Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Teachers Are Feeding Critical Race Theory to Our Kids. Look What’s Happening in Wisconsin

A widespread, vigorous debate is going on in this country right now about critical race theory and if it should be taught in our local schools.

Critical race theory is an academic discipline that has been around for decades but only recently became the ideology of the far left in its push to tear down our country, destroy the principles our country was founded on, and eliminate the protections every American is afforded under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Critical race theory seeks to fundamentally and profoundly change the United States forever.

Critical race theory preaches that the United States was founded on racism, grew to become the successful nation that it is today because of this racism, and that our country, still today, is fundamentally defined by our racism and racism is found in everything that we do and that we do not do.

Christopher Rufo, director of the Initiative on Critical Race Theory at the Manhattan Institute, writes that “critical race theory prescribes a revolutionary program that would overturn the principles of the Declaration of Independence and destroy the remaining structure of the Constitution.”

Critical race theory replaces the founding principles of this country such as equality, excellence, and equal protection under the law and replaces them with the communist ideal of equity, that is, every American, no matter their ability, work ethic, or moral fiber, should end up achieving the same result.

Instead of every single one of us, no matter the color of our skin, no matter our ethnicity, or our current lot in life, being guaranteed certain unalienable rights by our creator, under critical race theory, we would be dictated to by the all-mighty government that no matter our individual merit, ability, or talent, we will all end up in the same place, an equal place.

As the critical race theory debate heated up nationally, our readers requested we investigate to see if critical race theory was being taught directly in our classrooms here in Wisconsin or being used at the district level to shape the curriculum used to teach our children. We supplemented our own investigation and research with the dozens of tips we received from friends all across the state.

We found that critical race theory—or one of the many other names for critical race theory, like culturally responsive teaching, equity, anti-racism, woke, implicit bias, white privilege—is being taught in many school districts all across the state and is quickly on its way to fundamentally changing K-12 education in Wisconsin.

Parents need to wake up to what critical race theory is, what critical race theory will do to their children’s education, and speak up before it is too late.


Waltz Follows Up After West Point Failed to Deliver Full Answers on Critical Race Theory

Republican Congressman Mike Waltz, a Green Beret who fought in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa, is continuing his efforts to eliminate Critical Race Theory from West Point's curriculum.

In another letter to West Point Superintendent Lieutenant General Darryl Williams, Waltz is asking a series of follow up questions after detailed documents and teachings of CRT were not sent for review.

"While I appreciate the substantive details you provided, I did not receive 'the full presentation of these seminars, presentations, assemblies, and other related curricula' that I have respectfully requested in my oversight capacity as a Member of Congress on the House Armed Services Committee. My request still stands," Waltz wrote.

"In a screenshot of a slide obtained by me, as described in my previous letter, the title 'Understanding Whiteness and White Rage' is depicted. This title is an incendiary overview that is by no means subtle, as are her highly politicized public statements. Why was a guest lecturer who characterized the former Commander-in-Chief as a 'white nationalist' and the Republican Party platform 'white nationalism' invited to teach cadets who should aspire to lead an a-political military? Was there a vetting process and review of her statements made on social media and in media prior to extending her an offer to teach Military Academy cadets?" he continued. "CRT is a theoretical framework, rooted in Marxism, that posits individuals as oppressed or oppressor based on their gender, race, or sexual orientation. These teachings posit Americans as the oppressed or an oppressor—a status from which you are freed only when all existing societal structures, which are inherently systemically racist, are torn down or overthrown. Not only are these teachings antithetical to unity, discipline, and order within the U.S. Army, they are incredibly disturbing given the monopoly on power our military can have over American society and for their implications towards the continued subordination of the military to civilian oversight."

Waltz introduced legislation last month to "prohibit the United States military and academies from promoting doctrines associated with CRT" and is working to include additional legislation that would "prohibit U.S. Military Academies from providing training and education based on CRT" in the National Defense Authorization Act.


Virginia teacher fighting critical race theory on behalf of her students

Virginia teacher Lilit Vanetsyan said her colleagues are afraid to speak out against critical race theory for fear of losing their jobs.

Lilit Vanetsyan, a teacher in Fairfax County, Virginia, confronted school board officials in neighboring Loudoun County on Tuesday to push back against what she described as radical lesson plans that will teach kids to "root for socialism by the time they get to middle school."

"Parents, the longer that you wait and don't have your child's schools accountable, gives these guys more time to dictate what's best for your child's physical, mental, and emotional health," she said, pointing to the board as she spoke from the podium at Tuesday's school board meeting.

She joins a growing number of parents and educators who are speaking out against the controversial critical race theory, which opponents argue is a divisive curriculum that teaches adolescents to judge one another by the color of their skin.

"Students, you are on the front lines of these indoctrination camps. Challenge the staff when you are presented with a ludicrous statement, and do not allow anybody to tell you that you cannot accomplish anything because of your skin color, or to hate yourself because of your skin color," Vanetsyan intoned. "Students, it is up to you to be the next generation of victims, or victors."

Vanetsyan's final message was for the school board: "And finally, to the board, this isn't over. And your policies as just as -" she's heard saying before her mic cut out.

Social media users gave her rave reviews. "Share this everywhere. Every parent, teacher and student should hear it," conservative comedian Tim Young tweeted.


Australia: What they don’t tell you about elite private schools

This author resolutely misattributes the strong correlation between parents and chidren in educational matters. Smart parents tend to have smart kids and there is little you can do to reverse that.

And there is also a strong correlation between educational achievement and social class. It grates on Leftists to hear this but educational achievement and social class are both genetically determined. Rich kids do indeed tend to be middle class but that is because of their genetics not "privilege"

Education and who gets it is the focus of the third book by Brisbane-raised author Bri Lee, and she pulls no punches about the inequality in the city’s schools. An interview:

Can you tell me what sparked the idea for this book?

In 2018 my friend Damian started his Rhodes Scholarship over at Oxford University and when I went to visit him he took me on a tour of Rhodes House and the rest of the university. Back then I felt that something like a Rhodes Scholarship was the absolute apex of achievement for academic-slash-intellectual people so I felt like he was a “winner” and I was a “loser”.

The more I learned on that trip, though, and then in the years of research since, the more I realised how rigged the game is.

And also, how truly horrific the legacies of these institutions and systems can be.

If a school or institution or a program is supposed to be about knowledge sharing but actually gets all its value and appeal from the number of people it excludes, then we have to ask some tough questions.

Q. In Queensland and particularly Brisbane, people are often asked what school they went to. How relevant is this to someone’s success?

Unfortunately it is hugely relevant.

The single biggest correlative factor in terms of student success, is parental income. In Australia, over the past couple of decades in particular, we have seen a “drift” of every family who can afford the fees sending their children to private schools and the result is that about 80 per cent of students with some kind of disadvantage are being left behind at underfunded state schools.

Catholic and independent schools can use all kinds of interview and testing procedures to exclude children they don’t want to teach, which is blatantly unethical.

In this country, some schools have orchestra pits and firing ranges, while others cannot afford to run breakfast programs for kids who aren’t getting fed enough at home, and we tell ourselves we have “equality of opportunity”? You’ve gotta be kidding me.

Q. After writing this book are there any conclusions you came to about private versus public education?

Plenty! The main thing is that out of all OECD nations, Australia ranks fourth worst for having a segregated schooling system according to socio-economic class.

Every year that the current funding and political plan progresses, the worse this divide gets.

Other OECD countries with better outcomes for kids don’t have this split down the middle, where so many children are at private schools.

And we scratch our heads and wonder why our overall PISA (Program for International Assessment) literacy and numeracy rates are still decreasing.

The problem is obvious. The solution requires courage and political willpower.

Private schools are rarely co-ed? What did you discover about the success of girls and boys in these schools?

Research shows girls at single-sex schools are better able to accurately measure how well they are doing, particularly with science and maths subjects. When they are in co-educational settings they are made to feel bad about themselves and their abilities.

Boys benefit from proximity to girls and their confidence in themselves translates to better results.

The real value of single-sex schools for boys is in the “Old Boys” networks, where men can find employment opportunities, mentors, and defence barristers.

This is true of “Old Girls” network but to a lesser extent.

Overall my opinion is it’s just weird and unhealthy to have kids growing up never interacting with other genders.

Q. How much do you think your and your brother’s schooling impacted your life?

Hugely. Something my research for this book made me confront and articulate is that my wonderfully comfortable life now was almost predestined, thanks to my world-class education.

I was almost certainly going to end up middle class, and with these qualifications and a white-collar job.

That’s not to say I didn’t work hard but I think what lots of middle-class Australians don’t like to acknowledge is plenty of people work just as hard as we do and don’t end up as comfortable as we are.

We tell ourselves stories about “deserving” and “social mobility” that are mostly myths.

Q. What persistent myths around intelligence do you debunk in the book?

Hopefully a few.

