Friday, October 08, 2021

Bob Good Seeks to Defund CRT in Public Schools

Congressman Bob Good (R-VA) introduced the Defending Students’ Civil Rights Act of 2021 to prohibit the indoctrination of racially divisive curriculum within our nation’s schools. Good’s bill would prohibit the use of Critical Race Theory (CRT) or critical race pedagogy in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Any attempt to teach or implement Critical Race Theory in federally funded institutions would be a violation of a student’s civil rights, punishable by law.

“Critical Race Theory teaches children that their level of success and achievements in life is determined by the color of their skin. It is morally bankrupt and historically incorrect curriculum. Sadly, more than 5,000 teachers across the United States have signed a petition committing to teach CRT whether it is against the law or not," Good said. He added:

It is my responsibility to constituents, and our children, to hold our educators accountable for what they teach in our schools. As a member of the House Education and Labor Committee in Washington, I have witnessed the Biden Administration and Democrats in Congress adamantly trying to mandate the teaching of CRT ideology in schools, require mask wearing and vaccinations of students and employees, and force "woke” SOGI [Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity] policies upon our children.

CRT curriculum wrongly teaches our children that America is irreparably and systemically racist. Ultimately, state lawmakers should expand school choice to combat CRT and truly empower parents in their children’s education. In the meantime, my bill will act as a check on educators and give a voice to understandably concerned parents.

CRT asserts that America was established in 1619, when the first slaves arrived at what was then British colonies, rather than in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Founders. The Biden administration’s priorities for the Department of Education’s American History and Civics Education program promotes the 1619 Project’s Critical Race Theory, which directly advocates for discrimination based on a person’s race. President Biden and his administration have been consumed with so-called racial “equity,” which has inevitably led to a more divisive culture in America, and even the abandonment of the southern Border in the name of inclusivity. Critical Race Theory is not limited to our schools.

It is also seeping into other aspects of education and training, such as in the military and the corporate workplace. This curriculum is inherently divisive and claims Americans today are wholly responsible for and affected by the sins of Americas past and will continue to be affected for all future generations.

“My solution to this corruption of our educational institutions is simple: make teaching Critical Race Theory in schools that receive federal funding a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” said Good. “It is completely irresponsible for our government to violate the civil rights of our nation’s youth, and that is why I have introduced the Defending Students’ Civil Rights Act of 2021. The hyper-politicization of our public education system has created a trojan horse for Marxists to hide within, while making a direct attack against our federalist system and foundational values. Our posterity must be taught a historically accurate curriculum that acknowledges our faults as well as our achievements as a nation.”

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning backs the legislation, noting that it is not the role of government to fund or promote partisan political movements.

“CRT is part of a larger political agenda aimed at destroying our country,” Manning said. “These people aren’t just trying to rewrite history, they want to turn America into a communist state modeled after failed authoritarian regimes like the former Soviet Union, Cuba and Venezuela.”


Wyoming Librarians Could Face Prosecution Over Sexually Explicit Books in Children's Section

Employees at a Wyoming library are facing possible prosecution after local residents complained to police that books at the library about sex, LGBTQ issues, and how to have a baby are obscene and do not belong in sections designated for youth.

According to Susan Sisti, a local pastor who has raised concerns about the inappropriate books shelved at Campbell County Public Library, the books in question are "This Book is Gay" by Juno Dawson, "How Do You Make a Baby" by Anna Fiske, "Doing It" by Hannah Witton, "Sex is a Funny Word" by Corey Silverberg, and "Dating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Teen Boy" by Andrew P. Smiler.

"It’s really easy to go into the library and look around a little bit and find a filthy book that should not even be in a public library," Sisti said, according to The Associated Press. "These books are absolutely appalling."

Prosecutors are now reviewing the case after a complaint was filed with the sheriff's office. They will look to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the situation as well before a determination is made on whether charges against library staff will be pursued, County Attorney Mitchell Damsky announced Friday.

Damsky, the prosecutor, said that the controversy over the books has "gotten contentious and out of hand" when the situation may have been resolved by moving the books to the adult section.

"Personally, as a parent, I find the material to be just inappropriate for children and disgusting," Damsky said. "But as a lawyer I’m sworn to uphold the Constitution and that’s why we are dealing with it with a fine-toothed comb."

Local residents Hugh and Susan Bennett on Wednesday complained to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office that the books may have been in violation of state child-sex laws.

"It’s very challenging to imagine how a child who’s sexually immature, physically immature, if there’s any reasonable purpose for exposing them to sexual behavior that’s far beyond their physical and mental and emotional and intellectual abilities to understand," Hugh Bennett said.

