Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Military Families Deserve More School Choice for Their Children

Rep. Jim Banks

I was disturbed to read a 2017 Military Times survey that found that 35% of service members pointed to dissatisfaction with their children’s education as a “significant factor” in deciding whether to continue their military service.

A big part of the military’s readiness is its retention rate. If more service members stay enlisted for longer, our military gets bigger and more experienced. In an era of great power competition, the U.S. must support and sustain the all-volunteer forces who dedicate their lives to service.

Improving military families’ access to education should be pursued with the same urgency given to other crucial parts of our national security strategy.

The answer lies in providing parents with choice.

The reason servicemen and servicewomen are often dissatisfied with their children’s educational options is because they can’t choose where they live, and so have fewer school options than almost anyone else in America.

Most American families can’t afford private schools, and despite the valiant efforts of school choice advocates, vouchers remain rare, and charter schools make up just 7% of publicly funded schools nationwide.

But at least most Americans can do their best to live in areas with decent public schools. Parents are willing to do and pay a lot to make that happen, which is why housing prices correlate so closely with the quality of public education.

Military parents are willing to pay a lot, too, but those payments just look different. In that same Military Times poll, 40% said they would decline a reassignment and pay increase to keep their kids in their current high-performing school.

It’s a travesty that military members are forced to choose between their children’s education and their own career.

Congress can alleviate this critical problem by supporting education savings accounts for military families.

That’s why I introduced the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act in my first term in Congress in 2018 and again in 2019 with the support of 93 of my colleagues. I’ll be introducing it for the third time on Thursday.

It instructs the secretary of education to establish education savings accounts on behalf of military families that choose to opt in. The accounts can be directed toward—among other things—private school tuition, textbooks and learning supplies, private tutoring, and contributions to college savings accounts.

We hold members of the armed service in such high esteem in part because we recognize the sacrifices they make to keep us safe. We should do everything we can to minimize the effects of that sacrifice on their children’s future.

Migrants Flee States with Highly Educated People: Why?

I think the best single indicators of the overall quality of life of a state are statistics on net migration. If lots of people move into an area, it is reasonable to assume that they think that place is overall a good place to live—better than the place that they left. Out-migration is a sign that for some reason(s) people perceive that the place in which they have been living is less desirable than their new destination.

There is something very striking looking at net migration statistics: areas of out-migration are mostly states with highly educated populations; areas of net in-migration have an existing population much less likely to have a bachelor’s degree or more. For example, I took the five states with the largest net-out migration between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019 as estimated by the Bureau of the Census: California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Massachusetts. The proportion of adults with a bachelor’s degree or more in those states ranged from 32.6 to 42.1 percent, all well above the average for the entire nation. The net out-migration from these states was more than 560,000 persons—over one person every minute.

Then I looked at the five states with the most net in-migration in that period: Florida, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, and South Carolina. They had a net influx of more than 470,000 persons. Yet the proportion of adults with bachelor’s degrees was under 30%, below the national average, in every one of these states.

Moreover, the quality of higher education was clearly perceived to be especially high in the highly educated out-migration states. All of the 11 schools (there was a three-way tie at #9) at the top of the latest US News best national universities list came from one of the 10 states with the greatest amount of out-migration. Massachusetts (home of Harvard and M.I.T.) and Illinois (University of Chicago and Northwestern) are great places to go to school, but get away from there after graduation!

The move away from super highly educated areas to ones with less education was highlighted recently by the migration of the world’s richest person, Elon Musk, from California to Texas, as well as by other high-profile individuals like Donald Trump fleeing university-intensive states such as New York. Interestingly, both Musk and Trump attended a prestigious Ivy League school (Penn) in a state with net out-migration, both moving to states with lesser average levels of educational attainment.

As a young scholar I made a modest national reputation doing studies on interstate and international migration, and I am abundantly aware there are many factors motivating movement patterns, including the availability of jobs, taxes, climate, housing prices, pollution and traffic congestion, the perceived quality of schools, etc. A full analysis of this issue would require more sophisticated empirical analysis, and since most American academics arguably have a conflict of interest regarding the results, perhaps studies should be largely done by scholars at non-university research centers or perhaps from other countries. And I readily concede that such an analysis might conclude the university-migration relationship observed above is largely spurious. For example, the high out-migration states have relatively high taxes, higher than in the large in-migration states. That may be more important than educational background.

