The Circus of Lakota: My Debate with the Pro Levy People

The most accurate emotion to articulate when schools ask for more tax money is one of humor and can be seen in the following video.

Before I get into the details of last my recent debate with the Pro Lakota Group remember our buddy Ryan Fahrenkamp, the Lakota teacher busted for child pornography and being a pedophile? See my article that I broke back in January here, the one that all the Pro Levy people accused me of being such a “rush to judgment,” “unfair,” and “inaccurate.” Read what I said……………..way back then.

Now read what happened on September 1, 2011 while I was preparing for a small debate with Sandy Wheatley of the Yes Lakota Group at the Lakota West Freshman building.

I will deal with Fahrenkamp in a separate article because the debate with the Pro Levy faction at Lakota deserves an extensive mention here. I only bring up the Fahrenkamp case because Sandy Wheatley chose not to deal with facts and figures in her debate with me, but with bible quotes, taking the high moral ground, as though money spent equaled quality. As she spoke I couldn’t help but wonder why she was placing the entire teaching profession on such high moral ground when one of Lakota’s ex-teachers had just confessed to taking “inappropriate pictures” of a child during an out-of-state trip.

“Ryan Brant Fahrenkamp, 42, of Mason, plead guilty to child pornography charges in U.S. district court, according to court records. Fahrenkamp was arrested at his home by FBI agents and local police in January. Fahrenkamp was a teacher at Lakota Schools for 14 years, most recently teaching at Endeavor Elementary School in West Chester Twp.

Fahrenkamp admitted to keeping child pornography on his school-issued laptop and also to taking inappropriate photos of a former male student during an out-of-state trip, according to court documents.”

I would have thought that Mrs. Wheatley would have taken some sort of position on this activity since she showed her extensive knowledge of bible verses, but instead she focused her whole speech on attempting to use the Bible to disqualify the “facts” she knew I would present. I was extremely disappointed by this approach, because taking the high road and using the Bible for some sort of political advantage seems cheap, but then not attempting to separate the levy campaign from Ryan Fahrenkamp on the day of his admission seemed either naive, assuming she didn’t know the news yet, or manipulative in that she attempted to talk around it. Because when the statement is made that we need to invest in our schools, someone on the Pro Levy side needs to articulate a plan for how to detect and remove people like Fahrenkamp in the future. Because there are others out there, just look at the Stacy Schuler case in Mason, the district next door.

You can see that debate between Mrs. Wheatley and myself here:

Sometimes the only way to see the clowns of society is to go to a circus, and in a lot of ways these kinds of political forums are just that. People often think that they are worthless exchanges, so intelligent people tend to stay away from the circus of politics. But like I’ve said recently to a friend of mine who was questioning the validity of these types of events, you go to the circus to see the clowns, and that’s how you learn what they’re up to. If intelligent people don’t get involved and actually go to the circus sometimes that leaves the clowns free to not even put on a show, so they come up with other schemes to fill their time. The game in the circus act is this, when a politician doesn’t have an answer, they seek to attack the data and inject emotion into the argument, and this can be seen by the efforts of the Pro Levy group. This is precisely why education is so expensive, because many of the decisions are not based on facts, but on emotion. We are asked to suspend all logic and not apply the same rules that we might apply to paying our electric bill or some other serious matter. We are just supposed to pay the increased tax but not question how the money is spent.

My biggest rage of the evening came from Jamie Green one of the school board candidates during the Q&A phase. (I’ll have video up of that soon.) Jamie, a former school board member from back in 2005, attacked my data too. I submitted a question to ask her how, but there wasn’t time to get to it in the forum. “You have to be careful what information you get out there,” she said of my material.

So Jamie officially eliminated herself from my support, in fact I’d say that if Lakota had someone like Jamie Green on the school board that would be the event which what would take Lakota backwards. It’s certainly not my charts.

Why is Jamie Green and Sandy Wheatley upset with my “FACTS,” those elusive numbers that speak some strange language from a far-away land called “reality.” Why did they sit in the audience and huff and puff as I spoke flustering about like fish out of water, well, because those facts show that more money does not make a better school. As shown in this spreadsheet, which came from the presentation shown in the video, money spent does not amount to quality. Here is a list of many school districts in Southern Ohio all with different rates of spending per pupil and of many different ratings.

This next graph is the same date but shown differently, it takes away the names but instead plots their position in relation to the cost spent and the results gained. As shown, there is no behavior which indicates more money is justified. If what Jamie and Sandy are saying is true, then Princeton who spends $15,922 per pupil should easily be an Excellent with Distinction district, because they spend the most money. But they only rank at “Effective.” On the other hand Bethel-Tate Local spends $7,167 per pupil but they have the same ranking as Lakota. Lakota spends $9,806 to get that same rating. By the logic of Jamie Green and Sandy Wheatley all the schools at the top of their per pupil cost should be Excellent with Distinction, yet many aren’t. Look at Winton Woods who is spending $12,636, they are spending a lot of money, near the top of the list, yet they are at the bottom of the category rating.

