Friday, January 28, 2022

GOP Governor Creates Tip Line to Report CRT in Schools

Critical Race Theory (CRT) in schools has been a hot-button issue in recent years. In my interview with former Nevada attorney general and current Senate candidate Adam Laxalt, he described how CRT "is one of the main constructs that is being used to force this radicalism on our country." Now, one GOP governor has implemented a tip line for parents to report it.

On Monday, newly-elected Virginia GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced that his administration set up a tip line for parents to report schools teaching "divisive" CRT curriculum to their children.

In an interview with radio host John Fredericks, Youngkin said the tip line is "for parents to send us any instances where they feel their fundamental rights are being violated, where their children are not being respected [and] where there are inherently divisive practices in their schools."

"We are asking for input from parents to make sure we can do right to the source," Youngkin stated in the interview.

In the interview, Youngkin discussed reports broken recently that a Fairfax County high school's lesson plan included "Privilege Bingo," where children who are white, male, Christian, or from a military family are considered "privileged."

"We're asking folks to send us reports and observations that will help us be aware of things like Privilege Bingo," Youngkin said in the interview.

"We're going to make sure we catalog it all," he added. "That gives us further ability in rooting in out."

Youngkin took office on Jan. 15. Hours later, he signed a slew of executive orders aimed at Wuhan coronavirus mandates and prohibiting CRT in schools.

"I'm not a lifelong politician. I'm a guy that stepped up to run for office at a time when I think that Virginians needed a different kind of candidate," Youngkin said in the interview. "I'm going to absolutely do what I promised I was going to do. Every time."


PA School Board Member Bizarrely Tells Parents “I Don’t Work for You”

Considering that they work for the taxpayers, especially the parent taxpayers that send their kids to local schools, it’s probably fair to say that school board members “work for” parents in at least one form or another.

Unfortunately, some of the members of America’s school boards might be so intoxicated with power, power they’ve been using to push mask mandates and anti-American propaganda on young children, that they’ve forgotten who they work for.

One such school board member is from the York Suburban School District in Pennsylvania. He, Richard Robinson, wrote a bitter op-ed for the York Dispatch titled “With all due respect … no, I don’t work for you.” As you might expect from the title, it’s him yelling to the world that he doesn’t think he works for parents.

He begins his piece by lamenting the fact that more parents have started showing up to express their displeasure with things like mask mandates and CRT, writing:

It is a requirement of local school boards to provide opportunities for public comment. This provision gives residents of a school district the chance to vent their spleens about exorbitant taxes or demand subjects be taught properly the way they were during the most frigid period of the Cold War. In the past, more often than not, nobody showed up.

Not these days. As social media outlets, national news broadcasts and our local newspapers tell us, school boards are now the new battleground in the fight for America’s future.

Some members of my community appear to interpret this part of board meetings as the occasion to tell board members why they have the collective intelligence of a village idiot and how the school district ought to be addressing real problems. When the board does not fall in line with each and every demand, we are accused of ignoring the thoughtful, unbiased, sincere and righteous ultimatums of our community.

He has to listen to parents that are worried about their childrens’ future. How terrible.

But that’s not all. He later goes into attacking the parents that show up for their various forms of ignorance in the face of his obviously brilliant intellect and school-managing skills, saying:

"With all due respect to the men and women who snarl, “I’m a taxpayer! You work for me!” No, I don’t work for you. I was elected by people who voted to represent you. It is not the same thing. You may also be surprised to learn every member of a school board is a taxpayer, too. I come from a long line of taxpaying men and women."

With all due respect to the people who introduce themselves as doctors without mentioning their specialties or credentials and expect their pronouncements to be accepted as unimpeachable: When I have a toothache, I don’t go to an oncologist. To me, the logical person to consult about a virus is a virologist. When a person introduces him or herself as a doctor, their education, training and experience matter to me. After all, Jack Kevorkian was a doctor.

To Robinson, because you don’t have the proper credentials, you don’t get to worry about your child’s future. Want to complain about the teachers pushing anti-white racism on students in the form of CRT? Go back to school for six years first so that you can speak to such a dignified member of a random PA school board. And refer to him as “your eminence,” I suppose.


Mask Plan for VA's Largest School District Involves Suspension Threats, Claims to Be 'Within a Caring Culture'

The Fairfax County Public School system, which is the largest in Virginia and one of the largest in the country, is seeking to do damage control when it comes to masking policies within the district. On Friday, Parents Defending Education circulated a "Principal Briefing" that orders administrators in the district to suspend students for refusing to wear a mask. That same night, the district texted families a link to a "Message from the Superintendent - Maintaining Mask Requirements Within a Caring Culture."

"Tonight, we are aware that some internal communications around our mask regulation - which has been in place since we first returned to classrooms - are being shared out of context," the post, which is addressed "Dear FCPS Community[,]" begins. It's signed by Superintendent Scott S. Brabrand.

Parents Defending Education provided slides of the briefing that includes one slide noting "FCPS Mask Regulation Remains Unchanged," with such a message as this:

Our overarching goal is to work with students and families in a collaborative manner, to keep the focus on teaching and learning while ensuring the safety and security of all students and staff. As a caring culture, we work to inform and educate rather than engage in confrontation.

As Parents Defending Education summarized from the slides, with added emphasis:

Regarding “Intentional Removal / Refusal to Wear Face Covering,” he said: “Intentional removal of or refusal to wear a face covering during the times face coverings are required by all students will be treated as a violation of the Regulation 2613 (Student Dress Code). This includes indoors on school property and transportation.

This will result in an “SRR Violation of BSO7 (Dress Code),” and noted: “BSO3 (Refusal to comply with staff requests…) may be used as a secondary infraction code to document refusal despite redirection from staff.” The point has a big “NEW!” graphic beside it.

The “Response” will be swift with a “1 day OSS,” which means “Out of School Suspension” for students who don’t wear masks.
The briefing says: “1 day OSS for an infraction using the new SUS-M suspension code (this process will enable staff to monitor data regarding this unique situation and gives students the ability to return the next day to comply with the regulation).” Slide 12: “1 day OSS,” “OSS” means “Out of School Suspension.” “SUSP” is the typical code for a suspension.