That said, however, the simple correlation between migration and college degree attainment is strong enough to warrant fuller investigation. I think there are plausible explanations for the observed results: while college graduates are more productive (measured by earnings) than non-graduates, college attendance is expensive, and there are potential “negative externalities” associated with universities. Living in Flyover Country, I sense many of my neighbors feel highly educated folks living in coastal states like New York tend to be arrogant with an off-putting sense of superiority.

I looked at the 10 states with the highest level of collegiate attainment—every one of them gave their electoral college votes to Joe Biden. By contrast, nine of the 10 states with the lowest level of collegiate attainment gave their electoral votes to Donald Trump. Although Biden won the election, people are on balance moving to more conservative areas less enamored of progressive politics financed by relatively high taxes.

Ethnic Studies Curriculum Promotes Divisiveness and Indoctrination

A third draft of California’s ethnic studies curriculum was released last month. Despite a third try, the latest version remains far from its legislated purpose of “highlighting the contributions of minorities in the development of California and the United States” and helping students become “global citizens with an appreciation for the contributions of multiple cultures.”

The first draft, issued in 2019, was identified by many as divisive political indoctrination of students and was rejected following enormous criticism, including harsh critiques from the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post.

The second draft was also rejected. A letter signed by 80 groups, ranging from Black Americans for Inclusive Ethnic Studies to the California Association of Scholars, stated as follows:

“We are deeply concerned that classes taught using this curriculum will become vehicles for highly controversial, one-sided political advocacy and activism that will both subvert the educational mission of our schools and incite bigotry and harm against many students.”

How about the third draft? Better than the first two, but it is far from providing guidance on what students should learn about the wonderfully diverse world we share and how we can build a meritocratic society where everyone has an opportunity to succeed.

The reason it fails to do this is because this positive agenda is not the focus of the curriculum. And this is the reason why neither the first draft, nor the first do-over, nor the second do-over is acceptable. One is tempted to conclude that the strategy is to implement the minimum changes needed to get buy-in, while preserving the agenda of “critical ethnic studies.”

Critical ethnic studies, which is related to critical race theory, is a branch of ethnic studies that focuses on White supremacy, slavery, racism, colonialism, and victimization, with the belief that that these issues are the primary drivers of many of our social problems, and this theme permeates the current draft of the curriculum.

The focus of the curriculum on critical ethnic studies has prevented the creation of what could be a rich and rewarding curriculum celebrating the heritages and histories of all, and which could have facilitated the academic journeys of underrepresented minorities within the state’s school system.

Perhaps the most important justification for requiring ethnic studies is that minority students benefit enormously by learning about role models from their ethnic backgrounds. While the third iteration of the curriculum offers such lessons, there are glaring omissions of those who could inspire new generations of Californians, irrespective of their color.

Martin Luther King is a notable omission from the list of African Americans. A person displacing King from the list is Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former member of the Black Panthers who is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder of a police officer who had stopped Abu-Jamal’s brother. His incarceration has become a cause célèbre in liberal political circles, despite testimony from three eyewitnesses and ballistics evidence supporting his guilty sentence.

What about Black women role models? Katherine Johnson is omitted. Johnson was a brilliant NASA mathematician who was included in an otherwise all-male research team that calculated the orbit of 1969’s Apollo 11 flight. The motion picture Hidden Figures was inspired by her. Just imagine how her story could motivate girls to embrace the fields of mathematics and science.

Assata Shakur, an African American activist from the 1960s who was convicted of murder during a shootout with police, and who escaped from prison and fled to Cuba where she was granted political asylum, is included.

A similar pattern of omissions and inclusions emerges for Native Americans. There is no mention of the “code talkers,” a group from the Navajo tribe who created an unbreakable code that helped the United States win World War II. Including the code talkers would celebrate the important contributions of Native Americans and highlight the uniqueness of the Navajo language.

Just think how many kids might be inspired to study the process of language and learning if they learned about the code talkers. Or consider former US senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the most recent of just four Native Americans who ever served in the US Senate. He is also missing from the list.

Who displaces them? One is Dennis Banks, a Native American activist who was convicted of incitement of riot and assault, and who received a court martial from the Air Force.

The agenda is clear. Highlight the possibly wrongful incarcerations of political activists by a White-dominated justice system and omit heroes whose politics do not check off the boxes require by critical ethnic studies, even individuals as remarkable as Martin Luther King.

Another problematic issue in the curriculum is the failure to use facts and instead rely on stories that may or may not have a factual basis. Processing facts and data in an organized way is central to a child’s education, particularly today when understanding technical information and mathematics is so highly valued. This necessary training in logical thought and critical thinking is missing.

Take the issue of wrongful incarceration. There have been 375 DNA-based exonerations within the United States, and 60 percent of those have been of African Americans.

This single statistic establishes that African Americans have been disproportionately impacted by wrongful incarceration. But a statistic does not win over the hearts and minds of young people. So instead of using facts, critical ethnic studies seduces students with intriguing stories about potentially wrongful convictions that may have no factual basis.

Telling Mumia Abu-Jamal’s story (which has been made into a movie) is more compelling than a statistic, even though the statistic is infinitely more informative about wrongful convictions of African Americans. And because of its media coverage, Abu-Jamal’s story, despite no evidence of anyone else committing the crime, apparently is more compelling than that of Curtis Flowers, a Black man whose murder conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court but whose case did not attract nearly the same level of notoriety.

A hallmark of US immigration is that most immigrants achieve economic success at a much greater level than they could have achieved in their country of origin. But this fundamental aspect of ethnicity in the United States is largely missing from the curriculum. Consider the Hmong people of Southeast Asia who came to the United States as refugees in the 1970s and 1980s from a way of life that had changed little over hundreds of years, and who spoke an ancient language consisting primarily of one-syllable words.

The proposed curriculum discusses the Hmong with a focus on patriarchy and gender roles within Hmong society, and the de rigeur discussion of racial injustice:

“The criminalization of men and boys of color goes hand in hand with the decriminalization of white males. As a result, white criminality is less controlled, surveilled, and punished while black, Latino, and Southeast Asian criminality is treated as threatening and in need of punishment.”

What is curiously omitted is the miraculous improvement in the Hmong’s standard of living. In 1990, only 24 percent of the Hmong were employed, compared to 56 percent by 2010. Over this same period, the median household income of the Hmong grew from just 47 percent of the national average to 92 percent, and the percentage of the Hmong receiving public assistance fell from 67 percent to 12 percent. All of this in just 20 years and accomplished by an ethnic group that, prior to coming to America, had largely been living like they had two hundred years ago.

This transformation could only occur in the free and capitalistic United States. Yet students will read about the Hmong as represented in this curriculum and have no idea how they achieved the American dream, and so quickly. What a shame. But this is what can happen when facts don’t fit the desired narrative.

But not all is lost. Enter the Alliance for Constructive Ethnic Studies, a group of thousands of Californians, including educators, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Armenians, and refugees from Communist countries who are working to help create an inclusive, positive ethnic studies curriculum, free from political agendas, that will help kids learn and think independently.

On their website, you will hear from Clarence Jones, one of Martin Luther King’s legal advisors, who describes how the third draft of the curriculum is a “perversion of history that will inflict great harm on the students in our state.” You will hear from Mark Yudof, University of California president emeritus, who worries that the curriculum does not invite diverse viewpoints, nor does it promote engagement through the democratic process.

Most important, you will see how the alliance has made enormous progress in advancing how the curriculum can be changed based on the ethnic studies curriculum of the Los Angeles Unified School District, which does not focus on critical ethnic studies or critical race theory. The alliance provides a blueprint for what to do in designing a positive and constructive ethnic studies curriculum.

The period for commentary on the state’s third draft remains open for two more days. I urge you to write and let your voice be heard. You can provide feedback on the proposed curriculum by writing to the California Department of Education at, or you can sign the Alliance’s statement here.

