Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Green Energy Isn't So Green

 By Gretchen Garrity

The Christian County Commission held a meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024 at the Resource Management Building to consider a plan by Black Mountain Energy Storage to purchase and develop a 34-acre parcel for lithium battery storage.

Proposed Black Mountain Battery Storage Facility in Ozark 

 (Click here for public documents pertaining to the project)

  • $100 million project

  • Would be termed a public utility

  • Purchase agreement in place of 34.1 acre parcel

  • Development of 6-8 acres of the parcel

  • 56 storage units, each approximately 8’ tall and 40’ wide

  • Able to store 75 MGW or 300 MWh of electricity (It takes about 33 Mwh to power one home for a month)

  • Additional substation to be added

  • Nearest home is 525 feet away from current substation

  • New substation will be 600 feet away from housing

  • 100 temporary construction jobs, not guaranteed local

  • Some tax benefit to the county, though not stated

  • No promise of local benefit on electricity costs

The meeting was packed, standing room only.

Introduced to the public at last week’s Christian County Commission meeting, Resource Management Director Todd Wiesehan, gave a short update to his presentation to answer questions he had received. Wiesehan said, “We have gotten plenty of input,” and said there were some concerns about siting, environmental control, safety, fire hazards, and removal if the storage facility is decommissioned or abandoned.

What Wiesehan did not say is that the community surrounding the proposed facility had not been properly informed of the plans. Only seven letters went out to the homes in the area to inform residents. Later, during the public comment section, citizen Rose Bergman said she had personally visited 50 households in the area to alert them to the proposed storage facility. Additionally, the county Planning and Development had been working with Black Mountain Energy Storage for approximately a year prior to last week’s presentation to the county commission.

 A purchase agreement was entered into since August 2023 that is open for three years.

Wiesehan went on to say that the county has the authority to attach certain conditions to satisfy concerns to the county order, if given approval. He said, “The staff has assembled a draft list of conditions and requirements that are intended to reasonably address the major concerns which have been identified so far.”

He then went over the types of concerns that had been voiced. He mentioned siting and visual impacts, possible requirements to plant trees around the facility to “buffer,” lighting requirements to aim down and in to the site to minimize light pollution, site access (the developer would bear all burden of that requirement during construction).

He mentioned water management and retention as environmental concerns that would be addressed, as well as erosion controls developed. The developer would have to preserve existing wetlands (there are two ponds on the parcel), and minimize tree removal.

Safety concerns included a commissioning plan (fires and other mishaps can happen when these facilities are newly commissioned), providing a maintenance manual, documents explaining the design and maintenance, testing, etc.

He also mentioned an emergency operations plan that would necessarily include multiple jurisdictions in the event of an emergency. Also a fire safety compliance plan would be required. Not only would the facility need to meet local codes, but also requirements that pertain to lithium battery storage units, as well as specific training for local responders. Security fencing would be required.

 Wiesehan lastly mentioned a decommissioning and removal plan as a requirement, with a possible bond provided by the developer to cover the cost of such eventualities.

The meeting was then turned over to Black Mountain Energy Storage’s Carolyn O’Brien, Director of Permitting and Entitlement, who admitted she was “not used to talking to so many people.” 

She said she hoped her presentation would alleviate concerns that many people had expressed. The parent company to Black Mountain Energy Storage (BMES) is Black Mountain, a company founded in 2007. It is an Australian company. BMES is based in Texas and was founded in 2021.

O’Brien admitted that battery storage of lithium batteries is a new technology. “We are on the forefront of the companies that have been created,” she said. Even though three years is a short time, it is relatively a long-time in the stand-alone battery storage industry, she said.

She next went on to give a slide presentation of what the battery storage units look like, their size (8’ by 40’), how they are not made to be opened, and their batteries, racks, inverters, and fire suppression systems.

She mentioned the containers were made to operate outside and in environments where a lot of safety measurements are required. Fire protection for smoke and heat, explosion prevention, and working very closely with fire departments to ensure safe handling was also mentioned.

She also spoke about redundancy designs, for instance if one smoke detector doesn’t work there are backups to the system. She mentioned full-scale fire testing that happens with lithium battery storage. She mentioned a couple testing codes and requirements. She said that the units have been tested thoroughly for whatever condition exists. 

