Saturday, January 01, 2022

Schools are Now Vaccinating Children without Their Parents’ Consent

Schools in blue states are making it clear to parents that they will use every dirty trick at their disposal to vaccinate children — with or without explicit parental consent.

Dr. Aaron Kheriarty, who is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, shared the harrowing news on Twitter.

“LA Unified School District is vaccinating children without parental consent,” Kheriarty said. “They send your kid home with a form, and when the kid comes back to school—whether or not the form is signed—they consider the child’s presence at school ‘consent’.”

“This is a gross abuse and a violation of state law and basic principles of medical ethics, disproportionately impacting ethnic minorities,” he added. “School authorities who are pulling these stunts are now on notice. The public is aware.”

One example the doctor citized comes from the LAUSD. She says that her kid was vaccinated without her consent in exchange for pizza.

“Maribel Duarte says her 13-year-old son, a student at the Barack Obama Global Prep Academy in South LA, brought home a vaccine card after having accepted the COVID-19 vaccine at school,” NBC 4 reported.

“She says he said yes when someone offered it in exchange for pizza,” the woman said.

“The lady that gave him the shot and signed the paper told my son, ‘Please don’t say anything. I don’t want to get in trouble,'” the report continued.

“The LAUSD says student matters are confidential and wouldn’t comment specifically, but did say its ‘safe schools to safe steps incentive program’ is meant to ensure several steps are in place for vaccinated students to receive prizes,” the report added. “Duarte says she’s not against the vaccine. She’s vaccinated herself, but it’s different with her son.”

“He has problems with asthma and allergy problems,” she said.

The NBC report adds that Jennifer Kennedy, an attorney who is following closely the two cases against the LAUSD over the vaccine mandate, said the problem is that kids in California can’t consent to vaccination. Both are ultimately seeking an end to the mandate, it noted.


UK: Education secretary to work with staffing agencies to fill teacher absences due to Covid

The Secretary of State for Education will be working with education recruiters to help schools fill high teacher absences in the continuing Covid pandemic.

Education secretary Nawhid Zahawi has promised to work with educators and teacher supply agencies over the coming days to boost supply staff to schools and colleges to deal with the issues of teachers staying off due to Covid-19.

In a letter to educators, schools staff and parents on the Education Hub website, Zawahi has called for retired teachers to join the supply staff workforce, and has said the government will help them to register with supply agencies as “the best way” to boost the temporary workforce available to the sector.

“We want to make sure that as many supply staff as possible are available to schools and colleges,” Zahawi said. “That is why we are now looking at what steps and measures we can put in place to boost supply capacity.

“Senior DfE [Department for Education] officials have already begun to discuss this with key stakeholders,” he said.

Headteachers' unions have warned of possible disruption to in-person lessons in the new year if the Omicron variant leads to even higher staff absences.

Commenting on the call for retired teachers to return to school in order to ease Covid-19 pressures, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “Of course, we support measures that could help to reduce education disruption. With this call for retired teachers to come forward the government is admitting they are assuming there will be substantial disruption of education in January.”

Courtney went on to say: “We are also extremely concerned about the proposal to recruit these retired staff through teacher supply agencies which rake off scarce funds from schools to maximise their profits whilst minimising the pay they offer supply teachers. That is not the right way to behave in response to a national call to arms.

“Northern Ireland and Scotland have much better systems for employment of supply staff and these could be stood up quickly in England if there were sufficient political will. Local authorities are well placed to scale up or create pools of supply.”

Latest DfE figures show 2.4% of teachers and school leaders, around 13,000 people, were absent from schools in England due to Covid-related reasons on 9 December.

School leaders and academy chain chiefs are preparing for the possibility of having to switch to online learning next term – and some pupils have been asked to take laptops home before Christmas just in case.

Latest DfE figures show 2.4% of teachers and school leaders are absent through Covid.

The DfE has also announced it will be extending its workforce fund for schools and colleges facing the greatest staffing and funding challenges amid Covid-19 to the February half-term.

But education unions and Labour have warned that the government’s actions are “unlikely” to be enough to solve the problem with staff shortages.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “This is all coming very late in the day for a situation which is already critical and has been so for some time, and the initiative will need to be well publicised, promoted and supported in order to have any degree of success.

“It is also important to emphasise that even then it is very unlikely to be enough to solve a problem at such a scale as this, and the government does need to do much more in terms of supporting control measures, such as testing and ventilation, in order to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “There is no doubt that there has been a shortage of supply staff available in recent months. This has placed an added pressure on schools and it looks like things are about to get worse rather than better.

“Of course, given the current situation, it would be helpful if there were more suitably qualified teachers available with recent relevant experience and with the appropriate safeguarding checks.