The primary goal of any society is to organize itself to promote liberty, peace, and equal treatment. The Alliance for Constructive Ethnic Studies is doing just that. And California students will be much better off if Governor Newsom, state legislators, and the Department of Education listen to the Alliance.




Monday, February 01, 2021

'Does Not Make Sense': Chicago Principals Fume After District Leaves Them Out of School Reopening Plan

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot sounded downright confident that the city's plan to reopen schools was foolproof. She believes that thousands of students can still safely return to their classrooms Monday as planned. If only the teachers would comply. Educators were supposed to return to the schools on Wednesday to prepare for next week's reopening. But as we reported, the Chicago Teachers Union balked and told members to continue working remotely. In short, it's sort of a mess.

Troy LaRaviere, the President of the Chicago Principals and Administrators Association, identified a few other issues. For one, the staffing has been "unstable and unpredictable," he explained in a press call with reporters on Wednesday. Second, there aren't enough doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for all school staff. And thirdly, the schools have little expertise to lean on.

“We salute the district’s goals,” said LaRaviere. “However, their plans are not realistic or safe for most of our schools. Accordingly, we developed a more grounded and practical approach to resuming in-person learning.”

The CPAA is proposing a phase-in pilot program, “Returning to an In-person Teaching Environment,” or R.I.T.E., which includes input from 377 school leaders, and "fine-tuning" from more than 30 CPS principals and assistant principals, the group explains in a press release. LaRaviere simplified the program into three steps.

1. Open a small group of 50 to100 schools and in-person pilot make Covid vaccinations a priority for those pilot staff and teachers.

2. Focus the district's human and material resources for ensuring success.

3. If successful, expand the pilot every few weeks as schools demonstrate preparedness and readiness for in-person learning.

Success can be achieved by the above process because instead of sending all students back to school, the district can focus on a smaller sample size and work from there. LaRaviere shared the principals' frustration that the district has not involved them in their planning.

"Something does not make sense about that," he said, making a few comparisons.

"If you're making a product, you get the people who are supposed to use the product," he reasoned. "It's the same thing for developing a process...Even the NBA had enough sense to bring the players' union to the successful resumption of their season."

They're the ones the district hands the plans off to but "for some inexplicable reason" the district did not consult them. He adds that they had a few conversations with the union, but "there wasn't a lot of follow up on that."

"CPS typically does not respond until you pressure them to do the right thing," LaRaviere said. Sometimes, when they're really not getting through, they "have to result to embarrassing them."

LaRaviere sympathizes with parents who worry that schools aren't safe right now, but he's trying to solve the problem.

"In-person learning can work," he insisted. "Can the district itself execute a plan to make it happen?"

President Biden recently sided with the CTU this week and agreed that teachers should only return to work when it's safe to do so, suggesting that there's still a lot of work to be done.

Chicago Public Schools says that the extended at-home education has had a detrimental effect on students in more ways than one.

“We’ve seen grades, attendance, and enrollment drop significantly for many of our students in recent months, and the impact has been felt most by our Black and Latinx students,” the district said.

Teachers Unions Are Hurting Our Kids

Despite overwhelming evidence that teachers are safe from COVID, unions are keeping kids out of the classroom.

On the campaign trail, Joe Biden pledged to open up America’s schools within 100 days. Just days into his presidency, however, we’re learning that teachers unions are calling the shots in this country. Despite increasing evidence about the safety of in-person instruction, the unions are keeping classrooms closed and harming our kids.

A study shows that transmission of COVID-19 in the classroom is quite rare. Likewise, a recent report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association encourages American schools to reopen.

But that’s not enough to convince those in power that it’s time to get teachers back to the job of teaching in person.

Cindy Marten, Biden’s pick for deputy education secretary and superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District, refuses to open public schools despite the fact that the majority of independent schools in the area have opened their doors for in-person teaching and learning.

As Matthew Foldi writes at The Washington Free Beacon, “Marten’s refusal to set a timeline for schools to reopen is in direct contradiction with Biden, who has vowed to have schools reopen within the first hundred days of his presidency. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, has said the government’s ‘default position’ should be to get kids back in the classroom.”

The real issue here is the impact on our children.

We’ve documented how virtual learning has been an abject failure. Kids are increasingly suffering from emotional and psychological problems due to a lack of social interaction and being forced to sit in front of computer screens all day. And now the very people who should be looking out for our kids are telling them they don’t matter.

Power Line’s John Hinderaker writes, “The sinister role that teachers’ unions play in our society has come clearly into focus, as our children’s lives have been devastated by needless school closures across the country. These closures — still in effect in most places, despite all scientific evidence that they are both unnecessary and harmful — largely reflect the power of the teachers’ unions.”

Meanwhile, millions of people have returned to work in department stores, restaurants, and even colleges and universities. So why can’t teachers go back to work?

Hinderaker asks, “Are they seriously unaware that many millions of people have kept working right through the Wuhan epidemic? And that many millions more have returned to work in recent months? Maybe so. I am not sure they understand that most people work in the Summer.”

Recently, the Chicago Teachers Union voted overwhelmingly to prevent the nation’s third-largest school district from moving forward with its reopening plan. Teachers were scheduled to go back to work in early February, but now they’ll continue to teach remotely, nearly a year after schools were shut down.

Sadly, it’s no surprise that President Biden publicly supports the CTU.

“Unresolved disputes between the district and teachers include coronavirus vaccine availability for teachers, public health metrics determining when schools should reopen or close, and accommodations for teachers and staff who live with a relative at higher risk for complications from COVID-19,” writes National Review’s Zachary Evans.

Seems like the teachers unions are once again holding our kids hostage until their demands are met.

For nearly a year, we’ve been told to “trust the science.” Well, the science is telling us that it’s time for America’s teachers to ring those school bells and get back to teaching the three Rs in person.

Schools are one of the safest places to work for the vast majority of teachers and students. Everyone knows this, and the science supports it. Now we just need the teachers unions to stop playing politics and start caring about our kids.

Australia: Violent parents, power-drunk principals, out-of-control students – a veteran Brisbane teacher has revealed the horrors of teaching in today’s State primary schools

Violent parents, classrooms full of students medicated for disorders, and principals who are “horrific bullies” are all in a day’s work for exhausted Queensland educators.

Children as young as six are trying to set classrooms on fire, stabbing teachers with scissors and calling them c--ts.

Many kids arrive hungry, filthy and have spent the night “cowering under their beds” as parents attack each other in drug and alcohol-fuelled rages.

Learning is further compromised by a content-heavy curriculum that kills creativity, while stressed-out teachers “live in fear” of poor NAPLAN results and power-drunk principals.

Add reduced government funding to the mix and children are falling through the cracks and turning to crime.

This scathing education report card comes from a passionate teacher of 30 years who has “seen and heard it all” in state and private primary schools across Brisbane and beyond. The married mother of two teenagers, who wishes to remain anonymous to protect her career, is speaking out because she wants to see change.

At the top of her list is improved mental health and social support in schools to help “damaged, broken little people”.

She wants education to get back to basics, and greater support and respect for the role of teachers.

“You go into teaching to make a difference but sometimes everything you do is still not enough,” she says.

“Shocking stuff goes on, it’s heartbreaking, and classrooms can be warzones.”

Her candid revelations come as Education Queensland data shows attacks on teachers have soared in the past five years. The number of suspensions for assaults with objects has increased by 29 per cent while attacks without objects are up by 50 per cent.

The pressure on teachers to meet unrealistic expectations has also been identified in recent studies as a major reason people quit the profession, particularly in the first few years.

While this veteran educator is in it for the long haul, she wants to expose the truth about teaching in today’s primary schools.

Not all state schools are created equal. What goes on in affluent inner city schools cannot be compared to what happens in outer disadvantaged areas.

In one of my grade 3 classes, half of the students were on medication for behavioural disorders or mental health problems – and six boys were so hard core, every single day.

One would lock himself in the storeroom and I’d finally coerce him into the classroom and get him into his desk and he’d reach out and punch the kid sitting beside him in the head.

