The children are wonderful. Some of our
biggest challenges last year return to
become every-day regulars this year, if not
superstars. That the children come at all is
amazing when you realize that we get them
at the end of a school day, and we're
competing with many other wonderful
activities at the Boys & Girls Club.
|Top, our top five winners at the
Dec. 8, 2011 Math Olympics
Christmas Party and what our
homemade flash cards look
like; next, our work room at the
B&GC and some of our
You can achieve much that is
worthwhile provided you're willing
to focus your energies. In
October 2006 when I started the
national grassroots check register
movement for public schools there
were only a handful of school
districts in a handful of states
with their check registers online.
Today there are almost a thousand
in 38 states and better yet this
grassroots movement has
developed its own momentum.
Three or four afternoons a
week you'll find two
friends and me volunteering
in the library of our local
Boys & Girls Club,
teaching the children their
basic math tables (addition,
and division) to
made flash cards. We do
this because the
local schools do
not any more and children
need the basics so
they don't hit a wall in
middle school and
drop out in high school.
While some folks appear to be
content to go along with a culture
of corruption in your local
schools, you might be surprised at
the courage of others, such as
Gilroy, California CPA/patriot
John Blaettler who has been
named "Man of the Year" for his
And you'll want to educate
yourself on the economic forces
at work in your public schools and
in public education in general,
learn who are the major players
and how they are aligned. Stories
like this and this are instructive.
|P E Y T O N W O L C O T T
How we take back our children's education:
one person, one question,
one school at a time.
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|Copyright 1999-2012 Peyton Wolcott
|Just because you can
doesn't mean you should.
|H o w w e t a k e b a c k o u r c h i l d r e n ' s e d u c a t i o n : o n e p e r s o n , o n e q u e s t i o n , o n e s c h o o l a t a t i m e .
|Texas Hill Country - Mesquite and Wildflowers
|TURKS IN TEXAS:
Harmony charter schools' & Cosmos Foundation, Inc.'s ties to Turkey
and carry a big stick."
-- Teddy Roosevelt
"Trust but verify."
-- Ronald Reagan
|Commentary: Newsletter - September 2012
in Marble Falls
P.S. Please email me your success
stories: peyton at peytonwolcott dot
multiplying & dividing: It
all adds up
Volunteers teaching kids basic
math tables after school
Our two wonderful
volunteers, Karen Wines
(left), and Shirley Dano
(above). Without them,
there would be no Math
The power of one:
What any body can do
While you can complain publicly in
blogs and emails and letters to the
editor about how bad things are, to
get anything done, the wallet's
where it's at.
Where your neighbors' eyes will
glaze over when you complain
about ideology and curriculum
issues, they'll come alive when you
start talking about their money.
But you can't go about it like an
attack dog, not if you want to be
effective. You can't even afford the
luxury of sarcasm.
The single most useful tool I've
found is the simplest yet hardest for
most of us to implement: The
Golden Rule. Treat your district's
administrators and board members
like the friends they really are. If
they aren't, make them so.
To be effective -- unless you're
angling for a job with the district
or seeking 15 seconds on the
evening news -- you're also going
to need to find ways of of
organizing with like-minded
friends and neighbors.
Friends, the most effective single
thing you can do to improve your
local schools is to get the
district's check register online
and start looking at how your
money's being spent, then ask a
few friendly questions.
Above, Marble Falls Middle School principal John
Schumacher reads a message of encouragement to the
children from U.S. Olympics Team member Leonel
Manzano at the May 2011 end-of-year party. At the 2012
Summer Olympics in London, Leo "came out of nowhere ...
in the home stretch to charge to a silver medal, the first
Olympic medal by a U.S. man in the metric mile since
legendary Jim Ryun won a silver medal in 1968." At 27,
Leonel Manzano (below) was the second oldest runner in
- Grab your dust pans -- the mighty Texas Turkish charter
PR machine has already started its mop up campaign.
Bush White House PR gal Karen Hughes has
parlayed TEA's anti-Harmony $186K audit findings to
a front page story in Austin American-Statesman that
doesn't mention either (a) the Cosmos Foundation or (b)
the TEA audit findings re the misspent $186K. Who pays
Hughes' hefty tab? Texas and federal taxpayers. What do
Harmony/ Cosmos have to say? It's confusing: Their pro-
Harmony blog dead ends here. Meanwhile, Florida TV
reported this. Where's the transparency they promised us?
- Where are Harmony Public Schools' online checks?
Over half of all local Texas ISD dollars are already online
-- that's the American way. Where are the Cosmos
checks? Back in Turkey?
|Texas taxpayers have sent Cosmos/Harmony's Texas students
to Turkish-themed events such as this Houston parade, events
with nary a sign of Davy Crockett or Sam Houston in sight.
- And they played hide-the-school-audit in Massachusetts over
the supe's credit card spending; now she's having to return
$18,491.09. According to the money man for the district, "the
audit was in the hands of attorneys for the town and former
superintendent Natalie Pukas." This, after her 2008 plagiarism
charges. We have to ask: Did Natalie pay for any of her meals?
- Moose Lake, Wisconsin school board member Kristine Marie
Lyons faces her 3rd DWI charge.