Instead, Jamie Green and Sandy Wheatley will say,“don’t pay any attention to Mr. Hoffman’s facts. It’s all a matter of ‘interpretation’” and graphs can be made to say anything. Really? What these apologists are doing is hope that they can capture people’s minds with Bible quotes and some kind of former school board “experience” where the typical behavior is to bow to a labor union who behaves like a bottomless pit in funding demands. They are doing the same thing with this levy issue that they did when Ryan Farhenkamp was busted for child pornography. They talk out of both sides of their mouth. When a child pedophile, who worked 14 years in the school system, ironically under Jamie Green’s watch while she was a board member, pleads guilty to the charges, the Pro Levy people say “you can’t assume all teachers are bad because of the actions of one teacher!” Then they turn around and say, “Teachers need to collectively make ‘X’ amount of dollars to qualify your school district to be an ‘Excellent with Distinction’ school. They will then say that all teachers should be taken as a collective unity of quality. So which is it, independent assessment or collective altruism, because they can’t have it both ways?

As Sandy Wheatley basically said in her presentation that anybody can take selected sections of some information and paint it anyway they want to, which is what she was accusing me of doing with my “mysterious” graphs and “technical data.” She picked the story of when “Judas hanged himself,” from Mathew 27 then another quote of the “go and do likewise” portion of the Bible which is from Luke 10:37. She picked totally unrelated parts of the Bible to make her point, but she also sought to use that body of work to claim a moral high ground which is traditionally beyond refute. Well, I’ve read Biblical Archeology Review for over thirty years and I have about 21 volumes of the Biblical Encyclopedia of the Holy Bible, so I know a bit about the Bible myself. I read the actual book about 5 times before I was out of high school, and I have seen this kind of thing done many, many times by politicians, even within the Bible itself, where they think they have a right to use a Holy Book to shield some kind of truth, and that makes me VERY angry. Of course those stories aren’t even related to each other and that was her point. This is great insight into how the Pro Levy people and the school system in general operate. They do just as Sandy Wheatley did, they select the stats they like and ignore all the rest, just like those completely unrelated sections of the Bible, and they assume that I am doing the same thing, which I would consider unspeakable. This is precisely what they did with Ryan Fahrankamp, news that broke the same day they were pleading their case why they needed another tax levy. Instead they gave an emotional appeal that just dealt with the facts they are prepared to deal with. I would think that anyone who wishes to use the Bible in a political position would also take a hard stand against the extreme “sin” of one Ryan Fahrankamp. But in this circus of politics, that’s not what the show is about.

I would say further that it is this very tendency that gets Pro Levy Supporters into trouble with the labor unions and puts the district in a weak position with those labor negotiations. The union does deal with facts and employee mass and they routinely out-maneuver the more emotion Pro Levy types every time and to hide their sins, the Pro Levy people resort to words like “morality” and “good for the community” without ever defining how throwing more money at an obviously broken education system ran by a public union empire can somehow be redeemed through the sacrifice of yet more tax dollars.

The reason is because their foundation arguments are corrupt with the premise that the school itself is the guiding light in a child’s life, instead of just an important social and cultural aspect. If you go back to that chart and see which schools are failing, even with extraordinary amounts of money spent, you will see districts that are statistically high for single parent households, welfare recipients, and other “entitlement culture victims” and the children coming from those communities cannot be saved by the school. That is the real crime and the solitary fact that the Pro Levy people do not wish to answer. Just like they can’t face themselves in a mirror and take responsibility for not detecting that a pedophile was allowed to take a child on an out-of-state school sponsored event which put the child in danger, because the school itself failed to recognize the danger. There was not a value system put in place to assess teachers by merit, so administrators didn’t even bother with the frustrating task of posing the question to the labor union. The mountain is too steep to climb, so everybody avoids it. That’s how someone like Fahrankamp falls through the cracks.

The failure in all of this is not being able to diagnose the problem, because the Pro Levy people have a system of belief which rejects hard data in favor of emotion, because it is emotion which allows them to overlook the hard data that is all around them to detect the Ryan Farhankemp’s of the world before the danger ever happens. For the same reason they won’t look at the data I present, because the reality of what that data tells them is something those people are not emotionally equipped to deal with, so they hide their beliefs in the scattered quotes of a Bible without understanding the meaning of the whole body of work, and they’ll insult the intelligence of those of us who know better by suggesting that nobody look at the man behind the curtain. They want you to stay focused on the image, not the content and that would be fine if this were all just a visit to a movie theater where we are supposed to suspend belief for a couple of hours. But this is millions of dollars, and the lives of many, many people and such seriousness requires detailed analysis and honesty, even when mistakes are made, so that the entire community can move forward without the infantile desires of former school board members to have once again a “name plate” which bears her name in some illusionary honor.

All this amounts to is that you are not supposed to ask any hard questions or even look at the facts. But you’re supposed to sit quietly and watch the clowns in the circus do their silly tricks and not question the motivations of the personalities behind the face paint, or even why so many of them are packed into one car in some comic diatribe. Because what the real show is truly about is money, and protecting that money with some mild entertainment to keep the audiences placated as to the bona fide show that is going on behind the scenes. Such behavior has been the act for decades, so it won’t change overnight, but for me personally, I’m tired of all the clowning around that has been going on, and I’m ready to see the school walk a tight rope instead, and display the ability to balance themselves in a more serious portion of the show that is ultimately a circus.

For the answer to everything as to why labor unions fail, check out this link:

Rich Hoffman!/overmanwarrior