Asra Nomani, the vice president of strategy and investigations for Parents Defending Education provided a statement, highlighting the overreach. "Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand is turning school staff into the mask police and punishing children to win a public opinion battle in Virginia that was decided at the ballot box. Parents elected Gov. Glenn Youngkin to office to win back parental rights over issues from what is taught in schools to whether a child wears a mask at school. Mr. Brabrand, who is on his way out as superintendent, is setting up a showdown with Gov. Youngkin--and parents," she said.

The blog post letter from Brabrand in reality actually doubles down on the briefing:

In accordance with state law, our regulation requiring universal masking remains in place until further notice. Students will be required to comply with the requirements of Regulation 2109.2. Face masks are included in the student dress code and failure to comply remains an SR&R violation. Intentional removal of or refusal to wear a face covering during the times face coverings are required by all students will be treated as a violation of Regulation 2613. In addition, per federal guidelines, students must continue to wear masks at all times on school buses or other FCPS transportation.

We are working towards a day when we can begin to roll back these safety measures, including universal masking. But for right now, we must continue to protect and serve all our students, including our most vulnerable. More than anything else, these mitigation measures allow them to safely remain in our schools.

We hope that our community will support each other and work together to find the right time for us to begin to remove some of our layered prevention strategies, but this is not the time. I hope that with that in mind, our students will arrive at school on Tuesday with their masks in place. If not, we will follow the regulation, but we will do so with sensitivity and compassion.

The briefing comes in light of Gov. Glenn Youngkin's (R-VA) first week in office. Within hours of taking office on Saturday, he issued a series of executive orders, including one that "delivers on his Day One promise to empower Virginia parents in their children’s education and upbringing by allowing parents to make decisions on whether their child wears a mask in school."

The governor also spoke of that "fundamental right" of parents during his first address before the General Assembly on Monday.

Youngkin had consistently made it part of his campaign to advocate for parents deciding whether or not their children should wear masks to school.

On Sunday, the day after Youngkin took office, families had also been texted a reminder about the district's masking policy.

Virginians not only elected a Republican governor last November, but Republican Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears and Attorney General Jason Miyares. Throughout his many media interview this week, Miyares referred to himself as the "new sheriff" in town when it comes to enforcing the law and has assured Virginians that this administration will fulfill campaign promises




Thursday, January 27, 2022

Supreme court to review race-conscious admissions policies at Harvard, UNC

This sounds very hopeful, given the present court. Leftist racism might at last take a hit

The Supreme Court said it would decide whether to prohibit the use of race-conscious admissions in higher education, agreeing to consider challenges to policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.

The court in a brief written order on Monday said it would consider a pair of challenges by a group called Students for Fair Admissions, led by conservative legal activist Edward Blum, which sued both schools on the same day in 2014.

The lawsuit against Harvard alleged the school used quota-like racial-balancing tactics that artificially raised the standards of admission for Asian-American applicants, in violation of federal civil-rights law. The challengers alleged Asians were admitted at a lower rate than whites, even though their overall academic scores were better.

Harvard rejected the claims of discrimination and said it only considered race in a flexible way, as one factor among many in building diverse classes of students.

Under the Trump administration, the Justice Department supported the lawsuit, but the Biden-era department abandoned that position and offered support for Harvard in a legal brief last month that urged the Supreme Court to turn away the challenge.

A Boston-based US district judge and a federal appeals court each sided with the school.

The lawsuit against UNC was similar to the Harvard allegations, though it added claims that the flagship public university in Chapel Hill violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.

The challengers alleged the school unlawfully factored students’ race into the admissions process, favoring Black, Hispanic and Native American applicants and even caused them harm by inviting them into classrooms for which they weren’t prepared. The university, they said, didn’t fully pursue race-neutral alternatives to diversify its student body.

UNC in court papers said it has made progress on diversity but continues to face challenges in admitting underrepresented minorities. The school said it considered race as one of dozens of factors when evaluating applicants, which “may sometimes tip the balance toward admission in an individual case -- but it almost always does not.” A federal judge sided with UNC in October. The challengers then sought to bypass appellate review, asking the Supreme Court to go ahead and hear the case along with the Harvard litigation.

The Supreme Court is expected to consider the cases during its next term, which begins in October. Under that timeline, a ruling would be expected by June 2023.

Harvard President Lawrence Bacow said the court’s decision to review the cases puts at risk the ability of schools to create diverse campus communities, “which strengthens the learning environment for all.” He said Harvard would continue to defend its admissions practices. Given the lower courts’ unanimous rulings and Supreme Court precedent on the matter, he said, “there is no persuasive, credible evidence warranting a different outcome.”

UNC spokeswoman Beth Keith said the school would defend its admissions process, which it terms holistic. “As the trial court held, our process is consistent with long-standing Supreme Court precedent and allows for an evaluation of each student in a deliberate and thoughtful way,” she said.

“The cornerstone of our nation’s civil-rights laws is the principle that an individual’s race should not be used to help or harm them in their life’s endeavors,” Mr. Blum said, alleging that Harvard and UNC “racially gerrymandered” their classes to hit quotas. “It is our hope that the justices will end the use of race as an admissions factor at Harvard, UNC and all colleges and universities.”

While declining to comment on the litigation, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration believes “in the benefits of diversity in higher education.” By taking the cases, the Supreme Court will be directly considering whether to reverse course on more than 40 years of precedent allowing some consideration of race in admissions. Current law permits schools to consider an applicant’s race in narrow ways, but not as a rigid set-aside for minority applicants.

The court’s 1978 decision in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke barred the use of racial quotas but said schools could use race in some circumstances for assembling a diverse student body. In 2003, the court in Grutter v. Bollinger upheld the University of Michigan Law School’s use of race in admissions. And in 2016 the court ruled the University of Texas at Austin’s process passed constitutional muster, in another case backed by Mr Blum. Each of the decisions sparked deep divisions at the court.

Many selective colleges use what they call a holistic admissions review process, taking into consideration factors including academic credentials, extracurricular achievements and recommendations, as well as an applicant’s background. The goal, admissions officers say, is to ensure they enroll a mix of students whose life experiences and outlooks can enrich the educational opportunities of their classmates.

