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Friday, October 14, 2022

Speakers for October 20th COTU Monthly Meeting Focused on Education

 We have an exciting line up of speakers focusing on education at our Thursday, October 20th, 7 PM meeting of Conservatives of the Upstate to be held at Cafe' Connections, 319 E. Main Street, downtown Pickens, SC 29671. You won't want to miss this one. 

Come out and learn about what YOU can do to help solve the wrong turns going on in our tax supported school system!

Come to hear what school board candidate Brad Dover and Moms 4 Liberty leader Heather Mitchell have to say and ask your questions!

Bring a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a fellow church member and share this on your social media posts!

See you there! Thursday, Oct 20th, 7 PM, Cafe' Connections! 

Testimonies to Legislative Committee on Children


Today is the deadline for submitting testimony to the Joint Citizen & Legislative Committee on Children. 

Please email this important committee about your concerns over public supported education of children at the following address: 

Their website is

Below are 3 emails that have been sent to this committee that you may want to read as well as share with anyone else who needs to be encouraged to write their own personal thoughts to these legislators who serve on this committee. Lord knows...they need guidance from WE THE PEOPLE.

Email #1 

Dear Committee Members:

I am gravely concerned at the perverting, indoctrinating and dumbing down of our children in SC public schools (and throughout our country).  Test scores for math and reading are dropping significantly.  Educators are trading traditional, classical education for political and social indoctrination.  Teachers are getting instruction and guidance from the state as well as from the federal department of education which promote and encourage instruction in Critical Race Theory, Critical Gender Theory, LGBTQ studies, and social activism.  But blindly following orders from above without considering the irreparable harm to our children and our country that will likely ensue is wrong, lacking in integrity, and quite honestly, criminal, as Nazi soldiers found out during the Nuremburg trials.  Even more importantly than what the Nuremburg court said, those who are entrusted to care for our children should listen to what Matthew 18:6 has to say: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

CRT is a perversion of history and promotes hate and division (see attached Power Point Presentation that I created and used to help have the book, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You removed from use and all shelves in School District Pickens County, SDPC).  I sounded a call to action in Pickens County against the use of this book which has no place in any reputable educational institution.  I was overwhelmed at the response I received from all over the state of SC.  Parents are waking up, standing up and speaking up.  Together, We the Parents fought to remove this book from our school district and won. These are our children.  Parents have the God-given responsibility to raise them, protect them (their minds, bodies and souls), and oversee every aspect of their education. 

We want SC and USA students to be able to compete globally while promoting national self-sufficiency in all requisite areas.  We need to invest now in necessary changes in our educational system to prepare the next generation for these challenges.  On the international PISA tests of student achievements, at age 15, the US falls between 17th and 31st out of 65 countries.  According to these PISA tests, the world’s top performing educational systems are Singapore, Finland, and Canada.   The US ranks behind Singapore, China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia in a 2019 Trends in International and Mathematics Science Study. (1)  Another ranking to be aware of is that SC ranks 43 out of the 50 United States.  In order to compete globally and to become more of a self-sufficient country, education needs to focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).  We need to decrease or even eliminate our dependence on other countries for essential goods we can manufacture at home.  STEM proficiency for the US has been declining since the 1980’s.  A recent study shows that non-STEM entry level careers have a median annual wage of $38,160 and STEM entry level careers have a median annual wage of $86,980.  Education should also prepare students in areas of economics and global trends, manufacturing, domestic energy production, capital sourcing, human resource management, health/medical careers, law, farming/domestic food production, psychology, and trades, to name a handful of useful, meaningful and needed services.  STEM (and the other topics listed) will serve each student and our community, as a whole much more effectively and productively than wasting precious time and resources teaching CRT, SEL, DEI, and LGBTQ studies while turning the next generation into political, social justice warriors. 

We are entering into some very uncertain times with a war waging between Ukraine and Russia while Russia threatens use of nuclear weapons.  There is a threat of mass starvation heading into the fall and next year as fertilizer needed to grow sufficient crops is not being produced in adequate amounts due to the rising cost of natural gas, needed to produce fertilizer.  Other forms of energy are in short supply and at significantly inflated prices which is causing hardships around the world, with many Europeans expected to freeze to death this winter as they will not be able to heat their homes. 

