Friday, March 17, 2023

Girls High School Basketball Team Banned From Future Tournaments for Refusing to Compete Against Team With Male Player

A Christian school’s girls basketball team has been banned from competing in future tournaments after forfeiting a game against a team with a male student who claims to be transgender.

In February, the Mid Vermont Christian School girls high school basketball team pulled out of a game in the girls state basketball playoffs. Head of School Vicky Fogg told Fox Digital that the school chose to withdraw from the “tournament because we believe playing against an opponent with a biological male jeopardizes the fairness of the game and the safety of our players.”

The headmaster added: “Allowing biological males to participate in women’s sports sets a bad precedent for the future of women’s sports in general.”

Now, the Vermont Principals’ Association has banned the Christian school from future tournaments because the school would not allow their girls to play against a team with a male player.

The Vermont Principals’ Association said in a statement that it supports transgender student athletes, and said that “Vermont state law(s)” give transgender students the right to play on their team of choice


Violence Erupts at Charlie Kirk Campus Event Following False 'Lynching' Accusation by Liberal News Outlet

Chaos and violence erupted at a California college during a conservative activist’s speaking event, following a misleading article published by a liberal outlet.

Turning Point USA (TPUSA) president Charlie Kirk was scheduled to speak at UC Davis on Tuesday night. However, before his appearance, the Sacramento Bee published an article alleging that Kirk had advocated for the “lynching” of transgender individuals.

Naturally, Kirk never made such a statement. In a subsequent correction to the article, the Bee explained that the claim arose from an interpretation of Kirk’s remarks about a transgender swimmer. Kirk had said, “Someone should have took (sic) care of it the way we used to take care of things in the 1950s and 60s.” Transgender activists, who get overly dramatically upset at the slightest offense, naturally perceived Kirk’s comment as a call for a lynching.

Despite the paper retracting the allegation and issuing a correction, the harm had already been done. People were swift to document the false accusation that the Bee leveled against Kirk.

The false allegation was repeated by UC Davis Chancellor Gary May, who, as reported by the Post Millennial, labeled Kirk a “well-documented proponent of misinformation and hate… who has advocated for violence against transgender individuals.”

May also urged the UC Davis community to “work together to neutralize and negate” Kirk’s influence, aiming to ensure he addressed an empty room.

Following the Bee article and May’s call to “neutralize and negate” Kirk, extreme leftist and LGBT activists, including Antifa members, arrived to prevent the speech, leading to a chaotic situation.

Breitbart reported that videos appeared to show the radical leftists shattering windows to gain entry to the event venue while police tried to hold them back.

Additional footage displayed riot police confronting protesters carrying banners and chanting “fight back” as they attempted to move toward the venue.

Erika Kirk, wife of Charlie Kirk, posted on Instagram that the attack on the event was carried out “all in the name of ‘tolerance.'”

Breitbart reported that when the turmoil finally subsided, only two individuals were arrested for spray painting the building. No arrests were made for breaking the windows or engaging in altercations with the police.

Responsibility for this alarming occurrence can be assigned to both the Sacramento Bee, for publishing the false claim, and to Chancellor May, for echoing the Bee’s false allegation and for urging the UC Davis community to act against Kirk.

The left frequently accuses conservative media outlets of disseminating “misinformation” and “hate” that endanger democracy. Yet, here we have a left-leaning outlet spreading “disinformation” and “hate” against conservatives with real-life repercussions.

Regarding Chancellor May, he should be immediately fired for repeating false claims and most importantly for instigating the violence against Kirk. A similar incident recently occurred at Stanford University, where a dean aligned with a ‘woke’ mob to prevent a federal judge from speaking.

The truth is, the lies spread by the left about conservatives don’t come without consequences.

False claims like the ones spread by the Sacramento Bee and by chancellor May can have real and serious impacts on those targeted and on their families, as the troubling events at UC Davis clearly show


American Kidz Is Getting Dummer

There’s an old expression that the longer American kids stay in American public schools, the dumber they get.

By that we mean that as kindergartners they tend to score near the top of the heap internationally, but they slip during the middle school years, and they slip even more by the time they graduate high school.

