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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tell Dr. Rock to "pound sand” by voting "NO" on the 5/8/12 bond request

I spoke at the end of the 4/23/12 Clarkston School Board meeting, providing reasons for people to vote no on the 5/8/12 $20 million school bond.  At the beginning of the meeting, there were a mixture of people who spoke about the bond during public comment regarding the bond - both for and against it. 
There are many reasons why I am against this bond, but I only had my allotted two minutes.  
I was not able to finish all of my comments.  See here for my prepared comments at the board meeting. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

"Clarkston school board treasurer can’t legally claim two primary homes", 4/20/12 Oakland Press article

"Clarkston school board treasurer can’t legally claim two primary homes"

It is illegal for a married couple to claim two homesteads, or places of residency, when they both only live in one of the homes.

Clarkston Board of Education Treasurer Steve Hyer found this out the hard way.

Springfield Township Deputy Treasurer Karen Binasio said the township sent Hyer a letter informing Hyer that he cannot claim two homesteads. Hyer then rescinded the homestead status on his Bluewater condo on Feb. 6 of this year.

Binasio said, “If you own and occupy your home, you have a homestead exemption. And that forgoes them paying 18 mills to the school operation. By law, you can only have one. Some people just don't rescind the homestead; they try to keep both homes homesteaded.”

Hyer said he did not intentionally forego his taxes.

“If there are taxes I owe, I will pay them. I’m not trying to get out of any property taxes,” he said.

Hyer and his wife lived in a condominium on Bluewater Drive in Springfield Township from 2003 to 2011. Hyer said he purchased the condo before he was married.

 In 2011, his wife Kelly purchased a second home on Lost Pines Drive about two miles away from their first home. Hyer said he is listed on the deed. In 2011, they claimed both of these homes as their homestead, although they lived on Lost Pines Drive and rented out the condominium, according to the Springfield Township Assessing Department.

Binansio said that’s not legal. “There’s not many tax breaks for married people. This is one of them,” she said.

A resident contacted The Oakland Press because he was concerned that Hyer was not paying this school operating tax while the board of education was, at the same time, proposing a $20 million bond, or 1 mill property tax increase, in an upcoming special election.
Hyer said, “We were informed (by Springfield Township) I had to change the filing on my current condo, which I did. I don't know why there's an issue. If there are any taxes I owe or have ever owed, I will pay and have always paid. The way my taxes are paid is a personal thing. I don't owe any back taxes, and if I owe something that I get billed for, I pay it.”

Non-homestead residencies or businesses are charged an additional school operating tax that primary residencies are not charged.

If the condo was listed as non-homestead in 2011, Hyer’s summer taxes would have gone up by $462.60, according to Springfield Township’s property records. The condo was the least expensive of the two homes.

“That’s money that goes to the school. That doesn’t come here to the township,” said Binasio. “Oakland County has to send him a bill for the difference now.”

Binasio explained that even people who own one house in state and one out-of-state, like Florida, only have one homestead. The home lived in for the majority of the year, six months and one day, is considered the homestead.

“It's the address you file your income taxes under or what your driver's license says. Those are ways to check,” she said. “The way they find this stuff is by running same names to addresses.”

Deputy Assessor for Springfield Township Arlene Badgley said the only exemption to this increase in taxes is if one of the houses is for sale.

“It's called a conditional rescind. If they bought another house, and they moved in and occupied it, they're allowed to get a homestead on that. The house that they're trying to sell, if they want a homestead on that, it has to be listed for sale and vacant. They have to apply for that every year,” said Badgley. “But because it's a rental, (Hyer) wouldn't qualify for that.”

Contact Monica Drake at 248-745-4687 or email her at Find her on Twitter at monica_adele."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

You can be a "1 to Global" learner too!

You can be a "1 to Global" learner too!  It's not just for the students.

You can do some "deep thinking" about the capital needs bond proposal for Clarkston Schools along with a look into the logic of Dr. Rock and how the school board works.

Then you can "collaborate" and "share your big ideas/understandings with others around the world", or maybe just fellow taxpayers.

Please view the following three YouTube videos of snippets of CCS School Board meetings:

Please vote NO on May 8th.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

CCS's 1:Global Technology report announced 4/14/12 - a totally incomplete project plan

Here is Dr. Rod Rock's 4/14/12 announcement for the 1:Global Technology report that was published 4/14/12 after being presented to the school board on 4/9/12.    
"Please follow this link to a letter introducing CCS's 1:Global Technology report, which is related to the technology portion of the May 8 bond election:
Follow this link directly to the report:

Thank you,
Rod Rock, Ed.D"


This report is mostly the missing material from the 4/9/12 school board meeting's board packet that Matt McCarty, the district IT director, and Sean Ryan, the deputy superintendent, presented at the 4/9/12 board meeting...  It was the first view of the pilot programs presented to the CCS School Board by administration.  The pilot programs were implemented at the beginning of the 2011/2012 school year, but they STILL have not presented any evidence of success (or failure) of the pilot programs.

It was being presented as existing curriculum (because it is being used in certain classrooms), but curriculum changes, per policy, must be presented by administration to the board and approved by the board before they are implemented, but Dr. Rock never came to the board for approval of the curriculum changes.  Unfortunately, I am not surprised.  I brought this to his attention months ago and I was roundly ignored. 