Our country, as well as the rest of the world, is facing very serious and potentially disastrous challenges most of today’s citizens have never experienced.  But I guess we can all sleep easier at night knowing that our children have been taught to hate our country and its founders, to hate each other because of their skin color, and that they can be any of 52 genders they choose to be.

If this sounds absurd to you, then please rid our schools of harmful, indoctrinating, perverted materials.  Insist that our children receive a high level, classical education that will allow the next generation to be successful and secure the future of our country.  Let South Carolina lead the way.  Let’s put South Carolina at the top of the list for quality education rather than remaining at the bottom. 


Mother of three teenagers

School District Pickens County

Email #2 

Dear Committee Members:

We are experiencing an unprecedented crisis with our schools – a crisis of trust. Over the last decade or more, public schools and those who run them have squandered whatever trust parents had in the system. How did this happen and what’s going on?

All we have to do is look at what’s happening in our classrooms. Here are just a few examples:

·         Pickens Middle School recently held race-segregated lunch sessions. According to the school principal, this was done to “help students cope being in a predominantly white school.”

·         The 2022 SC Teacher of the Year, which many of you proudly paraded around the Statehouse, is busy bragging on Twitter: “We about to get real disruptive in English class this year. My kiddos will be analyzing privilege and oppression with an anti-racist framework. Critical consciousness is about to be a 10. We have to attack systemic racism – my activism is in the classroom.”  Activism? In the classroom?

·         The book Stamped, by Ibram Kendi – the “anti-racist” guru – is in most public schools, and being assigned in English classes. The book is an endless, and rather racist rant, largely distorting and fabricating history. Here are some quotes:

o   “…the only thing extraordinary about white people is that they think something is extraordinary about white people.”

o   “Racist ideas …were born in Western Europe in the mid-1400s.” Really? Racism did not exist in ancient Egypt, Athens, or Rome?

o   “…using words [like] minority, as if black people are minor, mak[e] white people major.” I would expect this kind of infantile logic from a four-year-old, not from an adult author.

The writer says his book is not a history book, so by his own admission it has no historical value. Then what literary value does it have that it’s assigned in English class? And what books are teachers removing to make room for this nonsense? Shakespeare, Orwell, Dostoevsky? But if parents dare to ask the question, the response is, “Trust us – we’re expert educators.”

·         Charleston’s curriculum openly calls for “advocating for change,” how to be a “good agitator,” and a unit on doing a “library race and gender diversity audit” where students fill out a spreadsheet classifying authors by skin color and the content of their…pants!

·         A teacher in Mt Pleasant showed his class how to do a privilege walk – an exercise of lining up people to compare their so-called privileges and shaming them.

·         On James Island, students are shown videos explaining white privilege and then writing papers about systemic oppression and defending riots.

·         Richland School District 2 took to Facebook pushing queer theory and gender ideology, explaining non-binary pronouns, gender multiplicity, and promoting videos on, a website specializing in packaging sexualized content and queer theory for young children.

·         Teachers are being brainwashed through staff trainings with seminars like: “Unpacking White Privilege,” “Becoming a Revolutionary Educator,” and being instructed about oppression matrixes. Teachers have sent me screenshots of daily prompts they receive from administrators for using in class, like, “Decentering Whiteness,” and “Fostering Racial Resiliency.”

·         York County schools and throughout the State, stock and promote books for children with adult content and pornographic scenes. Here’s an excerpt from All Boys Aren’t Blue – “He reached his hand down and pulled out my d*ck. He quickly went giving me head.” Pornography and pedophilia for 12-year-olds, why not? Some books have actual cartoon images of sex acts. Books given to kindergarteners teach them they can pick their own gender. Do you even let your 5-year-old pick their own food for lunch? “But hey,” we are told, “we’re trained librarians and media specialists – trust us.”

·         An activist school counselor testified at the Statehouse recently that she regularly has confidential discussions with students about their gender identity and sexuality. “Don’t like wearing dresses or playing with other girls? Well, you may be queer or trans, and here’s a nice book and a website that tells you all about it. Oh, and don’t tell your parents about any of this.”

