New York City to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine for Entire City Workforce

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that all New York City municipal workers would be required to have a COVID-19 vaccination.

All municipal employees, including police and firefighters, will have until Oct. 29 to receive their first shot or risk losing their jobs, according to de Blasio. City employees will receive an additional $500 in their paychecks after receiving their first dose.

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Commentary: Remembering the Courage of Christopher Columbus

Today we remember the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, who in October 1492 landed in the Bahamas and became the first Western European to discover what the Europeans would call the New World.

When Columbus and his crew of approximately 200 sailors left Spain in three crowded ships – the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria – they set their sails toward an unknown horizon. They expected to discover a trade route to India. (Most Europeans at the time knew the earth was round – but they were unaware of the North and South American continents.) Instead of finding a route to Southeast Asia, Columbus and his crew landed on a continent of new opportunities. Columbus’s accidental discovery opened a permanent passage across the Atlantic and redrew the known map of the world.

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Commentary: Envy as the Path to Political Power

Bernie Sanders

Demagogues appeal to envy because they believe that promising to destroy the advantages enjoyed by others will win votes and inspire loyalty. Sometimes it does. As the envy-driven horrors of Rwanda and Nazi Germany demonstrate, pledging to disrupt the envied lives of a despised “other” can be a ticket to victory for a political candidate savvy enough to convince voters that he has their best interests at heart.

More than 25 years ago, Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, pronounced in his book The Politics of Envy: Statism as Theology that we “live in an age of envy.” Pointing out that “people don’t so much want more money for themselves as they want to take it away from those with more,” Bandow suggested that although “greed is bad enough, eating away at a person’s soul, envy is far worse because it destroys not only individuals, but also communities, poisoning relations.” A Christian libertarian, Bandow wrote that 

those who are greedy may ruin their own lives, but those who are envious contaminate the larger community by letting their covetousness interfere with their relations with others. 

One can satisfy greed in innocuous, even positive ways—by being brighter, working harder, seeing new opportunities, or meeting the demands of others, for instance.

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Biden’s Education Department Won’t Enforce a Key Due Process Protection for Students Accused of Sexual Assault

The Department of Education announced it would stop enforcing a Trump administration rule designed to protect those accused of sexual assault on college campuses.

A district court in Massachusetts upheld most of the Title IX 2020 amendments in a July ruling, maintaining new regulations related to public institutions managing allegations of harassment, assault, violence, and more. Although, the court struck down one procedural regulation related to what evidence a “Decision-Maker,” or the employee who is designated to adjudicate the case, may consider in making rulings.

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Biden’s Education Department Won’t Enforce a Key Due Process Protection for Students Accused of Sexual Assault

The Department of Education announced it would stop enforcing a Trump administration rule designed to protect those accused of sexual assault on college campuses.

A district court in Massachusetts upheld most of the Title IX 2020 amendments in a July ruling, maintaining new regulations related to public institutions managing allegations of harassment, assault, violence, and more. Although, the court struck down one procedural regulation related to what evidence a “Decision-Maker,” or the employee who is designated to adjudicate the case, may consider in making rulings.

Following the court ruling and a letter from the Department of Education on Tuesday, the chosen adjudicator can now consider emails and texts between the parties and witnesses, police reports and medical reports, regardless of cross-examination status at the live hearing.

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Commentary: Biden Seeks to Override States Prohibiting School Mask Mandates, Citing Civil Rights Act

The back-to-school mask wars have been heating up for weeks, but the Biden administration just took them to a whole new level. On Wednesday, the president ordered the US Department of Education to use all available measures to prohibit states from banning school mask mandates.

In his remarks, Biden decried the contentious school board meetings that have occurred in districts across the country as parents argue for and against school mask mandates. He indicated that the “intimidation and the threats we’re seeing across the country,” from concerned citizens who oppose mask mandates “are wrong. They’re unacceptable.”

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House Education Committee’s Top Republican Tells Secretary to Purge CRT-Related Material

Faced with nationwide pushback against its plan to prioritize grant funding for American history and civics programs informed by critical race theory (CRT), the Department of Education clarified its thinking. Perhaps.