One big one that really annoys me is the way we tell children there are “all kinds of ways to be smart” – re-branding interpersonal skills, kindness and self-awareness as types of intelligence in order to value them just reinforces the problem.

I wish we didn’t automatically allocate morality and worth to people who have “intelligence”. Also something the book deals with is that at each point in human history when we think we have found a way to quantify intelligence, white supremacists and eugenicists appear and start acting horrifically.

Honestly, it’s a relief we don’t yet know much at all about how or why the brain does what it does. History tells us there are some types of knowledge humans can’t be trusted with.




Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Right Way to Fight Racism

Members of Congress, including several Asian Americans, surely meant well when they drafted a bill against hate crimes committed against Asian Americans. Alas, it’s a hollow political victory for one side, rather than real progress toward justice.

The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act focuses on strengthening law enforcement efforts against hate crimes related to the coronavirus and on providing guidance on racially discriminatory language.

But when they had an opportunity to do something tangible to reduce discrimination against Asian Americans, Senate Democrats defeated an amendment that would have prevented college admissions officers from using race to penalize Asian Americans.

Instead of unrigging a system of legal discrimination that clearly hurts Asian Americans as well as those it purports to help, those lawmakers decided on a symbolic measure that signals virtue, rather than one that advances justice.

“Hate crime” penalties seek to protect minorities. But there’s no evidence that increasing a perpetrator’s penalty because of the victim’s race actually prevents crimes based on race.

Furthermore, it devalues the lives of those who don’t belong to a category seen as one of the victims. And when an Asian American is attacked for a motive other than race (e.g., money), the harm is felt no less, but the perpetrator receives a lighter sentence.

Fighting racial discrimination with more racial discrimination doesn’t unrig the system. To undo racial discrimination and favoritism, we must increase impartiality.

That means that people must be treated as individuals, not members of a racial group.

That might not be what critical race theory teaches, but it’s the right idea. Women and people of color were not among the drafters of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, as critical race theorists remind us, but the promise of equality and inalienable human rights has benefited women and men of every skin color.

And the hope of impartiality was what Martin Luther King Jr. inspired Americans with during the dark days of racial segregation, when the legal, economic, and social systems were rigged against black Americans.

Impartiality is not the same thing as “not seeing race.” It’s seeing an individual, including his or her race, but not reducing him or her to the boxes we think he or she checks. Treating each other with impartiality is how Americans can make true progress against prejudice. Each American has his or her personal experience with race.

Like many other Asian Americans, racism is not new to me. I was born in America, but strangers have told me to go back to where I came from. And last year, as Asian Americans experienced an increase in racial slurs and violence, ugly scratches appeared on my car.

I couldn’t shrug off the suspicion that it was motivated by racism.

The nightmarish violence has made me and many other Asian Americans fearful and angry. But I don’t actually know who scratched my car or what his or her motive was.

I know that some people scapegoat everyone with Asian features, rather than the Chinese Communist Party. But did the person who “keyed” my car bear a racial animus against me? I can’t be sure of that. In any case, what good would it do to see myself as a perpetual victim of racism, especially since I would just as often be wrong as right?

It has been particularly painful to see the most vicious members of society attack the most vulnerable, especially the frail and elderly.

But Asian Americans haven’t grieved alone. After the killings of both Asian Americans and white Americans at three Atlanta massage businesses, I attended a prayer service led by an Asian American pastor and a white pastor.

They led a lament for all those who lost their lives. Rather than siding with the perpetrator because of his race, white Americans joined Asian Americans and those of other races to ask God for justice and redemption.

The suspect said his motive was not racial animus, but rather a twisted desire to eliminate sexual temptation. The truth may never be known, but those who grieved were from many races.

We must all agree with The Boston Globe columnist who recently wrote that Asian Americans should be seen as who we really are; namely, Americans and not foreigners in our own home.

In fact, all Americans should be seen as who they really are. For that to happen, we must see each other as individuals, not members of racial groups.

Fortunately, that happens. Almost every person who has sought to hire, promote, or mentor me has been of a different race. I don’t know how they viewed my race, but they evaluated me according to my individual strengths and weaknesses. Now that I’m in a position to hire, promote, and mentor, I seek to understand each person’s unique talents, strengths, and potential.

I should not be prejudged by the color of my skin or my last name, nor should anyone else. Those who think that racism is systemic may think this is naive, or even that I have “false consciousness” and fail to perceive the systemic nature of racism. But I’m not unconscious to racism. Rather, I’m just conscious that we’re all susceptible to it.

“The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being,” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote of his own experience in the Soviet gulag, where soldiers beat and starved him because of his political and religious beliefs. But he resisted the temptation to demonize them.

With honesty and moral clarity, he recognized his own heart was not immune to the temptations of hate and evil. None of us are. No individual and no country is above it. America isn’t. And China isn’t, either, as the persecution of Uighur Muslims has made all too clear.

Instead of evaluating us as individuals with moral responsibility for our own choices, critical race theory, which is being institutionalized across America, reduces people to the color of their skin, prejudging all whites as beneficiaries of systemic racism and exonerating all non-whites from racist motives and actions. But using race as a proxy for guilt and innocence is a fundamentally flawed idea.

Human beings aren’t that simple. Each of us is capable of making good or bad choices, and we should be held responsible for the choices we make, not the ones that previous generations made.

As Chief Justice John Roberts said in a 2009 case on racial preferences: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

The path out of racial discrimination is through knowing one another and being known, as individuals.


The Culture of Arrogance Breeds Decline: Why Colleges Are Dying

The two stories that were the lead in Inside Higher Ed on May 26 exemplified to me why higher education in America is no longer a vibrant growth industry. The proportion of Americans attending college has declined by a double digit percentage since 2010, and a big rebound is not expected soon. Aside from wartime disruptions, I don’t think a decline of this magnitude has happened ever in the 150 years or so for which we have reliable data.

One story related how SHEEO (an organization of higher education executives) issued its annual report on public support for higher education, State Higher Education Finance. We are told that in fiscal year 2020, inflation adjusted higher education appropriations from states and local governments rose a very healthy 2.9 percent. I think most observers would conclude “support for higher education rose rather robustly.” Yet the spin put on this by SHEEO was quite negative: public support is still below what was in the years before the Great Recession.

The presumption seems to be is that spending should rise over time more than the overall inflation rate and enrollment expansion. That is to say, public resource inputs per student should grow. In the private sector, firms strive to reduce resource usage to enhance profits. The goal is to raise productivity, lowering the cost of offering the product. In many higher education circles, however, success is measured by what you spend, not by what you achieve, since we don’t really make a serious attempt to measure educational outcomes in a comprehensive fashion.

Moreover, a look at the SHEEO report shows that total revenues from appropriations and tuition fees have actually risen notably over time because of tuition increases. It takes a good deal more money to educate a student than it used to, but the SHEEO people are saying “we are starving for money.” Moreover, a close look at the underlying report suggests the form of inflation adjustment used is a bit murky and not altogether straightforward, using something standard like the CPI-U price index. The notion we should “do more with less” is not entertained, indeed it is treated with derision. Rather, I read the SHEEO report as a plea from a bunch of rent-seekers trying to grab as much of the public purse as they can for their own benefit.

The other big story on the 26th was that the American Association of University Professors issued a report blasting the erosion of “shared governance” during the pandemic, looking mainly at eight universities in five states (New York, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and California). The report says some “institutional leaders seem to have taken the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to turbocharge the corporate model.” They laid off faculty members “As expeditiously as if colleges...were businesses whose CEOs suddenly decided to stop making widgets....”

As often is the case in higher education these days, corporations are portrayed as forces of evil, institutions that heretofore morally superior academic leaders are starting to emulate. And laying off widget-makers (whatever a widget is) is understandable, but, not professors! The decline in university budgets arising from reduced enrollments and pandemic related expenses should not touch the saintly faculty. When widget-makers are laid off, it is because consumers are no longer buying many widgets; but the AAUP is indignant when the same principle rooted in financial necessity is applied to professors.

The Academy has become too complacent, too arrogant, too contemptuous of ideals and traditions that have successfully defined the American economic experience over the past two centuries of extraordinary economic growth and prosperity that has permitted us to fund colleges. The efforts of “corporate” America have enabled us to fund an extraordinarily large and diverse system of higher education, totally unappreciated and even denigrated by most of academic America.

The broader problem is the disconnect between the Ivory Tower and the Real World has grown to the point where it is starting to hurt universities. As I have said before: universities are utterly dependent on the beneficence of the people. When public support of universities wanes, appropriations, private donations and enrollments fall. The “public be damned” attitude of much of higher education must end for its own good.


A New Kind of Private School

The pandemic lockdowns have created quite a conundrum for conservative parents. On the one hand, we’ve been on the front lines of the (maskless) school reopening movement. On the other hand, as schools do reopen, our children are encountering a level of sexual and political indoctrination never before seen.

