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.
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.
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.
Public schools across the country are eliminating gifted and talented programs, removing advanced courses and overhauling admissions processes to achieve equity across racial categories.
Removing gifted and advanced courses is a no-cost way to cover up the racial achievement gap while ignoring its root causes, according to Harry Jackson, president of the Thomas Jefferson High School Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA).
“Gifted programs and advanced courses provide a mechanism for low-income households to achieve a stellar education for their children and serve as a ‘great equalizer’ to those families that opt for private education,” Jackson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “By eliminating gifted programs and advanced courses in the name of equity, they will create greater inequities,” he said.
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 is probably an understatement to say that when one group designates another as a terrorist organization, diplomatic relations between the two become strained.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights.”
Truths. Equal. Creator. Rights. Concerned parents want schools to teach truths, not ideologies; operate under equality, not equity; and respect faith in our Creator and our parental rights. These are the fundamental principles from our Declaration that are at stake in American education today.
New Jersey teachers said they were instructed during a teachers union training to log conversations regarding the COVID-19 vaccine with parents and students, Fox News reported.
The training provided by Made to Save, a vaccine “equity” nonprofit, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) directed instructors to “follow up and track” conversations with parents and teachers regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, Fox News reported. They were told to log their conversations into the Democrat campaign app, “Reach,” and were incentivized with gift cards to be active users.
Campaign operative Jake DeGroot devised Reach, which New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez utilized in her 2018 campaign, Fox News reported.
A Chinese student attending a Canadian university is currently facing repercussions from the Chinese government for his criticism of the regime on Twitter.
Experts tell Campus Reform that the same thing has happened in the United States.
University of California’s new Community Safety Plan shifts major responsibilities and funding away from UC Police Departments.
The plan, based on an 80-page report released this summer by the Department of Public Safety Community Advisory Board, was announced by UC President Michael Drake last week and will be implemented across all 10 campuses. It reflects UC’s “commitment to equity and social justice.”
“Under this new model, a multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals, campus police, social service providers, police accountability boards and other personnel will work together to prioritize the well-being of the entire UC community,” Drake said in a message to the university. “This reimagined structure will ensure that the m,ost appropriate responders are deployed to meet our community’s specific needs with tailored care resources and services.”
Susan King is stepping down as dean of the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media.
The university announced the decision yesterday.
The Hussman School faced backlash from progressives after it apparently backed off from a plan to give Hannah-Jones tenure for her work as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism.
The Department of Education announced Thursday that it will cancel student loan debt for over 300,000 borrowers with severe disabilities.
The program, set to erase over $5.8 billion in total debt, will begin in September and apply to over 323,000 borrowers classified as having a “total and permanent disability” by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Education Department announced. Borrowers will now receive automatic discharges of their debt, whereas previously needed to fill out applications.
“Today’s action removes a major barrier that prevented far too many borrowers with disabilities from receiving the total and permanent disability discharges they are entitled to under the law,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in the announcement.
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.
American colleges continue to face the consequences of COVID, as data show they experienced a significant decrease in returning students this past school year.
Many post-secondary education plans to take classes were canceled in 2020. In August of last year, the US Census Bureau conducted a survey which showed 29.4 percent of households with at least one prospective student had canceled their plans to take classes in the fall of 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic.
A Bryn Mawr College professor argues that America is “only for white people.”
Speaking on the “Refuse Facism” podcast, Chanelle Wilson, assistant professor of education and director of Africana Studies at the women’s liberal arts college, said the country “didn’t work for black people.”
“Damn sure it didn’t work for indigenous people,” she continued. “It did not work for people of Mexican ancestry. It didn’t work for Asians, it didn’t work for Jewish people, it didn’t work for Japanese people. It didn’t work for Chinese people.”
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.
Over the last few months, the U.S. has engaged in intense discussion over “critical race theory.” As Americans have debated the impact of CRT, several states have banned CRT from the public school curriculum, while other states are using it as part of that curriculum. The debate over CRT’s merits or dangers has prompted ideological battles in school board elections. This article looks at the increased activism around school board elections and its broader ramifications.
