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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Making Marijuana Legal Could Make Owning A Gun Illegal As The Law Stands For Now

Legal Marijuana? Say Goodbye to Your Gun Rights

by Dean Rieck

Many states have legalized marijuana, either for medical or recreational use. There is an ongoing debate about how this will affect health and crime, but one question most people are not asking is, "How does this affect your gun rights?"

The answer seems to be, if you use marijuana, you lose your gun rights regardless of state law.

Here's the problem: while a state can make marijuana legal, federal law continues to list marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance. That means marijuana users can't have guns legally.

Friday, June 7, 2019

COTU Meeting ...

Conservatives of the Upstate Meeting for Tuesday June 11 Meeting at Pizza Inn has been cancelled due to unfortunate circumstances and we will resume meetings in August... time and place to be announced soon.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Rescuing Our Children – And Our Nation”

Alex Newman's Tour “ Rescuing Our Children – And Our Nation.”

Alex Newman is well known in the grassroots' fight for quality education reform. His knowledge and expertise in sounding the alarms needed to parents and citizens are well respected. He holds a B.S. Degree in journalism from the University of Florida. He has also emphasized in his studies economics and international relations. He holds an A.A. Degree in foreign languages from Miami-Dade College.

Newman is a published author and writes extensively for “The New American” magazine. He also teaches Advanced Economics at Freedom Project Academy. His “Rescuing Our Children” tour presentation schedule in the South included Suwanee GA, Marietta GA, Spartanburg SC, Greenville SC, Greer SC,Columbia SC, Summerville SC, and Myrtle Beach SC. I had the opportunity to attend the Tuesday, May 21st 2019 tour presentation by Alex Newman at the Commerce Club in Greenville, SC and I was excited to finally meet and hear the man who I have been a fan of since 2010. And I was not disappointed. To say his presentation was an eye-opener is an understatement. He absolutely provided all the proof necessary to the audience to show how our nation's children absolutely need rescuing from the government run public schools of today.

From showing the disastrous results of how our children have been slowly but surely indoctrinated to the point that nearly half of millineals support a Socialist form of government to exposing the United Nations' hand in this global indoctrination agenda to forcing the LGBTQ agenda on impressionable name it, and our government schools are not just teaching the 3 R's any longer.

Right now, the government schools are systematically indoctrinating and dumbing down children, turning them against their parents, against families, against their churches, against our country, against our Constitution and our freedoms, and our Republic will not survive too far into the future if we allow this to continue.” Newman said.

It became painfully clear during his presentation there is a a war on for not only YOUR child's mind, but also their body and soul. Are parents going to allow the government to take over the rearing of children from birth to 20? Are we going to allow our God given parental rights to direct our own child's education to be usurped? With each new slide Newman presented on the screen he backed up his sources with words spoken by the people who have hijacked public education for their own globalist agenda of indoctrination not education. Newman made it clear now is the time to take urgent action to rescue children from this nefarious agenda. If after watching Alex Newman's presentation one was not alarmed, then they were either numb or dumb. The truth was laid out for all to see and the solution given. Question is will “ We the People” act on this informative presentation or just continue to give lip service and fret. 

The solution Alex Newman says lies in the hands of parents and concerned citizens. His belief is the time is past for trying to correct the course of government education and parents must seek a mass exodus from the government run schools. He does not believe that public schools can be reformed. Ultimately we need separation of school and state. He suggests parents seek out private schools that have been thoroughly vetted which do not adhere to the present Common Core, humanist, globalist agenda, or for parents to choose homeschooling your child. He suggested where there is a will there is a way and you could actually start your own community school based on a classical education. Many local churches are doing just that by offering up their Monday thru FridaySunday School classrooms to be used for such purposes. Freedom Project Academywill actually help you get one started in your local community!

His final words of wisdom are, “It is not too late to save liberty, America and the Western Christian civilization from utter destruction. But if it is going to be done, the time to act is now. With God's help, you have the power to do what needs to be done. Now use it, or lose it. Godspeed.”

