Harvard Orders Students to Use Correct Pronouns, Says Wrong Pronouns Constitute ‘Abuse’

One of the nation’s most prestigious universities is ordering students to attend mandatory training on using “correct” pronouns for their fellow students, warning that using their real pronouns may constitute “abuse” and could lead to disciplinary action.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the Ivy League school Harvard University now requires all students to attend mandatory Title IX training sessions. At these sessions, they are told, among other things, that “using the wrong pronouns” for students who believe they are a different gender constitutes “abuse,” and that “any words used to lower a person’s self-worth” are “verbal abuse.”

Read More

California School District Gives Students Access to Books with Pornographic Content

A California school district is offering books with pornographic scenes in its school websites, and parents are planning to take action.

Poway Unified School District in Poway, California, is giving students access to several books that feature pornographic scenes, according to the library databases. Several parents have compiled a database of age-inappropriate content in the district libraries and brought it to the attention of the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation, a group that focuses on equal rights in education, the Executive Director of the group, Wenyuan Wu told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Read More

Study Shows Educators Giving Students Assignments ‘Substantially’ Below Grade Level

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic significantly hampering K-12 education, millions of students across the U.S. are working on assignments substantially below their grade level, according to a study released Monday.

Readworks, a non-profit focused on K-12 literacy gaps, studied 65 million assignments given to three million students in the 2020-2021 school year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused students to miss months of learning, according to the report. Students were given assignments below their “grade level,” or academic expectations correlating to their age, one-third of the time.

Read More

Two Studies Raise Concerns About Public School ‘Serious Violence Incidents’

At a time when school shootings are a concern for many Americans, serious violence incidents are also up in schools across the nation, reports two recent studies.

One study, from the National Center for Education Statistics, shows a 35% increase in serious violence incidents in K-12 public schools from the 2015-16 school year to 2019-20. Serious violence incidents include rape, attempted rape, sexual assault other than rape, threatened rape, physical attacks, fights with a weapon, threat of physical attack with a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon.

Read More

Researchers Claim Students Will Need Three Years to Fully Recover from Pandemic

Researchers from a nonprofit group released a report claiming that elementary school students will need at least three years to fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and return to their pre-pandemic learning skills.

As reported by the New York Post, the report was released on Tuesday by the nonprofit group Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), which focuses on educational standards in K-12 grades.

Read More

Christian Student Silenced by School Receives Settlement

A college student will receive a massive settlement from his school after it tried to silence him from speaking about his faith, according to a Wednesday press release from Alliance Defending Freedom.

Georgia Gwinnett College settled with Chike Uzuegbunam for $80,000 six years after the lawsuit was first filed, which alleged that the school repeatedly denied him the right to speak about his Christian faith to other students, the press release said.

Read More

Commentary: College Enrollment Drops as Students Seek Alternatives

The past two years have been marked by major education disruption at the K-12 level, as more families questioned the schooling status quo during prolonged school closures and remote learning. They left district schools in droves, choosing instead to become independent homeschoolers, join learning pods and microschools, or find high-quality virtual learning platforms. 

Read More

More Teachers, Fewer Students Nationwide Despite Claims of Teacher Shortage

The number of teachers in the U.S. has increased from 2013 to 2020 while the number of students has decreased, according to data from the National Education Association, the nation’s largest public-school union.

While total enrollment has dropped 1.4% over those seven years, there has been a 2.3% increase in the number of public-school teachers.

Read More

Parents Flee the Public School System as Charter Schools See Surge in Enrollment

Enrollment in New York City schools is dropping while charter schools are seeing a growth in the number of students, according to a report published Wednesday by the Manhattan Institute.

Throughout all New York City schools enrollment declined with 80,707 fewer students enrolled in grades K-12 in the most recent academic year than in the 2019–20 academic year, the report said. The drop has been most pronounced in schools operated by the New York City Department of Education (NYDOE), where enrollment is down by 83,656 students, the largest drop the NYDOE has seen.

Read More

Schools See Rise in Students Seeking Mental Health Assistance After COVID

Over three-fourths of American public schools have reported a rise in the number of students seeking mental health assistance in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As reported by Fox News, the data was released on Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which operates under the guidance of the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The report shows that 76 percent of public schools saw staff express concerns about the mental health of their students, including depression, anxiety, and trauma since the coronavirus pandemic began in early 2020.