Or maybe we just hadn’t noticed. Ironically, it was the closures themselves, championed by the left, that helped bring the abuses to light. Parents peeking in on their children’s Zoom lessons found themselves appalled at what was being taught: critical race theory, BLM-inspired anti-police rhetoric, “LGBTQ” propaganda.

The backlash has been swift and harsh, with parents across the country crowding into school board meetings to demand an end to this nonsense. Meanwhile, conservative pundits like Matt Walsh and Dennis Prager have been arguing that the public schools are irreparably broken and the best thing conservative parents can do is get their kids out as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, for many parents, that’s not as easy as it sounds. For one thing, in many parts of the country, the public schools are still pretty good. Families are invested in their local schools and loathe to just up and leave.

Even for those who agree it’s time to go, where exactly will they go? Home schooling is growing in popularity, especially since many parents (again, ironically) discovered during the closures that they could educate their children just fine on their own. But for other parents, especially in two-career families, home-schooling simply isn’t practical.

Then there are private schools, which present their own set of problems. First, they tend to be prohibitively expensive, far beyond the ability of most families to pay, especially if they have multiple school-age children. Besides that, many private schools these days seem beset with exactly the same problems facing their public counterparts. In many cases, they, too, have become “woke” indoctrination factories. So what do families gain for their money?

I would like to propose a possible solution: that communities, churches, and other charitable organizations band together to create a new kind of private school. I confess that this suggestion is not original. It was inspired by a recent article by Trevor Thomas atAmerican Thinker. I would, however, like to give the idea an even wider airing while also adding a few wrinkles of my own.

In this battle for the heart and soul of America, we conservatives are at a distinct disadvantage, with very few institutions on our side. We do not have the mainstream media (although we do have our own media, thank goodness). We do not have the entertainment industry (although the folks over atDaily Wire, among others, are working on that). We do not have the government bureaucracy. We do not have the education system--yet. We no longer even have corporate America.

What we do have are churches. Granted, more and more Christian churches these days are also becoming “woke,” which is to say no longer Christian. But there are still many good, conservative churches. We also have money, in that many of us are at least moderately well off. Indeed, we already give so liberally to our churches that many congregations are blessed with large, modern facilities.

What I propose is that we use that money and those facilities to create a network of affordable private schools. I know many churches already sponsor schools, but like most private schools those tend to be expensive and exclusive. What I’m suggesting is that, as Christian conservatives, we put our money where our mouth is and make those schools accessible to nearly everyone by subsidizing the cost of attendance.

Families that could afford to pay, of course, would do so. But for everyone else there would be needs-based scholarships, with the churches themselves—which is to say, the parishioners—picking up the tab. Churches could also conduct capital campaigns to raise funds in the community.

And of course, it would be ideal if states would pass so-called “voucher” laws, allowing parents to take their tax money out of the public school system and give it to the private school instead. But I don’t think we should hold our breath waiting for that to happen. We will probably have to fund this initiative ourselves.

The good news is that we can. We have the means, if we’re willing to use it.

I’m also thinking that these new private schools, though sponsored by churches, should not be exclusively Christian. They shouldn’t require a statement of faith to attend (or teach), nor should they seek to indoctrinate students into any particular religious tradition. That would only keep people away. The schools should focus, instead, on providing an excellent, college-preparatory education in the arts and sciences while also teaching the truth about American history.

A potential roadblock would be accreditation, since accrediting bodies nationwide are as responsible for the recent radicalization as the local schools themselves, perhaps more so. When accreditors insist that schools institute “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” initiatives, for example, the schools themselves have little choice in the matter.

The solution would be for these community-based, church-sponsored private schools to form their own national accrediting body—focused, again, on high-quality education, not social engineering. Hopefully, many private religious colleges would recognize that accreditation initially, and over time, other colleges would follow suit as the excellence of the graduates, compared to their public-school peers, becomes apparent.

Obviously, there are many more details to be hashed out than I can cover in a short column. My goal is to help Trevor promote the idea in the hope that those in a position to do so will take it and run with it. I believe if we are ever going to win the culture war, there are certain things we just need to take into our own hands—and the education of our children is at the top of the list.


National Parent Group Emerges to Fight ‘Woke’ Education, Says It Harms Children

Less than a year ago, Elana Fishbein was a happy stay-at-home mother, raising her three boys in a well-off Philadelphia suburb. She’d noticed the school that two of her boys attended would push out some lessons and activities that she considered politically biased or inappropriate, but each time was able to resolve the situation by opting her children out. In June last year, however, she saw no other choice than to take action.

Following the protests and riots sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, the school issued new “cultural proficiency” lessons.

“My husband and I looked at the lesson plan and opened the links to the books that they included for the lesson plan and we were thoroughly horrified because they were totally racist,” she told The Epoch Times.

The events that followed led to the launch of a group that now runs chapters in nearly half the states, sporting tens of thousands of followers.

The school materials Fishbein examined followed what she called “woke” culture—a set of quazi-Marxist ideologies that divides society into “oppressors” and the “oppressed” based on characteristics such as race, sex, class, or sexual proclivities. The term “woke” is sometimes used interchangeably with critical race theory (CRT), which is only one of the ideologies that operate within this framework.

Fishbein immediately opted her children out of the lessons and sent an incensed letter to the school district superintendent.

“The material selected for this indoctrination pumps their brains with LIES that puts unbearable emotional burdens on them for years to come,” she wrote, backing her argument with a doctorate in child welfare (pdf). “Why must our kids feel like villains and hate themselves for something they had no control over—the color/pigmentation of their skin?!?”

“They are doing to us what they told us not to do to others,” her 9-year-old commented, according to the letter.

Her children didn’t return to the school in fall—a decision she’d already made before she learned of the new curriculum.

“I was just a happy mom. But somebody made a point of destroying the life of my children and many other children,” she said.

Since nobody responded to her letter, she posted it on the parents Facebook page of the school, asking others what they thought.

The response took her aback.

“I was called racist and bigoted and homophobe and whatever,” she said. Her post was then taken down.

She tried several other local Facebook pages with similar results. “I was blown away,” she said. “They won’t even discuss it. They just call you a name.”

She contacted her friend at a conservative-leaning news outlet that agreed to run a story about her experience.

It was then that people facing similar issues started to reach out to her. “They were telling me, every single one of them, that they’re afraid to speak up,” she said.

This was the watershed moment for her.

Being of Jewish descent, Fishbein felt an implicit threat behind the ideology.

“This is ridiculous,” she said she told herself. “This is going to take over our country. They’re attacking our children. They’re attacking our families, our values, our way of life and we’re just going to sit around and take the bullet? And people are just afraid? Just because somebody called you a racist?”

In that moment, in late-August, “it hit me … and I launched a movement,” she said.

She assembled in her living room a few parents that contacted her and she shared her idea with them.

“Are you a racist? If you’re a racist, I understand, but if you’re not a racist, why are you not standing up for your kid and for your family?” she told them.

In mid-September, she was invited on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” after somebody forwarded the initial article about Fishbein to the show.

Over the week after the show aired, her small Facebook page called “No Left Turn in Education” received over a million visits.

Tens of thousands of people were reaching out to her with their fears and worries.

“They were tormented. And many of them said, ‘We would like to act, but we don’t know what to do,’” she said.

And so she started to organize people into chapters.

Soon after, the organization launched its first lawsuit after Fishbein connected a Nevada mother with a lawyer.




Friday, June 04, 2021

Tennessee Governor Signs Bill Banning Critical Race Theory

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed legislation into law that will prevent schools from teaching critical race theory.

The law will go into effect July 1 and will bar educators from teachers their students that people of certain races and sexes are "inherently privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive."

Schools that violate this law will suffer withheld funding.

The Tennessee American Civil Liberties Union voiced their opposition to the new law in a statement, saying that systemic racism should be taught in schools.

With the stroke of a pen, the governor has silenced constructive dialogue that would educate individuals on the discrimination and systemic barriers that people of color still face in this country — including long-term inequalities in educational outcomes, incarceration rates, economic advancement and health outcomes — as well as ways we can move forward together.

The governor said that he signed the bill Monday because he does not think kids should be taught material that is divisive. He told the Associated Press that he favors subject matter about how people of different background can live together.

We need to make sure that our kids recognize that this country is moving toward a more perfect union, that we should teach the exceptionalism of our nation and how people can live together and work together to make a greater nation, and to not teach things that inherently divide or pit either Americans against Americans or people groups against people groups.

The law does not prevent discussions surrounding controversial parts of history from occurring, according to AP. Teachers are permitted to express their thoughts when discussing certain historic figures or groups, or when they are answering a student's question.

Other states that have banned critical race theory in schools include Arkansas, Idaho and Oklahoma.


This Teacher Is Taking a Stand to Stop the Left

“I’ve been hearing about this stuff happening in California and New York and all over the place. I didn’t realize it was happening in my own backyard.” And in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, neither did parents.

It took a young, courageous Spanish teacher to stand up and say, “Not in my school district” to open the eyes of Americans all across the country. Now, a month later, his viral video is sparking a nationwide movement to expose the left’s biggest lie: It’s not happening here. It is, Jonathan Koeppel insists. People just don’t know it.

Koeppel didn’t plan to be on Fox News or Newsmax or headline stories around the country. He just knew something in his classrooms was wrong—and if he didn’t say anything, he worried no one else would.

“When I found out that kids in my community were being exposed to this wokeism—woke curriculum and woke education—I said, ‘Somebody needs to expose it. Somebody needs to let the public know what’s going on,'” he explained. “I just happened to be the guy to do it.”

When Koeppel stood up in the school board meeting last month, his goal was to warn local parents. Thanks to a powerful message that caught fire online, he ended up warning a lot more.

“A man cannot menstruate,” he argued when it was his turn for public comment. “A man cannot lactate and breastfeed a child. You cannot give birth if you’re a man. If you want to be an adult and do whatever you want with your life, I’m OK with that. Don’t push this ideology on children. I’m not going to work in a district that’s OK with that … ”

Parents are already pulling their kids out of public school … Their going online is going to increase as this liberal ideology comes into our schools. This isn’t a political indoctrination camp, OK? It’s public education. We want to teach education, not left-wing ideas that aren’t backed up by facts or science.

He blasted critical race theory, the new gender radicalism, and teaching resources like BrainPOP that are infiltrating classrooms like his and promoting horrible ideas to children.

“I said, ‘I’m not going to be silent on this. This stuff is disgusting,” Koeppel told listeners on “Washington Watch.” “It’s dividing kids against each other. It’s dividing classrooms. And it’s not good.” Even more incredibly, he explained, this is a middle- to upper-class Republican area. “And I think nobody was really looking for it.” But it’s here, he shook his head, and it’s dangerous.

Since Koeppel’s speech at the April board meeting, he says he’s heard from parents all around the area who’ve done some digging and are shocked that this leftist indoctrination is in their area. And some of them are following Koeppel’s lead and fighting back. At least one elementary school in Tammany Parish canceled BrainPOP and others are looking into it.

Moms and dads are upset that this is going on, he said, but they’re glad that someone brought it out into the open. “I haven’t had one negative response from a parent.” In fact, Koeppel explained, more of them are “starting to take the initiative and step out.”

So are other states. In Oklahoma, a teacher-turned-state legislator was so outraged by the woke curriculum invading his state that he wrote a bill to ban it.

On “Washington Watch” this past Monday, state Rep. David Bullard, R-Durant, said that of all the people who were grateful for his idea (which is now law, thanks to Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican) teachers have been the most appreciative. They see these things creeping into their classrooms that have nothing to do with real learning and they’re frustrated. They don’t know what to do or where to go. That’s where parents and local citizens come in.

“There are other things happening in high school right now that we have to go toe to toe with [the left on],” Bullard urged, “or it’s just going to get worse.”

And yet, as Koeppel pointed out, too many people are living in fear. He knows from the avalanche of positive feedback that his speech has gotten that “a lot of people share my views and my Judeo-Christian values. But they’re scared to death. They are literally scared and paralyzed by fear, because they’re concerned about losing their jobs, losing their family, losing their friends over making these statements … ”

To those people, Koeppel says, “You’ve got to stop being scared … If we’re going to live in fear, you might as well … live on an island somewhere. We need bold people, especially [as] Christian[s]. The righteous are supposed to be bold as a lion. How can you be a Christian and live in fear? You’ve got to stop that. That’s not of God. God didn’t give you that spirit. I mean, that’s all I can say. Be bold. Don’t be afraid. Step out. There’s more for you than against you. And that’s exactly what I’ve seen.”

Maybe you will face opposition. Maybe you’ll be punished. But Koeppel’s right—Christians are called to be bold ambassadors of truth. And his story is exactly why we need believers in public education. This generation desperately needs men and women of faith to pursue teaching and go into these classrooms—not to proselytize—but to be a positive influence.

“If we’re going to be salt and light,” Koeppel pointed out, “we have to infiltrate every area of life—from politics, education, Hollywood, business, you name it. We can’t just be limited to being an influence inside of our churches or inside of our church community. The world needs us.”

If you’re going into education, he acknowledges, “you may be the only one like you. But that’s a good thing, because now there’s light in a dark area, and there’s no limit to what God can do.”

What happened to me, Koeppel shakes his head, “I never would have imagined. I never would have thought that God would have used me for the things he’s used me for recently. It’s truly remarkable and quite miraculous, very supernatural, because this … is not something I planned. I didn’t think it would happen. But because I was just simply doing my job and being a Christian at the same time, God was able to use me. And so, he can use anybody.”


Victory for free speech as University of Edinburgh throws out complaints against professor branded 'racist and problematic' by woke students

An academic who was placed under investigation after speaking out against political correctness has been cleared.

Dr Neil Thin criticised a move last year by the University of Edinburgh to rename David Hume Tower, named after the philosopher now accused of slavery links.

The senior anthropology lecturer also condemned a 2019 anti-racism event called Resisting Whiteness, where white students were initially banned from asking questions.

Dr Thin, 60, was the subject of two complaints from students over his allegedly 'problematic' views and a barrage of anonymous social media accusations.

Last night he told the Mail: 'The university's formal investigation into two complaint emails from students about me has after eight weeks concluded that the two allegations (offensive tweets, and biased marking) must be dismissed.

'This is what I expected, but of course it doesn't immediately undo the massive damage to my reputation and to public trust in the university. It also still leaves unchallenged the defamatory online attacks which triggered the investigation.'

Dr Thin added: 'I agree with the findings of the investigation, and will find its recommendations useful even though I'm not allowed to discuss specific contents.'

He also raised concerns about the 'severe psychological and social damage that can be caused both by online attacks and by unnecessarily punitive investigations into students and staff who express views that some people take offence to'.

Psychological and social damage

Dr Thin added that in the longer term he hopes to promote 'a campus climate that fosters core academic values such as considerate debate, curiosity, intellectual honesty [and] freedom of expression'.

The academic withdrew from teaching while the investigation was under way.

In online comments, Dr Thin was branded a 'scumbag', a 'rape apologist' and a 'crusty old man'.

Some of the students responsible for the smear campaign were investigated by the university authorities but no further action was taken.

Toby Young, of the Free Speech Union, previously said: 'For the university to publicly shame Dr Thin because he dared to speak out against the excesses of a powerful hard-Left cabal is reminiscent of the 'struggle sessions' that distinguished scholars were subjected to during China's Cultural Revolution.'

A spokesman for the University of Edinburgh confirmed the complaints process had been completed and added: 'While it is not appropriate for us to comment on specific details, we can confirm the complaints have not been upheld.

'When complaints are made we have a responsibility to consider them seriously and if taken forward through our complaints process, to ensure all parties are heard and receive support.'

The university reiterated its commitment to 'freedom of expression and academic freedom' as well as maintaining an 'environment of mutual respect'.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Oklahoma Legislature Passes Bill Banning Mask Mandate, COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements in Schools

The bill, SB 658, passed the state House by 76–18 and was sent to Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt on May 26. The state Senate had passed the bill by 38–8 a day earlier.

“For the sake of children throughout the state, I’m glad this bill is one step closer to becoming law,” Republican state Sen. Rob Standridge said in a statement. “With this legislation, vaccine passports for Oklahoma students will not exist.”

Standridge is also one of the authors of the bill.

SB 658 (pdf) would prohibit the boards of education of all public school districts and technology center school districts—including those of higher education—from requiring vaccination against COVID-19 as “a condition of admittance to or attendance of the school or institution.” It would also prevent vaccine passports or similar documentation from being required.

Standridge explained during the session that the COVID-19 vaccine is different from other vaccines that are currently required, like those against diphtheria or tetanus, because it’s “still under emergency use authorization,” News9 reported.

SB 658 further forbids implementing a mask mandate for students who haven’t received COVID-19 vaccines.

Exceptions include when the governor declares an emergency or after the boards of education consult with their local county health department, but the mask mandate must be reconsidered at each regularly scheduled board meeting.

Democratic lawmakers oppose the bill.

“This legislation creates a barrier to local control that prevents locally elected school boards from being able to fully protect their students as they and their constituents see fit,” state Rep. Andy Fugate stated in a news release. “This is a clear government overreach meant to strip away the personal freedom of Oklahomans wanting to protect their communities.”

Republican state Rep. Kevin West, who is also an author of the bill, said: “Should the force of government be used to force citizens to do something they don’t want to do, or should it be used to empower the rights of citizens?

“This protects a student’s and a parent’s right to choose for themselves whether a vaccination is appropriate for them for their own personal health reasons or their religious or personal beliefs. This disallows discrimination against students and parents that choose to be exempt from such vaccinations.”

Texas and Iowa banned mask mandates in schools and local governments last week. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox also said earlier this month that schools will remove mask mandates for the upcoming school year. A number of states have banned vaccine passports statewide, either through executive orders or legislation.

SB 658 will take effect on July 1 if Stitt signs it into law.

Stitt’s office didn’t immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.

Republicans have the supermajority necessary in both chambers to override a veto by the governor.


Virginia Teacher Placed on Leave After Saying He Won’t Call Students by Their Preferred Pronouns

Byron “Tanner” Cross, who teaches physical education at Leesburg Elementary School in Loudoun County Public Schools, was placed on leave after he spoke against a proposed rule that would require teachers and staff to address students by their preferred gender-identity pronouns, according to the Loudoun Times-Mirror.

The policy, according to the district’s website, says that “LCPS staff shall allow gender-expansive or transgender students to use their chosen name and gender pronouns, regardless of the name and gender recorded in the student’s permanent educational record.”

Cross addressed LCPS school board on May 25 during a public meeting in which the proposal was discussed, saying he “will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl, and vice versa,” because that would violate his Christian beliefs.

“It’s not my intention to hurt anyone, but there are certain truths that we must face when ready,” Cross told the board members. “We condemn school policies [that] would damage children, defile the holy image of God.”

“I love all of my students, but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences,” he continued. “I am a teacher, but I serve God first and I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it’s against my religion. It’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God.”

In a May 27 email sent to parents, Leesburg Elementary Principal Shawn Lacy said Cross “is on leave beginning this morning,” but didn’t specify who made the decision or why.

“I wanted you to know this because it may affect your student’s school routine. Because this involves a personnel matter, I can offer no further information,” the email read, reported Loudoun Times-Mirror.

Loudoun County, which is home to some of the nation’s top-achieving public schools, gained national attention over the past months as the “ground zero” in a fight between parents and school districts seeking to promote “woke” progressivism such as critical race theory (CRT)—an ideology rooted in Marxist class struggle but with an emphasis on race, with the goal of dismantling all social institutions it deems inherently racist.

The school district made headlines in March when a Facebook group of current and former LCPS teachers created a blacklist of parents and teachers who expressed concern about elements of CRT being incorporated into classrooms. According to the Daily Wire, which first reported on the matter, the group members were encouraged to “infiltrate” the anti-CRT groups, to use “hackers” to silence their communications, and to “expose these people publicly.”


A New History Curriculum or Anti-American Propaganda?

President Joe Biden wants educators to teach students that racism is endemic in America. He and his “woke” allies think students should learn that our nation was born of the desire to enslave other humans, not as a struggle for freedom. They also believe that the government should racially discriminate, today and in the future.

The president wants these things so badly he’s asked his secretary of education to prioritize grant funding for K-12 history and civics curricula that preach this revisionist history.

That would be a huge mistake. The vile, ahistorical teachings of critical race theory should be consigned to the ashbin of history, not taught as sacred ideology in our nation’s schools.

Like other forms of Marxism, critical race theory teaches young minds to see the world as divided into two categories: oppressors and their victims. The only difference with traditional Marxism is that the critical race theory categories consist of immutable traits such as race, sex, or national origin, not economic classes like the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

Critical race theory eschews economic classifications because they are too fluid. People can change their stations in life—and under capitalism, they often do. Critical theorists readily concede this point as being one of the downsides of trying to start a revolution with classes that are not immutable.

Critical race theory wants to solve this problem by adding race to Marxism. Critical race theory teaches young minds to focus on nothing but skin color and power, and how one influences the other in public and private life. It promotes racial stereotypes and assumes that humans act according to their category, not as individuals.

This pernicious ideology is already making its way into classrooms across the country—even without the proposed stimulus of federal grants. One example is the Learning for Justice curriculum, a K-12 civics program created by an organization of the same name that operates under the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Learning for Justice curriculum teaches that “White supremacy culture … appears in any organization that is not actively and effectively working to dismantle it.” Educators, it insists, must acknowledge how racism “is embedded into the fiber of our nation and our schools.”

The proposed rule from Biden’s Education Department goes much further. For example, it recommends material created by the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum’s website hosted a chart claiming that “hard work,” “objective, rational, linear thinking,” and following “rigid time schedules” are racist values, mere appurtenances of white culture rather than human practices that lead to success.

The museum, a Smithsonian institution funded through your tax dollars, didn’t remove this racist chart until officials received blowback for such propaganda.

The proposed rule also praises Ibram X. Kendi, one of the nation’s best known critical race theory trainers, who has written, “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” This, one therefore assumes, is what the Biden administration wants American children to be taught.

The rule also approvingly cites The New York Times’s 1619 Project, a mendacious series of essays on race that historians spanning the ideological spectrum have denounced.

The project derives its name from its misleading contention that America’s birthdate is not signified by the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, but by the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in 1619 on the shores of what would later become the United States. The project rejects the document that outlines America’s creed that “all men are created equal.”

The project couldn’t even meet basic standards of accuracy. Spanish conquistadors first brought slaves to what are today South Carolina, Florida, and New Mexico starting nearly a half-century before 1619. Another of the 1619 Project’s errors—one from which The New York Times later backed away—was its claim that the colonists fought the Revolution because they feared that Britain would end the practice of slavery. This is flatly false.

Let’s hope the president and his education secretary weren’t fully steeped in the tenets of critical race theory when they issued their proposal to subsidize this anti-American propaganda. If that’s the case, you can help straighten them out. If you agree that these pernicious ideas should not be taught to our children, you can submit your comments about the administration’s proposed rule (as we have) here.


Gov. Ron DeSantis signs bill banning transgender athletes from female sports at public high schools and colleges: Florida becomes eighth and largest state to impose restrictions

Florida's Republican governor has signed a bill barring transgender females from playing on public school teams intended for student athletes born as girls, plunging the state into the national culture war over transgender rights.

'In Florida, girls are going to play girls sports and boys are going to play boys sports,' Governor Ron DeSantis said as he signed the bill into law at a Christian academy in Jacksonville on Tuesday. 'We're going to make sure that that's the reality.'

The new law, sure to face court challenges, inflames an already contentious discussion unfolding nationally as Republican-controlled states move to limit the rights of LGBTQ people. It also could impose severe financial consequences on Florida.

Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee and West Virginia have already passed similar legislation and South Dakota's governor has signed an executive order supporting a sports ban. All have Republican governors.

Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill barring transgender females from playing on Florida public school teams intended for student athletes born as girls +5
Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill barring transgender females from playing on Florida public school teams intended for student athletes born as girls

Supporters of the sports bills say they are needed to preserve fairness, asserting that biologically born women and girls would be at a disadvantage against transgender athletes who were born as male but have since transitioned to female.

DeSantis signed the bill flanked by several teenage women athletes. He said the law was needed to ensure fairness for women participating in sports across the state.

'We are going to go based off biology, not based off ideology when we are doing sports,' he said.

The Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group, said it would challenge the Florida law in court as having been based on a 'false, discriminatory premise' that threatened the wellbeing of transgender children.

'Transgender kids are kids; transgender girls are girls. Like all children, they deserve the opportunity to play sports with their friends and be a part of a team,' Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said in a statement.

The Florida legislation passed over the objection of Democrats and civil rights advocates who call the banning of transgender girls and women from sports unnecessary and discriminatory and accuse Republicans of portraying them as a provocation to energize the right wing of their party.




Sunday, May 30, 2021

FSU Settles Discrimination Suit With Student Senate President Ousted for Criticizing BLM

Florida State University settled a case with its former student Senate president who alleged he had been discriminated against because he is Catholic.

Jack Denton settled with Florida State University on Tuesday, nearly one year after he was ousted from his student government leadership position for criticizing progressive groups like Black Lives Matter, his lawyers told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Florida State University agreed to pay Denton $10,000 in damages and $1,050 in back pay, which he would’ve earned if he hadn’t been removed, according to the settlement agreement shared with The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“If you stand against cancel culture, you can win,” Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Tyson Langhofer told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Cancel culture is scary and it’s very active, but Jack shows that if you stand, you can win.”

“I hope that’s the message students across the country see when they hear about Jack’s case,” he said.

Denton, who has since graduated, said he felt blessed to have been able to defend truth and justice alongside Alliance Defending Freedom. The settlement brought him great relief, he added.

“I hope that my case will embolden other students to not be afraid to speak their mind and to share their religious convictions with others,” Denton told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “When we engage in free speech, we make society better.”

Last June, in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody, Denton advised friends in a private Catholic Student Union group text message against donating money to Black Lives Matter, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Reclaim the Block. He argued the groups promote causes like transgenderism and abortion that violate Catholic teaching.

