Posts Tagged ‘Missouri House of Representatives’

A town hall meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 16 at 5:00 P.M. in Kearney, MO in the lower level of the Reece & Nichols Building located at 307 S. Jefferson. Congressman Sam Graves, State Representative Ken Wilson, and Missouri Speaker of the House Tim Jones be available to do a Q&A session after each speaker has given an update of his area of responsibility.

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One of the most overlooked issues of the last four years has been the fundamental transformation of American schools. While we have been trying to fight every overreach by the Obama administration, many activists and citizens have missed the pursuit and now near implementation of the Common Core State Standards initiative. The Common Core is a new set of curriculum standards that forty-five of our states have adopted.

The Common Core State Standards have been touted by its proponents as the greatest thing since sliced bread. As an educator, I have been skeptical of them since day one. I get a little nervous when a supposed “crisis” suddenly has a solution that is assumed to fix all of our problems.

I am a public educator. I will be the first to tell you that there are significant concerns in education. I will also be the first to tell you the problems are not what the public often perceives, the politicians think they are going to solve, and the “educrats” think they have all the answers for.

Common Core is not your educational knight in shining armor. In fact, I believe in the end it will cause even more harm to our educational system.

The first thing that you have to understand is that there is a significant amount of dishonesty involved with proponents of the Common Core. The biggest myth they like to tell anyone is that the Common Core is state-led. I am sorry, but that is a complete manipulation of the truth. State-led would mean that you had representatives from every state involved in this. You would think that there was committee work and passionate debate about what would go into the standards. Nope. The Common Core was actually created by a company called Achieve, Inc. that was hired by the National Governors Association (NGA). I’m sorry, the NGA is not a representative of the people.

The question is, why call it state-led in the first place? Why lie?

Simple, it’s against Federal law to adopt a national curriculum. So, with a little clever maneuvering, here we are. National curriculum, laws circumvented, problem solved, we are the elite, educated educrats and politicians we don’t need you stupid citizens to have input on this.

The Common Core was rapidly adopted by states as governors came back and touted their proposed solutions to all that is wrong with American education. In addition to the support from the governors, there was some very creative arm twisting in the form of Race to the Top which was included in the Obama stimulus. In Missouri, there was no legislative oversight, there was little input by teachers, voters, and local school boards. In Missouri, the state board of education is unaccountable to you and I. They just adopted it and hoisted an untested, unproved curriculum onto every child in the state of Missouri.

There are numerous other problems and concerns with the Common Core State Standards:

  • The standardized assessment instrument that the tests will use are a huge unfunded mandate on our schools. The tests are supposed to be computer adaptive which requires many districts to significantly add or alter current technology. Estimates in Missouri place it at $389 million dollars. Someone’s going to have to pay for this. I hate to break it to you, but the economy is not going to go up with the regulatory and confiscatory mentality in Washington, D.C.
  • There is some significant concern that these standards and tests may eventually be forced upon home school and private school.
  • The assessments are part of a broader plan to collect data on your child from P-20. What’s P-20? Preschool through your fourth year of college. Say, hello Big Brother!
  • Proponents say that we need these standards because we need common academic standards for all American students. They like to say that we need the same standards for students in California and Missouri. Ummm….no, we don’t. Let’s apply some critical thought. Some say students move from state to state, and they must encounter similar standards. Census data says! Less than 1% of American students move across state lines. Furthermore, this is a statement uttered by a person that does not understand our system of governance. Our states are supposed to be laboratories. We don’t want them all to be exactly the same. I want states to have the ability to innovate and dare to change things with regards to education. Common Core is a one-size-fits-all curriculum. It’s top-down, we live in a bottom-up world. Californians are different than Missourians (THANKFULLY!).
  • Some say we need internationally-benchmarked standards. Really? You don’t read much about other countries, do you? The world is soooooooo much better off than the US. I mean the Eurozone is financially stable, Japan is not a bug looking for a windshield (their debt makes us look like amateurs), and China is really a great place to live. I hear their ghost cities are great to visit anytime of the year, and freedom of speech is outstanding, especially when the government controls the Internet and restricts search terms like democracy. Don’t let me forget the Middle East. Yes, that region is an absolute pillar of human rights and respect of differences. By all means, ignore the stoning of homosexuals and the murder of Christians.
  • There are also numerous concerns put forth by many education experts with regards to the quality of the standards. They are wide and disparate. I encourage you to do your own research.