When we consider this against the additional ground we lost during the disastrous COVID lockdowns — the ones engineered by the Democrats and the teachers union pals, never forget — the picture is not only grim; it’s infuriating. As the Wall Street Journal editorial board reported last year on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results, also known as the nation’s report card: “Average nine-year-old scores declined the most on record in math (seven points) and in reading since 1990 (five points). Two decades of progress [were] erased in two years.”

Why not just throw more money at the problem, you ask? Oh, we’ve tried that. As the Reason Foundation reported in 2020, “Inflation-adjusted K-12 education spending per student has increased by 280 percent since 1960.”

With that kind of profligacy, is it any wonder that Randi Weingarten and her American Federation of Teachers cronies donate around 100% of their campaign funding to the Democrats every election cycle?

But trust us: Our kids haven’t gotten 280% smarter since 1960. Indeed, now we’re learning that they’ve gotten demonstrably dumber.

A new study suggests that, for the first time in nearly 100 years, the American people’s average IQ is declining, with the greatest difference in annual IQ scores being in the 18-22 age group. And — shocker of shockers — it’s a trend that the study’s authors believe might be related to the quality of education they’re getting.

As political analyst Robert Spencer sardonically puts it:

Yes, it’s hard to believe, but after years of being told that boys who think they’re girls and girls who think they’re boys are “brave” and “courageous” instead of mentally ill, and that the Founding Fathers were all racist white supremacist slave owners who did nothing good in the world, and that figuring out one’s pronouns is much more important than learning algebra or calculus, America’s teens are registering lower IQs than they have in nearly a century. It has long been obvious but now it has been proven: the woke indoctrination that passes for education in America today is making our young people stupid.

The study, published in Intelligence, “measures IQ test results among 18- to 60-year-olds to examine the phenomenon first observed by philosopher James Flynn” — namely, that starting in 1932, average IQ scores increased roughly three to five points per decade. The “Flynn Effect,” then, says that younger generations are expected to have higher IQ scores than the previous cohort.

“Data from the sample of U.S. adults, however,” writes Campus Reform’s Shelby Kearns, “imply that there is a reverse Flynn effect. From 2006 to 2018, the age groups measured generally saw declines in the IQ test used by the study, the International Cognitive Ability Resource.”

The study’s authors theorize that “a change of quality or content of education and test-taking skills” could explain the difference that education makes in the IQ of younger versus older Americans, “perhaps due to a shift in the perceived value of certain cognitive skills.” What those “certain cognitive skills” might be is unclear, but if we had to guess, it’d be a lack of sufficient emphasis in math and the hard sciences.

Trillions of dollars have been pumped into our nation’s public schools and universities for decades, and this is what we’re getting. If ever a moment was ripe for a hostile conservative takeover of Big Education, this is it.



Thursday, March 16, 2023

Charter schools narrow achievement gaps in Harlem, outperforming NY state averages in math, reading

Charter school students in Harlem are now performing better than the New York state averages in reading and math — a key indicator of the once-struggling neighborhood’s upward trajectory in education, according to a new report.

Today, 59% of kids in community School District 5 attend a privately run, publicly funded charter school compared to a traditional district school in Harlem, research compiled by Success Academy Charter Schools found.

And they’re passing with flying colors — beating state averages by 10% in math and 9% in reading, the data showed.

That’s a vast improvement from 2005, when Harlem students, most of whom attended district schools, performed an abysmal 25 points behind the state average in math and 22 points in reading, according to Success.

The new scores have helped close the Manhattan neighborhood’s statewide performance gap to 3% in math and 2% in reading on the grades 3-8 tests that Albany uses to gauge performance and compare districts across the state.

Public school students in the district also helped shrink the gap with modest 3% gains in math test scores and 6% in reading, according to the data dump from Monday.

Success boasted of the latest stats as Gov. Hochul struggles to win support for her budget proposal to lift the regional cap on the state’s charter schools and allow about 100 more to open in the coming years. Currently, New York City is only allowed to have 275 of the state’s 460 charter schools.

“Harlem’s example demonstrates that raising the cap on charter schools in New York City wouldn’t harm district schools,” Success said in its white paper report. “Rather, it would simply give more alternatives for families who are dissatisfied with their district school options — and many of them have good reason to be.”

