IT’S TIME…….

Yes, it’s TIME to make the move.

If you are (not were) a Trump supporter and have found that being called deplorable or a cult member because you dare to consider yourself a conservative and want to put America first, it’s TIME.

It’s TIME for what?

Well, it is evident to anyone with a head and an ass that the Republican party does not want you.  Let me say that again.  The Republican party DOES NOT WANT YOU.

The likes of Looney Thune, who was never a Trump supporter no matter how hard all of his handlers try to convince people in South Dakota that he was, has proven just what a lame representative he is of the people of South Dakota.

Today’s Rapid City Journal article shows just how much backbone Senator Looney has. 

But it’s more than that.  It’s the Republican party in South Dakota that consistently uses conservative man power to get the job done, make the phone calls, put up signs, and do the heavy lifting then they are told to sit down, shut up and go along to get along.

It’s TIME.  It’s TIME to say no more to a leader of the SD GOP Mr. Lederman, who is nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing as the closet Democrat that he is.  He has consistently supported Democrats that are running with an R behind their name and makes no secret of it.  (Jessica Olson District 34 as a prime example)

It’s TIME that those in South Dakota who are conservative, want America first and who think that the current Republican Party both here in South Dakota and nationally are not representing them or their issues quit believing that they can make a difference by playing by the rules.

Abandon the Republican Party.  They have already (long ago) abandoned you.   It’s time that they see there are people with backbones who will no longer fall for their sit down and shut up orders after the election so that those elite in power can carry on as usual collaborating with the Democrats.

We’ve had enough.   Go to your local registrar and register as NO PARTY.  The Republicans need to get the message that we are done being taken advantage of and taken for granted.  No more.  It’s TIME to send them a message loud and clear.

EVALUATIONS? Oh, let’s not stress our teachers!

I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER NOW………ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

As reported by KOTA news:

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) – 2020 has been challenging for students and teachers alike, but an executive order from Governor Kristi Noem hopes to alleviate some of the stress for educators.

Noem’s order temporarily halts some regulations for businesses and schools.

For schools, this order pauses performance evaluations for experienced teachers and principals, and also freezes accreditation reviews for the schools scheduled for review.

The public information manager for the Rapid City Area School District, Katy Urban, said teacher evaluations and school accreditation are time-consuming, and the pause takes some of the pressure off the staff, so they can focus on teaching instead.

After attending a school board meeting I heard teacher after teacher claim that the Friday “planning days” were a must now in order to keep up with their teaching duties and that the stress levels were just terrible.  I’m sure their stress has been lessened now.

I guess now that Governor Noem has come to their rescue they don’t have to worry about being evaluated and their jobs are secure.  This comes after evaluations/testing for students was suspended last year.  Gosh, we wouldn’t want to see just how bad these choices have been for our students and now we don’t want to see how teachers (oh, let me be clear, EXPERIENCED teachers that is) are doing.  It doesn’t matter if you’re passing or failing. All students were passed to the next grade anyway last year.

Well, here’s an evaluation for you. 

Middle school social studies students who weren’t failing were given the opportunity to “go outside and play” recently.  They could play with a basketball, a football or walk the track.  Upon returning to the classroom they were able to watch a movie.  I thought, well, it was the week of the Pearl Harbor anniversary.  What better time to at least learn a little bit about that?  But no, guess what they watched?  HOME ALONE.   Are there no movies available with a Social Studies theme in the school library where students could actually learn something?   I’m sure most students have probably all seen HOME ALONE a hundred times already.  My evaluation:  Failure.

I have recently been made aware of a concern of many teachers regarding the pay disparity with “new” teachers.  It seems that they are no longer receiving the step (additional education) increases that they enjoyed in the past.

I felt that they got the short end of the stick.  Well, I guess this latest bone that Governor Noem has thrown them along with the praise of the district bosses is what they can be thankful for.

Many of those same teachers thought they were getting a good deal with the “pay raise” a few years back.  These same “experienced” teachers didn’t read the fine print and were in fact being sold down the river by the union and the superintendent.