"This Book is Gay," as Sisti pointed out, features illustrations of male and female genitalia and descriptions of oral and anal sex.

However, as Damsky suggested, children already have access to pornography through the internet. "What 9-year-old kid today can’t access Pornhub or whatever they want, you know what I mean?" Damsky said.

Wyoming Equality, an LGBTQ advocacy group, argues that it is the responsibility of parents to dictate when their children should access these books.

"Maybe the answer is never. If it’s never, that’s fine. But do you get to make that choice for other families?" Sara Burlingame, the group's executive director, said.

This comes as officials at the library have been facing local outrage over not only the books, but also for scheduling a transgender magician to perform for children. The act was cancelled following threats to the magician and library staff.


Homeschool registrations rising in Australia, alternative education advocates say mainstream schools need a shake-up

Homeschooling is understood to be the fastest-growing education sector and alternative school advocates say it shows mainstream schooling needs a shake-up.

Ms Blundell — who lives in northern Tasmania — said she and her husband decided to switch to homeschooling because their daughter was not coping well in a school environment.

"She's actually got an eating disorder called ARFID — which stands for avoidant restrictive food intake disorder — and that means that she has a phobia of eating," Ms Blundell said. "It's an anxiety-based food disorder, so she gets really stressed out and she refused to go to school."

Aria also has suspected autism.

Ms Blundell said her daughter struggled to get the help she needed due to large class sizes and because she was good at "masking her conditions".

"The school system was developed back when the world was a completely different place and, as the research is improving, I think the schools are being left behind," she said.

"While they are understanding and getting better, I don't think they're up to speed."

In Karalee, an outer-western Brisbane suburb, Shelly Lausberg's 15-year-old son, who has autism, struggled to return to school after COVID-19 lockdowns in his home state of Queensland.

"Our school then contacted us to say that they couldn't support his level of anxiety with how many other children they had," Ms Lausberg said. "He was at a private school … we contacted six other private schools who could not take him because he needs learning support, and they have no room in their learning support."

Ms Lausberg said her son could not attend a public school due to past experiences of bullying and the flexi-school would not accept him. "I guess I felt that homeschooling was my last choice," she said.

Ms Lausberg said her family had registered with a home education program. She said it had been challenging but her family had learned to make it work and her son was now thriving.

"I still work full time, but I don't work on a Monday, so I do school with him on a Monday and then I have two other people who come and help me on other days," Ms Lausberg said.

She said mainstream schools needed to look at how they helped all children. "Even if your child doesn't have autism or any extra needs, 27 or 30 people in a class is just too many."




Thursday, October 07, 2021

Education Secretary: Parents Are Not 'Primary Stakeholders' in Education Decisions

Karl Marx said the same

During testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee on Thursday, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said that parents of school aged children should not act as the “primary stakeholders” in education decisions. Asked by Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) about parental decisions in education, and whether or not parents should indeed be “primary stakeholders,” Cardona said that parents are “important stakeholders” but that educators have a role to play in programming decisions. He would not concede that parents should be the main decision makers in education.

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe (D), who is vying for his old job in the governor's mansion back, also came under fire for similar comments. McAuliffe said that parents should not dictate what curriculum is being taught to their children in schools.

Cardona also dodged questions on school reopening discretions, and decision making processes for mask wearing policies for children in schools.


CA Now Mandating Vaccines for All K-12 Students

Vaccine mandates are the most heated subject in the United States at this time, undoubtedly, and as mandates and regulations continue to expand surrounding them, there is no doubt that the temperature of our rhetoric is set to increase.

Now, in a stunning change to protocol, California will be mandating that all children, K-12, be vaccinated.

California will mandate COVID vaccines for K-12 students as each age group is fully approved to receive the vaccine, becoming the first state in the nation to require schoolchildren to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Governor Gavin Newsom made the announcement Friday morning during a press conference at Denman Middle School in San Francisco’s Balboa Park neighborhood. The COVID vaccine will be added to the list of required vaccines for students to attend in-person school.

The Governor also took some time to brag on California’s high vaccination rate.

At the briefing, Newsom noted positive trends in the state when it comes to beating back the pandemic, noting the state has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country.

“California has the lowest case rate in the United States of America. We’ve maintained that status now for some time,” Newsom said. “Not surprisingly, that’s been driven primarily by one of the nation’s leading vaccination efforts.”

The move will almost certainly bring renewed stress to school boards around the state, as concerned parents continue to express their concerns over these swiftly-created inoculations at local school board meetings.