In writing for the court majority in the 2003 Grutter case, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said the use of racial preferences wouldn’t be necessary 25 years on. Schools, though, say other systemic inequities, including ones baked into the K-12 education system, mean alternative efforts to improve diversity without considering race aren’t yet effective enough on their own.

Admissions officers say that just admitting students with the best grades in the hardest classes, or only taking those with top SAT or ACT scores, would close out opportunities for students whose schools had limited course offerings or who couldn’t afford expensive test-prep programs. By admitting students based on just test scores, one Georgetown University study showed, colleges would end up with student populations that are overwhelmingly whiter, wealthier and male.

By also considering an applicant’s background -- overcoming hardship, growing up with grandparents or taking care of a younger sibling, or otherwise making the most of limited resources -- admissions officers say they can spot other candidates with potential and achieve the aimed-for educational benefits of a diverse class.

Dozens of higher-education leaders have backed Harvard and UNC in the legal battle, as have corporate executives who say their talent pipelines would grow more homogeneous if affirmative action were disallowed.


NYC professors sue over forced representation by 'antisemitic' union

A group of New York City professors is suing for the right to no longer be represented by a labor union they say is antisemitic and has targeted the educators due to their beliefs.

City University of New York professors Avraham Goldstein, Michael Goldstein, Frimette Kass-Shraibman, Mitchell Langbert, Jeffrey Lax and Maria Pagano have filed suit against the college, a slew of New York officials and the union, Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, seeking to no longer be forced to pay dues to PSC.

All of the educators resigned from PSC last summer after the union issued a resolution in support of the Palestinian people and condemning Israel. Five of the six plaintiffs are Jewish.

PSC's resolution stated that the CUNY union "cannot be silent about the continued subjection of Palestinians to the state-supported displacement, occupation, and use of lethal force by Israel" and goes on to say, among other things, that the chapter would consider officially supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel.

The plaintiffs say the resolution was "anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish, and anti-Israel," and that PSC has "single[d] them out for opprobrium, hatred, and harassment based on their religious, ethnic, and/or moral beliefs and identity." The professors say that being forced to be represented by and financially support the union violates their constitutional rights.

They also claim that the union representing them not only stands contrary to their own beliefs, but has proactively targeted them due to their religion.

The court filing alleges that Professor Michael Goldstein, who has taught at CUNY for 32 years and whose late father was a longtime chancellor of the institution, "has experienced anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist attacks from members of PSC, including what he sees as bullying, harassment, destruction of property, calls for him to be fired, organization of student attacks against him, and threats against him and his family."


Cops as teachers?

It’s no secret that educators have faced a nearly impossible task over the past two years. Even before the pandemic changed the way school was done, teachers were often heralded as overworked, underpaid heroes.

Now, many schools are facing a crisis as teachers have gotten sick or retired early and substitutes are hard to find, leaving parents in a bind as they try to continue their own work lives as well as their children’s education.

One public school system in Moore, Oklahoma, found a unique temporary solution.

“Moore PD is a proud community partner of Moore Public Schools,” the Moore Police Department posted on Facebook on Jan. 18. “This week, several on-duty officers are serving in the classroom as schools continue to face teacher and staff shortages.”

“We are thankful to be able to assist our community during these difficult times.”

Police Chief Todd R. Gibson said the officers volunteered for the gig and are not getting paid anything apart from their normal salary for taking on the job.

“Police officers did not have to participate, they chose to,” Gibson told Fox News. “These officers are deeply connected to the community and the schools. They always enjoy the opportunity to interact with the future of our community in a helpful way.”




Wednesday, January 26, 2022

As I Found Out With My Daughter, Not Even Catholic Schools Are Safe Havens From Gender Ideology

My husband and I looked to a Catholic school to be an ally in our fight to break our daughter free from the grip of gender confusion. We were naive.

Our daughter, now 15, was 13 when she was coached into believing that she was born in the wrong body and could change to be the opposite sex. This led her to self-loathing.

But instead of finding a partner within the Roman Catholic Church, we discovered that our local Catholic high school had adopted procedures that promote transgenderism. This situation has left us with no safe place to educate our child and a profound feeling of disappointment and abandonment.

As I previously wrote for The Daily Signal, our daughter’s transgender identity came with little warning. She started ninth grade at a public charter high school in the fall of 2020, but due to COVID-19 didn’t actually set foot in a classroom.

During the first week of online classes, I noticed that all her teachers were referring to her by male pronouns and a male name. My husband and I were stunned.

We later learned that our daughter, who had been happy as a stereotypical girl up until puberty, had “come out” to her school as “trans.”

When I contacted the charter school, her designated counselor cheerfully informed me that the school permits children to “lead” and self-identify concerning gender without consulting their parents.

The school’s basis for this clandestine social transition was to ensure the “safety” of the child. By extension, the policy must have assumed that all parents are “unsafe,” because a police officer and a Child Protective Services worker soon appeared at our door to ask questions and look around.

We were angered that no one at the school saw fit to clue in the child’s parents on the situation. Moreover, the teachers blatantly hid the name change by sending me emails using our daughter’s given name. Thus, triangulating the relationship among teacher, child, and parents.

Groomed for New Identity

From discussions with our daughter and a deep dive into her internet use, we came to learn that she was being brainwashed by others into thinking she was a male. She was in contact with older trans kids, so-called glitter families, adult males, and internet influencers.

They directed our daughter to dangerous, sexually explicit websites. They instructed her that if she didn’t like her body, she was trans. They taught her how to bind her breasts and dissociate from her body.

We saw too that she was consumed with anime and manga, which don’t simply feature innocuous, doe-eyed comic book characters but include gender-bending, highly sexualized creatures that can disrupt reality in a young brain.

Our daughter clearly had been groomed for her new identity.

We transferred her to the local Catholic school later that fall, believing that the school would be a partner in helping our child come to love herself.

We looked to our Catholic school to support us in this endeavor. Instead, we found out that the school was directly pushing the transgender ideology through one of its “inclusion” clubs, called the Pride Student Union or PSU.

The spring welcome email from the Pride Student Union relayed all of the student officers’ preferred pronouns and included an announcement by the club president, a biological female, that she was “queer.” (“Queer” is a term that has expanded in youth circles to refer to those who believe all sexual norms should be obliterated.)