The opposition to the charter expansion plan is led by the United Teachers Federation, which argues that charters cherry-pick highly motivated students from supportive families, while the public school system is left to educate the neediest masses, such as English-language learners, special education students or those from the poorest families.

The UFT, which represented 190,000 current and former educators in the city, according to 2022 tax forms, is a major donor to Democratic lawmakers, who control both of New York’s legislative houses.

Former Democratic City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz opened the flagship Harlem Success Academy in 2006, at a time when students in the neighborhood scored 25% behind their statewide peers on math tests and lagged 22% behind in reading, according to Success.

Some 141,000 city students now attend charter schools — making up 15% of the student body in the five boroughs. About 90% of the charter school students are black or Latino, and 80% are from economically disadvantaged families, according to the New York City Charter School Center.

Former governor and charter advocate George Pataki told The Post last month that opposition to raising the cap was “absolutely” racist.

Even the state’s top educator was recently quoted as dismissing the success of charter students as a racial anomaly, as she lobbied against Hochul’s proposal.

“If it [creating charter schools] is such a wonderful experiment, then let me see it in places that embrace it other than communities of color,” State Department of Education Commissioner Betty Rosa said at a February legislative budget hearing. “Good things are embraced by everybody, not just some.”

Success, which runs 47 charters in four of the city’s boroughs, refuted criticism that charters were taking away resources from public schools by highlighting three public Harlem schools — PS 30, PS 133 and PS 194 — with large declines in enrollment that had not suffered financially and benefited from smaller class sizes.

“When charter enrollment increases, it actually increases the amount of money that district schools can spend per pupil on their remaining students since the amount of money a district school loses when a student chooses a charter school is less than the district school would have spent on that student had they remained in the school,” Success argued.

The charter chain also pointed out that students at Harlem charters were more likely to be poor minorities than those attending public schools in the increasingly gentrifying district, where DOE statistics show that 11% of students are white or Asian.

Students are admitted via lottery, and charter school officials are banned from discriminating or favoring their admissions bid based on intellect, disability or any other reason.

Charters are held accountable through a five-year “performance contract” with the state focusing on student achievement — and the low performing ones are closed if they don’t meet standards.

The New York City Department of Education did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.


Woke colleges are literally driving students mad

Whom the gods would destroy, the old saying goes, they first drive mad. Which means they must hate elite educational institutions a lot.

Take what happened at Stanford Law School last week.

Judge Kyle Duncan of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit went to speak there at the invitation of its Federalist Society chapter. He was to talk about the Fifth Circuit, the Supreme Court and constitutional law.

Duncan is a conservative, and Stanford Law’s “progressive” students didn’t want to hear what he had to say.

They could have avoided that by simply skipping the talk, but they didn’t want anyone to hear what he had to say.

When Duncan showed up, they literally shouted him down.

About 100 protesters made sufficient noise, shouting insults: “We hate you!” “Leave and never come back!” “We hate FedSoc students, f—k them, they don’t belong here either!” and so on.

They also carried childishly insulting signs with slogans like “JUDGE DUNCAN CAN’T FIND THE CLIT” and “FEDSUCK!”

Duncan finally became angry, calling the protesters “juvenile idiots” — which they were — and asked an administrator to restore order.

Stanford Law’s Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tirien Steinbach came to the podium — and sided with the protesters, speaking from remarks she’d prepared in advance.

The scene seemed shocking, but this sort of thing is inevitable when students are told that being exposed to views they disagree with is “harmful” and an intolerable personal insult as well.

And that’s what they’re taught in America’s “elite” institutions and in many non-elite ones too: Words you don’t like are “violence” and do “harm.”

(A friend comments that anyone who thinks “Words are violence” has never been punched in the mouth.)

Stanford’s president and law dean quickly apologized. But I suspect Steinbach’s views — which at a law school, where students must learn to handle encounters with opposing views and persuade people (like judges!) they cannot compel, are basically lunacy — are in fact close to the institution’s true beliefs.

So yes, Stanford is crazy.

Nor is Stanford alone. Last year, Georgetown Law hosted a similar descent into madness when Ilya Shapiro, just hired as director of the school’s Constitution center, posted a critical tweet about President Joe Biden’s promise to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court.