Much like the parents and the taxpayers the teachers had better start looking at the fine print and the details.  It’s not always how the pretty picture is painted for the public relations press release that is reality.

The devil is always in the details.  Evaluations are an opportunity to weed out those individuals who are not meeting the standards and an opportunity to reward good teachers.   But we all know, sadly, that doesn’t happen. Bad teachers stay and merit pay for good teachers doesn’t exist.

Good teachers, and I sincerely believe there are a lot of them, do get the short end of the stick.  When will good teachers stand up for students, parents and taxpayers and demand, yes demand, a better system when they know the system they are in right now is bad?

Will any of them have the guts to speak up or will peer pressure or intimidation keep them quiet?

Where is Virginia?

EVALUATIONS? Oh let’s not stress our poor teachers.

I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER NOW………ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

As reported by KOTA news:

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) – 2020 has been challenging for students and teachers alike, but an executive order from Governor Kristi Noem hopes to alleviate some of the stress for educators.

Noem’s order temporarily halts some regulations for businesses and schools.

For schools, this order pauses performance evaluations for experienced teachers and principals, and also freezes accreditation reviews for the schools scheduled for review.

The public information manager for the Rapid City Area School District, Katy Urban, said teacher evaluations and school accreditation are time-consuming, and the pause takes some of the pressure off the staff, so they can focus on teaching instead.

After attending a school board meeting I heard teacher after teacher claim that the Friday “planning days” were a must now in order to keep up with their teaching duties and that the stress levels were just terrible.  I’m sure their stress has been lessened now.

I guess now that Governor Noem has come to their rescue they don’t have to worry about being evaluated and their jobs are secure.  This comes after evaluations/testing for students was suspended last year.  Gosh, we wouldn’t want to see just how bad these choices have been for our students and now we don’t want to see how teachers (oh, let me be clear, EXPERIENCED teachers that is) are doing.  It doesn’t matter if you’re passing or failing. All students were passed to the next grade anyway last year.

Well, here’s an evaluation for you. 

Middle school social studies students who weren’t failing were given the opportunity to “go outside and play” recently.  They could play with a basketball, a football or walk the track.  Upon returning to the classroom they were able to watch a movie.  I thought, well, it was the week of the Pearl Harbor anniversary.  What better time to at least learn a little bit about that?  But no, guess what they watched?  HOME ALONE.   Are there no movies available with a Social Studies theme in the school library where students could actually learn something?   I’m sure most students have probably all seen HOME ALONE a hundred times already.  My evaluation:  Failure.

I have recently been made aware of a concern of many teachers regarding the pay disparity with “new” teachers.  It seems that they are no longer receiving the step (additional education) increases that they enjoyed in the past.

I felt that they got the short end of the stick.  Well, I guess this latest bone that Governor Noem has thrown them along with the praise of the district bosses is what they can be thankful for.

Many of those same teachers thought they were getting a good deal with the “pay raise” a few years back.  These same “experienced” teachers didn’t read the fine print and were in fact being sold down the river by the union and the superintendent.

Much like the parents and the taxpayers the teachers had better start looking at the fine print and the details.  It’s not always how the pretty picture is painted for the public relations press release that is reality.

The devil is always in the details.  Evaluations are an opportunity to weed out those individuals who are not meeting the standards and an opportunity to reward good teachers.   But we all know, sadly, that doesn’t happen. Bad teachers stay and merit pay for good teachers doesn’t exist.

Good teachers, and I sincerely believe there are a lot of them, do get the short end of the stick.  When will good teachers stand up for students, parents and taxpayers and demand, yes demand, a better system when they know the system they are in right now is bad?

Will any of them have the guts to speak up or will peer pressure or intimidation keep them quiet?

Where is Virginia?

MASKS AND LISTS…..Do people not learn from past history?

The Rapid City council has had some rather thorny issues lately but here we go again.

This should be the question for City Council President Laura Armstrong.

