Friday, June 03, 2022

Parents rally as Fairfax school board punts controversial vote on changes to sex-ed classes

Despite the Fairfax County school board's decision to punt a controversial vote on changes to family life education (FLE) classes to June, parents showed up in full force at Luther Jackson Middle School at last Thursday's meeting.

The Fairfax school board is considering changing the FLE classes in the name of equity, including largely eliminating separate gender classes. The recommendation, from the school board sex-ed committee, would mix boys and girls in 4th through 8th grade for all discussions of puberty, sexually transmitted diseases, and the human reproductive system. The board will also consider increasing penalties against students for "malicious misgendering" "deadnaming" their peers. "Deadnaming" is a word used to describe the act of referring to someone by a name they used prior to transitioning.

"Too far, too much, too young," was Fairfax County parent Jeff's mantra. And his fellow parents in attendance roundly agreed.

"I asked my son this morning what he was going to learn," Jeff told Fox News Digital at a rally ahead of the school board meeting. "He said, ‘math, science, language arts, writing. And he said, ’oh, science.' That's what we want to hear, right? We don't want to hear, ‘I got punished today because I called somebody by the wrong pronoun. Or what this regulation identifies as 'malicious misgendering.’"

Elizabeth McCauley of the Virginia Mavens was concerned the administrators seemed to be prioritizing progressive agenda items at a time when Virginia schools are falling behind. Recent reports have found that, in the state of Virginia, only 33 percent of eighth graders and 38 percent of fourth graders are proficient in reading.

"I think just the basic of saying what is falsehood is true," McCauley told Fox Digital."Boys are boys and girls are girls. And God has uniquely designed each individual the way they are. And starting at a very young age and preying upon young children. Grooming young children. Having pornographic, pedophilia literature in schools. That's very problematic. And also doing that and focusing so much effort on that, when kids are falling behind in academics."

McCauley blasted the materials she said children were being exposed to in classrooms.

"Also, I think the Family Life Education course, it's so important for parents to have to opt-in versus opt-out," she said. "That's absolutely key. Especially when they're expanding upon information that students are hearing here at school, but you would never even dream of mentioning in an adult working environment. Some of the things that kids are being told in school or even literature that they're receiving in school, is, if you sold it on the street, or you had it on the street, you'd be criminalized for it."

McCauley spared no hesitation when asked why she thought the Fairfax school board pushed the FLE vote to June.

"They're afraid because hey, I'm a mother bear," McCauley said, pointing to her t-shirt that read, "Beware the Mama Bear." "Beware the mother bears. Mother bears and Papa bears are coming out because we care about the future of our country. We care about our children."


Poll: Majority of Americans in Favor of Teachers Being Armed

In the wake of the deadly Uvalde elementary school shooting, the heated topic of gun laws is once again a major forefront of people’s minds. Though a majority of Americans believe arming teaching will make schools more safe.

A recent poll conducted by The Trafalgar Group, surveyed 1,091 general election voters and found that 57.5 percent of voters believe schools are somewhat or much more dangerous without teachers who carry a legal firearm and are properly trained Ito use it. This leaves just over a mere 30 percent who oppose it.

While 67.5 percent of these voters are Republicans, almost half at 48.2 percent, are Democrats in favor of arming teachers.

The poll also suggests that a younger age group of 18 to 24 year olds support the idea that teachers who have access to guns will be able to protect themselves and students.

As violent crimes continues to sweep through the nation, it has become more common for Americans to view legal firearms as a "need."

Convention of State’s Action President Mark Meckler told the Daily Wire that “no shooting at a school is going to be stopped by gun control laws. They are going to be stopped by a variety of fairly simple on-site measures, including arming law-abiding citizens — in this case, specifically teachers — and empowering them to protect our children, schools, and communities,” adding “a majority of voters see this clearly, despite the relentless propaganda by people who want to confiscate the guns of law-abiding citizens.”

Meckler continued to say that self-defense is the “bedrock of this Republic and our Constitution,” and that being able to defend people is the responsibility as a citizen.

“So many deaths have been prevented by armed citizens so why would we question the voluntary training and arming of teachers to protect those we love and care for the most?”


‘Expert’ idiocy on teaching kids to read is beyond comprehension

Every teacher of struggling readers has experienced the moment when a student says, “I read it, but I didn’t get it.” It can be a bewildering experience. Why don’t they get it?

For several decades, elementary schools in New York City and across the country have turned to Columbia University education professor and acclaimed reading guru Lucy Calkins to answer that question. But in recent years, her influential and best-selling “Units of Study” curriculum has faced an intense barrage of criticism from experts who complain its “balanced literacy” approach is ineffective and gives short shrift to phonics — teaching children to look at pictures and guess words, for example, instead of sounding them out.

Schools Chancellor David Banks has announced plans to move literacy instruction in New York City away from Calkins’ curriculum in favor of approaches based on the “science of reading,” including phonics. Perhaps as a result, Calkins now appears to have conceded the argument, promising in a lengthy New York Times article to include “daily structured phonics lessons” in her program. That’s welcome news, but it’s not enough.

The South Bronx elementary school where I taught 5th grade for several years was a proponent of Calkins’ approach. We adopted her teaching methods and employed her literacy coaches for years, to very little effect. Her greatest sin against literacy comes after kids learn to “decode” the written word, whether or not they are taught with phonics, which is just the starting line for reading.

Calkins’ literacy philosophy is aimed at children developing a “lifelong love of reading” and discovering the intoxicating power of their own voices as writers. This mostly entails kids reading books they chose themselves and writing about their own experiences and interests. That may sound engaging and fun for kids (and it often is), but it can be fatal to sophisticated adult literacy, particularly for disadvantaged children.