The students not only protested but demanded “space to cry.” (Who wants a lawyer who needs “space to cry” when confronted with a disagreeable tweet? Nobody.)

Rather than telling them to grow up, the dean paid for catered food for the protesters. So Georgetown Law is crazy too.

That’s bad. But what’s worse is that the woke/DEI approach to education also makes students crazy.

Jonathan Haidt recently wrote a fascinating essay on why the mental health of college students has been in such steep decline for the past decade.

He noted cognitive behavioral therapy, used to treat depression, teaches patients to stop ruminating over perceived slights and setbacks and engaging in black and white thinking or emotional reasoning.

But the culture of DEI does exactly the opposite: It encourages students to dwell on slights, engage in (literal) black and white thinking and prioritize their emotions. It’s “reverse CBT,” in his phrase.

Instead of being taught to overcome traumatic experiences, negative thoughts and emotional instability, students are encouraged to dwell on them and even to base their identities on them.

And when students are told their weaknesses provide an excuse to bully others, expect more bullying — and more weaknesses.

This isn’t good for the bullies or the bullied, and it isn’t good for the institutions they inhabit.

Students’ worst, and most juvenile, behavior is indulged and rewarded, with the predictable result that students grow increasingly juvenile and ill-behaved.

This from institutions that charge top dollar to, purportedly, educate America’s future leaders.

Over the past decade, universities have spent a fortune on DEI (though the “inclusion” part certainly wasn’t visible at Stanford) and there’s no evidence it has made things better on campus for anyone except the DEI bureaucrats.

Insanity, we’re told, consists of doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. Maybe it’s time to stop the craziness.

Or maybe right-wing critics of the higher-education establishment should stop criticizing and cheer this on.

After all, those whom the gods would destroy, they first make crazy. And there’s a lot of craziness going on.


A disastrous Aboriginal school in South Australia

Schools with Aboriginal majorities are well-known for violence in Queensland but the problem is not confined to Queensland. Everybody is too politically correct to take the firm measures needed to deal with the problem

A student at Port Augusta Secondary School has refused to return to school after a brutal bashing by a fellow student left him with concussion and almost shattered his cheekbone.

The 16-year-old boy, who was attacked on February 21, says he is too scared to go back amid fears he will be targeted again.

During the attack, the boy, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation, was punched in the head from behind before being pushed over a retaining wall and hit several more times.

The boy’s father told The Advertiser his son had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the incident and did not feel safe leaving the house on his own.

“Enough is enough,” he said. “Somebody’s going to end up dead.”

The father said he flagged threats made to his son in the weeks before the attack but police and Port Augusta Secondary School took no action. “My son can’t even go down the street on his own,” he said.

The father said violence had continued at the school despite the installation of CCTV and the use of security guards. “They’ve had nothing but issues,” he said. “These kids are still going at it. Cameras aren’t going to keep the kids safe.”

He also said escalating violence on the town’s streets was being “dragged into the school”. “It’s just got to stop. Kids shouldn’t be doing this,” he said.

On Friday, The Advertiser revealed students at Port Augusta Secondary School were being “stomped on” during fights.

“The school is f**ked,” one student said.

In February, parents of another student who was the victim of a vicious attack told The Advertiser they had warned the school about a potential fight before the incident.

Videos of fights, which appear to be planned, have been posted to several social media accounts in recent months.

An Education Department spokeswoman said the student who assaulted the 16-year-old had been “excluded” from the school for the maximum period of 10 weeks.

She said the school met with the victim’s family on “numerous occasions” before the attack but “despite their efforts an assault did occur”.




Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Florida university reportedly denies student mental health access because he is white

A student at the University of South Florida (USF) was reportedly denied mental health services because he was not a member of the black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) community, according to communications obtained by Campus Reform.

Andrew Davis wanted to attend an “Understanding Self and Others” (USO) group therapy meeting, but he realized that none of the sessions worked with his schedule. Because of this, he asked USF’s counseling center if he could attend the BIPOC meeting as it was the only time he could attend, but the university informed him this wasn’t allowed.

“I am interested in attending a USO group meeting after completing the pre-group appointment but the only day/time that works for me is Wednesdays during the BIPOC students-only group,” Davis inquired in an email. “I am not a BIPOC student but was wondering if I would still be able to attend?”