O’Brien said BMES has a great team for prospecting and siting of these storage facilities. She said she spoke with the manager of that team who shared insights into why this particular location was chosen. White River Valley Electric Cooperative controls most of the power production in this area, so when White River is at a certain level the reservoirs are either released or not released, and that is what provides the power...and that may not always be what is optimal for power transmission or rates.”

She then mentioned that if our area was in a flood or drought condition, there may or may not be a release from the dam. She also said that weather conditions can determine whether there is a release from the coal plant. “So, with a battery storage in this area, it kind of smooths the curve. So basically it sort of flattens the curve, um if you will, on the peaks and valleys you can get with the energy production provided that is basically dependent on White River in this area.”

What was not readily shared, was that the company would not necessarily have or sell the stored electricity to provide assistance, since the company would be selling its electricity to many different grid customers. It is dependent, of course, on the availability to purchase stored power from the company that owns the battery storage facility.

Later, O’Brien mentioned tax revenues. “The tax contribution, uh, we are an over $100 million facility with a span of 20 years and...there is a tax benefit to having [the battery storage facility.]”

Next, she mentioned that the company plans on being a good neighbor. “That’s why we’re here, we do want to be good neighbors. I know a lot of you are concerned about that. We really want you all to feel like we’re gonna come into the community and you’re gonna know what’s happening and that you’re gonna be safe and, you know, you’re gonna be able to enjoy the wildlife.”

She shared an example of a battery storage facility near Austin, Texas to give the audience an idea of what the facility would look like when completed. She noted that the facility was very close to residential subdivisions in the area, and said the company did provide fencing and landscaping.

She said that on the Ozark project they are looking at 2028 for commissioning, since the breakers on the facility have a 36-month lead time. Additionally, there has not yet been any permitting on the project, and O’Brien asserted there would be no impact on any nearby wetlands.

Citizens were then given time to comment and they had done their homework. At one point the consensus in the room was nearly 100% against the project by hands raised. There were citizens with decades of experience with electrical power, software systems engineering, and real estate appraisals among the crowd. Complaints and concerns were centered on the following issues:

  • Numerous residents are in close proximity to the proposed facility
  • No nearby fire station
  • Water contamination from a catastrophic event
  • Citizens are not seeing power fluctuations, as O’Brien cited happened in Texas, which is on its own grid
  • Black Mountain Energy has previously been fined for misstatements of facts, according to a citizen
  • Black Mountain Energy is a land acquisition company, a citizen said
  • Black Mountain Energy Storage has 20 projects, four under construction, all completed projects have been sold to other companies, including foreign companies
  • No bonding agreement yet available; incomplete paperwork available to public
  • Tendency of energy companies to go bankrupt and leave counties/cities with costs to decommission and remove (no money for bonding from bankrupt company)
  • Although O’Brien said water suppression was not used to put out runaway thermal fires, a citizen later cited a paper that said water suppression is still the major component used to suppress the extremely hot temperatures of lithium ion battery fires. The fires must burn themselves out, but water as a cooling agent can prevent other units from catching fire
  • No answer on what company is manufacturing the battery units
  • Springfield was persuaded by the federal government to destroy their coal plant, and electricity costs have risen
  • Public utilities are hard to shut down
  • Rates of serious fires, injuries, poisoning, and deaths associated with battery storage facilities was cited by several citizens
  • The county planning and zoning commission did not get a Department of Natural Resources report, and relied exclusively on studies provided by BMES
  • The county planning and zoning commission did not research the negative impacts of battery storage facilities before presenting to the county commission, or if they did, they did not present that to the commissioners
  • No study of property value impact
  • No special limits on battery weights, possibly leading to infrastructure road damage
  • Operational range temperatures: batteries begin degrading at 105°f and become inoperable at 112-115°f. Conversely, at 14°f batteries begin to degrade and become inoperable at -12°f
  • Battery life span is often not the advertised 15 years, but anywhere from 5 to 10.5 years on the low end, with an average of 8.3-year span
  • The advertised 55-decibel rating for sound per unit (temperature control) is closer to 75 decibels, according to one citizen. There are 56 units in the proposed facility. A lawn mower is 83 decibels. 
  • One citizen claimed the company was operating in the red
  •  One citizen expressed concern that O’Brien could not or would not answer numerous questions. 
  • A citizen said the current wind rating was not acceptable for tornado activity
  •  Another citizen said all the risk would be on the county and none on the company, since the county would have jurisdiction

Presiding Commissioner Lynn Morris announced there would be more meetings to discuss the issue, and that it may be months before a decision would be made on whether to approve a county order for the facility.