Here’s why: Reading feels like riding a bike to good readers. Once you learn how to pedal and balance, you can ride nearly any bike. Reading may feel the same way; reading comprehension, however, is far more complicated. It depends on the reader and writer having in common a lot of background knowledge, vocabulary and context. Consider the common word “shot.” Phonics instruction can ensure children can read the word, but it means different things on a basketball court, in a doctor’s office and when the repairman uses it to describe your dishwasher.

Words and the ability to “decode” them are just the tip of the iceberg; comprehension lies beneath. The critical role of shared knowledge to language proficiency is the basic insight of another, less-heralded professor, the University of Virginia’s E.D. Hirsch Jr. Hirsch is something of the anti-Calkins and preaches a very different message: For education to work as an engine of equity and upward mobility, schools must do all in their power to expand children’s horizons, ensuring they get a well-rounded education in science, history, literature and the arts — access to the rich knowledge and vocabulary that undergird literacy.

Calkins’ work mostly disregards this fundamental insight, focusing students’ attention in the mirror instead of out the window. For low-income kids who are less likely to grow up in language-rich homes and don’t have the same opportunities for enrichment as affluent kids, the opportunity costs of Calkins’ “philosophy” are incalculable. Endless hours of class time that could be building knowledge and vocabulary are squandered.

I witnessed this daily in my South Bronx elementary school, where fewer than 20% of students passed state reading tests. I never had a single student unable to read words printed on a page. When they were reading and writing about topics they knew — the Calkins method — students did well. But when asked to read about unfamiliar topics on state tests, they often struggled. They read it, but they didn’t get. One principal I worked under attributed our low scores to “test anxiety,” but that wasn’t the problem. Their education was all mirrors and no windows.

It is well that Calkins has finally seen the light on phonics, however begrudgingly. But her approach commits even greater sins, particularly against low-income children, that phonics alone can’t fix.




Thursday, June 02, 2022

Blue States Spent Covid Funds on Controversial Race Teachings

When Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021, it provided $122 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

This funding was intended to be used by schools for personal protective equipment, increased sanitation, and enhanced ventilation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

But states including California, New York, and Illinois used this funding for more than Covid relief, Fox News reported.

Thirteen states with a combined $46.5 billion in federal funds to reopen schools have used some of it to teach critical race theory and other controversial race-based teachings.

In California, the $15.1 billion federally funded reopening plan included $1.5 billion for training school staff on implicit bias, environmental literacy, ethnic studies, and LGBTQ+ cultural competency, according to Fox.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said he was “excited” to approve California’s plan.

In New York, the plan to use its $9 billion in federal funding included spending some on “providing staff development on topics such as culturally responsive sustaining instruction and student support practices, privilege, implicit bias, and reactions in times of stress” and “[supporting] the work of anti-racism and anti-bias,” according to Fox.

Similarly in Illinois, part of its $5.1 billion went to a plan with “an emphasis on equity and diversity."

Aside from the heated debates over critical race theory, when Congress appropriates money for a specific purpose, it should be used for that purpose. America needs to be able to trust that its institutions will govern in good faith, regardless of politics.


Chicago-Area School administrators will require teachers next school year to adjust their classroom grading scales to account for the skin color or ethnicity of its students

School board members discussed the plan called “Transformative Education Professional Development & Grading” at a meeting on May 26, presented by Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning Laurie Fiorenza.

In an effort to equalize test scores among racial groups, OPRF will order its teachers to exclude from their grading assessments variables it says disproportionally hurt the grades of black students. They can no longer be docked for missing class, misbehaving in school or failing to turn in their assignments, according to the plan.

“Traditional grading practices perpetuate inequities and intensify the opportunity gap,” reads a slide in the PowerPoint deck outlining its rationale and goals.

It calls for what OPRF leaders describe as “competency-based grading, eliminating zeros from the grade book…encouraging and rewarding growth over time.”

Teachers are being instructed how to measure student “growth” while keeping the school leaders' political ideology in mind.

“Teachers and administrators at OPRFHS will continue the process necessary to make grading improvements that reflect our core beliefs,” the plan states, promising to “consistently integrate equitable assessment and grading practices into all academic and elective courses” by fall 2023.

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, 38 percent of OPRF sophomore students taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) failed.

The OPRF failure rate was 77 percent for black students, 49 percent for Hispanics, 27 percent for Asians and 25 percent for whites.

"Signal and reinforce districts’ DEIJ values”

Advocates for so-called "equity based" grading practices, which seek to raise the grade point averages of black students and lower scores of higher-achieving Asian, white and Hispanic ones, say new grading criteria are necessary to further school districts' mission of DEIJ, or "Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice."

"By training teachers to remove the non-academic factors from their grading practices and recognize when personal biases manifest, districts can proactively signal a clear commitment toward DEIJ," said Margaret Sullivan, associate director at the Education Advisory Board, which sells consulting services to colleges and universities.

Sullivan calls grading based on traditional classroom testing and homework performance “outdated practices” and foster "unconscious biases."

"Teachers may unintentionally let non-academic factors—like student behavior or whether a student showed up to virtual class—interfere with their final evaluation of students.," she said. “Traditional student grades include non-academic criteria that do not reflect student learning gains—including participation and on-time homework submission."

School districts across the U.S. are "experimenting with getting rid of zero-to-100 point scales and other strategies to keep missed assignments from dramatically bringing down overall grades," according to a March Associated Press report. "Others are allowing students to retake tests and turn work in late. Also coming under scrutiny are extra-credit assignments than can favor students with more advantages."

The report interviewed science teacher Brad Beadell of Santa Clara, Calif., who said he has "stopped giving zeros and deducting points for late work" as well as allowing students "unlimited retakes for quizzes and tests."


