Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Judge Kyle Duncan Gives Free Speech Lecture at Notre Dame After Being Shouted Down at Stanford

A U.S. judge delivered a speech at a university on March 24, a few weeks after students and a top staffer prevented him from doing so at Stanford University.

U.S. District Judge Kyle Duncan, a Trump appointee, told listeners at the University of Notre Dame that there’s a “vital tradition of free speech in this country” and that students have the right to protest him.

“It’s a great country, where you can harshly criticize federal judges and nothing bad will happen to you. You might even get praised or promoted,” he said. “But make no mistake. What went on in that classroom on March the ninth had nothing to do with our proud American tradition of free speech. It was rather a parody of it.”

Duncan started to deliver a lecture at Stanford Law School earlier in March when students began heckling him so loudly that he was unable to continue.

Multiple staff members did not intervene.

Stanford Law School Dean Jenny Martinez later said the way the event unfolded “was not aligned with our institutional commitment to freedom of speech.”

After blowback from some students and staffers over her statement, Martinez offered a lengthy letter reiterating her stance. She noted that protests are allowed, but not ones that disrupt events.

“The president of the university and I have apologized to Judge Duncan for a very simple reason–to acknowledge that his speech was disrupted in ways that undermined his ability to deliver the remarks he wanted to give to audience members who wanted to hear them, as a result of the failure to ensure that the university’s disruption policies were followed,” Martinez said.

She said that the apology, and the policy it defended, was “fully consistent” with the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment and that apology, and the policy it defends, is fully consistent with the First Amendment, which protects the right to free speech, and California’s Leonard Law, which bars private colleges from imposing rules that would curtail First Amendment rights.

Students calling for officials to restrict the Federalist Society, which hosted Duncan, and the speakers the organization can invite to campus “are demanding action inconsistent not only with freedom of speech but with rights to freedom of association that civil rights lawyers fought hard in the twentieth century to secure,” Martinez added later.

Philip Munoz, a professor in political science and a law school professor at Notre Dame who invited Duncan to talk after the disrupted Stanford event, opened by telling attendees not to interrupt the judge.

“Notre Dame is especially good at doing free speech,” he said.

Duncan said that most federal judges are reclusive and he accepted the invitation due to the “unusual event” at Stanford. Munoz, he said, “promised I wouldn’t be silenced during this talk.”

‘Not Free Speech to Silence Others’

Duncan, after praising Martinez’s apology and new letter, said that the Stanford students weren’t engaging in free speech when they prevented him from speaking.

“It is not free speech to silence others because you hate them. It is not free speech to tear and heckle a speaker who has been invited to your school so that he can’t deliver a talk. It is not free speech to form a mob and hurl taunts and threats that aren’t worthy of being written on the wall of a public toilet. It is not free speech to pretend to be harmed by words or ideas you disagree with, and then use that feigned harm as a license to deny a speaker the most rudimentary forms of civility,” Duncan said.

“Some of the students were apparently convinced that what they were doing was, ‘counter speech.’ Wrong. Counter speech means offering a reasoned response to an argument. It doesn’t mean screaming ‘Shut up, you scum we hate you,’ at a distance of 12 feet. Other students claimed this was nothing more than the ‘marketplace of ideas in action,’ again, wrong. The marketplace of ideas describes a free and fair competition among opposing arguments, with the most compelling one we hope emerging on the top. What transpired at Stanford was no marketplace. It was more like a flash mob on a shoplifting spree.”

The students that attended the talk to protest “had no interest in my talk at all,” the judge said. “They were there to heckle and to cheer and to shame.” What was carried out amounted to intimidation, he added.

“And to be clear, not intimidating me. I’m not intimidated by any of this. I’m a life tenure judge. I’m going to go back to my court and keep writing opinions,” he said. “No, the target of the intimidation was the protesters’ fellow students. The message could not have been clearer, ‘woe to you if you represent the kind of clients that Judge Duncan represented, or you take the same views that he has.'”


Judge Deals Blow to Regents’ Scheme Against NYC Jewish schools

A trial court at Albany, after a battle between yeshivas and New York’s department of education, ruled that new regulations governing yeshivas had gone too far in their prescription for schools that didn’t meet their standards.

The regulations would have closed down Orthodox Jewish schools whose secular offerings the state deemed insufficient, forcing parents to transfer their children. Fervently Orthodox Jews across the state challenged such rules as a violation of their First Amendment right to religious free exercise.

Judge Christina Ryba shrank from the First Amendment challenge, but ruled that such penalties for violating the state regulations were beyond the scope of the mandate given to regulators.

The Agudath Israel of America, America’s largest grass roots organization representing fervently religious Jews, said in a statement that Thursday’s ruling provided “important protections for Orthodox Jewish education in New York.”

“While not the complete victory many were praying for, Agudath Israel is grateful that the court recognized the egregious overreach the Regulations sought,” the Agudah said in its statement. “The prospect of forcibly shutting down schools, and of the state mandating which schools children should be re-enrolled to, is not something one would typically associate with 21st century America.”

The regulations, first adopted this fall, set forth a framework in which non-public schools were to be evaluated in accordance with the state’s compulsory education law — which requires all students receive instruction that is “substantially equivalent” to the education given in their public counterparts.

In October, yeshiva advocates and organizations representing the Orthodox Jewish community banded together in a lawsuit against the regulators, alleging that the new rules “single out yeshivas” for evaluations under greater scrutiny.

The regulations offered schools several mechanisms by which to prove they were “substantially equivalent” — Regents examinations, accreditation, international baccalaureate programs, among others.

The Orthodox Jewish institutions of learning were the only group of non-public schools that did not fall neatly into one of the “pathways” and would therefore be subject to regular review by local public school districts.

After review, if schools failed to meet the standards set forth by the local school district, they would be given an amnesty period in which they would be required to shift their curricular offerings — possibly to include even profane subjects that some believe their religion prohibits them from teaching to their children.

If a school failed to meet standards after additional review, the school would be shut down, and parents whose children continued to attend could face jail time.

In Thursday’s ruling, following oral arguments earlier this month, Judge Christine Ryba struck down the penalties for schools found to be in violation of substantial equivalency — penalties that, she said, were outside the scope of the state’s compulsory education law.

Judge Ryba noted that the burden of the compulsory education law falls on parents — not schools. The state, therefore, has no compelling interest in closing a school that fails to meet substantial equivalence.

Judge Ryba also noted that parents may not be relying on the school to fulfill the law’s requirements. If a school falls short of meeting requirements, it is not necessarily true that a child’s education is not substantially equivalent to that of a public school.

“Rather, the parents should be given a reasonable opportunity to prove that the substantial equivalency requirements for their children’s education are satisfied by instruction provided through a combination of sources,” Judge Ryba wrote.

In her ruling, the judge wrote that the Regents “lack authority” to enforce punitive measures on schools. Judge Ryba wrote that it was beyond the scope of the Regents’ mandate to “direct parents to completely unenroll their children from nonpublic schools” and “to direct the closure of such schools.”

The ruling, for the time being, preserves the autonomy of parochial and independent schools who are no longer at risk of closure for failure to comply with the regulatory regime.

The court, however, dismissed the constitutional merits of the case — saying the rules were “entirely neutral” and that the plaintiffs did not merit an injunction on First Amendment grounds.

The plaintiffs had alleged that the regulations constitute an “invasive secular oversight” that threatens to “hamper and interfere with religious education,” which Judge Ryba dismissed.

If, however, the regulations are applied unevenly upon yeshivas, the judge left open the possibility of an “as-applied” free exercise challenge.


‘No Legitimate Basis’ for DOJ Targeting of Protesting Parents, House Panel’s Report Concludes

A House committee has found that there was “no legitimate basis” for the Biden administration to use Justice Department resources to target supposed “threats” to school boards across the country.

“From the initial set of material produced in response to the subpoenas, it is apparent that the Biden administration misused federal law-enforcement and counterterrorism resources for political purposes,” the House Judiciary Committee report concludes.

For those who have followed this story, the conclusion of the report, released on Tuesday, might seem obvious, but it’s still important to catalog how government agencies have been weaponized for partisan ends.

In 2021, a series of protests erupted at Virginia school board meetings due to the adoption of the teaching of critical race theory, as well as transgender policies and COVID-19 restrictions.

Parents were fed up with radical policies being foisted on their children and showed up en masse at school board meetings to voice their concerns. The trend repeated itself across the country, but it was particularly noteworthy in Virginia due to the tightly contested governor’s race at the time between a former governor, Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, seeking to return to office, and the eventual winner, Glenn Youngkin, a Republican.

McAuliffe went with the campaign message of what amounted to “sit down and shut up, let the experts—well, actually self-interested teachers unions—do whatever they want with your children.”

It wasn’t a winning strategy.

While the race was ongoing and parents were showing up at meetings, Attorney General Merrick Garland released a memo calling for a Justice Department investigation into “threats” to local school boards, despite having no evidence that any such danger existed. That followed a National School Boards Association letter to President Joe Biden asking for the administration to crack down on parents.

The House report found that the Justice Department’s “own documents demonstrate that there was no compelling nationwide law-enforcement justification for the Attorney General’s directive or the Department components’ execution thereof.”

What it looked like was a highly partisan operation to smear domestic political opponents as criminals and terrorists and to scare parents away from exercising their rights to free speech and assembly.

Democracy is a threat to democracy, you see. That appears to be a favorite tactic for Biden, our great uniter-in-chief.

On top of the partisan interest in silencing parents, Garland appeared to have a conflict of interest, as his son-in-law was running a multimillion-dollar operation to bring “culturally responsive training” to Virginia schools.