Everyone who is interested in learning more about the TRUTH of what is going on in our government run public schools needs to seek a copy of his recent special report entitled “Rescuing Our Children: Special Report on Education”...and buy several extra copies to send to family, friends, neighbors, your church pastor, and your local school board members. You can purchase the special report here at this link:

Monday, May 27, 2019

Happy Memorial Day ...

Conservatives Of The Upstate honors all who have served and died - whether in combat or as a veteran. We thank you for your service!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Are SC Teachers Teaching Standards They Don't Approve Of?

Are SC Teachers Teaching Standards They Don't Approve Of? 

An article published in the Orlando Sentinel of Florida written by Leslie Postal dated April 19, 2019 entitled, “Keep Common Core School Standards, Many Teachers Tell State In Survey,” was very eye opening. Their Governor, Ron DeSantis ran on ending Common Core in Florida public schools, and in January signed an executive order to begin the process. He further ordered a their education department to design what their new standards should look like and conduct a survey asking for public to comment which can be viewed in 2010 Florida adopted Common Core Standards but turned around and adopted in line with Common Core standards in 2014 and re-branded them Florida Standards...much like SC who re branded their in line with Common Core Standards named South Carolina College/Career Ready Standards. 

The reporter of this article then went on to say that a “review of more than 3,300 comments submitted by early this month (April) showed many educators see value in the standards.” However, according to the article, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued this statement, “ We have long decried the endless issues associated with Common Core, and we are taking action to eliminate every last shred of it from Florida's academic standards.” Will Florida's new standards really be new...or will they still be in line with Common Core...that remains to be proven.

This article heightened my curiosity as to what SC teachers think about our present in line with Common Core standards especially when taking into consideration that SC teachers recently took a day off to protest in Columbia over various issues but did not include teachers complaining about our SC standards they are mandated to teach. Do SC teachers think the the SC College/Career standards are quality standards? Do they think the fact the standardized required tests SC children take which are based on Common Core are quality, reliable tests? Teacher performance is based on how well their students perform on these aligned to Common Core tests, so one would think they would have opinions on whether these standards truly are the best standards for SC children.

SC Superintendent Molly Spearman also campaigned on ending Common Core Standards when she ran in 2014 and the SC Legislators even passed legislation to end Common Core in our schools. However, the study by the Education Oversight Committee completed after the new standards named SC College/Career Ready Standards were developed they remained over 90% in line with Common Core according to the Education Oversight Committee.

In order to find out what teachers think about their standards they are teaching I took to social media on Facebook and posted in several Facebook groups of which SC teachers belong to post a survey which posed the question: “If you are a teacher in SC...are you satisfied with the present SC College/Career Ready Standards you are mandated to teach?” The poll started on May 10, 2019 and ended on May 17th and the results were:

Out of 557 responses: only 57 teachers are satisfied with the standards in place, while 500 teachers are not satisfied with those standards. So 89.8% of teachers don't even respect the standards they are forced to teach. That speaks volumes doesn't it?

According to the results of this survey, it is clear the majority of SC teachers surveyed are not satisfied with the present standards they are forced to teach.

Are legislators aware of this? Do they care? Is SC Superintendent Molly Spearman aware of teachers' dissatisfaction of the standards they are teaching which are over 90% in line with failed Common Core? Does she care? How about the SC State School Board appointed members? Do they know and do they care? How about your local school board members? Are they aware? Do they care? Is your child's school Principal aware of this? Do they care? Don't you think they should be made aware. Please share this article with your SC legislator, Molly Spearman, and your local School Board Members. Ask them if they care. Ask them what they plan on doing about teachers being dissatisfied with the standards they are mandated to teach.

When building a house you want a strong, quality foundation or else your house will not be strong.

In education the standards are the foundation of the curriculum and the foundation of the standardized tests given to judge the child's proficiency. Since teachers are professionals at what they teach, shouldn't their thoughts be considered as to whether or not the standards they teach are quality standards? After all, aren't teachers judged by whether or not the child learned what they were supposed to learn? If the standards are faulty, won't the teaching be faulty...won't the testing results be faulty? The foundation of education is quality standards. 89.9% of SC teachers surveyed aren't satisfied with the standards they are forced to teach. Does anyone care?