It wasn’t too long ago that I had a lengthy conversation with Mrs. Armstrong regarding Lisa Modrick.   Just to refresh everyone’s memory it was an ill fated recording that surfaced that the President of the Airport Board brought forward after being falsley accused of sexual harassment by Mrs. Modrick.

Public hearings were held and indeed Mrs. Modrick lost her seat.  It’s not nice to try to destroy a person’s reputation much less job.

Fast forward to the present and we have the same, yet a little different scenario happening right before our eyes.

In an attempt to ram through a mask mandate it appears that Mrs. Armstrong and some of her followers including Darla Drew, were trying to destroy Rapid City businesses by promoting a “list” that says who is and who isn’t mandating the wearing of masks in their businesses.

Really Laura?  Are you so determined to push through this mandate that you were willing to destroy businesses that merely “opt out” as your 2nd ordinance allowed?

How much damage do you think putting a business on a black list can do?

The real damage that has been done is not just to businesses that have already had the burden to try and stay afloat during these times – the city shut down and now the shaming for non-mask wearers – but to the reputation of the city council.

Your participation in the promotion of “lists” only exacerbates a really thorny and explosive situation.  Businesses made it clear that they do not want to be told how to run their businesses.  It appears in your zeal to follow whoever is feeding you the information were willing to destroy businesses not just by mandating a policy but publicly belittling and labeling businesses that didn’t do as they were told.

Well, the mayor, who supported the mask mandate from the beginning, found this a bridge too far.  In a yes vote to break the tie along with Council members John Roberts, Jason Salamun, Ron Weifenbach, Pat Jones (who was really teed off after finding out about “lists”) and Lance Lehmann the tabling motion ended the debate on any mask mandate.

The five council members who voted No on tabling should be ashamed.  (Laura Armstrong, Darla Drew, Richie Nordstrom, Greg Strommen and Bill Evans) The revelation of the promotion of black lists by some council member(s) should not have warranted much soul searching to stop this in its tracks right there and then.

A call for the resignation of one, if not two councilmembers, is not out of the realm of possibilities.  Maybe they should just tender their resignations and make it easy on themselves and fellow councilmembers.

It’s an example of political power run amuck.   Going along to get along makes you just as guilty.

It won’t be surprising if business owners take those council members who were most visible to task over this.  Trying to destroy someone’s business is unacceptable anytime.  Trying to destroy someone’s business this year, after all everyone has been through, is mean spirited and cruel.

The same individuals that appear to be black listing businesses try to preach being kind to one another and that masks are just doing our civic duty to protect the vulnerable.  Being a hypocrite is not pretty on anyone.

Businesses that are teetering on the brink of closing permanently might have been helped by kindness rather than black listing them. 

After all, it would have been in the spirit of Christmas don’t you think?

MY BRAIN MY CHOICE? Not really in Education choices.

Let that be the battle cry for those who want school choice.

The travesty that has become the public/government schools was on full display last night at the Rapid City Area Schools board meeting.  While private and religious schools are able to operate 5 days a week, some with masks and some without, Rapid City public schools have different rules.

School personnel after school personnel called in to the board meeting to let the seated board members know that if they dared take away their now coveted Friday “planning” day there would be undue stress, teachers quitting, pure mutiny, and hell to pay.

Yes, you heard that right.  Teacher after teacher, and their union representative, claimed that they just couldn’t cope if that new found planning day was eliminated.

At one point President of the board Curt Pochart, in an attempt to placate the onslaught of teacher panic, actually made the motion to take away the #7 resolve:

Thankfully, four board members had the courage to vote against his motion and the 5 days a week for Rapid City students did indeed remain an “option.”  Thank you Amy Policky, Kate Thomas, Jim Hansen and sadly outgoing member Brian Johnson.

Evidently when the resolution was first seen the news flew through schools that the sky was falling and the board was going to take the vote last night to “go back to 5 days a week!”