The technology project group has done preliminary work analyzing some possible equipment to be purchased under the $20 million bond request that will be voted on by the voters on May 8th, 2012.  The report shows their work.

However, this is a great deal of money at stake and the district has not yet done sufficient planning to be asking for a $20 million bond this soon.

  1. Very few of the documents on the 1 to Global Technology Report that were in the board packet matched what was presented at the 4/9/12 board meeting.  The board members didn’t get the presented documents until after the meeting began and only after Mrs. Patterson asked for it.  This type of sandbagging by the district is not new and it must stop!   
  2. The technology initiative is a major, very visible project. It needs/needed a skilled project manager.  The district may even have been able to have gotten volunteer assistance from the public.  With all the time the district was supposedly working on the plans for the technology project in the district, how could they have possibly come to this point, less than a month before the bond election, with so many undecided variables in the plan?  
  3. The presentation at the 4/9/12 board meeting did not reflect that the "project team" was aware of the real costs for the H/W that they were looking at.  Is the district backing the technology hardware costs to be chosen into the initial budget of $10 million?  Since the district severely down-leveled the plans for Pre-K to 5th grade, I have a feeling they may have gotten sticker shock over some of the costs in the last few weeks. 
  4. An “App” is not a textbook.  There was talk previously about replacing the student’s heavy books with the wireless devices, but I have not seen anything in the project pricing about the purchase of e-books.  Will there be a new bond in a year or two asking the public to fund the purchase of e-books for all of the classes for all of the students?   There is no budget noted in their plans for any books to replace all of the books currently being used in the district, so the kids should apparently get used to still bringing home heavy books, unless all of the teachers will be creating their own "Apps" for teaching their material and ditching school books altogether.
  5. This report does not go into any detailed costs per unit or quantities.  Apparently they want us to trust them.  
  6. What happens if a student's device breaks?  He/she can't do school work for a week, or two, or three? 
  7. What happens if, after the purchase of devices, there are more students that come to the district than they purchased iPads for and there are no more iPads available on the open market to be purchased (new technology is out there)?  
  8. There are many expenses involved in the ownership of technology equipment.  The district is not taking all of those expenses into consideration.  If they had hired an IT project manager to come up with a project plan, they might have a plan that could be trusted to be correct.  At best, this is an overly optimistic, totally incomplete plan.  At worst, it is grossly under-costed and doomed to be under funded.
  9. They should also probably consider pricing in liability insurance for lawsuits from the parents of students made ill by the Wi-Fi technology...  

"Equipping Every Learner for the 21st Century", brought to you by Cisco, the manufacturer of Wi-Fi and other communication devices

"Equipping Every Learner for the 21st Century", brought to you by Cisco, the manufacturer of Wi-Fi and other communication devices.  It is available here:

It appears that Dr. Rock got his 21st Century Learner Profile ideas for technology in the classrooms by copying Cisco's message, "Equipping Every Learner for the 21st Century".  It incorporates almost all of Dr. Rock's terms, and he covers all of the bases brought out in the article, but it still does not prove that there are any gains to be had for the students...  It just means, if the bond passes, that we, the taxpayers of CCS (of which Dr. Rod Rock is not one), will be paying a big chunk of change until 2029 for equipment that is thus far, unproven to be beneficial for learning and may prove to be so harmful to the students and employees, that the district may have to ditch the whole plan, while we continue to pay for it, long after it is no longer being used, or, if they go ahead with it and use it, our children and teachers may have their health affected permanently from the low level long term Wi-Fi radiation from the use of the wireless devices in the schools and at home.

Dr. Rock is the MSDC (Michigan Staff Development Council) Executive Board President (also known as Learning Forward Michigan).  See link here:  This organization provides education and lobbying efforts for teachers.

Dr. Rock is pushing for Apple iPads for the wireless devices with which he intends to equip at least a large subset of the students.

It makes me wonder if he expects his next job to be working to spread the gospel of Apple (iPads), Cisco (wireless communication), or "Learning Forward"...  

However, he has now backtracked on the "one to one" AKA "1:global" devices for all students.  As of the 4/9/12 Clarkston Community Schools school board meeting, it is now 1:1 for 6th to 12th grades, 1:2 for 3rd to 5th graders with none of the devices going home with the students, and "classroom technology" for preschool to 2nd grade.  So the plans have changed yet again, but do you hear him crowing about that?   

My email to Dr. Rock regarding his 4/4/12 article in the Clarkston News

I read your article in the 4/4/12 Clarkston News. 

I have some comments in regard to the areas I bolded in blue from your article and I then included (my comments in red and parentheses next to your comments).
Here is the article:

Words from the Sup't

What does a bond mean for your child?

"April 04, 2012 - Included in the district's needs list, which was established through the strategic planning process and lists how the district will utilize bond monies, is the establishment of 1-to-Global learning environments in each of our schools and classrooms.

Here, the district will supply each student with a digital learning device that will open up the world of learning and better prepare our students to compete with those in Rochester, Birmingham, Novi, Espoo, and Kallang. Toward this end, tive
overarching principles will guide our decisions regarding technology, the curriculum, and instruction, including:

• to foster in each student the dispositions embodied in our Mission, Vision and Learner Profile (in what types of thinking do we want our students to engage?)

