoke ”terrorism”.   They termed it an “attack”, despite having no evidence to do so, as though they were following a prewritten script to its predetermined conclusion.  The parade of pundits seemed determined to offer a list of motivations for such an attack.  They repeatedly mentioned ‘patriots’ and ‘patriot day’ as a potential motive, also tax day.  They painted a picture quickly, acting without hard facts, speaking with authority.  The assertions made by the media were validated by others, equally enthusiastic about the opportunity to use a ”terror attack” against a shocked citizenry.

Local 15, an NBC affiliate serving Mobile, Alabama, spoke the a cross country coach for the University of Mobile, participated in the marathon.  According to Ali Stevenson, “They kept making announcements to the participants do not worry, it’s just a training exercise.” Stevenson saw police spotters on roofs and bomb sniffing dogs at both the start and finish of the race.  Stevenson, who has participated in numerous marathons world-wide said he had never seen the level of security that was present in Boston. “Evidently, I don’t believe they were just having a training exercise,” Stevenson said. “I think they must have had some sort of threat or suspicion called in.”

Approximately an hour after the explosions, VP Biden used the word ”bombing” while delivering a statement on Boston.  This opened the flood gates and through them came a suffocating wave of assumptions and conjecture.  Propaganda, to call these broadcasts by their rightful name.

The fear and loathing of American media is at an all-time high.  The mantra ”if it bleeds, it leads” is heard in newsrooms across the country.  Blood, death and mayhem…it sells papers and that satisfies the profit margin.  When able to invoke images of a ”terror attack” on US soil, the registers hum with increased advertising dollars and circulation.  Cable news coverage of Boston was no disappointment to the boards of directors at Time-Warner, Disney or News Corporation.  For them, it is the beginning of high cotton.

In addition to the glut of talking heads on these networks and their subsidiaries, we were treated to a quote from MA Representative Keating, who called the explosions a sophisticated, organized attack.  Keating sit on a DHS oversight committee.  He reinforced the assumption of motive, by mentioning both ‘patriot day’ and tax day as perhaps leading to the timing of the attack.

Cable news was off and running.  Squeezed between pictures of chaos, bloodied spectators and explosions, the seeds of acceptance were sown.  Fusion Centers, DHS intelligence hubs, were mentioned as playing a crucial role in tracing suspects.  Law enforcement, as a result of DHS centralization, were ordered to ‘phase one mobilization’.  All available officers, deputies, etc were called in.  Flights were suspended in Boston.  A no fly order was given for the area of the blasts, preventing any media aerial coverage.  Through the use of language and bias, cable media endorsed the widespread debut of the US Police State.

For months, independent media, progressive and libertarian bloggers, writers and reporters have been discussing the rise of a Gestapo-like, militarized police force.  They have brought us reports on Operation Flex, a sting operation that led to FBI entrapment in the Muslim community.  We have seen the case of the Cleveland Five, arrested in a similar FBI operation for plotting to bomb a bridge.  These five men have been described as ‘anarchists’, a government code for domestic terrorism.  Their case, upon close examination, clearly shows FBI agents feeding the men drugs while leading, aiding and abetting them in concocting a plot to blow up a bridge in the name of Occupy Cleveland.

We have seen the arrest of the NATO 3 in Chicago, after FBI agents ingratiated himself with the group.  In that particular case, FBI infiltrators attempted to convince the young men to commit an act of terror at the Chicago NATO summit.  After failing, the agents then planted materials in the apartment of the men and called in a raid.  This is ”worse than a case of entrapment”.  These young men, arrested on May 16, 2012, are still in jail fighting 11 felony counts.

 

Recently, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky stood and conducted an old-fashioned filibuster against the nomination of CIA Director John Brennan.  Brennan, the architect of the drone program and signature strikes in addition to having knowledge of the torture of detainees overseas, was asked questions about drones, as was Obama.  These questions centered around the use of domestic drones and assassination programs conducted in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.  The White House did not clearly answer questions surrounding the murder of three American citizens without due process.  They did not say unequivocably, that drones wouldn’t be used on American soil.

The Obama administration has sought to extend and make permanent the Authorization of the Use of Military Force.  He means to make it permanent as the ‘war on terror’, against a tactic, not a specific enemy promises to be.  The creation of a permanent state of war, a war without borders and bounds, will allow the President to conduct military operations on American soil against American citizens.

