Thursday, December 30, 2021

Loudoun County School System Flooded by FOIA Requests Seeking to Crack Sexual Assault Scandal Wide Open

After making national news throughout this year, Loudoun County Public Schools in Loudoun County, Virginia, are being kept busy these days.

Parents and activists have filed over 500 Freedom of Information Act requests in 2021, according to Loudoun Now. The Freedom of Information Act allows for people to request public records for the sake of transparency, which includes communication between school administrators.

Most of these requests are to obtain information ranging from sexual assault cases to more politically driven issues.

According to Loudoun Now, roughly 40 percent of these requests came from six activists at the conservative group Fight for Schools.

As a result, the school system is now having more people handle the requests and is even asking some parents to pay a hefty fee to pay for the labor it takes to dig through documents.

“LCPS is not seeking further resources at this time but has begun billing VFIOA requesters because it cannot handle the current volume free of charge,” the district’s Public Information Officer Wayde Byard said, the outlet reported.

One such instance involved parent Michelle Mege, who was told it would cost $36,000 in order to give her all of the communications data in which the terms “sexual assault” or “rape” were used when she filed a request on Oct. 18, The Daily Caller reported.

“Retrieving these documents would take a half hour’s work by the supervisor of information technology at a cost of $36.08,” Byard said to Mege in an email, according to the outlet.

“Review of these documents — at the rate of 200 per hour — is estimated to take 500 hours. This work would be performed by the public information officer at the rate of $72.15 per hour. Loudoun County Public Schools estimates it would cost $36,111.68 to fulfill this request.”

The request stems from the fact that a 15-year-old male was the center of two sexual assault cases at different schools in the county, and parents are concerned that this instance and others may have been covered up, The Washington Examiner reported.

Government entities are required to release the requested information after a formal FOIA request, although there are a few exemptions.

However, Byard is correct that Loudoun County Public Schools can make people pay in order to provide all the resources desired.

“The Office may require a person seeking public records to pay for the records. FOIA allows the Office to charge for the actual costs of responding to FOIA requests,” the Commonwealth of Virginia website states.

“This would include items such as staff time spent searching for the requested records, copying costs or any other costs directly related to supplying the requested records. It cannot include general overhead costs.”

Still, concerned parents should still continue to make FOIA requests and try to obtain information through the process.

Bureaucratic ignorance thrives when the public does not hold their officials accountable, and that starts at the local level.


15-year-old graduates with bachelor's degree from University of Nevada, Las Vegas

A boy from California has graduated from college with honors at the impressive age of 15.

This month, Jack Rico earned his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a grade point average of 3.78.

According to the school’s Facebook page, Jack is "one of UNLV’s youngest grads."

"Just being alongside of him on this journey has been so amazing," mom Ru Andrade told Fox News. "I know he gets a lot of attention for his brain, but he’s the sweetest kid — never been in trouble once. He has a sister who has autism who he is amazing with."

"Obviously, we are so proud of him because this is what he wanted," she added. "But also proud of the human he is. That’s the coolest thing about him."

Andrade said she homeschooled Jack for four years, and by age 11, she struggled to teach him information he didn’t already know. "I had given everything I had, and he was smarter than me," she said.

Andrade had learned Fullerton College offered a K-12 bridge program. Jack passed the placement exam and instead of attending high school, he was enrolled in college-level classes. Within two years, he earned four associate degrees, one in each concentration of history, social behavior, art and human expression and social science.

In June 2020, Jack began classes at UNLV to complete his bachelor’s. He graduated on Dec. 14 of this year.

Andrade said Jack plans to achieve his master’s degree, but is taking the semester off to enjoy time with his cousins and friends and play video games.

Jack is unsure what he will major in, though does have his sights set on learning how to code and becoming fluent in Spanish.


Australia: Suspected fraud cases prompt calls for research integrity watchdog

Australia’s top scientists have called for a research integrity watchdog to oversee investigations into allegations of research misconduct at publicly funded institutions, declaring the age of self-regulation is over.

The Australian Academy of Science is in discussions with the government over its proposal for a national oversight body to work with any institution that has used public funds to conduct research, including universities, think tanks and the private sector, following a spate of academic research scandals.

It would have statutory authority to handle allegations of serious research misconduct such as fabrication, falsification and plagiarism, leaving issues that fell below that threshold to the governing institutions, and hear appeals if the institutions were deemed not to have dealt with matters fairly or in a timely manner.

The academy’s secretary of science policy, Ian Chubb, a former chief scientist and vice-chancellor of the Australian National University, said he was not suggesting universities were in the business of concealing research misconduct, but the rising number of Inspectors-General and Ombudsmen reflected a general distrust for self-regulation and growing support for independent oversight.

“The era of self-regulation is further in the past than you might like to believe,” Professor Chubb said. “We’re proposing that there be an Australian system for investigating research misconduct that has some real substance to it.”

The academy has engaged Universities Australia, which represents Australia’s 39 universities and has given in principle support to the proposal.

“Universities Australia is actively interested in how the quality and integrity of Australian research can be secured and improved,” chief executive Catriona Jackson said.

Australia and New Zealand are unusual among Western nations for not having an office of research integrity, a version of which exists in the UK, Japan, China, Canada, the United States and 23 European countries.

The proposal for a national oversight body follows a string of allegations regarding image manipulation in scientific papers that have embroiled UNSW, the University of Sydney and Macquarie University and the referral of one of Australia’s top cancer scientists to Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission.

But scientists have been trying to promote an office of research integrity for years. In late 2017, it was discussed at a meeting that involved representatives from the Australia Research Council, the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Chief Scientist and the office of Health Minister Greg Hunt. People with close knowledge of the meeting said although major research bodies supported the proposal, it was actively opposed by Universities Australia and later shelved.

Professor Chubb said the current model was developed after fellows of the academy raised the issue in May last year. Cases would have to be triaged so the office would only handle the most serious matters, and it was expected to cost around $5 million, though it was uncertain how many cases would emerge.

Among those who raised their concerns was University of Melbourne scientist Peter Brooks, who was commissioned by UNSW in 2013 to investigate a complaint of research misconduct against a senior researcher.

“The terms of reference were incredibly tight, so we couldn’t deviate from those,” Professor Brooks said.

Professor Brooks concluded the professor had committed misdemeanours that fell short of research misconduct, but unearthed other issues during his investigation that the university chose to refer to separate committees, none of which were allowed to make findings about a pattern of behaviour.

“It was a very, very disappointing and unfortunate situation,” Professor Brooks said.

Each of the five committees cleared the professor of research misconduct, finding the breaches were the result of genuine error or honest oversight. UNSW said in a statement the findings were later considered together by a further external independent panel and still found not to constitute research misconduct.

Professor Brooks, who has conducted several investigations into academic misconduct, said the tertiary education system was so reliant on overseas students and research funding that universities could ill afford to lose senior researchers.

At the same time, there were financial and career incentives to researchers who publish prolifically or publish in journals that are classified as high impact. This created conditions for academics to perform sloppy or even fraudulent research. Other scientists then read the papers and spend years trying to reproduce the experiments or develop them further.

“The opportunity costs are enormous because that costs money that could have been used for legitimate research,” Professor Brooks said. “And often they’ve been funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, so it’s a really serious issue




Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Australia: Anglicans defend firing of gay teacher from Christian school

Sydney Anglicans are real Christians

The Anglican Church has defended the sacking of a gay Sydney schoolteacher this year, saying she was not terminated because of her sexuality but because she believes Christians should be able to enter same-sex relationships.

Steph Lentz was lawfully sacked in January from Covenant Christian School in Belrose, in Sydney’s north-east, after telling the school the previous year she was a lesbian – as first reported by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in August.

In a submission last week to a parliamentary inquiry on the federal government’s Religious Discrimination Bill, the Sydney Anglican Diocese used Ms Lentz’s subsequent public remarks to justify her removal from the school.

It quoted two opinion pieces she wrote for the Herald and The Age in which she said she was sacked “because of my belief that a person can be a Christian and be gay” and acknowledged “in relation to sexuality, the school’s statement of belief and my view do not align”.

The submission’s author, the Right Reverend Michael Stead, who chairs the Anglican Diocese of Sydney’s religious freedom reference group, argued Ms Lentz was not “sacked for being gay”, and called that interpretation a “sensationalist headline”.

“Correctly understood, the teacher’s sexuality is not the key issue in this case,” he wrote.