This email explicitly stated that the club’s formal meetings are “teaching” meetings. The most recent such meeting, it said, was about black history and queerness. (The trans movement clearly has acted on advice to link its message to the more popular civil rights movement.)

Meeting With the Principal

I met with the school principal, who I’ll call Ms. K, and the school’s chaplain, Father B. I told them my daughter’s story. I begged them to help me. Instead, they simply offered excuses.

Principal K and Father B said that the Pride Student Union’s most recent formal meeting on gender had not been sanctioned by the school, and may have occurred without faculty oversight. But I know that the faculty member was invited to an earlier meeting on gender, so I was skeptical.

Principal K and Father B tried to argue that the club doesn’t “teach” anything. I disagreed.

They went on to say that they couldn’t control what students do on their own time. They went so far as to compare the gender meetings to off-campus parties that weren’t sponsored by the school. It was obvious to me that they wanted to distance the school from the club to protect themselves from possible legal ramifications.


Antifa Shuts Down College Event as Administrators Blame Republican Students

Republican students at a New Hampshire Ivy League college say the school’s administration deserted them and made false and embarrassing allegations against them in order to avoid bad publicity by canceling an event under heavy protest by the far-left extremist group Antifa.

The live event scheduled at Dartmouth College was called “Extremism in America” and was to feature conservative personality Andy Ngo, who has been violently attacked by Antifa in the past.

Antifa and its sympathizers made several threats against the event including offering money to anyone who assaulted Ngo. A local group called Dartmouth Anarchists also posted violent insinuation about the event on social media, with one member tweeting: “So long as we stand, Dartmouth will never be a safe space for [right-wingers] to spew their misinformation. Wear black to show your solidarity and hide your identity!”

The event was hosted by Dartmouth College Republicans. The club’s president, Griffin Mackey, told The Epoch Times that local and state police were well prepared for the advent of any violence from the group and had a SWAT team in place before the event began.

“Moore Hall may have been the safest place in all of New Hampshire,” said Mackey.

Just hours before Ngo was about to take stage, school administrators ordered the live event to be transitioned to a virtual event only. The schools later issued a statement blaming the move on failures of the College Republicans.

“In light of concerning information from Hanover police regarding safety issues, similar concerns expressed by the College Republican leadership, and challenges with the student organization’s ability to staff a large public event and communicate effectively (including dissemination of the visitor policy and a prohibition of bags in the building), the College has requested that the Extremism in America panel be moved online,” the college wrote in a statement it released after moving the event online.

However, emails exchanged between Anna Hall, senior assistant dean for student life at Dartmouth and the College Republicans show the student group had sent out emails to registered attendees days before emphasizing that backpacks would not be allowed at the event and that student ID would be strictly required. The group also posted notices on the college’s online bulletin and around campus, the emails show.

Mackey told The Epoch Times he believes the real reason the college canceled the event was to avoid “bad publicity” and any potential fall out from it.

Chloe Ezzo, Vice President of Dartmouth College Republicans, added that Hall made an arbitrary last-minute request for the group to provide additional staffing as if she was trying to create “reasons” to cancel the event.

After the cancellation of the live event, members of Dartmouth Anarchists took to social media and declared “victory.”

“By going virtual on such a short notice, they seriously disrupted our event, embarrassed our organization, and created a roadmap for derailing these kinds of activities,” Mackey told the Epoch Times.

Hanover, NH State Police, Hall, and other college administrators did not respond to requests for comments by The Epoch Times.

In a 2021 evaluation of free speech on college campuses, The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), gave Dartmouth College a “C” in Free Speech.

Despite protests, the school did not cancel the scheduled live appearance last year by Madison Cawthorn, who would later become the youngest Congressman to be elected. During his speech, The Democratic Socialist Club at Dartmouth College chanted obscenities at the police.

However, Antifa and its sympathizers made it clear that it was prepared to wage an aggressive protest against Ngo.

A couple of days before the event, The Green Mountain John Brown Gun Club posted on social media that it had “called up reserves” of “Antifa super soldiers” to be on hand for the event.

And in a tweet just a few days earlier, Antifa member Jonathan Dylan Chase offered money to anyone “who managed to assault Ngo” during his Dartmouth appearance.

Chase is a member of the Portland Oregon-based Rose City Antifa charged with violently attacking Ngo in 2019.

In a video captured by a local reporter, a group of demonstrators can be seen dousing Ngo with a milkshake, punching him, and yelling at him in an unprovoked attack.


Texas Teacher On Leave After Calling Students “Complete And Utter Morons” She Wouldn’t Save Them If They Were Drowning

The district is mostly Hispanic

A Texas teacher is on administrative leave after a video showing her ranting about her students and her job was circulated online.

The unidentified teacher at Lamar Consolidated ISD’s Harry Wright Junior High School in Richmond was placed on leave after she was heard calling her students “complete and utter morons.”

“If I have to keep dealing with kids that are complete and utter morons, I’m done,” the teacher can be heard saying in the video which was recorded by a parent.

The teacher, who was in her first year at the school, also can also be heard complaining about her job, “I want to be fired at this point,” she said in the video. “I literally am going to hurt myself if I have to keep coming here.”

The teacher went on to say that she would not save her students if they were in danger. “I have never in my life dealt with kids that are so awful that if they fell into a river, I would let them float away,” she said.

The video spread like wildfire on social media and sparked online discussions, with many people asking why she ever wanted to be a teacher.

Some others defended her without condoning the behavior by pointing out that teachers are overworked and stressed especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lamar CISD issued a statement responding to the video, confirming the teacher had been placed on leave. “Wednesday night (January 12), we were made aware of a video circulating on social media where a Wright Junior High School teacher is making disturbing comments,” the school district said.

“Of course, we take this very seriously and are actively investigating this situation. Wednesday night (January 12), the employee involved was made aware not to report to the campus and was placed on administrative leave Thursday morning (January 13),” the statement continued.

The district added: “Parents trust us with their students every day and, unfortunately, the actions of a single person have the potential to breach that trust. That is why it is important to underscore that the hardworking, dedicated staff at Wright Junior High School work to create a place where all students feel included and valued, and the comments made in the video are not a reflection of the campus as a whole.”