The NDAA has allowed for the indefinite detention of American citizens, without due process.  It will allow for those who dissent from the government and would rise up against government overreach to be arrested.  It allows for them to be held, without ever hearing charges against them, without ever seeing a judge.  It allows for Americans to be detained as those who are held in GITMO bay.  There, many detainees are staging a hunger strike against being held without charge.  Many of the individuals who are being held and tortured there see death as the preferable alternative to never-ending incarceration without having been found guilty of anything.  In fact, many held at GITMO are farmers and civilians who were snatched up in the beginning days of our ‘war on terror’.

As this article is being written, three more potential ricin envelopes have been discovered in the Senate offices..  This follows the discovery of a ricin letter addressed to Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker.  Mentioned in the media account of events in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, was his recent vote to allow debate to begin on a gun control bill.  While Wicker is a conservative and NRA member, he was quoted as saying  “I cast this vote at the request of the National Rifle Association, of which I am a member.”  He also added that he is a 100 percent supporter of the Second Amendment and his voting record proves that.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va) was quoted as saying his office was ”quarantined” and his staff was being evacuated.  An anonymous staff member in the Hart building described a man with a backpack running into offices and dropping envelopes. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) said in a statement his office also received one of the packages. Capitol Police are controlling access to the buildings.

Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) said his regional office in Saginaw, MI received a “suspicious-looking letter”.  It was turned over to authorities, who are now investigating.

Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said that the police suspect a person who “writes a lot of letters to members.” This comment after a law enforcement briefing.

President Obama also received a parcel that tested positive initially for ricin.  This package was found at an off-site processing facility and results are expected in 24-48 hrs.

If this pattern seems familiar, if it reminds, of similar letters with mysterious powders after a violent attack, it should.  This is the same methodology employed in the days after 9/11.  Senate offices were closed as a result of anthrax fears.  We are watching a re-run, it would appear.

In the days after Sept. 11, the Patriot Act was rushed through.  As was the Authorization for the Use of Military Force.  We heard government lies and a conspiring media lead the cheers for war.  This resulted in the invasion of a previously sovereign country.  It was the use of ”shock and awe” against an unwilling population in order to stun them into having less will to resist.  It is the same thing we are seeing now, in the wake of a new ”terror attack”.  Shock the population, scare them, in order to pass things you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to.  In order to push agendas on an unsuspecting public jumping at media created shadows and ”domestic terror” boogeymen.

It is no accident that legislation like CISPA is in Congress right now.  Neither is it a coincidence that Common Core resistance has picked up momentum as citizens begin to educate one another on this government/corporate collusion that will fundamentally work to destroy public education as we know it.  It isn’t an accident that there is an increasing militarization of our local police forces.  It is not random that the president is set to join the GOP in cutting social safety nets and enacting measures of American Austerity.

Wednesday, the IMF released a report that said we are on the brink of a world-wide economic crisis.  Apple shares dropped today on signs of missed revenue and lagging sales.  The stock market continues to climb as our Fed has made $85 billion dollars a month available to big banks.  This has allowed corporations to merge and expand on our tax dollars, sending the market into the stratosphere, while having no effect on the people whose money is being given away.  The rich continue to get rich, the poor continue to pay the tab.

The events in Boston, regardless of who was responsible (a suspect has been taken into custody as I am writing this), set the stage for tightening the noose around us while singing praises to those who would tie it to a tree.  The media cannot heap enough praise on DHS and the rise of our police and surveillance state.  They will say it has led to a quick capture, minimizing the potential for other acts of terror.  They will create a characature out of whomever is responsible.  Based on the rudimentary components of the bombs, pressure cookers, ball bearings and nails, and with the narrative already set in place through government and media, almost certainly it will be someone matching the description of a ”domestic terrorist”.  Almost certainly, the person will sound like many of us, who are tired of a government that no longer serves them.

It is no accident that, while these events unfold around us, we are seeing land grabs at the local level.   It is no accident that we are seeing sales taxes being introduced in favor of cutting the taxes for the wealthy.  It is no accident that Ameren now has effective control over our shore line.  It is no accident that EEZ’s and Article 600 has been considered by our county officials.

It is no coincidence that Lake Ozark has passed an ordinance that violates free speech and the ability to protest at official meetings.  Those who would commit crimes against us would rather not have to hear our opposition.

The Boston Marathon blasts will lead to an escalation of police state tactics.  This is an inevitable conclusion, one drawn from all-too recent experience.  It is not an accident that it comes now, as we are putting down our party banners and focusing on those who would truly do us harm.

Those of us who see the truth, who see the working parts of a mechanism of corruption, will not be silent in the wake of Boston.  Instead, we will realize that it is that much more urgent to work together against a government that no longer serves us.  We realize the time to stand is now and we will do so, shoulder to shoulder.