“A heterosexual teacher who held the same theological views on sexuality and relationships, and therefore was unable to sign the statement of belief, would also have had his or her employment terminated. Conversely, there are those in the LGBTIQ+ community who self-identify as ‘celibate gay Christians’ who would be able to sign the school’s statement of belief.”

Ms Lentz is Anglican, but Covenant Christian School is non-denominational and has no connection to the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. Rev Stead said he commented on her case because it had recently received media attention.

“Ms Lentz has changed her religious beliefs, and (as she herself acknowledges) her beliefs were no longer consistent with beliefs of the school. So the issue was not about her same-sex attraction but her inability to sign the school’s statement of belief, and to teach that from a place of personal conviction,” Rev Stead told the Herald and The Age on Tuesday.

“Where a religious body has clearly set out its core doctrines in a statement of belief that is available to employees and prospective employees, it is entirely reasonable that the body should be able to require employees to endorse those beliefs.”

Ms Lentz said the statement of belief she signed did not contain any doctrine on homosexuality. She agreed a heterosexual teacher who was unable to sign up to the school’s views on sexuality was liable to be dismissed – as allegedly occurred with Victorian teacher Rachel Colvin in 2019 – but said that was “no less problematic in my view”.

Existing provisions that allow religious schools to sack or expel LGBTIQ teachers and students are not dealt with by the Religious Discrimination Bill, and have been referred for a separate legal inquiry. However, some government MPs want those provisions removed or amended as a precondition for passing the bill.

In its submission, the Anglican Diocese of Sydney explicitly supports the removal of provisions that allow religious schools to expel gay students. This is “a right that religious schools do not want, and do not use”, Rev Stead writes.

“The exemptions in the Sex Discrimination Act are too broad, and give religious bodies the right to do many things that they do not, in fact, do, and are not wanted or required to conduct their affairs in a way consistent with their religious ethos.”

The church also contends that when a religious body’s doctrine clashes with the beliefs of an individual, the religious body’s views should prevail.

To do otherwise “would lead to tyranny of the majority by many minorities, forcing a religious body to accept mutually contradictory doctrines concurrently”.

Ms Lentz said that approach was characterised by “fear and hubris” and that accepting diverse religious beliefs “could provoke a re-examination of the issues, leading to mutually beneficial progress”.


Fears for thousands of children stuck in unregistered illegal schools

Mostly Islamic

Hundreds of unregistered and illegal schools known to inspectors are only the “tip of the iceberg”, according to the Ofsted director charged with clamping down on the problem.

Unregistered schools operate within a legal loophole that prevents them from being inspected like other schools, which campaigners say makes them a haven for physical and sexual abuse.

Victor Shafiee, deputy director of unregistered and independent schools at Ofsted, said the watchdog did not have the resources to handle the problem, nor the legislative backing.

In spite of pledges from the government to tackle unregistered schools, many of which are religious, more are being discovered each year. The Department for Education began a consultation in 2019 but there has been no change to the law.


A major Australian university has become the latest institution to introduce a Covid-19 vaccine mandate, insisting anyone attending its campuses must be fully-vaccinated from early next year

Queensland’s largest university has mandated anyone attending its campuses must be fully-vaccinated against Covid-19 from early next year, as the state continues to experience a record number of infections.

The University of Queensland has announced from February 14th 2022, anyone attending the institution’s campuses, facilities or sites must be fully vaccinated, unless they hold a valid exemption.

The institution has also issued a warning that students who do not get vaccinated could face “disciplinary” policies if they fail to comply in certain circumstances.

From early January, UQ staff and students would be requested to declare their vaccination status, which must be completed by the end of February 13th.

“UQ has a diverse community that attends our locations every day – often in close settings,” an online post from the university stated.

“An outbreak of Covid-19 would pose a significant health risk to this community and substantially impact our teaching, research and community engagement services.”

UQ is not the first Sunshine State institution to implement such a mandate for students and staff.

Earlier this month Griffith University announced it would require anyone attending its campuses to be fully vaccinated from February 18.

At the time Vice-Chancellor Professor Carolyn Evans warned students they could potentially be unable to finish their degrees unless they were vaccinated.

The UQ statement went on to say while the vaccine may not “prevent you from getting Covid-19”, it would “reduce the severity and duration of the illness, hospitalisation rates and transmission”.

“Vaccination will be a key measure for the University to minimise the impacts from the inevitable spread of Covid-19 next year,” it read.

UQ also said there were some exemptions from the mandate, including people who were under the age of 16, people performing urgent and essential health and safety work, or those responding to an emergency.

But a statement from the university also warned that students could face penalties or disciplinary actions if they failed to adhere to the direction.

“Where alternative workplace or study practices cannot be implemented, and the student is required to attend a UQ location to undertake their studies, the student may need to consider their enrolment options,” the statement read.

“A student’s failure to comply may be considered as misconduct, and may result in student disciplinary proceedings, which may, in turn, lead to penalties being imposed pursuant to UQ’s student disciplinary policies.”




Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Islamic idoctrination in an American public school

After knowing what her child’s homework was all about, Tara Cali of Bakersfield hurriedly stopped her son from doing it and went into social media to express her dismay to the school that made her son answer such thing that she thinks ridiculous.

Cali’s son brought home assignments that required seventh graders to list the five pillars of Islam, which include charitable giving, prayer, fasting, faith, and holy pilgrimage. The homework also includes a bar code that allowed students to listen to a YouTube video of the call to prayer at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.

After knowing this Cali wrote a note on the paper and posted it on a Facebook page:

“My son will not be a part of this in any sort of way. This is bad teaching material. He will not partake. If you have a problem with it, call our lawyer,” she wrote. She went on to cite Bible verses and wrote, “How about Christian practices? That sheet has never come home, this year or last!”

The said Facebook post from Cali has gotten more than 39,000 likes, 124,000 shares, and received more than 10,000 comments.

Some of the comments she received disagree with her stance but she then further explained that she took issue with Qur’an scripture that is included in the textbook and homework.

“It isn’t the assignment itself, it is the context of the school book that upsets me,” she says. “There are two pages of straight Qur’an scripture and then the various worksheets have scripture at the top. If a Mormon child, Christian child, or Buddhist child brought their book of faith to school, the uproar would have been insane.”

According to the Southeastern Area & National Religious Freedom Counsel for the Anti-Defamation League, David Barkley:

“Schools can teach about religion, but they can’t indoctrinate religion, to teach about Islam, you have to teach about what Muslim people believe and what the faith teaches. As long as you are not saying, ‘this is a valid religious belief’ or ‘this is the truth,’ then it is constitutionally permissible.”

Some parents may take issue with any religious teaching, but Barkley says that schools have every right to teach students about religion. “If your class is World History, Islam is a part of that, just like Christianity is and Judaism is and Hinduism is,” Barkley said. “How can you teach that history without saying that this is the belief system?”

The American Civil Liberties Union also said that “while it is constitutional for public schools to teach their students about religion, it is not constitutional for them to “advance particular religious beliefs.” The ACLU stated the guidelines for teaching religion in schools.


‘Study drugs’ rife at leading British universities

Students at leading British universities are routinely using performance-enhancing “study drugs” to prepare for exams or hit essay deadlines, The Times has found.

Students and recent graduates from Oxford, Edinburgh, Nottingham and the London School of Economics said that the pills were easily obtainable for about £2 each. Universities UK, which represents vice-chancellors, said yesterday that a forthcoming study on the use of drugs on campus would include cognition enhancers, with new guidance for institutions expected by the end of next year.

No university in Britain has explicitly banned cognition enhancers although Edinburgh said that the consumption and sale of such drugs breached its code of student conduct, which forbids the use of unfair means in assessments.


NJ poised to require Asian-American history be taught in schools

Social studies classes in New Jersey public schools will be required to include Asian-American history, under a bill that has been overwhelmingly passed by both the state Senate and Assembly.

The Senate approved the bill 34-2 on Dec. 2, and the Assembly approved it 75-1 on Monday. It was amended slightly in the Assembly, mostly to require school boards to consult a separately proposed Commission on Asian Heritage, so needs another vote in the Senate to reach Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk.

At over 1 million people, the Asian population is New Jersey’s fastest growing, up 44 percent in the last decade. But it has also been the target of hateful comments and worse during the pandemic, in which the novel coronavirus first emerged in China.

Sima Kumar, a teacher at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, told lawmakers at a committee hearing that “education is the antidote to racism.”

“This commission will assure that public school children will learn that Asian-American history is American history. Asian-American literature is American literature,” said Kumar, a board member for Make Us Visible New Jersey.

