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TWMP column: The Grooming of #moleg Republicans

This week someone at the capitol explained to me what “grooming” was, besides going to the barber.

I was reliably informed by a lady from southwest Missouri that grooming was: “When a predator sets the stage for abusing someone.”

I think they were trying to talk about drag shows, and maybe they are right, but what struck me was that grooming is the exact perfect description for how the national charter school folks have brought the #moleg republicans into believing charter schools are somehow conservative institutions.

The charter school folks have 100% groomed #moleg republicans.

You can put all the lipstick on the pig that you would like, but in hillbilly, plain speak funding students not systems is just Washington speak for taking tax dollars and shoveling them into charter schools.

The undeniable proof is in the outrage in how they have responded to events that have happened inside public schools compared to the absolute silence in how they have responded to similar events in charter schools.

Let’s take the latest screw-up by a Missouri public school: Columbia schools taking kids to a drag show.

It was indefensible. It makes you wonder about what is involved in all of these diversity programs, or why they exist in the first place. Has anyone ever thought that if you’re teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic then you don’t have to worry about what’s in your diversity presentation because the kids are in math class?

I’ve heard from many quarters that America is very very racist. Well if that is true then diversity presentations haven’t helped much anyway.

However, while republicans are throwing more and more money at charter schools, has any of them even once asked what is in a charter school diversity program? Even one? Or a charter school curriculum?

I see a lot of legislators groomed to believe they are public school curriculum experts, and in their expert opinion the curriculum is wrong, so the answer is ship more and more tax dollars to charter schools.

I’m sure they have, but is anyone sure the curriculum experts won’t find anything woke in a charter school curriculum? Maybe someone should just take a peek before sending another few million, right?

Well, my #SteinOfKnowledge predicts that you’re going to start hearing about them, but unfortunately I’m afraid that the hypocrisy has been “groomed” into the #moleg to where they will just sit silent.

Now take Rep Hardy Billington. He is a sincere man. He means what he says. After seeing what those charter school diversity programs look like, I wonder if he will be willing to just look the other way and vote yes, “for the caucus”, or “they have given us so much money we have to deliver something,” or “just please vote yes to shut the suburbans up”?

Hardy ain’t a bootlicker, he is from the bootheel.

Look, this grooming of republicans has many many examples. Someone I admire, and from counting the votes, many many Missourians admire Eric Schmitt. He was largely elected on pointing out problems with schools ridiculously masking little kids.

Well here is a fact: Charter schools were masking those poor little kids long after most any public schools had stopped. I must have missed the tweets or press releases or lawsuits against them.

Unless I’m mistaken and those exist, that’s some first-rate grooming.

To be candid, there has been some very good work done to: 1) Accurately shine a light on a few public schools’ self-inflicted errors. 2) Embellishing  the problems with public schools to use as an argument to shovel more money to a charter school client. 3) Donate a ton of money to the right political party’s coffers.

The national charter folks have been committed for decades to funding lemmings, not leaders.

If you live in St. Louis or Kansas City, Missouree I guess I understand how you would be more easily groomed on the issue than us here in Missourah.

You might actually get access to one of these charter schools, and you’re prolly on the short end of the formula now, so blow it up right? What do you care about rural Missourah?

Fair point. It ain’t their job to care about rural Missourah, and from the looks of the vote count on the ag bill last fall they ain’t looking to volunteer to care, but why have rural Missourah legislators signed up to be the United Way suckers?

Let’s take Rep. Ben Baker. He is a serious policy maker and I’ve found him to be a sincere guy. Currently, he has been repeatedly told that the base argument to be pro-choice is that you should funnel more money to charter schools because they are conservative education policy and public schools are woke indoctrination factories.

Well if that were that true, and let’s be honest he is a busy man and that is about all he has had time to hear, then I would agree with his conclusion.

However, I don’t believe he is just blind to his initial conclusion and out of some desire for campaign contributions or Facebook likes would refuse to reevaluate a situation based on new revelations of fact.

However, over the next few weeks, I suspect someone is going to pose the question to him on the logic in the narrative that the Putnam County R-1 Midgets or the Richland R- XVI Rebels are somehow woke, but the Citizens of World Academy in Kansas City or the KIPP Academy in downtown St. Louis are conservative.

When they do, and maybe I’m just a naïve simple hillbilly, but the Ben Baker I know is gonna have some questions he is gonna want to be answered before leading the charge to give them even more money.

But, don’t try and sell this hillbilly a pig in a poke, when is the last time something called “Citizens of the World” was conservative?

Speaking of KIPP Academy. Senator Mike Moon is no leadership lackey. He is a Senator with some guts. I’m sure he has been told that KIPP Academy is a bastion of conservative thought.

However, I wonder when he learns that KIPP Academy is an arm of Washington University in St. Louis, an institution of which he has been slightly critical of their work training abortion doctors, do you reckon he might lean back in his chair, pull on the straps of his overalls, stroke that mustache, and maybe have a question or two before shoveling more tax dollars to Wash U?

Now let’s talk about the politics of gutting rural schools, or as they say in St. Louis being pro-choice.

First of all school people, the real ones with quarterbacks, and point guards, whine too much and push back too little.