“However, this proposal does raise a whole host of important questions that will need answering urgently. Ultimately, it must remain the case that school leaders decide who has the appropriate expertise and qualifications to teach classes in their schools. Having a greater number of supply teachers to call upon could be helpful, but it will not take away from the very challenging circumstances schools could find themselves operating under.

“We also need to be very clear that if things get to this stage, it will mean that education will look very different in January and this is sending a clear signal that we could be talking about a very different type of provision at the start of next year. That has huge implications for things like exams, assessment and inspection.”

Stephen Morgan MP, Labour’s shadow schools minister, said: “This is a sticking plaster, and only part of what’s needed to keep children and staff safely in class next term.

“The government’s failure to get a proper workforce plan in place leaves staff, children and parents relying on good will from retired staff and volunteers, many of whom face additional risks themselves.

“Ministers continue to fall short on delivering basic covid protections in schools. They should adopt Labour’s Christmas vaccine guarantee to ensure all eligible children can get their jab during the holidays. Government must also implement proper ventilation measures in schools, open windows and cold classrooms aren’t good enough for our children.”


Biden's Education Secretary says children SHOULD be back in the classroom full-time and insists White House is trying to guarantee tests for students as cities including D.C. require proof they are negative

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is calling on schools to maintain in-person learning, as millions of U.S. school children prepare to return to classes after holiday breaks amid the spread of the omicron variant.

Cardona said students should be in the classroom 'every day' when possible – as some schools sent students home early before Christmas amid the spike of coronavirus infections. Some schools have announced temporary returns to 'virtual' learning amid the outbreak. Many are hurrying to implement new testing policies.

'If you are fully staffed to provide a safe school environment, students should be in the classroom full time every day. We've done this before and we did it before vaccines were available. If you recall, we reopened schools this year, right at the height of the Delta variant,' he told ABC's 'Good Morning America.'

He was responding to a question about whether schools should consider going back to remote classes or delaying the start of in-person school.

Cardona pointed to the availability of vaccines and mitigation strategies – as well as a growing body of research on the learning loss associated with keeping students away from school.

'We know what works we know mitigation strategies work. Now we have access to vaccines for children as young as five. We know what to do. And let's remember our students suffer when they're not in the classroom,' he said.

'We need to do everything in our power to provide in person learning options to students as soon as possible and making sure that we have the resources that are available [through] the American rescue plan being used to fully staff our schools provide testing protocols, mitigation strategies, so that our students stay in the classroom.'

Cardona spoke as the nation recorded 489,267 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday amid the rapid rise of the omicron variant – the most of any country in the world.

A number of school systems are rushing to impose new covid testing requirements as they prepare for students to return from holiday breaks.

Washington, D.C. extended its winter break by two days to allow for distribution of tests, and Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that students must test negative before returning to school.

New York and California are among the states sending millions of rapid test kits to schools, amid a nationwide shortage.

Prince George's County, Maryland announced in mid-December that it was switching to remote learning through mid-January amid a spike in cases.

Cardona didn't respond direction when asked if he could 'guarantee' that any school or district that wanted tests could get them. He instead pointed to the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which included funds for covid relief.

'Since the American rescue plan was passed in March, money was made available, $10 billion, for testing, in schools and districts across the country have been engaged in setting up testing protocols going as far back as March. So the testing supply that schools are using is different than what you might see happening at CVS or Walgreens where folks are looking for tests,' he said.

'We've also partnered with Rockefeller Foundation, who are working to get school systems set up for testing. Some of the guidance that we put out last week shows examples of that and provides resources for districts that are interested in getting those systems set up to move on that,' he said.

Cardona said he was 'pleased' with new Centers for Disease Control guidelines shortening quarantine and isolation periods, as the requirements sidelined teachers, just like they have other essential workers.

'I'm really pleased with this because to me, what this is going to do is allow for some of the staffing issues to go away,' he said. 'We know that many schools couldn't open because teachers or educators were in quarantine. The fact that it's shortened now allows for educators to get back to the classroom and our students to have schools open.'




Thursday, December 30, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Australia: Suspected fraud cases prompt calls for research integrity watchdog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Australia: Anglicans defend firing of gay teacher from Christian school

Sydney Anglicans are real Christians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Fears for thousands of children stuck in unregistered illegal schools

Mostly Islamic

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Islamic idoctrination in an American public school

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


‘Study drugs’ rife at leading British universities

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Monday, December 27, 2021

Virginia Parents Sue School District Over CRT Curriculum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Sunday, December 26, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


China’s Influence Over US Universities Poses Existential Risks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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