• to focus on the deep exploration of big ideas (what's worth learning and thinking about?)

• to make learning both individual and collaborative (how do we attend to and celebrate individual students and simultaneously collectively engage our learners?)

• to make learning interdisciplinary (how do we make K-12 learning a coherent experience?)

• to provide students with the tools to demonstrate and perform their learning (how do we know that each of our students has learned and can think? what evidence will we accept?) "   I see no reference to any testing, so how WILL you know that the students have actually learned anything?

"Imagine a Social Studies classroom discussion involving Syria. The teacher asks the students to use their digital technology to identify four sources supporting each side of the country's civil war, two perspectives from China and Russia, and two perspectives from the UN. The teacher asks the students to document the various perspectives and to engage in conversations with other students in the class who have identitied different sources and perspectives.

The teacher then asks the students to take a side and to provide evidence for their decision. Next, the teacher asks each student to exchange his/her side with another student who has the opposite perspective and to defend that perspective.

Finally, the teacher asks students to gather into groups and create a video demonstrating their collective stance on Syria. What should the country do next? How should it resolve these issues? What role should the UN play? How should the UN deal with China and Russia? What are the possible repercussions for taking such a stance regarding China and Russia? What are the long term possibilities for the people of Syria?

Now imagine the Mathematics classroom next door. The students from the Social Studies class enter and are asked by the teacher to discuss the economic realities within Syria. Using a digital textbook created jointly by the students' mathematics, Social Studies, English, Physical Education, Art, and Science teachers, the students explore economic sources from the region and elsewhere around the world. The teacher asks the students, What economic factors affect the situation in Syria? What economic effect will the proposed solutions have on the country and the region?

Next, the students enter a Science classroom wherein the teacher asks the students to analyze the geographic region, the effects of geography and climate on the country's economy and health, and the level of scientitic knowledge in the country. What are the health standards? What are the country's geographic limitations? What does the country need to do to move fonivard

After Science class, the students go to English class where they are asked by their teacher to write a paper around their conclusions. Using their mobile learning device, the teacher instructs the students to create an interactive paper including maps, videos, graphs, and text.

Students will work on this writing assignment in the groups established in Social Studies class.

At the end of the day, the students attend Physical Education class where they again use their mobile learning devices to investigate games played in Syria. Through a see-think-wonder thinking routine, the students observe one another engaged in the games and make connections to Syria's science, culture, and economics.

The next day, the students return to their Social Studies classroom to continue their work on their group projects, which they will eventually use as their unit assessment for each of their classes. The teachers will work together to give each student feedback on his/her development of core curricular understandings.

The team will also give each student feedback on his/her development of the dispositions of creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, written and oral communication, imagination, and collaboration. Parents at home will have access to the videos created by students and the feedback on students' content area and thinking disposition development. The conversations around the dinner table during the unit of study may well involve the entire family thinking together about the deep learning taking place at school."


If you decide to use this curriculum plan if the district ends up with the 1:global devices, I have concerns about that as the State of Michigan has its own curriculum and standards.  How do you plan to meet the state’s curriculum and standards? 

I feel that the public should be asked how they feel about these proposed changes.  Getting four school board members to agree with your plans does not make for public consensus.  

The last I checked, teachers were not responsible for developing their own textbooks.      
This “situation” inexplicably assumes all of the students would have the same classes with the same students in each class...  Based on that, would every student have a group of 30 or so students that they have all of their classes with?    I believe our children need to learn critical thinking, analysis, and decision making, but our children also need to learn Biology, Algebra, Geometry, Chemistry, US History, Drawing, CAD Design, etc. in their Biology, Algebra, Geometry, Chemistry, US History, Drawing, and Design classes, NOT about:
  • "How Syrian students dissect Savigny Tree Frogs in Biology Class",
  • "Symbols used for "X" and "Y" using the Assyrian alphabet for Algebra in Syria",
  • "Do Squares in Syrian Geometry Still Have 90 Degree Angles?",
  • "Chemical Symbols used in Syria",
  • "How Syrian teachers use false information to teach US History to their students",
  • "Drawing styles in Syria",
  • "Information on the only CAD Design class in a private school in Syria",
If you want to totally transform education, then please start your own private school and leave our school system alone.  

"In 2012, this is the type of interactive, deep, all-inclusive learning that we believe is essential for every single child we serve. In 2012, we are obligated to prepare our students to sit shoulder to shoulder with students from Rochester, Birmingham, Novi, Espoo, and Kallang."  
Any comparisons of Clarkston schools to schools in areas where the students are homogeneous (all or mostly native peoples/not diverse or where the schools can be selective about who they admit) are invalid.  Just about any school in the far east (especially China or Japan), or the mostly non-immigrant European countries like Sweden, Iceland, Norway, or Finland are homogeneous (not diverse) and not comparable to Clarkston.  My bi-lingual (Japanese/English) speaking nephews live in the US and speak Japanese in their home.  They go to visit relatives in Japan every summer. They are in advanced math/science schools in a public school system in the US and go to Japanese school every Saturday. They went to school in Japan one summer and had an awful experience. They could keep up and were doing fine in the classes, but the male students were verbally and physically abusive to them (maybe because they were not 100% Japanese). The teacher did nothing to stop the abuse, even when it was brought to her attention by their mother. Culturally, in Japan, women do not "correct" a man, even if the "man" is a 12 year old boy who is bullying another student in her classroom. My nephews had to leave the school for their own safety.  It was an expensive private prep school with supposedly fabulous educational attainment, but it was not a school YOU would want your children to go to and my nephews were keeping up with the other students. I was told that only the top students are allowed to stay in the school, leaving the top achieving students in the school and dropping the less successful students to go to other schools. The public schools in Clarkston do not have the ability to do that.  You can't compare apples to oranges and you can't take one bit of information about a school and magnify it to mean something it isn't without having all of the facts.  