Tuesday, January 25, 2022

For Parents, School Choice Provides Hope

There’s a local coffee shop that has become a hub for people working from home who also want to get out a bit. As we all sit in front of our computers, taking calls and working from large community tables, it never fails that someone, usually a parent, sees my “Love Your School” logo—and asks me what I do.

“I help families learn about their education options. Do you have kids?”

Without a second thought, a conversation has begun, and parents begin to share about their kids and their concerns, curious if I might be able to offer some hope for their situation.

I love these conversations—because I do have hope to offer. Its name? School choice.

Parents worrying about their children’s futures is nothing new, but the last two years have compounded those worries and added a dose of fear.

“Will my child ever catch up? Why are they still struggling so much? How can I afford all these extra tutors? I think they need an evaluation, but everyone says they’ll grow out of it. I’m so worried about my child’s future, I think about it all the time.”

In addition to new challenges brought on by COVID-19, parents also have concerns about what their children are being taught in the classroom.

Our nonprofit, Love Your School, recently helped the Neagra family, who were looking for a new school. When I asked why they were searching, the family explained that policies related to the handling of COVID-19 and “radical social education being taught to our elementary students” necessitated a change.

They were so thankful that they could access an Empowerment Scholarship Account (also known as an “education savings account”) because they were in a D-rated school district.

They, like so many other families we work with, never knew until the last couple of months that they even had this option in Arizona. How many other families are drowning in the same worry and fear over their children’s futures but are left with no knowledge of their education choices at all?

Just a few weeks ago, another team member and I set up a table outside of a popular grocery store in South Phoenix, Arizona. “Hola! ¿Tienen niños?” we’d ask, as folks popped in for lunch at the taco shop just inside. The number of conversations we had on an average Tuesday lunch hour was almost unbelievable.

Sure, we had cold Jarritos in our branded koozies for the taking, but that was barely of interest. The possibility that we had something to offer these families who were clearly already thinking about their kid’s education was the draw. The thought that someone might listen to their story and provide ideas, options, and hope for their child’s current situation or struggle was the appeal.

Thankfully, hope is just what we had—along with some branded swag.

As we celebrate National School Choice Week, we should share with anyone that will listen the opportunities that school choice provides. We should plan events, make phone calls, and wear our yellow scarves to bring awareness to all of the incredible education options that families have access to across the United States.

I’m reminded of all the families I’ve met the last few years who felt they got a second chance for their kids because of school choice policies, my own included. I credit an education savings account to helping my two oldest boys get the therapy and curriculum they needed so they could learn to read.

I can’t imagine our lives or their future without these opportunities.

This National School Choice Week, when everyone is looking for hope, school choice advocates have the opportunity to give it. This week, and every week after.


California mom takes legal action against school district 'after two teachers secretly manipulated her daughter, 11, into believing she was a transgender boy and gave tips on how to bind her breasts'

A California mother is taking legal action against a school district, claiming that two teachers secretly manipulated her 11-year-old daughter into believing she was a transgender boy.

Jessica Konen filed a legal claim against Spreckels Union School District last Wednesday - with that claim a likely precursor to a lawsuit. She alleges that Buena Vista Middle School teachers Lori Caldeira and Kelly Baraki 'planted a seed' in her daughter's head that she was bisexual, then went on to convince the youngster that she was actually a transgender boy.

Konen also claims that Caldeira and Baraki - who ran the school's 'You Be You' equality club - provided information for her daughter on how to bind her breasts to stop them developing. She says the school kept her in the dark about what was going on until a December 2019 meeting.

After schools closed and went remote during COVID in March 2020, Konen says her daughter, who has not been named, was once again happy to identify as a girl when away from the influence of the teachers and school bosses she is now on the verge of suing.

Caldeira and Baraki are also said to have 'stalked' social media for children they believed may have been transgender, but insist uncovered communications between them were only made in jest.

A legal claim filed Wednesday states that Spreckels Union School District was responsible for 'extreme and outrageous conduct' that led the student on a path toward transitioning as a boy and drove a wedge between mother and child. Konen is being assisted in her claim by free speech group The Center for American Liberty.

Attorney Harmeet Dhillon told that since filing the case, she's heard from parents across multiple states, who describe 'secretive trans grooming' by school officials - similar to what Konen has claimed.

One of Konen's chief complaints was that she was kept in the dark by the school about her daughter's participation in the club, literature teachers provided, and a 'gender support plan' created by administrators.

'Parents are supposed to have access to all the educational records of their children,' said Dhillon, who filed the case. 'The concept that the schools have a right to be running secret, don't-tell-your-parents clubs and don't-tell-your-parents programs and actively coaching children how to mutilate themselves, which is you know, not growing your breasts, is certainly not consistent with California law.'

I’ve heard from parents in other areas who describe similar secretive trans grooming by school officials. Did this happen to your family?

While Konen said her daughter had revealed she was bisexual, the mother was unaware she was identifying as a boy until she was called to a meeting at the Buena Vista Middle School principal´s office in December 2019 when her daughter was in 7th grade.

She wasn't told the purpose of the meeting until her daughter entered the room and sat across a table from her and teacher Lori Caldeira broke the news.

'I literally was caught off guard. I was blindsided,' Konen said. 'I didn't even know what to feel like because I didn´t even know where it came from.'

She said her daughter was also caught by surprise. She had told teachers she wanted to notify her mom, but didn't know they set the meeting up that day.

Konen said she gave the school permission to use a boy's name for attendance purposes and tried to be supportive, but it was difficult.

When schools went to remote learning during the pandemic in March 2020, Konen said her daughter began returning to her 'old self' and now uses her given name.

But it wasn't until this fall that Konen began to question how her daughter got on the path to a different identity, after an article by journalist Abigail Shrier circulated around town.

Shier's book, Irreversible Damage, has documented the explosion in children claiming to be transgender - particularly the sharp rise in girls claiming they are actually boys.

The tome has railed against decisions to prescribe young children with hormone therapy, or push them towards a path of gender reassignment surgery. Shier has won multiple awards for the book, but has also been met with howls of outrage from some pro-transgender campaigners over what they claim is baseless scaremongering.

In a leaked recording from a California Teachers Association conference, Caldeira and Kelly Baraki were quoted discussing how they kept meetings private and 'stalked' students online for recruits.

'When we were doing our virtual learning - we totally stalked what they were doing on Google, when they weren't doing school work,' Baraki said. 'One of them was googling 'Trans Day of Visibility.' And we're like, 'Check.' We're going to invite that kid when we get back on campus.'

Neither Caldeira nor Baraki could be reached by The Associated Press for comment. Caldeira told the San Francisco Chronicle the quotes were accurate but taken out of context or misrepresented. The stalking comment was a joke, she said.

Caldeira, who has been awarded as a role model for inclusion, defended their work, saying students set the agenda and the teachers were there to provide honest and fair answers to their questions.

The teachers were placed on administrative leave in November. They had attended the conference on their own time, but the district said, 'many of the comments and themes stated in the article are alarming, concerning, disappointing' and didn't reflect their policies.

The district hired a law firm to investigate, which is ongoing, and the UBU club was suspended.

Konen was applauded when she blasted school board members at a meeting in December, saying the teachers took away her ability to parent.

Superintendent Eric Tarallo said the legal claim would be addressed in the judicial system and personnel policies prevented him from revealing if the teachers were back at school. He said the district was reviewing and updating policies on student clubs.


Unvaccinated Students Corralled into Separate Pen at LA High School

There have long been some very serious concerns about the way in which vaccinated people would treat unvaccinated folks here in the United States, and it’s a sad reality that some of even the more bizarre predictions have come true.

We’ve seen the unvaccinated among us ostracized, belittled, discriminated against, and segregated against, often with the backing of the government itself.

Now, at a charter school in Los Angeles, an incredibly poignant and stomach-turning facet of this prejudice has been put on display.

Parents and students at a Los Angeles charter school have filed a lawsuit to stop a vaccine mandate that allegedly prevented unvaccinated children from attending class.

The children said they felt “segregated” and “discriminated against.”

“Female students were segregated, harassed, and threatened with suspension just for trying to participate in their classes, and we will prove in court that this is unjust and unlawful,” Sharon McKeeman, founder of Let Them Breathe, a nonprofit organization that is representing the students and parents in a lawsuit against the school, told Fox News Digital on Sunday.

The situation was a dramatic one:

Let Them Breathe shared videos of the students protesting after New West Charter School allegedly refused to let them in when school reopened on Jan. 18, 2022. The organization claimed that the students were segregated “behind barriers.”

“We’re being refused of the right to attend school,” one student claims in a video. “We feel segregated and discriminated against,” adds another.




Monday, January 24, 2022

Denver School Teaches Elementary Schoolers to Support BLM, Be Queer Affirming and to Disrupt Nuclear Family

Centennial Elementary School in Denver, Colorado will teach its kindergarten and first-grade students how they can support Black Lives Matter, affirm queer and transgender individuals and disrupt the nuclear family as part of its "Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action."

The school outlines the "Black Lives Matter Guiding Principles" that will guide its instruction. The guide, obtained by nonprofit group Parents Defending Education, includes definitions of a number of terms, including "restorative justice," "diversity," "transgender affirming" and "queer affirming."

Also among the principles defined were "globalism," described in the guide as "our ability to see how we are impacted or privileged within the global black family," and "Loving Engagement," which the guide says is "the commitment to practice justice, liberation and peace."

Additionally, the instruction guide defined "Black Women" as "the building of women-centered spaces free from sexism, misogyny, and male-centeredness," and "Black Families," which creates "a space that is family friendly and free from patriarchal practices."

Centennial Elementary School also vows to teach students its definition of "Black Villages," the disruption of "western nuclear family dynamics and a return to the 'collective village' that takes care of each other."

Its FAQ page on BLM, citing an advisory opinion from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, said that "supporting BLM is not political." The page also insists that its teachings are age-appropriate and that BLM is not being taught or promoted to its students, but rather, "BLM Principles" are used to "drive kid-friendly conversations about the importance of valuing and respecting diversity." Included at the bottom of the FAQ page is a link directing to a website focusing on teachings from author Ibram X. Kendi's book, "How to Be an Antiracist."

On its equity page, the school refers to itself as an "inclusive school" and says that its staff "believes that each child can positively contribute to our community because of their unique culture, background and perspectives. We believe that true diversity and inclusion in service of equity starts with us."

This comes after Centennial Elementary School came under scrutiny last month for hosting a monthly "families of color playground night" after a picture of the school promoting the event on its sign was shared on social media.


NYC schools Chancellor David Banks clears way for new DOE team

Schools Chancellor David Banks has begun clearing out the executives under his predecessors and replacing them with his own team — vowing more “dramatic changes” at the city Department of Education in the coming months.

At least seven top officials under ex-chancellors Richard Carranza and Meisha Porter have already left the DOE, and six will remain for the time being – but in lower-level positions with less pay.

“I’m committed to drastic change,” Banks told The Post, saying he plans more personnel moves to cut and streamline the massive DOE bureaucracy.

“The intention here is to save millions of dollars for the system that gets pushed closer to schools,” he said. “I’m not here to placate and make people feel good. I came here at the behest of the mayor to bring real change, and it is coming.”

Mayor Adams’ schools boss, who completed three weeks on the job Friday, has assembled a seven-member cabinet, down from 15 in the former DOE administration.

In some cases, their salaries are higher than previously paid to top DOE execs. For instance, newcomers Daniel Weisberg, first deputy chancellor, and Desmond Blackburn, deputy chancellor for school leadership – a newly created post – will each make $265,000 a year. Blackburn was CEO of a national non-profit, the New Teacher Center.

“I’m really starting to reduce the number of people who report to the chancellor, reducing the size of the cabinet, giving larger portfolios,” said Banks, who will get the same pay as Carranza and Porter, $363,346.

Among the changes:

–Marisol Rosales, promoted by Porter last August to senior deputy chancellor with a $241,000 salary, was demoted to “special advisor” in the school support division with a pay cut. She agreed to leave “at a date certain” — by the end of next year, sources said.

–Lashawn Robinson, former Deputy Chancellor for School Climate and Wellness, who made $236,000 last year, was demoted to ”senior director for strategic Initiatives,” under Blackburn with a reduced salary.

In a similar title, Banks appointed Jawana Johnson Chief of School Culture, Climate and Well-Being. Johnson previously served as Chief Achievement Officer at the Eagle Academy Foundation, which supported six public schools founded by Banks. Her salary: $222,972.