Imagine that.  After the 20/21 school calendar has promised the teachers and staff that Friday was now a sacred planning day with no students in the classroom.  Take a look for yourself at this year’s school calendar here.   If you were under the assumption that there was a possibility of getting back to the old normal of a 5-day week in person learning this should show you that they have NO INTENTION of that.  Bad news, even if perceived, travels fast as the saying goes.  Educators didn’t quite read the resolution carefully to understand that this was going to be a Covid level “option” to the Together Again Plan for the second semester.

Make no mistake about it.  Teachers are going to cling to the 4-day week schedule and it is going to become the “new normal” for Rapid City students if parents don’t demand better. 

Taking away 20% of a students’ in person learning is unacceptable.

After I made a comment about Superintendent Simon’s comment to me in an email that said she does not support a 4-day week she made sure that she clarified that her comment was “that she did not agree to a 4-day week for NEXT YEAR’S schedule.”  

Occasionally I enjoy a good bet.    I’m putting my money on her supporting the 4-day week in the future no matter what she says now.   The teachers and their union will not give up this “new normal” easily.

To actually take the teacher’s side I would agree that they are being asked to do too much.  Look at the bright side teachers.  If 5 days of in school learning becomes the new/old normal there would be no need for your double duty of in school and on line-distance learning.

I want to believe you when you say, “we want to get the kids back in school.”   Those that called in last night to the board meeting didn’t convince me.

Afterall your own plan is the “TOGETHER AGAIN PLAN” right?

Part 2 coming soon:

Where are all the substitutes? Is the lack of substitutes the real reason students were stuck in Level 3?

How Many “Virginias” are there?

We should all hope that more Virginias will come forward but intimidation appears to be widespread. Those teachers who are afraid to be candid about what is going on in the schools today should be ashamed of themselves. Now is the time to put that age old saying, “we do this job because we love children” to good use. What is happening now to our kids is not in their best interest and any teacher worth their salt knows it.

A teacher who identified herself as “Virginia” (not her real name) for fear of retaliation, intimidation or harassment spoke at the school board meeting.

Virginia said that the Friday cleaning days are not actually cleaning in any high degree of “extra” clean.  She also said that those who may disagree with some of the things that are going on have been told to keep quiet and (my words) don’t rock the boat or there would be consequences.

Jim Hansen stopped Virginia from speaking. The mere fact that Virginia felt compelled to be anonymous should concern the school board and all of us.

The question that should be on all of our minds is who is trying to silence those wanting to get out information about what is going on and where (what schools) is this happening at.

Who?  Is it the administrators who want their campus to remain issue free?   Is it the union who want to keep the Fridays free so a 4-day week can be the norm?

What?  Is it just the cleaning day subterfuge or is it the fact that students are struggling with on line learning, some not doing any work at all.

Where?  Is this Elementary schools or is it Middle and High Schools too?

I applaud Virginia.  We should all be more like Virginia.

WHERE OH WHERE HAS THE 5TH DAY GONE?

GIVE US BACK THE 5TH DAY OF SCHOOL NOW!

Parents naturally breathed a sigh of relief when the school schedule went from Level 2 back to Level 1.

Level 2 had children going to school on a split schedule.  Half of the alphabet attended Monday and Tuesday and the other half attended Wednesday and Thursday.  Fridays for all students was on line and they stayed home.

But has anyone asked why we are stuck with 4 days a week if there’s no Covid reason for it?   The return to Level 1 wasn’t based on Covid statistics but rather a need for daycare for elementary children.  Yes, it was because elementary children are harder to leave home alone than middle or high school students.  That was the reason given to school board members by Superintendent Simons.

The school cleaning on Friday was nothing more than a sneaky way for the district to give the teachers a 4-day school week.  Again Superintendent Simon stated in her email to me that it was because more teachers call in sick on Fridays than any other day.  Wow.  I didn’t realize that Friday was the only day teachers could get sick.

Let’s at least call it what it is.  Why else would the superintendent have proposed, and the school board approved, a schedule for the year with Fridays off?

It has been said that if the district goes back to 5 days at all this year “the teachers will go ballistic.”  Really?  Weren’t teachers’ contracts signed in the summer prior to all of this 4-day week Corona Virus scheduling?

