Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Shepherds, Not Engineers
Sunday, May 28, 2023
ICYMI: Memorial Day Weekend 2023 Edition (5/28)
Friday, May 26, 2023
FL: The Prequel To Moms For Liberty Is Resurrecting Itself
|Out of the swamp it comes|
This particular Facebook post has since been removed, but it seems to capture Frost's special je ne sais quoi. I can personally attest to his feisty engagement style on social media. And lots of other folks have screen shots. He's pretty awful.
In 2014, Frost went after a seat on the Indian River County School Board. Not just any seat--the seat of the then-head of FSBA. He wanted this seat, badly enough to leave his wife and children back in their home at Vero Beach, FL (the one he would use for FSCBM incorporation), and move into a room above his parents' garage to meet the residency requirements (all of this was hashed out in court, ultimately in Frost's favor).
Shawn Frost graduated from Eastern Oregon University in 2006 with a BS in Experimental Psychology and a minor in philosophy. Then he picked up an MBA from Florida's Nova Southeastern University (website text- "Prepare To Dominate") and then he taught high school science for just two years at Sebastian River High School, a high-rated IBS school. There he did things like "leveraged personal network to create 'wow factor' learning experiences" and "conducted customer focus groups and survey research on student motivators and created a 'meritocracy based' incentives program." And then he got out of the classroom and back into corporate marketing work. He's also a senior strategy consultant with MVP Strategy and Policy, a group that specializes in helping with school board races. Frost once taught a class based on The Art of War. I find no evidence that he was TFA, but he certainly fits the profile, and he does love to say that he was a classroom teacher (without mentioning that his "career" lasted two years. Frost has been (according to Facebook) a marine, a science teacher, and a senior project manager at EFront, a software learning management system. And according to that ExcelinEd piece,, he works with business start-ups.
How did this guy win a school board race for a district in which he didn't actually live?
With some pricey help. Here's how the Indian River Guardian reported on the race:
Frost, a newcomer to local politics with some questionable residency qualifications, (See: Frost says he is living in garage apartment at his father’s house in District 1), defeated Brombach 54 percent to 46 percent. In addition to being helped by local, though nationally funded, attacks on Brombach, Frost was helped by a flood of additional attack mailers, all paid for by the Florida Federation for Children. More outside help came from individual contributors to Frost’s campaign. Some two thirds of the direct contributions to Frost’s campaign were from out-of-state donors. In the reporting period ending August 18, Frost raised $6,340, $5,500 from out of state contributors, including several described as “venture capitalists.”
Then came the launch of FCSBM. In 2017, Frost announced that he would not seek another term on the school board-- because he has bigger targets in mind-- he wanted to be appointed to the state Board of Education.
That didn't happen, but Frost kept plugging away. He ran for vice-chair of the Florida GOP at the same time that Christian Ziegler (husband of Bridget) ran for chair. Ziegler won; Frost did not. He kept pushing the same issues. He was the campaign manager for the 2020 Congressional run of Erika Donalds' husband.
“I serve a big God and am blessed to be in a position to give back, but it really isn’t giving back because all of the money is God’s, all of the titles and power are God’s, all of the glory should go to God,” he said.
“I am fortunate to have a front-row seat to history and simply want to do my part to serve my Country, the Free State of Florida, and the Republican Party. I work for free, I work for God, and I always have enough.”
Bridget Ziegler. Ziegler squeaked out a victory for Sarasota School Board in 2018. Ron DeSantis thinks she's swell. And she's married to Christian Ziegler, who decided in mid-2022 not to run for re-election to a county commissioner seat because he'll be busy helping his wife and DeSantis each run their own campaigns (that and new rules that would have made it harder for him to win).
Christian Ziegler told the Washington Post that he has been "trying for 20- and 30-year old females involved with the Republican Party, and it was a heavy lift to get that demographic. But now Moms for Liberty has done it for me." That was in October of 2021, when Ziegler's involvement had gone quiet; Tim Craig at WaPo reported that Ziegler's wife was "loosely" connected to Moms For Livberty--not that she was a co-founder of this group that emerged to accomplish just what Ziegler had long searched for a tool to accomplish.