Students of Asian descent make up more than half the enrollment in at least five districts – Englewood Cliffs, West Windsor-Plainsboro, Edison, South Brunswick and Montgomery – and three charter schools. It could be more than that, as the state enrollment data doesn’t provide demographic details about more than 34,000 multiracial students.

But the curriculum isn’t keeping up with demographic changes, say advocates for the new bills.

“And not seeing Asian-Americans in our curriculum, it sends a message to me – I’m invisible, and I don’t matter,” said Ridgewood High School student Christina Huang.

Discrimination and violence against people of Asian descent has been up dramatically during the pandemic.

Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, D-Hudson, said hate incidents were up 80% to 90% between 2019 and 2020. He said there have been suicides among students of Asian descent but that the bill could help prevent more.

“If it could lead to improved tolerance and acceptance of the AAPI community in the wake of what’s gone on during the pandemic, this bill could actually save lives,” Mukherji said.

Kani Ilangovan, a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist and founder of Make Us Visible New Jersey, said there’s a human cost in delaying the bill for children facing bullying and fearful for their safety.

“Our kids are only kids once. We want to protect them as best we can,” Ilangovan said. “These acts of hatred take an enormous toll physically and mental on children and our communities.”

Chapin School 7th grader Bryan Zhao recalled being spit at by other kids. He said topics pertaining to Asian-Americans are cast aside and infrequently discussed in school.

“This leads to a lack of knowledge and understanding about AAPI history and culture among our peers,” Zhao said.

Princeton resident Ying Lu, an New York University associate professor, said there will be creative ways to discuss the local history of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. For instance, she said, the first Chinatown on the East Coast wasn’t in New York – it was in Belleville in Essex County.

“After building the transcontinental railroad that transformed our country, Chinese-Americans settled in Belleville after finding it more welcoming than other parts of the country,” Lu said.




Monday, December 27, 2021

Virginia Parents Sue School District Over CRT Curriculum

Parents in Virginia have sued Albemarle County School Board over so-called “anti-racist” curriculum materials that they allege are indoctrinating their children with the tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT) that are actually racist at their core.

The plaintiffs, nine parents and their children, filed the complaint (pdf) in Albemarle County Circuit Court on Dec. 22 with the help of attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a legal nonprofit.

ADF said in a statement that the parents had filed suit against the school board for “enacting discriminatory policies and indoctrinating students in radical ideology,” violating students’ civil rights by treating them differently based on race.

“Our clients believe that every person is made in the image of God, deserves respect, and therefore, should not be punished or rewarded for something over which they have no control,” ADF Senior Counsel Kate Anderson said in a statement. “Public schools have no right to demean students because of their race, ethnicity, or religion.”

Albermarle County Public Schools did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

The parents’ complaint notes that, in 2019, Albemarle County Public Schools adopted an “Anti-Racism Policy” with the stated goal of eliminating all forms of racism, but that this policy and its implementation into the school curriculum are steeped in the ideas of CRT, which “views everyone and everything through the lens of race.”

“Far from exploring ideas or philosophies surrounding justice and reconciliation, that ideology fosters racial division, racial stereotyping, and racial hostility. So does the Policy,” the complaint states.

The parents claim that incorporation of CRT into the curriculum amounts to “embracing a radical new understanding of ‘racism’ that harms and denigrates everyone,” classifying all individuals into racial groups and identifying them as either “perpetually privileged oppressors or perpetually victimized members of the oppressed, denying agency to both.”

The complaint says that the ideas of CRT impute racism not just to those who consciously discriminate on the basis of race but also to “those of a certain race (white) who do not actively participate in the prescribed dismantling” of what CRT advocates argue is systemic racism baked into America’s institutions and implicitly present in the attitudes of those who aren’t actively “anti-racist.”

One example of CRT in the school curriculum involves a slide instructing eighth graders to understand racism as “the marginalization and/or oppression of people of color based on a socially constructed racial hierarchy that privileges white people,” according to classroom materials cited in the complaint.

Another example features a slide encouraging students to be “anti-racist,” because “[i]n the absence of making anti-racist choices, we (un)consciously uphold aspects of white supremacy, white-dominant culture, and unequal institutions and society.”

The parents are asking the court to block the school district from implementing parts of the “anti-racist” policy that require “the indoctrination of Albemarle students in an ideology that denigrates students—all students—based on their race.”

They argue that the policy violates the plaintiffs’ equal protection rights, forces them to affirm messages that go against their beliefs, silences dissenting opinions in violation of free speech rights, and interferes with parents’ rights to direct the upbringing and education of their children.


Crowd Gasps as Fed-Up Parents Read School’s Pornographic Books Out Loud at Board Meeting

If there’s one good thing that came out of school closures, it’s that parents finally had a window into what their kids were being exposed to in the classroom — and many were horrified by what they saw.

That’s exactly what happened in Carmel, Indiana, where parents learned the full scope of the perversion being peddled to their children.

The school libraries there are filled with storybooks pushing radical transgender ideology, lessons on masturbation for middle schoolers, and novels with explicit sexual scenes including one describing a bloody rape.

At a meeting of the Carmel Clay School Board on Monday, outraged parents took turns reading excerpts from these materials.

One parent spoke out against the “global campaign to promote sexualized material to grade school children which is heralded by the UN, championed by Planned Parenthood and is now making its way into the Carmel schools.”

She noted some of the titles available at elementary schools, including “Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story About Gender and Friendship,” which uses a teddy bear to teach kids that gender isn’t determined by biology. There is also “Sparkle Boy,” about a toddler’s cross-dressing tendencies, and “Call Me Max,” in which a kindergarten girl gets a teacher to call her by a boy’s name.

(Whatever happened to reading Dr. Seuss books to schoolchildren? Oh, right — canceled by the woke mob.)

Another parent read from a novel available to Carmel high schoolers that includes a pornographic scene explicitly describing characters engaged in various sex acts. It’s too obscene to even summarize.

A third parent read from the book “It’s Perfectly Normal,” which is available to middle school children and promoted by Planned Parenthood. It teaches kids how to masturbate and is filled with nitty-gritty details.

A book called “Crank” details a disturbing rape that transpires when a young couple goes into the woods to get drunk and high on meth. “If I had known you were just going to lay there, I wouldn’t have bothered,” the rapist tells his victim on the car ride home.

The video of Monday’s school board meeting was uploaded to YouTube by the group Unify Carmel, which is raising the alarm on the wokeism pervading the city’s public schools.

Alvin Lui, a parent activist, told WIBC-TV in May that he fled California to escape radical leftist ideology — only to find it in his new home in Indiana.

Parents have already begun pushing back against other items on the woke agenda, but Monday’s meeting in Carmel revealed the sexual indecency introduced to children in public schools.

“If I were to read it to you, you wouldn’t be able to air it because it would be against FCC obscenity laws,” Lui told WXIN-TV. “Everyone was uncomfortable, and these are adults.”

To his credit, Carmel Clay Superintendent Dr. Michael Beresford said he wasn’t aware of the books until the meeting and pledged to look into them.

Carmel certainly isn’t the only place where so-called educators are sexualizing children — leftists are hard at work across the country.

They know that sexually active kids make great abortion clients for Planned Parenthood and turn into Democratic voters when they become impoverished single parents.

Transgender advocates know that if they can get a hold of kindergarten minds, they can recruit a generation of confused children. The doctors who prescribe the puberty blockers and perform the “transition” surgeries can get that much richer.

Beyond the political sphere, what we have here is a battle for the hearts and souls of American children.

This perversion tailored to kids stems from a diabolical determination to spoil their innocence and set them up for a life of servitude to sin.

Whether they know it or not, the teachers giving smut to their students are cooperating with the dark powers that would turn us away from God by shackling us to our basest desires. There’s no surer way to do that than to expose children to this filth early and often.

Americans now have the opportunity to see and hear exactly what’s going on in public schools — and it’s our job to do exactly what these parents did on Monday.


Australian Federal government’s Christmas Eve veto of academic research projects labelled ‘McCarthyism’

The Morrison government has been accused of using the cover of Christmas to politicise research funding, after a federal minister vetoed grants for six recommended projects.

Proposed research relating to climate activism and China were among the projects recommended through Australian Research Council processes but blocked by the acting education minister, Stuart Robert.

Robert has argued the projects he rejected “do not demonstrate value for taxpayers’ money nor contribute to the national interest” – but the decision, announced on Christmas Eve, has drawn criticism from education figures and the federal opposition.

