Friday, September 11, 2020

It’s Time to Start a New University

Two viruses—one biological, the other ideological—have delivered a mortal blow to American higher education.

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of colleges and universities will soon be wiped out by an unprecedented combination of financial exigency and revolutionary ideology. Professors at collapsing institutions are desperate to leave, and slews of senior faculty, including some very distinguished ones, have taken early retirement.

Empty campuses will flood the market, amid extreme softening in the commercial real estate sector more generally. Eager buyers might consider the leafy 60-acre campus of MacMurray College, an Illinois liberal arts school that closed its doors in May after 174 years in business. The campuses of Oregon’s Concordia University-Portland and Ohio’s Urbana University also became available this spring.

Shrewd investors buy when there’s blood in the streets. For academia, that time is now.

Many Americans cherish liberal education because it has immeasurably enriched their lives, and because it disposes citizens against every sort of tyranny. Some of these people have the means to help found a new university—one dedicated to free and open inquiry into all areas of human experience, in whole and part, and to sheltering the guttering flames of memory, tradition, and language from the blustering winds of justice, equality, and job training.

But would such an endeavor be financially viable? Could any school of liberal learning that does not already have strong roots hope to survive in the wasteland of higher education? Could it hope to seed new growths that might help to reclaim liberal education for future generations of Americans?

I believe the answer to all these questions is yes, and I’m not alone in this view. In his book The University We Need: Reforming American Higher Education, the distinguished historian Warren Treadgold presents a practical plan for how to get a new institution up and running. A thought experiment may help to make the case.

Imagine that we had $500 million to found a new institution, with a fraction of that money to be used for start-up costs and the rest for a permanent endowment. More than a few people do have such wealth. What guiding ideas would animate our university? What principles would help it to succeed? What steps would be needed to put it on a firm foundation?

John Henry Newman observed in The Idea of a University that universities are nothing if not places of teaching and learning. Universities exist to cultivate young minds so that they might be able to enter “with comparative ease into any subject of thought,” to take up “with aptitude any science or profession,” and, above all, “to form an instinctive just estimate of things as they pass before us.”

Those noble aims require professors who, possessing such capabilities themselves, model the ethics as well as the love of learning—the habits and practices of inquiry, interpretation, judgment, debate, and expression they received from their own teachers, often with difficulty but ultimately with gratitude—and are able to articulate a broad view of the place of their particular academic disciplines in a well-formed mind and their contribution to a rich and meaningful life. America has many scholars like that, and many would love to teach at a school where they’d be surrounded by like-minded people.

Heraclitus wrote that character is destiny; Plato, that the beginning is the greatest part of every work. Everything depends on the magnanimity and prudence of the founders.

The university’s planning committee, which might also constitute the core of its first board of trustees, must consist of distinguished exponents and courageous defenders of a broad education in the arts, humanities, and natural and social sciences—individuals fluent in multiple languages of learning, including some who have served as deans (like Eva Brann of St. John’s College) and presidents (like Larry Arnn of Hillsdale).

The committee’s essential tasks will include drafting a mission statement, establishing an undergraduate curriculum, and recruiting outstanding faculty who can chair departments and fill them with fine scholars and gifted teachers. (Graduate programs may be expected to grow organically over time.)

It is now virtually impossible to graduate from college without learning about the multiple forms of systematic oppression that ostensibly plague our society. But universities themselves promote intellectual and spiritual slavishness in neglecting to teach the precious treasures of the Western tradition; in narrowly preparing students to plug as functionaries into what the philosopher Josef Pieper called the world of “total work;” and especially in conditioning them to march beneath the crude and shifting banners of social justice.

A university is properly a place of leisure (in Greek, scholē—the root of our word “school”)s where undergraduates, shielded from the noise of the day and the press of service to society, can grow and ripen into mature individuality. Our university must be beholden to no outside entity, including philanthropies and corporations. It must receive no federal funds, which would otherwise subject it to federal regulation. Its administration must be minimal, non-professional, and as far as possible recruited from within, with all major offices held by faculty who continue to teach (even if only occasionally).

Most important, realizing the vision laid out above means saying no to all those who would try to inject politics into the institution.

The university should depart from AAUP best practices only in holding itself to even higher standards of internal governance. Faculty must have the first and last word on all academic matters, and have voting representatives on the governing board. Professors must be centrally involved in the admissions process, which should employ rigorously academic criteria in selecting students. Teaching loads should be low enough to support scholarship and allow for extensive service—in any case, no more than two courses per semester.

The campus culture should be one of conviviality and celebration. The university should not stint on materials and spaces for artistic production, exhibition, and performance. It should celebrate students’ intellectual and artistic achievements with prizes and public ceremonies for outstanding accomplishments. (The same goes for excellent teaching and scholarship among the faculty.)

As for athletics, the school should encourage intramural sports and provide good facilities for this purpose, but coaching should be unpaid and voluntary. It should spend generously on attractive, well-lit classrooms, libraries, and places of assembly and worship, not on climbing walls and esports lounges.

It must eschew pedagogically superfluous technologies and other bells and whistles.

Newman famously described the university as “an Alma Mater, knowing its children one by one, not a foundry, or a mint, or a treadmill.” The university that lives up to this forgotten standard, nourishing its children on knowledge painstakingly preserved, cultivated, and transmitted from generation to generation, will not fail to attract excellent faculty and students and to produce grateful and generous alumni.

Indeed: any prestigious university that stuck entirely to sound education would be such an anomaly today that it would become a beacon for serious students and teachers.

For higher education, as for the nation as a whole, no future good can grow without turning the rich soil of the past. We still have the tools to do what is necessary, and it would be supremely foolish to let them rust from disuse. Let’s get to work.


Looking Back: Reclaiming Educational Excellence

Since publication of the last Mandate for Leadership, the Trump administration has pursued some needed changes in education policy (most notably through regulatory rollbacks) to the benefit of higher education in particular. Many of these efforts represent important steps toward choosing the path of free markets and family control in education.

For one, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law in December 2017, was a boon to parents who want to save for their children’s education. The law expanded 529 college savings accounts, making K-12 private school tuition eligible for the tax-neutral savings plans.

Prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, only higher education expenses were eligible for 529 savings plans. These plans, which are tax-neutral savings accounts in which interest that accrues is free from federal taxes, are particularly powerful savings mechanisms in the 34 states that allow parallel state tax deductions and credits for contributions.

Enabling families to use 529 plans for private school tuition was a smart way to enhance school choice options without expanding federal intervention in K-12 education.

The administration also signed into law a reauthorization of the critical D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides vouchers to children from low-income families living in the nation’s capital.

The D.C. program has been a life-saver for District families. Children who used a scholarship from the program have been able to find safe and effective schools, a fact that likely has contributed to the significant 21 percentage point increase in graduation rates for Opportunity Scholarship Program students.

Over the past four years, the Trump administration has rolled back heavy-handed Obama-era regulations on states and school districts.

Early in 2017, Congress leveraged the Congressional Review Act to pass a repeal of regulations (put into place in late 2016 as President Barack Obama was leaving office) that would have required states to rate teacher training programs using federal guidelines and to establish federally approved school accountability metrics that would have assigned a single summative performance rating to schools. President Donald Trump signed the Congressional Review Act repeal of both into law in April 2017.

The administration also restored local control of policies pertaining to gender identity in schools.

The Obama administration had expanded the reach of Title IX by reinterpreting the law, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex, to apply to gender identity and informed schools across the country that the departments of Education and Justice would “treat a student’s gender identity as the student’s sex for purposes of enforcing Title IX.”

Moreover, access to federal funding would be conditioned on compliance with the new guidance. The Trump departments of Justice and Education issued a joint letter rescinding the Obama-era guidance and restoring decisions about gender identity policies to local authorities and families.

In 2011, the Obama administration issued a “Dear Colleague” letter directing colleges across the country to use a “preponderance of evidence” standard rather than the more stringent “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard when adjudicating cases of sexual assault on college campuses.

The letter created an unequal balance of power, significantly weakening due process protections for accused students. In September 2017, the Trump administration rescinded this guidance to protect both those who make charges of sexual assault and those who are accused of it more effectively.

The Trump administration has also used the White House budget to urge Congress (which has yet to heed the call) to cut education spending. The administration’s most aggressive budget proposal on education came as part of the fiscal year 2018 White House budget, which recommended reductions in federal education spending totaling $13 billion: 13% of the Department of Education’s $68 billion annual budget.

Had Congress followed the White House recommendation, this would have represented the largest single-year percentage cut in the agency’s discretionary budget since President Ronald Reagan’s 1983 budget request.

Unfortunately, Congress failed to heed the call and instead increased federal education spending by 6%, continuing a failed legacy of ever-increasing federal education spending.


After Years of Flat Scores, Idaho Considers Dropping Common Core

Last month Idaho Ed News published an article by Michael Petrilli, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Thomas B. Fordham Institute, urging Idaho to stay with the Common Core national curriculum-content standards.

In a sense it is not very surprising that Washington’s beltway actors would want Idaho to stay in their stable of uniform—even if mediocre—national standards. After all, it gets them closer to their goal of centralized federal standards and control for all the country. What was disappointing, however, was the amount of misinformation packed in Petrilli’s advocacy piece.

He starts by describing those “bad old days” when “it was common for upwards of 80% of students to pass state tests, even though the National Assessment of Educational Progress [NAEP] indicated that only 20 to 40% of students in a given state were actually proficient.” He then argues that Common Core was introduced “to repair some of these problems.” But were the pre-Common Core days so bad, and did Common Core fix problems? Petrilli is curiously short on the details, so let us have a look.