Friday, February 23, 2024

No More Representative Government for You!

Kiss my bisque, 'Seinfeld' curse. Soup Nazi reopens for ...
From: Entertainment Weekly

 This is a must-read article by David Rice. It details how the Friends of the Library in Christian County support the status quo, i.e., letting sexually explicit and pervasively vulgar books be accessible to children. The Marxist, godless and technocratic agenda of indoctrinating children and minors into gender ideology is at a peak right now.

The physical and emotional toll this ideology is taking upon our children will echo down the years as an era of insanity. No individual of good will can remain neutral.

Rice exposes how the Friends of the Library take books the community has donated, resells them, and then uses that money to support the status quo. The FOL president even has the audacity (perhaps ignorance) to write in opposition to HB2498, which provides for the election rather than appointment of library boards:

"This bill will also give the now-elected Board of Trustees the power to approve or reject all library employees, programs, activities, and volunteers."

He is advocating that un-elected employees, and not elected officials, be in charge of the library. 

No more representative government for you!

You have to read the whole thing to believe it.

Meet the Candidates for Ozark School Board


Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Undermining Free Speech


 By Gretchen Garrity

 There are many ways in which publicly-funded entities limit and suppress the right of the public to speak freely.

Art. I, Sec. 8 of the Constitution of the State of Missouri states: “That no law shall be passed impairing the freedom of speech, no matter by what means communicated: that every person shall be free to say, write or publish, or otherwise communicate whatever he will on any subject, being responsible for all abuses of that liberty…”

Right behind that is “Sec. 9, Rights of peaceable assembly and petition. – That the people have the right peaceably to assemble for their common good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances by petition or remonstrance.”

A 2015 article in the Springfield News-leader discusses the latitude the state has apparently given to public governing boards when it comes to free speech.

According to the article, “Former Springfield City Attorney Howard Wright, who has written about the subject on his website [website is no longer active], said courts have found that citizens must be given a "meaningful opportunity to comment" when a public hearing is required. But as long as that happens, "I think council has a lot of discretion to adopt rules and procedures."

The article then shares some of the rules and regulations local governing bodies have applied to public speech at their meetings.

If you have attended a public meeting lately, you may have run into some of the ways boards limit and suppress speech. It is usually couched in terms of timeliness, application to the current agenda, distractions and so forth, but what actually occurs is an undue limit on the rights of citizens to communicate to and with their elected and/or appointed boards in a public setting. 

The rules and guidelines seem geared toward troublemakers, but give precious little evidence that citizens in general are not already acting in an orderly and polite manner. Public forums can get boisterous, passionate, even contentious at times, but citizens usually do a wonderful job of policing themselves, and should not be made to suffer for a board of thin-skinned individuals who want to control every action of the audience and can brook no distraction of any kind.

Time limits on public speech—giving citizens as little as three minutes to speak on a topic—is one way in which free speech is suppressed. That is not a “meaningful opportunity to comment.” Three minutes to address a grievance or inquire of the board is often not enough time to fully express an issue. Also, boards tend not to respond to the issues addressed. They sit mute before the public, presumably hoping the person and therefore the issue will disappear.

This is from the Ozark School District Public Comment policies:

“The board encourages residents to utilize the process for placing items on the agenda but will also specifically designate time for district residents to provide public comments at regular meetings of the board. The following rules will apply to the public comment portion of the meeting:

  1. The board will establish a time limit for the public comment period.

  2. No individual will be permitted to speak more than once during this period.

  3. The board will establish a uniform time limit for each speaker.

  4. Discussion will be limited to items from the posted agenda.

  5. All speakers must provide his or her name and address prior to speaking.

  6. If there is insufficient time for everyone to speak, the board will encourage participants to submit their questions in writing or utilize the process for putting an item on the agenda.”

