Gerald Ott

New film puts new definition on “Woke”

Gerald Ott of Ankeny was a high school English teacher and for 30 years a school improvement consultant for the Iowa State Education Association.

I saw the trailer for Will Smith’s new film “Emancipation.” Smith’s character Peter is the enslaved man whose terribly scarred back was photographed in 1863 and viewed by millions during the Civil War era and beyond.

I immediately thought of Governor Ron DeSantis saying, “Florida is the state where WOKE goes to die.” He was speaking, wife and kids at his side, just after the November election where he was re-elected with nearly 60 percent of the vote.

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How democracy and public education could be threatened

Gerald Ott of Ankeny was a high school English teacher and for 30 years a school improvement consultant for the Iowa State Education Association.

If Governor Kim Reynolds is re-elected and Republicans keep control of the Iowa legislature, Reynolds will push for a school voucher plan that would please the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Religious fundamentalists strive for a state-funded Bible school flourishing in every Christian church basement in Iowa. Since the June primary, Reynolds has been relatively quiet about “school choice,” relying instead on wedge issues to leverage her re-election.

One exception was a speech she gave to the Faith and Freedom Coalition in September.

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Dangerous gun amendment on Iowa's November ballot

Gerald Ott of Ankeny was a high school English teacher and for 30 years a school improvement consultant for the Iowa State Education Association.

On June 15, as many as a dozen Kansas City area schools shut down summer classes when a generalized threat was posted on Snapchat. A 19-year-old suspect has been charged with making a terrorist threat.

The Kansas City Star’s editorial board commented, “If lawmakers won’t do what most Americans want and pass some real, effective and warranted restrictions on gun access, then we are left with drilling children on how to react when a gunman comes into their school.”

That’s just where Governor Kim Reynolds wants Iowa schools to be — battened down, armed, drilled, quivering, guarded, and under desks.

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School "transparency" is a cruel hoax

Gerald Ott of Ankeny was a high school English teacher, and for 30 years he was a school improvement consultant for the Iowa State Education Association.

The Kansas City Star’s editorial board warned its readers on June 2 that “the arch conservative Liberty Alliance has created a Woke Heat Map.” The website is an interactive map of Missouri with dots representing “hot spots” where, as the Alliance claims, “the Woke Agenda … is permeating.” 

The Alliance is a faction of ultra-right zealots who use a website to undermine democracy—and raise money from an easily duped clientele. The Springfield (MO) News-Leader reports one hotspot in its area, and six in St. Louis, three in Kansas City, and one in Columbia with alleged “woke agendas” — “where toddlers are groomed with sexually explicit books.” This was in the first week.

It’s fraud. In nearly all cases, the New-Leader says, the documentation used to designate a “woke” hotspot is based on a tweet, column, or article from a conservative leader or platform.

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