In the early 2000s the fraction of students nationwide scoring “proficient” on the NAEP—actually a very high bar that a significant fraction of students in high-achieving foreign countries would fail to reach—was about 30 to 32 percent. It peaked during No Child Left Behind and before Common Core at 35 to 42 percent. Common Core was actually put into effect in the states starting after 2013, and since then the percentage of students proficient on the NAEP in reading and in math generally fell across the nation by 2 to 3 points. So much for the “improvement” that Petrilli suggests was created by Common Core.

And what about the claim that in those days “it was common for upwards of 80% of students to pass state tests”? In 2003 only eight states—16 percent of the 50—had passing rates “upwards of 80%.” Is that “common”? There has been some improvement in states setting more uniform passing bars, yet the setting of passing bars and the level of state achievement show essentially zero correlation. In 2005, those “bad old days” before Common Core, the correlation coefficient between state achievement and passing-bar rigor was lower than 3 percent in the best case, effectively showing no relationship between the two. It may be also worthwhile to point out that in Idaho’s Smarter-Balanced Common Core test, “proficiency” is set smack in the middle of NAEP’s “basic” level, rather than at the NAEP “proficient” level Petrilli was talking about. All this speaks to the mediocrity of Common Core standards and the confusion Petrilli sows.

Petrilli then sings the praises of Common Core—for the promotion of which his institute has accepted millions of dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 2010—but without telling the readers that those standards came under scathing critique by many content-area experts for their mediocrity and omissions of important content. In fact, even Massachusetts, the former educational leader among states, experienced a drop in student achievement since it put Common Core into effect. Petrilli neglects to mention that his criticism of the new Florida B.E.S.T standards is based on a review by hand-picked Common Core promoters. Yet a review of those standards by others found them to be “the strongest standard in ELA currently in use in the United States” and standards that “can stand as a new model for the country.”

Idaho educational achievement may look good to some, but this is fool’s gold. This illusion may be comforting, but it is wrong. When one disaggregates Idaho’s achievement by race, it turns out that the state is not doing that well for either its white or minority students—in both cases Idaho students score significantly below the national averages. Idaho will be wise to throw off its shackles of educational mediocrity imposed from Washington through Common Core and chart its path forward following the lead of states like Florida.


Australia: Give fee discount to university students willing to pick fruit, says NT Farmers Association

In a year where labour shortages are looming for a number of agricultural industries, NT Farmers chief executive Paul Burke, said it was time to start thinking of innovative ways to address an issue that had plagued farmers for years.

"So similar to how backpackers can work in regional Australia for 88 days to extend their visas, we think there's potential for uni students to get a wage and a discount off their HECS debt if they go and work in a region," he said.

"Uni students get a reasonable amount of holidays each year, but we need an incentive to bring our best and brightest into the regions during times when we need people to help with picking, packing and processing.

"We feel that incentive could be in the form of a reduced HECS debt."

The idea was raised in the Senate last week by NT Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, who passed a motion calling on the Morrison Government to "urgently act to come up with creative and innovative solutions to support farmers facing this seasonal worker crisis".

"NT Farmers CEO Paul Burke's suggestion of getting Year 12 students who go into gap year overseas, to now be encouraged to go on farms, is a good initiative," she said.

"I will explore the HECS options with my colleagues and am keen to see alternate ideas put forward."

Mr Burke said there was still a lot of work to be done, and the HECS idea was still in its infancy, but he felt its benefits could be wide-reaching.

"It would also give the agriculture industry some really good exposure to our future leaders and visa versa," he said.

"It will give them [uni students] a better understanding of agriculture. They'll have a better understanding of living regionally and the challenges and opportunities that presents."

Government looking at 'number of incentives'
While Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has not commented on the HECS discount idea, last week he said the Government was looking at "a number of different incentives" to lure students into regional work.

"We're going to see a lot of Year 12 students finish in a couple of months and they're not going to have the opportunity to go backpack around the world, there may be an opportunity to backpack around the country and make a quid while they're doing it," he said.

"Also there are university students who'll finish in a couple of months. There is an opportunity for them to go and work in agriculture and make a quid over the summer holidays and then go back with some dollars in their pocket and have a better time when they go back to uni".

In its roadmap to make Australian agriculture exceed $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030, the National Farmers Federation has also suggested establishing an "Ag Gap Year" program to get young Australians to try their hand at agriculture.

Paul Burke said the Ag Gap Year program would need to run in conjunction with other labour schemes, such as the seasonal worker program.

"It's about getting all of the tools in the toolbox, so we have a mobile, motivated and willing workforce to work in our industry," he said.


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Why Homeschooling Is Easier Than You Think

I homeschooled several children all the way into college, back when people thought you were seriously crazy for doing it. So, I have some background for what I’m writing today. And I want to get this out now, because millions of parents are presently considering options they never expected to face.

Please pass this along to anyone who may need it.

The Problems With Home Schooling

When I say homeschool is easier than you think, I really mean it, but there are complications and caveats involved. So, let’s start with the problems and get them out of the way.

First of all, there will be days that suck. The kids won’t listen, will be difficult, or will just be obtuse. Expect it. Either you’ll come home from work to your spouse telling you to forget the experiment and find some other place to send them… any other place; or perhaps you’ll be that spouse. It happens. No experienced person ever said that raising kids was painless. That said, nearly all such parents get over the day’s mayhem, and decide to continue the experiment.

Secondly, there’s an underlying problem that tends to drive many others, including the one above: You arrange your homeschooling so that other people can’t criticize you. Below I’ll explain why.

After that are the kinds of problems you’ve already considered: Things like two incomes being required in the modern world and figuring out how to reschedule the work lives of two parents. These are significant problems, but they can be worked out if you take the education of your children as an imperative and arrange your other affairs around it. I’m not promising this will be easy, but please believe me that it’s worth it. Educating your child is rewarding and meaningful.

You are likely to remember these years as your hardest but your best. When you’re 90 years old, do you want to remember the giant screen TVs you had in every room, or the fine people that you – with blood, sweat and tears – molded, filled and sent into the world?

The Big Problem

As I noted above, a terribly common and large problem is arranging your efforts to keep people from criticizing you. I’m telling you to forget that. Let them criticize; let them whisper about you and make fun of you. You don’t want such people in your life anyway. What you must do is arrange your efforts around the results you want.

Your goal is well educated children: Children who can think clearly; who can read, write and do arithmetic well; who are blessings upon Earth; who have confidence in their own abilities. And I’m telling you that doing this, with all the caveats noted above, is easier than you probably think. Please consider:

You do not need to start at 9:00 AM. Start when all involved are ready to start. The clock is not God, and you’re dealing with complicated little beings. (As well as your very complicated self.)

You do not need to spend 5 hours per day. In fact, you may not need to spend even 2 hours per day. One hour of quality learning, every day, is a lot of learning. Government schools – factory-model schools – are hideously inefficient, and children simply cannot maintain unidirectional concentration for hours on end… and more than that, they shouldn’t.

Still, routine can be your friend. Will power is required to set up habits, but once set, willpower and cajoling are no longer required. And so you may find doing school between breakfast and lunch to be a great model. Get it set up early and run with it. You can certainly make exceptions, but a routine helps make the journey a lot smoother.

Be adaptable. Once the learning habit is established, be open to temporary adaptations. At one point in my homeschooling career, we looked out our window to notice a deep trench being dug through a nearby park… a park I knew to contain debris from the 1871 Chicago Fire. And so we dropped everything and spent three days digging in a trench, uncovering artifacts of the 1860s. This is one of the great advantages of homeschooling: you can follow the surprise opportunities that arise. It’s especially important for the older kids.

Adapt your lessons to each child. Like the clock, the curriculum is not God. Each child is different, and each will respond to each subject and lesson differently. That’s okay; more than that, it’s good. You, the homeschooling parent (or grandparent, aunt, uncle, or whatever) are very directly observing this child; so, decide what you think will be best for him or her. Will you be wrong sometimes? Of course you will, but you’ll also be able to adapt instantly. The ability to tailor lessons to each child is a central advantage of homeschooling. Use it.

The Unexpected Benefits

Before I close, I’d like you to know some of the benefits of homeschooling you may not be expecting:

You’ll forge closer relationships with your children. Not only will you know each other better, and will have a larger number of personal and intimate conversations, but you’ll have more shared experiences.

Your children will learn how to learn. That is, they’ll develop confidence in their ability to read, examine and grasp concepts by themselves. They’ll tend to become self-driven learners.

Your children will not see much of an adult-child divide. They’ll consider themselves full beings, jumping into conversations with adults. They’ll tend to be bolder than they would as products of factory-style schooling.

Once you see some results, your confidence in your own abilities will grow. Accordingly, the set of options you see in life will expand.

All of this said, I’m obviously an enthusiastic proponent of homeschooling. But I’m also an experienced advocate, and I told you the bad bits first


COVID-19 Has Made It Undeniable: We Need School Choice

A new Gallup poll that surveyed parents with school-aged kids has startling results, much more because of how opinions are split than the opinions themselves.

Given the COVID-19 threat, 36% of parents want their children to receive fully in-person education, 36% want an in-person/distance hybrid, and 28% want all distance. Each mode was preferred by essentially one-third of parents, neatly capturing a now undeniable reality: Families need school choice.

The basic problem is that diverse people have different needs, but a school district is unitary. This is always trouble — diverse people are stuck with one dress code, history curriculum, etc. — but COVID-19 makes the stakes far higher and more immediate than usual. You might be willing to engage in a protracted school board battle to improve curricula, but COVID-19 could put your child’s life, or basic education, in potentially huge danger right now.

In many places, the public schools have taken the side of maximum COVID caution. The school districts in Los Angeles, Chicago, and elsewhere will, at least to start the year, only offer distance education.