Regarding public concerns and complaints, the District has this to say: “The district encourages parents/guardians, students and other members of the public to first discuss concerns with the appropriate district staff prior to bringing the issue to the Board so that the issue may be thoroughly investigated and addressed in a timely fashion. The Board will not act on an issue without input from the appropriate district staff and may require a parent/guardian, patron or student to meet with or discuss an issue with district staff prior to hearing a complaint or making a decision on the matter.”

If citizens cannot go to their elected officials without first going through what is undoubtedly a filter, then who is truly representing the people? 

That very few individuals attend most public meetings may have something to do with the extra burdens placed upon citizens. A citizen should not feel as if their speech is of such low concern as to merit a three-minute time limit for hearing an issue, or that the board “may require” a citizen to meet with intermediaries (district staff) before addressing the board. (Note: the OSD time-limit policy is five minutes though they had been limiting individuals to three minutes as stated in the video below.)

The school board at the Ozark School District has questionable requirements, even going to so far as to suppress the speech of their own members through requiring points of order in order to address citizens and calling for the question before sufficient time to discuss the issue has occurred. Citizens have a right to hear the speech of others, as well as to speak.

At an October 2023 board meeting discussion regarding addressing citizens in a public meeting, it was decided that individual board members must first address the board president for permission to speak with a citizen. If you watch the whole discussion, it becomes clear that the board intends to keep tight control of not only citizen participation, but of the board itself. Watch the discussion (prompted at 12 minutes):


If you have attended an Ozark school board meeting, it becomes clear that the tight control is not because there are routinely violent, or otherwise inappropriate outbursts (although the News-Leader reported boardmembers accusing the public of such things.) If you watch the online board meetings, it is clear the board as a whole is not comfortable with any type of disagreement, even with other board members.

Attorneys, in particular those of the Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA) have been involved. At about 34 minutes in, Patty Quessenberry, who is running for re-election to the school board again after serving for 27 years and who is currently the president-elect of the MSBA, even mentions that the board has conferred with an attorney about the new policy they are discussing.

At 39 minutes in Quessenberry actually asks how to proceed if one of the dreaded outbursts happens but she hasn’t noticed it happened. Board Member Christina Tonsing even mentions she has not heard a lot of what the other board members claim are outbursts. The discussion then goes on to what certain audience members said or didn’t say, whether it was rude, and whether the board members had actually heard what they thought they heard.

Board Member Guy Callaway suggests that some of the citizen comments were misconstrued by not only board members, but others in the room. Apparently, board members are conferring with others present, many of whom are school employees.

This is some nasty uprising from citizens, eh?

In November's meeting, a citizen questioned the board about an incident that occurred in October, when a citizen was removed from the meeting in violation of the board's new policy. See his comments here (video prompted). You will see the board attempts to shut him down:

The ever present timer rings while he is still speaking. He was the only public speaker for the meeting, which is very common. No one responded to the citizen's comments. The board moves right on to the next agenda item. It is as if he didn't exist. 

It isn't until Board Member Christina Tonsing brings up the issue some time later that it is addressed. If she had not brought it up through the Community Engagement Plan on the Agenda, it would not have been referred to at all.

At approximately 1:04:00 in the video, Board Member Tonsing requests the Community Engagement Plan be pulled from the Consent Agenda, so it can be discussed. The board seems reluctant but Tonsing is allowed to share her views on the plan and how it came about, and she makes a connection between that and the issue of public comments in her quest to have the item pulled from the agenda.

Also, please note that though the transcript repeatedly states it is Board Member Amber Bryant speaking, it is actually Tonsing. The item was pulled from the agenda and Tonsing asks the board for their responses. Crickets, except for Guy Callaway who felt that the board had done their duty to solicit community engagement, of which there was apparently very little. The motion is quickly approved to accept the consent agenda.