The House Judiciary Committee report concluded that the Biden administration’s goal seemed to have been “silencing the critics of its radical education policies and neutralizing an issue that was threatening Democrat Party prospects in the close gubernatorial race in Virginia.”

It did so with little pretense. In fact, the report concluded that the Biden administration unleashed the Justice Department to simply “quell swelling discord over controversial education curricula and unpopular school board decisions.”

“This weaponization of law-enforcement powers against American parents exercising their First Amendment rights is dangerous,” the report said. “The Justice Department subjected moms and dads to the opening of an FBI investigation about them, the establishment of an FBI case file that includes their political views, and the application of a ‘threat tag’ to their names as a direct result of their exercise of their fundamental constitutional right to speak and advocate for their children.”

So, the next question is: What will the House do, given the evidence that the administration is using federal agencies to assault the constitutionally protected rights of American citizens? The FBI seems to have been thoroughly politicized, but the problem seems to be bigger than any single agency.

The report said that the committee will continue investigating the matter. That’s good, but the American people need to be assured that this sort of abuse will be corrected and won’t happen again.

At the very least, Republicans in Congress should be doing everything they can to prevent the expansion of other agencies. One of the biggest concerns about the massive IRS expansion is how it will be used to harass and threaten the average American.

After all, an administration that’s spent the past few years spending huge sums of money we don’t have has every reason to shake down Americans and get them to pay more than they owe. In using the Justice Department for its own partisan ends, shouldn’t we expect this administration to use other agencies in a similar manner?

The Garland memo represented the predictable intersectionality of ideological enforcement and partisan—and perhaps even personal—interests.

This type of governance is common in Communist China, where you can have your tyranny pure. We used to expect better in the United States.


My other blogs: Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


Monday, March 27, 2023

NYC teachers union hosting seminar on ‘harmful effects of whiteness’

This is a typical Leftist inversion of reality. It is blackness that has harmful effects. Just look at black crime to see it

The New York City teachers union is sponsoring a virtual workshop on fighting back against the “harmful effects of whiteness in our lives.”

The United Federation of Teachers’ online seminar, dubbed “Holding the Weight on Whiteness,” is scheduled for Monday, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and will be hosted by Queens-based psychotherapy consultant and self-proclaimed “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Leader” Erica Sandoval.

UFT members who are licensed mental health professionals can earn two hours of credit toward their continuing education credentials, which can eventually result in a higher salary.

The workshop costs $25 to attend and will focus on “key cultural themes … related to the Latinx/e communities,” including “internalized racism, privilege, [and] white identity,” according to the union’s website and an Instagram post.

“Participants will leave the workshop with a better understanding of how to center ourselves as a form of resistance against the harmful effects of whiteness in our lives, the organizations we work for or direct, and the communities in which we serve,” the post says.

News of the event has some seething — including Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli, who said he was contacted by many fuming teachers and parents wondering why fighting so-called “toxic whiteness” has become a top priority for a lefty union representing a school system plagued by poor performance in the classroom.

“Why is it important for employees of the New York City Department of Education to serve as a form of resistance against the effects of whiteness in their lives, the Department of Education, and the diverse communities in which they serve, which may consist of white students and families?” wrote Borelli (R-Staten Island) in a letter Friday to Tina Puccio, director of the UFT’s Member Assistance Program.

“To be clear, I don’t actually care what your speakers tell your members in an optional and private seminar.

“I care how members will implement the ‘resistance’ against these ‘harmful effects of whiteness’ when dealing with students and parents as part of their employment with the department.”

About 150,000 students — or 14.7% percent of the overall school population — are white, according to the DOE.

In recent years, the DOE itself has come under attack from critics for openly pushing an anti-white agenda that included distributing a book to students as young as 2 claiming the concept of race was created by white people who thought they were “better, smarter, [and] prettier” than others.


University President Cancels Student Drag Show, Issues Fiery Rebuke Of Drag

A public university president canceled a student drag show on campus Tuesday, and gave a fierce rebuke of drag.

Walter Wendler, the president of West Texas A&M University, canceled the drag show on Tuesday. He also sent an email to students explaining the reasoning behind his decision, which he also shared as a post on his blog. In the message, Wendler blasted drag shows, saying that they are degrading and misogynistic by their very nature.

“West Texas A&M University will not host a drag show on campus,” Wendler stated in the post, entitled, “A Harmless Drag Show? No Such Thing.” The event was scheduled for March 31 and intended to raise money for The Trevor Project, and LGBTQ advocacy group which claims to work to prevent suicide among LGBTQ youth. Wendler said the cause was noble, and that it is a tragedy for any person to consider self-harm.

Wendler went on, saying that each and every person has human dignity, and that idea is foundational to American Life; and that drag shows violate that dignity. “Does a drag show preserve a single thread of human dignity? I think not,” he wrote. “As a performance exaggerating aspects of womanhood (sexuality, femininity, gender), drag shows stereotype women in cartoon-like extremes for the amusement of others and discriminate against womanhood. Any event which diminishes an individual or group through such representation is wrong.”

“WT endeavors to treat all people equally,” the university president continued. “Drag shows are derisive, divisive and demoralizing misogyny, no matter the stated intent. Such conduct runs counter to the purpose of WT. A person or group should not attempt to elevate itself or a cause by mocking another person or group. As a university president, I would not support ‘blackface’ performances on our campus, even if told the performance is a form of free speech or intended as humor. It is wrong. I do not support any show, performance or artistic expression which denigrates others—in this case, women—for any reason.”

Wendler commented that the West Texas A&M community should live by the Golden Rule, which he also called the law of reciprocity; he quoted examples of this rule from the Gospel of Matthew, a Buddhist text, and the Book of Tobit in the Hebrew Bible. He also compared it to Newton’s Third Law of Motion, “each action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

“Mocking or objectifying in any way members of any group based on appearance, bias or predisposition is unacceptable,” Wendler continued, noting that equality between the sexes took centuries of work. He also pointed out that the stated purpose of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and common sense reject acts of prejudice. “No amount of fancy rhetorical footwork or legal wordsmithing eludes the fact that drag shows denigrate and demean women—noble goals notwithstanding.”

“A harmless drag show? Not possible,” he concluded. “I will not appear to condone the diminishment of any group at the expense of impertinent gestures toward another group for any reason, even when the law of the land appears to require it.” Wendler again said that supporting The Trevor Project was a good idea; instead of attending the drag show, Wendler suggested that students donate to the organization instead.


The School Choice Juggernaut Marches On

Incredible as it may seem, less than one year ago, not a single state offered universal school choice to its citizens. That was then, this is now. Today, four states (Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, and Utah) have universal school choice laws on the books, with several more considering bills that would vastly expand education freedom.

Although there are many factors that have led to the school choice movement gaining more momentum than ever before, one should not discount the behavior of public school leaders and teacher union officials during the pandemic in moving public opinion decidedly in favor of school choice.

According to recent polling, school choice is more popular than ever before. And, more significantly, school choice is one of the rare issues that receives widespread support from Democrats, Republicans, and Independents as well as across racial, socioeconomic, and even generational lines.

This month marks the three-year anniversary of the widespread shutdown of public schools throughout the country, under the guise of the pandemic. Of course, as most Americans witnessed with bewilderment, while most public schools refused to offer in-person learning throughout the duration of the pandemic, the overwhelming majority of private and charter schools remained open for in-person learning over the same period.

On top of this, as government-run schools refused to offer in-person learning and opted for inferior remote learning, droves of parents were absolutely shocked at the radical curriculum that the public schools were pushing on their children. From critical race theory to explicit sexual content, parents finally got a first-hand account of what public schools are up to these days.

Moreover, as the months went by and the public schools kept moving the reopening goalposts, parents became infuriated that their children were falling behind academically as well as becoming increasingly isolated, depressed, and dysfunctional after months of being stuck at home in front of a screen for eight hours per day.

Needless to say, most parents were at their wits end with the education industrial complex, which exists to serve adults, specifically teacher unions and public education bureaucrats, not students.

So, as would be expected, a major exodus from public schools began. While parents were pulling their children from failing public schools, they chose to enroll their kids in private, parochial, and charter schools. This trend was exacerbated when public schools refused to drop mask mandates and required vaccinations, even though the evidence showed that both of these policies were misguided at best and downright harmful to most children.

Yet, even as the writing was on the wall, public school officials and their partners in crime ignored the pleas by parents to address, or at least consider, their valid concerns. In fact, for the most part, these unaccountable bureaucrats doubled down on their position, berating parents for having the audacity to question their omnipotence over the education system.

In one classic example, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe said during a debate, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

Glenn Youngkin, McAuliffe’s opponent, took the inverse position, saying, “What we’ve seen over the course of this last 20 months is our school systems refusing to engage with parents. In fact, in Fairfax County this past week, we watched parents so upset because there was such sexually explicit material in the library they had never seen, it was shocking. And in fact, you vetoed the bill that would have informed parents that they were there. You believe school systems should tell children what to do. I believe parents should be in charge of their kids’ education.”

In many ways, this was a tipping point. The eyes of the nation were cast on Virginia in 2021 because it became ground zero in the battle for parental rights and school choice, in general.

Fortunately, Youngkin defeated McAuliffe in a landslide. However, this race was a microcosm for the bitter battles that were to follow. After Youngkin’s unexpected victory, more and more Republican governors began to embrace school choice. On the other hand, more and more Democratic governors began to take the opposite stance and became full-fledged enemies of the increasingly popular school choice renaissance.

And so, this is where things stand today. Among the general population, school choice is a commonsense policy that places parents, not education bureaucrats, in charge of their children’s education. As we continue to see, education choice is being embraced in red states, which are offering parents education savings accounts so that they can choose whichever school their child should attend. Yet, most blue states remain obstinate, reluctant to heed the wishes of the parents who prodigiously advocate for more school choice.