Superintendent Simon assured me in an email that she does not support a 4-day week.  If that is true, and I would like to take her at her word, why don’t we go back to 5 days a week?

Here is an interesting fact that even some school board members were not aware of.   When students have not been allowed to attend school, the YMCA has been using our schools as daycare centers for Kids Stop.  Yes, even on Friday cleaning day on Level 1 scheduling.  If the schedule were to go to Level 3 they would be using them 5 days a week.

Parents need to demand that students are back in school 5 days a week with teachers not daycare providers.  Taxpayers, with or without students in school, need to demand it.

Two Tickets……the rest of the story.

Yesterday was the Stevens/Central soccer match.   I did not plan to attend the game because I was “not on the list” of two people my granddaughter could have watch the game in the stadium.

Watching from outside the fence didn’t seem all that exciting and I just decided not to go.  Then, my son (her dad) said he was going and I changed my mind and decided to go and plan to sit outside the fence.

After arriving there I sat on the grass on the northside of the stadium. I noticed when my son and grandson arrived that the stadium was basically empty. 

So I asked my son if we should just see if they were taking tickets/checking names on any list for the JV game.   We walked up to the gate and there was in fact a representative from Stevens, wearing a mask.  Also were signs stating that you must wear a mask and your name had to be “on the list.”

I was willing to wear a mask (and would have returned to my car to get one) but in checking the list my name was not on the list.  Also the few people who were in the stands were not wearing masks.  My son asked her, “what about all the people who are in the stands not wearing masks?”  Her answer was, “I don’t care what you do after you get in there.” But again, I’m not faulting her; she was undoubtedly doing what she was told to do.  She’s not the mask police and I wouldn’t expect her to be.

The lady said that we were welcome to, “watch the game outside the fence.”  I asked her if she didn’t think that the two ticket rule was not fair indicating that at a previous game in Sturgis they at least were able to have 4 tickets?”  She said, “that is Sturgis, not Rapid City.”  I also asked if she thought it was fair that in split families it leaves several people unable to attend and again, she indicated it was the school policy.

I did not want to argue with her.  She was firm but not antagonistic and I didn’t feel I was either, rather just stating the obvious.

My son sited a law that says that discrimination in using public facilities is not allowed.  That was not my issue.  My issue was the arbitrary two tickets per athlete rule that isn’t even consistent with adjacent school districts or mandated by the SD Athletic Association.

Someone then alerted the Stevens athletic director who came to see what the problem was.  I explained there isn’t a problem, we just want to watch the soccer game and from the looks of the empty stadium there shouldn’t be any reason that we couldn’t attend.

He again explained the policy and I repeated my explanation of why I felt the two tickets maximum was an unfair policy and in fact does put families in a bad situation where multiple parents/grandparents would like to watch their child /grandchild play.  He didn’t disagree.

He said he was there to try and help us out.  I told him I appreciated that and he asked the list checker if there was possibly a “spot” that we could be put into.  Assuming he meant some athlete didn’t use their two-ticket quota and our names could have been inserted.  She didn’t know.

He then took it upon himself, and I am grateful, to tell her to list us as Spectator 1 and Spectator 2.  We paid the admission price, $5.00 per adult and $3.00 for both children and went in and watched the soccer match.

I have to admit it made me think of Dr. Seuss and Thing One and Thing Two!

It points out the absolute lunacy of this rule and needs to be changed immediately.

I honestly feel I am a rule follower.  I abide by the laws and not just the ones I agree with. But when a policy is so arbitrary as this 2-ticket policy is, one must take a stand.  Is it a big deal?  Yes, I think it is.  Parents, grandparents, and siblings are not allowed to support their child, grandchild or brother or sister. 

This wasn’t a slap at authority either because I believe that both the lady taking tickets as well as the Stevens Athletic Director understood the situation and were, if not in agreement with me, sympathetic to the issue.

I am requesting an emergency meeting of the school board to address this issue.  If this policy is something that Superintendent Simon can change on her own I request she do so immediately.