At the December 2023 board meeting, a very important subject comes up, that of due process for teachers. Board Member Tonsing begins to make a case for modifying the MSBA's proposed changes in district policy, as it may violate the "federal process" for teachers going through a suspension or termination process. (It is helpful to read the transcript of the video clip.) The proposed change reads:

"The fourth potential change/addition in policy - A member of the community has requested the following be placed into policy: Teacher and staff discipline - Any administrator, teacher, or staff of the district who is disciplined has the right to fair treatment. Therefore, any performance improvement plan presented to a district employee must be presented to the board at the next meeting by the superintendent. The superintendent will establish a timeline for the improvement required and update the board monthly on the employee's progress or lack thereof. Further, no Notice of Deficiency will be presented to a district employee until that employee has been invited to a board meeting to be heard and the board has approved the notice. At the hearing, the superintendent must present the failures of the Performance Improvement Plan in correcting the employee's shortcomings, including a summary of follow-up on the PIP."

In a clip from the board meeting (see below), which was recorded by the Ozark Schools Support Team and is not available at the district's YouTube Channel (interesting, eh?), you will see Board Member Bryant quickly shut down discussion by 'calling the question,' which is typically used when debate and discussion has been extensive. In this case, the board immediately voted to accept only the changes that had been proposed by the MSBA, completely suppressing any discussion.

The public was given no chance to hear a response or discussion of the issue, even though Ozark School District has an elevated turnover rate of teachers, with some controversial personnel decisions in the recent past. The board shut down Tonsing and simply voted the changes as recommended by the MSBA.

 In conclusion, there are a myriad of ways that public boards suppress free speech. They do the voting public a great disservice by attempting to control narratives and stop discussion of matters that are of interest to citizens. Indeed, by limiting the free exchange of ideas, on both the part of board members, as well as citizens who have a right to speak, these publicly-elected boards undermine their communities and the well-being of their constituents.

It should stop.


Monday, February 19, 2024

Arise and Take Charge

Unless the people, through unified action, arise and take charge of their government, they will find that their government has taken charge of them. Independence and liberty will be gone, and the general public will find itself in a condition of servitude to an aggregation of organized and selfish interest.” --Calvin Coolidge 

Register here.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

A Teacher's Perspective

Pen and paper boosts memory more than smart devices: study
Inage: The New York Post

 By Gretchen Garrity

I was recently in touch with public school educator, Mr. Kelly Wallace. Mr. Wallace has been teaching for 30 years, and is employed by the Springfield Public Schools. In the following question-and-answer format, he gives his perspective on teaching and the state of education.

Mr. Wallace deserves our thanks for being willing to speak about some of the issues confronting our schools. These issues are also in your local school.

  • What drew you to teaching?

I have always enjoyed school and loved my teachers.  My third grade teacher Ms. Nancy Wiser had a huge impact on me.  She was an outstanding person and always cared about me.  This is one of the most important things I believe a lot of teachers forget.  It’s not about the lessons we teach in most cases.  It’s about caring and taking interest in your students' lives that makes the biggest impact.

  • How has teaching changed since you first began teaching? Good and bad!

My first three years of teaching would have to be the most difficult just trying to learn how to deal with students. Those first years could be summed up in one word..survival.  I knew my subject inside out and upside down but dealing with students and all the issues they arrive with was definitely the hardest.  After that learning curve took place teaching was a very enjoyable time.  Focusing on the kids first and your curriculum second has always been my thing all thanks to my marvelous teacher Ms. Wiser.

Seeing previous students and having them thank you and appreciate all you have done for them is the greatest feeling in the world.  The connection and what you think are the little things that happen in the course of a school year can have the largest impact on students.

Unfortunately after Covid the discipline issues became so overwhelming to the point I couldn’t even sleep at night and started having terrible anxiety.  I couldn’t think about anything else.  I had all of the previous 25 plus years of teaching to lean on, but mentally it was an absolute struggle.  I couldn’t even imagine being a new struggling teacher at this point.  I was having a hard time keeping it together.  I couldn’t imagine being new to the profession.  Substitute teaching at this time was unimaginable! 

Being mentally worn out on a daily basis will age you in a hurry.  It’s very different than being physically worn out.  It’s almost as if you can’t function when you get home.  You no longer have the ability to turn it off.

  • Can you give some contrasts?