Eventually, I expect that freedom will win the day. It will likely be a long, drawn-out fight, but if the current trend continues, the left’s monopoly on education could be on the verge of extinction sooner rather than later.


My other blogs: Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


Sunday, March 26, 2023

These Schools Removed Cops to Appease BLM—It Didn't End Well

Two years after a high school in Denver, Colorado, removed all law enforcement officers from school grounds based on the belief that arresting "Black and Brown students for minor school infractions" perpetuates the "school-to-prison pipeline," a black gunman, who was an expelled student, shot two school administrators Wednesday. Sadly, it's a disturbing yet predictable trend we're seeing in schools across America that have rid themselves of on-campus police to appease Black Lives Matter activists.

As Julio covered, during the height of the violent BLM-Antifa riots, the Denver Public Schools Board of Education passed a resolution in June 2020 that eliminated the presence of all school resource officers (SRO), a unanimous 7 - 0 vote that ended its contract with the Denver Police Department and nixed all SRO positions within a year, over concerns that the "outsourcing of school discipline to police disproportionately impacts Black and Brown students." According to the SRO Transition Project's report, the resolution was driven by the district's "commitment to dismantle racism and become an anti-racist organization."

The board's vice president Auon'tai M. Anderson, who introduced the resolution, celebrated its passage. "WE DID IT!" Anderson tweeted. "#BlackLivesMatter." In a recent Medium article, titled "Removing SROs from Schools: A Step Towards Justice and Safety for Students of Color," Anderson asserted on Feb. 16: "While there have been concerns about the safety and well-being of students, it’s important to acknowledge the negative impacts that SROs can have on students, particularly students of color."

Now, two armed officers will be stationed at Denver East High School for the remainder of the academic year in the wake of Wednesday's double shooting that injured two deans. DPS Superintendent Alex Marrero sent a letter addressed to the school board, informing its members that at least one armed cop will also be posted at each of the district's comprehensive high schools.

The city's Democrat mayor agreed and "strongly" backed Marrero's move. In a statement posted to social media, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock admitted the decision to do away with SROs was "a mistake" and that "we must move swiftly to correct it."

Shortly after, the board issued a response, saying it supports the police's return for the rest of this school year.

17-year-old Austin Lyle was identified as the shooter who wounded the pair of faculty members, leaving one in "serious condition" following surgery. Lyle was under "a safety plan" that was specifically designed for him to be patted down each day before entering the school, but during the daily search Wednesday, the student pulled out a weapon, shot the two deans, and fled. As Matt pointed out, the now-deceased black suspect's race is actively being omitted from the mainstream media's coverage.

Denver7 reports that DPS has a "discipline matrix" in place, which measures student misconduct on six varying levels of severity. The objective is to "disrupt bias, fight disproportionality, and apply the Discipline Matrix in [an] anti-racist and trauma-informed manner," explains a document outlining the disciplinary ladder, intended to "make a difference in breaking historical inequity!"

Lyle's "safety agreement" was individually tailored from a threat-level assessment, educators told Denver7 News, but Marrero declined to specify what may have prompted it other than "past behavior." According to the Cherry Creek School District, Lyle was a former student there "previously disciplined for violations of board policy" at nearby Overland High School, prior to expulsion.

This week marked the second shooting at Denver East High School, which is reportedly shaken by frequent lockdowns and violence, in the span of weeks. Last month, a 16-year-old classmate was shot dead in his car outside of the school on Feb. 13. Two teens—both DPS students—have been arrested, per KDVR. The slain student's brother is speaking out on Wednesday's shooting, asserting that the removal of police begets gun violence. "It could have been avoided if there was a cop there to prevent anything like this from happening or at least just scare the people that are committing crimes like these," the victim's sibling said.


Bullies Rule Under Woke Discipline Policies

The term wokeness, now in common usage, is elusive, as language is evolving. For the left it’s an indication of one’s cultural sensitivity, a positive ethical stance. For the right, the term has moved from the realm of race-based discrimination to encompass a range of topics. In this latter vein, the term wokeness implies a consistent spirit of inverting truth and trying to get a population to swallow it.

The assertion that race is biologically determinative while biological genders mean nothing are two of the most scrutinized manifestations of the inversion technique. The left often declares that those who broach these topics are fueling a culture war, in a derogatory sense. The response to this should always be, “what is a culture war, and how do you know when somebody is engaging in one?”. It’s time for some honest introspection.

Another ongoing casualty of the spirit of inversion involves woke discipline polices, often presented under the guise of “restorative justice”. When the inversion is pure, injustice is justice, and bullies reign supreme, with the backing of the regime. While we have seen echoes of this play out in policing practices, I believe we are on the cusp of seeing a new parental movement emerge because of injustice playing out in schools. Indeed, numerous videos of terrible acts of violence at schools have been on the upswing in social media posts.

While youth behavior emerges from an ecosystem involving many variables, discipline policies represent a category of ideas which come about from adult leaders in charge. Sadly, many leaders still in charge of our K-12 school systems put their narrow ideological frameworks before evidence, sound reasoning, and the pleas of parents.

In the wake of the 2020 George Floyd murder, radicals in “edu-power” decided to move forward with the policies of their pseudo-sociological dreams, which may have otherwise been temporarily kept at bay. Following the “rules for radicals” playbook they didn’t waste a good crisis to further their goal of effectively playing God, whereby they name something into creation, say it is so, regardless of the realities bombarding their senses that suggest otherwise. Under the pretense of equity, it has been declared that disparities in discipline outcomes among black and brown students are the result of an all-pervasive societal racism. Furthermore, their imagined pre-societal state of nature for every person is sheer goodness.

Absent from this conception is the notion that individuals can choose bad things of their own volition. For these radicals, the disparities in suspensions and expulsions by any group can only be explained by the evils of society imposing a vision on a member of a group i.e., to suggest otherwise is merely a result of a mind corrupted by mainstream American culture. These pseudo-sociologists are effectively gnostic in this sense, declaring themselves to be the possessors of a hidden, and elite knowledge, which the hoi polloi need to be coached into.

The incidents of violence related to these policies are too many to name, but some stand out as particularly grave. Recently, a parent of a 6th grader in San Diego says her son was beaten and put in a chokehold unprovoked, and that this incident was completely preventable as the assailant had previously brought a bb gun on campus and was also found researching how to shoot students with a gun on a school issued computer. Her testimony in front of the San Diego Unified School Board goes, “This [restorative justice] policy has enabled and encouraged students’ behavior to become violent and aggressive… If you have not yet had someone, be a victim of this policy yet it will be happening soon and when it does you all of you can proudly look them in the eye and tell them you chose equity over their safety”. The testimonies surfacing appear to come from new groups of parents, many a-political, who never planned or imagined they would be speaking out at a school board meeting.

In February, a 14-year old new Jersey girl named Adriana Kuch took her life 2 days after a video of her being beaten surfaced and was widely distributed. The bullies had conspired to beat her well ahead of the incident, and simply targeted her while she was walking down the hall, several of them laughing as they approached her, watching her body crouch into a fetal position after being struck and dragged.

The human mind is so powerful that we can conceive of things as totally other than they are, and run away with these ideas, creating other worldly schemas. Perhaps something like this happens with the woke mind opiate. To respond in kind with reason has proven suspect, and rattling someone who is confused out of a trance through high level discourse often fails.

Rather than confront these issues strictly in the realm of theory and philosophy, perhaps the most fertile ground to bring others to confront these ideas takes place in the practical realm i.e. we need to get the confused to see the consequences of their ideas in action. For many, the denial will be ongoing, regardless of the evidence presented. Yet, there is always hope as the intellect is eternally ordered to truth, despite all attempts to kick and scream at it. What is called for is a shock back into reality. Here I’m reminded of the genius of the author Flannery O’Connor,

“When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs as you do, you can relax a little and use more normal means of talking to it: when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock, to the hard of hearing YOU SHOUT, and for the almost-blind, you DRAW LARGE AND STARTLING FIGURES.”

Large and startling figures are emerging in schools where the bullies have realized that nobody is coming for them. Now it’s time for parents to shout and draw them.


Australia's national curriculum substitutes emotion for hard learning

Occasionally our political representatives will say things which stand the test of time, but more than often, they do not. One example which springs to mind is a comment made in 2004 by the then federal education minister Julie Bishop, who optimistically proposed that the creation of a national curriculum would wrestle education out of the hands of the left-wing ideologues occupying state bureaucracies and give it to a national board of studies comprised of educators from the ‘sensible centre’.

Unfortunately, the Institute of Public Affairs’ new report on the latest iteration of the National Curriculum, De-Educating Australia: How the National Curriculum is Failing Australian Children reveals beyond a shadow of doubt that the Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is now irreversibly stacked with utopian activists who know that in order to change the world, you have to change what children are taught.

What is currently being unleashed in classrooms across this country is about as far away from a traditional curriculum as you can possibly get. Rather, it is an anarcho-political manifesto which seeks to dismantle the entire edifice of the modern state of Australia by undermining its values and institutions.

Children taught according to the dictates of this curriculum will finish school with a set of beliefs, a worldview and a sense of what it means to be Australian that are at odds with those which have previously been passed on to generations of Australians.

This document is indoctrinating the young and impressionable with radical theories about race and gender, which were once marginal academic ideas but have now become the pedagogy favoured by the progressive educationalists employed by the state.

Take critical race theory, for example. This American import is now interwoven into the arts, history, civics and citizenship learning areas. In the health and physical education syllabus students will ‘gain insights into the impact systemic racism and discrimination have had on Australian First Nations Peoples’.