Want to Guess Why a Minnesota School Nuked Its Grading System This Year?

There was a time when you could say ‘I’m not making this up’ because it was unbelievable at first. As time passed and liberals became more unhinged, everything suddenly became believable especially when it came to race debates. White liberals hijacked the messaging and the activism and made it a million times more intense than it needed to be.

Seriously, there’s no doubt this nation still has racial problems and that more work needs to be done, but we’re past Reconstruction. This isn’t Jim Crow—and we’re sure as hell not living in Apartheid South Africa. White liberals think otherwise and it’s long alienated swaths of voters including nonwhites who do not view such issues with such ideological rigidity. It’s become almost comical.

Everything is white supremacy in the eyes of white liberals because…this is what happens when the most privileged and successful have way too much time on their hands. In Minnesota, a school decided to nuke its grading system by removing the “F” because it promoted systemic racism. I’m not kidding (via Fox News):

A YouTube video posted by Sunrise Park Middle School in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, details a new grading scale that lacks the letter "F." The system, announced during the 2021-22 school year, does not include 0-49.9 percentiles for students.

"Our whole intent is to ensure that grades focus on the process of learning," Principal Christina Pierre said in the video. "Therefore, grades will not include behaviors, attitude, tardiness to class, whether the assignment was turned in late or on time. There's other ways that we can communicate those things to parents."

Associate Principal Norman Bell went on to elaborate that students are encouraged to retake/revise tests, quizzes, papers, projects and have a 10-day window to do so from the date the grade is posted.


The school website discussing the award details how the district conducted an "equity audit," which showed grading disparities among students of color.

"Grading can be one of the largest areas in which systemic racism and inequities are perpetuated. Dr. Kazmierczak and WBLAS believe grades should be a measure of what a student knows and has mastered in a given course. Grading should not be a behavior punishment and should not be a measure of how well a student can survive stress at home," the website reads.

What in the fresh hell is this? You can totally bomb a test but can retake it in 10 days and pass the class? Making kids stupider is not going to ameliorate racial tensions. It will lead to our nation being buried under every social metric because this upcoming generation can’t read or do simple math problems. There are no do-overs. You go to school, you learn the material, you take notes, you study, and you take the test. You either pass or fail. Under this system, why even bother doing any schoolwork if you can just retake the damn test in the 10-day window prior to the final grade—that does not include an “F”—being posted.




Why Minority Academic Underachievement Persists

This article does hit on some of the factors

In virtually every U.S. school system, the academic parity between African American students and other students is disturbing.

As decisions are made on the state and local level about how and in what form we will educate the nation’s children, an age-old issue remains: The underlying cause of income inequality and the resulting civil unrest likely has less to do with media-inflamed coverage and much more to do with the problem that apparently no one wants to discuss and that is educational disparity.

The disparity year after year, decade after decade, in math competency, reading proficiency, test scores, honor roll status, and graduation rates, in virtually every U.S. school system, between African American students and other students is disturbing.

No Optimism on the Horizon

Any responsible American would be concerned. Here in the third decade of the third millennium, with a disheartening male African American high school dropout rate across the U.S., can anyone view the situation optimistically?

“It’s remarkable,” noted Eric Hanushek, who is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, as well as a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Following his extensive analysis, he remarked, “I knew that the gap hadn’t been closing too much, but when I actually looked at the data I was myself surprised.”

When strenuous efforts to bridge the gap, in one community after another, do not bear fruit, invariably someone yells “foul,” as if some grand conspiracy is occurring and a magic wand, yet to be waved, could suddenly redress all. And, as if long-term, hard-working, dedicated teachers are not attempting their utmost for each of their students.

An Undesirable Path

Consider the school system in Chapel Hill-Carrboro, North Carolina. This locale, deemed, “The southern part of heaven,” by writers, is among the most progressive in the United States. The teachers and educators here have a vested interest in demonstrating that their school system, beyond all others, can succeed in the vital area of closing achievement gaps between whites and minorities.

Year in and year out, nevertheless, the gap remains. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education is primed to try anything. Another in an endless line of supposed “fixes” was to eliminate the advanced math classes in the middle schools and to lump all non-pre-algebra students together, with similar plans to eliminate other advanced classes such as in language arts.

One cannot easily erect a sound building on quicksand, and you cannot expect to solve a decades-old problem by starting with a shaky foundation. Taking a lowest common denominator approach to developing school curriculum has never consistently worked, anywhere. It frustrates the students and dramatically increases a teacher’s burden – all such students must then be taught at individual learning speeds. Do you know any superhuman teachers? If so, could you afford them?

The Real Issues are Masked

Truly closing the academic gap between underachieving students and the rest of the student population requires addressing reality – airing the truth about the disparity – not resorting to politically “correct” psychobabble and curricula finagling for another ten years, and then another ten, and then another.

This disparity encompasses such issues as the number of hours the television is on in given households, family or parental encouragement for completing homework assignments, a regular workspace, and established hours for studying in a quiet environment, among other factors. Meanwhile Nigerians, Ghanians, Haitians, and other groups get into high seemingly right off the boat, and within one generation or less become a part of the U.S. economic mainstream.

Until solid analysis, exploration, and programs that address these issues are undertaken, no amount of wrangling with classes will prove to be the “winning formula.” School boards, moreover, will have zero chance of effectively addressing the continuing problem of poor academic performance among student groups.

Detective Sherlock Holmes, in Arthur Conan Doyle’s story The Sign of Four, says, “… When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” The schools in U.S. communities routinely exhaust talented teachers with a task that cannot be solved by them, nor is it theirs to solve.

Committed Students, Ready to Learn

Satisfactory academic achievement, however improbable to those who wish to pretend otherwise, occurs through individual effort: one boy and one girl after another rising above and cracking the books, then coming to class as a serious student, eager to learn, and primed to excel.

Such achievement is never likely to occur any other way. Otherwise, expect that income inequality and civil unrest will continue for decades into the 21st century.


Attorney General Garland Abuses Power He Doesn’t Have to Threaten Parents

Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo on Monday directing the Department of Justice and the FBI to “launch a series of additional efforts in the coming days designed to address the rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.”

The Garland memo looks like an effort to use the FBI to threaten and silence parents who are outspoken opponents of critical race theory in schools. That alone would be a stunning partisan abuse of power. What Garland has done, however, is even more disgraceful.

Maybe Garland doesn’t actually intend to use the FBI to go after parents—maybe he knows that he doesn’t have that power. In that case, he’s trying to trick parents into thinking that he does. This tactic, he hopes, will suppress parents’ free speech, and throw a bone to a powerful ally of his political party.

Even a few FBI agents questioning parents may be enough to convince others that standing up for their values is not worth the risk.

To understand what Garland is doing with this memo, you’ll need a short primer on the background facts and government legalese.

Starting with the facts: What is this “rise in criminal conduct” against school officials? You won’t find any evidence cited in Garland’s memo. You won’t find any evidence in the FBI’s crime data either.

This claim is parroted from a letter sent to President Joe Biden by the National School Boards Association—a powerful leftist group representing many of the school boards around the country pushing critical race theory curricula. That letter made vague claims about “threats and acts of violence” against school board members from parents who oppose critical race theory.

The letter complained about “disruptions” by angry parents but managed to find only one example of violence against a school official (likely a security guard), which was handled by local law enforcement.

Most of the letter is the National School Boards Association clutching its pearls, aghast that justifiably angry parents are zealously advocating for their children’s interest. The tactics thus far employed certainly are nothing compared to the riots of the summer of 2020 that destroyed over a billion dollars in property and resulted in multiple deaths.

Those tactics were not decried by the National School Boards Association and its liberal friends. In fact, the current vice president organized financial support to the criminals engaged.

The National School Boards Association is not really concerned about an isolated instance of violence adequately handled by local law enforcement. It is much more upset that it is powerless to stop parents from exercising their First Amendment rights to push back against critical race theory in the classroom.

And so, in a move that is nearly a reflex among many leftist organizations, it asked the government to lend it some of its law enforcement power to shut up its meddling critics. Garland was only too happy to oblige. In doing so, he has made a hypocrite out of himself and Biden.

When Biden announced Garland’s nomination, he promised to uphold the independence of the DOJ from the political influence of the White House. Garland promised the same, saying:

I have spent my whole professional life looking up to Ed Levi and the other post-Watergate Attorneys General who stood up on behalf of the Department against impermissible pressure and influence. If I am confirmed as Attorney General, I intend to do the same.

There is no clearer example of political influence seeping into the DOJ than a demand letter to the president from a leftist advocacy group turning into a DOJ memorandum in less than a week.

But Garland’s weaponization of the DOJ has a problem: There is no conceivable basis for federal law enforcement action against these parents.

Unlike Attorney General Eric Holder, who twisted and abused the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act to silence pro-life advocates, Garland can’t find any law that he can similarly mangle to silence parents. If he could, he would have put it in the memo.

But the parents don’t know that.

And here enters the government legalese. Garland’s memo fails to cite any basis for law enforcement action by the DOJ or the FBI, but it hides that with a morass of official language that says nothing more than that federal law enforcement will provide some advice to local school boards.

FBI agents and federal prosecutors (who have nothing better to do, apparently) will travel the country giving school boards the phone number of their local police and the web address of the FBI’s internet tip line.

After the sound and fury calms, nothing beside remains.

What do we make of all this?

First, there is no reason to bring federal law enforcement into this; local authorities have this under control.

Second, Garland has demonstrated, disappointingly, that he is beholden to powerful leftist political groups and perfectly happy to let them use the threat of federal government’s law enforcement power to suppress their critics’ right to free speech. The promised impendence of the DOJ is a farce.

Third, it is more important to Garland to spend scarce law enforcement resources appeasing liberal interest groups than on more pressing national concerns.

Fourth, some good news, parents need not be afraid. It is their constitutional right to push back in legal ways against schools teaching children critical race theory.

Go forth to the school boards and make your voices heard.


Rainbow Mafia Objects to School ‘Pride Flag’ Ban

Bullies will scream about being the “victims” as soon as those they have been bulling finally stand up and push back. Such is the case in several school districts across the country, where school officials have recently enacted policies that bar educators from displaying overt political messaging — specifically including the controversial homosexuality-promoting rainbow “pride flag.” As Newberg, Oregon, school board member Brian Shannon explained, “We don’t pay our teachers to push their political views on our students.” The nerve.

One of the biggest lies perpetuated in our nation is that the mainstream media doesn’t suffer from a leftist political bent. Exhibit umpteen million to the contrary is an NBC News story from its “Out News” division about how pride flags are a new “target” in the education culture war. The article’s first sentence makes a preposterous claim: “Pride flags, which were created to promote unity, are being called political and divisive in some schools across the country.” The truth, of course, is that the rainbow flag always has represented a politically divisive agenda that remains highly offensive to many Americans. Leftists nearly always have been the aggressors in the culture wars, yet here they are claiming victim status.

It’s both hypocritical and ironic that leftists seemingly see no problem with their overtly offensive and political displays, while at the same time they scream about the mere existence of historically accepted social and cultural symbols that they decry as evil. And often these leftist social agitators have to rewrite history in order to make their victimology narrative stick.

One of the biggest examples of this devious tactic was the false narrative surrounding the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard. The Rainbow Mafia seeded total falsehoods and then used them to great effect to contend that homosexuals were suffering from “hate crimes.” The truth is Shepard was a homosexual involved in drugs, and he was killed by two homosexuals involved in drugs.

Back to today’s schools, the notion that banning the display of the “pride flag” in American classrooms is tantamount to “oppressing” those who have embraced a homosexual identity is as phony as a $3 bill. Furthermore, it’s not that students themselves aren’t allowed to display “pride” paraphernalia on their own person or property. Rather, it’s that the schools and their employees cannot explicitly promote such messaging.

This reality long has been the case for religiously committed individuals. A public school teacher would not be free to hang a Christian flag in his classroom as he would be sending a religious or specific political message. Is the forbidding of overtly religious displays doing “violence” to religiously committed or identifying students? By no means.

Of course, in an attempt to back up the ridiculous claim that not allowing teachers to display the controversial “pride flag” will hurt students, NBC’s journalist hack points to the high attempted suicide rate among homosexual-identifying youths. Maybe that suicide rate should cause more of an introspection and examination of homosexual identity in the first place, not simply a louder and unquestioning embrace and celebration of a deviant lifestyle.

But that is exactly the issue — to allow people the freedom to object to and question the “goodness” of homosexuality is to violate the Left’s dogmatic agenda. That’s why the whole issue is political, and it’s why schools are right to ban it.




Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Parents Furious After Discovering Elementary School Volunteer Is a Convicted Sex Offender


Parents are outraged after discovering that a man who has been volunteering inside their children’s northern California elementary school for two years is a registered sex offender.

KRCR-TV reported 36-year-old Sean Green had been working at Columbia Elementary School in Redding, California, until just last week. Per the outlet, Green has a rap sheet that should have prevented him from ever even going near children.

According to the California Megan’s Law Website, which lists known sex offenders, Green was convicted of contacting a minor with the intent to commit a specified sex offense, attempting to possess or control obscene material depicting a minor in sexual conduct and indecent exposure.

District Superintendent Clay Ross explained in a message to parents that Green fell through the cracks because the school relied only on using his fingerprints when it conducted a background investigation.

“This is Mr. Ross with an important announcement. It was brought to our attention last week that an individual was on our campus that should never have been allowed,” he said in an email. “We immediately took steps to permanently deny their access and have been in communication with both RPD and the [Shasta County] Sheriff’s Department.”

“Rumors of this situation have been spreading on social media and by other means. Please know that we took this situation seriously, have addressed it, and have instituted new internal procedures to prevent this scenario in the future,” Ross added. “If you are aware of individuals who should not be allowed on our campus please bring them to our attention so that we can take proper precaution.”

The message did not calm angry parents, who were told Green had been around children at the school for two years.

“I drop my kids off thinking that they’re safe at school, already knowing that I’m already scared that they’re not gonna be on the bus or something is going to happen, and they hear about this and it’s kind of frustrating,” said one mother who did not wish to be named, according to KRCR. “I went to school back when I was a kid. I had Mr. Ross when I was here. But, it’s kind of frustrating and super irritating.”

Another parent was rightly angered.

“I am disgusted with it,” a man named Joshua Heatherly said. “This was a huge mistake on the school’s part and the teacher whose room he was volunteering in.”

“I’ve spoken with other parents whose kids were in the class Green was volunteering in and they feel the same way. He was there for around two years and has been in a relationship with one of the teachers at the school,” the father added.

Heatherly called for action against the teacher who allowed the sex offender to spend time in the classroom around children.

The outlet reported there is speculation Green might have been in a romantic relationship with a teacher whose classroom he volunteered in.

“Who knows how many kids have been exposed to Sean Green at this point,” the man told KCRC. “He’s been helping at the school for a couple of years now. He’s been volunteering in her classroom as well as school functions. I would like the teacher that knew him removed immediately


UK: Students revolt against online lectures citing ‘detrimental impact’ on teaching

More students have started petitions against remote teaching as universities continue to deliver lectures online.

Many Russell Group [elite] universities have adopted a “blended” timetable this year with tutorials in person and large lectures conducted virtually.

Undergraduates at King’s College London, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool have already campaigned against having lectures online.

Now 1,700 students at Warwick University have signed a petition against online classes, citing a “detrimental impact on the quality of teaching and our mental health” for the sake of “higher profits”, the Financial Times reported.

The university said it was moving all lectures with 50 or more people online to “limit the risk of the spread of Covid-19”.


As Virginia’s gubernatorial race enters its final month, Democrat McAuliffe is exposed as an authoritarian

“I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions,” declared Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe during this week’s Virginia gubernatorial debate with Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin. He then added, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

Youngkin put it this way: “[McAuliffe] believes that government and politicians know better for our children than parents. He wants to exclude parents from being involved in educating our children.” The following day, when asked to respond, McAuliffe actually doubled down:

Listen, we have a board of ed working with the local school boards to determine the curriculum for our schools. You don’t want parents coming in every different school jurisdiction saying, “This is what should be taught here,” and, “This is what should be taught here.”

No, that’s exactly what parents should be demanding of their school boards. Schools work for the parents, not parents for the schools — or at least that’s how things used to work in this country. Clearly, McAuliffe, the longtime Clinton bag man, has his priorities set on placating the demands of the teachers unions, not the legitimate concerns of parents or the needs of students.

The race between McAuliffe and Youngkin has remained uncomfortably tight for the former Democrat governor, with recent polling indicating a toss-up with just over a month to Election Day. And as Youngkin has recently picked up steam in the home stretch, he has hit upon what could be the deciding issue of the election for the Republican to win the northern Virginia DC suburbs.

Loudoun County in particular has become the national epicenter for parents calling out school boards over Critical Race Theory and “transgender” ideology. Youngkin has exposed McAuliffe as the candidate opposed to parents because his loyalties lie with the teachers unions, and because he wants children indoctrinated into the ideology of the Left rather than educated on the sound principles of a classical liberal education.

Effectively, the message McAuliffe is sending to Virginia parents is I know better than you what’s best for your kids, so shut up and accept my diktats. As Youngkin insightfully notes, “[McAuliffe’s] worldview is ‘I know better than you,’ and yet it doesn’t have to apply to me. We saw it just a couple weeks ago when he’s been calling for mask mandates, and then he boards a train and violates federal law and won’t even put a mask on.”

Meanwhile, Youngkin sees this as the issue that could take him into the governor’s mansion. He has come out preaching the message of school choice, pitching a plan to significantly increase the number of charter schools in the state. Virginia currently ranks among the lowest in the country for its number of charter schools.

Many on both sides of the aisle view Virginia’s gubernatorial race as a bellwether. If McAuliffe is able to win, all the Democrats will have accomplished is to simply hold serve in an apparently solid blue state. But a Youngkin victory would turn this prevailing view on its head, serving as an ill omen for Democrats indicating just how strong are the headwinds they face in 2022.




Sunday, October 03, 2021

School Principals Call on Federal Government to Allow Them 'Ban Hostile Parents'

The national organization of public school boards is calling on the Biden administration to protect its members from “angry mobs” of parents who protest against COVID-19 restrictions placed on students and the teaching of critical race theory, characterizing the protests as “domestic terrorism.”

The National School Boards Association (NSBA), which represents more than 90,000 school board members in the United States, wrote in a Sept. 29 letter (pdf) to President Joe Biden that the federal government must “deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation.”

The letter moves on to cite incidents of “threats or actual acts of violence” against school leaders, alleging that parents who sought to express their opposition to mask and COVID-19 vaccination policies have been “inciting chaos” during school board meetings. It also denies critical race theory is being taught in classrooms, and describes parents’ attempts to hold school board members accountable by posting watchlists online as “spreading misinformation.”

“As these threats and acts of violence have become more prevalent,” the letter claims, “NSBA respectfully asks that a joint collaboration among federal law enforcement agencies, state and local law enforcement, and with public school officials be undertaken to focus on these threats.”

Specifically, the NSBA asked that federal agencies such as FBI, the Secret Services, and the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security “investigate, intercept, and prevent the current threats and acts of violence” by whatever “extraordinary measures” necessary.

“As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crime,” the NSBA argued in the letter, encouraging the federal agencies to use laws designed to target domestic terrorism, such as the PATRIOT Act, to address the issue.

The group also asked Biden to direct the U.S. Postal Service to filter “threatening letters” and intervene in “cyberbullying attacks” that target students, teachers, and school leaders.

The call for support comes days after the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) made a similar request, arguing that the federal government needs give school leaders the authority to expel “threatening individuals” from their schools.

“At the very least, we need the U.S. Department of Education to issue specific guidance on the authority school leaders have to protect themselves and our ability to remove or ban hostile parents and individuals from school grounds who threaten our safety,” said NASSP CEO Ronn Nozoe in a Sept. 16 statement.


UK: Professor who called for ‘end of Zionism’ is fired

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The worm concerned

A university professor accused of anti-semitism has been fired after claiming Jewish students and societies who complained about him were part of a campaign of censorship “directed by the State of Israel”.

David Miller, a professor of political sociology at the University of Bristol, was accused of bigotry after footage emerged of him calling for “the end of Zionism” and saying that Israel “is trying to exert its will all over the world”.

The university has been under pressure for months from students, academics, Jewish leaders, MPs and government ministers.

Miller, who quit the Labour party last year after claiming that Sir Keir Starmer took “Zionist” money, is a member of the self-styled Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media

The university launched the investigation into Prof David Miller’s conduct in March. The case divided the campus between staff and students who accused him of spouting antisemitic tropes in lectures and online, and those who worried that sanctions would stifle sensitive research.

In a statement released on Friday, the university said the decision to terminate his employment with immediate effect was prompted by its duty of care to students and the wider university community.

Bristol said that although a QC found that the comments Miller is alleged to have made “did not constitute unlawful speech”, a disciplinary hearing concluded that he “did not meet the standards of behaviour we expect from our staff”.

Miller said the university had “embarrassed itself” with its decision and accused it of bowing to a pressure campaign against him directed by Israel.

Miller, whose research specialises in how power self-perpetuates through lobbying and propaganda, added that he would challenge the decision before the university, and would escalate it to an employment tribunal if unsuccessful.

He added: “It has run a shambolic process that seems to have been vetted by external actors. Israel’s assets in the UK have been emboldened by the university collaborating with them to shut down teaching about Islamophobia. The University of Bristol is no longer safe for Muslim, Arab or Palestinian students.”

The president of Bristol Jewish Society, Edward Isaacs, thanked the university for its decision in a tweet. He wrote: “The fight against antisemitism is vast, but I hope today’s news goes a long way to showing positive change can be made and that we should never settle for anything less than a society free from all forms of hatred.”

Miller’s comments initially whipped up controversy in 2019 when he cited the Zionist movement as one of five sources of Islamophobia in a lecture on the subject, and showed a diagram linking Jewish charities to Zionist lobbying. Complaints were made that this resembled the antisemitic trope that Jews wield secretive influence on political affairs, but they were dismissed by the university on academic freedom grounds.

Since then, comments by him in online lectures describing Israel as “the enemy of world peace” and a statement sent to the student news outlet the Tab that described the Jewish Society as an “Israel lobby group” that had “manufactured hysteria” about his teaching have further inflamed tensions.

The scope of Bristol’s investigation and the exact reasons for its conclusion are confidential, though they are understood not to cover the lecture content.

The investigation resulted in a febrile atmosphere on campus, which one academic characterised as “toxic”. The Conservative MP Robert Halfon said it resembled “1930s Nazi Germany”, citing reports from Jewish students that they felt “unsafe”. He urged the universities minister, Michelle Donelan, to take the unprecedented step of sacking Bristol’s leaders​ and cutting the university’s funding​.

The case garnered the attention of hundreds of academics across the world, who signed rival letters, one of which described Miller’s views on Zionism as a “morally reprehensible” conspiracy theory that jeopardised community relations on campus, while another warned that the investigation was fomenting a “culture of self-censorship and fear”, and urged the university to defend freedom of speech.

Bristol said in its statement that academic freedom was “fundamental” to the university and that it “take[s] any risk to stifle that freedom seriously”.

The statement added: “We recognise that these matters have caused deep concern for people on all sides of the debate, and that members of our community hold very different views from one another.”


Urgent action required as Australian kids get left behind on writing

Kids can think. They just can’t write. The same applies to teachers. No wonder we’re in a mess.

When you look at educational benchmarks – including NAPLAN results, back when the Queensland Government bothered to publicly release them – it’s clear that writing is not students’ strong suit.

Children are slipping further and further behind as they struggle to string a sentence together, and now schools are forking out big bucks on rescue packages.

Writing coaches are being brought in to show teachers how to do their jobs.

Schools, both private and state, are spending up to $100,000 a year on the Writer’s Toolbox program, which includes in-house workshops for teachers on the basics of writing and how to integrate them across the curriculum, not just in English lessons.

The program’s founder Dr Ian Hunter, a New Zealand historian, author and former university lecturer has pretty much struck gold.

The real question is: how was it allowed to come to this?

Sometime in the “free loving” 1960s, Education Queensland took its eye off the ball. It let the teaching of explicit writing skills slip in favour of encouraging individual expression.

According to Dr Hunter, “the rules of grammar went out the window”, and writing became about the process, one’s personal creative journey. “The mantra in Education Queensland at that time was ‘language is caught not taught’,” he tells Qweekend today.

“So we now have these generations of young teachers who have never been taught the rules of writing.”

I can’t count the number of times my son, then in primary school, would show me a teacher’s “corrections” on his homework, scribbles in red pen that were actually wrong.

Then there were the official letters home from school that were riddled with errors, using “less” when it should have been “fewer”, “me” when it should have been “I”, and my personal pet hate, the sign-off where they say, “please don’t hesitate to contact myself”. It should be “me”, and teachers should know this, but a good many don’t.

How, then, can we expect our kids to understand?

Writing is not some outmoded skill – even in this age of emojis, abbreviations and short, sharp text messages. It is essential to expressing our thoughts and consolidating ideas.

As prolific American writer Joan Didion, now 86, once said, “I don’t know what I think until I write it down.” The very act of writing, including choosing the right words and structuring sentences, pushes us to think more, to analyse, to discover.

And unlike other things we learn at school but never use afterwards, writing remains relevant. Written communication is high on the list of 21st century skills that employers seek and understandably so.

Some of the most influential people in the world sparked change through their writing. Consider Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution informed modern science studies, or Simone de Beauvoir, who gave voice to global feminism.

Alarmingly, Dr Hunter says proper writing instruction – once the hallmark of good schooling - stops around Year 7.

From then on, kids are left free-wheeling and largely clueless about how to express the thoughts in their head.

When more sophisticated thinking is required as they move into the higher grades, they flounder, and by the time they get to university – if they make it that far – they really struggle.

It was while teaching business history to tertiary students in New Zealand that Dr Hunter realised just how compromised young people were, and it inspired him to write a book on essay writing.

Schools then asked him to write a version for younger audiences, and his Writer’s Toolbox took off from there.

What his experience shows is that two things need to drastically change.

Universities must sharpen teacher-training programs to include the essentials of good writing, and the government must strip back the curriculum to allow schools to once again put a laser focus on core skills.

We can’t expect kids to pick up writing by osmosis.