Past politicization of school board elections
Though school board elections may not seem as exciting as a presidential or even congressional race, they have taken on greater importance in recent years. In 2005, the city of Dover, Pennsylvania faced a contentious court case known as Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, which ruled that the school district’s teaching of intelligent design violated the separation of church and state. Shortly after the trial concluded, the district held its school board elections, and all the school board members who favored the teaching of intelligent design lost their reelection bids, at least in part due to their position on the issue. The election generated much discussion.
In the early 2010s, school board races saw partisan involvement through the Tea Party movement. Generally, candidates affiliated with the Tea Party ran on platforms of greater political accountability and lower property taxes. Carl Paladino, a former Republican nominee for governor in New York, won a race for the Buffalo school board on a Tea Party-type platform. The school board later ousted Paladino for making offensive comments about former First Lady Michelle Obama.
The Los Angeles Unified School District this week announced that students and employees returning to in-person instruction in the fall would be forced to undergo weekly testing even if they’ve been vaccinated against SARS-Cov-2.
“All students and employees, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, returning for in-person instruction must participate in baseline and ongoing weekly COVID testing,” Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly told media this week. “This is in accordance with the most recent guidance from the Los Angeles County.”
Though the district policy is making no distinction between unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals, Reilly herself stressed the importance of getting vaccinated anyway.
On July 19, Hillsdale College released the 1776 Curriculum, a package of American history and civics materials for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The curriculum offers students and teachers a more traditional and patriotic approach to American history than the critical alternatives now prevalent in the nation’s primary and secondary schools.
At nearly 2,500 pages, the 1776 Curriculum is a mammoth collection of teaching materials, offering grade-specific guidance for teachers, assignments and exams for students, and a trove of primary sources from the American founding and beyond. In a press release, Hillsdale’s assistant provost for K-12 education Dr. Katherine O’Toole contrasted what she described as Hillsdale’s “truly American” curriculum with its “partisan” competitors.
“Our curriculum was created by teachers and professors – not activists, not journalists, not bureaucrats,” O’Toole said. “It comes from years of studying America, its history, and its founding principles, not some slap-dash journalistic scheme to achieve a partisan political end through students. It is a truly American education.”
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.
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.
Critical Race Theory continues to permeate our classrooms and infect our children’s minds with outrageous ideas about their nation’s history. But a growing number of Americans are standing up to fight back against its false tenets and demand its removal from K-12 education. At the forefront of this patriotic effort is 1776 Action, an advocacy group committed to the vital work of restoring honest and unifying education in public schools throughout the nation.
The group’s Candidate Pledge has garnered national attention in recent weeks for its emphasis on America’s values and its vow to eradicate divisive race- and gender-based ideologies such as CRT from America’s schools. Political candidates who sign the pledge commit to restoring “honest, patriotic education that cultivates in our children a profound love for our country” and to promoting a curriculum that “teaches that all children are created equal, have equal moral value under God, our Constitution, and the law, and are members of a national community united by our founding principles.” The pledge also seeks to prohibit any curriculum that divides students by race and sex – or sets out to infuse harmful ideologies into course material.
In May, Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) became the first candidate to sign the pledge, declaring that CRT and similarly divisive theories are “shameful [and] must be stopped.” Other high-profile conservatives running for office, such as Republican nominee for Governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin, also vowed to replace CRT with “a high-quality civics curriculum.” The two Republican candidates for Governor of Kansas, former Gov. Dr. Jeff Colyer and Kansas Atty. Gen. Derek Schmidt, have also signed the pledge. As more candidates sign this pledge, it will put pressure on teachers, principals, and school boards to declare their stances on CRT and other key educational matters. It will also hold them accountable for the materials they teach and ensure our children are not indoctrinated with malicious theories that seek to denigrate our country and reduce students to their sex or skin color.
The Biden administration signaled its support for the teaching of “anti-racism” curriculum in public schools Friday, wading into an ongoing culture war over critical race theory playing out on cable news and in school board meetings across the nation.
Asked about a recent decision by the National Education Association to throw its weight behind controversial progressive teachings about race, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told RealClearPolitics that President Biden believes “kids should learn about our history” including the view that “there is systemic racism that is still impacting society today.”
Psaki continued that the president and the First Lady, who is also a life-long educator, believe that “there are many dark moments, and there is not just slavery and racism in our history.”