Denton, who had been the Florida State University student Senate president, was then voted out of his leadership position after the texts were leaked to other student senators. Denton was accused of “dehumanizing” others and being “explicitly racist” because he privately told friends not to support progressive organizations.

“I don’t feel safe with you as president,” a Florida State University student, Valentina Brown, said during a June 5 Senate debate over Denton’s removal. “You are condemning our identities, an integral part of ourselves and our nature.”

Alliance Defending Freedom eventually filed a federal lawsuit against university administrators in August, alleging that his removal was “unconstitutional retaliation” in violation of his First Amendment rights. Denton only sued after attempting to resolve the case via internal school procedures, Langhofer said.

“The policies were clear,” Langhofer told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “[The lawsuit] could have been avoided if the university had the courage to stand up and say this was not right.”

After Judge Allen Winsor of the Northern District Court of Florida and the Florida State University Student Supreme Court both ruled in favor of Denton in October, Alliance Defending Freedom entered negotiations with the school over a settlement, Langhofer added.

Florida State University must soon issue a statement affirming that it is committed to protecting the rights of all students “no matter their religion” under the settlement. The university must also correct its webpage listing former student government leaders and mention that Denton was reinstated per court order.

“The First Amendment is universal and extends to people of all beliefs,” Denton said. “This victory is a victory for all religious students.”

The settlement affirmed that religious students cannot be punished for their religious beliefs, Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel Logan Spena said in a statement.

“We are pleased that Florida State has finally affirmed its commitment to students’ First Amendment rights on campus,” Spena said. “All students should be able to peacefully share their personal convictions without fear of retaliation.”


California Public School Gives Third Graders Assignment About ‘Place on Gender Spectrum’

After his 9-year-old brought home a school assignment referring to “experimenting with gender presentation” and the “gender spectrum,” Matthew Simmons is concerned that his son is being harmed by what he is taught.

“It makes me sad that he is getting exposed to this and having his childhood whittled away,” Simmons told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

Simmons, 45, lives in Southern California. His third-grade son and sixth-grade daughter attend public school in the Los Alamitos Unified School District, 25 miles south of Los Angeles.

In mid-May, a teacher gave Simmons’ son a homework assignment to write an essay arguing for or against school uniforms. The teacher provided students with examples of pro and con arguments.

“Con 3” said school uniforms “may be sexist” and discussed how uniforms might affect a student “who is unsure of their place on the gender spectrum”:

Some uniforms may strike students and parents as sexist. For example, if a uniform requires girls to wear a skirt and pants are not allowed, some students and parents may object, leading to conflict with the administration. Not all girls want to wear skirts and some may resent being told to wear traditionally ‘feminine’ garments. Also, if a student is unsure of their place on the gender spectrum or is experimenting with different forms of gender presentation, school uniforms can present a real challenge.

Simmons says he began helping his son with the assignment before he realized that his 9-year-old didn’t even know what “sexist” meant.

Disturbed by the language used in the assignment, Simmons got in touch with the teacher to find out why the school was presenting concepts such as sexism and a “gender spectrum” to third graders.

Simmons says the teacher was apologetic, telling him that she felt terrible and did not mean for him to have a conversation about sexism with his 9-year-old son.

Simmons explained that the Los Alamitos superintendent of schools, Andrew Pulver, has said in meetings open to the public that he encourages teachers to give assignments that reflect students in class. Because a transgender student was in the teacher’s previous year’s class, the teacher told Simmons, she selected the assignment then and simply gave the same homework this year.

He doesn’t fault his son’s teacher for the gender ideology assignment, Simmon says, but sees her as a victim of a school board that is pushing its own agenda. He declined to reveal the teacher’s name.

“These teachers are inundated with stuff that is just not appropriate for kids,” he said Monday in the interview with The Daily Signal. “She had the best intentions at heart.”

The five-member Los Alamitos Board of Education approves the curriculum teachers use, providing a “menu” of assignment options for educators to choose from.

But Simmons contends that many of the options are “nonkosher” to parents such as himself who don’t want their children indoctrinated with gender ideology, critical race theory, and other liberal concepts.

“This is bigger than just conservatives and liberals,” Simmons said, adding: “This is something that, with the internet and YouTube and all this stuff, it’s a tough battle parents have anyways, but knowing the school is creating its own pathway to our children where we cannot even protect them, it’s really difficult.”

The Los Alamitos school district enrolls about 10,000 students in grades TK-12 in nine schools, all nine of which “have been honored as California Distinguished Schools and Gold Ribbon Schools,” according to the district’s website.

Other parents have complained to school district leaders about some assignments given to children, Simmons said, but “from the principals to the superintendent to the school board, we are not getting a very positive response at all.”

“They are resentful that we even bring it up,” he said.

The Los Alamitos school district did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment by publication time.

Asked if he would consider pulling his children out of their school, Simmons said he wants them to receive a public education.

“I really like public school,” he said. “I went to [school in] this district and it was great.”

Taking his kids out of the school district won’t solve the problem, because his son’s “friends and neighbors are going to be inundated with this too,” Simmons said.

“So, I want to fight against that. I want to put a stop to this and I want to help out other children, including my own, to put a stop to this.”

It is not enough to simply teach your children right and wrong at home when they’re being indoctrinated all day long at school, he told The Daily Signal.

In an effort to push back against the leftist agenda promoted in the school, Simmons said, he plans to start a Facebook page called Los Alamitos Parents for Equality, “because that is something these people don’t believe in.”

“The woke people are all about equity, not equality,” he said.

Simmons says he believes that individuals should have equal opportunity, but can’t be guaranteed equality of outcomes. Schools in California, he said, are choosing to pursue “equal results instead of equal opportunity.”

The only ones who can fix the Los Alamitos school district’s problems are parents, he said:

The school board is completely indoctrinated. Many teachers are completely indoctrinated. … You cannot change their mind. The only thing you can do is vote them off [the school board] and let them know there are consequences to teaching children inappropriate things for their ages.


Should able students be given a route to bypass university?


There are three relatively novel ideas to increase efficiency and reduce costs in college that I have promoted, largely to no avail, in recent years. First, I have called for colleges to have “skin in the game,” that is have to share the losses to taxpayers from defaulted student loans. That would incentivize colleges to be careful in matching student desires with capabilities and reality. Second, I have called for Income Share Agreements, a new way to finance college attendance reducing financial risks to students, one that has gained some limited acceptance and may yet be important in the future.

But I have been all but completely ignored in my call for a “National College Equivalence Test (NCET), where students performing well on a broad based fairly rigorous test could be granted a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. (See this space for July 2, 2018). A student from my early teaching days, Clarence Page, a distinguished Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the Chicago Tribune, citing me, recently spoke favorably of a college GED, a way students with brains and ambition but limited formal education and resources could demonstrate that “I have the same capabilities of a typical college graduate and passed the NCET with a score of X.”

Following up on Clarence’s Tribune column, Steve Bertrand of Chicago radio station WGN interviewed me about the Collegiate GED. One listener then wrote me, “ I have no college education and am frustrated at 58 because I’m intimidated by the idea of walking into a university with all the scientific work I have done.” I would speculate the listener had gained a good deal of skill in the sciences from either the work he had performed and/or knowledge he gained through reading and other non-school ways of learning. If the body of knowledge accumulated equaled that of typical college degree holders, why shouldn’t he be eligible for a bachelor’s degree?

Universities live off of testing. Admission to college is large based on high school grades and tests like the SAT or ACT. High school grades, in turn, are largely determined by test results. Professors give grades to students in colleges largely based on testing, and admission to graduate and professional schools is largely exam-determined (the LSAT, GMAT, etc.) To become a lawyer, CPA, Foreign Service Officer, senior police or fire official, Certificated Financial Analyst or a whole variety of other occupations, you must pass one or more state or nationally administered tests.

Like most important examinations, the college GED test would have to be pretty long, say at least three hours. It would include a general education component, asking questions that most college educated persons should be able to answer, in many fields—history, political science, literature, science, mathematics, etc. It might test for critical thinking skills and writing ability by incorporating into the exam a test like the Collegiate Learning Assessment. Finally perhaps 25 percent of the test should be based on more intensive knowledge of a specific field (such as what a college major usually provides), where the test taker picks the field on which to be questioned.

The test could be scored from 0 to 100, with some selected passing value, say 70, which if achieved would lead to the award of a bachelor’s degree. But the student scoring 95 could brag about that. Indeed, it would be nice if ALL students wishing a bachelor’s degree, including those attending college, take the test (colleges could still award degrees independent of the test results if they so chose.) The test scores would provide all sorts of useful information. A bright non-college educated student could brag “my score on the College GED was higher than the average of Princeton graduates.” Accrediting agencies could evaluate schools partly on the basis of their average College GED test scores.