Read More

‘Cynical Symbolism’: Biden’s Education Department Issues New Rules to Crush Charter Schools

President Joe Biden’s administration is pushing new policies that make it harder for charter schools to survive while strengthening the power of teachers unions, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The newly proposed rules, which apply to the Department of Education’s (DOE) 2023 budget, will make it more difficult for charter start-ups to qualify and receive funding from a $440 million federal charter school program by requiring charter schools to prove there is a demand for education not being met by other institutions like public schools. The guidelines will consequently give teachers unions more control over education, experts told the DCNF.

Read More

Commentary: MIT Bucks the Trend and Reinstates Its SAT/ACT Requirement

SAT multiple choice exam with a number 2 pencil

In case you missed it, on Monday MIT announced that they would be reinstating their SAT/ACT requirement for future admissions cycles. Like many universities, MIT had ditched the tests during the pandemic.

Even prior to the pandemic, however, there had been a widespread push to abandon these tests to enhance diversity.

“Data shows tests like the SAT are biased against students from low-income households. Poorer students tend to perform worse on the test,” CNN reported in 2015. “Blacks and Hispanics also consistently score lower on the SAT than whites.” (CNN conveniently left out that Asian Americans score much higher than whites, presumably because it didn’t fit the narrative.)

Read More

Commentary: Parents Can Fight and Defeat Critical Race Theory

Critical Race Theory sign with a table of books

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.

Read More

Texas Lt. Governor Proposes Eliminating Tenure to Rid CRT from Public Universities

Dan Patrick of Texas

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.”

Read More

Commentary: Revitalizing K-12 Education with 10,000 New Charter Schools

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.

Read More

Over 70 Percent of Americans Support School Choice: Poll

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.

Read More

American Bar Association Requires Law Schools to Educate Students on ‘Bias, Cross-Cultural Competency, and Racism’

Man in a suit writing on paperwork at a table

The American Bar Association House of Delegates has approved new law school accreditation standards at the 2022 ABA Midyear Meeting, of which two amendments were focused on “diversity.”

In order to eliminate bias and enhance diversity, the ABA’s amended Standard 303(c) requires that “a law school shall provide education on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism: (1) at the start of the program of legal education, and (2) at least once again before graduation.”

To fulfill this requirement, “Law schools must demonstrate that all law students are required to participate in a substantial activity designed to reinforce the skill of cultural competency and their obligation as future lawyers to work to eliminate racism in the legal profession.”

Read More

Commentary: Mike Rowe Scholarship Highlights the Lost Virtues of Hard Work and Sweat

Tracy Wilson is sitting in the cutest little ranch house in this Calvert County town. It is her dream house—literally her dream house, she explains, as she has had the image of this very home in her mind, down to the color scheme of the exterior.

It is 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and the single mother of two just got home from another dream—her job. She spends her days working as an instrumentation technician in the flight test program at Boeing.

Read More

Commentary: Shutting Down Parents Does Not Help Public Education

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.  

Read More

George Washington University Admits That It Tracked Student, Employee Locations on Campus Without Their Consent

The George Washington University’s president publicly apologized Friday for a fall 2021 surveillance pilot program that tracked students’ and employees’ locations on campus without their consent.

“I write to inform you of a data analytics pilot program that took place on the university campus during the Fall 2021 semester, and to apologize on behalf of the university for the failure to inform you in advance of commencing this project,” Mark S. Wrighton wrote.

Read More

Georgia Democratic Governor Candidate Abrams Criticized for Not Wearing COVID Mask among Students

Stacey Abrams without a mask in a crowd of young students

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams is facing criticism for posing for photos with school children while not wearing a COVID-19 mask.

In now-deleted Twitter posts, Abrams is seen seated on the floor without a mask while several children on each side are each wearing one.

Abrams, a Georgia gubernatorial candidate and nationally known Democrat politician, like other fellow, high-profile party members is being accused of being hypocritical about the mask mandates that many elected Democrats across the country have required people to wear during the pandemic.

Abrams has championed more stringent masking policies in schools, according to CNN.

Read More

Pro-Pedophilia Professor Relieved of On-Campus Duties, Being Kept Away from Students, Reports Say

State University of New York at Fredonia Professor Stephen Kershnar has been relieved of his on-campus duties and “will not have contact with students” pending an investigation by the school, according to the popular Twitter page LibsofTikTok.

On Feb. 1, LibsofTikTok posted video footage of the Kershnar claiming that there is a moral justification for having sex with children as young as one-year-old, comparing it to “willing” participation in kickball.