Australia: More than 20 per cent of NSW students fall below acceptable standards

More than one in five NSW public school students are below the lowest acceptable standard in reading and numeracy, and the gap between the most and least advantaged students is widening.

The NSW Department of Education admitted it needs to do better after it again fell well short of the government’s achievement targets. Its 2021 annual report showed students improved slightly on some measures and went backwards on others.

“We will need considerable improvement across all cohorts and schools in our systems,” the report said.

One target involved increasing the proportion of public school students above the minimum standard for reading and numeracy in NAPLAN to 87.9 per cent, but average results were almost nine percentage points below that target.

The gap between the highest and lowest socioeconomic status students increased slightly between 2019 and 2021, making the target of narrowing the gap in the top two NAPLAN bands even more difficult to achieve.

More than half the students in public schools are from low socioeconomic backgrounds, the report said. “We will need to show significant improvement across all years and learning domains to reduce the widening gap,” it said.

The department was also more than 10 percentage points below its target of ensuring two-thirds of students achieved the growth expected of them in reading and numeracy. While year 3 and 5 students were on track, years 7 and 9 were significantly below.

However, the system fell only slightly short of its target of more than two-thirds of students making it into the top two HSC bands. It was also on track to achieve its 2022 target of ensuring almost 92 per cent of school-leavers were in higher education, training or work.

Craig Petersen, the head of the Secondary Principals Council, said NAPLAN was a simplistic measure and measured basic skills rather than the more complex things students were taught at high school, such as critical thinking and problem-solving.

He also said the past two years were highly disrupted due to COVID-19. “I think the targets were always highly ambitious, and [then came the] the challenges of COVID and, even more significantly, staffing [shortages],” he said. “If I haven’t got qualified maths or science teachers in front of every class, I’m not going to meet those targets.”

A NSW Education spokesman said the ultimate goal was to ensure improvement for every student in every school.

“It is pleasing to see that our NAPLAN results are heading in the right direction despite disruptions to learning over the past 2.5 years due to COVID-19.

“We know there is more work to do which is why we have given teachers and principals more time to focus on students’ attendance, literacy, numeracy and wellbeing outcomes by taking a number of requirements off their plates.”

He said the department invested $256 million, through the School Success Model, in targeted support to lift literacy and numeracy results.

The NSW government has provided an additional $383 million for a renewed COVID-19 Intensive Learning Support program in 2022, as well as $337 million provided for targeted small group tuition for students in 2021, he said.

The department also came under fire from the NSW Teachers Federation over its use of consultants, with its consultancy bill more than doubling to more than $10 million from $4.5 million in 2020.

They include almost $5 million to Encompass Consulting Services for “department portfolio and program optimisation” and $3.3 million to KPMG for “transformation of support services operating model”.

“It beggars belief that so much money is being squandered on consultancy after consultancy and, beyond that, one has to ask what is it that the department actually does other than manage contracts,” said president Angelo Gavrielatos.

The department said it only engaged consultants when it was unable to deliver outcomes or when it needed independent advice.

“The $10.7 million consultancy expenditure in the 2021 annual report represents around 0.05 per cent of the department’s total expenses budget (about $20 billion) over this period,” the spokesman said.




Wednesday, June 01, 2022

The city must stop CUNY Law using taxpayer funds to target Jewish students

The time has come for New York City to take a closer look at the City University of New York School of Law and ask itself whether the institution is meeting its mission for all New Yorkers.

CUNY Law is the only one of the metro area’s 13 law schools subsidized by New York City taxpayer dollars. With in-state tuition just $15,450 per year, the school’s mission is to provide an affordable legal education to the city’s diverse student population — many of whom are planning careers in the public interest.

It has more than met that mission with respect to certain ethnic groups but failed entirely with respect to others. Specifically, it has fostered a culture that has isolated and excluded many Jewish and Israeli students — deterring them from even applying.

In the past year alone, CUNY Law’s Student Government Association passed a resolution to ban Hillel and other Jewish institutions from campus. The faculty council voted in favor of boycotting, divesting and sanctioning Israel — despite a state order forbidding this very conduct. And the school recently selected a student keynote speaker for graduation who, in her own words, seeks to “globalize the Intifada.”

If CUNY Law were a private law school, perhaps it would be within its discretion to take such a strong anti-Israel stance. But as the city’s only public law school, CUNY Law must be open to all New Yorkers. The chosen commencement speaker must speak to everybody. And events targeted to the entire student body, such as the school’s graduation ceremony, must be made pleasant for members of all ethnic groups.

I write this not to take a position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which, no doubt, is complicated by longstanding territorial struggles that emerge out of British colonialism, but rather as a CUNY professor deeply troubled by CUNY Law’s willingness to foster a hostile environment to nearly an entire ethnic group — any entire ethnic group.

As a Baruch College law professor, I regularly advise my students on applying to law school. As much as CUNY Law’s tuition price presents students with a great opportunity, I cannot in good faith encourage anyone to apply to a school where one ethnic group is targeted for isolation and exclusion. It harkens back to ugly days of an earlier era when private law schools around the country placed quotas on Jewish student admission.

Without immediate intervention, there is little reason to believe CUNY Law will change any time soon. Faculty self-governance provides schools with broad discretion when hiring new faculty. Thus, much as there has been historic exclusion of black, female and other minority faculty members at many law schools throughout the nation, there is a dearth of young faculty at CUNY Law supportive of Israel. One can only imagine this is a conscious decision by current faculty who oppose Israel’s very existence.