·         With SEL (Social Emotional Learning), children are being subjected to emotional therapy and psychological interventions – in front of their classmates and by teachers with just a few hours of training on the subject. Any seasoned child psychologist will tell you: you’re playing with fire – you need to really know what the hell you’re doing lest you screw up that kid. CASEL, the provider of most SEL programs, says SEL is a “lever for equity,” “awareness of racial, classed, and gender identities,” “collective agency,” and “distributive justice.” Is that what we’re sending little Susie to learn in school? SEL also scores and tracks your child, building a permanent social record. “How’s Susie doing with social awareness of systemic inequities? Does she exhibit the correct values? Hmm?”

·         Combine this with data mining gathered through student surveys, like Panorama, that pry into family life: “Oh, Johnny doesn’t have enough diverse friends? His parents don’t talk enough about race at dinnertime. — Flag him as a potential bigot! We’ll have to keep our eyes on this one.”

“But don’t worry,” we’re told, “this is for their own good – we’re the experts. Trust us.”

How many of you are aware of all this? Would you trust these schools with your child? And if you do know what’s going on, then why are you allowing this to be done to other children?

Since when have schools become our children’s legal guardians, moralists, therapists, sex coaches, doctors, confidantes?

Our school system has been hijacked; hijacked by social activists from top to bottom, and their mission is not to teach academics, or art, history, science, or mathematics, but to turn children into agents of change to advance their social justice agenda. Look at any mission statement from any teacher’s college and that’s what you’ll see. Don’t believe me? The ASCD – a teachers’ organization providing curricula and teacher training in all 50 states – proudly says the following on its webpage:

“As educators, there is much we can do to help students meaningfully pursue a passion for social change. The English Language Arts classroom is an ideal place to do that. ELA teachers … can build a classroom culture that empowers students to be great change agents.”

Change agents? Is that what school is for?

In case you’re not aware, the social activists that have infested our schools are part of a multi-billion-dollar industry. And they come to speak with committees like yours to peddle their garbage and play you for fools. Most parents are now seeing right through these lies; I truly hope you are too.

How many children are we willing to sacrifice to this toxic ideology? This very costly and dangerous experiment on our children has failed everywhere it’s been tried, at every school. By all measures, students are now doing worse, not better. Academics, behavior, standardized testing, even student and teacher satisfaction have suffered, everywhere. Edina Schools in Minnesota – one of the top performing school districts there and in the nation -- went fully woke in 2017, the result: all students did worse, and black and Hispanic students – the supposed beneficiaries of this agenda -- did worst of all. Edina Schools dropped from 5th place in reading proficiency to 29th, and from 10th place in math proficiency to 40th place in the state. In a once coveted school system, the result of the woke agenda is that now one in five students can’t read at grade level, and one-third can’t do grade-level math. Meanwhile, at nearby school districts that did not adopt the woke agenda, reading and math proficiency went up during the same years.

Enough already. It’s high time for the adults – and you are supposed to be the adults – to call bullsh*t on this scam. To purge our schools of this malignant infestation of activism and indoctrination and return schools to their once respected and trusted role of teaching academics. And if you don’t put an end to this, the parents with the ability to pull their children out of public schools will. And who will be left for the activists to indoctrinate? The truly poor and downtrodden, who don’t need it, and don’t want it, but who will remain trapped there.

This is the crisis of trust that you must reverse, starting right now.


 South Carolina Parent

Summerville, SC

Email # 3

Dear SC Committee on Children,

My name is Johnnelle Raines, and I was unable to attend the hearing in Greenville this past week but wanted to share what I would have shared with you.

I am a veteran first grade teacher with 30 years' experience teaching in the NC Public School System. I also have a master's degree in Early Childhood Education. I have been very active since retiring trying to educate the public and elected leaders on my concerns about how important our adopted standards are and what impact they have on what teachers are teaching children.

Our present adopted SC College/Career Ready Standards are failing students due to the fact they are over 90% in line with the failed Common Core Standards. Our own Educational Oversight Committee confirmed the fact that our present standards are over 90% in line with Common Core.

In my opinion, we must give local school districts the ability to adopt Traditional/Classical Standards. At present, all of our standardized testing is aligned to the Common Core Standards and therefore we have not escaped the failure of these inadequate standards that teachers use to develop their lesson plans and set their curriculum.

I propose legislation be developed as soon as possible to allow individual local school districts to opt out of these SC College Career Standards and return to Traditional/Classical Standards. If the US Dept of Education won't let the states opt out of these in line with common core standards, then it is imperative we challenge that and if need be quit accepting Federal Funding from them. As you know, education should be entirely left to each individual state with no pressure from the Federal Government. Our US Constitution clearly leaves education as a state's rights issue.