Read More

New Iowa Bill Would Allow Parents to Watch Kids’ Classrooms

An Iowa representative introduced Tuesday a bill that would allow parents to watch live footage of their children in public school classrooms.

“I think we need to showcase the great work our teachers do,” Rep. Norlin Mommsen, R-DeWitt, a farmer, told The Center Square in a phone interview Tuesday.

He said that through the COVID-19 pandemic, parents learned they wanted to be more involved, and this is a mechanism of facilitating parental involvement.

Read More

Teachers Unions ‘Hold the Education of Kids Hostage,’ Worker Rights Group Says

A worker rights group is calling out two powerful teachers unions, claiming that they “hold the education of kids hostage” in a press release.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTWLDF), told the Daily Caller News Foundation that teachers unions like the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) are taking advantage of a labor law provision passed in the 1930s for the private sector.

“In several states across the country, union officials, specifically teachers’ union officials, have been granted a really unique privilege called exclusive monopoly bargaining,” Mix said, adding that former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt opposed granting such privileges to public-sector unions while in office.

Read More

University Fires 100 Professors Due to COVID

William Paterson University

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into its third year, William Paterson University is now laying off 100 full-time faculty over the next three years. 

The university, located in Wayne, New Jersey, originally planned to let 150 professors go before union negotiations revised the number to 100, or 29% of the institution’s 340 faculty, reports Inside Higher Ed.

Thirteen tenured professors lost their job at the end of 2021, according to the outlet. 

Read More

Commentary: The Fixation on COVID Testing Is Leading to the Widespread Disruption of Another Academic Year

Last week, a friend phoned to tell me that her child would be unable to make a playdate with my 8-year-old scheduled for the following day. Her son had tested negative for COVID that evening, yet she planned to take him for another PCR test the next morning “out of an abundance of caution.” Days earlier, a neighborhood mom was so distraught that her daughter had shared the same bus with a classmate who was later discovered to have had COVID that she insisted on stocking up on at-home testing kits for use every day that week. Despite displaying no symptoms and being fully vaccinated, the child and her siblings were subjected to daily nasal swabs.

While television programs like HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm poke fun at liberals who stockpile COVID essentials, progressive professionals who retain the luxury and time to devote to their hypochondria are inevitably contributing to the nationwide shortfall of available tests while undermining the efforts of Americans whose testing needs revolve around a real exposure to the virus. Yet, as has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic, American children continue to pay the heftiest price for the Left’s misguided and irresponsible conduct.

Read More

Commentary: It’s 2022, But Many Schools Are Reverting to 2020’s COVID Playbook

young girl getting face mask put on her face

It’s 2022 but you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s still 2020—especially if you have children enrolled in K-12 district schooling. Some parents are grappling this week with a return to, or threat of, remote learning first introduced nearly two years ago.

Fear of the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus is leading school officials across the country to once again shutter schools. In Cleveland, for example, this first week of school for the new year is entirely remote for public school students. Several districts throughout Ohio are following suit, while others are re-imposing 2020 virus-related restrictions or extending the holiday break into this week.

Newark, New Jersey public schools announced they will be fully remote for the next two weeks, as did other districts throughout the state. Public schools in Atlanta will also be closed this week, reverting back to remote learning.

Read More

Former Planned Parenthood President Says School Closures Harm Children

Dr. Leana Wen

A former Planned Parenthood president and public health professional argued in a Thursday op-ed for The Washington Post that the rise in cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant is not a reason to keep schools closed.

Dr. Leana Wen argued “both sides [of the school reopening debate] are wrong,” in her op-ed. “let’s agree that schools are essential and then work to reduce risk to get students back to in-person learning,” Wen wrote.

Wen called it “astounding” that governors in states like Texas, Georgia and Iowa are fighting against school mask mandates and that Florida’s surgeon general is discouraging testing in schools, attributing ” “low vaccine uptake among children” to “rampant right-wing disinformation.”

Read More

‘BIPOC’ Debate Tournament Banned White Students from Competing

University of Chicago Library

Student-run debate organizations at Northeastern University and Boston College co-hosted the American Parliamentary Debate Association’s (APDA) “inaugural BIPOC tournament” and explicitly prohibited white students from competing.

The BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color,) only tournament included teams from multiple universities including the University of Chicago.

As The Chicago Thinker reported this past semester, The University of Chicago informed students the BIPOC debate was only open to anyone who “does not identify as white.”