The path forward for legal education, of course, is not to exclude individuals of diverse ethnicities or viewpoints but to preach inclusion and tolerance. While CUNY Law student groups are more than within their right to invite speakers to campus who support the BDS movement, pro-Israel groups must similarly be given a forum to invite speakers who share the Zionist perspective. A public institution that places content-based restrictions on political speech presumably runs afoul of protections granted by the US Constitution’s First and Fourteenth Amendments.

As the only law school funded with New York City taxpayer dollars, moreover, CUNY Law has an ethical duty to build an environment that makes Jewish and Israeli students, like all other students, feel welcome on campus. Similarly, it has a legal duty to comply with New York state Executive Order 157, which prevents “all agencies and departments over which the Governor has executive authority” from engaging in the boycott of Israel.

Hence CUNY Law fails to meet its mission both as a law school and a New York City taxpayer-funded institution. As such, the city needs to step in and correct the school’s leadership shortcomings — ensuring that the rights and well-being of all students, including Jewish and pro-Israel students, are adequately protected.


Kirk Cameron: Public schools grooming kids with critical race theory, 'sexual chaos,' and 'racial confusion'

Award-winning actor Kirk Cameron blasted America's public schools for becoming breeding grounds for far-left progressive agendas, including critical race theory, Nikole Hannah-Jones' 1619 Project, and gender ideology.

"The problem is that public school systems have become so bad. It's sad to say they're doing more for grooming, for sexual chaos and the progressive left than any real educating about the things that most of us want to teach our kids," he told Fox News Digital. The solution to the problem, he said, was for parents to take the lead on their children's education and teach them at home. To make the case, the award-winning actor referenced his upcoming movie, "The Homeschool Awakening."

The movie follows the journey of about 17 homeschooling families who respond to misconceptions and stereotypes. In the film, Cameron also discusses his journey to homeschool his six children with his wife, Chelsea.

Cameron's father, grandmother, and grandfather were teachers. He stressed that there are many excellent teachers in the U.S., but the school system is holding them back from being a "light in the darkness, [and] to pass on the kinds of values and virtues that made this the freest, strongest, most prosperous nation in the whole world."

Cameron takes issue with the perspective that a child's education should be left solely to the so-called experts, without parents' input. "And that's just a fundamental difference in the way that we look at. Who has been entrusted with the sacred responsibility of raising our children? Is it the parents or is it the government?"

He went on to strongly criticize "those who are rotting out the minds and souls of America's children" and said they were "spreading a terminal disease, not education."

"And you can take your pick. Just go down the list. The things that are destroying the family, destroying the church, destroying love for our great country: critical race theory, teaching kids to pick their pronouns and decide whether they want to be a boy or a girl, The 1619 Project," he said.

Cameron said the "genesis" of creating, what would become a project that spanned over two years, was the novel coronavirus pandemic. At that time, he said, parents were finally starting to see the things schools were teaching their kids.

"If we send our children to Rome to be educated … we shouldn't be surprised if they come back Romans," Cameron said. "If we want them … to love God and love their neighbor and feel gratitude and thankful that they live in the United States of America, the freest country on earth, then you've got to teach them those things …

I realized that there was no better way for our family to do that … then to bring them home and join in with this rich, robust community, with tons of curriculum to to to be able to have the flexibility and freedom to raise our kids the way we wanted them to be raised."

"Homeschool was not on our radar screen because we had these misconceptions and stereotypes like so many people do. Like, you know, that's for like Quakers and the Amish, and how could you possibly teach your kids enough so that they get into college? What about socialization?" Cameron said. However, after going through the process, Cameron learned that his children were able to socialize with people of all ages, and that the world was his kids' classroom.

"When you're together as a family … you're able to travel, … [and] you're not locked into a schedule that everyone else is locked into, … you can discover your own individuality and uniqueness … And it really lends itself to a healthy, flourishing community in your home," he said.'


Australia: Murdoch University will review its controversial decision implemented last year to stop offering majors in maths, physics and chemistry, according to new vice-chancellor Andrew Deeks

Sanity returns. Crazy Finnish lady gone to Ireland. Lucky Ireland

He distanced himself from the decision made in 2020 under former vice-chancellor Eeva Leinonen, saying “it was perhaps a particular view of the management at the time”.

“It wasn’t a view of the broader academic community,” said Professor Deeks, who started as vice-chancellor in April.

The changes, which also curtailed Murdoch’s engineering degrees, abandoned the majors previously offered in maths, physics and chemistry in favour of offering less specialist STEM subjects more broadly.

The Australian Institute of Physics and the Royal Australian Chemical Institute – both accrediting bodies for university courses – said at the time that they “strongly objected” to the move.

Professor Deeks, who is by background a civil engineer, said the maths, physics and chemistry majors had been suspended rather than cancelled completely.

He said he had asked to see the business case for bringing them back, as well as other subjects such as Indonesian, radio, theatre and drama that were cut as part of Covid cost-saving measures.

“I’ve put the challenge to the heads of discipline right the way across the university to go back and have another look at this and see where it makes sense,” Professor Deeks said.

“I’ve said to bring back programs if they will work or to bring back replacements which are enhanced for the current age.”

He said Murdoch would not be focused solely on STEM but “more of the STEAM concept (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) of ensuring we have that engagement with the humanities and social sciences”.

In an interview with The Australian Professor Deeks said Murdoch University was now on a different course to when it sued a whistleblower staff member, Gerd Schroder-Turk, in 2019 after he questioned the university’s standards and revealed that international students who were not academically ready for their courses were being enrolled via a questionable education agent.

The university withdrew the action against Professor Schroder-Turk, a physics academic who is also a member of the university’s governing body, in 2020.

“I think that was a very unfortunate incident in the university’s history. There were obviously some failings which were revealed at that time,” Professor Deeks said.