The administrators I’ve had the last few years are doing everything they can to keep disruptive students in school.  Unfortunately it’s all left on the shoulders of teachers and other students.

When I first started teaching we always had the support of our administration.  Today it’s like the teachers are under investigation if you send a disruptive student to the office.

  • Have kids changed? If so, how?

I won’t be the only one to tell you that we’ve always had problems at school.  The kids have not changed.  What has changed is how we are dealing or better yet not dealing with discipline issues. 

Want proof?  Just check out a school district’s scope and sequence.  I have a laminated copy of my first year 1994/1995 vs today…mind blowing!  What used to get you in trouble 25 years ago now doesn’t even get you on the principal’s radar. Example… a few years ago we were having a terrible problem with students vaping.  Instead of dealing with the problem head on as we should have the district changes the scope and sequence.

  • Can you talk a little bit about curriculum? Why are student scores continuing to fall in many cases, despite the large amounts of seminars, continuing education, consultants, and diverse methods that many schools utilize?

Curriculum and the amount of time we spend on it is better than it’s ever been. In fact it can become nauseating we spend so much time on it.  The main reason we are seeing lower scores is the amount of time we are spending on discipline issues versus teaching.  What this causes is a lower expectation for everyone.  We are continually lowering the bar instead of raising the bar.  Example: giving everyone a full quarter to turn in missing assignments.  Students learn that procrastination is fine and turn in subpar work the last few days before the quarter is over when most have forgotten the concept that was presented the week of the assignment.  This is not ok in the real world of work so why is it ok in education? 

  • What programs and organizations have you found helpful? Harmful?

This is a hard question.  Surprisingly I’m going to say the NEA can be both harmful and helpful. It’s a double-edged sword.  Helpful in the fact that they care about education and support teachers with insurance and support with school discipline and contract issues that arise, and they do arise.  If you don’t have that support you are on your own which is a terrible place to be. 

On the other hand the NEA supports certain political actions and agendas that do not correspond with my beliefs.  This in turn has made me step away and stop renewing my NEA membership for about the last 10 years.  Imagine being without support in school related issues for the last few years.  Scary is an understatement.  There’s no one out there that has your back. Teachers are human, we do make mistakes and there are an unbelievable amount of false accusations.

  • How pervasive is DEI/CRT/SEL and other agenda-driven programs?

Unfortunately these agendas have definitely been presented to us in professional development meetings in the past.  I have personally rejected this nonsense and will never present this to any student in my classroom let alone bring it up.  Definitely not what I was hired to do and if it ever was I would’ve quit a long time ago.

  • What do you think about the push to include younger children within the public school system? For instance, there is legislation that wants to mandate a 5-year-old must attend school.

I can’t think of anything wrong with starting the education process early as long as the parent has the final decision. I wouldn’t want any lawmaker mandating anything to me about my child’s early education needs.  What could they possibly know about your child’s education concerns and timing?

  • Schools seem to be morphing into a kind of community center, where the cradle to grave agenda is being implemented: free meals, mental health evaluations and treatment, preschool, tele-health, performing arts centers, etc. Have schools expanded their mission at the expense of their original purpose?

Yes…but why?

There’s a larger number of students every year that their basic needs are not being met at home.  Is this something that we want?  Absolutely not, but our number one concern is for the health and well-being of all of our students.  If basic needs are not met at home then it’s really hard to accomplish anything else beyond that.  This is also an answer to your previous question:  Why are student scores continuing to fall in many cases, despite the large amounts of seminars, continuing education, consultants, and diverse methods that many schools utilize?

  • Teacher turnover rates are high. What is a teacher's view of the issue?

Not good!  Teaching has become a nearly impossible task and still have a life outside of the classroom. 

You have no energy for your own life outside of work.

This is nothing new or unexpected but you’re broke all the time and have to take on other jobs which almost every teacher does.  This also takes away more time from home.

You don’t feel any recognition.

Many times teaching in a school system does not align with your beliefs.

You feel depressed, angry, not like yourself for all the reasons mentioned above.

Yes.  We use them more and more every year.  The overwhelming number of students who need their services is staggering.  I have students who have lost parents or siblings to suicide who struggle unimaginably every day.