Everyone is responsible for his or her health.  Those who are compromised should certainly take precautions.  Those who are sick should stay home.  Those who feel the need to wear a mask should do so.  Those who want to social distance should also take steps to do that.

Governor Noem said this state does not mandate such draconian rules and I believe she is right.  Everyone should have the freedom to attend events if the event is taking place, just like we did two weeks earlier when Stevens played Central and everyone sat in their lawn chairs on the side of the field. No consistency is what makes all of these arbitrary rules ridicules.

TWO TICKETS? REALLY?

Yes, Rapid City School District has determined that two tickets are all that each athlete is allowed to give to spectators of their events.

Many other school districts allow 4 tickets.

Why was the decision made to only give out two tickets?  How many members of mixed families does this eliminate for watching kids and grandkids play sports?  Bless all families with one mom and one dad, but that isn’t always the case.  Several sets of parents and grandparents are sometimes the norm and now they are totally left out to watch children play sports. 

Recently I attended a Sturgis soccer match and was advised that my name had to be on a list to make sure the 4-ticket maximum was not exceeded.  I didn’t want to take a ticket away from anyone else but when told my name was on the list I went to the game.  Unfortunately, Grandpa was unable to go because his name “wasn’t on the list.”

Upon arrival at the soccer field I parked my car and went to the sideline just like every other spectator.  There was no ticket required and there was no one checking names on any list.  So why the subterfuge?

This is an OUTDOOR event and people can be as close or as far away from others as they feel comfortable.  Wear a mask or don’t wear a mask, your choice but let’s stop this ridiculous policy that does nothing to keep any virus from spreading to anyone.

All this policy does is eliminate the enjoyment parents and grandparents get from watching a sporting event that they have watched and supported these athletes progress through since kindergarten. 

Stop the nonsense and open up these sporting events.   The school board needs to take measures to reverse this ridiculous policy immediately.

CALLING A SHAM A SHAM….Give kids back 5 days of school!

The Rapid City Public School District has given its blessing to the elementary students to go back to “level 1” school.  This gives the children the opportunity to attend in person 4 days a week.

The students previously were only allowed to attend 2 days under “level 2” with the groups going either Monday and Tuesday or Wednesday and Thursday. 

The move has received positive support from parents who were struggling to figure out daycare and parenting responsibilities along with keeping their jobs.

The superintendent claims that the reason the elementary was targeted for more days of in person schooling is because “it’s harder to leave the younger children at home” rather than middle school or high school students.

I call bologna on this.

It is not the job of the superintendent to worry about daycare.  Her job is to worry about education.

Selecting one age group over another for no other reason is wrong.

There was no mention that Covid 19 issues had anything to do with this decision.  Not that more students in Middle or High School have much higher levels of the virus are apparent than at the elementary level.  If this is the case, it should have been made known to the public.  It was not.

But there’s another problem.

What happens to Friday?  If the children are able to come back to school why is the magical Friday still a day away from school? 

This is a slippery slope that the school district is trying to get to be the norm much to the objection of the parents.  Don’t kid yourself.  This is their plan.   If it isn’t, according to an email that I have received from Lori Simon herself, then get the kids back in school 5 days a week.

Taking the elementary school parents relief to have 4 days rather than 2 is not going to be the end all.

If cleaning is the issue then have the janitors work on Saturday and use Covid money from the state to pay them overtime or hire additional cleaning crews to do Saturday cleaning.

Cleaning may be important to stop the spread of the virus but our children’s education should not be short circuited under this guise to slip in a shortened week. 

If the issue is really substitute teachers  (also mentioned in my email from Superintendent Simon) for teachers who historically take Fridays off and don’t get sick on other days I call BS on that too.  Teachers who don’t value the kid’s education any more than that should not be teaching or at the very least should be called out for exactly what they are doing. 

Taking away 20% of the education of the kids is wrong and parents better wake up and know exactly what is being perpetrated on them.  If other schools can operate 5 days a week under the threat of Covid 19 so can the Rapid City School District.

Shame on Superintendent Simon and the majority of School Board members who go along with this sham.

And a sham is what it is.