Read More

Nearly 60 Percent of American Parents Are Concerned With What Their Kids Are Learning: Poll

Roughly 6-in-10 parents are concerned about the current quality of American education, according to a survey conducted by an education advocacy group.

An overwhelming number of parents believe they should be able to determine what their kids are taught in the classroom, according to a Free to Learn (FTL) poll. Concerns over COVID-19 mitigation measures, Critical Race Theory (CRT), gender ideology and virtual learning have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic.

CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet it teaches people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies.

Read More

Los Angeles Students Lost over 90,000 School Days in Compliance with Quarantine Protocol

A California activist group calculated that students in Los Angeles County missed over 90,000 school days in the span of a month, Fox News reported.

In about a month a total of 92,455 in-person school days in Los Angeles County were lost, which Jonathan Zachreson, the founder of Reopen California Schools called “astounding,” Fox News reported Monday. Quarantine measures to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic kept kids home from school, which led to the learning loss that Zachreson said “could have been avoided” if school officials hadn’t intervened in public health matters.

Many students were able to stay in school because of “Test to Stay” programs, which allow unvaccinated students who are exposed to the virus to stay in school as long as they are asymptomatic, wear a mask and take two COVID-19 tests a week, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Read More

Commentary: Poll Reveals Education Quality, Curriculum Stoke Parents’ Concern

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.

Read More

Students ‘Demand’ Roles for Black Actors, Professor’s Resignation

Silhouette of three performers onstage

A student organization at the College of Wooster is calling for the school to apply affirmative action to its theater productions. 

The BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) has written a list of demands for the university, which according to The Wooster Voice, include having: 

At least one department play yearly that is BIPOC written or starring a BIPOC student (this student should not be the only BIPOC student in the cast) in one of its leading roles. This can also be fulfilled by student productions that are treated like main stage productions. The department must show a vested interest in BIPOC work.

Additionally, the students demand that Shirley Huston-Findley, a professor of theater and dance, resign “from department chair until further substantial equality education is reached and the DEI plan is completed.” 

Read More

Taxpayer-Funded Critical Race Theory Training Program Draws Criticism

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

Critics are questioning a taxpayer-funded program that trains students in critical race theory.

The backlash comes after The Center Square uncovered federal grant documents from the Department of Education that showed the federal government has awarded millions of dollars to a program that trains future educators in critical race theory.

Experts said the program disproves claims that critical race theory is not being pushed at K-12 schools.

Read More

Princeton Students Call out Dean’s Rittenhouse Email for ‘Factual Inaccuracies, Misconstrual, and Virtue Signaling’

Kyle Rittenhouse

Some Princeton university students are pushing back after receiving a politically-charged email from a dean following the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict.

Princeton University students enrolled in the School of Public and International Affairs received a Nov. 20 email, obtained by Campus Reform, titled “Our Moral Duty” from the dean of the school, Dean Amaney Jamal.

“Last August, Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two protestors and wounded a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin. During his trial, he emotionally broke down on the stand, saying he was acting in self-defense. Today, he was acquitted of all six charges against him, including three of which were homicide related,” the email read.

Read More

Princeton Students Call out Dean’s Rittenhouse Email for ‘Factual Inaccuracies, Misconstrual, and Virtue Signaling’

Kyle Rittenhouse

Some Princeton university students are pushing back after receiving a politically-charged email from a dean following the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict.

Princeton University students enrolled in the School of Public and International Affairs received a Nov. 20 email, obtained by Campus Reform, titled “Our Moral Duty” from the dean of the school, Dean Amaney Jamal.

“Last August, Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two protestors and wounded a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin. During his trial, he emotionally broke down on the stand, saying he was acting in self-defense. Today, he was acquitted of all six charges against him, including three of which were homicide related,” the email read.

Read More

‘Academic Fiasco’: Duke Student Leaders Vetoed Pro-Israel Student Organization

Christina Wang

The Duke Student Government (DSG) recently “chartered” a chapter of Students Supporting Israel (SSI), only to uphold its president’s veto of the organization days later.

The Chronicle reported that the Nov. 10 approval followed SSI’s stated intention to be “clear and confident pro-Israel voice on college campuses and to support students in grassroots pro-Israel advocacy.” 

Five days later, however, the outlet reported that the DSG president, Christina Wang, vetoed the body’s approval of SSI over a now deleted social media interaction reportedly between the group and an individual that did not conform to expected conduct for a student organization.

