Adorable pawns

Unmasking the failure of public education

By Steve Woodward

Parents have begun to accept that their kids can’t breathe in school. Turns out there are a lot of things they can’t do.

They can’t read. They can’t add and subtract. They can’t stop thinking about sex. They can’t reason. They can’t wait for Thanksgiving Day to be over.

In a world turned upside down, educators demand (pretend) that students will be absolutely safe but are not concerned, apparently, that they know absolutely nothing. The dirty little secret has been unmasked. School performance across Moore County for 2020-21, an academic year sacrificed at the hands of hysterical lockdowns, unreliable “virtual” learning and cancellations of everything, went from lackluster to alarming. Thank God, administrators say, consoling themselves, there were fewer runny noses and scraped knees.

The problem, laments longtime Board of Education member Ed Dennison, is that parts of Moore County are occupied by too many “disadvantaged families”. And how does the Moore County school system show it’s compassion? Let us count the ways.

It allocates tens of millions of dollars drawn from a bond referendum to build Taj Mahal schools in Aberdeen, Pinehurst and Southern Pines for the same reason dogs lick their privates — because it can.

(Case in point, courtesy of fiscally focused board member David Hensley, who reported via Facebook last September: The Moore County Board of Education spent $37,875 per student building the new Aberdeen Elementary School. Contrast that with The Academy of Moore County, a charter school and Moore County’s only “A” rated school, (which) spent only $8,333 per student to build (its) new school. Phrased another way, the Moore County Board of Education spent almost FIVE TIMES building a new school (more) than what the county’s only “A” rated school spent.)

(Another Hensley Facebook nugget from last June: At $47,500 per student seat, Pinehurst Elementary is, by far, the most expensive elementary school ever built in the state of North Carolina. Had the previous Board of Education spent the state average of $26,278.43 per student seat for new public school elementary school construction, Moore County could have FIVE new, 800-seat elementary schools, not three.)

Meanwhile, schools in “disadvantaged” north Moore County remain decrepit and in need of innumerable repairs. But even after blowing its wad on south Moore school construction, the school board’s four disciples of Superintendent Bob Grimesey had a chance to do the right thing and take a fiscally sound vote. This could have happened September 22, just last month, when the board decided the time had come, once and for all, to decide what to do with 17 acres formerly occupied by the old Southern Pines Elementary School.

The back and forth on this debate is well known to those who pay attention (never enough, by the way). The board finally voted 4-3 (chair Libby Carter and her three sock puppets) to “sell” the land to a fly-by-night Southern Pines Land Trust for an apprised value of $685,000. The other board members exercised common sense and backed selling the land to a commercial developer at a fair-market price that was projected to come in around $1.5 million .

Never mind that the Land Trust, in collaboration with the Left wing Southern Pines Town Council, stole the land to build a park that will keep west Southern Pines effectively racially segregated. The real gut punch here is the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Moore County schools left on the table to pander to a racially charged cabal without regard for how the additional funds from a private sale would have benefited students across the board. The land belonged to the school system. The board was obligated to sell it to the highest bidder. It betrayed the community.

Carter lamented that she wanted to separate the board from endless forays into the “real estate business” under the false pretense that it is laser-focused on quality education. But that does not square with:

  • A board that twice has voted 4-3 to force kids to be masked all day in classrooms despite overwhelming bodies of evidence that masks are not effective and more than likely pose a mental health threat. Elementary school children especially are distracted and despairing of their filthy masks.
  • A board that is hell bent on ramming down the throats of students so-called Social Emotional Learning and Climate surveys to learn as much as possible about their sexual proclivities, gender insecurities and emotional states. Currently, Moore County schools are surveying parents about the implementation of surveys by a third party, Panorama, a data mining operation backed by Tech tyrant Mark Zuckerberg. What could possibly go wrong?
  • A board on which three members refused to condemn the inclusion of Critical Race Theory in history and social studies curricula. CRT would, for example, condemn Thanksgiving Day as a celebration of the disenfranchisement of native Americans. In other words, “Tell granny you’re sitting out next Thanksgiving.”
  • A board that has refused in recent years to deny Superintendent Grimesey a contract extension amid a downward spiral in school wide performance numbers.

A local sage wisely observed that the Moore County school performance stats are so categorically disappointing that it is impossible to cherry pick them. But three categories shine light on the big picture staring county educators in the face.

  • 55% of third graders are not reading at grade level across Moore County public schools.
  • 49% of all eighth graders are not proficient in reading. (In other words, they probably can not pronounce “proficient” or tell you what it means).
  • In grades three through eight, only 46% of students are performing at grade level in math.