Utah is one of many states in America considering banning critical race theory in public schools.
Republican State Representative Steve Christiansen sponsored a bill that takes direct aim at critical race theory concepts being taught in public education. The bill passed the Utah House and is awaiting the signature of the Speaker to move onto the state Senate.
That bill, HR901, calls on the Utah Board of Education for a re-evaluation of guidelines to weed out critical race theory in publicly funded classrooms.
Nicole Solas was surprised to find her name listed on the meeting agenda of her local school board, especially since it said the board was considering taking legal action against her in response to her many requests for public records.
The Rhode Island mother of two began filing records requests with the South Kingstown School District several months ago, when she learned that teachers were incorporating critical race theory and gender ideology in the curriculum.
But she didn’t expect the school board to talk about suing her.
“I was shocked,” Solas, 37, told The Daily Signal in a recent phone interview. The school board, she said, “did not tell me that [the requests were] a problem.”
As disruptive as the 2020/2021 academic year was, it led to many positive educational changes that will be transformative and long-lasting. Most notably, parents have been re-empowered to take back the reins of their children’s education from government bureaucrats and teachers unions. Frustrated by school closures and district “Zoom schooling,” families fled public schools in droves over the past year, and there are several signs that these families won’t be returning this fall.
According to an analysis by Chalkbeat and the Associated Press, public school enrollment fell by an average of 2.6 percent across 41 states last fall, with states such as Michigan, Maine, Vermont, and Mississippi dropping by more than 4 percent. These enrollment declines far exceeded any anticipated demographic changes that might typically alter public school enrollment.
How many of these students will be back in a public school classroom next year? Not as many as public school officials hoped.
Our K-12 schools are organized more like a swim meet than a swim lesson. The emphasis is on student placement results rather than on ensuring all students learn. Students move on to the next lesson, concept, or skill regardless of whether mastery was achieved at the previous level.
Donald P. Nielsen explains this analogy in Every School: One Citizen’s Guide to Transforming Education:
In a swimming meet, the purpose is to determine who is the fastest swimmer. In public schools we spend a lot of time grading students on what they have learned and then ranking them, rather than ensuring that every child has learned. What we need, however, is a public school system that is organized like a swimming lesson. In a swimming lesson, the instructor’s goal is different. The goal is to make sure all students, even the slowest, learn how to swim. Swimming meets can be a result of swimming lessons, and grading can be a result of learning, but ranking students by ability should not be the primary goal of teachers or of the system as a whole.
In swimming, as in any other athletic or artistic endeavor, classes are grouped based upon the current achievement level of the students, not based on age. A swimming coach would never consider putting advanced swimmers and beginning swimmers in the same class, even if they were of the same age. Similarly, a music teacher would not put an advanced piano player in a class with beginners…. Age is not a relevant factor in either swimming or piano lessons, but it is the overriding factor in our schools. No other major learning activity is strictly age-based. Our schools shouldn’t be either.
An American educator is persuading schools to implement viewpoint diversity in the classroom.
Erin McLaughlin is a teacher from Pennsylvania who is making headlines with her approach to classroom instruction. She argues that viewpoint diversity, which is teaching students how to think rather than what to think, should be at the center of many curriculums.
McLaughlin, in an interview with The College Fix, said that it is the job of educators to teach children how to process things as opposed to what to advocate for.
The Richmond Public Schools (RPS) leadership team presented initial schedule adjustments for all grade levels to its school board during a meeting Monday night.
The board did not vote to adopt any of the proposed scheduling adjustments.
Four mothers have filed a lawsuit against California Gov. Gavin Newsom over his coronavirus education plan, claiming adverse effects including anxiety over poor grades and lack of special education access.
The lawsuit was filed Sept. 10 in Shasta County Superior Court by the Freedom Foundation on behalf of the northern California families. The complaint is available here.
The plaintiffs allege the plan that requires students to be in classes part-time denies them their constitutional right to a quality education as enshrined in the California Constitution.
University of Virginia employees have formed a new union and launched a campaign Monday centered around moving the school’s current hybrid instruction model to a fully virtual fall semester.
The union, United Campus Workers of Virginia (UCW-VA), is composed of undergraduate and graduate student works as well as university of Virginia (UVA) faculty and staff.
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