"We believe that our focus on the five principles (mentioned previously), Combined with

1:Global technology, will help us make this a reality for every child we serve in 2012 (the receipt of first bond series); in 2016 (the receipt of the second bond series); in 2020 (the receipt of third bond series); on May 1, 2021 (when the first bond series is fully repaid); in 2025, when next Kindergarten students graduate from high school (and on May 1, 2025 when the second bond series is fully repaid); on May 1, 2029 when the third bond series is fully repaid; and beyond."

"The May Bond election will cost $35,000 (which bond proceeds can reimburse)" (which just means the funds to pay for it comes out of the $20 million bond and not the general fund, so what?) "and give the district access to bond proceeds in June 2012, allowing us to move forward with 1:Global technology and capital needs updates before school begins in the Fall 2012. The district will fully implement 1 :Global technology for every student in the district within three years."  (You changed this at the 4/9/12 board meeting when you announced that it would really be 1:1 for 6th to 12th grades, 1:2 for 3rd to 5th graders with none of the devices going home with the students, and "classroom technology" for preschool to 2nd grade.  So the plans have changed yet again!)

"The bond series makes technology upgrades sustainable. The technology portion of the bond series, which amounts to 57% of the entire bond, will allow the district, over a period of fifteen years, to continue to update our technology."  (Matt McCarty, the CCS IT director admitted at the 4/9/12 board meeting that there is no way that the $10.5 million will cover all of the IT needed to provide all the technology you are quoting and that the balance would have to come from the general school operating fund.)

"As opposed to traditional bonds that require school districts to spend all of the proceeds in four or five years, the bond series we have selected to utilize gives us sustainability and allows us to consider ongoing technological advancements, along with data from the work of our students and teachers, to make informed decisions about future technological purchases."

"The bond series provides a safety net for the community. lf taxable values increase, the district can adjust the amounts of the second and third series and perhaps get more for our money. If taxable values decrease, the district can adjust the amounts of the second and third series in the bond in order to maintain the one mill increase."  (I am surprised that no one picked up on this.  Read it again.  "If taxable values increase, the district can adjust the amounts of the second and third series and perhaps get more for our money"  This says that they have no plan to keep the bond at $20 million.  Assuming the taxable values of our property goes up, the district will not be collecting the .79 mill rate that Steve Hyer was referring to at a board meeting, but will collect the full one mill and increase the amount of the second and/or third bond series they will borrow.  Read it again.  It contradicts what the district has been publicly saying.)

"The bond series is a sound idea for the Clarkston Community Schools and each of the students we serve. It is an idea that gives this district and community sustainability and safety in meeting our technological and capital needs over the next 17 years. Given the district's commitment to preparing every student we serve for whatever future they choose, this is a very sound investment.

I hope that this is what you want for your child. I hope that this is what you expect from your school system. I hope that this is what you will demand from the educators who serve your children, now and in the future.

Please watch for additional details related to the bond, including videos on cable TV, printed materials, and presentations. You can always find information at the district's Website.

Dr. Rod Rock, Ed.D., is superintendent of Clarkston Community Schools


My 4/15/12 email to the CCS Board regarding Dr. Rock's 4/12/12 eblast message about the 5/8/12 bond vote

From: Dawn Schaller
To: Steve Hyers, Cheryl McGinnis, Elizabeth Egan, Barry Bomier, Joan Patterson, Susan Boatman, Rosalie Lieblang,
Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2012 5:06:39 PM
Subject: Dr. Rock's 4/12/12 eblast comments and my comments

CCS school board members,

Please take a look below for my comments next to Dr. Rock's comments from his 4/12/12 eblast (see details below).   

As board members, you may wish to monitor Dr. Rock's public comments to ensure that they are factual before they are published.  It appears he is playing fast and loose with the facts.

Here's an article about schools that have jumped on the technology bandwagon with mixed results:  

See the attached Word document on other school district's experiences in integrating technology in schools.  I believe that Dr. Rock has actually utilized this article to try to counter criticism of his plans, but he still just uses rhetoric and apparently believes that "if he can't dazzle them with brilliance, he should baffle them with bullshit".  It is available here: 

Dr. Rock says he wants students to learn and use critical thinking, but apparently he doesn't want to hear about it if it contradicts his beliefs or desires for the school system.  There is research and "critical thinking" that went into research on the dangers of long term exposure to low level electromagnetic radiation (Wi-Fi masts and antennas, wireless devices, cell phones, wireless phones, microwave ovens, and wireless electric meters that are installed in this area).     

