Tom Schweich’s Legacy: Fight for What is Right and Reject That which is Tough, Crude and Calloused
It is has been several hours since Tom Schweich’s funeral service at the Church of St. Michael and St. George. I had the pleasure of meeting Auditor Schweich a few times in our work against Common Core and found him professional, knowledgeable and open to hearing the Coalition’s ideas. He was thought state-wide to be the epitome of what public service should entail and our anti Common Core Coalition considered him one of the few Missouri public officials who sought to uncover the truth in the midst of waste, fraud and abuse, regardless of political affiliation or state agency involved.
As a fellow Episcopalian, I found comfort in the service and song. The church was standing room only and the sense of disbelief and grief was apparent. Former US Senator John Danforth (also an ordained Episcopalian priest) delivered the eulogy that should cause political leaders, bureaucrats and citizens to give serious thought to changing offending behavior. Click here to watch the eulogy from KSDK5:
The transcript can be found here.
Some remarks that were particularly profound:
These are profound statements about how we treat each other and what politics have become. Thank you to Senator and Priest Danforth for his comments and the ability to be able to confront the bullies we find every day when we work in politics.
It has been brutal the last few years for citizens, teachers and parents working against Common Core and questionable educational reform. The biggest bullies for us have been those entrenched in the political system. A lesson to be learned: when you challenge the system, be prepared for the political system and bureaucracy to try to do whatever they can to silence you:
- Whispering campaign against individuals : this happened to us at Missouri Education Watchdog 3 years ago when writing about RTTT/Common Core and our movement lost momentum. We were set back in our efforts as we were apparently in the way of political ambition. There is a current whispering campaign against parents on HB1490 workgroups by the educational administrators/teachers appointed by those entities supporting Common Core standards to discredit and ignore their contributions to workgroup efforts.
- Ridicule by a House committee chair by inserting an $8.00 budget line item for ‘tin foil’ for those against the standards.
- Vitriol and absolute contempt by pro-Common Core workgroup members against anyone–parent, citizen, teacher, standards expert–who disagrees that the Common Core standards are the best for Missouri children and who attempt to create better authentic state standards. They hope their tactics will silence the faction they disagree with by derision, arrogance and self-described expertise in writing standards. Dr. Sandra Stotsky was only allowed 3 minutes to speak because as one workgroup member stated, ‘we are ALL experts’ at this table. Sorry, no one at that table had standards writing expertise even close to Dr. Stotsky’s. They refuse to seriously entertain ideas different than the standards.
- The State School Board member who stated he ‘didn’t care HOW the standards got there’, he just wants to know if they are ‘any good’. This State School Board member is a former state senator and should appreciate the rule of law and process but apparently isn’t concerned about the process, just the outcome.
- DESE arranging 8 meetings at the same time state-wide to conduct Delphi meetings and not answering any questions about Common Core and then stating how transparent DESE is in the CCSS process.
Folks who are outside the system who are trying to do what’s best for their children and the educational direction/development in their schools have been treated in similar manner by superintendents, administrators, DESE officials and certain politicians. They are marginalized, ridiculed or ignored. Who are the bullies? They are not the parents/taxpayers, no, the bullies are those in the system who are not protecting children, they are protecting the system. For this reason, do not expect much coming from many of the HB1490 workgroups other than renamed Common Core standards.
Did it take the death of Tom Schweich for the bullies to realize that people have a fundamental right for a differing opinion and that some people actually DO operate for what is best for their children and schools vs what is convenient and popular? These bureaucrats and politicians protecting the system have not previously recognized nor acknowledged that parents are being directed by a moral core that cannot be subjected to educational reforms that consider their children as human capital. As Danforth stated,
When you are bullied by those in the system, refuse to be targeted. They see you (as they did Tom Schweich) as a ‘bug’. For them it’s all about winning, winning at any cost to the opponent or to any sense of common decency. Keep on the high road in Tom Schweich’s memory. Don’t allow yourself to be ridiculed, marginalized or ignored. These politicians and bureaucrats who employ such tactics must be exposed and their tactics ended. Tom Schweich was the embodiment of public service and highest integrity. Remember him as you confront the ugliness of the Common Core education proponents as they attempt to deny parents and taxpayers their rightful place at the discussion table. Do not accept those whose way of behavior is tough, crude and calloused. We will stand up to them and defeat them eventually.
We miss you Tom Schweich. We send prayers for you and your family members in this very sad time.
Here is a version of the anthem sung after the Homily. We shall remember Tom Schweich in these words from the anthem:
I am parted from my brethren. All my friends do I abandon, and go hence.
But whither I go, that understand I not, neither what shall become of me yonder; only God, who hath summoned me, knoweth. But may we make commemoration of me with the song: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
From the chantblog.blogspot.com:
I first heard this piece in around 2003, on September 11, at a memorial service for that day. I’ve since learned, via a commenter, Robert, that the text comes from an Orthodox liturgy; we’ve seen it in this Google Book, at least: Service Book of the Holy Orthodox-Catholic Apostolic (Greco-Russian) Church. There, it’s labeled as part of “The Order for the Burial of the Dead (Priests).”
Funeral Ikos (1981)
Why these bitter words of the dying,
O brethren, which they utter
as they go hence?
I am parted from my brethren.
All my friends do I abandon,
and go hence.
But whither I go, that understand I not,
neither what shall become of me yonder;
only God who hath summoned me knoweth.
But make commemoration of me with the song:
But whither now go the souls?
How dwell they now together there?
This mystery have I desired to learn,
but none can impart aright.
Do they call to mind their own people,
as we do them?
Or have they forgotten all those
who mourn them and make the song:
We go forth on the path eternal,
and as condemned, with downcast faces,
present ouselves before the only God eternal.
Where then is comeliness?
Where then is wealth?
Where then is the glory of this world?
There shall none of these things aid us,
but only to say oft the psalm:
If thou hast shown mercy
unto man, o man,
that same mercy
shall be shown thee there;
and if on an orphan
thou hast shown compassion,
that same shall there
deliver thee from want.
If in this life
the naked thou hast clothed,
the same shall give thee
and sing the psalm:
Youth and the beauty of the body
fade at the hour of death,
and the tongue then burneth fiercely,
and the parched throat is inflamed.
The beauty of the eyes is quenched then,
the comeliness of the face all altered,
the shapeliness of the neck destroyed;
And the other parts have become numb,
nor often say:
With ecstasy are we inflamed
if we but hear
that there is light eternal yonder;
That there is Paradise, wherein
every soul of Righteous Ones rejoiceth.
Let us all, also, enter into Christ,
that all we may cry aloud thus unto God: