Friday, October 01, 2021

Riches and Rankings: Washington U’s Soaring Endowment

I read media accounts of a truly astonishing 65% rate of return on investments in the endowment of Washington University in St. Louis in the 2020-2021 academic year. Markets were booming in that period; the Dow-Jones Industrial Average rose by about one-third. News reports suggest high return at many other schools, for example an extremely robust 49% at the University of Virginia.

I have been blessed with teaching or studying at five of the top 50 schools in the new rankings of the Wall Street Journal (including one school listed by Forbes, the Journal and U.S. News in their top 10). I think I have seen perceived academic excellence over the years, and indeed initiated college rankings for Forbes over a decade ago.

The best schools vary sometimes considerably between rankings—Forbes #1, University of California -Berkeley, is a so-so #36 in the Journal’s list. But one generalization holds: a large majority of the top schools in all three rankings are private institutions with large endowments. Take the Midwest. The top five schools based on an average of all these three major rankings are Northwestern, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, Washington U. in St. Louis and Notre Dame. Based on 2020 numbers, they also have the five largest endowments of all midwestern schools. Money seems to buy better students via bigger scholarships, more prestigious professors, etc.

Wash U’s endowment rose in the pandemic year 2020-21 from below $9 billion to above $15 billion. The school has about 15,000 students. If it spends just four percent of endowment principal annually for operations, last year’s gain should ultimately add about $240 million annually to Washington U’s spending capacity—about $16,000 for each of the roughly 15,000 students. Real money. (Full disclosure: Wash U is one of those five schools where I have taught or studied).

While “money matters—a lot,” it is also not true that “money alone matters” in terms of assessing quality. In 1988, there were eight public universities (generally less reliant on endowment income) in the top 25 on the US News national university list. Today, the number is four—the private schools have generally gained relative to public ones. And some of the public universities (probably most noticeably the University of Virginia) have limited enrollments but large endowments, acting much like private schools.

Five years ago my student and research aide at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, Justin Strehle, and I analyzed the impact of endowments on universities. We hypothesized “surely the infusion of cash from endowments to fund instruction and faculty at higher levels and enhance research efforts should have a salutary impact on school reputation.” Running regression equations on this, we concluded “the results, while statistically significant, are not overwhelmingly strong.” In the case of a school like Wash U, generally now ranked highly, between 14 (US News) and 33 (Forbes) in the rankings, a big infusion of investment income might raise its rankings perhaps two or three places. That is particularly true this year, as competing top schools also likely had healthy endowment gains from an exuberant stock market and will be seeking the same star students and professors.

Therefore, Wash U Chancellor Andrew Martin’s assertion that the 65% return “is a game-changing moment for us as an institution,” may be a bit of an overstatement. The long run rate of return on investments is probably well below 10%, and markets fall as well as rise. Many investment valuations today are high by any historical norm, and frankly I see more national pessimism than optimism regarding the future, often a precursor of market decline or stagnation.

One thing I predict Wash U will not do (based on experience of other schools that Strehle and I have observed): drastically lower the price. My guess is the school could lower its sticker tuition price by $20,000 and easily fund it from increased endowment revenues, but doing so would be giving up some tuition dollars of affluent students that I doubt the school wants to do. Endowments usually do relatively little to make college cheaper and more egalitarian, but a lot to make the staff more comfortable and a bit more affluent. Let’s see what happens in St. Louis.


UCLA Suspends Professor Because He Won’t Grade Blacks Easier

UCLA has suspended a professor because he told black students that he wouldn’t grade them more leniently than he does other students.

Gordon Klein, an accounting professor at the university’s Anderson School of Management, was suspended after he sent an email to his class telling them that he won’t woke his classroom to satisfy leftist activists.

Some black students reportedly whined to school administrators over the “tone” of the prof’s email.

The email was Klein’s response to a buttinski, leftist white kid’s attempt to “help” black students by demanding that Klein grade black kids at a lower standard.

Because, you know, all liberals think blacks are too stupid to learn things at the same level as white kids.

Per The Blaze:

The professor’s email was a response to a non-black student asking that black students be provided special consideration and accommodations due to Floyd’s death in May 2020 and the protests that followed. The student in question reportedly requested a “no-harm and shortened final exam, and extended deadlines for final assignments and projects in consideration of black students’ well -being in light of nationwide protests against police brutality.”

The student added, “This is not a joint effort to get finals canceled for non-black students, but rather an ask that you exercise compassion and leniency with black students in our major,” and asked the professor to consider grading the course “on a curve” for black students.

In response, Klein wrote, “Thanks for your suggestion in your email below that I give black students special treatment, given the tragedy in Minnesota. Do you know the names of the classmates that are black? How can I identify them since we’ve been having online classes only? Are there any students that may be of mixed parentage, such as black-half Asian? What do you suggest I do with respect then? A full concession or just half?”

Klein then questioned the possibility that a “white [Minneapolis] student” might “possibly be even more devastated” by Floyd’s death.

He also quoted Martin Luther King Jr. and said, “Remember that MLK famously said that people should not be evaluated based on the ‘color of their skin.’ Do you think that your request would run afoul of MLK’s admonition?”

The school quickly put Klein on suspension over the woke attacks.

Then the idiots running the school bowed and scraped to the leftist students and apologized for Klein’s email and said the school was “investigating” the email.

Finally, Klein has taken the right action by suing the school over the idiotic treatment they’ve afforded him.

By any rights, he should win


Australia: Brisbane named among top cities in the world for students

Despite the international education sector being hit hard by the pandemic, Brisbane is still one of the best cities in the world for students according to a major new study.

Brisbane has been named as one of the top 10 cities in the world for students thanks to its reasonably priced rent, young population and safety in a new international study.

The Best Student Cities in the World index for 2021 has been released by international student company Studee, and named the River City at No.9 in the world, ahead of fellow Aussies cities including the Gold Coast (14), Canberra (16) and Sydney (18).

Researchers found Brisbane scored above average in six of the nine categories which were analysed, including on the costs of rent and living, food options, free speech and safety.

But Brisbane was trumped by Melbourne at No.2 – which was applauded for its exceptional food scene, cheap technology and safety – along with Adelaide (5) and Perth (7).

Japan’s Tokyo came in at No.1, thanks to its high number of world-class universities, high internet speeds, and high levels of free speech.

Canada’s Quebec and Montreal also made the list, along with Seoul, Houston and Pittsburgh.

Studee president Jihna Gavilanes said deciding where to study was a huge decision for prospective international students.

“With so many options available, choosing where to study can feel overwhelming, especially if you're moving away from home for the first time,” she said.

“The things that are important to one student won’t be to another, so our ranking system uses several factors that actually make a difference to students.

“You’re not just choosing where to study, you’re picking the place you will call home and the neighbourhood where you could start your career.”

Researchers also took into account a city’s internet speeds – for which Brisbane was rated among the lowest of the top cities – as well as the cost of a MacBook and what percentage of the population was aged between 15 and 24-years-old.

“When choosing where to attend university or college, you need to consider everything that could impact your experience,” Ms Gavilanes said.

“Your surroundings, the cost of living, and your social life are all factors you should think about before deciding where to enrol.

“Getting an education can be expensive so you must find the right place that works for you for the next few years and beyond.”




Thursday, September 30, 2021

Preschool Funding in $3.5 Trillion Spending Bill Is Modeled After Failed Head Start Program

Fraud, abuse, poor outcomes, and high costs. Those aren’t exactly hallmarks of successful programs, and yet, those pushing for universal preschool and child care in the $3.5 trillion spending bill currently making its way through Congress have landed on the ineffective federal Head Start program as their model.

“It is very much built around the Head Start model. We need to make sure that the Head Start model is sewn into the fabric of this new system,” Tommy Sheridan, deputy director of the National Head Start Association, told Politico.

How well has this model served families?

The Head Start program, a relic of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” was launched in 1965, enrolling 560,000 children in the new, federally funded eight-week summer program. At the time, proponents were clear that Head Start’s “sole purpose” was to “prepare [children] for elementary school.”

As the Chicago Tribune put it at the time, “the program is designed to make the pupils’ first taste of school also a taste of success.”

Unfortunately, more than half a century later, participating students have not had that taste of success.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which administers Head Start, revealed in December 2012 that the nearly $8 billion Head Start program has little to no impact on the cognitive, social-emotional, or health outcomes of participants, or the parenting skills of their parents.

Alarmingly, participation in Head Start actually had some negative effects on enrolled children. Federal researchers reported worse peer relations and lower teacher-assessed math ability for Head Start children.

It’s no wonder then that the results of the HHS evaluation were released on a quiet Friday before Christmas in 2012, when most of the federal government and its employees had left Washington.

As Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Jay Greene commented at the time, HHS “might as well put the results on display in a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory behind the sign that says ‘Beware of the leopard.’” (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

The bad outcomes don’t end there.

In 2010, the Government Accountability Office found several Head Start centers around the country actively counseling families to underreport their incomes in order to appear eligible for services. Head Start employees even assured the undercover families that no one would check to see if their information was correct, doctored forms to hide income, and told applicants to misrepresent their eligibility.

And as Heritage Foundation research fellow Jonathan Butcher has reported, the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services found “significant lapses in safety practices” in numerous states.

Among the 175 Head Start centers the inspector general investigated:

[N]one complied fully with federal Head Start or state requirements to protect children from unsafe materials and equipment, and 21 of 24 grantees did not comply fully with federal Head Start or state requirements to conduct criminal records checks, conduct recurring background checks, document criminal records checks, conduct checks of child care exclusion lists, or conduct checks of child abuse and neglect registries.

The program is also increasingly expensive.

The rate of spending on Head Start has exceeded enrollment growth over the decades, and—as David Armor, professor emeritus, and Sonia Sousa, affiliate assistant professor of public policy, at George Mason University explain—had tripled to nearly $7 billion annually by 2000, with per capita spending exceeding $8,000 per child (up from $5,000 per child in real terms throughout the 1970s and 1980s).

Head Start spending crossed the $9 billion mark in 2014 (exceeding $9,000 per child per year). Today, annual Head Start appropriations total $10.7 billion annually, or more than $10,200 per participant.

Much of that spending supports Head Start staff salaries, as the program now acts as a federal jobs program for a quarter of a million adults. More than 265,000 adults were on staff with Head Start in 2018, 22% of whom were parents of children currently or formerly enrolled in the program.

Since 1965, Head Start has been a sinkhole for taxpayer dollars and an ineffective education program for children. And yet, proponents—hand in glove with Congress—want to model hundreds of billions of dollars in the $3.5 trillion tax-and-spending package on it.

It’s yet one more indication that President Joe Biden’s plan doesn’t “Build Back Better.” It’s building back bureaucracy.


Parents, Lawmakers Sue Over New York’s School Mask Mandate

A group of New York parents and two local legislators are suing to overturn the state’s requirement for school children to wear masks.

They allege the mandate was issued illegally and wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny if the state tried to pass it through the correct procedures.

They’re asking the court to toss the mandate as “arbitrary and capricious.”

State Sen. George Borrello (R-Sunset Bay), one of the plaintiffs, said he’s hearing the majority of his constituents in the Niagara Falls area are against masking children. His gripe, however, is mainly with what he sees as the usurpation of power by the governor.

“My focus is on what I believe is the unconstitutional overreach of the executive,” he told The Epoch Times.

Since the onset of the pandemic, he said he’s seen the legislature be all too willing to abdicate its responsibilities and hand over near-absolute mandate to the administration.

“I’m not against children wearing masks in school. I’m not even necessarily against mandates in certain circumstances,” he said. “But to circumvent the laws and just absolutely shred the separation of powers in your state is a scary situation.”

The office of Gov. Kathy Hochul didn’t respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Health (DOH) told The Epoch Times via email that the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

The mandate was announced by Hochul on Aug. 24, the day she assumed office after the resignation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The DOH promulgated it three days later, saying school children and staff, from prekindergarten to 12th grade, have to wear masks at all times regardless of vaccination to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease. The rule is based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rule was issued under emergency powers, skipping the usual public comment period.

In such cases, the state law requires the administration to explain why the rule is “necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety or general welfare” and why the regular process would go against “public interest.” The explanation should also include the expected duration of the emergency.

The suit lists several precedents that indicate the state needs to be specific in its justification. It argues the administration was not.

“Department of Health’s Notice of Emergency Adoption is a boilerplate statement composed of a myriad of inaccuracies regarding the present situation in New York as it relates to COVID-19,” it states.

The suit goes on to allege the state didn’t go into details because it would have revealed the lack of a proper justification.

The rule notice says that since the emergence of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, New York has “become the national epicenter of the outbreak.” But the state hasn’t been the epicenter for over a year now, the lawsuit says.

The notice mentions the disaster emergency declared by the previous governor, Andrew Cuomo. But that one expired in June and the new governor, Kathy Hochul, hasn’t declared a new one.

The notice does mention that the current dominant variant of the virus is “twice as transmissible” and that detected infections had increased tenfold in the state. But two “conclusory sentences regarding the Delta variant are not specific reasons that would satisfy the issuance of an emergency regulation impacting millions of children in the State of New York,” the suit argues.

The suit goes further by claiming the DOH doesn’t have the authority to issue the rule to begin with.

“DOH has, as an administrative agency, the authority to fill in the gaps of broad legislation describing the overall policies to be implemented. It does not, however, have the authority to write legislation on a clean slate, creating its own comprehensive set of rules without the benefit of legislative guidance,” it says.

The suit also cites articles by several experts, including the opinions of two doctors and a neuropsychologist all opposing mask mandates for children. They said children do not face a significant risk from the virus and rarely spread it to others, based on their reading of the scientific literature on the subject. Masking, on the other hand, has a significant negative impact on children, they say, preventing children from reading lip movement and facial expressions, a crucial aspect of child’s development, and may have some negative health effects too.


Virginia Congressman Introduces Legislation to Prohibit Critical Race Theory at Federally-Funded Schools

Virginia Congressman Rep. Bob Good (R) is introducing legislation Wednesday that would make teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) at federally-funded schools a civil rights violation.

Good’s bill, the Protecting Students Civil Rights Act, would bar CRT and any other form of curriculum resembling it from permeating schools. He noted that his constituents have voiced concerns to him over what their children are being taught in schools, including that their children are being “divided by race.”

"We are introducing a bill that will make it a civil rights violation to teach critical race theory or anything resembling it by any other name in our schools," Good told Fox News on Tuesday.

“We have constituents reaching out to us from all across our district very concerned about what’s being taught in their schools,” Good added. “Their children are being divided by race. They are being taught, again, that they are responsible for the sins of their past. If they’re a white kid, they are undeniably an oppressor because of their race. If they’re a black kid, they’re undeniably a victim because of their race. We don’t believe that kids look at each other that way.”

CRT in public schools has been a hot-button issue across the country, especially in Virginia. Loudoun County, as we’ve covered, has made national headlines for pushing its agenda of CRT curriculum, transgender pronouns, and explosive school board meetings as a result.

Good, who assumed office in January, has been a vocal opponent of CRT, and specifically, the “1619 Project,” the New York Times’ journalism ongoing “project” on the history of racism in America. The “1619 Project” is reportedly being taught in some schools across the country, as well as other forms of “anti-racism” curriculum.

"What we hope to accomplish is to advance Martin Luther King's principles, which were to judge people by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin," Bob said of the legislation to Fox News. “Our race doesn’t determine our future. Our actions, our values, and the things that we achieve as individuals determine our future.”




Wednesday, September 29, 2021

NYC Vaccine Mandate for Teachers Delayed by Federal Judge Just Days Before Set to Go into Effect

A vaccine mandate expected to go into effect on Monday has been temporarily halted thanks to a Friday night reprieve by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Melissa Klein reported for The New York Post that the court granted a temporary injunction against the vaccine mandate and sent it to a three-judge panel for "expedited review." The hearing will take place on Wednesday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio in August announced a mandate that NYC school teachers and school staff members must have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or else they would lose their job. It's the largest school system in the country.

"It’s the first no-test-option vaccination mandate for a broad group of city workers in the nation’s most populous city. And it mirrors a similar statewide mandate for hospital and nursing home workers set to go into effect Monday," Michael Hill reported for the Associated Press.

While there is no such option, unvaccinated teachers and staff members must meanwhile still continue to submit their negative test results.

Klein pointed out that among those subject to the mandate include safety officers, which leads to other concerns over security and working longer hours to make up for staffing issues:

In addition, nearly 1,500 unvaccinated school safety agents — of 4,300 under NYPD supervision — could also be barred from working, creating a potential security crisis at schools.

The Teamsters union representing the agents, Local 237, is expected to file a labor complaint Monday because those on duty next week will be forced to work 12-hour shifts — 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday — to make up for the gaps in staffing.

“Rather than negotiating with Local 237 prior to announcing and implementing the vaccine mandate to avoid this very problem, the City and NYPD now place the burden of their ill-considered policy choice on the backs” of the school safety agents, the complaint says, according to a copy obtained by The Post.

While the hearing isn't scheduled to take place until Wednesday, the Department of Education (DOE) anticipates they will be victorious. An email from Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter was sent out to DOE staff Saturday morning saying "we should continue to prepare for the possibility that the vaccine mandate will go into effect later in the week."

"We’re confident our vaccine mandate will continue to be upheld once all the facts have been presented, because that is the level of protection our students and staff deserve." Danielle Filson, a spokesperson for NYC Public Schools said.

More than 82 percent have been vaccinated, which means as 28,000 workers have not been, Klein pointed out.

Earlier this month Leah reported that Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Laurence L. Love issued a temporary restraining order against the mandate. He lifted that order on Wednesday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio also announced a mandate in August requiring proof of partial vaccination for those who wished to go out to eat, exercise at the gym, go to concert performances, or other indoor activities. "If you want to participate in our city fully, you've got to get vaccinated," de Blasio said during an August 3 press conference.


Christopher Rufo: The media is lying about CRT -- parents of every race oppose teaching it in schools

Over the past year, the left-leaning media has peddled the narrative that an emotional constellation of "white resentment," "white fragility," "white rage," and "white fear" drives opposition to critical race theory in America’s public schools. Now NBC News claims it can prove it.

In a long story featuring analysis of demographic data, NBC News reporter Tyler Kingkade and data editor Nigel Chiwaya claim that the parent uprisings against critical race theory, which have occurred in more than 200 school districts across the country, are a "backlash" against "rapid demographic change" and "the exposure of white students to students of color."

Or, to put it bluntly, it’s the ugly reaction of white racism in the face of rapidly integrating schools. As left-leaning Slate concluded, NBC’s reporting proves that fear of "white replacement" and the desire to "protect whiteness" motivate the anti-critical race theory movement.

There is only one problem: NBC’s analysis is nonsense. The report, like the left-wing narrative about critical race theory more generally, fails both statistically and imaginatively. NBC News builds its narrative on the claim that "many of the school districts facing backlash over equity initiatives are diversifying faster than the national average."

The report provides data for 33 school districts, which undermine its argument in two ways: first, one-third of these districts have diversified slower, rather than faster, than the national average; and second, according to NBC News’ own reporting, there have been anti-critical race theory protests in at least 220 school districts nationwide, which means that NBC failed even to analyze 85 percent of the evidence.

But the NBC report, like almost all mainstream media coverage, fails an even greater imaginative test: these publications cannot imagine a world outside the framing of the 1960s civil rights era, comparing opposition to critical race theory with racial segregation, Jim Crow, and the Ku Klux Klan. NBC suggests darkly that these communities "have long segregated their schools" to exclude blacks, while the Slate piece makes a more explicit comparison between parent protesters and "Louisiana’s White League," "racist mass shooters," and the "Capitol insurrectionists."

These comparisons fall apart after the most basic examination. Parents in Fairfax and Loudoun County, Virginia, whom the NBC News report cast in a negative light, aren’t old-line racists and segregationists but educated, affluent, and diverse citizens in the elite suburbs surrounding Washington, D.C.

Contrary to the narrative about white families lashing out against an influx of minority students, the leader of the parent opposition in Fairfax County is an Indian-American woman, Asra Nomani, who has blasted critical race theory for reducing academic standards and discriminating against high-performing Asians. And Loudoun County has roughly the same proportion of blacks as it did 20 years ago; the highest rate of population growth has been among Asians and Latinos, who, according to a recent Rasmussen poll, oppose critical race theory by a two-to-one margin—the same as white voters.

Virginia public school district denounces CRT curriculum Video
NBC News’ misleading report is part of a broader campaign to confuse the public about critical race theory. Over the summer, as the parent protests began to make headlines, left-leaning media initially claimed that CRT was an obscure theory found only in law schools. But parents saw the overwhelming amount of reporting about critical race theory in their schools and powerful organizations, including the national teachers’ union and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, explicitly endorsing critical race theory in public education. When these and other attempts at denial and deflection failed, left-leaning activists and journalists fell back on an old sawhorse: decrying opponents as racists.

This gambit will not work, either. Though few parents have delved into the bibliographies of critical race theory architects like Derrick Bell or Kimberlé Crenshaw, most parents have an instinctual feel for the danger that such divisive ideologies pose to their kids. Polling data going back nine months marks a clear progression: the more Americans hear about critical race theory, the likelier they are to oppose it.

In a poll conducted between December 2020 and February 2021, the Heritage Foundation found that only 35 percent of parents were familiar with critical race theory, with 14 percent having an unfavorable opinion and 26 percent having a favorable opinion, while the rest were neutral or unsure. This summer, however, after six months of heavy media coverage, those numbers turned upside down. A June 2021 Economist/YouGov poll found that 64 percent of adults had heard of critical race theory, of whom 58 percent had an unfavorable opinion and 38 percent had a favorable opinion.

The racial dynamics, too, scramble the lazy narrative about "white backlash." New data from Manhattan Institute and Echelon Insights, based on polling in America’s fastest-growing cities, shows that parents oppose critical race theory in the public school curriculum by a massive 42-point margin, and a strong majority of black and Hispanic parents oppose critical race theory and support removing "concepts such as white privilege and systemic racism" from the curriculum. The reality, contra Slate and NBC News, is that most parents, including minorities, oppose critical race theory.

Finally, opposition to critical race theory isn’t strictly a conservative or Republican issue. For example, Loudoun and Fairfax Counties, which NBC News painted as bastions of backward-looking conservatism, are in fact quite liberal: in 2020, voters in these two counties picked Joe Biden by a 25-point and 39-point margin, respectively. And yet, according to a Public Opinion Strategies poll, they oppose critical race theory in schools by an eight-point margin, and 59 percent of public-school parents view the theory negatively.

Americans have moved past the politics of the 1960s. They are tolerant, integrated, and in agreement that malicious racial theories of all kinds should stay out of the classroom. It’s past time for the media to take note.


A university in Washington has created segregated housing specifically for Black students

Will they be sent to the back of the bus as well?

Western Washington University has designated the fourth floor of Alma Clark Glass Hall as housing reserved for its "Black Affinity Housing program," becoming the latest school to adopt such a program.

"The program will explore and celebrate the diversity of Black and African American people and culture, with historical and contemporary context," the program website reads, also saying that all "Western students residing in the program help foster a warm and vibrant community supporting social, personal and academic success."

"Black Affinity Housing residents, representing all diverse identities, pride themselves on fostering a sense of belonging for all residents by creating a safe environment for open, honest, and sometimes challenging dialogue," the website continues.

The university hosted a webinar in April on the subject, saying the segregated living space gives students "the opportunity to live in a shared space… with others who have a shared identity, specifically a marginalized identity."

Additionally, the university said that the Black student organizations and Black applicants to the school have called for the housing program and defended the move as "not breaking ground on something new."

The controversial program segregating student housing based on race has been adopted at some other colleges, including the University of Colorado at Boulder, Stanford University and Cornell University.

American University in Washington, D.C., announced it would be offering Black Affinity Housing after the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.

Western Washington University did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.




Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Washington state school BANS teacher from hanging pro-police flag in her classroom because it's too 'political' - but BLM and Pride banners are allowed

A teacher in Washington state says she was forced to take down the pro-police flag she hung in her classroom to honor her brother, over claims that it was 'too political.'

'She was told it makes students and teachers of color uncomfortable,' Sutherland told

'They told her that it's controversial to have that flag up,' Chris Sutherland, the teacher's brother, told The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. 'That it makes kids and staff feel unsafe, which to me, that does not make sense at all.'

He said his sister, who has not been named, hung the Thin Blue Line flag on her bulletin board to support him, a former police officer with the Marysville Police Department who served as a resource officer during the fatal Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting in 2014.

The flag in the teacher's room was surrounded with pictures of him.

But soon, administrators at the Marysville School District started to take issue with her flag, and asked her to take it down or face repercussions.

Yet the district reportedly allows banners supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and Pride flags to be hung on district property.

Sutherland said his sister first had a Thin Blue Line sticker on her laptop, which an assistant principal seemed to take issue with.

In a HR document about the incident, which conservative radio host Jason Rantz, of KTTH, obtained, the assistant principal said there were 'concerns about how students, families and community members might interpret what the image is intending to communicate, and that this interpretation may cause a disruption to the learning environment.'

The objections were soon dropped, though, and the teacher later posted the flag in her classroom.

Soon, Rantz reports, a second assistant principal ordered the flag to be taken down, an an HR representative for the Marysville School District said in a Letter of Clarification to the teacher that the district was 'highly concerned about the impact of this political symbol on students, staff and families of Marysville Middle School.'

It said the assistant principal 'had heard concerns from other staff members about how this political symbol might negatively impact the overall work environment,' but does not indicate what those concerns were.

She tried to fight back, he said, telling them 'she was leaving it up because of what it meant to her.'

District officials then told her to 'refrain from using the "Thin Blue Line Flag" symbol' in the school by the morning of September 8, or she could face 'further disciplinary action.'

But the district did not seem to have a problem with the Pride flag she hung up in support of her sister, Sutherland said. 'There's also, she was telling me, BLM stuff hanging on the walls, which she was told is OK,' he told Rantz. 'Just for whatever reason, just the Thin Blue Line flag cannot be hung up there.'

Eventually, Rantz reports, the teacher decided to remove the Thin Blue Line flag, but wrote in a message to the school's Human Resources department that the ordeal 'has been the most traumatic and hostile' situation she has experienced at the school.

She wrote: 'I was proud to come back as a Marysville alumni and begin teaching here in 2014. I remain hopeful for the remainder of the school year.'

The teacher further explained that the decision to pull the flag came from 'an agenda rather than really wanting to gain any understanding of me, who I am, or my story.'

She added that the incident 'left a lasting impression,' but she forgives the school district for the sleight.

'It really hurts,' Sutherland told 'I know it hurts her too and many more to make her take down the flag that represents us in law enforcement in a school district where we had one of the worst school shootings a couple years ago.

'I was on campus at Marysville-Pilchuck High School that day, and gave my heart and soul in an effort to make things normal,' he noted. 'I worked so close with the school district and community that it now feels like a slap in the face to me and my brothers and sisters in law enforcement who support us.

'Plus the district does not wait any time at all to call us when they need us,' Sutherland added. 'If the flag and sight of police officers is that bad and scary, then why do they still call?'

Sutherland noted that his sister will continue to fight to get the flag back up in her classroom without fear of being fired for it.


Britain’s Covid-era university students may suffer ‘impostor syndrome’

New intake of undergraduates could feel like frauds, says study, because they didn’t sit A-level exams

New students are more likely to suffer “impostor syndrome” because they have won their place at university on the back of teacher-assessed A-level grades and not exams, a new study has warned.

Undergraduates arriving on campuses this week may “feel like a fraud” as they have not had the chance to “earn” their grades in public examinations, said the study from the University of Leeds. Such perceptions could particularly affect students from disadvantaged backgrounds, leaving some at risk of dropping out, it warned. A strong sense of belonging at university is associated with the feeling that a student “deserves” their place, said the Psychology Learning and Teaching journal’s study.

“When students do not feel that their place at university is legitimately earned, they may experience ‘impostor syndrome’, or ‘feeling like a fraud’, which is related to mental health problems, such as anxiety,” the paper said. “However, academic-related ‘impostor syndrome’ may be negated by pretertiary grades that serve as a testament to students’ ability to perform academically.”

Pandemic restrictions denied this year’s students traditional exam grades to “justify” their university place. “This may lead to unique identity management concerns that must be negotiated, particularly among lower socio-economic status students,” said researchers.

Under teacher-assessed grades this summer, 45% of candidates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were awarded an A/A*, compared with the 25% awarded the top grades in exams in 2019. The Department for Education has said it “expects” exams to run in 2022 and is proposing mitigating measures for pupils who have missed out on teaching, such as allowing them to choose the topics they will be examined on.

But there are concerns that pupils will not be given enough advance notice of the changes and that no contingency plan has been drawn up by the government. “The last thing we want to see is exams cancelled again, but given what has happened this year and last, it is a matter of common sense to map out a contingency plan,” said Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders. “Students, teachers and leaders deserve to know what this would look like as soon as possible, so that they can plan, rather than decisions being left to the last minute yet again.”

The Leeds study also said that students’ sense of disconnect could be exacerbated by the reduced opportunity to mix because of online teaching. Most UK institutions are retaining some online teaching, despite students’ preference for in-person learning and government directives to scrap Covid restrictions and offer a normal student experience.

“Given that online teaching, or a hybrid of online and in-person teaching, may last into the next academic year, students in the incoming cohort may also not have … frequent in-person peer-to-peer social interaction during the transition to university,” the study said. “The social networks of students are an important factor in buffering stress and improving academic performance.”

It recommends universities take measures to foster a sense of belonging, particularly with underrepresented groups of students, through peer-to-peer support schemes and measures to boost the academic confidence of a cohort that has missed out on substantial amounts of schooling. The Office for Students has also told universities to provide more support for students who may be less well prepared than previous cohorts.

Jamie Halls, the first in his family to go to university, is about to start a biology degree at Essex University. Studying for A-levels during lockdown at the Sixth Form College, Colchester, was challenging, he said.

“I felt more confident about the A-level content that was taught before lockdown than during it. There was a lot of uncertainty about whether exams were going to happen or not, and that was unsettling. “I do feel that we missed out on the opportunity to sit the final exams, although we did exams and mocks at school. When it comes to comparing grades, it’s hard to know if you are on the same page and have the same knowledge as other people.”

Along with 700 other applicants, Jamie completed the Essex Preparation Programme over the summer, a specially designed six-week, online course to help new students hit the ground running when they begin degree courses next month.

“It was really useful. We covered things like independent learning and critical thinking,” said Jamie. “It’s felt like a long time since the end of the school term and the programme has helped to put me in the frame of mind to look forward to learning again.”


Australia: A major Queensland university is set to ditch lectures next year in a move which has been slammed by the tertiary education union and protested by students

Seems a lot of nonsense to me, as a retired lecturer

From 2022 the University of the Sunshine Coast will no longer have in-person or online lecturers, with students instead to be provided with alternative learning materials such as quizzes and podcasts.

In a message to students about the change, USC stated “traditional style lecturers have been demonstrated to have poor learning outcomes”.

But many students have already voiced their concerns with USC psychology students launching a petition protesting the change, which has gathered more than 600 signatures.

USC Pro Vice-Chancellor (students) Professor Denise Wood told The Courier-Mai lecture attendance had been dramatically declining over the past few years, and students would now have access to more “engaging” online learning materials.

“USC remains predominantly a face-to-face on campus learning environment and that’s not changing,” she said.

“However over the years learning and teaching has changed, we are now living in a period of contemporary learning and teaching practice.

“Over the last decade, as has the entire sector, we’ve seen a gradual shift from the number of students wanting to come to face-to-face lecturers.

“A decade ago, you would see about 50 per cent attendance by week four, now you’re lucky to see between 20 and 25 per cent.”

National Tertiary Education Union Queensland secretary Michael McNally said members were concerned the university was taking a “one size fits all” approach, by ditching lecturers for all subjects.

“That’s a bit of a slamming condemnation of everything all of the staff up until now have been doing,” he said.

“A lot of our lecturers are quite happy to do some or even all of their teaching in this kind of format, because it works for them, it works for the subject they teach and their students prefer it.

“But there are also lots of situations where that type of format isn’t the best, and the academic staff need to have the ability to decide what’s the best learning format for their students.”

Prof. Wood said there would be no job losses with the change.

“The academics will still need to be available … and of course still need to respond to students,” she said.

In their petition, psychology students argued the “proposed will have a negative effect on student learning, specifically the psychology undergraduate degree”.

“Many students feel that the introduced interactive platform is a way for less and less teacher contact time,” the petition stated.

Prof. Wood said the university would listen to student feedback, with a survey currently underway.

“We will work with the student senate on analysing the feedback from students, and we will be responsive to it,” she said.




The difficulty of balance in discussing America's racist past

History teacher Valanna White filed into the auditorium the first week of August for the customary back-to-school all-staff meeting at Walker Valley high school in Cleveland, Tennessee. What she heard shifted her outlook for the coming school year. On 1 July, a new law took effect banning the teaching of critical race theory in Tennessee public schools. White listened intently as a school district official gave a vague overview informing the group that critical race theory was prohibited, though without fully explaining what critical race theory entails. Instead, teachers were told a list of actions – such as discussing racial discrimination – that were forbidden.

White left the meeting confused and frustrated. Tennessee’s academic standards for US history require high school teachers to cover topics including Jim Crow laws, Plessy v Ferguson – the 1896 supreme court case upholding the separate-but-equal doctrine – and the civil rights movement. “I can’t talk about the civil rights movement without talking about Bloody Sunday and the premise behind Bloody Sunday, the premise behind voter suppression,” she said, dreading the repercussions “for just teaching my standards”.

As the one Black teacher in a high school of 1,400 students, White felt alienated. Racial discrimination is not an abstract concept to her. Classroom conversations about race and institutional racism were already a delicate dance of carefully chosen words delivered by White to her school’s majority white student body. “No matter what I say, it’s constantly scrutinized or even misconstrued,” she said, adding that students often equate material on race as her opinion, as opposed to factual information. Now teaching a precise accounting of history was going to be not just tricky but professionally risky. “It’s all about interpretation, regardless if I’m presenting facts or not … if they perceive it wrong, I could get in trouble.”

In Tennessee, teachers are now required to avoid materials that state “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently privileged, racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or subconsciously”. Among the repercussions for violating the new measure are Tennessee districts losing state funding and individual teachers having their licenses revoked or suspended.

Teaching America’s complex racial past has become infinitely more difficult with a spate of new laws passed in some states in recent months. As racial justice protests and a so-called national reckoning on race have prompted a closer examination of whose history is excluded in schools and why, outlawing critical race theory (CRT) became the rallying cry of conservative lawmakers in state houses, by state boards of education, and at raucous school board meetings. CRT emerged in the 1980s as an academic discipline commonly taught in colleges and law schools. The concept interrogates the ways that institutional and structural racism have fundamentally shaped the country’s policies and laws. Experts view it as a way of explaining deep racial disparities in the US and grappling with America’s history of white supremacy. Others argue that CRT amounts to racially divisive indoctrination of students.

Twenty-two states have passed or are considering legislation to ban or restrict discourse on race and racism in the country’s public K-12 classrooms, according to a Brookings Institution analysis completed in August. Starting this month, teachers in Texas are barred from telling students that “slavery and racism are anything other than deviations from, betrayals of, or failures to live up to, the authentic founding principles of the United States, which include liberty and equality”. And in July in Iowa, teaching concepts that could lead to “discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of that individual’s race or sex” were prohibited.

Heading into a new school year, many teachers are broadly feeling the backlash from scaremongering headlines and condemnations of CRT by lawmakers. But the overheated rhetoric has put Black teachers – already a meager share of the workforce – in a uniquely vulnerable position. Amid a renewed urgency to teach about race, some Black teachers are reminded daily that their racial identity is a liability rather than an asset – a consequence with historical significance and potentially long-lasting effects, including a shrinking pool of Black teachers in public schools.

Thomas M Philip is a professor at Berkeley’s graduate school of education whose research examines how teachers act based on their sense of agency in classrooms. He says anti-history laws that support a narrowly skewed, one-dimensional version of history undermine the purpose of teaching for many Black teachers. Studies show that Black teachers, in particular, come to teaching with strong commitments to providing a more nuanced portrayal of history and society. So as public schools move toward “teaching as conveying a narrow set of skills and discourse as patriotism”, teachers who are willing to have “complex dialogues in a classroom around issues of race, racism, and racial justice will find it harder to remain in the profession”, Philip said.

Monique Cottman, a Black teacher leader who trains and supports teachers in a large school district in Iowa, said her state’s law had a “chilling effect” on Black teachers, affecting their ability to be their authentic selves at their schools. Some are now questioning whether to stay in the classroom, said Cottman, who requested not to name her district. The dichotomy, she said, is answering their calling to teach or following a law that treats them “like a second-class citizen. Black teachers today are thinking about what it means for school districts to deny us our human rights in the name of legality.”

She noted the double bind the laws have created in schools, where school diversity is openly praised, but Black teachers are expected to closet a part of their identity at work. Cottman, a 15-year teaching veteran, recalled one example of a school’s administrators celebrating the presence of Black Lives Matter flags, but answering a Black teacher with silence when she asked what her value was at the school.

“That, I think, is indicative of the internal conflict,” Cottman said, “that a Black teacher knows I am going into a school that will wave a Black Lives Matter flag, but also lets me know in other ways that my Black life does not matter here, that I don’t have a voice in decisions that will make this a less hostile environment for me, that I can’t teach the truth now under this current legislation.”


‘My body is not a distraction’: Thirty pupils suspended for protesting school rules forcing girls to cover up

Thirty high school pupils in Oklahoma have been suspended after protesting against “sexist” dress codes that forced them to cover their midriffs and shoulders.

The protest saw students at Mustang High School carrying signs with messages including “Dress codes are sexist”, “My body is not a distraction”, “Stop sexualising our bodies” and “I go to a school where the length of my shirt and shorts is more important than my education”.

Though the school district’s dress code does not specifically mention gender, many of its provisions focus specifically on clothes more often worn by girls.

As well as banning spiked jewellery, “gang dress” or visible underwear, the code forbids “cleavage”, bare midriffs, tube tops, spaghetti straps, “biker or spandex shorts”, leggings that are not covered by another garment, and makeup that “disrupts the learning environment”.

It adds: “Interpretation of questionable attire will be at the principal’s discretion. Violations may result in disciplinary action.”

Kirk Wilson, director of communications for Mustang Public Schools, said: “There was a small protest before school at Mustang High School on Friday, September 10, 2021. When class began, the protest ended and most of the students attended class as normal.

“There were a handful of students who violated the student code of conduct after class began and those situations were addressed ... we remain committed to supporting our students and providing a safe and nurturing learning environment.”

He declined to discuss their specific punishments, citing federal school privacy law.


The Pandemic Broke a Fundamental Principle of Teaching

We’ve all been focusing on getting kids back into the classroom, but what happens once they get there? As the Delta variant threatens to wreak more havoc, kids are returning to school, at least for now—and teachers are finding themselves in a race to undo the damage of the past 18 months. Many of us, for the first time in our careers, will have no idea what our students know on the opening day of school.

More than 340,000 American children who should have been in public kindergartens last year didn’t show up to a single day of virtual or in-person school. Absentee rates were higher in kindergarten than in other grades, and in lower-income families than in higher-income ones, but in many cities and states, an alarming number of students across ages and income brackets never enrolled in the schools that were expecting them. And that’s just the students who missed the entire year. Millions more lost days, weeks, or months because of the pandemic; many who did attend didn’t learn very much.

Although the pandemic has exacerbated already stark inequities in the achievement gap, it’s impossible to know what the ripple effects of falling behind pre-pandemic standards will be when it comes to long-term success for students, financially or otherwise. According to a McKinsey report, “unless steps are taken to address unfinished learning, today’s students may earn $49,000 to $61,000 less over their lifetime owing to the impact of the pandemic on their schooling.”

We teachers typically enter a school year ready to teach a set curriculum that fits between what was taught the previous year and what will be taught the next. The expression we use for this is “scope and sequence.” Scope refers to what material is covered, and in what breadth and depth. Sequence is the order in which the material is taught. Third grade follows second and precedes fourth, and teachers all have a basic sense of where kids are when they begin the year and where they need to be when they end it.

But the pandemic has scrambled this system in unpredictable and irregular ways. Margaret Meyer, a longtime fifth-grade-English teacher at Grace Church School in New York City, always starts the semester with an abridged version of Beowulf— but now, she said, “I’m trying to prepare a million different options for whatever greets me on day one.” At schools around the country, we teachers will start planning to teach algebra II, only to find that some of our students don’t yet know the basics of pre-algebra. Lesson plans we’ve relied on for years or decades will no longer work for our students.

“It’s terrifying. On top of having to teach students who haven’t been in a classroom in almost 18 months, some of our teachers haven’t been in a classroom to teach in person in that long,” a New Rochelle public-school principal, who asked to speak anonymously because he didn’t have authorization from his district to talk with the press, told us. “Nobody really knows what to expect. It’s impossible to plan.”

Read: This school year is going to be a mess—again

The solution is complex. For starters, educators must assess—far more comprehensively than we have before—which skills our students have retained. We’ll need to believe assessments that show that some students are not yet ready to tackle the material that their age or grade level suggests they should. Then we’ll most likely be faced with a stark choice: to try to get through the material we’ve taught in the past or to focus instead on the underlying basics. We will want to achieve the impossible: catching up students who may be two years behind grade-level standards while simultaneously teaching and motivating those who are where they should be.

But we can’t “catch up,” and trying is counterproductive. We don’t have a playbook for this, and we don’t have enough time in the 185-day school year to cram in all of the material that was taught pre-pandemic. This moment calls for a sort of radical flexibility in reevaluating what needs to be taught and how best to teach it.

Because the sequence has been disrupted, teachers must both shift back in time to ensure that kids haven’t missed out on important material and cut back on scope. Much of what we teach kids is arbitrary, so we need to be more discerning about what we’re teaching. For example, a student might benefit from understanding animal physiology by the end of a high-school biology unit—but not at the expense of core topics like evolution or genetics.

These choices are more complicated in some subjects than in others: Third-grade teachers can’t introduce multiplication to kids who don’t yet understand addition. But in general, we’ve found that students benefit more from learning and practicing processes, models, approaches, and skills than from spending time on specific facts and details that they are likely to forget.

And no matter the subject we teach, teachers must collaborate as never before. Teachers rely on fundamentals taught by educators of lower grades—think of a seventh-grade-English teacher accustomed to focusing on literary analysis, who might not be equipped with the skills of his fourth-grade-teacher colleagues to provide instruction in comprehension and inference skills. Administrators should provide time for teachers to offer mini professional-development lessons for their peers.

Andy Hagon, the head of junior school at St. Bernard’s in Manhattan, emphasizes this need for all parties to work together. “Teachers will have to adapt again to the unique needs of kids who may have fallen behind,” he told us. “I hope that the adults involved can dig deep and find even more patience and collaborate on possible curriculum changes; the kids deserve nothing but our best efforts.”

Hagon stressed that parents would be a crucial part of this readjustment process. Sometimes it can be difficult for teachers to know whether students are struggling with course material, study skills, or social problems, so a quick note from a parent—or better yet, parental encouragement for kids to self-advocate and approach teachers on their own—can be invaluable.

At any given point, some students in class are confused while others are bored. But out of this crisis might come an opportunity to pay more attention to the wide range of starting points that have always been present in our classrooms. Schools can now assess and recalibrate which skills are taught at what grade levels, expanding differentiation and collaboration wherever possible. Administrators can provide opportunities for teachers of younger grades to help teachers of older grades instill or reinforce the basics. We cannot make up for lost time, but educators’ commitment to each student demands that we be deliberate in making the best possible use of the time we have now.




Sunday, September 26, 2021

COVID-19 Exacerbates Teacher Shortages Across Public Schools, Forcing Some to Return to Remote Learning

Teacher shortages and difficulties filling job openings have been reported in Tennessee, New Jersey, and South Dakota, which saw one school district begin the year with 120 teacher vacancies.

In Texas, Houston, Waco, and a number of other districts saw hundreds of teaching vacancies unfilled at the start of the year.

In one California school district, staff are reportedly sending flyers home with students to let parents know the district is “now hiring.”

The shortage comes amid a spike in retirements and resignations of teachers prompted by the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, schools are already under pressure to hire tutors to make up for lost learning time, while more positions need to be filled in order to run online learning classes for those who aren’t ready to return.

According to a June poll that surveyed 2,690 members of the National Education Association between May 19 and May 26, one-third of members reported plans to leave education sooner than they had initially planned as a result of the pandemic, which could further exacerbate the existing teacher shortage.

A separate survey conducted by the RAND Corp. in January and February found that nearly one in four teachers said that they were likely to leave their jobs by the end of the 2020–21 school year, compared with one in six teachers who were likely to leave prior to the pandemic.

The survey noted that a higher proportion of teachers had reported experiencing frequent job-related stress and symptoms of depression when compared to the general population, citing pandemic-era teaching conditions, such as technical problems while teaching remotely, as just some of those job-related stresses.

Public schools across the United States were already suffering from teacher shortages, particularly in math, science, special education, and languages, prior to the pandemic. But several of them have now been forced to shut down and return to remote learning amid further unfilled vacancies.

Linda Darling-Hammond, president of California’s State Board of Education, said the shortage was “really a nationwide issue and definitely a statewide issue.”

The shortages could potentially lead to some schools, particularly those in low-income communities, hiring under-qualified teachers as they race to fill vacant positions while class sizes expand.

One school, Mount Diablo Unified School District, which serves 28,000 students east of San Francisco, has filled several of its elementary classrooms at the maximum capacity of 32 students—even while social distancing rules remain in place—in an effort to relieve pressure from remote teachers.

Initially, around 150 children had signed up for distance learning. But that number soon spiked to 600 during the pandemic.

As a result, some schools—including Mount Diablo district—are now offering sizable bonus schemes for some of their teachers in an effort to fill vacancies.

Adam Clark, superintendent of Mount Diablo Unified, said the district is offering $5,000 signing bonuses for speech pathologists and $1,500 bonuses for paraeducators who help students with learning needs.

Another California school district, San Francisco Unified, is offering a similar bonus scheme for 100 paraeducator jobs, while nearby West Contra Costa County Unified School District is providing $6,000 signing bonuses for teachers, with a third of that paid out after the first month.

And the teacher shortage isn’t just a problem facing U.S. schools. In New South Wales (NSW), Australia, the alarming shortage of teachers led to numerous occasions of combined classes of up to 45 students and minimal supervision throughout regional and intercity schools.

“This is an example of the very real impact teacher shortages are having on students and teachers in schools from the inner west of Sydney to the Far West of NSW,” NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said in a statement. “As we prepare for schools to go back next term, it is a stark reminder of why teacher shortages must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”


School shootings are a tragic reality in our day and age

Including blacks

It has been noted that there has been an increase in school shootings not just in the United States but worldwide.

However, it would be incorrect to claim that school shootings are on the rise due to stricter gun control laws being introduced across America. There are other factors involved when looking into school shootings. A report released by Northeastern University stated that homicide rates have dropped while school shooting rates have increased annually. The report also indicated that guns used in school shootings were obtained legally 90% of the time.

Looking into each school shooting can help understand what factors are at play. The school shooting in Parkland, Florida was an example of a school shooting that had stricter gun control laws introduced and yet the school shooter still managed to obtain guns legally.

The school shootings in Nevada and Texas were carried out by students who obtained firearms from their family members. It is evident that stricter gun control laws do not prevent school shootings where the guns are obtained legally.

Now that school is back, shootings are back as well. Police had to respond to a shooting in Newport News, Virginia which resulted in what they're referring to as a "mass casualty event".

WAVY News reported,

Newport News police say two students who were shot Monday at Heritage High School are expected to recover, and the suspect is now in custody.

Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said both victims were 17 years old. A boy was shot in the side of the face and a girl was shot in the lower leg. Drew said both of the two victims’ injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

So two students were shot. Let me ask you something, did you actually hear about this in the news? I'm willing to bet that you didn't. And do you know why? IT DOESN'T FIT THE NARRATIVE!

The shooter was black. It was more black on black crime and the media can't let you know that black people do wicked things like this.

You know where school shooting don't happen? At home when you homeschool your children. It is definitely the best option for educating your children and preventing them from being indoctrinated. I know that not everyone can do that right this moment, but it's something that people should try to work towards. It's the best investment into your children that you can make. It might take some sacrifice, but it's well worth it.


We Need Common Sense Back in Our Schools

Julie Perry

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that the political and media elites will go to great lengths to shame and insult Americans who do not conform to the woke, leftist groupthink. I experienced this firsthand when NBC 4 in Washington, D.C. targeted me, and sought comment from my employer, for my views on masks for school children, and the practical impact of trans-gender students in school restrooms.

I may just be a Fairfax County teacher, but I will not be intimidated by the news media doing Terry McAuliffe’s fear-based bidding in a campaign year. As leftist elites try to jam political agendas into the classroom, like Critical Race Theory, and ignore the ramifications of men identifying as women entering the girls’ restrooms and locker rooms, I won’t be silenced. We must end discrimination in our schools – and teach love and respect to all, but not at the expense of love and respect for those who disagree. It is the media and the left’s political agenda that is a threat to our kids, not me exercising free speech that has been a pillar to this country’s foundation.

Virginia’s career politicos have spent the last 18 months issuing edicts to the people of the Commonwealth. They shut down our economy, killed our jobs and put our families’ incomes in jeopardy. They kept Virginia’s schools closed, while countless sons and daughters fell through the cracks of ill-conceived remote learning. They targeted Virginians who believed in personal freedom and shamed those of us who want to open classrooms and not force our young children to wear masks. Their elitist ideas and mindsets are not rooted in a time-honored scientific process, but fear. In a time of chaos, when dialogue and a proliferation of information would help us avert the crises erupting across the globe, they will say, without remorse, that those of us who do not conform to their agenda are the greatest threat of all. When an arrogant and pompous establishment continues encroaching on our freedoms each and every day, it generates a catastrophe that cannot be ignored.

If the media is so eager to cover a controversy in schools, perhaps they should cover the steep losses in learning caused by the Commonwealth’s failed remote learning experience. Better yet, they could take a look into how former Governor and now-democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe’s lowering of standards has led to a precipitous decline in students’ results. These petty distractions, calling out a teacher for her personal views, all while ignoring the terrible policies that have harmed hundreds of thousands of kids, are meager sideshows in the state’s circus of disasters. It is exactly what is wrong with the media today. No wonder so many Americans have tuned out the liberal “news” and sought alternatives that drive towards the truth.

For many families, the utter disarray our education system has devolved into has passed the breaking point and become unbearable – most simply could not remain silent and needed to speak out. Meanwhile, a political outsider has emerged to retake the governor’s mansion and help us retake our schools. Businessman Glenn Youngkin knows what his plan will be from Day One. Critical Race Theory (CRT) could become a thing of the past. You and your children can count on their school being open not one, not two, but five days each week. Students will be pushed to rise above mediocrity and strive for excellence. Virginia’s schools will get the makeover they desperately need to rebound from the nightmare they are today. For the many parents who’ve started demanding accountability in their school board meetings and fighting to regain control over their children’s education, they finally have a candidate who will be a resolute voice for them.

For the sake of our children’s futures, we must foster a respectful and positive learning environment that our kids can depend on, producing model citizens that this Commonwealth can depend on. Political correctness in the classrooms and viewing the world through a permanent lens of race will not get it there. Let’s get back to common sense and get as far away as we can from CRT.


'Whiteness is not a culture!': BLM activists at Arizona State University scream at two white students with Police Lives Matter stickers on their laptops before forcing them out of a 'multicultural learning space'

Two white students at Arizona State University were forced out of a 'multicultural learning space' after two female BLM activists took issue with the Police Lives Matter stickers on their laptops.

The incident, which took place at the college's Phoenix campus on Thursday, was recorded by one of the woke activists before it was shared to their Instagram page.

The footage begins with the white students sitting at a table studying before they are approached by two activists who state: 'You're offensive. Police Lives Matter? This is our space. You're making this space uncomfortable.'

The two black activists, tell the white students they must leave, saying: 'You're white. Do you understand what a multicultural space means? It means you're not being centered.'

'White's not a culture?' one of the white students subsequently asks.

'White is NOT a culture! You think whiteness is a culture? This is the violence that ASU [Arizona State University] does and this is the type of people that they protect!' one of the activists responds.

She continues yelling: 'This white man thinks he can take up our space ... they think they can get away with this s**t!' she continues yelling.

'This is the only place on campus that does not center you, and you are still trying to center yourself which is peak white cis male bulls**t.'

'I'm not racist, I'm just studying,' one of the students replies. 'I pay the same f**king tuition as you. I'm working 60 hours a week while going to school because my parents don't just give me money!'

The activists continue to protest the Police Lives Matter sticker, saying it is 'affiliated with white nationalists'.

'These people kill people like me and like us, so you're promoting our murderers,' the other activists chimes in.

The white students are then defended by an Asian peer, but the clash continues.

The white pair eventually exit the 'multicultural learning space' saying that they are going to complain to the dean.

ASU has not publicly responded to the video.

The activist was trolled on her Instagram account after sharing the footage.

'Really out there changing hearts and minds by going full Karen freak out on a f**king sticker lmao,' one wrote in the comments section.

'The people recording are racist themselves by discriminating someone for the color of their skin. Imagine wanting to fight racism by yelling and harassing people until they leave,' another chimed in.