That may be fine for kids who learn better at home, have medical conditions that make them high-risk, or who live with elderly relatives. But it is a huge hit to children with poor internet connectivity, learning disabilities, or those who simply thrive in a physical classroom.

It appears that a spontaneous, nationwide eruption of parent-driven, in-person education is the response to such closings. The “pod” phenomenon is perhaps the most buzzy sign of this, generating both fascinated and skeptical coverage in major media outlets. Basically, parents are pooling their money to hire teachers and create closed learning communities for their kids.

We may also be seeing more families moving to traditional private schools, with reports of privates receiving increased interest, and sometimes definite enrollment boosts, around the country. There is no systematic data to confirm a national movement, but the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom has been tracking private school closures connected to COVID-19 since March and has only recorded eight since July 14. This low number may well reflect new enrollments in private schools.

Of course, affording a private alternative can be difficult for lower-income families, and many people worry that the move to private schooling will fuel greater inequality.

Thankfully, there is a solution, and it is straightforward: Instead of education funding going directly to public schools, let it follow children, whether to a pod, private school, charter school, or traditional public. With public school spending exceeding $15,000 per student, most privates, which charge roughly $12,000 on average, would be in anyone’s reach, while families pooling 10 kids could offer $150,000 to a pod teacher.

The Trump administration has been pushing choice, and certainly any federal aid should follow kids. But constitutional authority over education lies with the states, and it is from them that choice should come. Indeed, more than half-a-million children already attend private schools through voucher, tax credit, and education savings account programs in 29 states and Washington, D.C. But that is far below the number who need choice — states that already have it should expand it, and those without it should enact it.

But expanding funding may not be enough to supply the COVID choice people need. In some places, including much of California, public authorities are forbidding many private institutions from teaching in-person. Such prohibitions must be lifted.

These actions may be intended to protect public schools’ pocketbooks. For instance, the chief health official in Montgomery County, Maryland, has said no private school can open until at least October 1, a date right after the enrollment “count day” that determines how much state and federal funding public schools get.

Of course, health concerns may be the only driver of such decisions. But school-aged children appear to face very low levels of COVID danger. According to CDC data, Americans ages 5 to 17 account for fewer than 0.1% of all COVID-19 deaths, and since tracking began, it has accounted for less than 1% of all deaths in the 5-to-14 age group. While increasing safety measures is important, kids appear to face greater dangers than COVID-19.

What about teachers and administrators? Adults are at greater risk than children, but private schools will do many things to protect them, including mandatory mask wearing, face shields, social distancing, improved air filtration, and more. And teachers unwilling or unable to work in-person could choose jobs in online-only schools.

The simple fact is all communities, families, and children are different, and they need educational options reflective of that diversity.


Universities Circumvent New Title IX Regulations

For years, universities have denied basic procedural protections to students accused of sexual misconduct. Despite the seriousness of such allegations, schools routinely condemn students as responsible without so much as a hearing or the opportunity to confront their accusers. This was supposed to change when the Department of Education’s new Title IX regulations took effect on August 14.

But the more things change in higher education, the more they stay the same. It’s no secret that schools fought the new regulations tooth and nail. Now they are outdoing each other to circumvent them.

Universities resisted the regulations despite the fact that they actually deregulate higher education in important ways, by limiting universities’ liability exposure and narrowing the scope of students’ private lives that universities must police.

But universities clearly want to police their students’ sex lives and are now finding creative new ways to do so.

This is a continuation of universities’ zealous expansion of sexual-harassment policies to infringe upon constitutionally protected speech and academic freedom in ways that could never be enforced in a court of law. Civil anti-discrimination laws already extend to behavior that is severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, but schools want to push beyond this to accommodate everyone’s subjective feelings of offense. Once sacrosanct, academic freedom is now routinely cast aside in the name of student “comfort” and “safety.” Professors can now teach controversial subject material only at great personal risk. At public universities, where the First Amendment applies, numerous Title IX policies have been ruled unconstitutional by federal courts. No such constitutional protections apply at private institutions.

Things were supposed to change in August, when the new Title IX regulations took effect, with robust free speech and due process protections. Now it appears that many campuses are fighting to ensure these protections remain illusory. It’s not that institutions aren’t changing their policies. Rather, they are doing so to comply superficially while claiming increased authority to subject students and faculty to processes that provide few, if any, of the protections that the regulations require.

Take the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, for example. With nearly 50,000 students, it is one of the largest American universities. Last month, UIUC adopted a new policy that claims that the new Title IX regulations establish “a floor — not a ceiling — to the varied forms of misconduct that can be prohibited at a university.” UIUC “has decided to go beyond this floor to promote a safe and welcoming culture and climate.”

Schools bemoaned the new regulations’ complexity and the extra costs, as well as the confusion they would supposedly cause. So what is UIUC’s antidote? UIUC now wants to maintain two separate definitions of sexual harassment: “Title IX sexual harassment,” tracking Supreme Court law in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, and another, special and broader category of campus speech and conduct that UIUC will now police as “sexual harassment.”

A student accused of “Title IX sexual misconduct” will get the new procedures specified in the regulations. These include, importantly, the right to a live hearing with cross-examination. Not so if you’re accused of “non-Title IX sexual misconduct.” Then you’re out of luck — no hearing for you.

This also raises the possibility that students will be subject to the whim of bureaucrats, who will switch the new Title IX regulations on and off depending on the situation. (Spoiler alert: They will usually turn them off.)

And how are schools such as UIUC going to decide which policy to adjudicate various behaviors under, since the broader category of campus sexual misconduct will always encompass Title IX sexual misconduct? No potential source of confusion there, right?

Take the new policy of Arizona State University. Like Illinois, ASU establishes two separate procedures for adjudicating sexual-misconduct tracks, one with robust protections and one without. Why not use both? says the university.

ASU’s policy defines Title IX sexual harassment in accordance with the regulations, but maintains other policies defining “sexual harassment” more expansively. And ASU makes clear that “if the facts or occurrences forming the basis of a formal complaint of Title IX sexual harassment would also constitute a violation of other university policies,” respondents may be subject to a second process that could “proceed concurrently.”

In one proceeding, students will receive all the due-process protections required by the regulations, including the right to access evidence, the right to a hearing, the right to cross-examination, and the right to be presumed innocent. In the parallel proceeding, however, students will not. They cannot even challenge the findings of an investigator until everything has already been decided and sanctions already doled out.

Dating back to 2011, universities bemoaned Title IX mandates as a heavy-handed federal imposition. This was always dishonest. Universities clearly wanted to extend their control over campus sex life and promote new norms for sex on campus. Universities’ zealous activism has now found new expression in the voluntary creation of multi-track, ever more byzantine enforcement regimes, even as they continue to bemoan federal mandates. It really is Opposite World on college campuses today.

The Department of Education carefully created a system that offers procedural protections commensurate with the seriousness of sexual misconduct accusations. Unfortunately, universities’ commitment to procedural unfairness never was about government policy with regard to Title IX, a common excuse during the years when Title IX guidance itself undercut due process. The inescapable conclusion is that this is about the university’s perceived need to redefine sexual agency, sexual mores, and consent, which will apply only on campus and nowhere else in American life. To do so, they are claiming ever more power over the minutiae of students’ private lives.


Australia: Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the person who distributed controversial material designed to teach schoolchildren about sex, gender fluidity and relationships has been “spoken to”.

Sneaky attempt to promote sexual deviance

Asked about the material, which has been likened to the shelved Safe Schools program, Ms Berejiklian said the documents are “not official Department of Education material”. “The person who distributed has been spoken to,” she said.

Speaking ahead of her Education Minister confirming an investigation into how the material was uploaded, the Premier said she would expect the material to be taken down.

Earlier, NSW’s Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said public school teacher guides about on penis tucking and bra padding for students who want to appear feminine was posted “without permission” and is now being investigated.

“Safe Schools has never been part of the NSW Curriculum nor will it be and there are no plans to bring that in,” she said on Wednesday.

“In relation to that particular issue there was a link that was provided without permission that did go to resource and content that isn’t endorsed by the Department or by the Government.

“We’re looking at the processes to how that has happened because as I said it was something that was posted without permission.”

The guides have come under fire for being a rebranded version of the controversial Safe Schools program.

Safe Schools was axed in 2017 after uproar that the ­program taught young children about sex, gender fluidity and relationships.

But resources accessible to teachers on the School Biz portal provided by the NSW Department of Education appear to mirror material from the program which critics say is bringing it back “by stealth”.

Links on the portal transfer teachers to various websites, including a 40-page guide OMG I’M TRANS which talks through how to pad your bra for bigger breasts or tuck your penis to reduce its visibility.

Resources included fictional stories for children, ­including The Gender Fairy, Are you a Boy or Are you a Girl and on the young readers’ list a story titled Sex Is A Funny Word: A Book About Bodies, Feelings and You.

“Some people have a ‘fluid’ gender — it changes over time. My friend has warned me not to be surprised if one day she rocks up with a shaved head and asks to be called Bruce. But you know what? That’s completely up to her,” says a passage in the PDF OMG I’m Queer.

Even though the Safe Schools Coalition is no longer operating, the portal includes “All of Us”, its guide on gender diversity, sexual diversity and intersex topics.

The website also linked to the Commonwealth’s Student Wellbeing Hub which had ­articles on supporting sexual diversity in schools, students changing their gender and LGBTI classmates.

NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham obtained screenshots of the School Biz portal and said teaching materials offered ahead of Wear It Purple Day on August 28 taught children about exploring sex, gender identity and being transgender and queer.