The progressive educationalists are using their considerable institutional power to bring forth and legitimise radical ideas such as the notion that Australia is a fundamentally racist country, and that all of its institutions are smokescreens for racial domination. It introduces children to the fiction of ‘systemic racism’, as well as the racist concept of ‘whiteness’ being problematic.

Students studying Australia’s history will leave school convinced that Aboriginal Australians were not, and never have been, beneficiaries of the universal rights afforded to all Australians that were brought by the British to this country in 1788. In year 9 history, students will study ‘potential barriers to equality of access to justice, such as education and literacy, location and proximity to legal avenues, financial constraints, race or ethnicity especially for First Nations Australians’. At the same time, the curriculum teaches that the source of Aboriginal Australians’ rights is different from that of non-Aboriginal Australians, the implication being that Aboriginal Australians are in some way legally separate from other Australians. In the years 7 to 10 arts syllabus, for example, students are informed that, ‘First Nations Australian cultures have internationally enshrined rights to ensure that these diverse cultures can be maintained, controlled, protected and developed’. They will also be taught about ‘rights relating to Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property and how these rights can be protected through respectful application of protocols’. We should hardly be surprised that in a recent YouGov poll, 64 per cent of 18 to 25-year-olds were in favour of establishing an Indigenous Voice to parliament.

In the meantime, the ‘Sustainability Cross Curriculum’ priority is doing significant damage to Australia’s youth. It has become the gateway through which children are being introduced to concepts and ideologies that have nothing to do with looking after the environment in the true sense. They are schooled in environmental determinism, which is the concept that humans and their natural environment are interrelated, and that environmental factors such as climate change presuppose the success or failure of civilisations. The priority promotes the idea that a sustainable world cannot be achieved without a socially just world, and that the two are inextricably linked. Children are repeatedly asked to ‘recognise that the interdependence of Earth’s systems and values of diversity, equity and social justice are essential for achieving sustainability’.

In every learning area, they are bombarded with the view that society is not progressing towards greater wealth, prosperity, and improvement in the human condition, but that because of our attachment to plastic straws and bad recycling habits, we are careering headlong towards an environmental cataclysm. We should also not be surprised that young Australians are suffering from severe bouts of ‘eco-anxiety’.

This is placing an extremely unfair burden on young Australians. On the one hand, they are being fed the current prognosis of the ‘scientific consensus’ that every day of inaction brings us closer to catastrophe, while on the other they are being told that only they can avert that catastrophe through activism. In ‘foundation arts’, we see four-year-olds rapping about climate change. Eight-year-olds are ‘identifying ways they can change their behaviours to support the sustainability of the Earth’s systems’ in health and physical education. Students of French are organising real protests and rallies to ‘raise awareness of environmental, social or ethical issues’, and year 7 science students are writing letters to editors of newspapers to ‘express a view about an environmental issue affecting local ecosystems’.

Children are repeatedly informed that they are global citizens and that the global problems are theirs to solve, yet the curriculum does not even give them the basic literacy and numeracy skills they need to flourish and live fulfilled lives, let alone tackle imagined problems of a global nature.

There is no doubt that the bureaucrats at ACARA have deliberately jettisoned the acquisition of knowledge and replaced it with pure, unadulterated emotion. They have created a curriculum that will elicit feelings of guilt about the past, anger about the present and sheer terror about the future. In this way, they are manipulating children for political gain. As Thomas Sowell notes, ‘there are few things more dishonourable than misleading the young’.


My other blogs: Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


Friday, March 24, 2023

Debate Over Parents’ Rights in Education Shifts to Capitol Hill From State Houses

Later this week, the House of Representatives will consider a “Parents Bill of Rights,” catapulting an issue pioneered in states like Virginia and Florida onto the national stage and solidifying its position in the GOP’s platform.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Representative Julia Letlow, the legislation is aimed at giving parents more control over what students are taught and what their children do while at school.

“As a mom of two and a former educator, I believe for a child to succeed, they need families and schools to work together as partners throughout the learning process,” Ms. Letlow said.

The bill would federally guarantee parents many rights that are already enjoyed in most states and set new federal requirements for school districts and state education departments.

The bill represents the legislative culmination of an issue that has become a core issue for Republicans after Governor Youngkin was swept to victory in 2021 touting a platform of “parents’ rights.”

Speaker McCarthy has hailed Ms. Letlow’s legislation as a “milestone.” In his 2022 Commitment to America, the speaker promised to introduce a bill addressing parents’ rights.

“It doesn’t matter [what] the color of your skin [is] or your wealth, when you have a child that is the most important thing in your life…. One thing we know in this country, education is the great equalizer,” Mr. McCarthy said. “We want parents to feel empowered and that’s what we’re doing here.”

Some Democrats in Congress, such as Representative Frederica Wilson, have called the bill a mostly redundant “waste of time” that would cultivate an oppositional relationship between parents and teachers.

“You are crafting a ludicrous, fake waste of time, a bunch of bull that you call a Parents Bill of Rights to monitor the most dedicated sacrificial workforce in our nation with some cheap stunt, pretending like you really care,” Ms. Wilson said at a hearing earlier this month.

The bill would guarantee parents the opportunity to meet with teachers twice a year and the right to address the school board. It would also require parental consent for medical exams that happen at school, something already required for students under the age of medical consent in a state.

The bill of rights would also impose new requirements on school districts, including that districts post their curriculum publicly and provide parents with a list of books available in the school library. It also would require states to notify parents of any changes to the state’s academic standards and require public disclosure of school district budgets.

The bill would also guarantee parents “the right to know if a school employee” refers to a minor by an alternate set of pronouns, a preferred name, or if there is a change to a “child’s sex-based accommodations, including locker rooms or bathrooms.”

A parent would retain the right to know if a student is receiving help with cyberbullying, an eating disorder, mental health issues, and suicidal ideation, among other things.

The bill would also guarantee “parents and other stakeholders the right to assemble and express their opinions on decisions affecting their children and communities.”

If passed in the House, the bill is almost certain to die in the Democrat-controlled Senate without a filibuster-proof majority, of which there is currently no sign.

In addition to opposition from Democrats, the bill has been panned by the nation’s largest teachers union, the National Education Association.

One critic, a dean emerita of the Howard University School of Education, Leslie Renwick, has argued that the push for parents’ rights is comparable to the outcry that followed Brown v. Board of Education.

“White parents burned books, physically threatened White teachers who tried to teach the more inclusive curriculum, and pressured school boards not to adopt books and curriculum that featured anything Black, by asserting that doing such was a divisive and communist trick,” Ms. Renwick told the Washington Post.


Alliance Defending Freedom Sues After Arizona School Board Ousts Christian Student Teachers

Our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom report that for more than a decade, Arizona Christian University had a partnership with a nearby school district that helped student teachers gain valuable experience and provided quality teaching for elementary students in the district.

But in February 2023, the district school board abruptly—and unconstitutionally—ended that agreement, harming both students in the district and student teachers from the university.


Arizona Christian University is a private Christian university in Glendale, Arizona. It seeks to “educate and equip followers of Christ to transform culture with the truth.” It educates every student through a biblical worldview, and it encourages students to “serve the Lord Jesus Christ in all aspects of life.”

ACU has partnered with Washington Elementary School District, the largest elementary school district in Arizona, for the last 11 years. The partnership has allowed ACU students in the Elementary Education program to student-teach and shadow teachers in the district.

This partnership has benefited both Arizona Christian and Washington Elementary School District. ACU students have gained valuable teaching experience in the classroom, which they need to complete in order to graduate, and the district has enjoyed excellent service from student teachers. In fact, the district has hired multiple Arizona Christian student teachers to full time positions over the last 11 years.

But the district school board recently voted to bring this partnership to an end.

What Triggered The Lawsuit?

In February 2018, ACU and Washington Elementary School District signed their most recent partnership agreement. It was meant “to enable an educational experience for student teachers at [Washington Elementary schools] that may qualify for University academic credit as determined by [Arizona Christian].”

The agreement noted that student teachers needed to meet the standards of the district and follow all written policies at the schools where they were teaching. It also allowed either the elementary schools or Arizona Christian University to dismiss student teachers if they were not performing as they should be.

The agreement had a term of five years, with the option to be renewed on a year-to-year basis. Both Washington Elementary School District and ACU agreed to the renewal each year, up until this year.

Following that tradition, the School District sent ACU a notice earlier this year asking it if it wanted to continue the partnership. ACU signed that document, stating it would like to continue the agreement. But in February 2023, the district school board unanimously voted not to renew the partnership simply because of ACU and its students’ religious character and beliefs. During the meeting, multiple board members disparaged ACU’s Christian beliefs.

One board member suggested the university’s Christian beliefs would prevent ACU student teachers from properly caring for and respecting students and would make people feel “unsafe,” citing Arizona Christian’s “Core Commitment” to “be committed to Jesus Christ – accomplishing His will and advancing His kingdom on earth as in heaven.”

Another board member said he was afraid the student teachers would push their beliefs on the elementary students and implied ACU students would shame certain students.

In reality, Arizona Christian and its students’ Christian beliefs instruct them to show kindness, love, and respect to the elementary students they teach and other staff members within the school district.

The school district never cited any wrongdoing, complaints, or evidence of any ACU student teachers violating any school district policy during the 11 years the school district partnered with ACU. ACU and its students always abided by the district’s rules.

The Washington Elementary School District board voted to end its partnership with ACU simply because of the university’s and its students’ religious beliefs.

For this clear violation of the First Amendment, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a lawsuit against the school district to protect the religious freedom of both Arizona Christian University and its students.

What’s At Stake?

The First Amendment prohibits the government from showing hostility to and discriminating against people because of their religious beliefs.

The Washington Elementary School District terminated its partnership with Arizona Christian University specifically because of its religious beliefs, denying student teachers opportunities to teach and improve their future career prospects. This decision also harms students within the school district, in the midst of a nationwide teacher shortage.

