01 Our Pledge
The Rocky River School Board team of Peter Corrigan, Laurie Rauser, and
Chuck Bartsche makes the following pledge:
Our team understands that the citizen-elected school board has the authority to hold the administration accountable. We are diligent stewards and we pledge we will not rubber-stamp away our responsibility.
We acknowledge that our schools in the past have received recognition for Academic Excellence. To maintain this “Excellent” ranking, we pledge to require and support continuous improvement in academics, athletics, and the arts.
The schools need proper funding to maintain their excellent ranking while being respectful of the taxpayer. As school board members, we pledge to take the fiscal responsibility entrusted to us very seriously.
We agree that the staff and students require a safe and healthy environment. The school board, however, does not have the authority to impose mandates. We pledge to uphold the right of parents to decide the proper course of action for their children.
We believe that live instruction is necessary for proper education and that safety precautions for Covid can mitigate risks. We pledge to carefully review any precautions that have the potential to interfere with the education of our children.
We are disturbed that the schools have expanded their teachings beyond academics and we oppose politicized instruction in any form. We pledge to support both parents’ and students’ rights not to be subjected to this coercion.
Character formation in children is first and foremost a parental duty. A teacher may support but not contradict parental instruction. Social and Emotional Learning Standards are optional nontraditional instructions and many in the community question the inclusion of these as part of the academic course work. We pledge that no additions to the curricula of this sort will be made without consulting parents and students in a most transparent manner.
We believe that programs which do little or nothing to affect student learning outcomes distract from the pursuit of academic excellence. We pledge to focus the mission of our schools on education, NOT activism.
Education NOT Activism
02 The Candidates
Corrigan is a common name in politics. Please don't confuse me with the other Peter J. Corrigan.
Peter J. Corrigan
A businessman, educator, parent, and volunteer, Peter brings a range of skills to serve the Rocky River community as a member of the school board.
A resident of Rocky River for 30 years, Peter graduated from Wake Forest University with a bachelor’s degree in physics and earned MBAs from CWRU and Harvard Business School. He was a senior executive with 35+ years of experience in engineering, operations, sales, mergers and acquisitions, and international business.
He is now a professor at Notre Dame College (South Euclid), where he teaches management and strategy courses and leads the school’s newly created Entrepreneur co-major program.
Peter has also been an advisory board member to Cleveland Central Catholic High School and to Benjamin Davis Aviation and Maritime Academy. He contributes his time weekly to SCORE, and has advised more than 400 small start-up and scale-up companies. He has been married to his wife, Jane, for more than 35 years and has 3 grown children (Kevin, Christine, and Allie).
Laurie Gabriel Rauser
A proud conservative Republican and a resident of Rocky River for 17 years, Laurie and her husband Richard have been married 20 years and have two children, one who is currently attending Rocky River schools.
Currently, Laurie is a Senior Analyst with a for-profit multi-national healthcare services company. She specializes in healthcare finance and technology, holding various senior management roles for over 30 years.
She is a former Big Sister with BBBS of Cleveland and an advocate and volunteer for many local animal rescues.
Laurie and her family are members of Christ the King Church in North Olmsted.
Health Care Revenue Specialist
Chuck began his career as a public accountant, performing audits and taxes. He later transitioned to private industry, where he had progressive roles in various industries for 35 years.
As a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant with a Masters Degree in Business Administration, Chuck's financial expertise would be an additional asset to our city's school board.
He was an original member of the Finance Action and Implementation Team of the Rocky River City School District Strategic Core Team, which developed the strategic plan for the schools. He believes that public schools play an essential role in educating children and are crucial to our country's success. He fears that our schools are facing financial challenges that threaten their fiscal sustainability.
Chuck and his wife Deborah, a retired Registered Nurse, raised their two children in the library area of Rocky River, and he will continue to stand up for the children and the parents of the school district. With a levy and contracts on the agenda for 2022, fiscal care and a financial expert are key to maintaining Rocky River's reputation for academic excellence.
04 Join Us
Let's uphold academic excellence in our schools.
03 Join Us
WHY WE ARE RUNNING FOR ROCKY RIVER SCHOOL BOARD
1) With students doing remote learning at home during the COVID lockdown, parents had a chance to hear some of the things their kids were being taught. They were shocked and alarmed.
So-called “diversity training” taught kids to make stereotypical assumptions about entire groups of people—based on external characteristics such as skin color, ethnicity, socio-economic status, etc.
The instruction—clearly based on many tenets of Critical Race Theory—undermined the beliefs and values many parents teach their children, such as treating people as unique individuals rather than members of groups.
2) When parents and residents inquired further about this course work and asked for transparency, the administration initially rebuffed them.