Secretary Miguel Cardona’s blog post on “invitational” priorities in grant competitions drew polarized interpretations among critics of CRT, who either claimed the agency backed off its plan or simply used deceptive language to create the impression that it backed off.

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REPORT: Biden’s Education Department Has Closer Ties to Critical Race Theory Group Than They Admit

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

The Biden administration called it an “error” to promote a critical race theory (CRT) activist group’s guide in a Department of Education (DOE) handbook meant for use in over 13,000 public school districts on reopening recommendations and policies, Fox News reported.

The activist group, Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN) has connections to at least two high-ranking officials in the Biden administration’s DOE, Fox News reported. It is unclear why ATN was mentioned in the April 2021 handbook and who added the link.

The Biden administration DOE backtracked on the promotion and its link to the group in a statement to Fox News Wednesday which said, “The Department does not endorse the recommendations of this group, nor do they reflect our policy positions. It was an error in a lengthy document to include this citation.”

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Parents Concerned About Critical Race Theory in Schools, Poll Says

Parents Mad About CRT

The Biden administration has sparked controversy for endorsing elements of critical race theory in education programs, and the latest polling reveals a source of that concern.

A poll released by Convention of States Action found that many Americans are opposed to critical race theory in curriculum, and are open to removing their kids from public schools to avoid it.

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Biden’s Office for Civil Rights Pick Questioned on Her Position on Campus Due Process

Catherine Lhamon’s (right) work in President Barack Obama’s administration on Title IX issues may have won her praise from liberal groups and organizations representing alleged and confirmed victims of sexual assault, but it drew criticism from the ranking member of the Senate’s education committee.

President Joe Biden has nominated Lhamon to lead the federal Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Education, the same position she held under Obama. But Senate Republicans and due-process advocates have questioned her position on the rights of accused students.

Republican Senator Richard Burr said he is concerned that Lhamon “will charge ahead unraveling significant pieces of the previous administration’s Title IX rules.” He made the comments during a July 13 Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee meeting.

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Education Department Civil Rights Nominee Rejects Presumption of Innocence for Accused Students

Catherine Lhamon

The Biden administration’s nominee to lead the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights told a Senate committee Tuesday that a year-old Title IX regulation does not require the presumption of innocence for students accused of sexual misconduct.

The claim drew bafflement from critics of Catherine Lhamon, who held the same job in the Obama administration’s second term.

In response to threats from Lhamon to pull their federal funding, colleges lowered evidentiary standards and enacted policies that treat accusers more favorably than accused students. Courts have been steadily reining in those practices, sometimes citing the pressure from Lhamon’s office as evidence of bias.

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Donald Trump Commentary: A Plan to Get Divisive and Radical Theories Out of Our Schools

Teacher holding book, reading to boy student

As a candidate, Joe Biden’s number one promise was to “unite” America. Yet in his first months as president, his number one priority has been to divide our country by race and gender at every turn.

There is no clearer example than the Biden administration’s new effort aimed at indoctrinating America’s schoolchildren with some of the most toxic and anti-American theories ever conceived. It is vital for Americans to understand what this initiative would do, what drives it and, most importantly, how we can stop it.

For decades, the America-blaming left has been relentlessly pushing a vision of America that casts our history, culture, traditions, and founding documents in the most negative possible light. Yet in recent years, this deeply unnatural effort has progressed from telling children that their history is evil to telling Americans that they are evil.

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Biden Department of Education Claims ‘Transgender’ Students Are Protected by Title IX

On Wednesday, Joe Biden’s Department of Education declared that it would be reversing a popular policy from the presidency of Donald Trump that protected student athletes from interference by so-called “transgender” students, and instead said that the transgenders themselves will receive special protection, according to USA Today.

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‘Drag Queens in Training’: NYC Department of Education Children’s Show Features 12 Minutes of ‘Lil Miss Hot Mess’ Reading and Dancing

Person getting makeup done

A children’s show on PBS featured drag queen and author “Little Miss Hot Mess” singing, dancing, and reading a book about drag queens to an intended audience of three to eight year olds.

“Today I’m going to read from my own book, which is ‘The Hips On the Drag Queen Go Swish Swish Swish,’” explained Little Miss Hot Mess, who is reportedly one of the founding members of Drag Queen Story Hour.