The vice-chancellor of the Australian National University, Prof Brian Schmidt, said that in a liberal democracy it was “completely inappropriate for grants to be removed by politicians, unless the grant rules were not followed”.

The Victorian Labor senator Kim Carr said the government was using Christmas Eve to “sweep under the carpet” its “further politicisation of the ARC and research” in Australia.

Carr, a former minister for research under the Rudd and Gillard governments, tweeted: “Their McCarthyism subverts research which was recommended by the ARC.”

The winning Discovery Projects for next year were finally revealed on Friday, with a report published on the ARC website saying it had received 3,096 applications for funding commencing in 2022.

The report said 587 of those projects had been approved for funding, totalling $259m over five years.

“Of the unsuccessful applications in 2022, 51 were found not to meet eligibility requirements and six were recommended to, but not funded by the minister,” the report said.

A spokesperson for Robert said the minister had approved “98.98%” of the 593 Discovery Projects the ARC recommended, but had not accepted the following six:

Robert’s spokesperson said the minister “believes those rejected do not demonstrate value for taxpayers’ money nor contribute to the national interest”.

“After going through a peer review process, it is clear to the minister the application of the national interest test is not working in every case,” the spokesperson said.

“This test should ensure taxpayer-funded Australian government research funding is directed to areas of national importance and delivers public value. It’s why in his letter of expectation the minister asked the ARC to strengthen the test.”




Sunday, December 26, 2021

Florida School Board Moves to Censor Speakers and Prohibit Broadcast of Public Comments

In response to months of public backlash from parents and residents opposed to forced student masking, School Board members in Palm Beach County, Florida, are proposing new rules to censor and limit the public’s ability to voice their opinions and prohibit broadcasting of all public comments.

According to the School Board of Palm Beach County website, “speakers will not be denied the opportunity to speak on the basis of their viewpoint.” Pursuant to Florida statute § 286.0114, “the public shall be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a proposition before a board or commission.” Florida statute § 286.011 states that all meetings of public boards or commissions must be open to the public and the minutes of the meetings must be taken, promptly recorded, and open for public inspection.

The new policy, being drafted by school board attorneys, would limit the number of people who would be allowed to speak at public meetings and the amount of time they are allowed to speak. The new rules would also prohibit any speaker from addressing any board member by name, criticizing any board member, superintendent, or district staff member, and would prohibit the broadcasting of all public comments during all board meetings.

“We have real business to attend to,” said school board member Alexandra Ayala told the Sun-Sentinel, “and we’ve seen a taste of what can happen when there aren’t guidelines in place. We’re just sitting here for hours not doing the business and we’re backed up on things that really need to get pushed through.”

“I am a firm believer that a vibrant democracy requires engaged citizenry,” Ayala told The Epoch Times in response to a request for a statement about her comments. While insisting “our students, parents, employees, and taxpayers play a crucial role in sharing unique insights about the efficacy of the district’s operations and often illuminate opportunities for significant improvement,” Ayala did not answer the question of identifying precisely what “business” the board is “backed up on” and unable to “get pushed through” while “just sitting here for hours” listening to public comments of her “engaged citizenry.”

Board member Erica Whitfield told The Palm Beach Post her constituents are “truly there to speak” to the board but “to people on TV,” and because the board is “giving them a platform … more people come” making it “very difficult for us to get the job done.”

Whitfield did not respond to a request by The Epoch Times to clarify her statement.

Board member Karen Brill has said curtailing public comments limits the ability of residents to communicate their concerns and makes board members less in touch with their constituents.

“I think the policy is too reactive to what’s been going on,” Brill told The Epoch Times, and while she understands the concerns of her colleagues about getting business accomplished and recalled a few meetings where speakers went until 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., Brill said she couldn’t think of any business the board has been unable to complete because of public comments.

When meetings run late into the night, Brill admitted she gets tired and she’s “not as sharp” as when the meeting first started. “But we still got through everything,” she said. “Work is not being prevented.”

Brill, a realtor who spent “many years on the other side of the dais as an activist for students with disabilities,” said “the most disturbing part of the policy is shutting off the cameras” and not allowing public comments to be seen or heard by anyone who is unable to physically attend the meeting.

“I find that very troubling,” Brill said. “First of all, we report to the public, and when a person makes an effort to come talk to us, whether they are saying something we agree with or not, it’s still our responsibility to listen. We need to have a forum where people are allowed to air their grievances. It’s important that they feel they can come and speak. I just feel very uncomfortable limiting the public. We have to be careful in how we limit people. I don’t know of any entity or any other municipality where they shut the cameras off during public comments. To have the meeting begin and have elected officials and representatives from organizations come speak to us and have their faces seen and voices heard and then shut off the cameras and the voices while the public speaks, I find that very disrespectful, and I think I’m out of step with the rest of the board on that. I will stay as late as it takes for us to accomplish the business we have to accomplish,” Brill said. “I don’t see the need for the extreme changes we’re making. I don’t mind staying. That is my job. I am in this position to serve the public.”

“The parents, citizens, and employees of Palm Beach County have been actively seeking dialog with the school board for over a year,” Jennifer Showalter, mother of three and candidate for Palm Beach County School Board District Six, told The Epoch Times. “They have been exercising their First Amendment rights without violence, yet have been stigmatized as problematic for the school board’s agenda. The board, per their statements to the Palm Beach Post, labeled most speakers as attention seekers looking for publicity, not as concerned parents attending simply to speak to the board. I personally have attended the school board meetings for a year, and I can verify this is untrue. Most of the parents are nervous and inexperienced when it comes to public speaking, yet they feel compelled to attend to speak up on behalf of their children. Some are ostracized by the community for their efforts. I am running for office due to the board’s disrespect of First Amendment rights, prohibiting parental involvement, and pushing a radical agenda. They have been operating without oversight and accountability for too long. The people are awake, and realize they must be more involved in the education of their children.”


China’s Influence Over US Universities Poses Existential Risks

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is busy developing high-tech weaponry. By the end of the decade, China will have “disruptive” military technologies capable of wreaking widespread chaos.

In other words, China is developing weapons that “will change the character of warfare.” Which begs the question: Why are U.S. universities helping China advance its military might?

According to a new report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, a number of U.S. universities are closely aligned with various Chinese universities—all of whom are closely aligned with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The report warns that these Chinese universities are heavily involved in the PLA’s military buildup—including its nuclear weapons program—which continues to expand at a rapid pace.

Who benefits when U.S. universities partner with CCP-backed enterprises? In one word: China.

As the report noted, the partnerships strengthen “China’s broader military-industrial complex, including its nuclear program, cyber-espionage platforms, and other sensitive weapons research.”

This is deeply concerning. The United States, up until very recently, was the dominant player in tech and weapons research. However, things have changed, with China now the ascendant force.

Although Chinese universities have improved significantly over the years, China still relies on “acquiring technology by any means available,” according to an unclassified report by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

By “any means possible,” as you can guess, involves acts of espionage and intellectual property (IP) theft. The unclassified report was released back in 2019; in the two years since, little has changed. It’s common knowledge that the Chinese have been stealing ideas and technologies from the United States for years.

In 2015, the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) published an article discussing China’s rapidly expanding military, and the fact that it had been (and continues to be) “bolstered by weapons cloned from the arsenals of other countries,” including the United States.

China has copied a number of U.S. aircrafts, including the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the Northrop Grumman X-47B, according to the USNI piece. These designs were acquired through highly-concentrated, cyber-espionage campaigns.

Since the turn of the century, U.S. defense officials have raised the alarm about China’s technical reconnaissance and concerted efforts to steal valuable data. Alas, their warnings have largely been ignored.

The aforementioned Foundation for Defense of Democracies report discusses the dangers of Confucius Institutes (CIs), and the ways in which they serve as platforms that advance facets of China’s military-civil fusion (MCF).

For the uninitiated, the MCF has one aim and one aim only: to make the PLA a “world class military” by 2049. The MCF is overseen by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who also happens to chair the CCP’s Central Military Commission and the Central Commission for Military-Civil Fusion Development.

China’s CI-enabled alliances, according to the report, “include the establishment of academic and research partnerships between top-tier American institutions and Chinese universities supporting Beijing’s military-industrial complex.”

Under the MCF, China is actively targeting key technologies, including the likes of artificial intelligence, quantum computing, semiconductors, and aerospace technology.

The author C. JoyBell C. once wrote: “Don’t let a thief into your house three times. The first time was enough. The second time was a chance. The third time means you’re stupid.”


Parents are outraged after teacher read a Dr. Seuss-style poem mocking 'evangelicals' and 'bigots' at Texas school board meeting held to discuss the banning of 'pornographic' books

Parents in suburban Austin are outraged after a middle school teacher read a Dr. Seuss-inspired poem ridiculing 'evangelicals' and 'bigots' who want to ban books featuring sexual content they deemed pornographic.

Krista Tyler, an instructional technology specialist at Grisham Middle School in Austin read her derisive rhymes during a school board meeting in the neighboring city of Leander on December 16.

'Everyone in Leander liked reading a lot/but some evangelicals in Leander did not,' Tyler began in an exaggerated, mocking tone.

The poem went on to call the parents backing book bans 'kooks' and 'bigots' who hate reading, are fearful of critical thinking and do not have their heads 'screwed on just right.'

Earlier this month, the Leander Independent School District removed 11 books from local school libraries after finding them to be pornographic and obscene, including Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison and Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe.

Gender Queer, a graphic novel, contains explicit illustrations of oral sex and masturbation involving a child and an adult. Lawn Boy contains graphic descriptions of sexual activity.

The books have sparked similar complaints in other states, including Virginia, where earlier this year the Fairfax County Independent School District briefly removed the two titles from school libraries.

But the books were reinstated after a review by a committee and administrators who determined the books 'were valuable in their potential to reach marginalized youth who may struggle to find relatable literary characters that reflect their personal journeys.'

Tyler's public performance at the school broad meeting last week, which was caught on video and circulated on social media, has been condemned by some parents in the Leander school district, where the incident took place, and the Round Rock school district, where the teacher works.

'I'm disgusted and disheartened that there are teachers in our school district who think it is OK to mock parents for their religious beliefs, and for demanding that children not have access to books in the library or classroom that have pornographic illustrations and graphic descriptions of sex acts,' Dustin Clark, a father of four students in the district, told Fox News.

Tyler, who has a Bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University and a Master's degree in education from Lamar University, has worked at Round Rock ISD for more than 11 years, according to her LinkedIn page, where she describes herself as a 'banned book reader.'

'She is trying to lump all parents who oppose pornographic books into the "evangelicals-bigots-brainless" category that hates reading, but the fact of the matter is we are a group of very diverse, highly-concerned parents who do not want pornographic books in our schools,' Trang said. 'The fact that that statement came from a teacher who could be teaching my children at Round Rock ISD is very concerning.'

Andy Hogue, who has two children in Leander ISD, told the conservative news outlet that he finds it 'mind-bogging' that a teacher has 'such disdain for the very people who pay her salary.'




Saturday, December 25, 2021

Fury over council sex survey being sent to 14-year-old schoolchildren that asks them which sexual practices they have experienced

Councillors have urged the City of Edinburgh Council to scrap a controversial sex survey aimed at 14-year-old pupils.

The Scottish Government's national Health and Wellbeing Census, an online questionnaire for children in P5 to S6, has been rejected by some local authorities for the content including asking pupils if they have had anal sex.

According to the Government, it will help local authorities to 'identify and drive forward local improvements and monitor the results of any changes made' to the health and wellbeing of young people.

But concerns have been raised about some of the questions about sex and relationships that will be put to children in their early teens.

The survey that will go to students in S4 and above, who could be as young as 14, includes questions such as 'how much, if any, sexual experience have you had?', and asks pupils about the first time they had sex.

It also questions youngsters' experiences of 'oral sex', different sexual practices and the use of different contraceptives.

Conservative councillor Callum Laidlaw said a 'significant number' of parents and parent councils are worried about the questionnaire.

He said: 'We have health and wellbeing in the classroom already so it's not necessarily about that, it's about why you want to ask individual children those sorts of questions.

'It's not just the questions around types of sex. It's also 'do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend?'.

'It's asking very personal questions that will put a lot of young people potentially in a difficult position, they will feel awkward.

'From the questions I know are going to be asked by other local authorities and will in theory be asked in Edinburgh, I personally think some of them are inappropriate.'

The survey will be completed by pupils during class time and, although they will not be asked to type in their name, pupils will be have to provide their SCN number which schools and the council could use to identify and offer support if responses flag concern.

Councillor Laidlaw added: 'The sort of questions that are being asked around sexual activity and relationships, I think they're very legitimate concerns that many parents and indeed the Children and Young Person's Commissioner for Scotland have had.

'They're being asked to be very specific about sexual experience, about their relationships and the census is using their candidate number.

'It's still a little bit unclear to me as to how anonymous this is and quite when there would be an intervention, which it's stated there would be if there's something of concern - what is 'of concern' and how is that being determined in the context of the census?

'That is unclear to me and asking young people these sorts of questions in a classroom environment raises all sorts of concerns about how young people react to each other and the impact on bullying that this could have.

'At this stage, I and others are unconvinced that the supposed benefits of this outweigh the clear intrusion into private life and possibility of causing serious upset to young people in the classroom and also putting teachers in quite a tricky position as well.'


UK: Nearly half of 'outstanding' schools downgraded this term by Ofsted, figures show

Nearly half of "outstanding" schools have been downgraded by Ofsted this term, data shows.

The highest-rated schools were previously exempt from inspections but the policy changed last year following concerns that hundreds of premises had not been reviewed for years.

During the three months up to the end of November, 47% of schools that were judged to be outstanding were stripped of their top rating following inspections, the latest figures showed.

More than half of the 99 schools visited between 1 September and 30 November had not been inspected for more than a decade.

Of those that lost the outstanding rating, 36% dropped one rating to "good", 9% fell two grades into the "requires improvement" category, and 2% were handed the bottom ranking of "inadequate".

However, the overall grade given to schools across England has improved in comparison with the period before the pandemic.

In total, 83% of schools were judged as good or outstanding during this term, the data showed.


AustralianFederal government’s Christmas Eve veto of research projects labelled ‘McCarthyism’

The Morrison government has been accused of using the cover of Christmas to politicise research funding, after a federal minister vetoed grants for six recommended projects.

Proposed research relating to climate activism and China were among the projects recommended through Australian Research Council processes but blocked by the acting education minister, Stuart Robert.

Robert has argued the projects he rejected “do not demonstrate value for taxpayers’ money nor contribute to the national interest” – but the decision, announced on Christmas Eve, has drawn criticism from education figures and the federal opposition.

The vice-chancellor of the Australian National University, Prof Brian Schmidt, said that in a liberal democracy it was “completely inappropriate for grants to be removed by politicians, unless the grant rules were not followed”.

The Victorian Labor senator Kim Carr said the government was using Christmas Eve to “sweep under the carpet” its “further politicisation of the ARC and research” in Australia.

Carr, a former minister for research under the Rudd and Gillard governments, tweeted: “Their McCarthyism subverts research which was recommended by the ARC.”

The winning Discovery Projects for next year were finally revealed on Friday, with a report published on the ARC website saying it had received 3,096 applications for funding commencing in 2022.

The report said 587 of those projects had been approved for funding, totalling $259m over five years.

“Of the unsuccessful applications in 2022, 51 were found not to meet eligibility requirements and six were recommended to, but not funded by the minister,” the report said.

A spokesperson for Robert said the minister had approved “98.98%” of the 593 Discovery Projects the ARC recommended, but had not accepted the following six:

Robert’s spokesperson said the minister “believes those rejected do not demonstrate value for taxpayers’ money nor contribute to the national interest”.

“After going through a peer review process, it is clear to the minister the application of the national interest test is not working in every case,” the spokesperson said.

“This test should ensure taxpayer-funded Australian government research funding is directed to areas of national importance and delivers public value. It’s why in his letter of expectation the minister asked the ARC to strengthen the test.”




Friday, December 24, 2021

Woke Mob Comes for Professor Who Opposes Left-Wing Social Values

If you don’t agree with the politically correct narrative, you must be destroyed.

That’s the attitude elite Western institutions increasingly take with anyone who disagrees with the ever-moving and increasingly radical cultural left. If you have the gall to still be operating within those institutions, you are treated with an even higher level of hate.

Boise State University professor Scott Yenor is witnessing this firsthand.

Yenor, a tenured professor of political science, stirred up an angry hive of discontent for a speech he made at a National Conservatism conference in late October.

In the speech, he denounced the feminist ideology that treats boys and girls as if they are not only the same, but should want and value the same things as each other. He said that the modern feminist ethos of “careerism” without connection to family and religion leaves them finding meaning in politics and what he called the “global project.”

He also said that our culture now devalues and expects little out of men.

These comments spurred countless media articles, denunciations, and protests on the Boise State campus.

The attacks came with little actual engagement with Yenor’s view. We are simply to assume that he’s wrong and that his words and ideas are unacceptable.

This isn’t the first time Yenor has provoked a cancel mob at Boise State.

In 2017, Yenor wrote an article for The Daily Signal in which he wrote that transgender activists are undermining parental rights and traditional family values.

Yenor wrote at the time:

Transgender rights activists are seeking to abridge parental rights by elevating the independent choices of young children. Respecting the sexual and gender “choices” of ever-younger children erodes parental rights and compromises the integrity of the family as an independent unit.

The reaction to Yenor’s comments then was also extreme, to say the least. Students, staff members, and outside activists sprung into action to get him fired, typically calling his words “hate speech.”

You can read his article here and decide for yourself if this constitutes hate speech.

Activists immediately launched a petition to get Yenor fired.

Boise State’s Vice President for Equity Initiatives Francisco Salinas went on a crusade against Yenor, tying his work to Nazism. As usual, it’s the diversity, equity, and inclusion administrators who act as the woke inquisitors on college campuses—reinforcing dogma and intimidating dissenters into silence.

Yenor didn’t back down. In an interview with The Daily Signal, Yenor explained that it was disappointing to see just how little the vehement denunciations addressed his arguments.

“It strikes me that there has really been, first of all, no effort to first understand what I’m arguing, and second of all, to get anywhere beyond name-calling and labeling,” Yenor said.

Instead of debate, Yenor said that the response felt like little more than a “mob.” The worst thing of all was not just that they were trying to get him fired, it was that their actions created a deep chill on speech.

Boise State didn’t fire Yenor. Instead, the dean offered a statement on Facebook, filled with woke buzzwords, saying that while the school supported free speech and debate, Yenor’s views weren’t really welcome on campus.

The latest round of outrage at Yenor only shows how much further the cultural revolution has proceeded in our elite institutions in just a few years.

Again, there has been little real engagement with Yenor’s ideas. Instead, he’s simply been subjected to rounds of ritual denunciations based on the assumption that his opinions must be untrue and that they were meant as an attack on women.

The attacks have been vicious and personal. Yenor released audio recordings of voicemails he received after the flurry of left-wing media stories came out. The messages were hateful, called for violence, and were in some cases completely deranged.

What’s happening to Yenor is how elite institutions—academia and establishment media—treat anyone who disagrees with prescribed cultural narratives. They now ruthlessly enforce specific social views to the exclusion of everything else.

Intellectual diversity is a threat to diversity. Inclusion requires the exclusion of dissenters. Equity is only given to those deemed worthy and without wrongthink.

The socially radical and increasingly stifling atmosphere of the modern college campus is growing and spreading to all areas of our society.

Those who do not shout their devotion to the revolution are to be treated without civility or humanity.

This is the ugly course our woke institutions are taking us. Genuine debate and civil disagreement are being replaced by enforced ideology and mob retribution toward dissenters.

This is the real threat to “democracy” and self-government in America. It’s the real threat to the land of liberty where free speech, meant to lead us to the truth, is replaced by speech codes and enforced groupthink


Perdue University President Stands Up to Red China after It Threatens a Pro-Democracy Student

As China increases its efforts to control the conversation in the West, using everything from radio stations to deals with Amazon to push its weight around overtly and everything from subterfuge to MSS (the CCP’s secret police) agents to push the party line covertly, standing up to the Reds is becoming more and more important.

Unfortunately, many Americans, especially on the left, either side with China or don’t recognize the stakes. Rather than standing up to the Red Dragon, they keep their opinions hidden or back down if they accidentally say the wrong thing.

Fortunately, however, a brave few are willing to stand up to the Chinese menace. One such brave soul is the president of Perdue University, Mitch Daniels, who stood up to China after it attempted to terrorize a pro-democracy student.

At Perdue, there is a brave student named Zhihao Kong who stood up to the CCP, boldly praising the bravery of the student protesters murdered during the Tiananmen Square protest.

Shortly afterward, the student’s family received a visit from MSS personnel and he was bullied and viciously slandered by other Chinese students at Perdue. He told ProPublica that he thought many of them were Chinese informants and spies.

Then, later, his family was again harassed by MSS after he was invited to speak on the Tiananmen Square protests.

In such a situation, many university presidents would have backed down and submitted to the CCP, which wields immense influence on many American campuses.

Mr. Daniels, however, didn’t. Instead of bending the knee to the CCP, he threatened the CCP spies on campus, saying:

“If those students who issued the threats can be identified, they will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. Likewise, any student found to have reported another student to any foreign entity for exercising their freedom of speech or belief will be subject to significant sanction.”

He added that while all are welcome on Perdue’s campus, those who do attend must respect its values, especially freedom of inquiry and expression and that “Those seeking to deny those rights to others, let alone to collude with foreign governments in repressing them, will need to pursue their education elsewhere.”

Responding, Kong told Radio Free Asia that “President Daniels’ courage to safeguard freedom of speech is admirable.”


San Diego State University dean calls conservative agenda 'sexist, racist and a stench': Republican students slam her 'cancerous leftist ideology'

Leftist hate speech is OK

A dean at San Diego State University has described the 'Right's agenda' on Twitter as a 'stench' saying it consists of racism, unintelligence, and inequality.

'Just so we're clear on the Right's agenda: racism good, abortion bad, money good, women bad, capitalism good, sustainability bad, stupidity good, science bad, power good, equality bad, white people good, nonwhite people bad. Stench, indeed,' Dr. Monica Casper, SDSU's dean of the College of Arts and Letters, tweeted.

In other tweets, Dr. Casper wrote about the acquittal of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse calling it a victory for 'white supremacy'. 'No mercy, no justice – white supremacy wins again,' she tweeted.

Earlier this month, she reacted to the opening arguments in the Supreme Court which is considering a Mississippi ban on abortions at 15 weeks; and could be used to reverse Roe Vs Wade.

She described the Supreme Court as consisting of: 'Two sexual predators, a white lady, and some racists walk.' She tweeted her observation adding the hashtag 'abortion is healthcare.'

Earlier this month, she reacted to the opening arguments in the Supreme Court which is considering a Mississippi abortion ban at 15 weeks; and could be used to reverse Roe V Wade
Earlier this month, she reacted to the opening arguments in the Supreme Court which is considering a Mississippi abortion ban at 15 weeks; and could be used to reverse Roe V Wade

The outspoken comments have Republicans attending San Diego State College up in arms describing her comments as 'hateful.'

'The tweets reflect the cancerous leftist ideology that has infected not just the average professor, but the upper leadership of our public universities,' Dylan Martin, a spokesperson for the California College Republicans, told CollegeFix, which first reported the tweets. 'This dishonest narrative harms students,' Martin added.

'This isn't isolated to Casper at SDSU, either; this way of thinking and this narrative is being driven by professors across the country every day.'

Casper's bio states she is 'deeply invested in the promise of sociology as a means to understand and change the world.'

Her faculty bio describes her as being focused on feminism, environmental studies, and infant mortality among other topics.

One of her specialties includes 'combating infant mortality in black communities.'

San Diego State has defended the comments made by its faculty member stating educational establishment supports her right to free speech.

'It is important to know that faculty speech is protected by both the First Amendment and academic freedom principles, which are advanced by the American Association of University Professors,' the school said in a statement.

'At SDSU, we encourage all members of our community, including our faculty, to engage in open discourse, as it is our responsibility as a public institution to uphold and protect free speech.

'We know that open dialogue may introduce conversations about topics that are uncomfortable for some.'

The school told Fox News that it did not want to violate the Constitutional rights of staff or stifle respectful debate noting how they will 'not censor professors for exercising their free speech and for sharing their perspectives and the expertise determined by their own research and scholarship' because it would violate their Constitutional rights and stifle respectful debate.

'We support the free expression of our faculty, students and staff and maintain an environment that is supportive of different perspectives and experiences,' the school said.




Thursday, December 23, 2021

MI school district suggests joining BLM protests, warns calling US 'land of opportunity' is 'microaggression'

A public school system in Michigan spent 21 days teaching adults in the district how to be good "equity" allies, capped with a direct call for them to join a Black Lives Matter political protest.