It is my firm belief that nothing we do will improve education until we address the fact that the present standards that teachers are using to teach by are a root cause of this failure we are seeing in children's educational outcomes.

Before Common Core Standards were pressured on the states, Massachusetts had quality Traditional/Classical Standards in place, and I think we should revisit those standards and give our local school districts the ability to adopt standards that do not lend themselves to teachers being able to indoctrinate students to a certain political ideology. 

A return to a basic, classical education is so needed now. These in line with Common Core Standards we have in place have just caused more divisiveness as they pretty much allow a teacher to teach ANYTHING they want to teach by justifying quoting the standards in place. 

Teachers need more guidance in what is age-appropriate curriculum and what is not. They need more guidance in what the difference between indoctrination is and what is education. 

Classroom teachers are not trained psychologists or social workers or counselors and should not be forced to accept the responsibility of tending to a child's Social Emotional Learning. A return to basic teaching is so very needed. 

Please consider focusing on legislation to allow individual school districts the freedom to choose quality Traditional/ Classical Standards as opposed to forcing them to teach from standards that are in line with Common Core.

Thank you,
Johnnelle Raines

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Banning a Book or Discernment in Choosing?


Dear Editor,

There’s a big difference between banning a book from being used as a lesson plan as part of the curriculum in a tax supported public school and banning a book from being read by citizens at home. 

NOT ALL BOOKS HAVE "appropriate educational value"… and that’s why the public's discernment as well as our elected leader's discernment is needed in making decisions about whether a book should be used in our tax supported public school system.

Lots of books don’t end up in a teacher’s lesson plans… does that mean the teacher has banned them? No, of course not, it just means the teacher has chosen a book for a reason. The teacher thinks the book is appropriate for her students and she can justify its use by searching the SC College Career Ready Standards. Here's an example of a kindergarten standard in our SC schools:

Standard 2.1 English Language Arts...  "With guidance and support, engage in daily explorations of texts to make connections to personal experiences, other texts, or the environment."

Clearly, this standard leaves the door open for a teacher to read ANY book they choose. This is the crux of the problem. The teacher values the book she has chosen. The teacher’s reason for choosing that book may or may not be an appropriate reason. That’s why we cannot just allow ANY book to be chosen to include in a teacher’s lesson plans. Just because a publisher published the book, doesn’t mean it is educational worthy for children or age appropriate.

Even textbooks go through state and local review committees. Some textbooks are chosen to be purchased with tax dollars; some are not. But that doesn’t mean the ones not chosen are banned. Libraries choose books to purchase and put on their shelves, but some are not chosen to be bought, but that doesn’t mean the other books are banned. 

We must judge and discern for underage children as they certainly don’t have the maturity to do so by themselves. Adults have to make those decisions and adults must demand accountability about the books placed before children. Parents have a right to direct their child's education. And if enough parents agree that the book does not meet their discernment requirements, then it should rightly be removed from the curriculum but not banned from a parent to choose to read to their child at home.

What if the community as a whole doesn’t think a book is appropriate? What if the book actually violates a law in place? Shouldn’t a community be able to judge whether or not that book has educational and moral value? Shouldn’t the duly elected School Board vote on whether or not the book should remain in the curriculum? 

Are you really fine with just letting one teacher decide on their own judgement which books to use? 

When a teacher “highlights” a book for their lesson plan, children automatically assume the book has value and importance and they too should value it and use it as a source of wisdom.  Children look to their teachers as their source of knowledge. So, when a teacher assigns a book or reads a book aloud during story time a child instinctively places importance on that book.

Some books are written to educate, and some quite frankly are written to inculcate and indoctrinate.  Removing books that have no real proper educational or moral value from being used in a classroom is well within the rights of local school board to do. 

If there’s a book you want your child to read at home… no one is telling you that you can’t. WE are not "banning" it from you, we are just simply saying it doesn't meet the expectations of being considered for use in our tax supported public schools.

There are guidelines for proper attire in a classroom for a reason… there should also be rules for proper books being used in a teacher’s lesson plans. 

Discernment is so needed in today's society. NOT ALL BOOKS are "appropriate" for meeting educational and moral standards.

written by Johnnelle Raines