Why should we be paying teachers more to teach faulty standards they don't even value? Shouldn't our State Superintendent Molly Spearman, our appointed SC State School Board, and our Education Oversight Committee be thinking about WHY the present SC College/Career Ready Standards are not respected by our teachers?

The faulty standards are the elephant in the room that no one seems to be addressing. Even the SC for Ed teachers who marched on Columbia didn't mention the standards in their grievances. Why is that?

One theory I have as a retired teacher is that teachers know there are consequences in complaining to the educrats in power about the standards they have chosen. After all, it took PARENTS standing up against Common Core to then Gov. Nikki Haley and legislators to pass legislation to kill Common Core, only to find the State Department of Education simply re-branded those standards College/Career Ready. If teachers question the authority or wisdom of administrators and educrats on standards they won't get chosen as Teacher of the Year. If teachers “buck the system”, they won't be chosen to move up into administrative positions, and they also know principals can find other ways to punish teachers who fail to go along to get along. I saw it when I taught. Teachers who fail to go along with the system's mandates get all the bad behavior kids the next year, or they get changed to a grade level they don't want to teach. There are many ways teacher's get bullied into submission. Just ask a teacher in private, they'll tell you how the system works.

SC children deserve better standards in place. Standards that have been proven effective. Isn't it time SC takes a look at PROVENstandards that ensure student achievement? Paying teachers more, giving them a lunch break, or lowering class load won't solve what ails public education in SC.

In the state of Massachusetts BEFORECommon Core standards were implemented, their students were the first to finish #1 in all four categories of the NAEP ( National Assessment of Educational Progress), and not only that, they repeated that feat every year through 2013. But once Common Core Standards were put in place, Massachusetts backslid and no longer leads the ratings. A study by the Pioneer Institute shows the data results proving Massachusetts failed to maintain their #1 status after Common Core Standards were required. That study can be viewed here:

Maybe SC needs to look at Massachusetts' Standards they had in place before the Common Core Era. 

Maybe if SC looked at adopting quality standards which drive the curriculum and testing we would see quality reform and teachers would be happier with their jobs and students would be better educated. 

Submitted by Johnnelle Raines

Saturday, May 11, 2019

The following letter will be mailed on Monday May 13, 2019 along with the 83 signatures of concerned voters of Pickens County.

May 11, 2019

To: Board of Voter Registration and Elections
Pickens County Administration Facility
222 McDaniel Ave, B-9
Pickens, SC 29671

From: Conservatives of the Upstate

Dear Elections Board,

Attached you will find a petition that our group Conservatives of the Upstate sought signatures for online as well as live signatures at the Azalea Festival to Restore Confidence in our elections. We are calling on the Board to replace all those responsible for the 2018 District 7 School Board Election failure based on the fact there was a failure to provide, “legal, fair, and efficient elections so all citizens are assured their vote will be counted.” That is your own mission statement. More people did not return to the voting poll on the do over election than did and thus their original votes were not considered and thus resulted in an unfair election for those who may have not voted due to not being informed there was a do over, or their distrust in the system to accurately hold an efficient election the second time.

We the enclosed signed petitioners demand accountability for any all appointed and hired positions responsible for this failure of your mission in maintaining efficient elections so all citizens are assured their original vote was indeed taken into consideration.

We ask for confirmation you received this communication and a response as to how these people have been held accountable for the errors in the failure of a proper efficient election in November of 2018.

Conservatives of the Upstate
Leadership Team Members,

Friday, May 10, 2019

Central/Clemson Rep Gary Clary Will Not Seek Re-election

SC State Rep.Gary Clary said Thursday in a statement that he won’t seek re-election in 2020. 

The Pickens County Republican has been under fire from conservative groups for left leaning legislation and votes. In particular, Clary teamed with liberal political action group Concerned Citizens to grant the School District Of Pickens County a 7th school board trustee.

Clary was also part of the controversial ballot name removal debacle called Operation Lost Vote in 2012.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

COTU Monthly Meeting...

Hi Members!

Our next meeting will again be held at Pizza Inn located on Ann Street in Pickens on Tuesday May 14th at 7pm.