Banks named Carolyne Quintana as Deputy Chancellor of Teaching and Learning, with a $241,000 salary. Quintana, a former DOE teacher and principal in the Bronx, will oversee all academics as well as support for early childhood education, students with disabilities, and multi-language learners.

The DOE did not provide the salary reductions for Rosales, Robinson and others who received a cut in pay.

In another major appointment, Banks named Karine Apollon the Chief Diversity Officer, with a $222,972 salary.

She will oversee a first-ever Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Such offices have sprung up in many other school districts, colleges and corporations, but often with broader, controversial progressive mandates.

The DOE’s office will be “narrowly focused,” Banks said, on contracting more businesses owned by women and minorities, and hiring more staffers of color.

Black-owned businesses get less than one percent of DOE contracts, he said. “The numbers are just horrible. We can do better than that in a city as diverse as New York.”

The DEI office will not get involved in academics, he said.

“This is not about creating a curriculum that’s controversial,” Banks said in a nod to the furor over Critical Race Theory, the concept that racism is embedded in legal and other systems.

A spokeswoman for IntegrateNYC, a group opposed to de facto segregation in city schools, is disappointed the office will not tackle matters such as admission “screens” for high schools, Gifted & Talented classes or other selective programs.

“It’s concerning – the omission or absence of the pillars we’ve been working on for so long,” said communications director Seba Uchida, a 2019 Bronx HS of Science grad.

A School Diversity Advisory Group appointed by former Mayor de Blasio called on him in February 2019 to name a Chief Integration Officer. DeBlasio never did, and Banks has no plans to do so, DOE spokespersons said.

But Banks has created another new title – Chief of Student Pathways, naming Jade Grieve to the post to oversee all college and career readiness, and work-based learning. Grieve last worked at Bloomberg Philanthropies in career and technical education, and previously served as senior advisor to the Prime Minister of Education in Australia.


Dramatic rise in Australian children registered for home schooling

The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the trend to withdraw children from formal education with a record 9000 students now registered for home schooling in NSW, a jump of nearly 30 per cent.

Figures reported at NSW budget estimates reveal 8981 children were registered for home schooling as of October 31 last year, a 28 per cent increase on the 7032 registered at the end of 2020.

Home schooling has been rising in popularity for several years but spiked dramatically after the pandemic started – with 19 per cent growth in 2019, compared with an average 13 per cent for the three years before that.

Home Education Association president Karen Chegwidden said there were many reasons the pandemic was driving the trend. Having children at home during lockdown made some families realise they like the lifestyle of having their kids at home, while others were alarmed by their child’s lack of progress in mainstream schooling.

Vaccines were another big issue, Ms Chegwidden said. Those who were vaccine-hesitant were worried their child would be vaccinated against their will, while others would not send their child to school until they were fully vaccinated.

“Then there are just the people who are sick of the disruption – the idea that one day kids go back to school and the next day it’s closed because of COVID and the school is being cleaned is making life impossible to manage,” she said. “Kids are stressed out and parents are stressed out and that’s really reflective of a lot of families.“

Budget estimates reveal of those parents who provided a reason for home schooling, one in four identified their child’s special learning needs. Only 1 per cent said it was because of bullying.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the pandemic had shifted the dynamics of education for students learning with a disability and remote learning during lockdown had been a challenge for some of these children and their families.

“I understand why some families have shifted to a permanent home schooling approach,” Ms Mitchell said. “I hope this year is the first in two years that we could call a normal school year. I also hope that we can begin to bring some of the students back to the classroom who have opted for home schooling over the past 24 months.”

Physical Disability Council of NSW chief executive Serena Ovens said the figures would include many children with a high risk of complications from COVID-19.

“If someone is known to be at high risk of severe illness or death with COVID then some parents will absolutely make that choice, and you can’t blame them,” Ms Ovens said.

Of the children registered for home schooling, 2874 were in western Sydney and 1099 were from the Hunter region, which includes Newcastle. This could reflect the fact that they are populous regions with a high number of students enrolled overall.

Labor education spokeswoman Prue Car said it could also reflect an under-investment in education in the rapidly growing outer western suburbs, and the government needed to determine if this was driving a push to home schooling.

“There are suburbs with overcrowded schools, suburbs with no schools five to 10 years after people have moved in, and a shortage of teachers,” Ms Car said. “It’s pretty alarming if parents feel they don’t have a choice because every child deserves a quality public school in their area.”




Sunday, January 23, 2022

School Board Clams up When Father Asks About Daughter’s Sexual Assault

Virginia schools continue to face issues with sexual assault cover-ups and denials. In Prince William County, one father brought up the issue after his daughter was assaulted, but the school board was silent.

Jeff Darr stood up at a school board meeting on Wednesday and informed the members that his 13-year-old daughter had been assaulted.

“I was wondering if you all could explain to me how the policies and procedures are for the administrators to handle that situation,” Darr said in the school board meeting.

He was met with silence from the board members. “Does anybody have any answers?” Darr asked again.

Babur Lateef, chairman at-large of the school board, finally answered by telling him that “we typically don’t go and have a back-and-forth here” and that he should address the board via email or make an appointment.

Darr said he didn’t understand. “So where do you find the rules and regulations at?” he said, again asking where administrators could find the correct procedures for handling sexual assaults in school.

In response, he was told to step aside and someone would address his questions. Meanwhile, a security officer approached him and appeared to put his arm on Darr’s back.

But the father said he wanted to make this public so that everyone could be informed and that was why he showed up for the school board meeting.

“So, we won’t be answering you, but you can certainly keep asking,” Lateef said.

Darr asked again for the definition of sexual assault. “I want to know the school’s definition of sexual assault, because my daughter was told … that if it’s above the clothes, it’s not sexual assault,” Darr said, as he got choked up.

“And that’s the way the county does the kids here? It’s messed up,” he said.

“That’s my daughter, and no one wants to do nothing about it. Suspend a boy for one day for improper touching, and I don’t think that’s right,” Darr said. “So somebody needs to do something. Somebody needs to look into the matter and do something.”

He added, “I’m pretty sure if it’s happened to her, it’s happened to plenty of children here. It’s ridiculous.”