Read More

Students Meet to Move Campus ‘Beyond Policing’ After Shooting Near Campus

University of Texas at Austin hosts their "#NationalNightOut "

After a shooting involving two non-university individuals occurred near the University of Texas at Austin over Halloween weekend, a segment of the student body is working to realize a vision of campus safety “beyond policing.”

Following the incident, The UT Senate of College Councils hosted an event titled “Campus Safety Beyond Policing” during which students discussed various ways to pursue a supposedly safer campus without needing UTPD. 

The event was led by the Equity and Inclusion Team of the Senate of College Councils, which opened up the meeting by stating that the purpose of the meeting was to “gain insight into what safety means to you beyond policing and how to best advocate for your needs.”

Read More

Analysis: Teacher Unions, Parents Gird for 2022 Battles

Protestor with megaphone, talking

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.

Read More

Commentary: Parent and School Board Tensions Could Be Eased by School Choice

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

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.

Read More

Commentary: Thinking Critically About ‘Critical Thinking’

“We must never,” Bismarck is said to have warned, “look into the origins of laws or sausages.” Sage advice, I’ve always thought (and no pun intended with that “sage”)—but how much at odds it is with the dominant current of modern thought, which is to say Enlightenment thought.

Immanuel Kant, a great hero of the Enlightenment, summed up the alternative to Bismarck’s counsel when, in an essay called “What is Enlightenment?,” he offered Sapere Aude, Dare to know!, as a motto for the movement. Enlightened man, Kant thought, was the first real adult: the first to realize his potential as an autonomous being—a being, as the etymology of the word implies, who “gives the law to himself.” As Kant stressed, this was a moral as well as an intellectual achievement, since it involved courage as much as insight: courage to put aside convention, tradition, and superstition (how the three tended to coalesce for Enlightened thinkers!) in order to rely for guidance on the dictates of reason alone.

Read More

Ric Grenell and Gloria Romero Commentary: A Plan to Deliver Equal Opportunity to Every Student in California

Group of young students working in classroom

When students are armed with a world class education, they can break down barriers and achieve their deepest dreams. However, in America today, big government and big unions are preventing students from receiving a quality education by forcing American kids to attend the school closest to them, even when it is totally failing. There is no school competition for kids who can’t afford to opt-out of the shoddy school they are forced to attend. This policy and practice especially impacts poor and minority children. But in our home state of California, we’ve had enough of failing government monopolies. We are launching a ballot initiative that will deliver educational freedom to every child in the state, regardless of where they live or how much income their parents earn.

We have all seen government schools that transition from safe havens for learning and hope into depressing institutions that fall short of educating tomorrow’s leaders. Parents are mad, taxpayers are frustrated, and our teachers are not supported by their union bosses. Nowhere is that reality truer than in states where big unions—like the California Teachers Association—control political decision makers with massive campaign war chests seized from their members’ obligatory dues. That’s why Fix California has launched a project to put a ballot initiative in front of voters in 2022—to emancipate students from the government monopoly on education.

Currently, in California, residents are taxed exorbitantly at every turn, with the ruling party’s promise that those dollars will ostensibly be spent on improving the state. That’s a lie on many fronts, but it’s especially untrue in education where failing government schools continue to be rewarded by more tax dollars and virtually no accountability. Tax dollars are siphoned off in the form of required union dues and are funneled straight into the coffers of corrupt unions financing campaigns of politicians who ensure the gravy train keeps flowing. It is a crooked cycle that has destroyed government education across the country.

Read More

Commentary: On Critical Race Theory, the Left’s Manipulations and Double Standards Are No Match for the Truth

"End Racism Now" sign and "Black Lives Matter" in a crowd

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. 

Read More

‘What Were You Thinking?’: State National School Boards Association Members Slammed Letter to White House About Domestic Terrorist Parents

National School Boards Association meeting

State members of the National School Boards Association slammed the organization following its letter addressed to President Joe Biden’s administration that compared parental concern at school board meetings to actions of “domestic terrorists,” according to emails obtained by Parents Defending Education through a public records request.

Emails between Delaware, Florida and Ohio school board officials and National School Boards Association (NSBA) leadership showed the discontent its state members had with how the national organization handled the letter and the claims it made. The NSBA sent a letter on Sept. 29 that asked President Joe Biden’s administration to use federal legislation, such as the PATRIOT Act, to stop threats and violence in public schools toward school board members over actions that could be “the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

On Oct. 10, Devin Sheehan, a regional director for the NSBA, sent a letter to executive directors to “compile any concerns, thoughts or recommendations” from its northeast region state board associations, according to the emails.