As I envision it, individuals of any age could take the test, and, theoretically at least, a few very bright 18 year old individuals could completely forego college and perhaps enter the workforce early. We need cheaper, less wasteful ways of certifying competence to enter the workforce than requiring students to spend $100,000 or more on a piece of paper—a college diploma.


How Equity Breeds Mediocrity and Stifles Achievement

By disincentivizing academic success the pursuit of equity rewards failure

There has been a growing push for “equity” in nearly all aspects of American life, in a stark shift away from the term “equality.” The push for equity is especially intense in the education system, where there is growing pressure to increase the educational attainment of African-Americans and other minorities. School districts and university systems are busy making so-called equity changes.

In a settlement with civil rights organizations, the University of California system, which oversees 10 universities, has decided to end the use of ACT and SAT standardized test scores for admissions and scholarships. The university system will not even consider the test scores on an optional basis. This format of standardized testing has never been perfect, it is true. But it would be unfair to assert that the ACT and SAT have offered no credible evidence to the admissions system for the students who use them, or that they inherently disadvantage particular demographics. This change eliminates a reasonable tool for California educators. Is it also an example of the pursuit of equity instead fostering mediocrity?

The University of California is not the only educational system trying to increase equity. The Sacramento City Unified School District has decided to change its grading system by making 50% the minimum grade a student can receive. The goal, according to the district, is to create a more equitable grading system.

In 2019, a New York City school diversity panel recommended ending all gifted classes in city schools because they had mostly white and Asian students in them. In April of this year Virginia considered eliminating advanced math courses prior to 11th grade until it was forced to backtrack. Even more recently, the Wall Street Journal has reported on the effort by California education officials to water down math instruction, abandoning gifted education for the sake of social justice, and deriding the notion of “right answers” and “objectivity” in math as expressions of white supremacy.

How is equity different from equality? Equality, which was championed by the original Civil Rights Movement, focuses on equal opportunity and eliminating discrimination. Equity explicitly rejects equal opportunity in favor of equal outcomes. A tweet sent out by Vice President Kamala Harris in November 2020 explains the differences between the two words, according to equity proponents.

Equal outcomes are a foolish thing for a society to pursue. In order to achieve and mandate equal outcomes, the state will have to engage in a never-ending cycle of discrimination. It will be an authoritarian state that is in constant search for victims to compensate and oppressors to punish.

Institutionalized equity is therefore also an attack on individualism. It reduces everyone to group members based on their race, gender, sexuality, or whatever characteristic the government and those who are promoting equity currently seek to promote or punish. It does not take into account the individual talents and limitations of each individual person. A person of one demographic might be best suited to being a firefighter, and a person of another demographic best suited to scholarship. But if their individual talents and aptitudes don’t advance equity for their demographic groups, then freely achieving their personal best outcomes would not be considered a success.

The pursuit of equity is that it does not encourage excellence. Instead, equity rewards failure and mediocrity. It effectively removes the ability to fail because failing classes or scoring poorly on standardized tests is the result of racism or whatever “ism” the equity chasers are trying to eradicate. It makes the passing of classes worthless because no one is allowed to fail.

It certainly does not help students learn. The purpose of grading school work and giving tests is to see what students are actually learning.

If individual students are struggling or failing to learn what is being taught, there are opportunities to address those gaps through extra help from the teacher. Instead, by treating academic failure as a systemic—rather than an individual—failure, equity purists shift the focus of educational improvement away from teaching the subject matter.

The pursuit of equity is creating is a world not far from the one described by Kurt Vonnegut’s famous short story Harrison Bergeron. Vonnegut describes a dystopian future United States where individual excellence is stamped out in a society where equality of outcomes is enforced by the state. Those who are better looking, more intelligent, and stronger than everyone else, among other traits, are forcibly “handicapped” by the federal government. Whereas in the story the government resorts to various physical devices to handicap its citizens, equity proponents resort to eliminating anything that allows students to excel over their classmates or to fail.

Equitable outcomes will harm the students it is intended to help and will reinforce the achievement gap between classes. Wealthier families will always be able to hire the private tutors, afford the high cost of participating in extracurricular activities, and put their children in private schools where excellence is encouraged. It will be the poorer families who are deprived of yet another means to advance.

If you really want to help disadvantaged students, support popular policies such as school choice which empower individual families and students. Most of all, stop punishing success in the name of equity.




Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Georgia Colleges to Resume Standardized Test Requirements for Admitted Students

Georgia public colleges and universities will start requiring standardized test scores for admission starting in Spring 2022, the University System of Georgia announced.

Georgia’s public universities paused SAT and ACT test requirements for all of 2021 due to COVID-19 because the pandemic resulted in several cancelled test dates, USG said in an a news release.

Colleges still considered test scores in admission decisions if a student submitted them.

Private schools that are not subject to decisions made by USG said they will not be requiring standardized test scores throughout 2022.

Advocates for getting rid of test score requirements indefinitely were optimistic that the pandemic would lead to this feat.

Bob Schaeffer, executive director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing said in April:

Schools that waived ACT/SAT score requirements during the pandemic generally saw more applicants, better academically qualified academics, and more diversity of all sorts. Now, most are extending those policies for at least another year.

Schaeffer alleges that students coming from wealthier households have an unfair advantage when it comes to college admissions testing.

SAT or ACT test scores are required at the majority of colleges and universities. The exceptions being Middle Georgia State University, Atlanta Metropolitan State College, College of Coastal Georgia, East Georgia State, Georgia Gwinnett College, Georgia Highlands College, Gordon State College, South Georgia State College, Georgia Southern University’s Liberty campus and Georgia State University’s Perimeter College.

Some schools, such as Georgia Highlands College, require placement tests for enrollment. However, the SAT or ACT can serve as a replacement for the placement tests. The placement tests were not required during the coronavirus pandemic.

The minimum test scores for admission to Georgia institutions is typically 920 on the SAT test or 17 on the ACT. Some schools with more selective admissions policies require higher scores for enrollment.

The average ACT score for a Georgia student is 21.4 and the average SAT score is around 1050.


University of California System Will No Longer Consider SAT, ACT Scores for Admissions

The nine campuses of the University of California (UC) system will no longer consider standardized testing scores as part of the admission process beginning this fall.

The change is the result of a legal settlement (pdf) of a lawsuit brought by groups that claimed that the traditional SAT and ACT tests are racist.

Under the settlement, the university, which enrolls some 225,000 undergraduate students, said it won’t consider SAT or ACT scores sent along with admissions applications until 2025. The university further stated that it had no current plan to consider the scores after 2025.

The settlement specifies that the university can still use SAT and ACT scores to determine course placement after the students are accepted. But the nine campuses will no longer use the test scores to determine how to award scholarships.

The lawsuit was filed against the university on Dec. 10, 2019, by several students and groups, including Chinese for Affirmative Action, College Access Plan, College Seekers, Community Coalition, Dolores Huerta Foundation, and Little Manila Rising. The Compton Unified School District filed a similar lawsuit on the same day. The two cases were subsequently merged.

The original complaints claimed that SAT and ACT tests serve as a metric of wealth and race, rather than a predictor of college success.

“The mere presence of the discriminatory metric of SAT and ACT scores in the UC admissions process precludes admissions officers from according proper weight to meaningful criteria, such as academic achievement and personal qualities, and requires them instead to consider criteria that act as a proxy for wealth and race and thus concentrate privilege on UC campuses,” one of the two complaints (pdf) alleged.

On Aug. 31, 2020, the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda, ordered the university to stop using the test results for admissions or scholarship decisions while the lawsuit was pending. The university appealed the decision and the appeal remains unresolved.

As part of the settlement, the University of California system will pay $1.25 million in attorney fees to the lawyers who represented the plaintiffs.

College Board, the developer of the SAT test, and ACT both told The Epoch Times that the racial disparities in test scores aren’t a function of the tests themselves, but rather a symptom of broader educational issues.

“The SAT itself is not a racist instrument. Every question is rigorously reviewed for evidence of bias, and any question that could favor one group over another is discarded,” College Board told The Epoch Times. “Today’s SAT is an achievement test that measures what is taught in school and what students need to know to be prepared for college. Performance differences across groups of students reflect an unequal K–12 system. That’s why the SAT should only be considered in the context of where students live and go to school, and an SAT score should never be a veto on a student.”

“As always, we support institutional autonomy to make the difficult decisions that ultimately benefit individual systems, schools, and their students,” ACT told The Epoch Times. “That said, we work diligently to ensure the ACT is not biased against any group of students, and research consistently shows that test scores are a valid predictor of college success, overall and in particular for students from underserved backgrounds.

“Current score gaps between groups are unacceptable. Though these gaps are not caused by the test, ACT is committed to joining forces with those who seek transformative change to achieve equitable learning outcomes for all students.”

SAT and ACT scores have been a mainstay of the college admissions process for decades. Opponents of the tests’ use for admission argue that students of certain races score lower on average than other races. Proponents say standardized tests offer an equal playing field, since all students take the same test.


