National and state teachers’ unions condemned the Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday that held a Maine tuition assistance program that bars families from using the taxpayer funds for religious schools is in violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
Union officials denounced the ruling as one that “attacks public schools,” “erodes democracy,” “harms students,” and undermines “the separation of church and state.”
In a major decision for religious freedom and school choice, the Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a Maine law that barred taxpayer tuition assistance funds from families choosing religious schools.
The Court ruled, 6-3, in Carson v. Makin, the Maine law that governs its tuition program’s exclusion of religious schools, while accepting other private schools, is a violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and is, therefore, unconstitutional.
Former Democrat New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says teachers’ unions were responsible for keeping schools locked down during the pandemic, a move that has enabled a mass exodus of students from traditional government schools throughout the country.
Given the generally poor academic achievement of America’s students, the steep drop in enrollment means states are now paying more to educate fewer children, and, “paying more for failure,” he asserts.
HERNDON, Virginia – Panelists at the Republican Advance told attendees at a school choice breakout session that the goal of GOP efforts is to get tax dollars to follow children even when they leave public schools, providing more opportunities for families. Panelists described the push for school choice as a way to empower parents and use capitalism-style competition to motivate improvement in public schools without dismantling the system.
“We need to make sure we’re not so focused on school choice, which we should be, I mean that is one of the pathways to a better education, but focusing on the fact that we need to find ways to better educate our children should be the primary goal,” former Loudoun County School Board member Jill Turgeon said at the Saturday breakout session.
Thales Academy opened the doors of its brand new building in Pittsboro, North Carolina, Monday, as about 100 students from the academy’s Cary campus moved to the new facility in rural Chatham County.
“Chatham is the first time that Thales has been in a rural county,” Bob Luddy, the founder and chairman of Thales Academy, told The Star News Network. “So, my thought was having a facility of that quality in a rural county that’s a private initiative is going to change the way people think about K-12 education.”
Most of the nation’s 48.2 million public K-12 students are assigned to their schools based on geographic school districts or attendance zones, with few options for transferring to another public school district. This method of school assignment intertwines schooling with property wealth, limiting families’ education options according to where they can afford to live.
A 2019 Senate Joint Economic Committee report found that homes near highly rated schools were four times the cost of homes near poorly rated schools. This presents a real barrier for many families – and 56% of respondents in a 2019 Cato survey indicated that expensive housing costs prevented them from moving to better neighborhoods. The challenge has only deepened as housing prices skyrocketed during the pandemic, putting better housing and education options out of reach for many.
The fight outside North High School in Denver was about to turn more violent as one girl wrapped a bike chain around her fist to strike the other. Just before the attacker used the weapon, school staff arrived and restrained her, ending the fight but not the story.
Most high schools would have referred the chain-wielding girl to the police. But North High brought the two girls together to resolve the conflict through conversation. They discovered that a boy was playing them off each other. Feeling less hostile after figuring out the backstory, the girls did not fight again.
This alternative method of discipline, called “restorative practices,” is spreading across the country – and being put to the test. Many schools are enduring sharp increases in violence following the return of students from COVID lockdowns, making this softer approach a higher-stakes experiment in student safety.
Five years ago, hardly anyone knew what Critical Race Theory (CRT) was, but now the phrase is a common one in American households. The Marxist-based theory advocating a race-essentialist approach to education, law, public policy, and even health care, seeks to deconstruct the foundations of society and rebuild it as “antiracist,” while discriminating against whites along the way. Many people are overwhelmed with both the pervasiveness of the doctrine and the large task of fighting it.
Parents in Loudon County, VA, have tackled the issue head on, making national news by loudly criticizing CRT and electing school board members opposed to it. Such efforts, however, have been piecemeal nationwide.
Momentum in fighting this hate-doctrine is growing, though, and many parents want to know how they can protect their children and eradicate such teaching from their local schools. Catrin Wigfall, a Policy Fellow with the Center of the American Experiment, offers some practical ways parents can fight CRT.