We hope you will attend and bring a friend or two!

Gerald Wilson the Pickens County Administrator will be our guest speaker for the evening, and this is a good opportunity for you to ask any questions related to our county affairs! Special interest is lately is the budget for the upcoming year, taxes, the report in the paper that Haygood Mill is losing money , economic development, protection of private property rights, etc. Get your questions ready !

This meeting will also provide YOU and opportunity to bring up any issues that concern you that you think our group needs to focus on in the upcoming months.

We need to be actively looking for quality Conservative candidates to run against many elected positions in our county and state who are not following CONSERVATIVE values and beliefs. In order to keep Pickens County conservative we can't just continue the status quo as is because progressive ideology is creeping in ...and we have elected employees who claim to be Republicans that don't even attend the Republican Convention or pledge to follow the Republican platform.

Our Azalea Festival Booth was a huge success and we had a sheet full of new email contacts who want to receive our action alert updates and monthly newsletter. And we received 38 live signatures to go along with our over 45 signatures on line to our petition for demanding consequences for those who caused the election malfunction in the District 7 School Board race.

So mark your calendar for May 14th 7pmat Pizza Inn to engage in our discussions to KEEP PICKENS COUNTY the most CONSERVATIVE county in SC. And don't forget to bring friends and neighbors! 

There are no dues, but we will be asking for any volunteer donations to help us in our efforts to build the group and send out special mail-outs or to print materials needed to educate the community.

Thank you
Johnnelle Raines, Steve Haynie, Kathy Nix
Leadership Team Members COTU

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Tennessee May Soon Join Handful Of States That Protect Citizen Speech

Tennessee Senate Unanimously Passes Actual Anti-SLAPP Bill

Anti-SLAPP laws (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) shield citizens from bogus lawsuits clearly intended to silence criticism. This lack of protection has resulted in a number of merit-less lawsuits being filed. One of the most ridiculous -- a former university program head suing his replacement for things a journalist said -- managed to make its way all the way up to the state's appeal court. In the end, the defendant was awarded $10,000 in legal fees, but none of that was guaranteed when the plaintiff started wasting everyone's time and money.
As the law stands now in Tennessee, only communications to public officials about public entities are shielded from defamation lawsuits. It doesn't cover things like negative reviews of businesses, criticism of any public figure, or -- like the case above -- things defendants never actually said.
The new law would actually function like an anti-SLAPP law should. It would halt discovery until a ruling on the anti-SLAPP motion and allow the prevailing party to recover fees.
Under this bill, if a legal action is filed in response to a party's exercise of the right of free speech, right to petition, or right of association, that party may petition the court to dismiss the legal action. All discovery in the legal action will be stayed upon the filing of a petition pursuant to this bill and the stay of discovery will remain in effect until the entry of an order ruling on the petition. The court may allow specified and limited discovery relevant to the petition upon a showing of good cause.
The petitioning party will have the burden of making a prima facie case that a legal action against the petitioning party is based on, relates to, or is in response to that party's exercise of the right to free speech, right to petition, or right of association. If the petitioning party meets this burden, the court will dismiss the legal action unless the responding party establishes a prima facie case for each essential element of the claim in the legal action.
The bill passed both the state House and Senate, with the Senate sending a message with a decisive 33-0 vote in favor of the bill. If this passes, Tennessee will join the small minority of states willing to protect their residents from frivolous lawsuits filed solely to shut them u

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Upcoming ...


Tonight is a Public Hearing on Road Conditions at 7pm at the Dacusville Community Center, 2671 Earls Bridge Rd, Dacusville SC Rep Davey Hiott will be in attendance as well as SC DOT Officials

Monday March 25 at 6pm is the School Board Meeting at the Curtis A Sidden Admin Building 1348 Griffin Mill Rd, Easley, SC

Tuesday March 26th is the Special Election do over for School Board Member for the new 7th School Board seat. Please make sure if you vote at Cedar Rock , crescent Hill, Crossroads, Dacusville, Glassy Mountain, Griffin, Nine Forks, Pumpkintown or Vinland precints that you GO VOTE. The candidates are Philip Healy and Alice Vander Linden. Healy won the vote originally but due to the Pickens Election Board messing up and not providing ballots properly there is a $10,000 election do over. 