“This worries me because if Safe Schools was abolished then why do we need people within the department building an extensive catalogue of material relating to this,” Mr Latham told The Daily Telegraph. “It’s absolutely brought back by stealth. Behind a firewall they are sending information to teachers which resurrects Safe Schools des­pite the government ending it. There was a reason this was kicked out of schools in the first place. There has been no disclosure.”

The notification for teachers on the portal said: “There are also a number of resources available to help foster discussion about everyone having the right to be proud of who they are, and everyone having the right to feel safe and ­supported.”

Institute of Public Affairs director of the Foundations of Western Civilisation Program Dr Bella d’Abrera criticised the teaching resources.

She said with Australian children lagging behind the rest of the world in education the department should be foc­using on teaching children how to read and write, not ­indoctrinating them with radical gender theory.

“There is absolutely no place in NSW schools for this kind of social engineering. Teachers should not be politicising impressionable children in the classroom,” she said.

A NSW Education Department spokeswoman said the links were operated by third parties.

“These are all external websites operated by third parties not NSW Education. The Safe Schools Program has never been part of the NSW curriculum and we do not promote it,” she said.

A spokesman for the Federal Department of Education said the resources on the Student Wellbeing Hub were ­removed but had been reinstated since 2016 after an ­independent review found them suitable.

“The resources you refer to were originally published in 2013 as part of the original Safe Schools Hub that was funded by the previous Labor Government. The resources were removed while a 2016 ­independent review was ­conducted by Professor Bill Louden,” the spokesman said.

“This review found that the resources were ‘consistent with the aims of the program … suitable, robust, age-appropriate, educationally sound and aligned with the Australian Curriculum’. The resources were returned to the Hub in 2016 after the completion of the Louden review.”


Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Amid Riots, Washington and Lee University Offers a Class on 'How to Overthrow the State'

This fall at Washington and Lee University (removal of Lee pending), students will learn reading writing, arithmetic — and “How to Overthrow the State.” As antifa riots have continued in Portland for almost 100 nights, students at the Virginia university named after George Washington and Robert E. Lee* will study Marxist revolutions in the Global South, complete with role-playing regime change.

Writing Seminar 100-18, “How to Overthrow the State,” will award each student three credits toward graduation.

“This course places each student at the head of a popular revolutionary movement aiming to overthrow a sitting government and forge a better society,” a course description explains. “How will you attain power? How will you communicate with the masses? How do you plan on improving the lives of the people? How will you deal with the past?”

“From Frantz Fanon to Che Guevara to Mohandas Ghandi and others, we explore examples of revolutionary thought and action from across the Global South,” the description adds. “Students engage these texts by participating in a variety of writing exercises, such as producing a Manifesto, drafting a white paper that critically analyzes a particular issue, and writing a persuasive essay on rewriting history and confronting memory.”

While there is nothing wrong with studying Marxist revolutionaries like Che Guevara, it does seem a bit unnerving that a university class would encourage students to emulate them and to “overthrow the state” — especially amid violent riots and looting in cities across America.

Conservatives, who are already rightly worried about academia undermining American patriotism and teaching Marxism, naturally condemned the Washington and Lee course.

“Washington and Lee University’s course on ‘how to overthrow the state’ is one further sign of the insanity taking over higher education,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tweeted. “The alumni should rise up and show how to overthrow a crazy college administration.”

“This is disgraceful,” Turning Point USA Founder Charlie Kirk told Breitbart News. “We must stop brushing aside these egregious examples of campus craziness as isolated incidents.”

“The lessons of the past few months prove that these ideas don’t stay on campus, they spill out onto the streets,” Kirk warned. “This is a prime example of the intellectual rot that has infected the academy in America. The Trump administration should investigate and determine if this is the type of scholarship federal funds should be used to subsidize.”

The next generation of 1619 Project

Washington and Lee students will take a crack at “rewriting history,” just like The New York Times‘ “1619 Project.” That effort in Marxist critical theory preaches that various aspects of American society, such as capitalism, are oppressive and racist. Indeed, the Smithsonian briefly taught that even things like science, the nuclear family, the Judeo-Christian tradition, and politeness itself are oppressive aspects of a “whiteness” culture.

Portland activist Lilith Sinclair showed how Marxist critical theory pushes aimless revolution. “There’s still a lot of work to undo the harm of colonized thought that has been pushed onto Black and indigenous communities,” she said. As examples of “colonized thought,” she mentioned Christianity and the “gender binary.” She said she organizes for “the abolition of … the “United States as we know it.”

When vandals toppled a statue of George Washington in Portland, they spray-painted “1619” on the statue. When Claremont’s Charles Kesler wrote in The New York Post “Call them the 1619 riots,” 1619 Project Founder Nikole Hannah-Jones responded (in a since-deleted tweet) that “it would be an honor” to claim responsibility for the destructive riots. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) called for the “dismantling” of America’s “economy and political system,” in order to root out supposed racist oppression.

Left-leaning journalists and Democrats have insisted, over and over again, that the riots are “mostly peaceful protests.” Yet the riots have destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments. At least 22 Americans have died in the riots, most of them black.

PJ Media has reached out to Washington and Lee for comment on the class, and this story will be updated with any response.

*Washington and Lee University faculty voted overwhelmingly in favor of striking Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s name from the university’s name, but only a majority of the institution’s trustees has the power to actually change the name, and the trustees have not voted on it, yet. One faculty member, an associate professor of law, Brandon Hasbrouck, suggested that the university should also consider removing Washington’s name.


Across US south, a push to change Confederate school names

Trude Lamb is a standout cross country runner at Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler, Texas, but the name on her jersey is a sharp reminder of a man "who didn't believe people like me were 100% human."

The sophomore, originally from Ghana, told the school board this summer that she had seen the horrific conditions of slave dungeons on the African coast and can't support a name that celebrates a Confederate general who fought on the side of slavery. Along with many other students and alumni, she pushed to change the name this year in a campaign organized under the hashtag #wewontwearthename.

The school board approved the change in July after years of resistance.

The new Tyler Independent School District (TISD) campus for Robert E. Lee High School is seen on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, in Tyler, Texas. The new campus was part of a 198 million dollar bond package passed in 2017 to renovate both the Lee campus and John Tyler High School. In Tyler, Texas a petition is collecting signatures to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School.
"That name was not a black supporter. He owned slaves. He did anything he could to get rid of Black people. I'm like, 'No, not wearing this name on my jersey,'" Lamb told The Associated Press.

More than 100 public schools in the U.S. are named for Confederate figures — roughly 90 of those for Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis or Gen. Stonewall Jackson — according to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Many were founded during the days of segregation as all-white schools but now also serve African American students. At least a dozen have majority Black student bodies.

A renewed push has emerged to rename many of the schools as ongoing nationwide protests over police misconduct and racial injustice have spurred the removal of Confederate monuments. Multiple school systems in Alabama, Texas and Virginia have voted to change school names in recent months, but local resistance and state laws make that no simple task.

Lamb, who gained national attention for her letter to the Tyler school board, has become a target of social media posts with racist language and even threats of violence, her mother said.

In Montgomery, Alabama, three high schools are named after Lee, Davis and Sidney Lanier, a writer and poet who was a Confederate soldier. The schools have student populations ranging from 82% to 99% Black.

"It's a basic insult to all the African American children who would have to walk past a statue or go to a school that is named after a white supremacist," said Amerika Blair, a 2009 Lee graduate who was among those pushing for change.

The Montgomery County School Board voted in July to change the names of the three schools, but a 2017 state law protects Confederate monuments and other long-standing memorials and names. The school system will have to get a waiver from a committee, which could act in October at the soonest, or pay a $25,000 fine for breaking the law by changing the name without permission.

The new Tyler Independent School District campus for the Robert E. Lee High School is seen on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, in Tyler, Texas. The new campus was part of a 198 million dollar bond package passed in 2017 to renovate both the Lee campus and John Tyler High School. Across the Deep South a multitude of public schools bear the names of Confederate figures - from Jefferson Davis to Robert E. Lee - and serve mostly African-American students. A renewed push is emerging to rename many of the schools, as some cities take down Confederate monuments.
Like many other Confederate-named schools, Lee in Montgomery opened as an all-white school in 1955— a year after the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education that segregated schools were unconstitutional — as the South was actively fighting integration. But white flight after integration orders and shifting demographics meant many of the schools became heavily African American.

A statue of Lee stood outside the school for decades— facing north to keep an eye on his enemies, according to school legend— but was toppled from in pedestal in June. Four people were arrested for knocking over the statue but the charges were later dropped.

Similar pushes to rename schools are taking place across the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center said about 40 schools have been renamed, or closed, in the past few years.

In Virginia, the removal of Confederate names began in the state's northern region in 2018, when J.E.B. Stuart High in Falls Church changed to Justice High. Washington-Lee High School in Arlington changed its name to Washington-Liberty at the start of the 2019-2020 academic year.

The trend accelerated and expanded beyond the liberal northern Virginia suburbs as the Black Lives Matter protests took hold after the police killing of George Floyd died in Minneapolis in May.

A pedestal that held a statue of Robert E. Lee stands empty outside a high school named for the Confederate general in Montgomery, Ala. on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Four people were charged with criminal mischief after someone removed the statue amid nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Fairfax County voted for a new name for Robert E. Lee High. Stonewall Jackson High was renamed in Manassas, the place where the Confederate general earned his nickname in the first Battle of Bull Run. Rural Shenandoah County also changed the name of its high school named for Jackson. In Hanover County, a conservative jurisdiction outside Richmond, the school board narrowly voted to change the name of Lee-Davis High.

"Changing names is part of the transition from one era or epoch to another," said historian Wayne Flynt, who has authored multiple books on Southern history.

Flynt said the same views that gave root to the Confederate school names has also gave rise to education funding systems that often leave minority children in underperforming and underfunded schools, problems that will remain after the name changes,

"What does bother me is when you get to the end of all the name changes, nothing has changed in terms the quality of the education or the property tax base in Alabama, which is pathetic," Flynt said.


University of Pennsylvania professor wants to investigate claim Trump faked admission exam

A University of Pennsylvania professor is asking the school to launch a probe into the allegations that President Trump faked his admission exam.

Six faculty members first asked the school’s provost to investigate the claims in mid-July after the president’s niece, Mary Trump, published a book that claims Trump paid someone to take his SATs.

At the time the provost told Eric Orts, one of the professors asking for the probe, that although they found the allegations concerning, “this situation occurred too far in the past to make a useful or probative factual inquiry possible,” according to the Daily Pennsylvanian, a student-run publication.

The Washington Post last weekend published secretly recorded audio from Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry in which she said “he got into University of Pennsylvania because he had somebody take the exams.”

Mary Trump said it was a man named Joe Shapiro. The widow of a friend of Trump’s named Joe Shapiro at UPenn has said her husband did not take the exams for President Trump, but Mary Trump says it is another man with the same name.

Orts, a professor of legal studies and business ethics at the UPenn's Wharton School, told the Post he recontacted the provost saying the new audio constituted the kind of “new evidence” they asked for.

UPenn did not immediately respond to an inquiry from The Hill. The provost also did not respond to Orts at the time of the Post’s reporting.

The Trump campaign and White House have dismissed the audio from Barry, with one adviser likening their relationship to a "sibling rivalry."

The president has previously questioned the credentials of several Democratic politicians, including former President Obama. While Obama was in office, Trump pledged to make a $5 million donation to a charity if he released his college applications and transcripts.

Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer Michael Cohen said during a congressional testimony that he took legal measures to ensure the president’s academic records were not leaked.

Fordham University, where the president was a student from 1964 to 1966, later confirmed Cohen threatened legal action. Trump graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 after transferring from Fordham.


More than a dozen researchers and professors at U.S. universities have been arrested for ties to the Chinese government

More than a dozen students, researchers, and professors at American universities have been arrested in the last year on charges related to lying about their ties with the Chinese government, often while accepting US-taxpayer-funded grants.

The Justice Department has focused much effort on investigating individuals with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) who use their positions on American campuses to benefit Beijing, often by recruiting talent or stealing intellectual property. Between 2019 and 2020, at least 14 people were arrested on related charges.

While some suspects were investigated and charged in 2019, escalating tensions with China in 2020 appeared to ramp up efforts to hold these individuals accountable.

In August, a Chinese official accused the U.S. of monitoring and harassing Chinese students and researchers at American campuses. Sanctions placed on Chinese entities —such as the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a paramilitary group which operates much of the economy in Xinjiang and allegedly orchestrated the persecution of minorities — also inflamed tension.

“For some time, the U.S., with ideological prejudice, keeps monitoring, harassing and willfully detaining Chinese students and researchers, and making presumptions of guilt against Chinese researchers,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in early August.

These are the individuals who work or study at colleges across the U.S. who’ve had ties to the Chinese government and have been charged with crimes related to their concealed affiliation.


Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Donald Trump threatens to defund California public schools that implement The New York Times' 1619 project which reframes US history around slavery after he canceled 'un-American' federal racial sensitivity training

Donald Trump threatened to defund schools in California that use the New York Times' 1619 Project in the public school curriculum.

On Sunday Trump retweeted a message from an unverified account saying the project would be taught in schools and shared: 'Department of Education is looking at this. If so, they will not be funded!'

The Pulitzer-Prize winning collection of essays, photo essays, poems, and short and short fiction pieces published last year seeks to reframe American history as starting on 1619, when the first slaves from Africa arrived to Virginia, rather than 1776, when the founding fathers declared independence from Britain.

Trump’s comments come after he banned federal agencies from conducting racial sensitivity training related to 'white privilege' and 'critical race theory' on Friday.

Critical race theory asserts that 'institutions are inherently racist and that race itself... is a socially constructed concept that is used by white people to further their economic and political interests at the expense of people of color', according to Texas A&M University professor Tommy Curry.

Russell Bought, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, ordered heads of federal agencies to alter racial sensitivity training programs for employees in a two-page memo where he called such training 'un-American propaganda.'

That memo said: 'Employees across the Executive Branch have been required to attend training where they are told that "virtually all White people contribute to racism" or where they are required to say that they "benefit from racism"'.

He continues: 'These types of "trainings" not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce.'

Vought subsequently states: 'The President has directed me to ensure that federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions.'

The banning of the 1619 project is the latest effort by Trump against new progressive interpretations to history that he deems un-American.

Following the project’s publication the Pulitzer Center was named an education partner for the project and announced its education team would develop education resources and curricula for teachers to use, which is online for free through the center.

Some schools said they wanted to use the 1619 Project into their curriculum but some efforts have been thwarted.

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican, introduced legislation that would ban schools from teaching the 1619 Project through the Saving American History Act of 2020

In August 2019 the New York Times Magazine published the 1619 project, a collection of essays, photo essays, short fiction pieces and poems aimed to 'reframe' American history based on the impact of slaves brought to the US.

It was published to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans in the English colonies.

It argues that the nation's birth was not 1776 with independence from the British crown, but in August 1619 with the arrival of a cargo ship of 20 to 30 enslaved Africans at Point Comfort in the colony of Virginia, which inaugurated the system of slavery.

The project argues that slavery was the country’s origin and out of it 'grew nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional.'

That includes economic might, industry, the electoral system, music, public health and education inequities, violence, income inequality, slang, and racial hatred.

However, the project is debated among historians for its factual accuracy.

In March 2020 historian Leslie M. Harris who served as a fact checker for the project said authors ignored her corrections, but believed the project was needed to correct prevailing historical narratives.

One aspect up for debate is the timeline.

Time Magazine said the first slaves arrived in 1526 in a Spanish colony in what is now South Carolina, 93 years prior to the landing in Jamestown.

Some experts say slaves first arrived at present-day Fort Monroe in Hampton, instead of Jamestown.

Others argue the first Africans in Virginia were indentured servants as laws on lifetime slavery didn’t appear till 17th century and early 18th century, but worked essentially as slaves.

The bill would 'prohibit the use of federal funds to teach the 1619 Project by K-12 schools or school districts. Schools that teach the 1619 Project would also be ineligible for federal professional-development grants.'

The legislation is unlikely to gain any traction in the Senate but voices political opposition to the reframed history.

Trump has in the past defended Confederate statues, called the phrase 'Black Lives Matter' a symbol of hate, and threatened to withhold funding for liberal cities that saw civil unrest and protests decrying police brutality and racism.

He and Attorney General William Barr have said they don’t believe systemic racism exists in the US.

The 1619 project was an effort led by the New York Times and black writers to highlight the importance African slaves and black Americans had in building the US into the superpower it is today.

Some people believe the nation’s birth and the notion of slavery started in 1776, when the founding fathers declared independence from Britain.

But the project argues it started in late August 1619 with the arrival of a cargo ship of 20 to 30 enslaved Africans at Point Comfort in the colony of Virginia, which inaugurated the system of slavery.

The project argues that slavery was the country’s origin and out of it 'grew nearly everything that has truly made America exceptional' including economic might, industry, the electoral system, music, public health and education inequities, violence, income inequality, slang, and racial hatred.

Essay titles in the project include 'America Wasn't a Democracy Until Black Americans Made It One', 'American Capitalism Is Brutal. You Can Trace That to the Plantation, 'Why Is Everyone Always Stealing Black Music?', and 'Why Doesn't America Have Universal Healthcare? One word: Race.'

However, the project is debated among historians for its factual accuracy.

Time Magazine said the first slaves arrived in 1526 in a Spanish colony in what is now South Carolina, 93 years prior to the landing in Jamestown.

In March 2020 historian Leslie M. Harris who served as a fact checker for the project said authors ignored her corrections, but believed the project was needed to correct prevailing historical narratives.


Teachers’ Union Won’t Go Back to School -- But Will Go to Sharpton's march

The American Federation of Teachers union boss Randi Weingarten claimed at the union's annual convention that teachers were so terrified of going back to school that they were "quitting in droves" and "making their wills".

The AFT threatened that its members would go on strike if they were expected to go back to actually doing their jobs and teaching in a classroom.

In New York City, the United Federation of Teachers, which is affiliated with the AFT, marched with cardboard coffins and fake body bags. Some union teachers wore skeleton t-shirts.

A Halloween skeleton attached to a garbage bag held a cardboard sickle and a message written next to dripping blood, "Welcome Back to School". "I can't teach from a cemetery," one sign claimed. Another declared, "We Won't Die for the Department of Education."

Despite their claim that they feared for their lives, the march had little social distancing.

A few weeks after the death march, the AFT’s teachers took a break from making out their wills to get on buses and travel to Washington D.C. to take part in Sharpton’s 50,000 person rally.

The AFT was described as “mobilizing” for the Get Your Knee off Our Necks Commitment March in Washington D.C. which included lots of hate, but few coronavirus precautions.

Photos showed staffers from the country’s second-largest teachers' union holding signs in close proximity to each other. Randi Weingarten tweeted a photo of herself embracing two other union bosses, elbow bumping Martin Luther King III, posing with the head of the Human Rights Campaign, and then with Al Sharpton, who has one arm loosely draped across her body.

Unless the AFT head shares a household with Sharpton, that’s not social distancing. But photos repeatedly show Sharpton in tight groups of people, sometimes without a mask.

And then Weingarten mounted the podium, and with her mask down, and a huge crowd to her side, began shrieking, “How much pain must black people endure?” However much pain black people have endured, the white union boss’ shrieks could only have added pain and saliva.

At one point, she screamed, “180,000 people dead of COVID” so loudly while flailing her arms that a march volunteer standing next to her stumbled backward.

If Weingarten were infected, she might have killed more black people than the police ever did.

Meanwhile the UFT was "advising members to not enter school buildings for anything other than retrieving classroom materials and supplies" because it's too just dangerous.

Weingarten had claimed that teachers were so scared of going back to work that they were, “writing their wills.” But there was nothing to be afraid of in a mob of Sharpton’s racists.

While Sharpton’s National Action Network had claimed that the D.C. rally would be socially distanced, photos repeatedly show that was not true with participants clumped closely together.

As I demonstrated in my original expose of the rally plans, it would take an area the size of 300 football fields to allow for a socially distanced rally of 100,000 people in front of the Lincoln Memorial. The NAN reduced its projected number to 50,000 when filing for a permit with the National Park Service. But that’s still way too many football fields to fit into that space.

The Get Your Knee off Our Necks Commitment March’s pandemic precautions consisted of theater like temperature checks and sanitation areas. A mobile testing tent appeared to be unused while in the 90 degree temperatures many attendees dropped their masks and gulped air and water in equal measures. The barriers made things worse with a huge crowd being confined to the area around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool packed cheek to cheek.

Some waded into the water to cool off and get a better view of the stage set up on the steps.

While yellow banners attached to the barricades ordered people to stay 6 feet apart, few were listening or could even do it. In the intense heat, some marchers passed out and crowds gathered around them. Things weren’t much better at the podium with a large number of family members of deceased criminals crowding around and people walking past them to take selfies.

Despite that, and Sharpton’s racist history, the rally included a taped message from Senator Kamala Harris, the Democrat VP nominee, and support from Governor Andrew Cuomo.

And there was plenty of participation from teachers who claim they’ll die if they go back to work.

The coffin and body bag parades are being brandished by unions to terrorize parents, even while the unions cheer on tens of thousands of black nationalists squeezing together in D.C.

The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association had made their own coffins of children to terrorize parents into keeping schools closed. The ghoulishly vile messages on them included,  “Here lies a third grade student from Green Bay who caught COVID at school”

The union's Twitter claimed that, "It isn't a matter of if students and staff at in-person schools will get sick, it's a matter of when", even while it kept on promoting Black Lives Matter rallies.

It even retweeted a photo of the massive crowd for Sharpton's 50,000 "Get Your Knee off Our Necks Commitment March" rally where everyone was closely crowded together.

"This is how many people showed up to the #MarchOnWashington today," the tweet read.

Teachers’ union members claim that every single one of them will die if they have to set foot in a classroom, and will take all the children and their grandparents with them just like Jonestown. Meanwhile, they aren’t making out their wills when they head off to a Black Lives Matter rally.

The union’s own protests have repeatedly involved teachers crowding into small spaces to protest against school leadership and elected officials, even while claiming they’re about to die.

If the AFT’s boss and its staffers can head out to D.C., pal around with Sharpton, and then speak to a crowd of tens of thousands, its members can go back and teach school in-person.

You can’t travel around the country, crowd into protests, and then claim teaching will kill you.

The American Federation of Teachers, which has been holding school districts around the country hostage, doesn’t care about safety. It isn’t holding out because it cares about students, but because it wants power and it has the ability to shut down the entire education system.

This corrupt system, in which the Democrat activists of the AFT claim that they care so much about the kids that they refuse to teach them every time they want more money, has hit its peak.

Parents around the country are paying a fortune in taxes to subsidize the salaries of AFT hacks. They’re no longer even paying for a miserably substandard social justice education. These days they’re often paying for an online session even as the unions and the districts want higher taxes.

Sharpton’s March on Washington once again exposed the lie that the Democrats shut down the country because they care about social distancing. And it exposed the lie that the American Federation of Teachers has been threatening school districts because it cares about safety.

If Randi Weingarten can hug Al Sharpton in person, AFT’s hacks can go back to school.


Are College Campuses Becoming Inhospitable to Jewish Students?

What is happening to Jewish students and Jewish institutions on college campuses throughout the United States is truly alarming. America in 2020 is not the same place I grew up in and as an American Jew, it is sadly becoming one for which I fear for my children and future grandchildren.

A friend recently told me something very disturbing. After her 20-year-old daughter was reading Instagram posts on @jewishoncampus, this young woman wondered whether it would be safe for Jews to live in the U.S. in the near future. Before the pandemic hit, her daughter had plans to partake in an internship in Jerusalem. While she had once thought living in Israel was merely an enjoyable opportunity to learn more about Israeli culture, she now wondered if the United States, where she was born and has been a proud citizen for her entire life, would be a safe place to raise Jewish children in the future. She now pondered whether Israel will be the safer alternative.

On @jewishoncampus, Jewish college students from all over the country are posting personal accounts of anti-Semitism on college campuses. The things they are reporting are shocking and many are coming from mainstream schools with large Jewish populations including Rutgers University, Northwestern University, Tufts University, and countless other well-regarded institutions of higher learning.

A student from Columbia University wrote, “I had a professor tell the class, (in Israeli Sociology), that anti-Semitism didn’t exist anymore in week later, a temple shooting happened.” The student proceeded, “Students who believe in the Israeli state’s existence are spat on at my university. Literally and figuratively. I’ve been called a murderer publicly when walking to class for being a supporter of Israel…the girl yelled so loudly that everyone stopped to look at me. We are humiliated like that on a daily basis.”

Unfortunately, for many years, American Jews have been naïve about or taken for granted their safety and security in the United States. Since being expelled from Israel 2,000 years ago, Jews have, at first, been welcomed into countless countries where they have settled and excelled, only to be murdered or expelled. This happened throughout history and across the globe including such enlightened lands such as England, Spain, Portugal, Poland, France, Germany, in addition to those who settled in Arab lands.

In recent years it has become much more obvious how critical a Jewish homeland is for our people. Unfortunately, not only is this concept being lost on many Jewish youth in America and Europe today, but they are also failing to appreciate that Israel must continually be strengthened to ensure that it remains a safe haven for Jewish people now and for the future when our host nations become inhospitable for Jews.

Part of the issue is that many young Jews and non-Jewish Americans think of anti-Semitism as a historical issue that faded following the Holocaust or think of anti-Semitism as a threat in other countries. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Despite comprising less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, nearly 60 percent of hate crimes were targeted against Jews in 2018 according to the FBI’s hate crime statistics. Online platforms have made it easy for anti-Semites to organize and radicalize, as was most glaringly seen by white supremacists’ chants in Charlottesville in 2017 or in the current protests under Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Back in early 2017, the Women’s March on Washington brought together millions of women across the globe, yet blatantly ostracized and attacked Jewish women, regardless of their political affiliations. In fact, in 2019, three of the four founders of the organization ultimately stepped down, in large part due to their anti-Semitic history.

Jews are being attacked both physically and verbally from all sides. Of course, in many ways, we’ve always been our own worst enemies and today is no exception. As examples, Jeremy Ben-Ami, Peter Beinart and Ariel Gold have become darlings of the anti-Israel left for their nearly universal condemnation of Israel and especially anything pertaining to the democratically elected government of Israel led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And since they are all Jewish, they are feeding a narrative that if Jews show that they care less about the importance of there being a homeland for the Jewish people and more about other groups, especially the Palestinians, they will be more accepted by others. This is far from the truth.

There have been remarkable movements with broad public support over the past few years, and especially right now, for all Americans to stand up and speak out against racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and homophobia in our society. However, anti-Semitism, the leading driver of religious hate crimes in America, is purposely overlooked.

Anti-Semitism is often referred to as the world’s oldest prejudice, and yet it is alive and well in our society, especially on college campuses, which often preview where the general society is headed. A student from Ithaca College posted on @jewishoncampus, “I was hanging with a few people in a dorm room one night and one of the guys in the room mentioned how his sports team should throw a ‘Holocaust theme party’ and use the showers as gas chambers. He wanted people to dress up as SS guards. I had never felt more uncomfortable than in that moment, but I had to remain silent because I knew Ithaca College wouldn’t care.” Holocaust-themed parties? Showers doubling as gas chambers? Proudly dressing up as murderer-SS guards? Is this 1940 Nazi Germany or 2020 America?

Was this student wrong to assume that Ithaca College wouldn’t care? That I cannot say. However, I do know that these posts should serve as a wake-up call for why there must always be a refuge for the Jewish people in the State of Israel. We also must begin speaking up about what is being taught in our schools and, by extension, the homes which are raising the next generation. Creating Holocaust-themed parties can only be linked to the feeble education, if any, that our youth are receiving in school. If we don’t stand up and demand change, it will only get worse and then, and I write these words with great trepidation, we Jews in America may need Israel more than we ever thought possible.

I contemplated writing about this topic for many weeks. Frighteningly, as I sat down to begin writing, reports of another unprovoked, confirmed arson attack at the Chabad House on the campus of the University of Delaware is just coming to light. I pray these attacks cease but I’m not the one who is naïve to history.

When so many choose to focus their ire on Zionism instead of anti-Semitism, it becomes clear that their discomfort with the former is bred by the comfort with the latter.


Australia: International Baccalaureate develops higher critical thinking skills than state programs

From what I hear, it is Leftist critical thinking that is taught

Australian high school students who sit the International Baccalaureate diploma develop significantly higher critical thinking skills than those taking a state-based equivalent such as the HSC.