They’re not exactly schools, but they’re not homeschools either. They have elements of structured curriculum and institutional learning, while offering maximum educational freedom and flexibility. They provide a consistent, off-site community of teachers and learners, and prioritize abundant time at home with family. They are not cheap but they are also not exorbitant, with annual tuition costs typically half that of traditional private schools.
Hybrid schools are, in the words of Kennesaw State University Professor Eric Wearne, the “best of both worlds,” drawing out the top elements of both schooling and homeschooling while not being tied too tightly to either learning model.
Wearne studies hybrid schools and is the director of the National Hybrid Schools Project which seeks to better understand this educational approach and why it’s been gaining popularity in recent years. Wearne joined me on this week’s episode of the LiberatED Podcast to talk more about hybrid schools and how they are reshaping American education.
As more families and teachers flee government schools, the Biden administration – bound to the teachers unions – has now “declared war” on charter schools, as Robert Maranto, editor of the Journal of School Choice, wrote at National Review Monday.
The Biden education department is now on a path to sabotage the federal grant program that funds charter schools, public schools that are privately managed, with its proposal of new rules that appear to actually deter applicants from seeking grants.
Senior Education Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) Kerry McDonald told The Star News Network the time is ripe in America for greater innovation and entrepreneurship in providing new education models for parents exiting the government school system.
Many parents got an up-close look at what their children are learning in public schools for the first time during the pandemic school closures and subsequent remote learning, leading them to consider education alternatives.
In an interview with The Star News Network, nationally known school choice advocate Corey DeAngelis said teachers’ unions would be incentivized to push for more student-focused policies in public schools if school funding followed the child and more states adopted school choice programs.
DeAngelis, the national director of research at the American Federation for Children, is also an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and a senior fellow at the Reason Foundation.
At its founding, American K-12 public education was meant to prepare young people to be active participants in our democratic republic. That should still be its highest purpose, especially when it comes to teaching civics.
Historically, public schools held fast to the principle that effective education must be non-partisan. Knowing they had great power to influence young minds, teachers used to be careful to choose content and pedagogies that restricted their ability to impose their personal political views on schoolchildren.
Today, maintaining non-partisanship is more important than ever in classrooms. Sadly, it’s increasingly dishonored. Civics has become a hot-button issue of late, particularly after remote learning allowed more parents to see what their children were actually being taught. Many were not happy with what they saw, and the debate over civics education is symptomatic of the larger divide that has become such a looming threat to American society.
The Texas Lieutenant Governor has stated his priority to eliminate tenure in an attempt to stop Critical Race Theory (CRT) from “poisoning the minds of the next generation.”
During a Feb. 18 press conference, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick argued that academia has been infiltrated by “tenured, leftist professors” and called for additional oversight methods to crack down on the controversial curriculum.
Patrick defined CRT as “an offshoot of critical legal studies, which is an offshoot of a socialist program (which says) that everything that happened in life is based on racism.”
The American K-12 education system has been failing too many students for too long. And the problem has only gotten worse amid pandemic-era school closures and remote learning.
Increasingly, parents are venting their frustration at local government bureaucracies and teachers’ unions that they believe have too often failed to put the interests of kids first — and some are voting with their feet.
Throughout Covid-19, traditional public school enrollment has dropped by 3.3% (1.45 million students) while charter school enrollment has increased by 7.1% year over year (237,000 students). Families are increasingly taking advantage of other non-traditional schooling options as well: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of homeschooling nationwide increased by 5.6 percentage points between April and October 2020.
Over 70% of Americans support funding students’ education rather than public education systems, according to a new poll conducted by RealClear Opinion Research.
Among a majority of respondents, 72% support school choice, according to a poll conducted by RealClear Opinion Research, which surveyed over 2,000 registered voters from Feb. 5 – 9, 2022.