THURSDAY MARCH 28th at 7pm located at United Wesleyan Church, 738 Rice Rd, Easley, SC is the Pickens County GOP re-organizational meeting which is VERY important for you to attend if you want to get rid of RINO's ( Republican's in Name Only) In order for you to vote on Resolutions and other important officers within the party who lead us in a Conservative DIRECTION you must attend this meeting. Bring your voter registration card with you so you will know which precinct to meet with and elect the President and officers for your precinct. 

Monday April Fool's Day... the County Council Meeting will take place at the Administrative Facility at 6:30...please attend if you can.

Thursday April 25th is the Pickens County GOP Convention at United Wesleyan Church 738 Rice Road, Easley

See you at the Azalea Festival on April 20th hopefully and again at our May meeting to be announced soon.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Your child’s mind & soul

It is time we all wake up and understand there is an all out war on for children's minds and souls.
Children are our most vulnerable, most innocent, most naive, most malleable, and most easily led astray...and they are the MOST important to our nation's future.

Where is the battleground mainly taking place? Sadly, our tax supported public school system has become the main battleground. They have children captivated for 5 days a week, for 9 months out of a year. 

Look daily at the headlines and you can see that the ideology being promoted in our public schools is Mother Earth should be worshiped, Socialism is good, Humanism is the preferred religion, owning guns to protect one's life and family is evil, the LGBTQ lifestyle has value and merit, questioning your biological gender has value, and that killing the unborn is acceptable.
Television, Hollywood movies, commercials, online web sites your child's teacher uses in the classroom, and the main stream media are all on board with this assault and war for children's minds and souls.

You can't go through one single day without reading where a parent has had to go to their local school board and complain, or file law suits over lesson plans being presented to their children. You can't go to the movies or watch anything on television that isn't promoting an ideology to your child that entices them to sin against God's Ten Commandments. In fact, the Ten Commandments are not allowed to be placed in the school's hallways or talked about in your child's classroom. But yet strangely, the 5 pillars of Islam are actually called “essential learning” in SC Social Studies Standards in 6th grade.

Most parents think they can undo this indoctrination taking place in our public schools 5 days a week for 9 months by talking to their child for an hour a day. What percentage of parents do you think can be successful in keeping their child from accepting these anti-Christian ideologies being promoted in our schools, media, television, commercials, and Hollywood movies?

Our school board policy makers, and especially our lawmakers need to propose legislation to forbid teachers from using the classroom for their own personal bully pulpit for indoctrinating students to accept liberal ideology on controversial topics such as gender identity , worshipping Mother Earth, guns, abortion, Socialism, Humanism and alternative sexual lifestyles.

written by Johnnelle Raines
                 Pickens SC

Thursday, March 14, 2019

If you think Pickens County kids are using Chromebooks for schoolwork ... think again.

From Slashdot:As more and more laptops find their way into middle and high schools, educators are using Google Docs to do collaborative exercises and help students follow along with the lesson plan. The students, however, are using it to organize running conversations behind teachers' backs. Teens told me they use Google Docs to chat just about any time they need to put their phone away but know their friends will be on computers. Sometimes they'll use the service's live chat function, which doesn't open by default, and which many teachers don't even know exists. Or, they'll take advantage of the fact that Google allows users to highlight certain phrases or words, then comment on them via a pop-up box on the right side: They'll clone a teacher's shared Google document, then chat in the comments, so it appears to the causal viewer that they're just making notes on the lesson plan. If a teacher approaches to take a closer look, they can click the "Resolve" button and the entire thread will disappear. If the project isn't a collaborative one, kids will just create a shared document where they'll chat line by line in what looks like a paragraph of text. "People will just make a new page and talk in different fonts so you know who is who," Skyler said. "I had one really good friend and we were in different homerooms. So, we'd email each other a doc and would just chat about whatever was going on." At the end of class, they just delete a doc or resolve all the comments. Rarely does anyone save them the way previous generations may have stored away paper notes from friends

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Will Public Education Improve After Legislation?