Read More

Colleges Offer ‘Social Justice’ Math Classes for Students, Future Teachers

This school year, colleges around the country will teach students to use math to drive a “social justice” agenda. Campus Reform has found several courses, aimed both at math students and future teachers, that will teach math through social justice and social justice through math.

Central Washington University’s “Mathematics for Social Justice,” identified by Twitter user @OrwellNGoode, purports to teach students how, and why, to use math for social justice activism. The course description says, “The overarching goal of this course is for students to develop the ability and inclination to use mathematics to understand, and improve, the world around us, exploring social, political, and economic justice.” Students will use math and analysis to “draw conclusions concerning social justice issues,” “make and evaluate assumptions in a social justice context,” and “analyze and critique social justice claims and arguments.”

Read More

Virginia Education Department Promotes Pro-Critical Race Theory Book, Despite McAuliffe’s Claims the Curricula Isn’t Taught in the State

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

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.

Read More

Loudoun County Sheriff Rejected School Superintendent’s ‘Extraordinary’ Security Requests for School Board Meetings

Scott A. Ziegler and

Recently-unearthed documents revealed a disagreement between the superintendent of Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) and the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO), after the former requested increased security measures from the latter in order to combat protesting parents at school board meetings, the Daily Caller reports.

The correspondence was revealed by a public records request from the Fight for School PAC. Documents show that superintendent Scott Ziegler’s requests included an increased presence of officers, a K-9 sweep of the meeting venue, and undercover officers in the crowd, among other measures, all of which were rejected by LCSO as excessive.

The LCSO even went so far as to disagree with Ziegler changing the rules for the school board meeting, including the decision to shut down the public comment section of a meeting that took place on June 22nd; LCSO told Ziegler that measures such as this amounted to silencing political opposition.

Read More

Commentary: America’s Students Deserve a History and Civics Education Free of Political Agendas

Across the political spectrum, Americans are recognizing the importance not just of school choice but of what students actually learn in schools. Elected representatives have finally taken notice as well. In Michigan, the state legislature has proposed two bills that seek to address how American history and civics are taught.

Unfortunately, some want teachers to tell students that they should understand American history primarily by looking for racism, injustice, and oppression. The phrase “critical race theory” (CRT) has been used mainly in academia to describe this filter on history and civic instruction.

Read More

Parents Announce ‘Not Domestic Terrorists’ Rally in Front of the Justice Department

Parents protesting certain library books in children's schools

Northern Virginia parents plan to protest in front of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Sunday, according to a flyer posted online.

A flyer reveals plans for a “Parents Are Not ‘Domestic Terrorists’ Rally Oct. 17. “Stand up, speak up, fight back!” the memo reads. “Bring friends, be heard … you can make a difference!”

News broke Wednesday that a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) student was allegedly raped in a school bathroom in May by a male student who wore a skirt. The victim’s father, Scott Smith, was arrested at a LCPS school board meeting weeks later for resisting arrest, and the perpetrator – who was charged with two counts of forcible sodomy – allegedly assaulted another girl at the school he transferred to following the initial incident, Daily Wire reported.

Read More

Commentary: Educating Students About the Victims of Communism

Olbram Zoubek Communism Victims Memorial

Many Americans today assume that the threat of Communism subsided with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But “We continue to see Communist and socialist regimes pop up and spread not only in Latin America – for example, in Venezuela and Nicaragua – but around the world,” says Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, president and CEO of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC). “These regimes regularly kill their own citizens and have a devastating effect on human rights and their national economies.” In fact, over 1.5 billion people – including those living in Laos, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, and, of course, China – currently live under oppressive Communist and socialist governments.

Founded in 1993 by a bipartisan, unanimous Act of Congress, VOC is “devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to pursuing the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes.”

Before coming to VOC, Bremberg served as the Trump administration’s Representative of the United States to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva. During his time there, which he describes as a “profound and life changing experience,” he “became aware of the challenge of China,” which was “far worse” than he had realized. He notes that the U.N. International Human Rights Council made investigating the United States’ record on racism during the summer of 2020 its highest priority – putting it above China’s appalling human rights violations against Uyghurs, among other ethnic groups within its borders.

Read More