Missouri activists have worked hard this legislative session in trying to get bills in both bodies of our legislature. Please take the time to call your state representative and have them co-sponsor bills HB 616 and SB 210.

Clay County Representative Noel Shull has had the courage to co-sponsor HB 616. No other representative from the Clay County area has done so. Please call them and encourage them to do so.

For further research, please check out Missouri Education Watchdog.

Wow! Did you get Craig Porter’s letter in the mail earlier in the week? You may have if you live in Missouri House District 16. If you did not, you may want to check it out below.

From the Desk of

Craig Porter

July 30th, 2012

I sincerely hope you will take the time to read this letter.  I know you are receiving lots of direct mail pieces during this time leading to the primary election, but what I have to say is important so please bear with me.

My name is Craig Porter.  Some of you may have heard of me as I represented many of you as your County Commissioner for 8 years (2001-2008), and my family has been in the building materials business in the area for 60 years.  It is my commitment to Clay County that initially drove me to run for County Commissioner.  It is that same commitment that made me feel obligated to write this letter.  I am a loyal Republican and have supported numerous Republican candidates both local and national.

I live in the newly formed Missouri House District 16.  I know both candidates running in the Republican primary and one of them, Vic Hurlbert, is not telling you the truth about his past as an elected officeholder of Clay County.  I was a County Commissioner for 8 years while Vic Hurlbert was the County Auditor.  I know what he is like.  Here is a list of just some few things you should know about Vic Hurlbert before you vote next Tuesday.