If the court rules in favor of ACU, it will affirm that the government cannot treat religious institutions and religious students worse than everyone else.


Who Owns the University?

American higher education is in crisis. The rise of diversity, equity and inclusion bureaucracies and a growing intolerance for dissent has spurred political battles for control of campus decision-making in North Carolina, Texas, Florida, and elsewhere. The fights point to a fundamental question: Who “owns” a university? Perhaps the question is better phrased: To whom does a school belong?

In the competitive private marketplace, ownership is clear. When Elon Musk buys a company like Twitter, few question his authority to fire staff or change access rules. While practices vary enormously among the thousands of American colleges and universities, seven groups often claim at least partial ownership and control:

* The board. Most schools, public or private, are overseen by a legally constituted governing board.

* The politicians. At public institutions, state government usually is the legal “owner” of the school.

* The administrators. A school’s president and senior bureaucrats are vested with executive responsibility, which resembles ownership.

* The faculty. The professors who administer academic offerings and conduct grant-inducing research often feel the school belongs to them.

* The students. They are a primary reason for the school’s existence and their families pay substantial tuition and fees.

* The alumni. Graduates constitute the donor base at most private schools and some public ones as well.

* The accrediting agencies. The federal Education Department charges these bodies with certifying an institution’s right to confer degrees.

Some schools don’t fit this mold. Religious schools usually have a somewhat different governing dynamic than do government-owned community colleges, state universities or elite private schools. At some institutions, labor unions have an effect on decision-making. This diversity of ownership historically has been one of the strengths of American higher education. In the U.S., the academy isn’t run by a stultifying monopolistic government education ministry.

The University of North Carolina, Texas Tech University and other large state schools have been the scene of recent high-profile contretemps. Many such schools are dealing with the fallout from declining public support, high tuition fees and falling enrollments. From roughly 1960 to 2010, state politicians increased funding regularly and largely stayed out of internal university affairs. In that period, somewhat clueless governing boards rubber-stamped administrative requests, with the university president wining and dining board members and purchasing their loyalty with tickets to sporting events.

Students had relatively little clout during this period, and an overproduction of doctorates eroded the power and marketability of professors too. Simultaneously, the professoriate, always a liberal bastion, moved to the extreme left. In recent years college professors have openly and aggressively promoted ideologies such as critical race theory.

A decade of enrollment decline after 2011 reflected an accurate perception: Most colleges had become overpriced indoctrination mills. Recognition of this stimulated increasingly aggressive efforts by state politicians to reform universities, eroding their previous near independence from the political process.

In some parts of the country, elected officials have decided to reclaim ownership of their public university systems. Gov. Ron DeSantis’s popularity soared when he demanded that Florida schools account for their DEI spending. He managed to get special state funding for a new conservative-oriented Hamilton Center at the University of Florida, and he engineered a daring takeover of the small New College, calling on it to become the South’s answer to Hillsdale, a small liberal-arts school in Michigan that is famous for refusing money from the federal government.

Other states have joined the trend. The conservative North Carolina legislature engineered a GOP takeover of the UNC board of governors, who voted 12-0 to create a new school committed to free expression in higher education. A Texas state senator has introduced a bill to turn the free-market minded Civitas Institute at the University of Texas, Austin, into a formal college. The Free Market Institute—which “advances research and teaching related to the free enterprise system and the institutional environment necessary for it to function well”—flourishes at Texas Tech. In Ohio, legislators have vowed to cease rubber-stamping gubernatorial nominees to university governing boards. In the past, these nominees were often picked by university administrators.

Most state universities still depend on taxpayer funding to pay many of their bills. If those universities deviate too drastically from accepted norms of behavior, they can be punished with reduced subsidies, a loss of control, or both. Perhaps legislators will start moving to a new funding model: give state funds to customers (students) rather than to educational producers (universities) and then let education markets work. Ultimately, even militant faculty should realize that tenure isn’t worth much if there are no dollars to pay salaries—or students to listen to their lectures.


My other blogs: Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


Thursday, March 23, 2023

Over a Million Students Left District Schools. Are They Learning?

The education disruption caused by mass school closures and prolonged remote instruction beginning three years ago this month led many families to seek other learning options beyond an assigned district school. Emerging research reveals just how significant and sustained that shift was.

In a new report, “Where the Kids Went: Nonpublic Schooling and Demographic Change during the Pandemic Exodus from Public Schools,” Stanford economist Thomas Dee reveals that more than 1.2 million students left district schools during the pandemic response. That exodus endured throughout the 2021/2022 academic year, as families continued to opt for private schools and homeschooling even though most district schools reopened.

Indeed, homeschooling accounted for the largest growth area. According to Dee, for every one child that enrolled in private schools during the pandemic, nearly two children became homeschoolers. The district schooling exodus was particularly pronounced in areas where district schools remained closed the longest, as previous research also revealed.

Prolonged school closures and remote district schooling were the triggers many parents needed to explore other educational possibilities for their children. Now that they have discovered private schools and homeschooling, many families have no desire to return to a district school.

This shift has some people wondering about how children are being educated outside of a district school. Dee concludes his paper by stating that “the sharp and sustained growth in homeschooling and private school enrollment raises new questions about the quality of the learning environments children are experiencing.”

Parents clearly believe that the “quality of the learning environments” their children are now experiencing is better than the district schools they fled. For those families who chose homeschooling and private schooling over the past three years, they gave up a local “free” option for something more expensive, either in time or money—or both. Their continued satisfaction with the quality of their children’s new learning environment is keeping them there.

If parents are satisfied with that quality, then the rest of us should be too.

It helps that there are now many more education options for families, thanks to the everyday entrepreneurs who are creating new learning models and reimagining K-12 schooling.

One of those entrepreneurs is Amber Okolo-Ebube. A longtime homeschooling mother of four children in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas, Okolo-Ebube runs Leading Little Arrows, a weekly homeschooling enrichment program focused on nature, art, and STEM subjects. Her program has become so popular over the past year that she recently leased a building across the street from the University of Texas at Arlington campus. With 33 students and several adult facilitators, she is already near capacity, and will be expanding to run a microschool this fall.

Approximately three-quarters of Okolo-Ebube’s students are neurodiverse, with several, including two of her own children, on the autism spectrum. Leading Little Arrows provides the individualized learning environment and freedom of movement that enables both neurodiverse and neurotypical children to thrive.

Okolo-Ebube sees continued interest from families in homeschooling and other schooling alternatives. “I feel like there’s been a shift,” she told me during my recent visit to Leading Little Arrows. “I think COVID showed parents what was happening in their children’s schools, and also showed them that they could do better with homeschooling.”

She fields calls regularly from parents looking to leave local district schools for homeschooling and microschooling. “I don’t think this is stopping any time soon,” she said.

The Dallas/Fort Worth area has become a hub of education entrepreneurship and innovation. Many of these entrepreneurs, including Okolo-Ebube, have received small grants from the VELA Education Fund to accelerate their programs. A philanthropic nonprofit, VELA provides microgrants to entrepreneurial parents and educators who are building out-of-system learning models, such as microschools, homeschool co-ops, learning pods, and more. Since launching publicly in 2020, VELA has provided grants to over 2,000 of these entrepreneurs across the US, totaling more than $20 million.

The quality of Leading Little Arrows is measured by the continued growth of the program and increased parent interest, as well as the fact that some of Okolo-Ebube’s families drive more than an hour each way to attend. The parents I spoke with told me they value the diversity there, not only racially and socioeconomically, but also the diversity of ages of students (3-17) and the neurodiversity that is represented and celebrated. They also appreciate the personalized curriculum content that is being provided, with academic blocks bookended by ample outside and free-play time.

Over the past three years of education disruption, parents have been empowered to take back control of their children’s education. They are exploring learning options beyond their assigned district schools, and are flocking to homeschooling, microschooling, and related private education models at record rates. Education entrepreneurs across the country are acknowledging this demand for new and different educational possibilities, and are creating the kinds of quality programs that parents want.


School Choice Primarily Benefits Students Who Weren’t Already in Private Schools

As school choice sweeps across the country, opponents are getting more desperate in their attempts to stem the tide. Like those who spring October surprises in presidential campaigns, aiming to derail candidates with false but confidently expressed last-minute accusations, opponents of school choice seek to undermine it with a falsehood just as state legislatures gather to vote on choice proposals.

The misleading falsehood is the claim that universal school choice programs wouldn’t expand opportunity because the vast majority of the beneficiaries would be students who already are enrolled in private schools.

The claim is that choice programs do little more than give taxpayer money to families whose kids already attend or would have attended private schools anyway at their own expense. This may provide financial relief to those families, but they are assumed to be advantaged and therefore undeserving of assistance.

Let’s leave aside the fact that all families pay taxes and so all deserve greater control over how those resources are used to educate their own children. As education freedom advocate Corey DeAngelis reminds us, we should fund students, not systems.

And let’s also ignore the insulting assumption that parents who struggle to pay private school tuition, even as they pay taxes for a public school they don’t use, are somehow unworthy of relief from this double financial burden. The assertion that the vast majority of students who use school choice already were enrolled in private schools is completely untrue.

The main promoter of this false claim is Josh Cowen, a professor at Michigan State University who founded and directed its Education Policy Innovation Collaborative. Cowen, however, ceased being affiliated with that center for reasons that haven’t been disclosed, and, around the same time, became a full-throated advocate against school choice.

Cowen writes in a Network for Public Education blog post: “Despite supporter rhetoric that voucher schemes are about new opportunities, the reality is 70-80 percent of kids in states like Arizona, Missouri, and Wisconsin were already in private school before taxpayers picked up the tab.”

He also has widely circulated on social media an infographic by the National Coalition for Public Education that answers the question “Who benefits from school vouchers?” by asserting: “The majority of voucher users in these states have never attended a public school. Vouchers subsidize tuition for students who already attend pricey private schools.”

The coalition’s infographic claims that 80% of choice students in Arizona, 89% of choice students in New Hampshire, and 75% of those in Wisconsin were “already in private school.”

The true rates of choice students who were “already in private school” (or would have enrolled in one anyway) are less than half as large as Cowen claims in those states. Cowen arrives at his inflated figures only by using outdated information and wrongly assuming that all students without a record of prior enrollment in a public school in the state must have been in private school previously.

The largest number of school choice students enter those programs in kindergarten or first grade. Cowen falsely asserts that all those students were “already in private school,” when in fact most weren’t enrolled in regular school at all. They would show no record of having previously been enrolled in public school, but that doesn’t mean that they were “already in private school.”


Stanford Law ‘Diversity’ Dean Who Allowed Students To Heckle Conservative Federal Judge Placed on Leave

How fitting that the student thugs wore Fascist black

Stanford Law School announced via a ten page memorandum on Tuesday that no disciplinary action will be taken against students who angrily protested the presence of a federal appellate judge, Kyle Duncan, and prevented him from speaking at a scheduled event earlier this month.

The school also said that a dean who abetted the students’ behavior has been placed on leave, and that the school’s faculty will work to review campus free speech policies following the incident. SLS made clear that it stands by the apology it issued to Judge Duncan for how he was treated on campus.

The memo’s author, law school dean Jenny Martinez, said the assistant dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, Tirien Steinbach, was on leave from her position, although a reason was not given. The statement left ambiguous whether her change in status is related to potential sanctions from the school or the death threats she has received in recent weeks, which are mentioned in the statement.

On March 9, Judge Duncan of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals was set to give a talk at the invitation of the school’s conservative Federalist Society. Instead of addressing legal issues as he had planned, Judge Duncan was berated by students for his past rulings.

When the crowd got too unruly, Judge Duncan handed the podium to Ms. Steinbach, who promptly dismissed the judge and praised the students. Ms. Steinbach was widely criticized for her handling of the event.

“I had to write something down because I am so uncomfortable up here. Your advocacy, your opinions from the bench land as absolute disenfranchisement of their rights,” Ms. Steinbach said to Judge Duncan as she pointed to the crowd of students.

“Is your speaking here worth the pain that it has caused, the division it has caused?” she asked. After she finished her remarks, dozens of students walked out of the room, with one calling Judge Duncan “scum” as she walked past the jurist.

Since the event, some students have called for the expulsion of the student protesters, while the demonstrators themselves say they were only exercising their First Amendment rights when they addressed Judge Duncan in the way that they did.

But Ms. Martinez does not believe that to be the case. She allows that “unless we recognize that student members of the Federalist Society and other conservatives have the same right to express their views free of coercion,” the school will be defaulting on its free speech commitments.

Those who protested, Ms. Martinez wrote in the memo, do not have the right to wield a “heckler’s veto.” She defended Judge Duncan’s right to speak to the group in her memo by citing a raft of judicial decisions from both federal and California courts. However, she added the Stanford policies around free speech were unclear and has promised to work with faculty to clarify them.

“I believe we cannot function as a law school from the premise that appears to have animated the disruption of Judge Duncan’s remarks — that speakers, texts, or ideas believed by some to be harmful, inflict a new impermissible harm justifying” the kinds of protests that occurred, she wrote.

Ms. Martinez will now require that every student at the law school take “mandatory educational programming” instead of “referring specific students for disciplinary sanction.”

Dean Martinez argues that the campus-wide programming is a more viable option than singling out individuals for the conduct displayed that day. Video and audio of the event depicted several students peacefully sitting in on Judge Duncan’s event, she said, which would make it difficult to determine who exactly is responsible for the aggressive heckling.

“Even if we could come up with a fair process for identifying and distinguishing between the two categories of students consistent with First Amendment values, the particular circumstances of this event raise additional concerns,” she wrote, including the “chilling” of free speech.

After the incident with Judge Duncan, Ms. Martinez and the president of Stanford University sent a joint letter to the judge to apologize for the way he was treated. That apology, however, sparked nearly as much backlash as the original presence of Judge Duncan himself.

Once the apology was publicized, students peacefully occupied Ms. Martinez’s constitutional law class, donning black clothing and masks. Ms. Martinez and the few students who refused to take part in the silent protests were forced to exit the building down a hallway that was lined with black-clad protesters.

Ms. Martinez notes that the “course I have chosen will not please everyone, not least of which those who have demanded that I retract my apology to Judge Duncan and those who have demanded that students be immediately expelled.”


My other blogs: Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


Wednesday, March 22, 2023

What’s left of our cultural inheritance?

Though it may come as a surprise to a postmodernist, 3,000 years of Western history offers some viable solutions to modern-day problems. After all, the human condition has not changed that much.

These timeless ideas and values should be at the heart of our education system. Great thinkers and leaders, from Aristotle to Churchill, should tower over our children’s school curricula. Concepts like democracy, the rule of law, and human rights should be taught and celebrated at our universities.

Sadly, the giants of Western history and philosophy have been purposely consigned to the dustbin, making way for identity politics, Critical Race Theory, gender fluidity, and sustainability. It is little wonder the OECD’s latest report reveals Australia’s education standards have been spiralling downwards for more than 20 years.

Forget about inspiring the next generation of Australians by immersing them in the achievements of Western Civilisation, Australia’s youth are instead required to focus on issues of class, race, gender, and sexuality.

This was a key finding of a landmark audit conducted by the Institute of Public Affairs which examined 791 history subjects offered across 35 Australian universities in 2022. According to the IPA research, tertiary institutions teach more about ‘race’ than ‘democracy’ (86 subjects compared to 33 subjects), ‘identity’ than the ‘Enlightenment’ (64 subjects compared to 25 subjects), and ‘sexuality’ than the ‘Reformation’ (54 subjects compared to 17 subjects).

Preschool, primary, and secondary schools aren’t faring much better. The National Curriculum has preschool students rapping about climate change before being taught the alphabet, and learning about ‘Invasion Day’ rather than the profoundly important benefits of the Westminster inheritance.

Postmodern theory is being taught at the expense of literacy, numeracy, and a balanced understanding of history. While it is deeply disturbing that our schoolchildren are falling even further behind those in Finland, Singapore, and Shanghai in mathematics and science, it is perhaps even more worrying that our community is losing the collective memory which is necessary to appreciate, preserve, and maintain the progress our society has made to date. If for nothing else, it is needed to ensure we do not repeat past mistakes.

It is deeply regrettable that neither side of Australian politics appears willing to address this existential problem. Accordingly, it is left to a few remaining groups in civil society, such as the IPA, to preserve, protect and defend the Western canon.

This was a core focus of this year’s IPA Academy program. Held in February, the program was designed for tomorrow’s leaders and focused on individual, economic, and political freedom and the wealth of thought supporting these ideas. Attendees heard from academics and political and private sector experts on topics ranging from Ancient Greece to Enlightenment philosophy, to free speech and the birth of free markets.

Embracing new technologies while retaining tried and tested institutions, values, and methods was also discussed – something our current leaders would do well to remember. Key issues such as harnessing nuclear energy and Australia’s current geopolitical position were addressed and debated, all the while equipping participants with the skills to communicate their beliefs.

The goal was to encourage young leaders to think outside the box and to build on proven ideas to come up with innovative solutions to modern problems. In short, they were being asked to fill the vacuum left by those institutions responsible for the education of young people.

As our public institutions capitulate to the forces of political correctness, and so are increasingly unable or unwilling to pass on the values of freedom and democracy, it is up to us who cherish these institutions to perform this vital task.

Programs like IPA Academy, though currently small, can be highly effective. The old Roman proverb, The human race lives by a few, speaks to the potentially powerful influence of those who dare to make a difference. At IPA Academy 2023, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott quoted this proverb during a speech about leadership in challenging times. Regardless of how noisy the crowd, regardless of how determined they are to shut down debate, the wisdom of the ‘few’ can still be heard.

Great sacrifices were made to win and maintain the freedoms and lifestyle we continue, for now, to enjoy in the West. Sacrifices will need to be made by current and future leaders if we are to preserve our way of life for future generations. It remains to be seen whether young leaders step up to the task. But the good news is we don’t need that many, just a few.


Utah school gives kids 'disgusting' insects to eat in class for climate assignment on cows killing the Earth

A middle school in Utah's Nebo School District gave sixth-grade students "disgusting" insects to eat last week as part of an English assignment on climate change, claiming it would save the environment from cows which were "killing the world," according to a mom who spoke with Fox News Digital.

"Middle schoolers loved the 'ewww' factor, many of them gave bugs a try (and even a few staff members!). Many thanks to our English teachers for creating fun and engaging lessons," the Spring Canyon Middle school said about the March 7 assignment.

Bugs were purchased from a commercial site that is "safe for consumption," the district said.

The mother of one of the students – Amanda Wright – told Fox News she believed the kids were being subjected to "indoctrination" into a "dark climate change religion." She challenged the school's principal Alison Hansen on the assignment after her daughter found it uncomfortable.

The climate change assignment instructed sixth-graders to write an argumentative essay, but did not permit students to disagree. The only acceptable answer was that humans should eat insects for their protein instead of cows, which are destroying the Ozone layer with methane gas.

Some students were given extra credit as an incentive to eat the insects.

Wright complained to the administration, and set up a meeting which she recorded. "[My daughter] wasn't given an option to give an argument," Wright said about the argumentative essay in the meeting.

"Well, the assignment was about finding facts to support," Hansen said.

"All the evidence has suggested, that we probably should be eating bugs – it's good for the environment, etc. But I didn't know that that was an offensive topic to indicate," teacher Kim Cutler said, according to an audio recording.

A separate video recording was taken by Wright's daughter in the classroom.

"How come we can't state our opinion and write that we shouldn't be eating bugs?" she asked Cutler.

"Because we don't have any evidence to support it," Cutler said.

"It's kind of weird that I gave you a topic where there is only one right answer. We don't want to eat bugs and it's gross. But should we be eating bugs? Yeah, because we're killing the world by raising cows and animals. So we need to, not get rid of cows, but like, try to balance our diet so that not so much of our land is being used to raise cows, cause it's killing the Ozone layer."

"What if you wanted to – " the student interrupted.

The teacher said, "You don't have any evidence to support it. There's only one right answer to this essay. And it's that Americans should be eating bugs. Everyone in the world is eating them, it's healthy for the environment and there's just, there's only one right answer."

Cutler later explained in a meeting with the parent that the "indoctrination" that humans must eat bugs to protect the environment was provided in a district training.

She explained that she did not know there were downsides to eating bugs – and apologized for not allowing students to write about an alternative perspective. "I am not aware of the agenda part," she said. "I am sorry for that… it wasn't intending to harm anyone."

In a statement, the district said, "On the questions about extra credit: Yes, the teacher said sure you can have bonus points, almost as an afterthought. There are multiple opportunities for extra credit or bonus points in this class."

"[W]hen the teacher realized there was concern, the student was offered another topic of the student’s choice. Remember this particular assignment is about finding facts versus opinions to support writing an argumentative essay," the spokesperson continued. "Our district, schools, and teachers do encourage parents and students to come to us with their concerns. We want to continue to be partners in the education of children."


Sex education is now how-to in schools —parents, beware

The facts of life haven’t changed, but sex ed is entirely different from what you took in school. Sex ed in middle school now includes graphic lessons on anal sex, oral sex and masturbation, with stick figures to illustrate body positions.

Supplemental reading in middle-school libraries includes “Sex, Puberty, and All That Stuff,” a book explaining foreplay and how to rub the clitoris to produce pleasure.

Massachusetts’ curriculum tells seventh graders how to use cling wrap as a dental dam around their teeth for safe oral sex.

A majority of states require sex education labeled “comprehensive,” thanks to activists’ aggressive lobbying.

Planned Parenthood, the largest producer of sex-ed curriculum for public schools, argues children are entitled to know how to “experience different forms of sexual pleasure.”

Eugene, Ore., high schoolers were recently assigned to write a sexual fantasy featuring massage oil, flavored syrup, a candle, music, feathers or a boa.

How about teaching them math and English instead?

Nationwide, these racy lessons are outraging parents.

Last week, protests forced the Gwinnett County, Ga., school board to shelve voting on a proposed sex-ed curriculum.

Holly Terei, a parent, explained that it’s one thing to monitor social media and the movies kids watch, and it’s another to “have to worry about our children being exposed to curriculum that teaches them how to perform sexual acts.”

The Democratic Party, meanwhile, is becoming the poster child for adolescent promiscuity.

Expect this to be a defining issue in next year’s national elections.

In Iowa last week, Donald Trump warned the crowd that schools “are focused on sexualizing our children.”

Most sex-ed lessons are not published by textbook companies.

Instead, sex ed has been highjacked by well-funded left-wing groups with their own agendas.

These include SIECUS (Sex Ed for Social Change), Advocates for Youth (an LGBTQ group) and the American Civil Liberties Union, which argues that children have sexual rights.

They all press for comprehensive sexuality education.

The word “comprehensive” is misleading. What the curriculum stresses is pleasure.

Many Massachusetts districts use Planned Parenthood’s “Get Real” curriculum.

The eighth-grade teachers’ manual suggests discussing a hypothetical scenario about two middle-school boys who “enjoy the sexual part of their relationship.”

In Florida, Leon County School Board tabled voting on a sex-ed curriculum this month when parents like Brandi Andrews objected.

She says a cartoon video of a laughing clitoris, part of the curriculum, would encourage young girls to be promiscuous.

CSE advocates argue that “how-to” information about sex keeps children safer.

Don’t believe it. A review of 60 studies of sex education in US schools, published in the scholarly journal Issues in Law and Medicine, found that comprehensive sex education more often resulted in more harm, including more unplanned pregnancies and STDs.

Those are physical harms. Kids can also suffer emotional and spiritual harm.

Comprehensive sex education is an ideology or religion, stressing gender fluidity, sexual experimentation and pleasure-seeking while repudiating parents’ roles and traditional values. Some families share those views, and many don’t.

Hundreds of Muslim Americans recently protested a Dearborn, Mich., school-board meeting holding signs such as “Keep Your Porno to Yourself.”

Christians, Jews and Muslims have all been told they must keep their religious teachings out of public schools.

Parents, it’s time to take control of what our kids are being taught.


My other blogs: Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

A Chance for Real Educational Change

When the history books look back on 2023, the biggest American news story may be something that’s getting little attention right now: the school choice revolution.

This year, Iowa, Utah, and Arkansas have passed massive school choice bills, giving parents access to state education funding for their children and letting them decide if they want to use it at public or private schools.

In Iowa, starting this fall, many families will be eligible to receive $7,598 per child to use toward the private school of their choice, as well as for other education expenses such as tutoring, textbooks, curricular materials, online courses, and special-needs therapy. In fall of 2025, this will be available to all parents of school-age children.

In Utah, legislators passed a bill funding about $8,000 per student (assuming around 5,000 students enroll) toward private education, including private school tuition and homeschool expenses.

In Arkansas, parents will be able to get 90% of the money the state is spending per pupil in public schools and use it toward the education of their choice. Like Iowa, the program will be gradually rolled out, but by the 2025-2026 school year, all school-aged children will be eligible.

These three states follow Arizona and West Virginia, where thousands of children are already receiving funds to be used toward the education of their parents’ choice. (Sadly, Arizona’s new Democrat governor, Katie Hobbs, is threatening the education savings account program, despite having attended a private school herself.)

Meanwhile, as state legislatures around the country meet, eight more states—Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Texas—are considering introducing or expanding access to education savings accounts.

We could potentially soon be in an America where students in about a quarter of states are liberated from the leftist propaganda of public schools.


Furthermore, there’s broad, bipartisan support for school choice. While the corporate media might sneer at Americans concerned about what their children are learning in public schools, it turns out interest in school choice unites Democrats and Republicans. Asked about giving “parents the right to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school which best serves their needs,” 68% of Democrats and 82% of Republicans said they supported it, according to an American Federation for Children 2022 survey conducted by Real Clear Opinion Research.

The poll also found agreement among different races: 70% of blacks, 77% of Hispanics, 72% of whites, and 66% of Asians supported school choice.

No doubt Americans are motivated by a variety of reasons to seek out private schools. Some may want better academics. Others may want safer schools. Some may think that it shouldn’t just be in Florida where kids don’t have to hear about sex and gender issues in kindergarten.

Regardless, right now it is absolutely crucial that conservatives empower parents with school choice. Thanks to conservative journalists and activist parents, we’ve learned a lot about the indoctrination going on in some public schools on topics like critical race theory, American history, and LGBT issues.

But students today aren’t just facing indoctrination. They’re being given the ability to permanently change their lives—without their parents’ knowledge.

Earlier this month, Parents Defending Education identified over 6,000 schools where staff can choose to hide a child’s gender transition from his or her parents. About 3.3 million students attend those schools.

Nor are those schools just in deep blue states. My colleague Tony Kinnett has extensively reported on an Indiana school district’s policy that did not require staff to notify parents if a child was changing genders or names. The school counselor who confirmed the policy has been fired.

Consider the tragic story of Abby Martinez’s daughter Yaeli.

My colleague Virginia Allen reported last year that “Yeli attended an LGBTQ club at school that affirmed her questioning of her own gender. Her counselor at school also affirmed her decision to begin socially transitioning from female to male.”

“I don’t know if the schools, [if[ they [are] supposed to let us know what’s going on or not, but they never send me any note about telling me, ‘We need to talk about your daughter,’” Martinez told The Daily Signal. Instead, she found out from one of her other children who attended the same school as Yaeli.

Martinez tried to talk to her daughter about her gender identity. But Yaeli moved out at 16, and Martinez lost custody. “Because Martinez expressed concerns over her daughter’s ‘transitioning’ to a boy, Yaeli’s school psychologist recommended that she would be better off living away from home,” Allen wrote.

Ultimately, despite changing her name to a man’s name and taking cross-sex hormones, Yaeli, who had struggled with depression before her interest in gender transition, died by suicide at age 19.

Don’t all parents deserve the option to only place their children in schools where parents, not school bureaucrats, make the decisions about their child’s health care and gender identity?

When it comes to so many issues, from serving special needs students, to protecting students, to educating students, many, many public schools are failing today. Yet they still often have a monopoly on state education funds, no matter how dismal their records. That doesn’t make any sense—and it’s exciting to see how many states are waking up and changing that.


The Murder of the Humanities

For nearly 50 years the “humanities,” those courses in higher education that focus on the liberal arts, have been in crisis. This important front in the culture wars recently saw a brief skirmish touched off by a New Yorker article about the last days of the English major. But such analyses are in fact obituaries. The “woke” purveyors of “boots are better than Shakespeare” philistinism have finished their march through the institutions and now occupy our universities. Liberal education, the passing on of the “best that is known and thought,” survives only in a few scattered outposts.