How Biden Aims to Take Critical Race Theory to the Next Level in Your School

If the Biden administration gets its way, the federal government will soon be alternatively bribing and threatening every school district in the country to push divisive and damaging curricula on race in the classroom.

It would come courtesy of a proposed rule from the Department of Education, available for public comment until May 19. In announcing the rule, the Department cited the historically debunked 1619 Project from the New York Times, as well as the “scholarship” of Ibram X. Kendi, whose many radical arguments include a suggestion that every law in the country should be subject to the approval of an unelected board of “antiracist” academics.

But the rule’s consequences would be more than academic. It would infuse critical race theory into the whole of the federal government’s primary governing law concerning K-12 schools, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And if Congress standardizes state civics metrics, the rule will help shape the content of it (and do it with a billion-dollar-a-year cash infusion), unwittingly moved forward in a bipartisan way by Republicans.

Initially, the rule would apply only to a couple of small grant programs. But it wouldn’t stop there. Its introduction would follow a pattern similar to that of other unpopular national curriculum efforts, such as Common Core, which gained entrée to classrooms all over America through a carrot-and-stick approach.

Critical race theory is already engendering strong pushback from parents and state legislatures, incensed by an ever-growing list of outrages.

In New York City, parents lamented that white students as young as ten years old are learning that they are perpetuating the problem of racism and that their families are racist. In North Carolina, a teachers’ conference focused on “whiteness” and “disrupting texts.” In Oregon, teachers were encouraged to take “ethnomathematics” in order to “dismantl[e] racism in mathematics.” In California, teachers were taught to hide radical left-wing indoctrination from students’ families.

Now Washington proposes to do another end-run around parents through Department of Education bureaucracy, one that will add jet fuel to the already-burgeoning industry of radicals, grifters, and consultants all intent on hocking an ideology that drives a wedge between students of different backgrounds and divorce students of color from any feelings of patriotism for their country.

States are already responding to teachers’ union-led school closures against scientific advice by proposing school choice programs. No fewer than thirty state legislatures are considering new and expanded options that would empower parents to take their education dollars to whatever learning option best suits their children.

It’s imperative that parents be freed financially from dependence on public schools that will be tempted to take the grants offered under this proposed rule. However, school choice will be effective if parents are involved—and vigilant, because as recent events have demonstrated, private schools are not immune to this pernicious ideology.

In a recent open letter, Paul Rossi, a school teacher at a private school in New York City, walked through how his school has implemented “antiracist” teachings and how those teachings are impacting children. As Rossi explains, critical race theory and its calls to “undo history . . . lacks any kind of limiting principle and pairs any allegation of bigotry with a priori guilt.”

Or take the case of Brearley parent Andrew Gutmann. Brearley is a tiny $54,000-per-year private school that now requires parents to sign an “antiracism pledge” prior to admission. Gutmann recently pulled his daughter from the school and penned a scathing letter on the pernicious nature of critical race theory. “I cannot tolerate a school that not only judges my daughter by the color of her skin, but encourages and instructs her to prejudge others by theirs,” he said in his letter.

The fight is everywhere. Critical race theory is turning Americans against one another by weaponizing what used to be the fantasies of tenured professors in dimly lit offices of the ivory tower, now transmitting it through colleges of education to teachers who carry it into the K-12 classroom. The Biden administration now plans to supercharge that effort through federal rules and regulations, access to billions in taxpayer funding, and the imprimatur of the federal government.

Children deserve better than to have the emotional distress of critical race theory inflicted upon them. Parents must make their voices heard at the more than fourteen thousand school boards across the country. Taxpayers must shout “no” to their hard-earned money being used to further this pernicious ideology. And people must have the courage to speak out against this great threat to the greatest country in the world.


Critical race theory received a stunning rebuke at the polls in local Texas elections last week in a suburb of Dallas.

“On one side, progressives argued that curriculum and disciplinary changes were needed to make all children feel safe and welcome in Carroll, a mostly white but quickly diversifying school district,” NBC News reported. “On the other, conservatives in Southlake rejected the school diversity plan as an effort to indoctrinate students with a far-left ideology that, according to some, would institutionalize discrimination against white children and those with conservative Christian values.”

NBC News portrayed the Southlake elections on May 1 as “bitterly divided.” As many have noted, it may have been bitter, but it wasn’t divided.

About 70% of the vote went against a whole slate of candidates—from the mayor’s race to school board and City Council—who supported a “diversity plan” that pushed critical theory on students and faculty, and turnout for the election was high. That’s not a “divided” election; it’s a landslide.

One of the newly elected Texas school board members, Hannah Smith, went on the Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” show on Tuesday to explain how she and others mobilized to fight the “false narrative” that their community was racist.

“When we started this battle last August, we paired up with like-minded parents around the country,” Smith told show co-host Steve Doocy. “I was on conference calls with parents from all over America who are fighting the same thing, so it’s important for people to know that they can band together and that they can make change.”

Smith noted that she and others worked to educate voters about what critical race theory is and how destructive it would be. Then, she and other members of the community made public records requests to ascertain how extensively those ideas were being propagated behind closed doors.

“We used [Freedom of Information Act requests] to really find out what our district was doing, and that empowered us with information that we could then use to fight against it,” she said.

What’s important about this rebuke of critical race theory and its advocates is not just that the doctrine was unpopular, but how parents and other opponents organized to stop it.

It raises the larger question: Is this just temporary good news or the beginning of a larger movement?

Critical race theory began being implemented in the Carroll Independent School District in earnest in 2018, when two high schoolers there used a racial slur on the social media platform TikTok. The students apologized, but this single incident began a crusade to create a racial reckoning in the community.

In response, officials at the Carroll school district released a massive Cultural Competence Action Plan.

Conservative columnist Dana Loesch laid out in Newsweek how that plan appeared to do little to stop racism, and instead force-fed students an absurd program based on left-wing ideological goals. It required students to go through “diversity and inclusion training” to graduate, it committed to weeding out “microaggressions,” and it introduced critical race theory into the curriculum.

The plan included all the critical elements of the woke managerial revolution happening across the country.

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion” bureaucrats are empowered to root out heresy wherever they find it—and given that their livelihoods depend on it, they will surely find it whether it’s there or not.

It’s clear that many of America’s elite institutions see critical race theory and related ideas, such as “anti-racism,” as the cure for what ails us. America is portrayed as a country permanently attached to white supremacy from the beginning, whether it knows or acknowledges that or not.

So, what exactly is critical race theory?

My colleagues Mike Gonzalez and Jonathan Butcher explained what it is succinctly in an excellent paper for The Heritage Foundation, of which The Daily Signal is the news outlet.

Critical Race Theory (CRT) makes race the prism through which its proponents analyze all aspects of American life—and do so with a degree of persistence that has helped CRT impact all of American life.

CRT underpins identity politics, an ongoing effort to reimagine the United States as a nation riven by groups, each with specific claims on victimization.

In entertainment, as well as the education and workforce sectors of society, CRT is well-established, driving decision-making according to skin color—not individual value and talent.

This is not “sensitivity training,” as President Joe Biden sought to portray it in his run for office.

If anything, it is teaching Americans to hate each other, to see fellow citizens as the “other,” and to give license to discrimination in the name of racial justice.

That was, at its core, the thesis of The New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning—but factually dubious—1619 Project.

It’s also a critical element of the “great awokening.”

Critical race theory has been promoted by corporate America and government agencies, on college campuses and in K-12 classrooms, and “Zoom rooms,” or whatever else they might call our cloistered COVID-19 spaces.

The intellectual point man has been Ibram X. Kendi, director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University and author of “How to Be an Antiracist.” He’s the most prominent proponent of so-called anti-racism, which is largely just racial discrimination in the name of equity.

Kendi’s ideas, if they actually were to come to fruition, would end self-government in America and would create totalitarian authority invested in government officials every bit as absolute as they were in the former Soviet Union.

Kendi is taken very seriously by serious people, and he gets paid sizable sums of money to advise schools on how to adopt his toxic ideas.

Of course, the Biden administration is also eager to help the critical theory revolution along from the federal level.

That’s why the revolt in a Dallas suburb is so significant. Americans are becoming aware of this now pervasive ideology and are fighting back.

A single set of elections doesn’t quite signal a full turnaround on critical race theory and the neo-segregation that’s been on the rise in America, but it does show that it can be stopped at the local level if enough people are aware of it and organize.

The Biden administration may be doing its best to foist these ideas on American students for the next generation. But what the Texas elections show is that in their attempted takeover of American education, proponents of critical race theory will find at every school board meeting a group of angry parents armed with information about their radical agenda and willing to step up and fight back.

Given the immense power critical theory and intersectionality hold across America’s elite institutions, this set of Texas elections is a minor victory.

But it also provides a blueprint for how fed-up Americans can begin their own long march to take those institutions back from the woke.