  • VIC HURLBERT RESIGNED AS COUNTY AUDITOR UNDER THREAT OF PROSECUTION:  After former County Clerk Pam Mason, (now Hurlbert’s wife) lost in the 2006 election, Hurlbert and Mason used funds from the “Indigent Care” account to build a wall between Mason’s office, (County Clerk’s Office), and Hurlbert’s office.  The wall damaged some irreplaceable marble in the courthouse and was built without the approval of the County Commission.   It was later concluded the funding was likely obtained illegally by Hurlbert and Mason.  A special prosecutor was appointed to investigate this and other issues relating to Hurlbert’s actions as Auditor.   Facing the threat of dismissal from office, Hurlbert resigned.  However, he chose to wait until Democratic Governor Jay Nixon took office in January ensuring a Democrat would be appointed to the Clay County Auditor position.  Had he resigned just days earlier Governor Matt Blunt would have been able to appoint a Republican to fill the position.  (Had Pam Mason (Currently the Presiding Commissioner of Clay County) not been defeated in the 2006 election there is a good chance she would have had the same fate as Hurlbert).
  • HURLBERT WAS A MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO “NERDGATE” SCANDAL:  For those of us that can remember the late 1990’s and the debacle that was Clay Co. Government at that time you will likely remember the “Nerdgate” scandal.  Hurlbert teamed with two Commissioners (Gene Owen & Jay Lawson), a Democratic Sheriff (Bob Boydston) and a Democratic Prosecutor to go after those in charge of the County “Information Technology” (IT) dept.  The result was approximately One Million Dollars of taxpayer funds spent on an investigation that resulted in no charges and no convictions.  Then, when Hurlbert was put in charge of the Information Technology Dept. the Circuit judges demanded the department be split into Judicial IT & Adm. IT as they wanted nothing to do with Hurlbert.  The department remains split to this day costing the taxpayers of Clay Co. about $500,000 annually.  In 2001 when Tom Brown & I took office we put control of the Administrative IT department back in the hands of the Commission.  To say it was a mess would be an understatement.  A company with past experience in securing sensitive military computer systems was hired to secure the system and help re-build it.  The County website was in terrible condition with very little information on the public portion.  The calendar of events had not been updated in four months.  Clay Co. now has one of the highest rated websites of any local government in the KC area.
  • UNSATISFACTORY OUTSIDE AUDIT RESULTS WHILE HURLBERT WAS CLAY COUNTY AUDITOR:  While Vic Hurlbert was County Auditor; Clay County received a “Qualified” opinion on the annual outside audit several occasions.  A “Qualified” audit is not the result anyone wants and means the outside Auditor was unable to give the County a satisfactory or “Clean” finding on the audit.  In most cases the Audit was “Qualified” due to Vic Hurlbert’s refusal to supply critical data to the outside Auditor.   In 2008 the outside audit firm charged Clay County an additional $54,000 for time they spent gathering information on their own.   This was due to Hurlbert’s refusal to produce this information that was critical to the audit.   The outside auditor went on to say that Hurlbert impeded the audit process and that “We believe that we did not receive the necessary, ordinary cooperation from the County Auditor” (Hurlbert).
  • HURLBERT VOTED TO RAISE HIS OWN SALARY:  Hurlbert consistently voted to raise his own salary as part of the County “Salary Commission”.  On one occasion after the salary commission had voted to freeze officeholder salaries at their 2003 regular meeting, he was part of a group of officeholders that called an additional salary commission meeting to change their vote and grant the raises anyway.  The meeting was called without proper notice as dictated by Missouri law, and two of the officeholders that voted against the raises at the initial meeting, (Tom Brown and I), were not even given notice of the second meeting. The second meeting was later found to be “Illegal” after I filed a formal complaint and the raises were denied.
  • HURLBERT IS NOT A LOYAL REPUBLICAN:  Hurlbert has, on numerous occasions, supported Democratic candidates over Republicans.  In 2004 he supported Democrat Assessor Cathy Rinehart and was quoted on her paid political mailer saying. “Cathy Rinehart runs the most financially solvent and well managed office in Clay County”.  He said this after Rinehart had incorrectly calculated property taxes potentially costing local schools, ambulance & fire districts, and other public entities hundreds of thousands of dollars.  In fact, Republican candidates like former Commissioner Tom Brown can testify to Hurlbert working against him while supporting his  Democratic opponent.
  • Hurlbert likes to pick on those most vulnerable:  Although he had refused to do audits on other officeholders as requested by the Commission, he took it on himself to audit the spending of the County’s Juvenile department, more specifically the boys and girls group homes.  His findings made the front page of the Tribune.  Just over $900 had allegedly been spent by the young men and women at the county’s group homes during all of 2003.  This sum amounts to about $5 per month per resident.  Most of if not all of this money was given to the young women and men as incentives for exemplary behavior.  These are young people that through no fault of their own have had their lives turned upside down by society.  To tell them they are wrong to spend this paltry amount of money for things other young people their age take for granted is at the very least ridiculous, and at the very most, cruel.

Is this really who we want representing us in Jefferson City?  Do we want someone that was forced to leave his position as County Auditor under the threat of prosecution?   Someone who refuses to do his job and produce critical data requested by the outside auditor?  Someone who will change his loyalties at any whim?  Someone that votes to raise his own salary while the economy suffers?

Vic Hurlbert says he wants to make government accountable but how can we trust him to do that when he was not accountable to the citizens of Clay Co. as their County Auditor?

AS A REPUBLICAN LIVING IN THE 16TH DISTRICT, I KNOW I DO NOT WANT VIC HURLBERT REPRESENTING ME IN JEFFERSON CITY!!!  I hope you agree and will consider Hurlbert’s record when you vote August 7th.