Farmington Public Schools in Michigan released a "21 Day Equity Challenge" for interested parties in the district, aiming to help individuals "learn how to more effectively understand and celebrate our differences"

"Our Mission Statement is ‘Farmington Public Schools, together with our community, will engage every student in a quality experience, empowering each student to become a thoughtful, contributing citizen in a changing world,’" the school district wrote. "With this in mind, we, together with you, hope to deepen our understanding about the members of our community and to use this knowledge to confront bigotry, hatred, and discrimination against any individual or group."

Day 18 of the "equity challenge" includes a link to a list of "microaggressions" to avoid, such as calling America "the land of opportunity."


Lecturer becomes symbol of France's battle against wokeism as he is suspended by university because he said it had surrendered to 'Islamo-leftist' students and academics

A lecturer has become a symbol of France's battle against wokeism after he was suspended by his university because he said it had surrendered to 'Islamo-leftist' students academics.

Klaus Kinzler was suspended for four months by Sciences Po Grenoble after the institute ruled his remarks were defamatory.

The German professor accused the university of 'explicitly encouraging students to insult, abuse and defame teachers who have the audacity not to share their extremist opinions'.

The row erupted in March after Kinzler blocked a one-day conference on 'Racism, antisemitism and Islamophobia' claiming it was a politically charged subject rather than academic.

In response a left-wing students' union accused him and a fellow professor of 'fascism' and Islamophobia in a targeted campaign on social media and signs around the Grenoble campus.

In the wake of the case, President Macron's government condemned 'Islamo-leftism' - known as Islamo-gauchisme in French - which points to the alleged political alliance between leftists and Islamists, the Times reported.

But academics have pushed back, with 40 writing an open letter to the Minister of Higher Education Frédérique Vidal warning 'the freedom of expression of academics, as well as their academic freedom within the framework of their teaching and their research, freedoms of which you are the first guarantor, are in danger in our country.'




Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Jumaane Williams calls for return to remote learning as COVID surges in NYC

New York City’s Public Advocate says schools should immediate return to remote learning as the Omicron coronavirus variant sweeps across the city.

“NYC schools should go remote starting Mon (should’ve been last week). A no-brainer as we near recess,” Jumaane Williams said in a tweet Saturday.

Even as city schools report record numbers of COVID-19 cases, Mayor Bill de Blasio has resisted a return to lockdowns.

“No no no,” he told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer on Friday when asked if he supported closing schools. “Don’t fight yesterday’s war … This is not March of 2020. We’re one of the most highly vaccinated places in the United States of America.”

Williams, who may soon be facing de Blasio in a Democratic primary for governor, also took a swipe at the outgoing mayor — and Gov. Kathy Hochul.

“My guess is that even with all of the recommendations and insistence that we prepare a viable remote school option for just this type of scenario the Mayor stubbornly still has not. Likely the same across the state. Almost 2 years in there is simply no excuse for that.”

Though schools are staying open for now, individual shutdowns have occurred in isolated pockets of the city. Three schools were closed Thursday by the Department of Education over local outbreaks

De Blasio will leave office at the end of the year when he is replaced by mayor-elect Eric Adams. As Public Advocate, Williams is automatically next in line for the city’s top job should the sitting mayor leave office.


Schools Chancellor-to-be David Banks continues to offer good sense on what NYC schools need

Schools-chancellor-to-be David Banks continues to impress with his sterling vision for advancing city public schools: accountability, innovation and results.

Banks’ push for accountability began the day Mayor-elect Eric Adams introduced him as the next chief of the city Department of Education: “Any agency that has a $38 billion annual budget . . . and yet we have 65 percent of black and brown children who never achieve proficiency,” he said. “That should be outrageous, it’s a betrayal.”

Certainly, the career educrats at the DOE’s Tweed headquarters started to squirm in their seats. Rightly so, as their incoming boss believes the school system is flawed — and needs fixing from the bottom up. That is, the voices to guide that change are principals and parents, not bureaucrats.

And where recent chancellors have sought to basically destroy the city’s specialized high schools, Banks would rather expand these academic jewels. He told PIX 11 News that he’s open to creating new ones, with their own admissions criteria.

His approach to Gifted & Talented programs is similar. Instead of gutting the programs, as Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered, Banks will look to enlarge G&T so more students of all races can benefit — and, not incidentally, get on the track to win admission to the elite high schools.

Among the deep experience Banks brings to his new job is time working as a school safety officer: With that perspective, he wants the NYPD to continue to handle school safety. But he’s also sensitive to students’ concerns about the airport-style metal detectors deployed at schools where weapons have been seized. He has vowed to bring in newer, less obtrusive detection systems.

And his years as a hands-on educator have led him to endorse relying on phonics to teach reading, rather than the “blended” and/or “balanced literacy” approaches pushed by theorists and (naturally) embraced by the bureaucracy.

“They’re teaching wrong,” Banks told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer. And abandoning the “phonetic approach” has “been a huge part of the dysfunction.”

In his media rounds, Banks also talked of changing how teachers, parents and students view the academic year. To teachers unwilling to work a longer school year, he said: “If we continue to do things the way we’ve been doing them, we’ll continue to get the same results.”

Bottom line: Banks is intent on bringing sanity as well as accountability to the school system. Increase opportunity by expanding it, not by dropping standards to allow for race-obsessed social engineering. Empower the people who care most about kids. Focus on what works, not what’s trendy among academics or favored by agenda-driven politicians.

After eight years of chancellors appeasing the system’s vested interests and playing divisive race-baiting games, Banks’ focus on what’s actually best for students is a welcome relief.


Academics seeking promotion at UCL told to overhaul courses to limit the number of 'dead white men'

Academics seeking promotion at one of the country’s leading universities have been told they should overhaul courses to limit the number of “dead white men”.

Researchers applying for any teaching roles at University College London (UCL) should “engage” with the institution’s Liberating the Curriculum initiative and be prepared to "demonstrate the impact" of this.

According to an internal university guidance document, titled UCL Academic Careers Framework, this is listed as a core requirement for those applying for lecturer roles.

It says that all academic, research and teaching staff are expected to demonstrate “at least some core activities” when applying for a promotion.

The document explains that an "indicator of impact" could be either introducing new or making “substantial” revisions to old modules in response to student feedback.

UCL describes its Liberating the Curriculum initiative as a policy aimed at “challenging traditional Eurocentric, male-dominated curricula and ensuring the work of marginalised scholars on race, sexuality, gender and disability are fairly represented in curricula”.

Many disciplines 'deeply exclusive and unfair'
The initiative also encourages academics to “be the change” and “acknowledge the prejudices baked into a field” as well as “check their privilege”.

It claims that many academic disciplines are “deeply exclusive and unfair” in their current form as they are overly represented by “dead white (able-bodied European) men”.

One academic told The Telegraph they are deeply troubled about this initiative. “I think this whole woke avalanche is really concerning because it is like a religious fervour," he said. "Instead of looking at the evidence, it says some answers have got to be accepted and others cannot be accepted. That is poisonous - it is the wrong direction for a university to go in”.

The Free Speech Union (FSU) has written to UCL’s vice-chancellor, Dr Michael Spence, urging him to remove this stipulation immediately from its guidance.

Toby Young, general secretary of the FSU, said: "Insisting that anyone in a grade 8 job at UCL, or applying for one, has to remove 'dead white able-bodied European men' from reading lists, 'check their privilege' and 'acknowledge the prejudice baked into their field' is an infringement of their right to free speech and almost certainly unlawful.”

The Telegraph last week revealed how Oxford dons are furious that a candidate’s “woke score” could be part of the criteria for hiring academics, under new proposals aimed at boosting staff diversity.

Hiring from ethnic minority backgrounds
The university’s race equality task force has published a series of recommendations aimed at increasing the number of people it hires from ethnic minority backgrounds.

In a consultation document, the task force said it was “important to embed EDI” - which stands for equality, diversity and inclusion - into “all recruitment”.

One Oxford academic questioned whether this would mean academics need to have a “minimum woke score” to get a job at the university.

A UCL spokesperson said that their Academic Careers Framework document gives “illustrative examples of activity undertaken by some people at a specific job grade and these are categorically not a checklist for promotion".

They added: “The descriptions are not exhaustive and no individual would be expected to meet all of the criteria highlighted. They offer broad and varied indicators of different types of activity and ‘Liberating the Curriculum’ is just one example of how staff can demonstrate their work on the curriculum.

“Irrespective of the activity, the evidenced impact and reach of a person’s work is the vital aspect for promotion and contribution will be considered in the round.