“The university’s taken very strong action on the back of that and has put in place robust processes to ensure the quality of all the students that we’re admitting, and especially the international students and especially students that would be coming to us through agents.

“We’re no longer working with the particular agent concerned.”

He said he was meeting regularly with Professor Schroder-Turk, who continues as a member of the university’s Senate.

”It was an unfortunate decision by the then management at the university to pursue one of its academics legally. I can assure you that under my watch we will not be going in that direction.” Professor Deeks said.

As proof of the university’s new direction he pointed to the fact that the higher education regulator, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, had renewed Murdoch’s registration for the full seven years in March after last year limiting it to four years registration while it demonstrated “the effective implementation of improvements”.




Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Court Hears Parents’ Challenge to School District’s Secretive Transgender Policy

For the past two years, 14 parents have been fighting to protect their children and retain their rightful authority over them within the Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin over the district’s secretive transgender policy. The policy ordered teachers to hide children’s gender identity issues from their parents and to affirm the children’s chosen identities at school.

On Tuesday, attorneys at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and Alliance Defending Freedom presented oral arguments on behalf of those parents at the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

“We asked the court to recognize that parents have the right to direct the upbringing of their children,” Luke Berg, attorney at the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, told The Daily Signal. “Yet the Madison Metropolitan School District is deceiving parents and excluding them from important decisions about the well-being of their children. We are optimistic that the court will do what is right and protect the safety of children and the rights of parents.”

Attorneys filed the original lawsuit, Doe v. Madison Metropolitan School District, in February 2020. In late September 2020, a state court in Wisconsin issued an order prohibiting the school district from intentionally deceiving parents about their children’s activities—especially if a child was struggling with gender identity issues.

Madison is the second-largest school district in Wisconsin, with approximately 27,000 students attending 52 schools. A few years ago, the district adopted a policy that promoted both transgender ideology and gender fluidity and that undermined parental rights, all in one guideline.

Here’s how it worked: Teachers were required to fill out a “Gender Support Plan” form for any child who expressed gender dysphoria or who asked to have a transgender treatment plan. Plans included changing the name and pronouns a child was called at school without the parents’ knowledge.

Under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, parents have the express right to review any school records about their children, but because of the way this form was intentionally designed, they were prohibited from viewing, or even knowing about, the Gender Support Plan.

The school administration had to be creative to determine how to work around the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Under the law, parents can’t access a teacher’s “personal” notes about a student. So, a section of the Gender Support Plan informed teachers to file the plan in the teacher’s “personal” file, not in student records, so it remained exempt from federal law and out of sight from parents.

The policy also said: “School staff shall not disclose any information that may reveal a student’s gender identity to others, including parents or guardians and other school staff unless legally required to do so.”

As I wrote in 2020, “In the Madison school district, a child could go to school as a girl named ‘Lindsay,’ but spend the day as a boy named ‘Liam.’ The child could go to the restroom alongside boys, change in the locker room with boys, and be known by friends and teachers as ‘Liam.’ But Lindsay’s parents, who gave birth to and are raising a girl named Lindsay, would have no idea.”

The fact that teachers were encouraged to keep a child’s gender identity struggles secret—as if the parents are the enemy and have no natural and legal right to this information—and that the district sneakily worked around a specific federal law banning this kind of secrecy is reprehensible.

The complaint describes the unethical policy thusly: “Parents’ rights cases have established that parents have the primary role in directing the upbringing of their children, especially in significant decisions (like health care), and that the government may not supplant parents simply because a parent’s decision is not agreeable to the child.”

Parental rights are the foundation of healthy families and a thriving society. School systems are but a tool to help educate children when parents are unable to do so themselves. Education should be the priority in this school district and all others. The priority should not be setting up illegal guidelines to keep vital information secret from parents or purposely encouraging kids toward concepts of gender fluidity.

Helping kids embrace or manifest a transgender-friendly persona through different attire, hormones, or changes in name and personal pronouns has replaced a school’s original goal: education. This is both wrong and misguided. Schools, parents, and kids should be allies, not foes. Hopefully, the Wisconsin Supreme Court agrees.


US Schools Facing Mass Exodus of Teachers Who Won’t Return This Fall

With the end of the academic year in sight, an overwhelming number of educators are planning to close the book on their teaching careers.

Much of this stems from post-pandemic classroom behavioral challenges with students and ongoing staff shortages that create excessive workloads for teachers.

Many educators who have 25 years or more under their belt are opting to retire, but even less seasoned ones are walking away and choosing different career paths.

Back in February, the National Education Association (NEA) released a study conducted by GBAO Strategies that revealed a startling 55 percent of teachers planned to leave their profession ahead of schedule.

The NEA is the most prominent teachers union in the United States and represents 3 million educators.

Widespread educator shortages pre-date the arrival of COVID-19, but the pandemic also served as the last straw for many, kicking off the trend of an early departure.

A RAND study from January 2021 showed nearly a quarter of those surveyed expressed the desire to quit after just one year of teaching during the pandemic.

The average national turnover rate was only 16 percent before COVID-19. However, in 2021, that number jumped to 25 percent.

This year, 80 percent of NEA members reported that unfilled job openings at schools have led to more work obligations for the educators who’ve chosen to stay in their profession.

“I think people are leaving because it’s all too much. It’s a firestorm. It’s all eroding,” Heidi Rickard told The Epoch Times.

Rickard has been an educator since 1999. After spending some time teaching in Colorado Springs, she put down roots in the Alameda Unified school district in the San Francisco bay area.

She explained that many veteran teachers “just can’t take it” anymore and are leaving due, in part, to the scale of mental health challenges students brought back to the classroom after two years of online learning.

“As a veteran teacher, when the best of my best isn’t working, that’s so defeating,” Rickard said.

Two years of excessive screen time at home and the disengagement of online learning have left students struggling, falling behind, and adrift in a sea of depression.

COVID-19 and its subsequent restrictions created a mental health crisis for youth, which is now manifesting as aggressive or excessively troublesome behavior in the classroom.

In October 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association acknowledged the pandemic-fueled decline in child and adolescent mental health had become a national emergency.

And the dire shortage of counselors in school districts to assist students has added to this.

Rickard noted, “We haven’t had a counselor all year. Nobody even applied.”

Findings from a joint study on the role of school counselors from the Connecticut State Department of Education, the Connecticut School Counselor Association, and the Center for School Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst revealed schools with fewer students and more counselors had lower rates of student suspensions and disciplinary actions.

Former superintendent, educator, and school counselor Gary Marks spent decades working in Nebraska schools. He agreed that student counseling and support for teachers in the classroom have hit a critical point.

“You need way more counselors when you’re having all these mental health issues,” Marks told The Epoch Times.

For example, he pointed to where his grandchildren go to school in Tennessee’s Farragut school district, which has only two counselors for about 600 students.

He also thinks a general lack of respect for educators underscores why more are leaving their jobs early, and others are reluctant to apply.

“The respect situation is just a huge issue,” he said.

Marks was candid when asked about the difficulties of hiring new talent in schools. “I don’t know right now, given the way the world is, if I’d be interested in being a classroom teacher.”

Yet the struggle to keep existing educators and hire new ones is only half the battle. A new report from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education indicates that university students pursuing teaching degrees are declining.

In 2019, U.S. colleges awarded fewer than 90,000 undergraduate degrees in education. That’s down from nearly 200,000 a year in the 1970s. Over the past 10 years alone, the number of people completing traditional teacher preparation programs has dropped by 35 percent.

“This is a five-alarm crisis,” said NEA president Becky Pringle.

One of the hurdles administrators face amid the staff scarcity is a lengthy certification and training process even after qualified university graduates apply to teach.

“I want to continue teaching—however, I’m being forced out,” Lisa Carley Hotaling told The Epoch Times.

Having taught in Michigan and New York, Hotaling found herself between a rock and a hard place after she took a teaching job in California as an emergency hire in the Alameda Unified school district.

Despite already having a master’s degree and more than a decade of education and classroom experience, she still has to take the California Basic Skills Test (CBEST) and go back to school specifically for her master’s in education to continue teaching.


Woke Toronto college forces students to sign waiver acknowledging how they benefited from the 'colonization and genocide of indigenous peoples' before they can enter Zoom class

A woke college in Canada is requiring students to sign a statement acknowledging land grabs from indigenous Canadians before they can attend their online classes.

George Brown College in Toronto, like many universities, requires students to sign an IT department waiver acknowledgment before utilizing the school's online services.

However, the IT statement does not address internet safety or online protocols, but instead talks about how the territory George Brown College operates on belongs to the Huron-Wendat, Mississaugas, Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples.

It also states that immigrants and settlers benefited from the 'colonization and genocide of indigenous peoples' who were native to the land.

'It is imperative that we constantly engage in acts of awareness and decolonization,' the statement added.

The college alleges the statement aims to educate students, not force them to agree with its ideals.

'By selecting "I agree," you are indicating your acknowledgment to of this statement,' the document reads. 'Our intent is not to impose agreeance, but to inform through acknowledgement. This acknowledgement is to generate awareness and offer opportunities for personal reflection.'

The statement also states that the college 'acknowledges the all Treaty peoples,' which it claims includes those who came to Canada involuntarily through slavery.

The school reportedly wants students to acknowledge that the land on which George Brown College resides is subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, a law that details an agreement for sharing territory among two or more nations.

Per the IT statement, entities operating in the territory are supposed to work together to 'peacebly care' for the land and 'share' the resources around the Great Lakes.

The statement, which was shared on Twitter, has been met with criticisms.

'So just to be clear, you need to click "agree" on the statement that you are benefitting from genocide,' Quillette editor Jonathan Kay penned.

'What if someone just doesn't agree there have been humans in North America "since time immemorial"? I suppose they're expected to click cancel,' one user tweeted.

'I could almost deal with their statement, but this part is about engaging in resistance is beyond the pale,' added another.

'So what good is a statement when you can give the land back, which I’m sure would be greatly appreciated?' Jeffrey Churchill wrote.

One user added: 'Okay and what is “displanted”? Some kind of neologism for displaced? The need to endlessly invent jargon to signal special meaning to group insiders is truly astonishing. I’m sure your in “agreeance” with that.'

It is unclear if George Brown College has any other indigenous people-focused documents as the school did not immediately respond to's request for comment.




Monday, May 30, 2022

Eight British universities under investigation for giving students useless businress degrees

Business degrees are mostly BS so this is about time

Eight universities are under investigation by the higher education watchdog for offering poor quality degrees. The institutions will now be investigated by the Office for Students (OfS), which could result in fines being issued or student loan funding being withdrawn.

It is the first time that the regulator has dispatched inspectors to universities to inspect the quality of courses and comes amid mounting concern that students are not getting value for money.

Degrees with high drop-out rates and low levels of graduate employment are being targeted by the OfS for scrutiny, as well as those which are substituting face-to-face learning with substandard online classes.

All the courses under investigation are business and management degrees, five of which have a dropout rate of more than 40 per cent.

The investigation could result in these courses being barred from receiving student loan funding, which would most likely render them financially unviable.

Whitehall officials are concerned at the cost to the taxpayer of the increasing number of pupils who take up a place at university, but fail to earn enough to pay back their student loan.