The third rail of public education is the teachers themselves. In Moore County, the time seems ripe to re-evaluate both who is teaching our students and why they’re forsaking them. Let’s not repeat the mistake made in allocating new school funding. Let’s spread the blame around.

Land grab

By Steve Woodward

(Editor’s note: The content of this post reflects the author’s informed opinion and is not necessarily endorsed by the Moore County Republican Party)

The Pilot‘s August 8 editorial presumes to instruct our county board of education on making “the right choice” with regard to the sale of land formerly occupied by Southern Pines Primary School. Allow me to interject that “the right choice” would have been to do some research on the topic.

For if one does not choose to conclude that the editorial begins with a false assertion and an erroneous claim, the only other conclusion is that the writer is lying in order to make a racially charged argument for the Land Trust’s proposed land grab.

To wit, the opening of paragraph five: “The rules are complicated, but the school board is not obligated to take the highest bid. It can accept the lesser offer if it deems it to be in the best interest of the community.”

To the contrary, the rules certainly are not complicated, while the board certainly is obligated to accept the highest bid for the 17-acre parcel. These are plainly cited by a state general statute and by the state’s constitution. In other words, law dictates what the board must do. A few examples. First, “local school boards have statutory authority … to own, purchase, and sell real property.” And, as one sales option, “bids are solicited and received at one time and opened publicly, and the highest responsive offer is conveyed to the school board.” 

But, but … what about the section allowing non-competitive sales to a non-profit or a trust seeking land owed to its “cultural, historical, natural or scenic significance”? The statute addresses this plainly. “The exception listed above is discretionary, not mandatory.” Which leads to the constitutional authority granted school boards to dismiss low bids. This is hiding in plain sight in Article 9, which holds that the constitution prohibits “school boards from donating real property or selling it for less than its fair market value” unless another school would be built on the land. 

The Land Trust’s plan for the land includes “affordable housing for minority teachers”, along with a museum, an outdoor learning lab and “entrepreneurial opportunities” (black-owned businesses, in other words). Thus, this pandering editorial begins with falsehoods and goes on to advocate for converting the land into “a mixed-use hub … focused on serving its historically black community.” 

The Pilot’s “right choice” envisions a permanently segregated Southern Pines. That’s a false choice. The board’s only choice is to comply with the law and the North Carolina Constitution, sell to the highest bidder and allocate a projected $1.5 million in proceeds across all of Moore County’s structurally deteriorating schools.   

Afraid of freedom

By Steve Woodward

The Left is mounting a new surge in the war on freedom. First, China unleashed a manageable virus that the Left declared a pandemic that would slaughter civilization. More than a year later, the Left has unleashed a “variant” of the deadly manageable virus. Their compliant foot soldiers are donning masks and trembling yet again. It’s like old times.

Once again, as Americans, as Constitutionalist Conservative Republicans, we have a choice to make. Do we comply with Lockdown 2.0? Do we torture school children with mask wearing to signal only virtue (certainly not to signal common sense or scientific guidance)? Do we surrender?

A time will come.

Or, do we anchor ourselves in God given, inalienable rights. We’ve talked about this, taken it for granted all of our lives. Do we believe it? Do we truly believe we are granted life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and are we willing to fight for it? Philosophically, some certainly are willing.

But that’s not going to be enough if this Leftist surge persists. We will need to have the courage to raise our voices, to hold elected “leaders” to account, to use all legal remedies at our disposal, and to remove our children from schools that see them as little more than pawns.

On Monday afternoon the Moore County Board of Education convened a regularly scheduled business meeting during which it debated on its mask policy for students and teachers when school begins. A vote was deferred to Aug. 9. The same board voted in July to reject attempts by Gov. Roy Cooper to extend mask mandates when children return to school. But that was before the almighty Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a new edict: masks for the vaccinated; masks for children; and masks for everybody else. Let the good times roll. Can we form an organization to control the most dangerous disease? The CDC.

The Moore school board’s Leftists (there are four) undoubtedly have taken a Kool-Aid bath in a taxpayer funded hot tub (pardon the imagery) and are ready to reverse course on masks. The new Pinehurst Elementary School lobby logo proclaims that it is in the “business of play”. But this school board’s leadership is in the business of playing all of us. Comments during Monday’s board meeting confirmed a bias toward masking children regardless of consequences, psychological or otherwise.

The more sinister Monday agenda item was brought to us by chair (Queen) Elizabeth Carter, and Stacey Caldwell, who is woke, shook and otherwise over the legal limit for Kool-Aid consumption. The board was expected to consider, and I quote, “limitation on length of commentaries … by individual board members (the traumatizing trio elected in November 2020),” and, “enforcement of the net 60-minute restriction on time allotted for public comment.” However, Carter permitted little discussion before proclaiming that she would enforce the 60-minute limit (because it already is on the books) beginning Aug. 9, while moving the meeting to a large auditorium at Union Pines High School. The logic is mystifying. Encourage more public attendance but cut off comments on a hard stop.