As school districts start dropping the mask mandates, removing pornographic books from their libraries, and explicitly prohibiting critical race theory, it’s clear that the parent protests are working. School boards, even in progressive bastions like San Francisco, are currently being cleaned out and replaced by more pro-parent members. Moreover, politicians like the governor of Oklahoma are openly instituting a school choice model that would allow for different schooling models and have education dollars follow the student, not automatically go to the school.
Naturally, these developments invite more pushback (sometimes literally so) from those who believe they’re supporting public education. It was fine in the past to let various kooky parents carry on about the evils of teaching Harry Potter or sex ed; school boards and district leaders could simply yawn and carry on as before. However, now that it actually threatens their authority and influence, they can no longer ignore parents’ concerns..
In general, opponents of protesting parents make the same points over and over. They deny that public schools have problems, play semantic games with critical race theory (“it’s just an abstract legal theory taught in law school,” etc.), and accuse angry parents of being misguided racists. In their view, parents who demand a more wholesome and academic experience for their children are actually demanding an exclusively white and privileged experience. And for good measure, they will add an anecdote about a heroic public school teacher changing lives, proving beyond any doubt that public schools are still doing noble work and are essential for a healthy, diverse society.
No, this is not another Qanon or Pizzagate conspiracy theory. It’s a sober recitation of the facts and incidents that can support no other conclusion.
Let’s start with one important stage-setting fact: According to OpenSecrets.org two organizations account for practically all of the contributions made by teachers unions: The National Education Association (about $20 million in 2016) and the American Federation of Teachers (almost $12 million). Both groups — which compete for members, but also collaborate with each other through the NEA-AFT Partnership — are consistently among the organizations that contribute the most money to candidates and political groups. From 2004 to 2016, their donations grew from $4.3 million to more than $32 million — an all-time high.
Even more than most labor unions, they have little use for Republicans, giving Democrats at least 94 percent of the funds they contributed to candidates and parties since as far back as 1990, where the Open Secrets’ data begins. Go here for a detailed breakdown of teachers union political giving.
Of late, Fox News has been hosting a series called “The MisEducation of America” featuring gatherings of critical race theory’s critics—such as Carol Swain of Vanderbilt University—focusing on the danger of teaching racially divisive versions of American history. According to Swain, a black professor of political science at Vanderbilt, forcing kids to do things like play games called “privilege bingo” are “a prime example of how CRT, has seeped down to K-12 education, and it disturbs students.” Further: “All of these critical theories with Marxist roots are destroying American education, and parents have to save their children. But they also have to work to save other people’s children.”
Although the media and our universities may choose to ignore Swain’s complaint, she is actually understating the problem she and “MisEducation” host Pete Hegseth are featuring. I’m not sure I see “the Marxist roots” of the crusade against white people and their history in quite the same way Swain and Hegseth see it. We are indeed witnessing class warfare but not of the kind that Marx foresaw. It is a war being waged by white elites against the “basket of deplorables,” the predominantly white, working-class, and small-town Americans whom these elites hate and want to divest of human dignity. Similar conflicts are going on simultaneously in other Western countries, featuring equivalent social conflict.
In none of these cases do we find Marx’s appeals to the proletariat to rise up against those who control the means of production. In fact, we are witnessing exactly the opposite. An alliance of corporate capitalists, feminists, the LGBT lobby, and black race hustlers are directing their fire on the working class, which seems to be the least affected by the hegemonic ideology of wokeness. If anything, we are now looking at what Pedro Gonzalez has characterized as “the counterrevolution of the ruling class.” If Marxist theory, which supposedly is “seeping in” has any application, it would be as an analysis of how our elites are suppressing those they are stepping on and trying through increasingly vicious hate speech to isolate.
If criticism of two Republican members of the Missouri House of Representatives is any indication, a bill to ban critical race theory (CRT) will face challenges.
More than a thousand people filed digital testimony forms on the bill and the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee’s hearing lasted more than four hours.
State Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon and a candidate for the term-limited Senate seat of Bob Onder, R-St. Charles, testified on HB1474 on Tuesday. State Rep. Doug Richey, R-Excelsior Springs, joined Schroer as they teamed to combine the banning of critical race theory with Richey’s “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” HB1995.
The North Carolina State Superintendent walked back plans to implement a statewide curriculum that would teach disabled preschoolers to “deconstruct whiteness,” according to a report from Education First Alliance (EFA).
Catherine Truitt, North Carolina’s superintendent of public instruction, said she has not “will not sign” a contract proposal that would teach disabled preschoolers “we are all products of a racialized society” and that “Whiteness affects everything … inside and outside the classroom.”
“Instead, I will create a new contract proposal that has strict guardrails and new accountability measures to ensure the true needs of our youngest and most vulnerable learners are met,” she said. “As long as I am Superintendent, our pre-K classrooms will remain places of play and learning.”
I have received many requests from you regarding how Gov Youngkin’s order applies to school masking requirements.
For private schools – the answer is easy. Private schools were ordered by the former health commissioner to require masking in schools. That order is rescinded. Private schools should rely on the parental choice option and create a policy allowing mask wearing to be optional.
Public schools: This is more complicated. Last year a law was passed (SB1303) that requires public schools (only public – not private) to be open for in-person learning 5 days weeks while requires “ii) provide such in-person instruction in a manner in which it adheres, to the maximum extent practicable, to any currently applicable mitigation strategies for early childhood care and education programs and elementary and secondary schools to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 that have been provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
As school districts across the U.S. start 2022 in remote-learning settings or are considering doing so because of a rise in COVID-19 cases, parents now have more options as 22 states expanded or created school choice initiatives in 2021.
That’s a silver lining, advocates say, as parents grow more frustrated by ever-changing mandates, failed virtual learning outcomes and conflicting views with school boards over a range of issues.
There is a lot to be frustrated about as 2021 concludes. Some places are back in lockdown over rising coronavirus cases, while others are re-imposing previous restrictions and introducing new ones—including my city.
But at this joyful time of the year, I choose to be optimistic and focus on all the good things happening right now, particularly in the world of education.
After a year in which parents across the country began exercising more political power at school board meetings and through activist groups, the COVID-fueled parent movement is unlikely to subside any time soon, a new poll released Monday found.
Even as some school districts in Oregon and other locales this year suspended math and reading proficiency graduation requirements, most Americans believe public school academic standards aren’t high enough.
The Rittenhouse verdict has unleashed a torrent of stupidity and racist rhetoric from commentators across the country. The usual race peddlers seem to have kicked into high gear—even though everyone involved was a person of pallor.
But for me it only got my blood boiling. Let me explain.
In the course of my management consulting, I’ve been to some of the roughest neighborhoods in the country.
Over the last year, school board meetings have become ground zero for the country’s culture wars as irate parents have showed up in droves to decry school COVID closures, mask mandates, and critical race theory, as well as transgender policies.
After political analysts credited a parental uprising with helping Republican political newcomer Glenn Youngkin capture the Virginia governorship this month, these fights show no sign of easing. Both major political parties are already gearing up for next year’s midterm elections with Republicans sensing an advantage and Democrats digging in to defend beleaguered school boards, teacher unions, and the progressive policies they hold dear.
This week, conservative parents and their supporters are expressing new outrage over news that the FBI is placing “threat tags” on individuals accused of harassing or trying to intimidate school board members and teachers. For months, disgruntled parents have angrily targeted school board trustees for recalls across the nation, regularly denouncing union control of the schools as the crux of the problem. Recall attempts against school board trustees have tripled in 2021, targeting at least 216 officials, according to Ballotpedia.
The George Floyd riots, conveniently shut off this past summer, were as much theater as reality. They were designed to associate Donald Trump with police abuses and disorder, while painting Democrats and their notions of “racial justice” as the path forward.
Ordinary citizens standing up for themselves interfere with this guerilla theater indoctrination; after all, there are a lot more normal people who do not want their towns burned down than there are maniacs willing to do street violence. This is why individuals like Kyle Rittenhouse and citizen self-defense groups are dealt with so harshly by the government and the media.