Christian Ziegler's Microtargeted Media ("We do digital and go after people on their phones") was a big player in the 2020 Florida race, on the ground for Trump and other GOP candidates. He pulled in $300K from a Trump-related PAC. He was once a Heritage Foundation Fellow. He's buddies with Corey Lewandowski. He appears to be behind the Protect Wyoming Values PAC (a Trump anti-Liz Cheney proxy), Governor Kristi Noem's election integrity website, and a bunch of other conservative Trump-backing websites. He was at Trump's January 6 rally.
And in February, after had been "effectively... campaigning for the job for years," Christian Ziegler was elected Florida's GOP party chair. Meanwhile, Bridget Ziegler is helping the right-wing Leadership Institute train school board candidates nationally.
“One thing that’s different is that we are not attacking the FSBA, we don’t ask our members to decide between the two,” said Frost, a former CEO and past president of the Coalition. “We just want to support growing our members’ leadership abilities and connections so that they can stand together and fight for our shared core values.”
“I love that they are unapologetically conservative and put it right there in the name,” said Donalds, who led the collective bargaining training. “I’m excited to see what this group accomplishes.”
In February, they announced an intention to hold more events in March and April. They don't have a website (they've got an address hosted by kartra, but nothing there), but they do have a Facebook page, currently with six posts. From those we can see that the group has five or six members, that they attended the DeSantis Freedom Blueprint Summit, that they once got their picture taken with Manny Diaz, and that they got some training on "education freedom" from Erika Donalds and John Kirtley--all of that posted on April 28.
It's always possible that FCCSBM is just doing all sorts of stuff under the radar, but they haven't had a stirred a single online ripple since their big launch.
Thursday, May 25, 2023
Good night, Mr. Big
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Do Vouchers Make Babies?
|I'm here for the vouchers|
Access to childcare that meets parents’ preferences and needs can increase the chances that would-be parents choose life over abortion and can help to enable couples to have the number of children they desire.
Married couples may also delay having children over concerns about the quality of elementary and secondary schools that would be available to them.
Teaching Students the Success Sequence in School
One can sympathize with borrowers who were given the impression by guidance counselors, the elite media, and government actors that their only way to climb the ladder of upward economic mobility was by attending a brick-and-mortar college to obtain a bachelor’s degree and to delay marriage until they fully establish themselves in the workforce.
Lower-Cost, More Effective Education and Workforce Development
Recommendations for State and Federal Policymakers
Monday, May 22, 2023
Available To All: Same Old Crew, New Wrapper
Every year thousands of American kids are unfairly or illegally turned away from public schools. Hear their stories and how we are fighting back on their behalf.
That's the top line at the site for Available To All, a new (sort of) outfit founded (maybe) and headed up by Tim DeRoche, author of A Fine Line: How Most American Kids Are Kept Out of the Best Public Schools.' DeRoche started out at McKinsey, then spent some time in the investment world before spending 20 years as an independent business consultant. Along the way he wrote a best-selling retelling of Huck Finn and produced/wrote a PBS kids science series (Grampa's Garage)
A Fine Line came out in 2020, and was praised soundly by Tony Miller (former Deputy Secretary of Education under Barack Obama), Lester Hiner (EdChoice), Gregory McGinty (Broad Foundation), Mona Davids (founder NYC Parents Union) and Corey DeAngelis (choice cheerleader for hire). DeRoche spent five years researching and collecting stories for the book, which hits on many of the themes that we find in ATA, in particular focusing on educational redlining, the practice of drawing lines so that districts include the Right Students. That can include old district lines and the modern practice of seceding from a district, what I once called white flight without the actual flight.
When exactly was Available To All born? That's a bit fuzzy. The Internet Archive Wayback Machine finds a version of the site in November of 2021. Same text as current front page, different design, no links to other pages, and an invitation to "Sign up now for updates as we move toward our launch in early 2022." In August of 2022, the archive finds the familiar front page, but none of the inside pages show up at that time. On his LinkedIn profile, DeRoche dates his founding of ATA from January of 2023, by March the inside pages show up, and on his LinkedIn page, DeRoche posts "Today we launch Available To All" and says he'll be suspending his consulting biz to run it.
Characterizing itself as a "watchdog group" (and not, say, a PR operation or a website), The ATA position is pretty simple:Our mission is to ensure the public schools are available to all on equal terms, as promised by the Supreme Court. Public schools of all types--traditional, charter, magnet--should have admission policies that are simple, fair and transparent. We believe it is vital for our social contract that the best public schools be accessible to families of all backgrounds.