“We have a long tradition of safeguarding freedom of speech and are strongly committed to upholding academic freedom of enquiry in our teaching and research."




Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Private preschools are teaching the future elite to be racist (anti-white)

A few weeks ago, teachers at Manhattan’s Brick Church School read “Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race” to several classes. In its lessons on racism, all the racists are, of course, white.

One typical line: “A long time ago, way before you were born, a group of white people made up an idea called race.” The idea that people didn’t notice each other’s skin color or features until white people made them is, of course, absurd.

“Our Skin” aims to “empower activism in young children” and encourages them to attend protests. This is really the point of such books: to turn kids into little soldiers in the war to implement leftism.

This type of woke nonsense has been prevalent at New York elite schools for the last year. After the atrocious killing of George Floyd by a police officer, schools threw money at consultants and lesson plans to insulate them from accusations of racism.

By the way: Brick Church is a preschool. Parents report that teachers read the book to children as young as 3.

Founded in 1940, Brick Church charges $26,700. Getting admitted is is difficult. Two-year-olds compete for spots.

Parents told me they chose Brick for the preparatory academic experience that would get their child ready for school and this veering into woke philosophy has them worried.

The school tried to address their concerns in a letter to parents: “As you may know, last week teachers in two classrooms read students a portion of a book, ‘Our Skin: A First Conversation About Race.’ The first part of the book reflects on skin color and supports the school’s goal to celebrate our differences, including the beautiful spectrum of skin colors represented at our school. The teachers did not read (and so the students did not hear) the second part of the book, which delves into the history of race and racism.”

Parents say this is a lie and, anyway, even the first part of the book isn’t appropriate for small children.

The woke wave has submerged private schools.

As Jon Levine reported in The Post, Ethical Culture Fieldston School sought to hire a ballet instructor “committed to challenging Western dance forms” and a science teacher with “an understanding of and commitment to cultural competency.” Grace Church School wants math and science consultants who show a “commitment to antiracism and accessibility of student education for diverse learners.”

The Spence School issued an “Anti-Racism Task Force Report” and asked the entire school community to read the racist book “How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi.

Why should we care if elite private schools fall to wokeness? After all, only a small segment of the population attends them in the first place, and most Americans will never even meet one of these people.

But while private schools have limited reach in how many kids they can ultimately indoctrinate, these are the kids of titans of industry, the wealthiest and most influential people in our society.

Called “Baby Ivies,” these preschools groom children for the elite private schools that prepare them for top colleges. If these kids become a cohort of woke automatons, we’ll feel it throughout a variety of industries. As we watch corporations parrot the same “We believe” woke ideology, remember it begins at places like Brick Church School when the child is just 2. When every single magazine, TV show and movie has the identical conformist ideology, it begins at places like Brick.

So don’t brush off little rich kids being told their race is bad and has always been bad. These scam ideas, always accompanied by scam consultants and scam books, won’t stay among the richest segment of the population. Those kids will be raised to push those insane ideas into the world. We can’t let them.


What does it take to get into an Ivy League? Admission is more competitive than ever before

This past week, every Ivy League school released their Early Action and Early Decision results. As expected, the acceptance rates were crazy low. At Yale, for example, 800 students out of a pool of 7,288 were offered admission, while 31% of early applicants were deferred and 57% were rejected, according to the Yale Daily News.

In Yale’s case, the 2021 Early Action application pool was the second largest in its history, after last year’s record-breaking number of 7,939 applicants when it adopted a test-optional policy due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most students think that applying early is a surefire way to increase their chances of admission.

But it doesn’t necessarily equate to higher chances of admission. If a student has below average grades or test scores for their intended school, they shouldn’t fall for the trap that applying early will help negate a weaker profile. In fact, they will most likely stand out less in the early round, given that it tends to be a more qualified pool of applicants than the Regular Decision round.

Highly qualified applicants are rejected by the thousands every year at top schools. If students with high GPAs and perfect test scores are being rejected, then what exactly are Ivy League schools looking for?

The answer is anything but straightforward. To get your foot in the door for top schools, competitive GPAs and test scores are the “foundation” of a strong application. But the less concrete, more qualitative aspects of an application – what an applicant has done outside of school – often mean the difference between acceptance and rejection.

Extracurricular profiles are made up of qualitative elements including intellectual curiosity and exploration, authentic and demonstrated passions, community leadership, and how a student has made the most of the resources available to them. Has a student demonstrated an authentic passion for a subject or cause? Have they put time and energy into building something impactful out of their passions? Have they made a difference in their communities? These are the questions that admissions officers at top schools consider when filtering through thousands of qualified applicants.


British Schools BAN crackers and glitter for a GREENER Christmas: Teachers opt for knitted alternatives to traditional table decoration

Schools are banning non-biodegradable glitter and looking to ditch Christmas crackers amid calls to introduce more eco-friendly festive initiatives.

One school asked pupils bringing in Christmas jumpers to swap them instead of buying them new, and in another school the nativity scenery and costumes were all reused or recycled.

Eco-conscious pupils, parents and teachers are demanding more action on the climate crisis in schools - and Christmas time is no exception.

It comes after youth activists took to the streets of Glasgow during school time last month alongside campaigner Greta Thunberg to demand action on climate change during the global Cop26 summit.

Jane Prescott, head of Portsmouth High School and former president of the Girls' Schools Association (GSA), said students' interest in sustainability has been 'gaining even greater momentum'.

She told the PA news agency: 'What Greta has done I think is galvanise their opinions and make them realise that, yes, it is worth making a stand about.'

This year, for the first time, Portsmouth High School ran a festive jumper swap among its pupils to reduce the purchasing of new seasonal clothes every year.

Mrs Prescott told PA: 'It was really welcomed by the parents, but also by the girls. They're quite environmentally conscious and they're very into sustainability and they like the idea that something that isn't worn out they can recycle and pass on to somebody else who can use it the following year.'

Glitter is not allowed at the private girls' school due to its impact on the environment. 'At one time prep schools and primary schools were full of glitter, at this time of year we have banned it,' the head added.

Some schools also tried to reduce the amount of festive decorations - such as Christmas crackers and table cloths - they use to reduce waste.

'I think crackers in schools probably have had their day and we probably won't have crackers at all next year,' Mrs Prescott added.

Graham Frost, head of Robert Ferguson Primary School in Carlisle, has banned non-biodegradable glitter from this year due to environmental concerns.

He told PA: 'I have outlawed the plastic glitter for craft activities so essentially anyone who puts an order through the school office they will be vetted and turned back if they try and order regular plastic glitter.

'My hope is that if more schools take that line then the suppliers that supply schools will think very carefully about sourcing things which are more in keeping with our environmental sensitivities.'

Mr Frost added: 'I think there is a growing feeling that if we're in the business, as we are, of preparing children for the future, with that future being imperilled by climate change, it is therefore imperative that we as schools do all we can to be a force for change and, to some extent, a force for influence.

'So enabling young people to write, to speak out, to express their response to their learning in environmental education is becoming much more important.'

At Canary Worth College Glenworth, a primary school in London, old boxes were used for the scenery, and old clothes and rags for the costumes, in the nativity production in order to be more sustainable.

Martin Blain, head of the school, said: 'This year the environment has become our main agenda item and they [staff and pupils] were very keen that we weren't using new things to do that.'

At the school's Christmas lunch, festive decorations were also scaled back.

On the environment, Mr Blain said: 'The fact is it is very much on the agenda. People are concerned about it and I think this is driven by young people.'

James Bowen, director of policy for school leaders' union NAHT, said: 'Young people are especially passionate about doing more to protect the environment and schools are responding to that.

'Figures like Greta Thunberg are inspiring to young people who see that they can make a difference and make their voices heard.

'Christmas can be a time of excess and it is more and more causing people to think about how that impact can be mitigated.

'We know that pupils are so much more aware of their environmental impact these days and at this time of year in particular it is they who are asking questions about how they can enjoy a more environmentally friendly Christmas.

'Whether it's recyclable wrapping paper and Christmas cards, or the reduction of plastics in presents, many are thinking about how they can make a difference.'

He added: 'The move towards more eco-friendly practices is something schools consider year-round, and they are introducing innovative new ways of working all the time - often at the suggestion of their own students.'

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: 'Schools put a great deal of focus on the environment in all that they do because of the vital importance of this issue in general and particularly for their pupils who rightly feel very strongly about the need for a greener world.

'The recent Cop26 climate change conference may well have intensified that interest and Christmas provides a great opportunity to channel this enthusiasm into practical activities.'