Government Did Not Protect Us Last Summer
Consider that there were dozens of fires and beatings and a significant number of killings in Minneapolis, Kenosha, Chicago, Portland, St. Louis, and Seattle in the summer of 2020. Hardly any Antifa and BLM rioters have been brought to justice. Federal authorities have made no significant effort to roll up these groups.
Public education has been under the microscope lately, especially since many states shut down in-person learning last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. With children learning from home via technology, many parents had the chance to hear what their children’s teachers were saying—and they didn’t always like it. In fact, many were downright disturbed by what public schools were teaching their children.
Parents should not be forced to sit by and watch as their children get indoctrinated with progressive ideas they don’t agree with. Assuming it is legitimate for the government—that is, the taxpayers—to fund education, the government should distribute those funds directly to parents in the form of vouchers and allow them to choose where to educate their children. Not only would this allow for more choice in schools, but it would also reduce much of the conflict we are seeing today between parents and school boards across the country.
A common response to voucher proposals is that they would allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to send their children to private religious schools, thus violating separation of church and state. In other words, atheists and progressives argue that they should not have to financially support schools that teach students religious worldviews.
People old enough to remember the academic culture wars of the late 1980s and early ’90s have a special insight into this year’s controversy over critical race theory. I don’t mean insight into the identity politics of the old days and into the identity politics of 2021, though the basic features are the same whether we are talking about the English syllabus in college in 1989 or the equity lesson in elementary school this fall. I mean, instead, the particular way in which liberals have handled the backlash once the trends in the higher education seminar of yore and in the 6th grade classroom of today have been made public.
Here’s what happened back then. In the 1970s and ’80s, a new political awareness crept into humanities teaching and research at elite universities, casting the old humanist ideals of beauty and genius and greatness as spurious myths, as socially constructed notions having a political purpose. We were told that they are not natural, neutral, or objective. No, they are Eurocentric, patriarchal, even theological (in that they presumed a transhistorical, universal character for select masterpieces). Shakespeare, Milton, Bernini, et al., were not on the syllabus because they were talents superior to all others. No, they were only there because the people in control were institutionalizing their biases. This whole canon thing, the revisionists insisted, was a fake. As Edward Said put it in “Secular Criticism,” “The realities of power and authority . . . are realities that make texts possible,” and any criticism that skirts the power and authority that put Shakespeare on the syllabus and not someone else is a dodge.
They could diversify, then. That’s what the skepticism enabled them to do. They could drop requirements in Western civilization. They needn’t force every student through a “great books” sequence. The “classics” are just one possibility among many others. That was the policy outcome at one tier-one campus after another.
Virginia Beach has several competitive House of Delegates races where Republicans hope to make gains that will help power them to a House of Delegates majority. GOP candidates are focusing on a mix of law-and-order and education policy in a city where school board politics underlie several of the local House races.
In HD 83, Attorney Tim Anderson is challenging Delegate Nancy Guy (D-Virginia Beach), a former school board member. In the past, Anderson has endorsed and legally represented School Board Member Victoria Manning, a member of a conservative minority faction on the school board. Manning herself has pushed for recalls of her fellow school board members, including Vice Chair Kim Melnyk, who is challenging Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 84. Additionally, 2020 school board candidate Jeffrey Feld is challenging Delegate Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 81.
The Virginia Education Department promotes pro-Critical Race Theory books despite claims from state officials, including Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, that the curricula is not taught in its public schools.
The state’s Department of Education (DOE) promotes pro-Critical Race Theory (CRT) content on its “What We Are Reading” tab on its website, which compiles a list of resources from the Office of Equity and Community Engagement to recommend reading and develop its own work, Fox News first reported.
The list includes titles such as “Foundations of Critical Race Theory in Education” that “acts to further spur developments in education policy, critical pedagogy, and social justice, making it a crucial resource for students and educators alike,” according to its description.