Dr. Rock's presentations, eblasts, and articles in the Clarkston News still do not address the health dangers of Wi-Fi for the students (his chosen industry sponsored studies that claim no proof of damage do not prove that Wi-Fi is safe in schools).  Dr. Rock should use his "critical thinking skills" with regard to this... In May of 2011 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared wireless radiation a "class 2B carcinogen".  Other WHO classified "Class 2B carcinogens" include lead, methylmercury compounds, DDT, diesel fuel, gasoline exhaust, and hundreds of other dangerous chemicals, compounds, or fumes.   Many people will not develop symptoms when exposed to EMF, but they may well develop cancer or other diseases in ten or more years. Here are a few additional places to look for information on the dangers of Wi-Fi and pulsed electromagnetic radiation:

The CCS school district asks for parental/guardian informed consent for their children to go on a field trip, but should the district implement wireless communication devices and install Wi-Fi antennas/masts in the schools, they will be subjecting the children to long-term low-level exposure to microwave radiation and will most likely not ask for consent.  Is that right, or legal?  How about the estimated 3% of the population that is believed to be sensitive to EMF?  Shall the district tell those affected students that they don't matter and they are not entitled to FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education)?

Here are quotes that fit the issue of health dangers of Wi-Fi (especially the first one):

Facts don’t cease to exist just because they are ignored.” –Aldous Huxley
All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
–- Arthur Schopenhauer
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.   Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  –Margaret Mead

Please see below.

This email was received April 12th and sent as an "eblast" to the CCS public:

CCS-Clarkston Community Schools

Friends of CCS:

Please follow this link to an updated Frequently Asked Questions document related to the May 8 Bond Election.

Thank you,
Rod Rock, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools


Take a look at the link and see if you are as concerned about Dr. Rock's rhetoric from his 4/12/12 "thoughts" as I was.

I pulled out some of Dr. Rock’s comments that I was concerned about.  Dr. Rock's comments are in black.  My comments follow and are bolded and red.

Dr. Rock said, “Upon the passage of the May 8 bond election, the district will over eight years receive $20 million to update technology and capital needs over a 15 year period.  A person who owns a $200,000 home will see an annual increase in property taxes of $100 through the year 2029.  Between 2012 and 2029, it is projected that property values will increase by 16%.  This means that in 2029, a person who lived in a $200,000 home in 2012 will have a home value of $232,000.  This person will have spent over that same time period an additional $1,700 in property taxes toward improving and updating the school district.”  Dr. Rock’s fuzzy math is at work here.  His math assumes that the bond millage on a home currently valued at $200,000 would result in a property tax increase of $100.00 per year for 17 years.  If he had tapped into a CCS 8th grade math class or a financial calculator, he would be able to calculate the actual future value and cost of the 1 mill tax over that time period assuming a 16% increase in value of the home.  The millage amount would actually go up each year as the taxable property value goes up.  However, there is no way that the property values will just go up by 16% between 2012 and 2029.  My supposed property value went up 18.5% this year alone!  Therefore, his taxable value estimate and one mill increase calculations are both inaccurate.  What else has he quoted that is inaccurate?  Well, in this vein, that if the property values go up by more than his extremely conservative 1% per year, that he will borrow more than the two $5 million amounts at the second and third bond payouts rather than lower the millage amounts to the taxpayers resulting in the final bond borrowing being MORE than $20 million.  Contrary to the quotes he put out and board member, Steve Hyer, touted at a board meeting, about the “.79” millage bond rate, the district WILL charge the full one mill per year and the supposed “$20 million bond” will end up being far larger than $20 million because they will borrow more at the second and third bond payouts!           

Dr. Rock also said, “as the school district receives $20 million over eight years and expends it over 15 years, it will use this money to update technology and facilities.  In the process, the district will avoid spending from its per-pupil funding allowance (e.g., money from the School Aid Fund) provided by the State $20 million in essential technology and capital improvements.  The money the district saves or avoids spending on these essential needs will go right back into academic programs, athletics, the arts, technology support, and reduced class sizes.  Alternatively, it would be devastating for the district to have to find $1.3 million each year for the next fifteen years from its per-pupil funding allowance to meet these needs.”  This says that Dr. Rock intends to implement the wireless device technology plan, whether or not the bond passes because he WILL take the money out of the general operating fund to pay for it if the bond does not pass.  Also, Matt McCarty, the district IT Director, said at a recent board meeting that there is no way that the $11.7 million earmarked for technology will cover all that Dr. Rock is claiming to be implementing.  Therefore, the district will either come back for more bond requests to fund the additional IT purchases, or they will pull the funding from the general fund - taking money away from “academic programs, athletics, the arts, and reduced class sizes”…  By then, I believe that Dr. Rock hopes to be long gone – off to a position at one of the following:
1.      a job in sales - peddling Apple products for Apple to other school districts,
2.      a job in sales – peddling Wi-Fi equipment for Cisco Systems or some other technology company to other school districts,
3.      a job at “Learning Forward”, trying to get school systems and/or teachers to use their teacher training classes to train the teachers to use technology in the classrooms,
4.   a job lobbying for for an organization pushing technology in schools,
                  5.      as a superintendent in a larger school system that pays better than Clarkston, or
6.      as a tenured professor (and later dean) at a teaching school in a university (I’m guessing Harvard is his school of choice).
Unfortunately for Dr. Rock, he must prove his effectiveness first.  I think that he has yet to do that.  He can’t claim success by just saying that the students in pilot classrooms that have had “fun” and “like school more” since using technology in the classrooms.  That does not prove that the technology addition is helping students learn any more effectively than the students without the devices, nor that the cost of the devices is cost effective.  Dr. Rock has said in board meetings that the technology probably will not improve test scores.  Really?!?!  So will we judge the effectiveness of the technology based on how ‘happy’ the students are, or how well they know how to utilize apps on the iPad?      