Mask the children. Mute the board members who are not welcome in the hot tub. Muzzle the public because all of the eye rolling is really bad for the optical health of the Carter Four.

Let us return to where we started. What will we do in the 61st minute?

Dangerous nationalism

By Steve Woodward


The history of disingenuous editorials published by The Pilot‘s editorial board (which can fit in a golf cart) is a long and checkered one. Note we did not elude to a SmartCar.


A recent July 24 screed dismissing the war on hijacking public education — particularly in the realm of American history — seems to have sunk the paper’s editorial standards to new depths. The intensity of wrist-ringing must have a necessitated calling on a team of physical therapists.

“If you’ve fallen behind the ‘radical leftists’ or the ‘racist right wing nuts,’ you’ve left no room for a rational and critically important discussion about race, American history and how it should be taught to our children,” scolds the author.

The editorial addresses a recent 6-1 Moore County school board vote to reject race-based curricula. The Pilot says it’s fine with this outcome because it never quite understood what all the fuss was about. You know, because … racism! It’s systemic. Who doesn’t know that?


In fact, this probably explains why the editorial crescendos with a cautionary note suggesting too much objectivity in the classroom might send this debate back to square one someday. There is, after all, “danger” if the citizenry holds (or, clings to, to quote the unifier Barack Obama) a presumption of American exceptionalism. Can’t be teaching that to kids.

If, however, the board’s policy is “used to sanitize, gag or in any other way hinder teachers from presenting a fair, honest and sober assessment of this nation’s history with race, then we will be one step closer to a dangerous nationalism (emphasis added) and an agenda that cultivates an unnatural exceptionalism (emphasis added).”

In other words, you racist right wing nuts have been given fair warning by the radical leftists, who reside down the middle in the Pilot’s newsroom.

Turned to ashes

By Steve Woodward

“Progressives think that hating not only (Donald) Trump but all conservatives settles their debts and cleanses them of sin,” writes Lance Morrow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “It gives them a certain moral luster.”

But Morrow does not go so far as to dismiss their hatred as off-the-rails hysteria. Like many who never became comfortable with Trump’s ascendency to the White House, who were quick to cringe over a Rosie O’Donnell tweet but slow to celebrate a policy triumph, he gives progressives something of the benefit of the doubt.

“Whatever else one may say about Jan. 6, it was one of the stupidest afternoons in American history,” Morrow writes. “(Four centuries ago) Russia’s new (religious) orthodoxy eventually burned the archpriest (patron of the ‘old believers’) at the stake. The 21st-century left would do the same to Mr. Trump if it could. It may not be necessary. He’s a burnt-out case, an exhausted volcano, in Disraeli’s phrase. Let Palm Beach have him.”

This is where Morrow misses the source of the anger that sent thousands to Washington two months after the curious developments surrounding the Nov. 3, 2020, election. Their swarming of our Nation’s Capital never was driven by Trump’s “rhetoric”, the central talking point of the Left serving media. These were patriots, not zombies. It was fueled entirely by the many cases of voter fraud that were mounting ahead of and during Georgia’s Jan. 5 special elections for U.S. Senate seats (cases which in Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania are being fortified by audits and investigations).

Nevertheless, the stupidity to which Mr. Morrow eludes in his June 18 Wall Street Journal op-ed, “America’s Old Believers Need to Move Past Donald Trump”, I would acknowledge could be properly assigned to those massive throngs gathered on and near The Ellipse on January 6. 

Why might I agree with Mr. Morrow’s harsh criticism? Because many – including myself — did not layer adequately to protect themselves from bone-chilling, gusty winds as President Trump spoke. Quite stupid, for sure. Thus, plans to parade to the U.S. Capitol were scrapped in the name of practical concerns such as warmth and restrooms. It is a shame. Had thousands more trekked to the Capitol to assemble and hear from speakers – as was the intent by organizers – the contrast between militants assigned to “storm” the building and the rest of the assembled would have been even more stark. It would have been quite obvious that the vast majority had come to rally peacefully and to display unity.

But if we give credence to Mr. Morrow’s conclusion, that some of these acted stupidly, how then do we characterize the Marxist rioters, looters, arsonists and murderers who devastated American cities across a long violent summer of 2020? Are theirs the actions of merely stupid, misguided youth? While the Trump era certainly is not reduced, as Mr. Morrow contends, to smoldering embers; the burnt-out small businesses, restaurants and public squares of urban America are today boarded-up, vandalized memories, ashes scattered to the winds.