New research conducted by the University of Oxford shows the difference in critical thinking was more pronounced for students in year 12 than in year 11, suggesting skills increase over the IB's two-year duration.

Founded in Switzerland in 1968, the IB diploma is a globally recognised senior school credential offered as an alternative to the Higher School Certificate in about 20 NSW independent schools.

It has slowly expanded its footprint over the past 30 years, with Cranbrook becoming the latest Sydney school to offer the IB diploma from next year.

While the HSC offers a flexible curriculum where students study any combination of units, the IB locks students into six streams: they must study one subject from the sciences, humanities, arts, mathematics, English and a foreign language.

Students must also write a 4000-word essay on a topic of their choice and complete a 100-hour course in the theory of knowledge, as well as participate in co-curricular creative, physical and service activities.

"Those are some of the reasons I chose the IB," said year 10 Cranbrook student Max Lindley, who will be in the school's first diploma cohort and hopes to write his major work on paleontology.

"Understanding how information is spread, what makes a good source – I find that very interesting."

The Oxford research used critical thinking tests to assess differences in samples of IB and non-IB students in Australia, Norway and England. They tested students’ skills in induction, deduction, evaluation, and credibility assessment of given statements.

The findings showed IB students "exhibit significantly higher levels of critical thinking in comparison with matched non-IB students, with the effect more pronounced towards the end of the program".

In qualitative interviews, students said they believed the IB diploma better prepared them for future studies than other school systems and suggested the teaching of critical thinking made them better learners.

Cranbrook headmaster Nicholas Sampson said those skills would give students an advantage in university and the workforce.

"The level of academic breadth keeps open so many options at university and beyond. We think the IB is accessible to most students, the key is attitude: you've got to be committed and organised," he said.

But he concedes the IB is not the most suitable course for all students. “For some the greater specialisation offered by the HSC is invaluable and we understand that," Mr Sampson said.

Year 10 student John Coleman struggled to choose between the courses for that reason: he would like to focus on the social sciences in his final year, and the IB would force him to drop either modern history or economics. "It's a tough decision and I don't want to do it," he said.

While the IB is studied in government schools in other Australian states, a spokesman for the NSW Department of Education said it did not support any IB programs in state public schools.

"The Higher School Certificate is a world-class qualification that is available to all NSW school students," he said.

The Australian component of the Oxford University research took place in four independent schools, with sample students from each course matched according to socioeconomic status, sex, age and cognitive ability.

An IB spokeswoman said it brought forward “important findings” about the program's impact on students’ critical thinking.


Monday, September 07, 2020

Grim College Coronavirus Rules

College ain’t what it used to be. Supposedly because of a virus that for most college students is less of a threat to their lives than riding in a car, students at college campuses this fall will be subjected to dystopian controls from required mask wearing and “social distancing” to surveillance via contact tracing and health monitoring.

Many prospective and set to return students will see this as an undesirable situation. College enrollment in America has been dropping over the last ten or so years. Make college dreary enough and there can be a big additional drop as this year’s fall semester begins.

For an example of the kind of restrictions and surveillance being imposed on students at many university campuses, consider these requirements in the Duke Compact that Duke University is imposing and even wants all students to sign:

To comply with requirements from Duke University, and state and local authorities, I will:

- Wear a mask or face covering in all public spaces.

- Maintain appropriate physical distance.

- Wash my hands often.

- Monitor and report my symptoms through the SymMon app, or approved alternatives, before coming to campus.

- Avoid large gatherings.

- Stay home when I feel ill.

- Know and follow safety plans and additional guidance that are specific to my group, workplace or activity.

- Keep confidential all health information I know or learn about others.

To protect myself and the people around me, I will:

- Participate in required COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and health monitoring.

- If instructed, self-isolate for the required duration.

- Get the flu shot and other required vaccinations by designated deadlines.
Adhere to all travel conditions and restrictions.

- Consent to the use of institutional data to identify others who have been in proximity or close contact.

- Accept the benefits and consequences for the conditions of this compact.

- Speak up to share suggestions or concerns by calling 800.826.8109 or completing an online form.


Making it clear that these requirements are not just advisory or aspirational statements, the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section following the Duke Compact includes these entries:
What are the consequences for violating terms of the Duke Compact?

While some minor violations will result in reminders and educational engagement, other flagrant and repeated violations may result in restricting your access to Duke facilities, employment actions or removal from campus. Consult your student, faculty or staff handbooks for further information.

Can I still be enrolled as a student, even if I don’t sign the Duke Compact?

We expect all members of the Duke community to be united in protecting ourselves, each other and the community that depends upon us. A signature is required to have access to the campus, and, based on the expectations and requirements of your academic field, refusal to sign and comply with the provisions may impact your student status.

Further, while one may see ambiguity in portions of the Duke Compact that leaves room for some freedom and privacy, the FAQ shuts much of this down. Here are some examples. The “public spaces” where a mask must be worn is an expansive area including everywhere on campus except where a person is “alone in a confined room such as an office or dorm room,” “alone in a vehicle, if the vehicle is not regularly shared with others,” eating or drinking “while following safety guidance,” or in “open outdoor areas where social distancing is easily maintained and areas where individuals are not likely to pass in close proximity.”

The requirement to report symptoms is a requirement to do so daily; fail to do so and “your access to buildings may be temporarily suspended, or revoked.” The “large gatherings” that must be avoided can include gatherings of as few as 11 people.

The requirement to participate in “required COVID-19 testing” includes being tested “upon arrival” at the Duke campus as well as potentially anytime “based on symptom reporting, contact tracing information or as part of periodic sample testing of our residential population.” Adhering to “all travel conditions and restrictions” means students “living in Duke-provided residences” are not to travel beyond the city of Durham “for the duration of the semester” unless doing so is “necessary” and the student receives permission from Duke University, takes “reasonable precautions,” and follows “Student Health instructions upon return.” “Institutional data” that may be used in contact tracing include “symptom monitoring survey responses, door control access points, wi-fi access points, geofence technologies, housing assignments and class schedules.”

In addition to all the restrictions and surveillance imposed directly on students by Duke University, the FAQ indicates Duke may also go after students for failure to comply, even when the students are not on campus, with whatever coronavirus mandates may be imposed by the state and local governments. From the FAQ: “Duke expects all members of our community to adhere to state/local public health orders both on- and off- campus.”

Other universities are similarly using “compacts” and other sorts of edicts to weigh students down with many new rules in the name of countering coronavirus.

It used to be that going to college was an opportunity to escape from strict rules imposed by parents, gain more privacy, take new risks, and learn the self-responsibility helpful for adulthood. Now, many more students reading college requirements like those in the Duke Compact will see college as more restrictive and stifling than mom and dad.

Since the second half of the last century, attending college after high school has been for a large portion of the American population the default course. The imposing of over-the-top dictates like those in the Duke Compact challenges that situation. Confronted with such dictates, a significant number of potential freshmen, as well as of set to return students, will have a “Why bother?” epiphany.

There are options besides college. Make college grim enough in the name of countering coronavirus and many more people will choose to engage in those other options instead.

Duke University itself may not suffer much in reduced enrollment, though it could see a big change in the makeup of its student body. Duke is one of the selective universities that rejects many applicants. It can, to maintain enrollment numbers, start admitting students it previously would have rejected.

Less selective universities will really face trouble due to fewer people choosing to pursue higher education. Some of these universities can be expected to disappear as they become economically unviable.


In Empathy's Name, Trump the Disruptor Offers School Choice to #WalkAway Parents

President Donald Trump wasn't elected for his empathy. He was elected to kick the Washington establishment -- the bipartisan courtiers of our modern Versailles on the Potomac -- in their sensitive parts.

Kick them he did, repeatedly. And they fought back, swinging their corporate media hatchets at his head, so he slammed his "Fake News" war club into their guts.

Now, with the election just months away, both sides seem out of breath, like TV wrestlers, exhausted, with folding chairs broken in pieces on the floor of our shabby national political amphitheater.

The Democrats built exhaustion into their strategy after Trump's 2016 election, and Trump has helped them with his brutal Twitter thumbs and commentary. In many ways, Trump is his own worst enemy.

So, this (virtual) Republican National Convention is every bit an infomercial as was the (virtual) Democratic offering days before. But this one is about counterprogramming.

It may be Trump's last chance to reframe himself, to offer something to parents sitting on the fence who seek a reason to walk away from the Democrats.

What Republicans offered those parents on the RNC opening night was this:

School choice, to allow black and brown families a chance to escape the big-city public schools that have failed their kids for decades.

"I don't care if it's a public, private, charter, virtual or a home school," said South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, a Black Republican, in his stirring speech. "When a parent has a choice, a kid has a better chance."

Just then I thought I heard heads exploding among liberal pundits and the bosses of the teachers' unions, the ground troops of the modern Democratic Party. They just hate that social media #WalkAway campaign by Democratic voters who've decided to leave the party.

Trump's critics in the Democratic Media Complex along the Washington Beltway loathe his voters for rejecting their liberal wisdom. This blinds them and causes them to underestimate Trump.

It might surprise them to know that parents may care more about their children's education than political ideology.

Many black parents know they've been taken for granted by the Democrats for decades. They look for a chance to walk away.

Hispanic parents may have resentment toward Trump over the immigration issue, but in Chicago at least, many take advantage of charter schools -- a testament to the fact that traditional public schools don't work for them.

And those swing voters among suburban soccer moms have already identified themselves as somewhat guilty about their status, perhaps one reason for those hate-has-no-home-here signs in front lawns.

They all want a reason to feel good about themselves when they vote. And they all have this in common. They're parents.

Will school choice work as a bridge from Republicans to those parents? I don't know.

The left's cancel culture is indeed powerful. Voters fear being mocked, which may explain the rise of those defining themselves as "undecided."