When they spoke up at school meetings, they were reviled as bigots and worse.
An activist took screen grabs of the speakers’ faces and posted them on Facebook next to a fake school district logo that said "Rocky River Bigots."
Because we are against CRT, we have been accused of not wanting kids to learn about slavery in history class. That’s a lie.
3) When one parent asked to see the curriculum from the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, she was met with resistance and stalling of the eventual response.
According to the Ohio Revised Code, all parents have the right to promptly inspect the curriculum taught to their own children.
The first thing that happened was that, under pressure from parents, school board members contacted the DCNEO and requested to see the curriculum.
On May 18, the DCNEO refused, stating in an email that the content is “proprietary and cannot be shared.”
On June 3, the parent mentioned above submitted a request to inspect the diversity curriculum taught to her children. She noted her legal right to do this under the law and the school’s obligation to comply.
Eleven days later (June 14), the school district responded that she could see the curriculum—on July 27—another month and a half after her initial request!
The parent immediately met with the school board president and informed her that the district violated the law and demanded to see the curriculum in 24 hours or answer to her attorney.
This seemed to light a fire under the administration. The curriculum was made available for viewing within a couple of days after that. On June 18—still more than two weeks after the original request to see the curriculum—the parent and her husband inspected the diversity training slides and handouts.
4) This is what she found.
As she reviewed the curriculum, the parent noted that much was missing from the content. Had it been omitted intentionally?
For example, several instances described a classroom activity involving students being asked to stand up or sit down in response to certain statements read by the DCNEO instructor. But the statements were missing! The parent requested to see them. They were not made available until June 24, three weeks after her initial curriculum request.
While some of the curricula were innocuous, much of it—including the parts that had been omitted—was infused with the tenets of CRT.
Students were asked to draw a pie chart with slices for the various group identities that they belong to: such as race, ethnicity, sex, gender, socioeconomic status, ability, sexual orientation, nationality, and age. They were asked which group identity they most strongly identified with, then separated into these groups for discussion. Group identity is at the core of CRT.
Seventh-grade students were taught the “Cycle of Oppression,” which begins with a stereotype, goes to prejudice, then to discrimination. While the slides did not explicitly say “whites are racist,” the parent recognized the messaging because her older kids had been subjected to it in past “diversity” classes. The strong language of "dominant and subordinate," "oppressor and oppressed," which she knew had been used in these classes, was absent from the slides she was shown. Still, she was not initially given the instructor's speaking notes.
Every lesson began with a stand-up/sit-down icebreaker activity that included instructor statements. These statements were not initially shown to the parent.
Days later, they finally provided the notes. Here is an example from a ninth-grade socioeconomics class:
“Stand up if you:
- have experienced food insecurity;
- have been made fun of because of your clothing;
- know a homeless person;
- have never had to worry about money;
- have made fun of others because of their clothing;
- have been judged or called names because of your parents' socioeconomic status;
- have been judged based on where you live;
- have been made to feel ashamed about your financial status;
- have felt judged based on your home or apartment;
- have held a job to contribute to the family income;
- your parents or family members have more than one job;
- know someone on food stamps.”
These exercises are disturbing and emotionally manipulative. They would make kids feel ashamed of being poor as well as being ashamed of being wealthy. This activity would point out to the class that kids are poor and make them think of their socioeconomic status.
There also was a section listed for implicit bias, but no content on this topic was included as if it had been deleted from the material shown to the parent. These omissions made the parent wonder if the 15-day delay had been used to “clean up” the presented curriculum.
Here’s something that might shock you: The administration and school board said they had never seen the curriculum before the parent’s request to view it. It had been taught in the district for the last eight years! They have been claiming not to teach CRT—without ever vetting the curriculum to know what was in it!
The district administration cites the Ohio Social Emotional Learning Standards as if they are required. In fact, they are entirely optional. There is no state mandate to teach diversity.
5) Thankfully, the district did not renew the contract with the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio for this school year. Public pressure no doubt had something to do with this.
We are running to keep these divisive messages out of the school.
Even without the DCNEO providing curriculum, this stuff still finds its way into the schools.
It is unfortunate that some—not all!—teachers consider themselves "woke" and make a point of conveying these messages to their students by infusing them into their own subject matter curriculum. We will be on guard against this!
Our opponents are promising to bring back these divisive and destructive programs!
One opponent is the president of the Rocky River BLM chapter, and others are unabashedly aligned with their cause.
This is why our promise is Education, Not Activism
We will demand accountability from the school board.
We will advocate for a parent review board.
We will be transparent.
We will promote rigorous academic standards and achievement.