“I wrote this book because I wanted everyone to get to experience the magic of drag and to get a little practice shaking their hips or shimmying their shoulders to know how we can feel fabulous inside of our own bodies,” Little Miss Hot Mess said.

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Commentary: Virginia Can’t Seem to Make up Its Mind About Its New Math Curriculum

Classroom of students with teacher at blackboard

What the heck is going on with the Virginia Department of Education?

A little over a week ago reports surfaced that the state would be doing away with advanced math classes for all grades except 11 and 12.

But then reports came out noting the state’s education chief disputed those reports, saying “absolutely acceleration is not going away in mathematics courses.”

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Department of Education Is Stalling Complaints Against Race, Sex Segregation, Critics Say

University of Denver

When the University of Denver hosted race-based gatherings for students, faculty and staff “to process the outcome” of the November election, a student filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

Christi Collins got a quick response from an enforcement attorney in OCR’s Denver office, and they scheduled a phone call. Then the attorney asked to postpone, and disappeared for two months. Their last contact was Feb. 22.

“At this time, OCR is evaluating your complaint, and I apologize for the delay and inconvenience,” Lori Welker wrote in the email, one of several communications Collins shared with Just the News. “I will be in touch when we have completed the evaluation.”

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LGBT Legal Group Sues to Strip Religious Universities of Civil Rights Protections

A group of Christian college students is suing the U.S. Department of Education, alleging that Title IX’s religious exemption allows federally-funded religious colleges and universities to discriminate against LGBTQ students.

The Religious Exemption Accountability Project filed the lawsuit in an Oregon federal court on March 29. The suit aims to prohibit any students from using federal tuition grants, student loans, and any other federal financial aid at post-secondary schools that uphold biblical beliefs on gender and sexuality.

“REAP’s lawsuit asserts the constitutional and basic human rights of LGBTQ+ students, seeking to end the sexual, physical and psychological abuses perpetrated under the religious exemption to Title IX at thousands of federally-funded schools, colleges and universities across America,” according to the organization’s website.

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Ex-Obama Official Charged with Stealing $218,000 from Charter School He Founded

Seth Andrew

A former official in the Obama administration was charged Tuesday with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a charter school he founded, and using the funds to help finance a luxury apartment in Manhattan.

Seth Andrew, who served in the Obama White House and Department of Education, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements to a financial institution in connection with a series of banking transactions he conducted in 2019.

Federal prosecutors allege that Andrew ripped off his own charter school organization, Democracy Prep Public Schools, to the tune of $218,005.

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Virginia Department of Education to Eliminate All Accelerated Math Courses as Part of ‘Equity’ Plan

Child working on math problems

The state of Virginia is set to eliminate all accelerated math courses in the state’s public schools before the 11th grade, ostensibly as part of an “equity” plan to make math classes easier for all races, according to Fox News.

The change was made by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), and was announced by multiple county-level school districts and officials. Formally known as the Virginia Mathematics Pathway Initiative (VMPI), this plan essentially removes all options for students who would normally elect to take a more advanced level of math if they have demonstrated a proficiency in the subject, and instead keeps the curriculum at the most basic level for every grade up to 11th grade.

Ian Serotkin, a member of the Loudoun County school board, commented negatively on the change in policy on Facebook Tuesday. “This initiative,” he explained, “will eliminate ALL math acceleration prior to 11th grade. This is not an exaggeration, nor does there appear to be any discretion in how local districts implement this. All 6th graders will take Foundational Concepts 6. All 7th graders will take Foundational Concepts 7…Only in 11th and 12th grade is there any opportunity for choice in higher math courses.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Alliance Defending Freedom Files Motion to Intervene in ‘Radical’ Lawsuit Attacking Religious Schools

Football player kneeling, praying on bench seat

Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a motion to intervene in a “radical” lawsuit attacking the religious freedom of both religious colleges and students attending these schools, ADF senior counsel David Cortman told the Daily Caller News Foundation Monday.

Former and current students of evangelical colleges filed a lawsuit last week against the Department of Education asking that a Title IX law that gives exemptions to religious educational institutions be declared unconstitutional.