- "Former Toms River Regional School District
Superintendent Michael Ritacco has a new sentencing date
after he was found to have taken as much as $2.5 million in
bribes directly and indirectly from Federal Hill Risk
Management .... Another Toms River official accused of taking
bribes from the same company, former mayor, Carmine Inteso,
who allegedly took nearly $300,000, will start his trial on
September 19th. Inteso was arrested on July 10th... as he
disembarked from a flight from Afghanistan at JFK."
- "Rob Glantz, IRS Criminal Investigations spokesperson from
New Jersey, confirmed that as part of the plea Ritacco will
forfeit $1 million dollars, his 2010 Mercedes e550, and
$8,960 from his home found as part of an FBI raid. "He
basically admitted to bribery and kick-back schemes." P.S.:
After first being covered over with a tarp, the Ritacco Center
sign (above right) was trucked away last year.
- Which is worse: Ritacco cashing out $250K in vacation days
-- or his school district unable to sue him? (The FBI seized the
necessary docs.) Didn't stop Ritacco from trying to sue his
district -- after admitting to accepting bribes.
- Q #1: Did Ritacco really have a girlfriend on the district's
- Q #2: Should public school superintendents really live this
large? That's not an apartment building at right; it's Ritacco's
swankienda. Whatever happened to the notion of school
administrators being public servants?
Find a piece of what's wrong, set
a quantifiable solution, and fix it,
as we have done with our Math
Olympics program at right. Do
your part to make our world a
better place -- you'll help others,
and you'll sleep better at night.
|FBI raids Ritacco's mansion
|Photo courtesy Asbury Park Press
|Tomo Duhanaj (L), John Goci
Last May we had 92 children
qualify for our big end-of-year
pizza party by learning math
tables, the number varying by
Photo courtesy Smiley Poole/The Houston Chronicle
Working with the children is great fun and as
volunteer Karen Wines put it, "This is the one
place I know I'm supposed to be each day."
|For over a century, globalist industrialists with a progressive socialist agenda have used money, meals & trips to bribe school administrators
and elected officials into going along with their scheme to dumb down curriculums in American public schools. Follow the money!
Yes, troubles & corruption in our schools continue to
mirror our society; here's the latest
- Per a recent Texas audit, the Cosmos Foundation (dba Harmony Public Schools) has misspent $186K in federal
funds; according to TEA, only $540,000 was audited of the approximately $140 million Cosmos receives
annually. A Georgia audit of Cosmos in that state didn't fare any better.
Results of Texas audit of Turkish charter operators: $186K misspent
- My standing offer to Cosmos Foundation/Harmony superintendent Soner Tarim: Your officials have
asked me many times to meet with you. Okay, I will meet with you -- when you join your fellow Texas school
superintendents and post your Cosmos Foundation's Harmony Public Schools checks online. Fair enough?
In the beginning
We started in
October 2010 with
one volunteer and
about a dozen children
a day. We now have three volunteers and
as many as 50 children in an afternoon.
The more volunteers we have, the greater
numbers of children come -- simple to
understand why: Kids look in the window,
see more volunteers, and know they won't
have such a long wait.
Why do the children come? They
understand that they're learning something of
value. Above are some pictures from our
pizza party last May; qualifying to come by
their hard work and persistence is another
helpful life lesson for the children.
- Boerne ISD's leadership extended a warm welcome last month when I
was invited to speak to the Boerne Tea Party; we had a celebration of sorts --
BISD's check register's been online since 2008; the topic was L.O.V.E. and
public school finance, and SBOE member Ken Mercer talked about textbooks.
- They're tracking students like cattle in San Antonio.
|Alan Rich, me, superintendent
David Stelmazewski, board president
Jennifer Christianson & Ernie Pyles.
We call our program Math Olympics mostly
because one of our local high school
graduates has been on the U.S. Olympics
You could do
something like this
in your hometown.
- Speaking of burgers, the hamburger-throwing ass't principal in Connecticut gets to resign,
will be paid through February 28, 2013. Q: How did Patricia Whitney (L) make it through at
least 17 years of education before being given a doctorate plus 10 years on the job in CT without
anyone explaining to her that adults don't throw food at schoolchildren? Even when they're Blue
Devils? Sounds like West Haven schools could benefit from more citizen oversight or at
least questions like this and this: "I have been told that School Superintendent Neal Cavallaro’s
contract has expired and that he has not had a performance review by the Board of Education in
two years. He makes $168,000 a year. Why is there no accountability for poor performance?"
|Texas: Free Estate Planning
Seminar for Women....01.05.13
case for tighter
Hundreds of billions of dollars
roll through our schools every
year with no more supervision
than a child's piggy bank. Last
year, four days after she was
arrested for embezzlement of
$16,000, long-time Robert E. Lee
High School bookkeeper Lisa
Harrison, 39, who had a family
and loved animals, put a gun to
her head. Given another
embezzlement arrest this week,
here's hoping new Staunton supe
Linda Reviea will make tighter
internal controls a higher priority
than her predecessor, UVA Supe
of the Year Steve Nichols.
Keeping up with Jamie Vollmer . . . .
UPDATE: Toms River, NJ bribery scandal
- National writing guru Wil Fitzhugh has an uncommon take on the feds' nationalization scheme aka
the Common Core Standards:
|The New Common Core Standards call for a 50% reduction in “literary”
[aka fictional noninformational texts] readings for students, and an
increase in nonfiction informational texts, so that students may be better
prepared for the nonfiction they will encounter in college and at work. In
addition to memos, technical manuals, and menus (and bus
schedules?).... MORE HERE.