SC Legislators in the House have passed House Bill 3759 entitled “SC Career Opportunity and Access For All” with only 3 no votes. The companion bill in the Senate under the same name is S.419 and is undergoing intense scrutiny. The Senate education subcommittee will hold three more hearings in March around the state before the final bill is sent to the full Senate Education Committee and on to the floor for debate. It is imperative our SC Legislators get this right and not rush a decision that can affect children's lives and future for decades. 

A  recent survey on social media by this reporter revealed that 96% of those South Carolinians surveyed through several Facebook group pages had no confidence that the passed version of House Bill 3759 would actually improve education in SC. That is an overwhelming thumbs down in voter confidence of this legislation. Our legislators need to pay attention to their constituents!

This latest attempt by our legislators to control the direction of public education and push for more centralization of power in their 80+ page document had no original input from parents. SC House Legislators held one hearing open to public which was well attended by teachers and parents who gave them an earful of their objections to this ill formed legislation. The legislators debated for 6 hours before their final votes took place on March 7th with an overwhelming majority patting themselves on the back saying they were satisfied. 

This final bill passed in the House would raise teacher starting salaries to $35,000 as well as remove some unnecessary testing, and included an attempt to make improvements to Read to Succeed. The bill also had several amendments offered and the bill came away with the following additions, a Teachers’ Bill of Rights with a guaranteed 30 minute teacher break away from students daily, and an income tax break worth the value of the property taxes of the teachers who live and work in SC's poorest rural counties. Also included in those final amendments is a United States Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) proposal made by Rep. Josiah Magnuson for a cost analysis for the Federal Compliance mandates that are attached to Federal funds SC receives. USPIE endeavors to return local, parental and community control of education. This amendment included in the bill will set us SC on the path to hopefully eliminating all federal education mandates by showing we truly can refuse federal funding that comes with those costly mandates and become more independent in our education policies going forward. The latest national census report showed SC only receives 4.95% of its education budget from federal sources but yet federal government is overwhelmingly in control over what is being taught and how in our SC classrooms. USPIE has advocated for an end to any Federal overreach into what should be a states' right issue.

United States Parents Involved in Education(USPIE) has been very outspoken on their concerns with SC Legislators' attempt at education reform to improve public school education ratings from being at the bottom of the nation. USPIE is a nonprofit,nationwide coalition of state leaders focused on returning control of education to parents and local communities by eradicating federal intrusion. State parental leaders from around the country who are fed up with being ignored on education policy have joined forces to abolish the US Dept of Education and put an end to all federal education mandates. It is USPIE's belief that our stagnant test scores,declining academic achievement, and wasteful spending of tax dollars can be solved by restoring parental authority over their children's education and returning education decisions to parents and the local communities where it belongs.
Other than the cost analysis of the Federal Compliance mandates, USPIE is pushing for the following changes in this present legislation.
  1. Strike the entire Zero to Twenty Committee section of the bill as this Committee doubles down on the workforce development model being driven by the federal government. This failed education model is predicated upon massive data collection of children from before birth into adulthood. This Zero to Twenty Committee is designed to breakdown and share data silos in order to track children out of the womb through age 20. Creating another politically appointed committee that is charged with data collection is a government invasion of children's privacy and should be stricken from the bill immediately.

  2. Strike the Competency-based Educationsection of the bill. Common Core was only the forerunner to Competency-based Education (CBE). CBE is the latest national/global education band-wagon which is nothing more than the failed outcome based education of the 90's. CBE was added to the House version and embeds online formative tests in everyday learning which undermines children's privacy. It is entirely computer-based curriculum and eliminates the need for direct instruction from a qualified teacher and teachers become just facilitators/babysitters. There are no textbooks and therefore the parent has no knowledge of what lessons are being presented to their child.