Dr. Rock also said, “Beyond these specific investment gains, one study suggests that for every $1 a local community invests in its schools it receives $20 in return.  On a $20 million investment over 18 years, this is a return of $400,000,000.  This is the essence of local control, local investment, and local return on investment.”  What study could Dr. Rock be quoting here?  This is more of Dr. Rock’s fuzzy math.  There is no legitimate study that shows that for every dollar invested in it’s schools, a local community would receive $20.00 in return.  He cannot claim that with this bond that there will be much of any benefit to the “local” area as a return on investment from the IT purchases, nor any return to the State of Michigan.  The most he could claim is a benefit to the stockholders of Apple and probably Cisco Systems (both California companies) because almost all of the technology to be purchased will most likely be coming from Apple (iPads manufactured in Chengdu, China) and probably Cisco Systems (Wi-Fi products manufactured all over the world - very little in the US, and what little there is, is in California), neither of which is "local".

Dr. Rock continues to say, “there is something in the 2012 bond for everyone.  Excellent schools are good for all kids.  Excellent schools are good for parents.  Excellent schools are good for local businesses.  Excellent schools are good for local property owners.  Excellent schools are good for grandparents and neighbors.  As property owners, school board members, parents, staff, and school officials, we don’t get to decide how much of our $.02 in sales tax, six property mills, or 18 non-homestead mills the State of Michigan provides CCS for the daily operations of our school district.  However as local residents, you get to decide the amount of funding that the local community invests in its school district’s assets, and you get to experience a direct and significant return on your investment.  Yes, excellent schools are good for all of those groups, but that is just rhetoric.  Dr. Rock has done nothing to prove that his plan to tax the community $20 million plus interest to bring wireless devices to all of the students will actually create “excellent schools”.  Dr. Rock says the state decides how much the district receives per student from the 1/3 of the state’s sales tax, 6 mills charged to homestead property owners, and 18 mills charged to non-homestead property owners and that is true, but once the school district gets its per-pupil allotment from the state, it’s Dr. Rock that has more input on how the district spends that state allotment, not “we” as local residents.  I have found in the past that Dr. Rock listens to few, acts on little brought to him, and he is not "local".
Dr. Rock then finally says, “please vote on May 8”.   My answer is "Yes, please do vote, and please Vote “NO”."  There was little planning in regard to this bond request.  Let the district do their homework first and THEN come back with a legitimate plan.  Once they have a project plan, pricing, and legitimate data to back up their claims (the 4/9/12 board meeting presentation does not qualify as a project plan), THEN the public could be asked to support a bond for items supported by data.  What Dr. Rock is saying is not reason enough to support this bond and unfortunately, that is about as much as the school district has given the public.  Please give Dr. Rock a vote of no-confidence. 

Thank you.

Dawn Schaller

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Email exchange with Dr. Rod Rock on the dangers of Wi-Fi in school setting

Dr. Rod Rock apparently wants to hide behind flawed or old studies that have been long since replaced with independent and more credible research in order to say the use of Wi-Fi in schools is safe, but it does not hold water because it is not based on studies of exposure of children, in schools, long term exposure, or for anything besides "heating of tissues".  The damage from this type of exposure is done at the cellular and genetic level, not from heating tissues. 

"His" research is also either biased by the Wi-Fi industry (funded or completed by entities set to benefit by the proliferation of Wi-Fi), not based on long term exposure (most "Wi-Fi is safe" studies were based on a total of six minutes of exposure, which is not the same as 1,200 hours per school year times 13 years = 15, 600 hours, or 936,000 minutes of exposure over a k-12 education career), not based on testing on children or pregnant women, based on an "average exposure meter measurement over a period of time" rather than measuring actual spikes of signals as they happen (the high spikes are dangerous), and/or based on Wi-Fi not "heating body tissues", which is not how this band of electromagnetic damage occurs in living tissues. 

Alternatives to Wi-Fi communications to the internet are wired fiber optic and two forms of wired ethernet, so Wi-Fi is not the only answer and it is certainly not the "safe" answer to long term internet communication for children (or anyone else for that matter).   

I think if Dr. Rock wants to subject children to his EMF Wi-Fi pollution experiment, he should use his own children, not ours.  When I recommended that to him, I got no response to the suggestion.   