While it’s true that there is an entire fleet of the state’s top lobbying firms on the other side, well that is just capitalism. Everyone I’ve met that are lobbying for charter schools are good folks, who are representing their clients, obviously pretty damn well.

Or school folks complain that between a couple of St. Louis folks and a yuuge wave of out-of-state money public schools are outdone in campaign contributions of roughly $4,000,000 to $0.

Well as the Baltimore Ravens say: Nobody cares, work harder.

There is obviously plenty of room for education reform, plenty. Rep. Pollitt has a bill on student transfers, and Senator Rowden has talked about ways to pay teachers differently. Both sound like the kind of things Missouri could try in the Ed reform space.

While I do agree that Ed Sheeran needs reform. That music is just god awful, it’s just not true that public schools are factories of woke, and the answer to that is expanding these wonderful works of conservatism in charter schools.

Maybe it’s time to get creative to find an answer that makes everyone happy.

I saw one St. Louis senator had a bill in committee to turn all of rural Missourah’s sons into the bankrupt Uber drivers that apparently north Jefferson County produces.

Well, one easy solution that accomplishes her goal, but preserves the offensive linemen that Santa Fe High School produces is to just use the public right of way on I-55 and annex Arnold into the City of St. Louis.

Then everyone in Arnold, sorry now the southern portion of the City of St. Louis, could go to any charter school they like. Such as the very very conservative ones like KIPP.

Charter schools have been in St. Louis since the 90’s. Since that time several Fortune 500 companies have relocated to St. Louis, the population has skyrocketed, and the murder rates have plummeted….oh wait damn.

Well, maybe it will be like communism, when it fails they will just tell the dupes that it just hasn’t been done right yet.

Either way the good folks of Arnold will find their new mayor, Tishaura Jones already joins their other elected officials in support of the very very conservative charter schools.

Another St. Louis senator has a lot of ideas on how to get charter schools more money. I’ve often found St. Louis folks are full of ideas on how to really screw up rural Missourah.

Maybe he could run for school board, or better yet run for the charter school board…oh wait damn they don’t do elections. One idea could be to move Missouri’s school board elections to the same day as the charter school board elections…oh wait damn.

Well anyhow, maybe you could just build a wall around St. Louis and just keep all those genius ideas there in St. Louis, and make St. Charles County pay for it.

The bottom line here is that rural Missourah simply cannot rely on legislative leadership. We have elected folks to the #moleg who have simply been too damn nice to speak up for their folks.

While they have sat silently and not spoken up, their elected legislative leadership is all in, and I mean all in to put a dagger in a pillar of the rural Missourah way of life.

While the suburban legislators have been organizing, holding up ag bills, and making endless demands that if you don’t 100% agree to then you’re a RINO, rural legislators have just shrugged their shoulders and said “aw shucks” trying to go along to get along.

The way this will end if rural folks sit on their hands and aw shucks it will be this: Three years from now when Governor Parson is gone, your schools start getting their formula cuts when the Biden money is gone, and some will even close.

Then your Representative will say, “well I only voted for it because it was gonna pass anyway, and it’s what leadership wanted it, etc.”

The lil feller Corky from the Washington group who told you this will, “never even impact” rural Missourah will be long gone back to Washington chucking at how dumb you were.

I can pretty well guarantee that when his folks are fleecing the state Corky ain’t coming to help Rep. Reedy if Windsor High School is consolidated.

It will be too late.

All Corky ever wanted was all any national group ever wants with us: to color Missouri in on their map, take their bonus and never care about it impacts us.

Speaking of Governor Parson. You simply can’t rely on the Governor to veto this.

Look, I’m pretty good at predicting these types of things. He prolly ain’t gonna get out on this issue and beat the drum to try and close Wheatland High School, but he will sign whatever is in this bill.

A friend of mine who used to work on his staff told me he was going to veto that screwy ESA bill the house passed if it wasn’t amended, I bet him a Bud Light. He still owes me.

Let me further assure you the next governor ain’t gonna help us either. Secretary Ashcroft is publicly all in for these charters, and Lt. Governor Kehoe has in the past helped that screwy ESA thing pass. Now maybe once they see under the hood of these charters they will take us out of their sights, but these guys are smart I suspect they already know what’s going on at KIPP and have factored that into their decision. Unless there is another option for ’24 rural Missourah schools will see no help from the 2nd floor.

The bottom line is that there is no one that is gonna help rural Missourah but rural Missourahians. The only way through this is to be happy that St. Louis already has charter schools and good for them, and invite them to keep them there. Personally, I think it’s a fine thing to try new things where existing school districts have failed.

If rural Missourah holds their legislator’s feet to the fire then at some point the national groups will go find dumber states to plunder, like Arkansas.

I mentioned to a friend of mine the topic of this column, after spewing his beer across the bar at Grand Cafe, he told me grooming was sorta to prepare a victim to screw them.

I assured him that ooh at the end of this, there will be a screwing. It will either be some groups from Washington who have wasted tons of their money, or it will be rural Missourah who gets screwed but make no mistake there will be a screwing.

Catch the show this week with Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, and our panel of Reps. Reedy, McGaugh, McMullen, and Bland-Manlove.