  3. Change the State Board of Educationfrom appointed to elected positions by judicial districts. In order to restore local, parental, and community control of education, there has to be more direct accountability to parents, teachers and taxpayers of SC for the policy decisions being made. A fundamental step toward restoring local control and accountability to the major stakeholders is to ELECT the State Board of Education based on judicial circuit districts.
Decentralization of education is the key to any successful legislation. It is imperative we close the Federal government's stranglehold through their mandates over truly returning local control over SC children's future and education. SC could lead the way and become the first state in the nation to not accept any federal funding for education. We could truly not be tied down to Common Core aligned testing mandates and faulty globalist standards which are failing children in our classrooms. Teachers could teach again. And local school boards would be empowered by parents and taxpayers to choose the curriculum that best suits the needs of their community.

The ultimate goal should be local, parental, and community control. This present legislation doesn't address that at all, in fact it does the opposite by doubling down on top down control. Parents are not being treated as a major stakeholder in their child's education and this must change.

The present Education Oversight Committee as well as the SC State Board of Education are filled with politically appointed committee members and there is zero direct accountability to the taxpayers. These appointed people have failed for decades to get SC public school education on the right track. It is time to change the governance structure and eliminate Federal strangleholds. Merely paying teachers more and giving them a 30 minute break isn't going to achieve the results of a quality education for SC children. Contact your SC Columbia Senator today and tell them they better get this legislation right or you will hold them accountable for their failure at the ballot box. For more information on United States Parents Involved in Education visit their web page:

Monday, March 4, 2019

5% 18% = The Same Thing To Facebook

Pickens County Council Meeting Rescheduled ...

Tonight's Pickens County Council meeting has been cancelled and rescheduled for next Monday March 11, 2019.

March 2019 COTU Meeting

Hi Members!

Our next meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 19th at 7pm again at the Pizza Inn in Pickens.

We will be discussing political issues that YOU can step up to take action on.

And of course YOU can bring up issues that you think we need to focus on in the upcoming months. Suggest speakers you would like to hear from too!

ACTION ITEMS right now you can act on before our meeting are below:

There will be a Public Hearing taking place on March 18, 2019 from 6m-8pm
at Gaffney High School Auditorium located 149 Twin Lake Road, Gaffney SC in the Auditorium by the SC Senate Education Committee o the present Education Reform Bill S. 419/ H. 3759 . They are accepting written comments...or you can sign up to speak for 3 minutes. This is YOUR time to tell them what you think needs to be stricken from the bill or what you think needs to be added to Make SC Education Great Again... Here is link to article on hearing that took place in the House:

The entire companion Senate Bill can be viewed here:

Here is my written testimony that I gave to the House and plan on sending to Senate Education Committee as well:

My name is Johnnelle Raines, I reside in Pickens SC. I am submitting my testimony to you on House Bill 3759. I am a former first grade teacher with 29 years experience and a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education. I remain very active in discovering solutions to a failed public education system since retirement in 2003.

I have read the entire House Bill 3759 and will address my concerns to you about this woefully lacking legislation which does nothing to address the core problems with public education in SC which have been going on for decades.

First and foremost, this legislation does absolutely nothing to address the failed standards in place called SC College/Career Ready Standards. These standards are on the average 90% in line with failed Common Core Standards. Several studies have taken place on the failing results of Common Core and even the promoter of these standards and financier Bill Gates has acknowledged recently they are a failure. President Trump campaigned on the promise of ending Common Core. Standards drive testing and testing drives curriculum. Logic tells us if the standards are faulty in education the results will be faulty as well. Paying teachers more to teach faulty standards won't solve anything. Standards need to be addressed or everything you are doing will be ineffective and SC children will continue to place at the bottom of the rankings. Parents need to be able to choose a school which offers a curriculum that suits their child's needs, values, and beliefs...cookie cutter curriculum where every public school is following the same failed standards is NO CHOICE at all. Parents shouldn't be limited in merely choosing which building their child is attending but they should be able to have a curriculum choice of classical, technology free, religious-based, and non Common Core aligned curriculum. The recent survey for input you recently asked for was a slap in the face to the major stakeholder of only asked for input from teachers, students, and people who work in the education system Shame on you! Parents are a major stakeholder and their child's first teacher and you should be listening to them as well.

Second, this legislation does not address getting off the 9% Federal funds that come with failed mandates through ESSA. The tenth amendment is clear that Education is reserved to the States or to the people. The threat of losing 9% funding should not keep SC from choosing a better path for public education.