The law currently forbids educational institutions receiving federal funds to discriminate on the basis of sex but exempts religious groups if the law “would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization.”

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Violent Crimes Spike in Cities That Defunded Law Enforcement; Burned-Out Police Leaving in Droves

Group of police officers with cars stopped, one holding a gun

Crime is skyrocketing in cities where police departments have been defunded, crime statistics show.

Since career criminal George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis, last summer, many liberal city councils have voted to “defund” their police departments, allocating or redirecting municipal funds away from their police bureaus to other government agencies that serve “the community.”

More than 20 major cities have slashed their police budgets in some form, though the circumstances vary, according to Fox News.

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Joe Biden Expected to Name Current Connecticut Education Commissioner to Lead Education Department

President-elect Joe Biden is poised to select Miguel Cardona, the current Connecticut education commissioner, to lead the Department of Education in his administration, CNN reported.

Miguel Cardona, who has served as head of the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) since August 2019, will be President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to lead the federal government’s education department, multiple sources told CNN. Cardona would be the latest Latino to receive a high-ranking position in the incoming Biden administration.

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U.S. Department of Education Opens Investigation of Fordham University Over Punishment of Student Austin Tong

The U.S. Department of Education has opened an investigation into Fordham University, about two months after student Austin Tong received notification from the New York City private college that his social media posts violated university policy and that he had been placed on probation.

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Guidance for Masks in Schools Varies Widely Across US States

School districts that plan to reopen classrooms in the fall are wrestling with whether to require teachers and students to wear face masks — an issue that has divided urban and rural schools and yielded widely varying guidance.

The divide has also taken on political dimensions in Iowa, among other places, where Democratic-leaning cities like Des Moines and Iowa City have required masks to curb the spread of the coronavirus, while smaller, more conservative communities have left the decision to parents.

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28 Congressional Democrats Sign Letter Demanding Department Of Education Allow Biological Males in Girls’ Sports

Twenty-eight congressional Democrats signed a letter Wednesday condemning the Department of Education for ruling that public schools that allow biological males who identify as transgender to play girls’ sports are violating Title IX civil rights legislation.

Democratic Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal joined 27 House Democrats in signing the letter, which charged that the department’s order “discriminates against transgender youth” by restricting girls’ sports to biological females.

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Commentary: Enemies of Homeschooling Are Scared – and They Should Be

Nearly every family with kids has gotten a taste of homeschooling over the past two months. In an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, at least 124,000 schools have closed for over 55 million children in the U.S. At the same time, opponents of homeschooling launched several unfounded attacks on the practice. For example, The Washington Post ran an opinion piece claiming “homeschooling during the coronavirus will set back a generation of children,” and a Salon article said that “homeschooling as a result of the pandemic will likely worsen education for students and pose serious problems to the economy and nation’s social well-being.”

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Democratic Strongholds of St. Paul and Minneapolis Are Home to Half of the State’s Lowest Performing Schools

classroom

The Democratic strongholds of St. Paul and Minneapolis are home to half of the state’s lowest performing schools, according to the Minnesota Report Card. The Pioneer Press recently reported that the Twin Cities contain 24 of the 47 lowest-performing schools in the state, which are set to receive support from…

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Rumor Control: Setting the Record Straight on PreK/Kindergarten Portfolios

JC Bowman

Social media was hard at it this weekend over the PreK/Kindergarten Student Growth Portfolio Model.  While Professional Educators of Tennessee is not sold on the portfolio process, it is the current law (see T.C.A. §§ 49-6-103–49-6-110).  We believe the current portfolio system takes up too much time for our educators. …

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JC Bowman Commentary: On Combining the Departments of Education and Labor

Departments of Education and Labor

President Trump’s concept to merge the U.S. Department of Education with the Department of Labor lacks significant details and will be difficult to maneuver through a deeply divided Congress.

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One-Fifth Of North Carolina Students Aren’t Going To Traditional Public Schools

classroom

by Rob Shimshock   Almost 20 percent of K-12 students in North Carolina are not attending traditional public schools. Enrollment in the state’s traditional public schools has fallen during the past few years as more and more students attend private, charter or home schools, The News & Observer reported Friday. North Carolina’s…

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