WTTG -TV followed up by reaching out to the Prince William County Police Department, which said it was aware of a sexual assault that happened in November during a Hylton High School field trip.

The department said that a “thorough police investigation was conducted into the accusation.”

Diana Gulotta, the director of communications for Prince William County Schools, released a statement Friday, according to WTTG.

“PWCS takes any act of sexual assault or violence seriously and such acts will not be tolerated,” she said. “PWCS has specific procedures and highly trained personnel to assist students and parents in resolving claims that involve certain forms of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature as required by Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

“School administration learned of this incident on the day it is alleged to have occurred and notified law enforcement. The PWCS Title IX office has taken action to investigate the allegations and to offer supportive measures consistent with legal requirements.

“That process is still ongoing. For student privacy reasons, we cannot share information about the alleged incident, the investigation, or any findings, discipline or other actions that may result. PWCS administrators are working with the family of the complainant to respond to their concerns.”

Throughout the past several months, other sexual assaults in Virginia schools have come to light. Loudoun County schools were widely criticized over the gross mishandling of assaults perpetrated by a 15-year-old student.

Darr’s public questioning of the school board was very reasonable, but he was brushed aside. This should be causing serious concern for all parents with children in Prince William County schools.


Virginia Woman Charged After Threatening to Show Up to Child's School with Guns in Protest of Mask Mandate

A Virginia woman was charged by police after she threatened to bring loaded firearms to her child's school over the district's mask mandate.

Amelia Ruffner King was charged Friday night with a violation of a Virginia statute stating that oral threats of bodily harm on school property are not allowed, a Class 1 misdemeanor.

She was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond, and police will have an increased presence at the school on Monday, according to the Luray Police Department.

During a Page County School Board meeting held Thursday to discuss Gov. Glenn Youngkin's (R) executive order allowing parents to opt-out of mask requirements, King blasted the board over the mask mandate that was still in place, video footage shows.

"My child — my children will not come to school on Monday with a mask on. All right, that's not happening. And I will bring every single gun loaded and ready to — I will call every—," King explained before she was interrupted by school officials.

She then left the podium and said, "I'll see y'all on Monday."

King later apologized to the board members in an email read aloud during the meeting by one of the board members.

"I in no way meant to imply 'all guns loaded' as in actual firearms, but rather all resources I can muster to make sure that my children get [sic] to attend school without masks. My sincere apologies for my poor choice in words," King's email read.

She also said in her email that she contacted the sheriff's office to "explain herself."

Page County School Superintendent Antonia Fox and Page County School Board Chair Megan Gordon wrote in a joint statement Friday that King's remarks "were perceived by many to be threatening in nature" and that the district "does not take these kinds of statements lightly."

"Not only do comments such as these go against everything we wish to model for our students, they go against the very nature of how we as a community should interact with each other," the statement reads. "Violence and threats are never acceptable or appropriate. This kind of behavior is not tolerated from our students, faculty staff, nor will it be tolerated by parents or guests of our school division."

The school board voted in a 4-2 decision to make masks optional after the Thursday meeting in which King made her comments. This comes just ahead of Youngkin's executive order taking effect on Monday.

Luray Police Chief Bow Cook said that King apologized for her comments and is cooperating with law enforcement.

"The statement that was made absolutely caused public alarm, the parent that made the statement realized that, and immediately contacted law enforcement to apologize because the statement was not intended the way it was perceived," Cook said in a Friday afternoon statement posted to Facebook. "The safety of the students and school staff are our number one priority, we are working diligently with the Page County School Board to ensure proper measures have been put in place for their safety."


ACLU Comes Out in Support of Keeping Parents in the Dark on What Their Children Are Learning

The ACLU has evolved from a champion of liberties into a champion of authoritarianism

When it comes to transparency and the fundamental rights of parents to know what's in their children's curriculum, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is taking a disappointing stance.

On Friday, the ACLU tweeted out an article by Tyler Kingkade with NBC News, "They fought critical race theory. Now they’re focusing on ‘curriculum transparency.’"

The tweet also claims that "Curriculum transparency bills are just thinly veiled attempts at chilling teachers and students from learning and talking about race and gender in schools."

People were quick to point out that by taking such a position, the ACLU is supporting government secrecy when it comes to what public schools are teaching and how they are potentially indoctrinating students.

Ultimately, though, the article provides a one-sided view, especially when it comes to what kind of materials parents seek to get rid of:

“People are going to disagree on a lot of these issues,” said Matt Beienburg, the Goldwater Institute’s director of education policy. “Transparency is something I think that at least allows for that conversation to know what is being taught. Everybody should be able to rally around the fact that we shouldn’t be teaching something in secret.”

But teachers, their unions and free speech advocates say the proposals would excessively scrutinize daily classwork and would lead teachers to pre-emptively pull potentially contentious materials to avoid drawing criticism. Parents and legislators have already started campaigns to remove books dealing with race and gender, citing passages they find obscene, after they found out that the books were available in school libraries and classrooms.

Kingkade fails to mention that books parents "find obscene" and that, at least in Fairfax, Virginia, have gone through a back-and-forth battle of whether to remove, deal with pedophilia and graphic depictions of sexual acts in graphic novels.

While Manhattan Institute fellow and CRT opponent Christopher Rufo's tweets are referenced, much of the commentary mentioned in the article is from Democrats who oppose such transparency and rant and rave using typical talking points like blaming Fox News:

But Democratic legislators pushed back. Pennsylvania Rep. Dan Frankel argued in legislative hearings in October that the proposal was an invitation to “the book burners and the anti-maskers to harass our schools and harass our teachers.”

“This bill isn’t about transparency for parents,” Frankel said at the time. “It’s about bringing the fights that get started on Fox News to the kindergarten classroom near you.”

When it comes to what the ACLU thinks about teaching CRT? It's included in the First Amendment, they claim.

This is hardly the only recent move from the ACLU that would seem antithetical to their very purpose.

For instance, in September, David Cole and Daniel Mach, their national legal director and director of Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, respectively, penned an opinion piece advocating for vaccine mandates. ACLU tweeted it out from their official account.

Later that month, they also edited the words of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on women and abortion, who founded the ACLU Women's Rights Project in 1972, to make the language more gender-neutral.