Third, this legislation does not address the fact that today's public schools agenda has shown it is more interested in producing worker bees who are cogs in wheel. There is an over emphasis on career readiness and producing students who are aligned with the United Nations' goals of a diversity, one world government, no borders, socialism, and a “global economy.” Self-determination and individualism has been abandoned in favor of testing of children to place them where the results of their tests dictate what their future job should be in the globalist agenda. Individualism has been replaced with group think. Is the intent of education merely producing worker bees for the State? Education should be the foundation of freedom for a child to determine their own chosen path for their future. Over focus on turning education into merely the means to job is quite frankly following the Communist China model.

Fourth, this legislation does not address the governance problem that exists in SC. Just recently voters clearly said they did NOT want the Superintendent of Education to be an appointed position. The proposal of creating another unelected bureaucracy committee chaired by the Lt. Governor and an unelected Czar is taking more accountability away from the parents and creating MORE unaccountable government. Why should we be forming another committee who recommends policies when that is what the State Board of Education's job is. Why should we be appointing a Czar of Education when we have an elected State Superintendent of Education? What we should be doing is eliminating the failed Education Oversight Committee whose recommendations continue to fail children. We should also move on making our SC State Board of Education elected positions based on judicial districts in order to give parents more direct control over accountability.

Fifth, this legislation does not address the data mining that is going on by third parties unbeknownst to parents. When Obama loosened the FERPA laws, we now have unsecured underage children's data posing a threat to children's right to privacy. The recently released “State Student Privacy Report Card” which graded the states on protecting student data gave SC a failing grade of “F”. That report was created by the Network for Public Education and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy. The failing grade SC received is totally unacceptable when the main purpose of government is to protect their citizens. This should be addressed in this legislation.

Finally, SC has tried all kinds of “fixes” and spent untold amounts of money on trying to improve SC children's rankings to no avail. The latest fad is Competency Based Education which is nothing more than the failed outcome based education of the 1990's. Are you going to spend more money on failed unproven education short term fixes when the root problem is a failed governance system of not allowing a return to local control by empowering parents the ability to choose the curriculum they want for their child? If you don't address this root problem you will continue to see SC children rankings at the bottom and even more parents pulling their children out of the public school system. Please fix the root cause and not just throw taxpayer money at it and increase bureaucracy.

You can email your concerns to the Senate Education Committee at this link:



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Looking forward to our great discussions Tuesday March 19th at 7pm and eating Pizza at the Pizza Inn in Pickens. See you there! 

Johnnelle Raines, Steve Haynie, Kathy Nix

Leadership Team COTU

Your input needed for education reform bills

Reach out with your thoughts on the present Education Reform Bills H. 3759 and companion S. 419.

Below is announcement for a hearing in the Upstate at Gaffney High School where people can speak for 3 minutes.

Here is link if they want to write their thoughts.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Upcoming Events ...



  A. School District of Pickens County Board of Directors Monthly Meeting 

    Monday, February 25, 2019 6:00 PM

    Curtis A. Sidden Admin. Building, 1348 Griffin Mill Road, Easley SC, 29640


  B. Pickens County Republican Party Monthly Meeting 

    Thursday, February 28, 2019 7:00 PM

    Silver Bay Restaurant, Easley, SC 29642


  C. Pickens County Council Monthly Meeting 

    Monday, March 4, 2019 6:30 PM

    Administration Facility, 222 McDaniel Avenue, Pickens, SC 29671


  D. Pickens County School Board District 7 Special Election 

    Tuesday, March 26, 2019 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM

    Cedar Rock, Crescent Hill, Crossroads, Dacusville, Glassy Mountain, Griffin,          Nine Forks, Pumpkintown, Vinland precincts


  E. Pickens County Republican Party Precinct Reorganization 
    Thursday, March 28, 2019 7:00 PM

  United Wesleyan Church, 738 Rice Road, Easley, SC 29640 

     $10 fee and voter registration card required


  F. Pickens County Republican Party County Convention 

    Thursday, April 25, 2019 7:00 PM

    United Wesleyan Church, 738 Rice Road, Easley, SC 29640