  • What advice would you give to someone who was going into teaching?

Several years ago we had a teacher who said both of his girls wanted to be teachers.  He told them he would completely pay for their education if they didn’t choose teaching but if they wanted to be teachers they were on their own.  I thought this was pretty harsh at the time but now I’m almost completely in agreement with him.  Teaching has gotten much harder since 94/95.  I’ve spent 30 years in the same school and can honestly say I would never choose this profession if I had to do it all over again.  The good thing I can take with me is I know I have made a difference in several students that I’ve taught over the years but the good hasn’t outweighed the bad I’ve witnessed in the past few.  This is my 30th and last year of teaching.  The only thing I will miss is my day-to-day interaction with the students.  Once again I will mention my favorite teacher, Ms. Wiser.  I couldn’t tell you one thing she taught me other than she was kind and truly cared about me and sometimes that’s all these kids need.

  • What are teachers thinking about school choice? Homeschooling? Micro-schools?

I really don’t know what other teachers are thinking but I do know that I would never put my child in the school that I teach.  I wouldn’t have said that 20 years ago.  In fact some of my family home schooled their kids at the time and I thought it was the craziest thing ever at the time.  Kids learn so much in a public school.  Yes good and bad.  As I said before the bad has definitely started to outweigh the good.  I would never subject my kid to what goes on in the public school that has little or no consequences. I wouldn’t think twice to either put my kids in a private Christian school or home school setting.  Only because both my wife and I our teachers.  Unfortunately a lot of parents don’t have that choice.

  • If you could do anything to help schools improve, what would it be?

Stop watering down your scope and sequence to help adjust the numbers to meet the criteria you need to be state accredited.  You are only making the problem worse.

  • How could parents help?

Please raise and discipline your own kids.  Stop thinking that the school system was created to do it for you.  Take full responsibility.  Look for solutions and not just a teacher to blame.

If you really love someone, you have to give them the level of discipline they need.  Discipline is the highest form of love.

I believe Ms. Wiser’s philosophy of teaching can be applied to parenting as well….. My parents have a huge impact on me.  They are outstanding and always care about me.  This is one of the most important things I believe a lot of parents forget.  It’s not about the lessons we teach in most cases.  It’s about caring and taking interests in your children’s lives that makes the biggest impact.


Looking for Answers?

Do you ever wonder why it takes up to $100,000 to run for an unpaid school board position for the Springfield Public Schools? Do you wonder why violence in schools is on the rise? Why levels of anxiety among students is so high?

 Why are academic scores flat or falling? Why is teacher retention a big problem for school districts? Why do school districts keep asking for more bond money for more capital projects when they don't maintain the buildings they have? 

Do you ever wonder why out-of-town people founded a "nonpartisan" United Springfield PAC in order to get their preferred candidates elected?

Millions of taxpayer dollars are at stake. And more than that, a pernicious agenda that pushes gender ideology, DEI, SEL and CT is working hard to maintain the control grid that usurps parental rights and local school control.

You know something is wrong, but you can't quite put your finger on it. Here is your opportunity to get answers and solutions. 

Our children and their teachers deserve to be able to learn and teach in a safe environment. 

Register here.

And look for a Q&A with a public school teacher here later today.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Commission Meeting Set for Feb. 14 💓

 The Christian County Commission will be meeting on Feb. 14, at 10:30 a.m. On the agenda is discussion regarding the selection process for trustees of the library board. Apparently the process from last year needs to be reaffirmed. Please support the commission with your attendance.

The Grassroots is Awake


Monday, February 12, 2024

How to Identify Wokecraft

James Lindsay explains how Marxists take over organizations and transform them, cutting you the citizen out of any say in how your local libraries or schools are run.

Here's a link to the book he recommends. Charles Pincourt, who authored the book with Lindsay, says this about his book Counter Wokecraft:

"The second part of the book analyzes the collection of principles, strategies, and tactics used by the Woke to entrench their perspective—in other words, wokecraft. The success of the Woke relies primarily on three things: First is the weaponization of positive-sounding, commonly understood words that have double meanings, or Woke Crossover Words. These words (e.g., critical, diversity, inclusion) are brandished like Improvised Explosive Devices. They are slipped into documents and decisions, justified by their commonly held meanings, but are later used to justify Woke interventions based on their radical Woke meaning. Second, there is a general insistence on informality, which is then exploited to manipulate decision-making by preventing, for example, secret ballot voting. Third, there are a number of woke bullying tactics that are used to prevent people from resisting Woke advances. These range from coercion through consensus to cancel-culture attacks. Together, these tactics are used to exaggerate support for, and quell dissent against, Woke advances."

