Come to the Rally For Excellent Education – Not Common Education
February 18, 2014 at the Capitol!
“Apathetic No Longer”


A mom’s satirical look at Representative Cookson as the model for all Missouri citizens.  She refuses to be apathetic in the private takeover of education and we hope her letter spurs you into action against the current educational reforms in Missouri or your respective state.  We are increasingly surrounded by oligarchs masquerading as representatives of the people.   We are certain this oligarchic tendency is present in your state as well with different names and different bill numbers.


Mr. Cookson,

I am so glad you expressed your true feelings and plans to the Joplin Globe in January with respect to education. It is refreshing to read HB1139 which you introduced this 2014 session because it speaks to where you wish to take education in Missouri. I wish more politicians would be so bold as to take a stand on an issue as you have done regarding Common Core State Standards and education at large in Missouri. I wish more people had the convictions to say what they believe and follow them up with their actions. It is good to see from our representatives.

It was refreshing to see a representative marginalize parents and citizens outright as you did with your Interim Education Committee report to the general assembly in December 2013. Most would ride the fence and in the least pretend to care. You even tossed those Common Core State Standards Initiative opponents a bone as you expressed your appreciation for the amount of interest the issue had drawn. Not every politician would let down their guard like that. Your boldness to stand on your beliefs is to be commended. It was good to read your report and see where your allegiance lies. In that December report you boldly stated,

DESE has been open about their standards process, but this information has not always filtered out of the educational world to the general public. In some instances when it has, it has not been accurately portrayed.

It warmed my heart to read those words of strong support for DESE. I mean, I am one of those citizens and parents who have been in Jeff City giving testimony in the last year about the lack of openness and transparency of DESE but what do I matter? I’m just one of those silly ‘ole people in the “general public”. What will I understand of all that big time “educational world” talk? You sure set me straight! I was one of those dumb people who bought into the “misinformation and hyperbole”.

Can you believe I actually believed CCSS were brought to Missouri illegally? I also believed what those 500 crazy psychologists and early educators have been saying that the standards are developmentally inappropriate for the younger kids. There are even those who say the CCSS are not difficult enough for older kids. I must admit I was a believer in needing proof the standards are internationally benchmarked but not anymore. I mean we do live in the “show me” state but with trustworthy folks like you looking out for our best, do we really need to see with our own eyes? Where would I be without you? In fact, where would Missouri be without you? Thankfully, you are the chair of the House Education Committee so everything to do with education has to get through you first!

I also want to commend you on your willingness to try new things like Common Core State Standards which haven’t been field tested. Again, with boldness, forging ahead without any actual proof they will work. For you Mr. Cookson, my children will proudly be lab rats for the state if that’s what the state wants. I mean, even if I didn’t want my children to be used as lab rats, do I have an option? Might as well jump on the bandwagon since it is the ONLY wagon in town, right? I simply adore how the state loves my children so much, they will pass laws forcing my kids to go to school at a certain age, for a certain amount of hours in a day and for a certain number of days a year because as a parent I am too stupid to know what is best for my kids. But you, Mr. Cookson, with HB1139 plan to change all that! I mean you will be increasing the amount of hours in a school year from 1044 to 1085 BUT you gave so much leeway to districts by allowing them to determine just how those additional hours of school will be implemented. For all those parents out there with their little 5 year old kindergarteners, that’s just an hour shy of another 6 days of school a year (if your district has 7 hour days like mine does). That means another week of freedom from the hassle of taking care of our own children. We can leave that responsibility stuff to the state, local districts and teachers thanks to Mr. Cookson’s bill. Does he know and love parents or what?

Another gem from HB1139 also requires every student scoring less than proficient on the statewide assessments to attend summer school of no less than an additional 144 hours. So if you have students who don’t test well, or don’t test well on computers or are just stupid, that’s even more hours of freedom each and every summer! Thank God for the state! It is refreshing to have so many such as you who care so much for Missouri kids. I sure wish we had parents who cared as much as you do. Deep sigh…

Of course you have not been shaken by those pesky naysayers who keep throwing the law in front of you so thank you for that! I mean if you think something is good, it shouldn’t matter where it came from or how it got her. Oh wait, sorry, that is what Charlie Shields from the State Board of Education said in January 2014 at the State Board Meeting regarding CCSS. Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between all you very smart, very important people looking out for us from Jeff City. The only important thing for Missouri is you know best and you think we need to do it so it has to be done! Way to take charge Mr. Cookson! People have questioned you and others in Jeff City about Missouri laws but what does it matter? As if we live in a Republic or something where the rule of law is what governs us and our decisions. I mean, that is so 1791! Our President doesn’t follow the law so why should you guys have to?! It’s not fair and I’m glad you have taken matters into your own hands and done something about it!