Here is Dr. Rod Rock's and my email exchange: 

From: "Rod Rock"
To:  "Dawn Schaller" 
Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 2:21:35 PM
Subject: Re: Information on Dangers of Wi-Fi in school settings

Mrs. Schaller:
As I said, our district relies on OSHA and other entities that govern schools, hospitals, universities, and other public places.
Thanks again for your input and concern,

From: "Dawn Schaller" 
To:  "Rod Rock" 
Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 2:13 PM

Dr. Rock,

It's too bad the information you have is either old and since replaced with more credible research, biased (funded or completed by entities set to benefit by the proliferation of Wi-Fi), not based on long term exposure (six minutes of exposure is not the same as 1,200 hours per school year times 13 years = 15, 600 hours of exposure over a k-12 education career), not based on testing on children or pregnant women, based on an "average meter measurement over a period of time" instead of measuring actual spikes of signals as they happen (the high spikes are dangerous), and/or based on "heating of tissues", which is not how this band of electromagnetic damage occurs to tissues. 

I don't agree with you making the CCS students and your employees your guinea pigs.  Better yet, why don't you put your money where your mouth is and bring your own daughter to CCS?  Not only make her go to school here, but stay here after hours in order to soak up more Wi-Fi radiation.  What?  You don't want to do that?  No surprise to me.  Experiment on your own children before you poison ours.... 

I am not doing this to spite you, nor to benefit my daughter (as you know she is not in CJHS any longer due to being bullied out last school year shortly after you took over as superintendent), but because I am concerned that the health of the students and staff is at risk and because I foresee millions of dollars being wasted on technology tools that will be useless once kids and adults start getting sick and the district drops Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi devices as their technology tools.

You owe it to the CCS residents and taxpayers, CCS students and CCS staff to research this thoroughly before forcing both the $20 million bond and this dangerous technology on them.

I'm sorry, but my information trumps yours.  As they said in the "X Files", "the truth is out there".  I will make sure I get the truth out.



From: "Rod Rock" 
To:  "Dawn Schaller" 
Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 9:36:07 AM
Subject: Re: Information on Dangers of Wi-Fi in school settings

Mrs. Schaller:

Thank you for sharing the information on WIFI.
I have compiled the district's stance and standards on this issue at the following link:

Thank you,

From: "Dawn Schaller"  
To:  "Rod Rock", "William Burgess", "Cheryl McGinnis" 

Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 3:09 PM, 

Dr. Rock, Mr. Burgess, and Mrs. McGinnis,

I have not received even an acknowledgment of receipt of this email from Dr. Rock, or anyone else for that matter (contrary to my experience from previous emails I sent to Dr. Rock).  I understand the issues with individual Board members not being able to comment, but Dr. Rock should have acknowledged it at a minimum.

The Clarkston Community School district has a moral and legal obligation to provide a safe learning environment for all students. 

You cannot stick your heads in the sand and ignore the information that I have provided to you.  Should any student, staff member, volunteer, or other visitor be harmed by the wireless technology in the school buildings, you three and the district as a whole will be legally and morally responsible for the damage done to to the harmed party.  You cannot claim ignorance to the dangers of Wi-Fi in schools.

I forwarded my March 29th email to Dr. Rock (in which I copied Mr. Burgess, and Mrs. McGinnis and the rest of the School Board) to the press.  I will also forward this email to the press.

Please take a look at this video as it provides much of the information you need in order to see how much exposure the students and staff would likely receive by school wide Wi-Fi and wireless devices in the hands of the students and teachers:       

Please acknowledge receipt of this email.

Please also advise what you intend to do about plans to put wireless communication in all of the CCS schools.  There ARE alternatives (fiber optic and two forms of wired ethernet) that would not affect the health of the students as wireless Wi-Fi would do while still supplying "technology" to the students.  The speed/quality of the transmission is also better than Wi-Fi.

From: "Dawn Schaller
To: "Dr. Rod Rock"
Cc: "William T. Burgess", "Steve Hyer", "Cheryl McGinnis", "Elizabeth Egan", " Barry Bomier", Joan Patterson", Susan Boatman", "Rosalie Lieblang"
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2012 4:43:27 AM
Subject: Information on Dangers of Wi-Fi in school settings

Dr. Rock,

I spoke at the end of the 3/26/12 CCS Board meeting.  I said that I had done research on the use of Wi-Fi in schools and asked if you had checked into the health concerns of Wi-Fi in schools prior to proposing WI-Fi technology for the schools.  You did not comment on that when you spoke after I spoke at the meeting and you have not responded to me since then on the subject.

I would hope that you have not done any research on health issues on the use of Wi-Fi in schools, because if you had, I feel that would mean that you were deliberately putting the health and safety of the CCS students, staff, and volunteers at risk.  After receiving this email you cannot pretend that you have no knowledge about the health dangers of Wi-Fi in order to deny responsibility for the health effects that may result from implementing district wide Wi-Fi in schools. 

I would like to make you aware of some research I was able to find on the internet in regard to Wi-Fi.  Please check out the following data and links that have information on the dangers of Wi-Fi in general and specifically in schools.

It is estimated that 3% of the population is "extremely sensitive" to Wi-Fi radiation and a third of the population is "sensitive".  However, Wi-Fi puts everyone who is exposed to it on a long term basis (like students and employees in a school setting) at a potentially greater risk of short and long term health impacts.