The majority of Americans oppose the Biden administration’s plans to monitor and investigate outspoken parents at school boards meetings, new polling from Convention of States Action reveals.
The poll found 57% of those surveyed do not support the announcement while 19.8% are in favor. The rest are not sure.
“…One can plainly see that those who are aware that Merrick Garland made this announcement oppose him by large majorities, while there’s a group who marked ‘not sure’ because they don’t know about his announcement or don’t know enough about it,” said Mark Meckler, president of Convention of States Action.
Virginia Republicans only need to flip six seats to retake the majority in the House of Delegates, but to do that, they must protect a handful of vulnerable Republican districts like House District 66. Former Speaker of the House Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) is retiring after assuming office in 199o, and the urban, suburban, and rural district leans Democratic. It’s one of a handful of seats that survived Trump-era Democratic waves in greater Richmond in 2017 and 2019. GOP candidate Mike Cherry is running against Democrat Katie Sponsler in a battle of turnout and name recognition.
“This is an open seat so for the first time in decades, voters have the opportunity to learn about and choose between two new candidates, without the weight of incumbency skewing the election,” Chesterfield County Democratic Committee Chair Sara Gaborik told The Virginia Star.
The National School Boards Association (NSBA), which according to its website serves about 51 million public school students nationwide, made headlines recently when it requested that President Biden use federal terrorism statutes and issue other “extraordinary measures” against those pushing back against school boards that are indoctrinating children in critical race theory (CRT) and gender ideology. Much has already been written about this, and for good reason. In our Constitutional Republic, the federal government has no authority over education. As James Madison famously stated in Federalist 45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” A quick scan of the Constitution reveals that the people and states have delegated no educational power to the federal government. Because all power originates in the people and the states, all powers not delegated to the federal government remain in the states and the people. The Tenth Amendment states this principle explicitly.
Instead of leaving educational policy (and challenges to it) to state and local governments, however, President Biden is using the power of federal law enforcement to quell debate and intimidate parents from exercising their First Amendment rights. Using federal law enforcement to chill debate on what is and should be a truly local issue is totalitarianism at its zenith. All totalitarian states centralize educational control in the federal government for the purpose of indoctrinating children in their preferred ideology. The Nazis, Soviets, and Communist Chinese all did (or still do) it, and now, following in their footsteps, the Biden administration is giving it a try, albeit in an indirect, more nuanced manner.
But this piece is actually about a second, more subtle point. A key presupposition underlying the NSBA’s request — and the Biden DOJ’s response — is that parental protests against school boards are completely unfounded. As the NSBA letter notes, “many public school officials are  facing physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula.” The letter then states that “[t]his propaganda continues despite the fact that critical race theory is not taught in public schools and remains a complex law school and graduate school subject well beyond the scope of a K-12 class” (emphasis added).
It’s no secret that the far left has infiltrated higher education with its radical ideas. But now, woke ideology has come for K-12 classrooms across the country.
“As parents, we send our kids to school to learn to think critically, to figure out how to solve problems, and to respectfully discuss and resolve differences of opinion,” Ashley Jacobs, executive director of Parents Unite, said Friday during the new organization’s first conference.
“But,” Jacobs said, “our educational systems are not enabling these skills, and in some cases, [they are] stifling them.”
Among last year’s other lessons, none may be more important than this: Our taxpayer-funded education establishment cares more about adults than children.
Consider the evidence: public school union bosses pressured officials to close schools and keep them shuttered beyond what medical authorities recommended. In spite of the obvious harm to children of school closures, unions throughout the country lobbed threats and issued demands. In Chicago, the union went so far as to sue the Mayor to keep schools closed; in San Francisco, the city had to sue its school board.
A public education system that failed to do right by our children has kept union bosses empowered and politicians cowed. Thankfully, our country offers an alternative—one that proved its mettle this past year. In a recent survey of public school and Christian school parents, the Herzog Foundation found that parents of children who attended a Christian school were vastly more satisfied with their school experience.