Ministers have been particularly critical of so-called “Mickey Mouse” degrees, which saddle students with debt but add little to their job prospects. They have previously accused universities of running “threadbare” courses in a rush to get “bums on seats”.

Michelle Donelan, the universities minister, told The Telegraph it is “completely wrong” to think that simply sending more students to university will help boost social mobility.

“There is an undeniable link between quality and social mobility. We need to ensure [students] can choose a course and it will lead them on to a good outcome. That is real social mobility,” she said.

“For too long, we have got obsessed with the idea if you get people to university, that is a social mobility job done, whereas that is completely wrong. It is lazy social mobility.

“Real social mobility is about getting them to complete their course and getting them into a graduate job that they wouldn’t have done had they not done this course.”

Ms Donelan said that this is just the first wave of university course inspections and that more will follow in June and July.

Inspectors will consider the effectiveness of course teaching and students’ contact hours, as well as if students receive “sufficient” learning resources and academic support, with experienced academics leading the inspections.


Now We Have Teachers Asking Students How Comfortable They Are About Graphic Sex Acts

Okay, I mean what is going on here? As if things can’t get any worse in our schools regarding all this woke nonsense and critical race theory fraud in the curriculum, we have graphic questions about the level of comfortability regarding sexual activity. Was this survey given to little kids? No, not this time at least. It was high schoolers, but still—what are we doing here giving these so-called educators a pass if they’re asking students how comfortable they are with anal sex. Are parents okay with them asking their kids about their masturbation preferences because that was also on the sheet? In Canada, an equally graphic survey was given to kindergartners.

Libs of Tik Tok was there to uncover this madness:

Students at Campolino High School in California were reportedly given an invasive and inappropriate sex lesson which included questions about their anal sex and masturbation preferences.

In this worksheet, students were asked to rate their comfort level with anal sex. Presumably, these written responses were turned in by each student, so the school now has their anal sex preferences on file.


Students were also asked if they like to masturbate with others in the room.

Libs of TikTok spoke with a parent who expressed horror that a school would be collecting such information from a teenager. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, told us the school didn’t want parents to see the material.

Nothing wrong with talking about masturbation in a high school health class, but lines are crossed when you ask kids if they like to do it in front of others. Who wrote that question? Louis C.K.? And the schools know they’re crossing the line again of course. It just amazes me that these clowns dole out tons of graphic surveys and hope no parent will ever see it. In the social media age, nothing remains secret for long.

Libs of Tik Tok added that this school also hands out “trans tape” so girls can tape their chests. Boys are also given the tape for “tucking” as well. Republicans have a massive opportunity here with swaths of suburban parents who could move these areas back into play, but they can’t overreach. These are moderates politically. No hardcore MAGA stuff, sadly—but returning common sense to the classroom sells. It worked in Virginia. It can work in the Philly suburbs and other areas where national elections are decided.


Australia: A high school has come under fire for showing students a video that discussed pornography in such graphic detail that some students walked out

Wadalba Community School on the Central Coast in NSW was conducting the monthly year 10 assembly on Monday when without warning, students were shown a TEDx Talk on video by sexual health expert Ran Gavrieli entitled 'Why I stopped watching porn'.

The video sees Gavrieli discuss different types of online pornography online to try and understand the question, 'What would porn deem as sexual?'

In the talk Mr Gavrieli claimed it was 'whatever men find arousing'.

'If men find it arousing to choke a woman, to have brutal sex without one touch, hug, kiss, tender caress? Well, then it is sexual,' Mr Gavrieli said in the video.

'It arouses men to see a woman or a child cry? It is sexual. It arouses men to rape a woman? Well, then it is sexual.'

In attempting to explain the aim of cameras in pornography, Mr Gavrieli added 'porn cameras have no interest in capturing any normal sensual activities such as petting, caressing, making out, touching, hugging, kissing – no, what porn cameras are into is the penetration.'

This video - reportedly shown without warning or context - caught a number of students aged between 14 and 15 off guard and even left some students in tears as a result, reported the Daily Telegraph.

One 14-year-old student claimed that she had been a victim of rape at a party earlier this year and that the graphic detailed descriptions of porn, in particular rape, had been were 'triggering'.

'I went to the bathroom straight after because I was throwing up,' she said. 'They could have at least separated the girls and boys or given a trigger warning especially while talking about rape.'

Another eight girls are understood to have walked out.

The school's principal Melinda Brown has subsequently written to parents to 'unreservedly apologise' for the incident and admitted the lesson breached Department of Education guidelines.

'I apologise unreservedly for this lesson going ahead without first informing you and providing you with the option to remove your child from this lesson,' Ms Brown wrote.

'I want to assure you the incident does not reflect the high standards and care of students that Wadalba Community School upholds at all other times.

A spokesperson for the department stated that 'the school did not follow Department policy and the incident does not reflect the high standards required by the Department.'

'The matter has been referred to the Department's Professional and Ethical Standards Directorate for investigation.'

'The Department apologises unreservedly for any distress caused and counselling is being offered to the students involved.'




Sunday, May 29, 2022

Meet The Billionaires’ Club Pumping Critical Race Theory Into Your Child’s Classroom

A decade ago, when an Obama-era initiative called “Common Core” convinced 41 states to give up control of their education standards, it was infamously the result of a massive influence campaign by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Now, with America’s K-12 landscape being turned upside down by “equity” initiatives that divide children by ethnicity and devalue rigorous academics, the culprit is much the same: Gates and other philanthropic foundations.

That’s a takeaway from the two years I spent poring through educational and financial records for my new book, “Race to the Bottom: Uncovering the Secret Forces Destroying American Public Education.” These philanthropic foundations are perhaps the most powerful and least understood force in American politics — and a key node in moving critical race theory from academic papers to society. Pick any radical racial initiative in your child’s school, and it is likely to tie back to the Ford, Kellogg, Gates, Annie E. Casey, MacArthur, or Surdna foundations.