 According to Pincourt, the latter part of the book teaches readers how to counter the revolution. "The first column seeks to sow doubt in participants about the Woke perspective, particularly its prescriptions. The second involves amplifying and enabling dissenting opinions, while at the same time instituting the formalization of decision-making processes that allow all participants to voice their opinions."

 Wouldn't it be nice if school boards and library boards actually gave citizens more than three minutes to expound (five minutes would be helpful), and then actually responded to them? Instead, they use wokecraft to shut down a free exchange of ideas, and steal citizens' recourse to public dialog with public servants.

The video is only 20 minutes long. Well worth viewing.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

The Missouri Freedom Initiative reports on the WEF...and Missouri

 The Missouri Freedom Initiative tackles the World Economic Forum tonight, and its ties to Missouri. The WEF is bent on mining (in a globally connected way) rare earth minerals used in so-called green energy. Think the cobalt mines in Africa. Well, there are rare earth minerals in Missouri. And importantly, Missouri has a lot of water, which is needed in the extraction process of rare earth minerals.

Tonight's show, according to MFI's Patrick Holland, "...will be streaming live tonight at 7:30PM Central on Rumble, Twitter (X), Odysee and You Tube. It promises to be an interesting show as Isaac is returning to give us updates on his research in connecting the dots between pieces of Missouri legislation and the  WEF agenda."

Here is a short documentary about 2024's WEF meeting in Davos. The takeaway: You are the carbon they want to get rid of.



To catch up on what the WEF and its Missouri compatriots are up to in the Show Me State, here is a previous MFI show from a couple weeks ago that details how some of our current and former legislators are involved. Tonight's show will shed more light.


Friday, February 9, 2024

Shout Out!

 A shout-out to TPUSA-Faith of Christian County

Featured in the national organization's monthly newsletter, the feature said in part, "Let us applaud TPUSA Faith of Christian County Faith HUB for their exceptional commitment to civic engagement and excellence. This remarkable faith hub, located in Springfield, MO, organizes numerous transformative Biblical Citizenship Classes both within the city and throughout the county. Their unwavering dedication to actively engage and serve the community stands as an inspiring testament to the power of faith-driven initiatives. Through their efforts, TPUSA Faith of Christian County Faith HUB is making a meaningful impact, fostering unity, and empowering individuals to contribute positively to society."

From TPUSA-Faith

Contact the Christian County chapter at their Facebook page for information on upcoming Biblical Citizenship and Constitution Alive! classes, which are conducted in partnership with David Barton's Wallbuilders. The classes are perfect for families, as well as individuals.

See What the Missouri Library Association is Up To

From Missouri Library Association
 David Rice has written an excellent Substack post about the Missouri Library Association (MLA) and its lobbying efforts in Jefferson City earlier this week.

The method to their madness is similar to organizations like the Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA), in which their advocacy positions are often antithetical to freedom, parental rights, etc.

Rice says, "Missouri Librarians descended on Jefferson City on Tuesday, Feb. 6th, 24, to have morning Unity meetings and then go lobby (harass) public officials. Their purpose is laid bare in their agendas and their priorities.

They were against Free Speech, the 2nd Amendment, Protecting Children, lowering taxes, changing their Fiscal Year and elections, and Limiting their Power. The one bill they supported would make it illegal for libraries to remove books from their collection. As I point out below, they don’t even expect this bill to pass."

Read the whole thing. Rice includes a list of bills currently in the legislature that citizens will want to read. Keep in mind that the MLA is a chapter of the American Library Association (ALA)...that hard Left organization that is beginning a slow retreat from its Marxist President Emily Drabinski.

Citizen participation is vital. The next Christian County Library Board of Trustee meeting is scheduled for February 27.