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.
Joe Biden’s Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, admitted to having spoken directly with faculty members from school districts that are defying the law and forcing mask mandates on their students, even if their states have banned such mandates, ABC News reports.
Cardona said that some such schools fear repercussions from the state governments if they continue defying the bans, including in Texas and Florida. “I have had the conversations with superintendents,” Cardona said in an interview on Tuesday. “And they have asked, if this goes in that direction, how do we get support? My message is, open the schools safely; we got your back.”
Cardona had previously sent a letter to several school districts in Florida promising that the federal government would fund the schools directly in the event that Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) follows through on his promise to suspend the salaries of all superintendents who force such mandates onto their students in defiance of state law.
School board recall efforts are sweeping the country, with many driven by parents claiming Critical Race Theory (CRT) is infecting schools, demanding schools reopen in person, and arguing that boards are consumed by virtue signaling.
According to Ballotpedia, 58 such efforts against 144 board members have taken place in 2021. Those are both all-time highs since it started tracking school board recall efforts in 2006, and far above the next highest year, 2010.
Only one school board member has been removed in 2021, however, while three resigned and seven were retained in elections. One is scheduled for a November recall vote in Kansas for upholding a mask mandate.
A memo obtained by Campus Reform reveals that the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media considered “diversity of thought” to be in conflict with its efforts to achieve social justice objectives.
Hussman Dean Susan King wrote the August 1, 2020 memo to university Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz. She stated, “There is a fundamental conflict between efforts to promote racial equity and understandings of structural racism, and efforts to promote diversity of thought. These two things cannot sit side by side without coming into conflict.”
King wrote the memo in anticipation of Nikole Hannah-Jones joining the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faculty and teaching a class based on the “1619 Project.”
If there is a public policy silver lining to this past year, it is the increased support for school choice. Most public schools went online during lockdowns and parents, dissatisfied with the results, sought out other solutions, including private schools, pods, charter schools, online learning, and homeschooling. The last more than doubled with 11.1 percent of households homeschooling, up from 5.4 percent the year before.
Many state legislatures improved school choice options in their states. This is to be celebrated and continued.
School choice by itself, however, will not save students from a failing education if charter and private schools adopt the same curriculum and practices as the most woke schools. Without a focus on the right subjects and lessons, students will be unprepared for personal or professional success.
As the controversy over Critical Race Theory rages across the country, several prominent teacher preparation programs are training future teachers to use Critical Race Theory in the classroom. Several of the nation’s largest teacher preparation programs are training future teachers to use Critical Race Theory in the classroom.
Campus Reform reviewed course descriptions for upcoming classes in college teacher training programs at several major universities. Many intentionally prepare students to use progressive ideology in their own classrooms. Several use Critical Race Theory and social justice as a starting point for learning how to teach.
Among those courses are the University of North Carolina education department’s class, “”Critical Race Theory: History, Research, and Practice.” The course will cover how Critical Race Theory connects to “LatCrit Theory, AsianCrit, QueerCrit, TribalCrit, and Critical Race Feminism,” those terms being more recent areas of study that draw heavily from Critical Race Theory.
We know the nature of mass hysterias in history, and how they can overwhelm and paralyze what seem to be stable societies.
We know the roots and origins of the cult of wokeness.
And we know, too, how such insanity—from the Salem witch trials to Jacobinism to McCarthyism—can spread, despite alienating most of the population, through fear and the threat of personal ruin or worse. These are the dark sides of the tulip, hula-hoop, and pet-rock fads, the mass obsessions so suited to past affluent Western societies.
In a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper that aired in June, Barack Obama weighed in on perceived GOP anxieties. Instead of worrying about the economy and climate change, worries he thought appropriate for Republicans, “Lo and behold,” he told Cooper, “the single most important issue to them apparently right now is critical race theory. Who knew that that was the threat to our republic?”