Take the 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones’s 2019 New York Times series-turned-grade school curriculum. It might never have seen the light of day if not for the MacArthur Foundation.

In 2014, MacArthur awarded a $1 million, three-year grant to ProPublica, a left-wing nonprofit news outlet for which Hannah-Jones wrote about race. In 2017, MacArthur awarded Hannah-Jones a “$625,000, no-strings-attached grant.”

In “How the 1619 Project Came Together,” the Times explained that Hannah-Jones consulted with “Kellie Jones, a Columbia University art historian and 2016 MacArthur Fellow.” Matthew Desmond, who contributed an article about the “brutality of American capitalism” to the series, was a 2015 MacArthur fellow.

The nonprofit that pushed curriculum based on the 1619 Project into schools is also funded by MacArthur. In 2021, MacArthur secured a position for Hannah-Jones as a professor at Howard University, where she would teach her racial ideas and continue the 1619 Project, by donating $5 million to the school.

The Kellogg Foundation bankrolls the group behind the Zinn Education Project (named after anti-American author Howard Zinn), which is relied on by a company that produces content for 90 percent of K-12 schools. In one lesson plan, the teacher stages a “tribunal” to decide who should be held “accountable” for Covid-19, tells students it should not be China, and leads them to order that “all members of the [U.S.] federal government [be put] in jail” to “end, or lower the amount of, capitalism so no secrets are present.”

Even groups that exist to get government officials on the same page, such as the National School Boards Association (which likened parents to “domestic terrorists”), receive private funds from foundations like Ford, Gates, and Carnegie.

Making it even creepier, far-left foundations have converged through a group called Arabella, a for-profit company that brings them together alongside groups like the American Federation of Teachers union. Teachers union honcho Randi Weingarten said of one Arabella initiative, fittingly called “The Hub Project”: “It essentially creates a place to have a shared strategy on issues with groups that might seem disparate.”

Arabella is the same group that The New York Times conceded in January has led Democrats to dwarf Republicans with the “dark money” leftists publicly denounce. One tentacle of Arabella, the Sixteen Thirty Fund, spent more in 2020 than the Democratic National Committee.

You likely don’t know the name Arabella, or the names of its main nonprofits like the Sixteen Thirty Fund, because they specialize in creating pop-up astroturf fronts, which operate with little financial disclosure and with scant public recognition of where they’re coming from.

But these groups have been sowing the seeds of critical race theory in obscure educational bureaucracies since long before you even heard the term. In 2013, New Venture Fund, one of Arabella’s most important arms, outright paid for the creation of a federal government entity, the “Equity and Excellence Commission,” which pushed for a return to 1970s-style bussing.

Savvy activists strategically fund force-multipliers: behind-the-scenes groups that shape others who go on to shape others. For those seeking to efficiently spread fringe ideas, there is no better bang for the buck than conscripting schoolchildren. But once I saw who was behind the curtain, it became clear why they hid.


Biden ATF pick opposed arming teachers

President Joe Biden’s second pick to head the nation’s gun regulating agency opposed training and arming teachers with military or police backgrounds, an issue likely to be raised at a Senate confirmation hearing today.

In his failed 2018 bid for Ohio attorney general, Steve Dettelbach, nominated to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, opposed arming teachers, claiming that it is a “politician’s plan” that some police opposed.

It is one strongly endorsed by some key officials in Texas who yesterday said it could have lessened the tragic slayings of young children and a teacher at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

As the death count mounted yesterday, for example, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton reiterated his call to arm teachers as the best way to stop or delay a school shooting until police arrive.

"The reality is, we don't have the resources to have law enforcement at every school," he said on Fox. "It takes time for law enforcement, no matter how prepared, no matter how good they are to get there. So, having the right training for some of these people at the school is the best hope,” he added.

Sen. Ted Cruz also called for armed school guards. "We know from past experience that the most effective tool for keeping kids safe is armed law enforcement on the campus," Cruz told a gaggle of reporters.

The push for arming teachers is not new, though it is picking up support from more experts.

Public interest law professor John Banzhaf, among the first to suggest arming airline pilots, said today that training and arming some teachers is a public safety issue.


Cambridge don claims woke critics have labelled him a 'white supremacist' for teaching classics

Dr David Butterfield has warned of the ‘political danger’ and ‘threats’ to his academic discipline amid rising numbers of woke rows on campuses.

The senior lecturer in classics says his subject at Cambridge has even been accused of supporting ‘some shadowy ill-identified cabal of far-Right extremists’.

He added: ‘Folks who want to defend the moral neutrality and political independence of looking at the ancient Greeks and Romans on their own terms, receive the slogan of the day, which is to be a white supremacist.

‘White supremacy is now used as a term for those who defend the intellectual value of studying Greece and Rome in a geographically, technically, culturally, separate discipline. Or those who believe in the very existence of the concept which is Western civilisation.’

Dr Butterfield, fellow and director of studies in Classics at Queens’ College, was speaking at a debate on academic freedoms in universities held by think-tank Politeia this week.

He said it was wrong to hold the Greeks, Romans and other ancient civilisations to the same moral standard as the present day.

Criticising the current trend for decolonisation, Dr Butterfield added: ‘Decolonisation doesn’t mean anything of any intellectual value in the context of studying the ancient Greeks and Romans on their own terms.’

He attacked the ‘phenomenon of activist scholarships’, whereby academics and students want to use their research or scholarships to push their political agendas.

A small minority of political activists have succeeded in shutting down any dissent from woke orthodoxy.’