But optimism, rather than fear, will give them a place to stand as the election draws near. And school choice is all about optimism.

Another school-choice advocate speaking on the RNC opening night was Rebecca Friedrichs, the California public school teacher who fought her union's ability to take dues from teachers who oppose their union's politics.

Friedrichs said teachers' unions continue "trapping so many precious, low-income children in dangerous, corrupt and low-performing schools."

Another was Georgia Democratic state Rep. Vernon Jones, a black man, who lauded school choice as a chance for black voters to walk away.

"The Democratic Party does not want black people to leave the mental plantation they've had us on for decades," Jones said. "But I have news for them: We are free people with free minds."

Trump's Republican Party did not offer a formal platform, but a wish list. School choice is prominent. Yes, states and local school districts run the schools, and I don't like federal mandates from on high.

But it's obvious that Republicans will push school choice in the campaign.

Those of us who've seen the decades of failure of Democratic-run big-city schools -- and the bigotry of low expectations built into those corrupt political systems -- see school choice as a civil rights issue.

Republicans portray Democrats as seeking the end of Western civilization, tearing down statues, burning cities. Democrats paint Republicans as racists, relying on identity politics to organize the hatreds.

But swing voters don't want more fire. They don't seek anger. They seek optimism.

Elections aren't only about feeling good about a candidate. They're about helping voters feel good about themselves.

At their convention, the Democrats slammed Trump for his handling of the coronavirus, and pushed empathy, identifying this as Joe Biden's strength. But they avoided policy specifics and any mention of urban violence energizing their hard-left base. The Democrats hurt themselves by not condemning big city violence.

But if Trump wants to win in November, he'll have to do more than rehash the last campaign.

Few voters, white, black or brown, will mistake Mr. Trump for an empath. They know he's a slugger.

But they want to be optimistic. They love their kids. And if school choice isn't all about empathy, what is?


A ‘black’ university would take us backwards

We need to transcend racial identity, not institutionalise it.

We are rapidly going backwards. The liberal tradition of anti-racism, embodied by the likes of Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr, emphasised our common humanity. It argued that the thread that linked every human being together was far stronger than any superficial racial category. It argued that to support or even permit racial discrimination and racial segregation was to violate our shared humanity – to reduce the boundless potential of each human to the absurd category of race.

It was this principle that vigorously discredited racism and ushered in the progress we have seen over the past century. However, it has become painfully clear that this liberal project is being forcefully undermined by the emergence of an ugly, race-based identity politics.

Few examples of this are as stark as a new campaign which is calling for Britain to have a racially segregated university. The so-called Free Black University (FBU) has raised over £100,000 so far. Its GoFundMe page argues that a university like this is necessary because ‘university is often a site of trauma for far too many black students and so [the FBU] brings wellbeing and the healing of our community to the fore’. The FBU promises to ‘redistribute knowledge and act as a space of incubation for the creation of transformative knowledge in the black community’. It also says that ‘climate justice will run through all of the threads of our work as we centre structural and holistic approaches to preserving the world we all live in’.

Leaving aside the fact that much of that description will be incomprehensible to most people, from the little information that has been shared about this project, it is already clear that it will not be a space for pioneering scholarship, world-class research or challenging intellectual pursuits. Instead, it will be a deeply ideological project that will further reify and institutionalise racial divisions within society.

The organisers appear to have missed the fundamental point of what a university exists to do. University isn’t supposed to limit your horizons, to keep you in your comfort zone or in a racial silo. Nor does it exist to offer therapy or indoctrination. University is supposed to challenge students, to expose them to a wide range of perspectives and ideas, to introduce them to the broad diversity of human thought. Centring university on the invented category of race only furthers the poisonous notion that an individual’s skin colour is the defining feature of his or her life.

The idea that British universities are places of ‘trauma’ for black students is also, frankly, ridiculous. Attending university may well be the safest, most cushioned and care-free period of a person’s life. If someone finds the experience of university traumatising, then I worry about how he or she will be able to cope with the wider world. The real world can be a place of poverty, deprivation and war, as well as a place of wonder and greatness.

What’s more, if you are uncomfortable or traumatised by being in places where the majority of the people have a different skin colour to you, then I’m afraid you are likely to live a narrow, stifled and miserable life. Would such a student turn down a year abroad in Asia because there are ‘too many’ Asian people there? Would he or she turn down a high-flying job in Japan because there aren’t enough ‘black’ people there? How could such a person function in a society like Britain, which is more than 85 per cent white?

A writer in Vogue has compared the FBU to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in America. But HBCUs emerged out of necessity during a period of institutionalised racial segregation and racial terror following the Civil War. Universities barred African-Americans from admission. HBCUs gave them an opportunity to pursue academic excellence.

In the UK, black people have never been officially barred from attending university. Today a fifth of students at Oxford University come from an ethnic-minority background. Indeed, the founder of FBU is a PhD candidate at Cambridge. Far from facing insurmountable barriers, black and Asian school leavers are more than twice as likely to go to university than their white counterparts. There is no justification whatsoever for a black university in modern Britain.

But there are deeper, more philosophical questions that this campaign raises. What does it even mean to ‘decolonise’ a curriculum? How do you create knowledge for people of only certain skin colours? Is there a ‘black’ worldview that is distinct from a ‘white’ worldview? Will there be black science, black mathematics and black medical studies at this new university? How will the organisers determine whether the teachers or students are really ‘black’? The absurdities are limitless. It would be funny if the potential consequences of this type of thinking weren’t so dangerous.

I want young black people to see their potential and know that it is limitless. I want them to be able to exchange, borrow, converse and learn from all people – not just people who share their skin colour. It is sad that this even needs to be said. A black university is a regressive step. Progress means being able to transcend our parochial identities and enter into a common human family. It is the struggle to be treated as equals, as individuals, as human beings, instead of being limited by race.


White House CANCELS racial sensitivity training for all federal employees because it is 'un-American propaganda': Trump blasts classes on 'critical race theory' and 'white privilege' as a 'sickness in our country'

President Trump is moving to end racial sensitivity training for federal government employees, claiming it is 'divisive, anti-American propaganda'.

The Commander-in-chief took to Twitter on Saturday morning confirming he wants to cancel taxpayer funded seminars on 'critical race theory', describing them as 'a sickness that cannot be allowed to continue'.

His tweet followed the release of a two-page memo sent out by the White House Office of Management and Budget on Friday, which asked federal agencies to identify such programs so that they can be purged.

Critical race theory asserts that 'institutions are inherently racist and that race itself... is a socially constructed concept that is used by white people to further their economic and political interests at the expense of people of color', according to Texas A&M University professor Tommy Curry.

The theory - which asserts that all people are racist and that all social interactions are underpinned by race -  is currently in vogue in academia, and private companies and government agencies have hired specialists to teach their employees how to dismantle 'white privilege' and actively become anti-racist.

At the demand of President Trump, the Office of Management and Budget now wants to stop such 'experts' from having any influence on those working in federal institutions.

OMB Director Russel Vought writes in the memo: 'Employees across the Executive Branch have been required to attend training where they are told that "virtually all White people contribute to racism" or where they are required to say that they "benefit from racism"'.

Diversity and inclusion training is often a requirement for employees working for federal and state governments.

The training sessions - which can take the form of open-dialogue workshops or expert-delivered lectures - aim to make workplaces more 'inclusive' by acknowledging and discussing the different racial and ethnic backgrounds of employees.

The training - which is often expensive - is covered by taxpayer dollars.

In recent years, experts in 'critical race theory' have commonly become called upon to host such training sessions.

During lectures or discussions, the experts ask white employees to grapple with their own racism and pledge to become anti-racists.

One such expert, Howard Ross, has allegedly 'billed the feds more than $5 million for training since 2006'.

Meanwhile, critical race theorist Robin DiAngelo has also made thousands of dollars discussing 'white racism' and 'white fragility' in lectures given to state and city employees. 

He continues: 'These types of "trainings" not only run counter to the fundamental beliefs for which our Nation has stood since its inception, but they also engender division and resentment within the Federal workforce.'

Vought subsequently states: 'The President has directed me to ensure that federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions.'

The memo then asks agencies to 'identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on critical race theory/ "white privilege",  or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil. '

It concludes: 'The President has a proven track record of standing for those whose voice has long been ignored and who have failed to benefit from all our country has to offer, and he intends to continue to support all Americans, regardless of race, religion, or creed.'

The memo comes after a New York Post report in July revealed that 'a private diversity-consulting firm conducted a training titled "Difficult Conversations About Race in Troubling Times" for several federal agencies.'

White employees at the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the National Credit Union Administration and the Office of the Comptroller were allegedly asked 'to pledge "allyship" amid the ­George Floyd Tragedy'.

According to the publication, the training also asserted that 'federal employees must "struggle to own their racism" and allow safe spaces where black employees can be "seen in their pain"'.

The training was created by Howard Ross, who has allegedly 'billed the feds more than $5 million for training since 2006'.

Trump's demands are sure to spark widespread backlash, particularly as they come following months of Black Lives Matter protest.

Protesters have been calling for an end to systemic racism, which has led many Americans to reassess the ways in which racial dynamics play out in their everyday lives

The movement has also sent several books on critical race theory to the top of the bestseller lists.

White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo is one such tome that has been flying off the shelves.

 It asserts that 'white people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress.'

While DiAngelo has not given seminars to federal employees, she has made a truckload of cash lecturing to state government workers in Seattle Public Schools, the City of Oakland, and the Metropolitan Council of Minneapolis,.

The writer has also been paid handsomely for training sessions at Amazon, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,  and The Hollywood Writer’s Guild.