I would argue that critical race theory, CRT for short, is not only a threat to the republic but also a threat to our families. Obama has already shown the damage that race can inflict on family, starting with this own. In March 2008, with his campaign floundering after the toxic Rev. Wright tapes surfaced, Obama played the CRT card to salvage his candidacy.
During a critical speech in Philadelphia, Obama reminded his audience that “so many of the disparities that exist between the African-American community and the larger American community today can be traced directly to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.” This was pure CRT. The fact that none of Obama’s relatives descended from slaves went unmentioned.
White privilege is a myth. A relic of a time that no longer exists and that none of us living and raising kids today have ever really experienced. There was once a time when legal and cultural advantages were offered to whites, but those days are gone and pretending otherwise is causing great damage to children and our society.
White Privilege Talk Harms Children Psychologically
White privilege is a concept which hurts both white and non-white children, albeit in different ways. For white children, you steal from them the ability to feel pride in who they are, their ancestors, and in their cultural inheritance. Certainly every nation and people can find stains in its history. The past was a violent and merciless place in which all sides are implicated.
White privilege requires that children of European descent are never allowed to feel deserving of what they, their parents, or their ancestors have achieved. They are never allowed to believe that they have rightfully earned anything. Consequently, they are pressured to actively give up what is theirs in penitence. This is obviously damaging and abusive for a child to endure.
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.”
Critical race theory has now taken hold in the U.S. military. And I have to say, I find it perplexing. My father served for three decades in the U.S. Army. I grew up understanding that the military is about forming a bond, a unit, a team working toward the same goals and protecting each other while achieving them.
So, you can imagine my shock when I started to learn how seriously the leaders at the Pentagon were starting to integrate critical race theory (CRT) in their curriculua. In fact, a professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Lynne Chandler Garcia, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed, “I teach critical race theories to our nation’s future military leaders because it is vital that cadets understand the history of racism that has shaped both foreign and domestic policy.”
As Mark Davis opined in Newsweek, “Finding such warped content in today’s liberal college classrooms is not surprising. But finding it at the U.S. Air Force Academy is unacceptable.” I couldn’t agree more.
Toward the end of the month, a state-imposed mask mandate at Virginia schools will no longer be enforced, but the state’s Department of Health is encouraging school divisions to create mask policies.
On July 25, the public health order forcing schools to require face coverings will expire and will not be renewed. However, the VDH issued guidelines that strongly recommend school divisions impose mask mandates for students, staff and teachers.
“Virginia has followed the science throughout this pandemic, and that’s what we continue to do,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. “This guidance takes into consideration recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and will provide necessary flexibility for school divisions while ensuring a safe, healthy, and world-class learning environment for Virginia’s students. Again, I strongly urge every eligible Virginian to get vaccinated. Getting your shot will protect you, your family, and your community—and it is the only way we can beat this pandemic once and for all.”
A year ago, “defund the police” activists were having quite a time. Outlets like CNN and Vox were publishing fawning profiles. Social media sensations like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar were leading the parade. Cities like Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Austin even approved partial defundings. It was a juggernaut.
Now? A tough-on-crime former cop just won the Democratic mayoral nomination in Bill de Blasio’s New York. Former President Barack Obama is warning fellow Democrats, “You lost a big audience the minute you say [‘defund the police’].” Sen. Bernie Sanders has rejected calls for “no more policing.” And White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, a few weeks ago, bizarrely claimed that it was not Democrats but Republicans who wanted to defund the police (because they opposed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill).
What happened? Intoxicated by a few policy wins in deep blue cities, enthusiasm in the left-leaning Twitter echo chamber, and their viselike grip on the national media, “defund” activists overlooked one important detail: Their agenda was deeply unpopular with most Americans. A summer 2020 YouGov poll found that just 16 percent of adults wanted to cut police funding — much less “defund” the police. Indeed, 81 percent of black Americans wanted police to spend as much or more time in their communities. During a year when major American cities saw an unnerving increase in homicides, after years of declines, that reaction was not just understandable, it was wholly predictable.