Friday, April 08, 2005


This week’s revelation of poor test scores in Nebraska, and unconscionably low graduation rates for African-American and Hispanic students, reminded me of a protest song parody I wrote a while ago.

It’s about the plight of disadvantaged children in today’s public schools, with horrible test scores and high dropout rates, and yet incredibly high rates of spending and lots and lots of paid staff – more than in the past.

By all accounts, more money and more paid staff are not what these kids need. They need a return to old-fashioned educational principles and practices in the early grades that can make them good readers and learners with hope for the future.

Without those methods, especially phonics-only reading instruction, you can see why absenteeism, truancy and dropout rates are high in these struggling schools and making the jobs of teachers there even harder: it’s because, like the slaves of centuries past, the kids feel they have no academic freedom and no means of escape.

That’s because Nebraska has no school choice legislation, no charter schools are allowed, and there are relatively few private school alternatives.

Will it take a civil war between the public and the educators to end this, and set them free? I hope not. I really hope the caring, compassionate people in education realize that the only solution is school choice, ASAP.

My protest song goes something like this:

School Plantations
(to the tune of “Old Man River” with apologies to Jerome Kern)

Inner-city kids go to school plantations,
Not the fancy schools where the rich kids play.
Plenty of poor kids gettin’ a poor education;
Less qualified on Graduation Day.

No algebra! No chemistry!
Barely grade-school literacy!
Tote that barge! Lift that bale!
You’ll work blue-collar, or land in jail.

We sold ‘em down the river to a school plantation!
The liberal ‘60s got the poor kids trapped.
Spending more dough on our schools won’t fix ‘em;
Give us school choice, and we’ll beat this rap.

We sold ‘em down the river to a school plantation!
Kids most needy, in schools most seedy.
To save their futures, we need a proclamation
Of educational emancipation.

Free the slaves of the liberal bias!
You think we’re kidding? Why don’t you try us?
Each child is precious!
Let school choice give them a chance!



What a coincidence: I know one person in Lawrence, Kan. She’s former Omahan Linda Weinmaster, one of my heroes for starting the Millard Core Academy and fighting against mercury in childhood vaccinations because, among other reasons, it causes autism, as with her son Adam.

I also admire her for her work starting Core Academy, because she didn’t turn her back on the public schools when they failed her son. She yanked her son out of the Millard Public Schools when he couldn’t read near the end of first grade. She put him in St. Agnes School, a great inner-city Omaha Catholic school, even though she’s not Catholic. That’s because they used the best method of teaching reading, Spalding Phonics. He was reading and writing above grade level by the end of the year. She returned to Millard, helped start Core, and eventually put her children back in that district, so it was a win-win.

Anyway, while at St. Agnes, she met a nice family who lived across the street. It turns out that their son, a high-school English teacher in Lawrence named Sam Rabiola, is the hero who blew the whistle on a teachers’ union president for allegedly stealing nearly $100,000 from the Lawrence Education Association.

Not only that, but Mrs. Weinmaster knows the man suspected of the embezzlement from the union, Wayne Kruse. She said he was a sixth-grade teacher at her son’s school, and in her opinion, he was “a terrible teacher.” She said he did not believe in teaching kids grammar or phonics, for example.

Mrs. Weinmaster adds that the general consensus of opinion among parents in that school was that Kruse is homosexual. She adds this: “At the sixth-grade graduation last year, he was hugging all the sixth graders as they walked across the stage. When Adam (that’s her autistic son) walked across, Adam said loudly, ‘Please don't hug me!’ The crowd all laughed and Adam's teacher said, ‘I don't blame him.’”

As we watch our teachers’ unions get more and more embroiled with homosexual activists because of the money they bring with them – note the Lincoln Public Schools race where that’s going on as we speak -- let’s remember this story. We’d better pay attention. That innocent, special-needs kid had Wayne Kruse pegged long before the cops did. Out of the mouths of babes. . . .

I know Wayne Kruse too. I've always considered him a great teacher and a wonderful friend. I'm sorry you have such a closed mind. You will miss out on a lot in life.
I'm sorry you are upset, but FYI:


and here's another story on it from www.kansascity.com:

Posted on Wed, Mar. 09, 2005

Teachers union's former chief charged with theft

Associated Press

LAWRENCE, Kan. - A former teachers union president has been charged with stealing nearly $100,000 from the Lawrence Education Association.

Prosecutors on Tuesday charged Wayne Kruse, a sixth-grade teacher who headed the union from 1999 to 2005, with two counts of forgery and one count of theft of more than $25,000.

Union officials said more than $97,000 was found to be missing from the about $240,000 in dues deducted from members paychecks between November 2003 and last August.

Sam Rabiola, a high school English teacher who succeeded Kruse as president of the union, said he found the finances in disarray.

"There were no books," he said. "There were some duplicate check stubs and that was about it. A lot of money had been spent and was unaccounted for."

Rabiola asked the Kansas National Education Association to audit the accounts, and the two groups went to police with their findings in December. Kruse was suspended from his teaching job in January, shortly after the union told its members about the investigation.

David Schauner, general counsel of the statewide union, said the forgery charges stem from a check for more than $16,000 made out to Kruse and a form using the association's account as collateral for a loan.

He said both bore the name of Adela Solis, the union vice president, who signed affidavits saying that neither signature was hers.

The case is being prosecuted by the Johnson County District Attorney's office. Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson asked the neighboring county to handle the case because Kruse's name appeared on a political advertisement supporting Branson in the November election.
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