Most of the assaults have come from the political and cultural Left and its more recent guise in the “woke” tribunes who have rebranded the old multicultural, identity victim-politics founded on the Leninist principle, “who whom”–– who is the oppressor, who is the oppressed. We all know the answer: Western civilization and all its works, including its fine arts and “great books,” which are mere “epiphenomena,” as the Marxiste village explainers put it, of the hegemonic ideologies, values, “truths,” “facts,” and “narratives,” all the “hidden persuaders” who exploit the “false consciousness” of the masses.

Onto this dubious and question-begging explanation for the success of capitalism and liberal democracies, Cultural Marxism grafted “identity politics,” the reduction of people’s complex, undetermined humanity, to the superficial characteristics of color and “race,” and to “culture,” one that, particularly in the case of Americans, is fabricated from fake history or crude stereotypes. As French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut writes,

“Like the racists before them, contemporary fanatics of cultural identity confine individuals to their group of origin. Like them, they carry differences to the absolute extreme, and in the name of the multiplicity of specific causes destroy any possibility of a natural or cultural community among peoples.”

It follows, then, that the cultural artifacts of one ethnicity are incompatible with those of another. Standards of excellence are inherently racist and oppressive, for they invidiously exclude those of the marginalized “other,” whose history of racist, sexist, and xenophobic oppression and exclusion is thus erased.

A particularly silly, but illuminating, expression of this belief appears in Martha Nussbaum’s 1997 book Cultivating Humanity: “For a black student being asked to study the great books” in the days before multiculturalism broke the canon of great books, “was not like being asked to do so for a white student. For the former, it was like going to a debutante party in whiteface and knowing that one wasn’t on the invitation list.”

So much for black intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois, who called reading the great books of Western Civilization “cross[ing] the color line.” So much for poor whites or immigrants for whom the great books are an undiscovered county they are the first in their families to explore. Now the liberal arts, the body of achievement in literature and the fine arts, comprises mere tribal badges of hegemony, just as the slavocrats and segregationists believed. Everyone, rich or poor, has to wear the same uniform despite their individual hearts and minds.

So much, too, for our country’s foundational principle of unalienable rights inherent in all human beings, which now is discarded because of the failure of earlier peoples to honor that principle. And that stain is passed on to their descendants, just as anti-Semites justified their bigotry by calling Jews “deicides” or “Christ-killers.”

The historical malfeasance of this Balkanization of culture is particularly egregious, given that over a century ago the case for the liberating power of the liberal arts was made by Matthew Arnold, and more recently strengthened by Allan Bloom. The value of studying literature and the arts is their power to inculcate critical consciousness, the awareness of a larger world of meaning and greater possibilities, one accessible to all of us, regardless of our tribe, sex, or sect, through great works of the imagination.

This faculty Arnold called “the free play of the mind on all subjects,” which fosters the “instinct prompting [the mind] to know the best that is known and thought in the world, irrespective of practice, politics, and everything of the kind; and to value knowledge and thought as they approach this best, without the intrusion of any other consideration whatever.” The goal is the ability to turn “a stream of fresh and free thought upon our stock notions and habits, which we now follow staunchly but mechanically.”

What we see today, with our universities functioning as an incubator of illiberal “woke” identity politics, is exactly the opposite: the triumph of “stock notions and habits” that our self-proclaimed intelligentsia “follow stanchly but mechanically,” and the adherence to which is enforced through censorship and collective shaming. The result is the diminishment of freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.

A more recent expression of the irreplaceable value of the humanities is Alan Bloom’s 1987 The Closing of the American Mind. What Bloom emphasizes is the importance of the “free play of the mind” to our Constitutional order: “By liberal education I mean education for freedom, which consists primarily in the awareness of the most important alternatives.” This does not mean a slavish subjection to tradition, but rather training students to seek the answers to the perennial questions of human value and human identity, and to resist the dominant “notions and habits” of one’s own society and culture: “A liberal education means precisely helping students to pose this question [what is a human] to themselves, to become aware that the answer is neither obvious nor simply unavailable, and that there is no serious life in which this question is not available.”

Moreover, students should be trained “to resist the easy and preferred answers, not because he is obstinate but because he knows others worthy of consideration.” This discredits the caricature of blinkered conservatives frightened of new or strange ideas, or too xenophobic and ethnocentric to accept foreign literature or arts. This view is historically false. No civilization has been as curious about the “other,” or been influenced by his culture as much as the West has.

True to that spirit, Bloom writes, “The true canon aggregates around the most urgent questions we face. That is the only ground for the study of books. Idle cultural reports, Eastern or Western, cannot truly concern us except as a hobby.” Good, carefully argued or imaginatively presented ideas are valuable no matter where they come from, and stand and fall on their worth alone. Thus our canon of “great books” are important because they transcend their time and explore questions about human nature and behavior necessary for “ordered liberty,” something quite different from the freedom to do as one pleases.

As for the West’s toxic ethnocentrism, Bloom points out, historically most of the world’s cultures have been, and many remain ethnocentric and intolerant of the stranger. So too with our “woke” tribes today. Where do we see the hatred of the “other,” if not among the “woke” cadres and commissars demonizing all “whites” with “systemic racism”? ? And what’s more illiberal and divisive than the category “people of color,” a broad, elastic term that deems Caucasians like Arabs and many Latinos as some sort of racial minority “of color”? And how come Asians, an ethnicity that has known prejudice and bigotry in America, are now treated like the enemy because they succeed and achieve on their own merits instead of the patronage of the state?

Finally, what force is there in the university to stand against the imprisoning of people in their ethnic cages, to speak up for the true diversity of individual minds and imaginations, and the enrichment of life and thought that follows the liberation from identity-politics straitjackets–– the freedom to learn and know the great variety that is the wonder of humanity?

The champions of unalienable rights and the value of every individual heart and mind are few in higher education. For all the “woke” commissars’ hectoring us about “diversity,” a dreary, antihuman orthodoxy now prevails, and reeducation for servitude has replaced liberal education for freedom.


50 shell-shocked teachers, staff flee chaotic Florida school district

Florida’s Brevard County School District, the state’s 10th-largest, held a heated meeting on Thursday that offered an unvarnished and often disturbing glimpse into the state of its classrooms, the New York Post reports.

“On an everyday basis I am deflecting being attacked, scratched, headbutted, pushed, hit,” teacher Alicia Kelderhouse said as her voice choked with emotion.

“I’ve had my hair pulled, and pulled down to the ground. I’ve had my throat gone for on multiple occasions. It’s on an everyday basis right now.”

Ms Kelderhouse said staffers often commiserate in the morning to muster the courage to face the day — and that frightened kids are grappling with the same fears.

“I have students who are afraid every day in the classroom,” she said.

“It’s just not fair to them. That’s what hurts my heart the most.”

The head of the district’s beleaguered teachers union, Anthony Collucci, recounted recent incidents reported by staffers to school administrators.

One student began masturbating inside a classroom, an act that was recorded by a classmate and posted to a group chat.

Another teacher was hit in the face with a tape dispenser, while a colleague suffered a bite mark the “size of an orange” after a student munched on her arm.

Another educator frequently had to remove all furniture from her class because kids were routinely chucking it around the room or at each other.

One district teacher said behaviours have markedly worsened since the pandemic — but the classroom behaviour was already plunging before Covid-19.

“The pandemic was an accelerant to a fire that was already raging,” he said.

The same staffer asserted that sexual misconduct, drug use, theft, violence, targeted spitting and property destruction had become the demoralising hallmarks of his profession.

Several speakers pointed to the ubiquity of mobile phones as a driver of classroom disorder, casting many students as screen addicts no longer capable of sustained attention.

Asserting that a culture of “unbelievable disrespect” has taken hold, one teacher said her kids look at their devices “hundreds” of times each day and keep their earbuds in while lessons are in progress.

“Our students cannot look away from their phones,” she said. “They cannot stop texting.”

Students often tell teachers that they have to wrap up a text message before they acknowledge being called on or addressed in class.

Educators routinely ask colleagues to watch their classrooms for a few moments so they can have a “mini-breakdown” inside a school bathroom, a speaker noted.

Veteran teacher Gene Trent said his colleagues used to call a student’s parent or guardian to address problems — but those efforts have been largely abandoned due to futility.

Mr Trent said previously, a parent would thank a teacher for reaching out and promise to address the situation at home. But in recent years, they often blame the educator for causing poor behaviour.

Other parents, staffers said at the meeting, threaten lawsuits for matters as minor as detention.

Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey recorded a video last month vowing to crack down on unruly behaviour inside schools, filming the spot in front of a jail.

Mr Ivey said classrooms have descended into chaos because kids no longer fear consequences.

“As a result, we are losing teachers en masse,” he said, calling disruptive students “clowns” who are impeding the education of their classmates.

Several speakers criticised Mr Ivey at Thursday’s meeting, and highlighted that suspensions are meted out in disproportionately high numbers to black students.

“Our children are not clowns,” said a local NAACP member. “They are not snot-nosed.”

He accused Mr Ivey of using “scare tactics” and “bullying” in pushing for disciplinary clampdowns.

Another speaker said the district should emphasise diversity, equity and inclusion in any new behaviour code.

“I would feel more comfortable about the discipline policy if I knew diversity was appreciated in this area,” another district parent said.

“And I don’t feel it. My fear is that the practices are inconsistent when I hear about the disparities.”

One parent argued that disruptive students — regardless of race — should be removed from classrooms.

“If you are throwing a chair in a classroom, you do not belong there,” she said. “I’m sorry. If you can’t behave, that’s not my child’s fault. My child’s education should not be hindered because that child doesn’t know how to behave. And by that child I don’t mean black, white, Hispanic or any other thing. I mean the child who wasn’t taught how to behave.”

The Brevard board is developing a new disciplinary framework, and will hold future public meetings on the issue.


My other blogs: Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com/ (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

http://jonjayray.com/blogall.html More blogs