Sunday, May 21, 2023
Moms For Liberty and the LGBTQ Conspiracy
Hats off to Elle Reeve, who in her coverage of the Colorado struggle between Moms For Liberty and the folks standing up to them, elicited this exchange with M4L chapter president Darcy Schoening:
Reeve: What I feel like you're strongly implying, and I'd like to get your take on it 'cause I don't want to attribute something that you don't think. But to me it sounds like you're saying there's some kind of high level coordinated effort to make more children trans and gay--
Schoening: Sure there is. Yes.
Reeve: Well, who's directing that?
Schoening: Teachers' unions, and, um, our President and a lot of funding sources, and teachers unions are also heavily backing the curriculum that we're bringing into schools.
Reeve: Why would they want more kids to be gay and trans?
Schoening: Because it breaks down the family unit which breaks down traditional conservative values. It breaks down a lot of things in this country. It changes the way that people think, it changes the way that people handle politics.
Reeve (in added voice over narration): Of course, there's no evidence of a coordinated plot to make kids trans.
Reeve goes on to ask Schoening if that doesn't sound like a conspiracy theory, and Schoening pivots to saying that it's not a conspiracy theory that the state and federal government are trying to take "a stronger and stronger hand" in public education and "raising out kids." She goes on to say that it's a "mischaracterization" to say that she thinks these people want everyone to be gay. "The people who want to erode away parental rights-- the left, the teachers unions-- they'll use LGBTQ or whatever may be the case at the time" as just "tools" to "erode away" at parental rights.
It's as good an encapsulation as you'll find of this particular viewpoint. First, the foundational belief is that nobody is born LGBTQ; therefor, all LGBTQ persons were "recruited" or tricked into turning LGBTQ. It's not an unusual belief; I taught with someone for years who was certain that high school girls only pretend to be lesbians for attention. And while there's no doubt that some students experiment with sexual orientation and gender identity like they experiment with hairdos, the evidence that LGBTQ is not a "lifestyle" choice is so overwhelming that I wouldn't know where to begin, other than if you've ever sat with a teen struggling with all the issues that come from discovering that they're LGBTQ in a cis straight world, you would not imagine for a second that this was something they chose, on purpose.
But if someone starts with the assumption that LGBTQ is a choice, then one next has to ask why. The anti-LGBTQ crowd of course deduces that part of the recruiting is about recruiting partners, a seduction of the innocent (a charge and a 1954 book by Fredric Wertham that charged that comic books were, among other things, pushing homosexuality).
Then you get the explanation offered here--that turning kids LGBTQ is about disrupting traditional conservative values as a way of amassing political power. This parallels the similar argument about racism stuff; all racial issues in this country were solved around 1964, so anyone still bringing it up is just creating a fake issue as a way of gaining political power.
If you believe that every accusation is a confession, then what we have here is a confession that the M4L crowd is simply working parentals rights and LGBTQ issues to gain some political clout.
Perhaps this is the place to mention that Schoening, in addition to the M4L gig, used to be a member of the Monument Board of Trustees (by appointment), in which position she leaked privileged information. Last year she announced a run as a super-conservative for the Colorado House of Representatives (though it does not appear to have actually happened, nor did she win re-election to the Monument board).
If M4L is in the business of defending the traditional family, I'd expect to hear about their opposition to divorce, Maybe there's another part of the interview in which Schoening expresses her disapproval of Colorado Rep Lauren Boebert's filing for divorce. Still, folks on the right are working to apparently poised to attack no fault divorce, so I guess we're on that. Personally, I like the conservative argument for same sex marriage, which sees it as LGBTQ persons buying in to the traditional family idea.
Meanwhile, Schoening's theory fails to account for the fact that the most teachers are, in fact, parents themselves. About half currently have children at home, while the vast majority of the rest have children who have grown. How is it that all these parents are backing an anti-parent conspiracy?
CNN's Elle Reeve: "It seems like you think there’s some high-level, coordinated effort to make more children trans and gay.— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) May 20, 2023
Moms for Liberty: "Yep."
Reeve: Who's doing that?
MFL: Teachers unions, Biden, money.
Reeve: "Why would they want more children to be gay and trans?" pic.twitter.com/JZKRucE4nh