I’ve had a student try to set the classroom on fire and two boys who really enjoyed getting on the roof and putting sticks in the TV antenna. There is constant noncompliance and disrespect.

These kids come from such dysfunctional families and are in constant fight or flight mode.

If you ever do meet the parents, mum’s got no teeth because the latest boyfriend’s knocked them out.

Kids are either up all night cowering under their beds, hiding from violent adults who are boozing and drugging, or their stepdad is chasing them down the road with a knife.

They come to school damaged and broken, so I try to create a positive family environment within the classroom and I tell them we need to make sure everyone is feeling welcome and safe.

We celebrate the smallest of wins, like someone going from 3/10 for spelling one week to 5/10 the next, because it’s about instilling self-confidence.

Mental health is an increasing problem.

I’ve face-timed a nine-year-old girl in a psychiatric hospital to let her know I am there for her any hour of the day or night. We need to be wrapping around our kids a lot more – there are not enough services within schools, yet kids are crying out for help and unless we deal with that first and help them with whatever is going on, we can’t make any difference to their learning.




Sunday, January 31, 2021

Now More Than Ever, America's Children Need a Strong Civics Education

After being officially sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden wasted no time in pushing his executive privilege to the limit. Biden and Co. are framing his executive orders as necessary first steps in addressing the “four crises” facing our nation. In reality, however, Biden’s EOs are more attacks on actions taken by the Trump administration than they are substantive policy measures. They are a gesture aimed at the American public, as if to say, “I am the polar opposite of Donald Trump.”

Nonetheless, these executive orders are still harmful and worthy of our concern — especially when they have the potential to hold sway over the education of our children. In one of his first acts as president, Biden signed an executive order to dissolve the 1776 Commission. This commission was assembled by former President Trump during his final months in the White House as a response to the anti-American sentiment and inaccurate rewrites of history that have been gripping our country’s corporate offices, bureaucracies, and, most alarmingly, school civics lessons. Within minutes of President Biden taking office, the 1776 Commission’s report, along with all its pro-America content, was deleted from the White House website.

Dishonest and widely discredited academics may go on reframing the whole of America and its history as unequivocally racist and irredeemable, but these kinds of educational programs should not receive encouragement from the leader of the free world himself. The president would be terribly remiss to let anti-American attitudes continue unchallenged throughout the nation’s school halls.

But by dissolving the 1776 Commission, Biden has made it clear that he counts himself an ally of those who wish to destroy traditional civic education in America. With him in office, they only will increase their power and influence.

That’s why it’s more important now than ever that our nation’s students receive a strong, nuanced civics education that instills within them a love of country and an appreciation for the American founding and Constitution. A solid civics education should not shy away from the evils of slavery and racism — it should make them fully apparent. But in relaying a fair, all-encompassing picture of our remarkable history, we need to make an unmistakable distinction between teaching the complexities of history and rewriting them entirely.

Accomplishing this includes providing students with a critical analysis of slavery and its post-Civil War outgrowth as much as it includes spending time on other threats that the U.S. has faced throughout history, including communism and progressivism. It includes giving a full view of the good and the bad that America has both endured and inflicted. At its core, a successful civics education rests on the understanding of our founding principles and Constitution — that despite even our most egregious moral failures, America is built on liberty, which will always triumph in the long run.

That founding principle is unique to America and is something to be unapologetically celebrated and emphasized in civics lessons above all else. The dark periods in our past should not be ignored, but that doesn’t mean they have to define us.

San Francisco School Board Cancels Lincoln, Washington for ‘Dishonorable’ Legacies

Editor’s note: The San Francisco school board voted Tuesday to rename 44 public schools in the school district. Among the figures with “dishonorable” or racist legacies, according to the school board, were Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

In December, Jarrett Stepman wrote about how the war on history has even come for Lincoln and what the larger agenda of the iconoclasts is. Here is the article:

Abraham Lincoln didn’t do enough for black lives, according to militant proponents of the woke revolution.

In October, the San Francisco Unified School District School Names Advisory Committee suggested a list of school names to be replaced in the city. On that list was a school named after Lincoln, the Great Emancipator.

In just a few years, the discussion about history and monuments has gone from whether we should keep Confederate monuments to erasing the president who orchestrated the Confederacy’s destruction.

Regarding Lincoln, it seems the woke and John Wilkes Booth are now in alignment.

A recent report by the San Francisco Chronicle that has been making the rounds illuminates just how bad things have become in some education circles.

“Lincoln is one of dozens of historical figures who, according to a school district naming committee, lived a life so stained with racism, oppression or human rights violations, they do not deserve to have their name on a school building,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Part of the criticism of Lincoln is about how he treated Native Americans badly, particularly the Sioux tribe. This has always been an unfair charge, but he was simply added to the renaming committee’s list without debate.

According to the committee chairman, this isn’t the only reason for abandoning Lincoln.

“Lincoln, like the presidents before him and most after, did not show through policy or rhetoric that black lives ever mattered to them outside of human capital and as casualties or wealth building,” Jeremiah Jefferies, the chairman of the renaming committee and a first-grade teacher, told the Chronicle.

Lincoln conducted a war, signed the Emancipation Proclamation, and got shot in the head for black lives, but this wasn’t enough to keep him from being unceremoniously ditched by modern social justice warriors.

If Lincoln doesn’t qualify as doing enough for black lives, then who does?

I wrote about this whole San Francisco schools travesty when their list was released. The extensive criteria was clearly designed to appeal to the most fervently woke:

Anyone directly involved in the colonization of people.

Slave owners or participants in enslavement.

Perpetuators of genocide or slavery.

Those who exploit workers/people.

Those who directly oppressed or abused women, children, queer, or transgender people.

Those connected to any human rights or environmental abuses.

Those who are known racists and/or white supremacists and/or espoused racist beliefs.

This led to not just Lincoln, but George Washington, John Muir, Junipero Serra, and even an abolitionist being added to the rolls of the damned.

The Daily Signal contacted the San Francisco Unified School District about whether the name changes can still be prevented, but it did not respond.

The problem with the woke revolution is that as it wages war on the past, it operates entirely outside of the human experience.

If the criteria were really taken to its logical conclusions, then it would lead to erasing pretty much every leader and people in all human history.

Every person, every leader who does not fit the agenda of the modern woke left is subjected to impossible and often absurd standards. No president could make it through the roulette wheel of social justice created by activists who need only preach to like-minded apostles rather than lead a large, complex society.

On the naughty list was also, humorously enough, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who was condemned for replacing a vandalized Confederate flag in 1968. Feinstein may be a progressive, but she’s clearly angered some on the far left.

“On a local level, Dianne Feinstein chose to fly a flag that is the iconography of domestic terrorism, racism, white avarice, and inhumanity towards black and indigenous people at the city hall,” Jefferies said. “She is one of the few living examples on our list, so she still has time to dedicate the rest of her life to the upliftment of black, First Nations, and other people of color. She hasn’t thus far, so her apology simply wasn’t convincing.”

It’s interesting that Jefferies says the agenda is about uplifting “black, First Nations, and people of color,” but are not all these groups, through the lens of history, also guilty of virtually every transgression on the committee’s list of criteria?

The cancelation list appears to have been selectively curated to avoid targeting more recent left-wing heroes, like famed labor leader Cesar Chavez, whose name adorns schools, streets, and buildings around the city. Chavez fervently opposed illegal immigration as a young man, which should have made him ripe for cancelation.

Clearly, consistency doesn’t really matter here. For the militantly woke, Fidel Castro gets a pass, Lincoln gets canceled.

The bottom line is that the war on history is ultimately about political power and iconoclasm. It’s about tearing down 1776 and replacing it with the narrative of the 1619 Project. The message has little to do with actual history, it’s simply: “Do what we say, or you will be smashed and erased.”

Symbols of opposition will be torn down. You must accept our truth, or else.

Targeting Feinstein sends a clear message that the revolution shall be subject to no law. It’s a warning to public officials not to stop or fix the damage done by mobs and vandals to statues, monuments, and public property.

This is entirely consistent with the ideology of leading “anti-racists,” like Ibram X. Kendi. The world is divided into anti-racists and racists. Every act, every decision, and every person must be put through this lens. Absolute anarchy and absolute tyranny are perfectly acceptable if one remains on what woke intellectuals and officials deem the “right side of history.”