Thank you as well for setting the record straight on the federal role in education. You so eloquently explained in the Globe article,

When a state is as reliant on federal funds for education as Missouri is, there is an expectation that some strings might be attached to that money.

I bet I know what you are thinking on this subject. You are probably like, “Come on Missourians, nothing in life is ever free!” We the people of Missouri should be thanking you, Mr. Cookson, for selling our children for federal dollars. I mean look what those big bucks have gotten us thus far!!

The high expectations you have for future generations of Missourians is praiseworthy.  You state:

Unless it is quite evident that this (CCSS) is damaging students, the fact that it is pushing students – especially in certain grade levels – more rigorously is imperative. It’s always been imperative that every generation we educate has to have more intelligence and be smarter than the prior generation. Sometimes we adults don’t like that change because of our own personal protective agendas. … In reality, for our society to keep moving forward and keep up with other societies, it’s important that our own people are more intelligent and smarter than we were.

I am thankful DESE’s own Chris Nicastro admitted the Common Core State Standards are just the floor. It is refreshing to see just how intelligent you want our future generations to be. I am so glad Common Core does NOT put children all across the country in the same box because of local control of curriculum. We are free to teach our kids whatever we want… as long as we don’t veer off the standards by adding to or subtracting from any of them. OK, well at least there is the 15% rule where we can teach whatever we want… once other statutory requirements of MO government and history are taught as well as other required things. But then, yes then, we can teach whatever we want in our schools! We can choose whatever curriculum we want. Of course all those publishers are converting to Common Core in hopes of cashing in on some big educational bucks but hey, at least we can decide if we want Pearson or McGraw-Hill! Don’t you hate it when people spread falsehoods about not having local control in education? I guess you are pretty tired of all this misinformation.

As I write this and ponder the many wonders of your leadership qualities I am reminded of a couple of other stellar leaders in our state. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention your colleagues Representative Jay Barnes and Senator David Pearce. It’s like you three were taken from the same ilk or something. It is very uncanny. You guys love kids so much and you just want so much good for them and the environments they learn in. Look at Rep. Barnes’ bill HB1357. He wants to make it a law that prior to the end of every student’s sixth grade year they develop a personal plan of study for their remaining years in school. I didn’t realize it was the states job to help determine our kid’s future. I was foolish enough to believe it was up to our kids and their parents to help them. Of course, once again you guys don’t let the law get in your way of doing what is best for our kids! As a matter of fact, your plan is to change the law to help us poor mindless parents even more!

To think the Missouri Constitution, Article IX, section 1a says:

A general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the general assembly shall establish and maintain free public schools for the gratuitous instruction of all persons in this state within ages not in excess of twenty-one years as prescribed by law.

Representative Barnes’ bill HB1357 will put an end to that nonsense. You brilliant politicians will get these kids workforce ready whether they like it or not! Who needs knowledge for knowledge sake or for the betterment of the individual human? This state and this country need 21st century workers! We need to compete in a 21st century global economy! WE MUST BE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE!! There can no longer be anything exceptional for Missouri students or for Americans for that matter. EVERYONE gets a trophy and everyone is treated the same.

Senator Pearce’s bill could eventually completely dismantle local school districts in favor of an “achievement district”. It’s an amazing bill I believe every citizen should read. SB493 will allow for individual schools within each district to be accredited or unaccredited instead of sticking schools into one district based on their location and the tax dollars the people in those towns pay. I think Senator Pearce is onto something here. Local school districts which elect local citizens to run their district aren’t intelligent enough to know how it’s done so the state will remedy that by creating this “achievement district” run by unelected officials headed by the state to tell our individual principals and teachers what to do. Of course this is just for those school districts deemed unaccredited or provisionally accredited by the state board of education so no worries to the districts that continue to do a good job of teaching to the test and keeping up with those amazing MSIP5 requirements.

It’s so good to know you, Mr. Cookson, as well as Mr. Barnes are in charge of the education committee on the house side while Mr. Pearce holds down the education committee front on the senate side. With strong conservatives such as yourselves, who needs to worry about the future of Missouri? Who needs to worry about government overreach with you on patrol? Who am I kidding? Freedom is for fools. An oligarchy is what we want in this country. We the people need elitists like you, Mr. Cookson and many of your colleagues to tell us what to do and where to go. We are not responsible nor are we smart enough to decide for ourselves what is best for our families.

We the people needed to know where we stand with you Mr. Cookson, so thank you for your honesty… maybe I should start calling you King Cookson?

Thank you,

Tonya Long


rally for excellent education


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