This is a public school system that is in place to support ALL CCS students.  The school district has an obligation to provide a safe environment for all of the students, employees, volunteers, and anyone else who comes into the school buildings.  If the school district puts in 24x7 Wi-Fi, a student or employee who is sensitive to the effects of the Wi-Fi may be unable to attend school (or work) at all or could be made sick by the radio frequency microwaves from the Wi-Fi.  The youngest children and pregnant women are very sensitive, but others could also be more prone to problems.  

"The Seletun Panel (February, 2011), consisting of international scientists and experts, including Lloyd Morgan, recommends wired internet access in schools, and strongly recommends that schools do not install wireless internet connections that create pervasive and prolonged EMF exposures for children.  .  The Panel was led by Professor Olle Johansson, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, The Experimental Dermatology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockhom, Sweden) who submitted an open letter to Canada’s Greater Victoria School District stating further explaining his concern that, ‘WI-FI routers can not be regarded as safe in schools, but must be deemed highly hazardous and unsafe for the children as well as for the staff.’ See: for more information.

Adverse health effects from this long-term low level electromagnetic radiation include:
       heart attack,
       cell death,
       diseases of the blood,
       interference to bone marrow,
       brain tumors,
       altered calcium level in cells,
       reduction in night-time melatonin,
       suppression of the immune system,
       skin problems,
       lymphatic diseases,
       vaginal discharge,
       vascular system disease,
       childhood cancer,
       sleep problems,
       mental problems involving depression,
       memory loss,
       difficulty in concentrating,
       dizziness and fatigue,
       suicidal tendencies,
       and infertility. (Trower  Dec. ¶ 21).

Other health endpoints that have been reported to be associated with ELF and/or RF include:
       childhood leukemia,
       adult brain tumors,
       childhood brain tumors,
       genotoxic effects (DNA damage and micronucleation),
       neurological effects and neurodegenerative disease (like ALS and Alzheimer's),
       immune system disregulation,
       allergic and inflammatory responses,
       breast cancer in men and women,
       and some cardiovascular effects. (Carpenter Dec. ¶ 8)

There is "suggestive" to "strongly-suggestive" evidence that RF exposures may cause changes in:
       cell membrane function,
       cell communication,
       activation of proto-oncogenes,
       and can trigger the production of stress proteins at exposure levels below current regulatory limits. (Carpenter Dec. ¶ 10).

Resulting effects can include:
       DNA breaks and chromosome aberrations,
       cell death including death of brain neurons,
       increased free radical production,
       activation of the endogenous opioid system,
       cell stress and premature aging,
       changes in brain function including memory loss,
       retarded learning,
       performance impairment in children,
       headaches and fatigue,
       sleep disorders,
       neurodegenerative conditions,
       changes in immune function (allergic and inflammatory responses),
       and reduction in melatonin secretion and cancers. (Id.)

These links have more information:  There is a civil action lawsuit against the Portland Public School district in regard to the district's use of Wi-Fi.  It is also attached to this email as a PDF document.   This is an audio interview of Magda Havas, an expert in the study of Wi-Fi and other forms of microwave radiation.  This is a very good document to start with (also on the email attachment:  07_Havas_WiFi-SNAFU.pdf)  Dr. Magda Havas' website (BSc, PhD, Associate Professor of Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent University, Peterborough, Canada)      Important video by Dr. Magda Havas, BSc, PhD, Associate Professor of Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent University, Peterborough, Canada    Information on responsible digital communication in schools,72,0   Citizens for Safe Technology website     Information about Wolfe-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a heart condition that 1 in every 700 students has where Wi-Fi exposure can trigger episodes of arrhythmia and tachycardia.

Additional sources of information on Wi-Fi on the web:

Should you implement the technology plan utilizing Wi-Fi devices in the schools as stated in the proposed bond and/or you continue to utilize Wi-Fi in the schools, I will consider you responsible for the health concerns that ensue on the students as well as district employees and volunteers who might be affected by the microwave radiation from both the Wi-Fi antennas as well as the wireless devices the students will be using.  The Portland Public School system is being sued by parents in regard to the use of Wi-Fi in their schools.

I want you to know that I am not against technology.  I work in the technology industry, but my being contrary to the current bond request and Wi-Fi technology is not related to any personal financial matter on my part.  My opposition to the bond is related to the already high district debt, excessive cost for the bond, lack of proper planning on the part of the district, using the students as guinea pigs in regard to the teaching technology and the use of Wi-Fi technology (health and safety), as well as a lack of concern for the wants and needs of the community.   

Solution: When using internet connectivity, there is a wired alternative that does not expose humans to RF damage.  It is called powerline networking.

If the district ends up putting Wi-Fi in all of the schools and supplying the students wireless devices to use in school and/or at home, there is likely to be a health epidemic in the school system related to the Wi-Fi that may be felt at the outset and for decades to come (after you have left Clarkston Schools for greener pastures). 

You have now been advised and you cannot feign ignorance of the health dangers of Wi-Fi in schools.  Therefore, should the district go ahead with the Wi-Fi initiative in the district, whether or not the bond passes, I will hold both you personally, and the district as a legal entity, responsible and liable for the health impacts on the students, the employees, and volunteers who may be affected in the district. 

By the way, I will be forwarding this same information to the press.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Wi-Fi making kids, teachers sick?

Wi-Fi making kids, teachers sick?


By ,Parliamentary Bureau
First posted:

Wi-Fi in schools
(QMI Agency files) 

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