The idea that canceling Lincoln, or any of the other people on the San Francisco Unified School District list, will lead to tolerance or a better society is a joke. If anything, it teaches students to be ruthlessly intolerant, to be utterly incapable of understanding different perspectives and the limitations of human nature.

Perhaps this is the point.

But human civilization wasn’t built by angels, and it certainly wasn’t built by revolutionary Marxists, who have been much more successful at tearing down in a tide of inhuman carnage than building up.

Unfortunately, absurd militant wokeness is not just confined to San Francisco, it’s coming to schools and institutions around the country.

No wonder Americans are increasingly worried about the rise of socialism.

The Shark Tank Approach to Financing a College Education


A publicist emailed me recently, promoting a new book by Scott MacDonald, Education Without Debt (which I might review in the future after reading the book). In the email, the serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban (who, among other things, owns the Dallas Mavericks) was quoted as saying, “We can talk about Republican and Democratic approaches to the economy, but until you fix the student debt bubble and the tuition bubble, we don’t have a chance. All this other stuff is shuffling deck-chairs on the Titanic.”

Then it struck me: Cuban is an engaging panelist on Shark Tank, the ABC reality show that I occasionally watch. Several successful entrepreneurs including Cuban interview wannabe entrepreneurs who have an idea for a good or service that they they think the public will buy, but to make it happen they need the panelists’ financial help, which they often get after some haggling over terms. Sometimes the panelists get an ownership share in return for some cash assistance.

That is precisely what Income Share Agreements (ISAs) are about. Students go to an investor and say “I want to develop my human capital and my ability to provide valuable goods and services to the economy, but I need financial help.” And then the investor agrees to provide some assistance, say $80,000 over four years, in return for some “equity” in the student, say 14 percent of the student’s post-graduate earnings for eight years.

This has lots of advantages over student loans. From the student perspective, the financial risk of going to college is substantially (depending on the level of financial involvement) passed from a financially inexperienced teenager to an experienced investor. The government is removed from the process. The terms of the ISA will vary with prospects for financial success. Engineers and accountants attending top flight schools will get dramatically better terms than fine arts or sociology majors attending the College of Last Resort. Students who drop out of school or fare poorly getting a job are not burdened with a massive debt burden.

The labor market largely determines outcomes, favoring engineers and computer gurus over poets and philosophers. Some think that is “unfair” or denigrates the humanities and graduates in other low-paying fields. But arguably it says, “the world does not need a lot of professional (full-time) philosophers, artists, and writers.” Excellent practitioners in those fields still can succeed from either their salaries or sale of their published or performed works. ISAs help redirect scarce resources to areas where they are most likely to serve society well. Moreover, they incentivize students to obtain valuable skills people want, rather than those things the students wish to do based on their perhaps idiosyncratic tastes and preferences.

I always thought it would be cool if there were “little shark tanks,” where successful local entrepreneurs invested in small local business persons, but the concept could be extended to students—a collegiate shark tank, if you will. Students would vie for funds from savvy entrepreneurs, selling themselves—arguing they would be going to schools with prestige that have highly successful alumni, or that they thrived as students in high school and their unusual extracurricular activities show potential for success as an adult. Maybe ABC could devote an episode or two of the original Shark Tank to trying out the concept. Are Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Cuban and other panelists as good at predicting future success of young people as they are at evaluating somewhat more established adults?

Peter Thiel invests in young college-age kids, inducing them to drop out of college and engage in some entrepreneurial passion. Perhaps a panelist might tell a collegiate Shark Tank applicant that she or he would be better off completely foregoing traditional college, going to a coding academy and then joining a small tech-oriented startup, maybe one supported by a panelist. The tradeoff between formal education and becoming an entrepreneur, between getting a bachelor’s degree or continuing for some advanced degree like an M.B.A., etc., all could be discussed, evaluated and resources allocated by groups similar to the real Shark Tank. As Cuban says, our student loan programs are a disaster, and an alternative approach needs to be considered.