“Unfortunately, we do need to keep this space specific to BIPOC folks … Hopefully you’ll be able to catch another one either during Winter break and/or next semester,” the USF Counseling Center said in response.

On Oct. 5 2022, Davis filed a complaint with USF’S Office of Compliance & Ethics, eventually receiving a response on Feb. 8 of this year, according to Campus Reform.

“The Counseling Center will not prohibit any category of student [from] participating in specialized counseling groups unless specific exception, or a medical mandate is identified that may support exclusivity,” the school responded.

In addition, Davis was reportedly targeted by Equal Opportunity Officer Kenneth Thomas during an Oct. 18 Microsoft Teams information-gathering meeting regarding the issue.

David said Thomas “was accusatory” and “asked me if I even knew what BIPOC meant and if I understood the importance of those groups having their own discussion,” according to Campus Reform.

“He did not seem concerned about my complaint and was more worried about the University’s ability to continue these groups,” Davis added.

USF’s DEI initiatives were exposed by Chris Rufo after he obtained public documents that showed the university segregated students by race, and “promotes the idea that white students should think ‘I feel bad for being white’ and ‘it’s not my fault I’m white’ as part of their ‘racial identity development.'”


‘Woke’ Grip on Accrediting Agencies

Liberal administrators at universities across America and the accrediting bodies that support them are finding themselves under increasing scrutiny from conservative legislators keen on reining in the excesses of the diversity, inclusion, and other “equity” bureaucracies that have taken over the academies.

The latest tussle is at the University North Carolina, where a Republican congressional delegation is castigating the school’s accrediting agency for threatening its board of trustees after it approved a plan for a new school rooted in values of “full freedom of expression, intellectual diversity, and open inquiry.”

In January, the school’s board of trustees voted to accelerate a plan to form a School of Civic Life and Leadership — key components of which would be free speech and faculty viewpoint diversity.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, board members described curricular objectives at the new school as shattering the ordinary “political constraints on what can be taught in university classes.”

The plan, however, came under fire almost immediately from the school’s accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College, which is based in Georgia.

The accrediting body’s president, Belle Wheelan, threatened to censure the university’s board to “get them to change” their plan in a presentation reported by the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. Ms. Wheelan previously served as Virginia’s secretary of education under a former Democratic governor, Mark Warner.

“UNC-Chapel Hill’s board is going to get a letter because of a news article that came out that said that the board, without input from the administration or faculty, had decided they were going to put in this new curriculum offering,” Ms. Wheelan said. “Explain that — because that’s kind of not the way we do business.”

“We’re gonna see the committee and talk to them and help them understand it, and either get them to change it, or the institution will be on warning,” she threatened. Ms. Wheelan’s remarks came in a meeting convened by a gubernatorial commission on “the governance of public universities in North Carolina.”

Some see the commission at which Ms. Wheelan spoke as a ploy by North Carolina’s Democratic governor to undermine the authority of the Republican legislature in appointing members to the UNC board. No letter or warning has yet been issued to UNC from the accrediting body.

This week, a group of North Carolina’s congressional delegation expressed concern that Ms. Wheelan’s remarks “appear to put the institution on warning before fully understanding the Board’s action.”

What may seem like a mere meltdown between bureaucrats and lawmakers represents a real threat to the students who attend these universities. Students are ineligible for federal loans if they attend unaccredited institutions, and they may face other obstacles when seeking to transfer, apply to graduate institutions, or practice in their fields of study.

The past few years have proved contentious for accrediting agencies as culture wars creep into the educational sector. Encouraged by the accrediting bodies, liberal institutions have sought to make mandatory instruction of sensitive cultural topics — race, gender, and sexuality — taught from a liberal point of view.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, for example, encourages member organizations to “decolonize” their curricula and diversify their reading lists to include non-Western texts. The American Bar Association, which has accredited nearly 200 law schools, recently scrapped a plan that would have imposed racial quotas as a diversity guarantee measure on law schools, but only after public pressure.

In 2021, Cairn University in eastern Pennsylvania halted its social work program in part because of demands from its accrediting agency, the Council on Social Work Education. The school said the agency’s curricular requirements conflicted with its Christian mission.

“CSWE’s proposed standards prescribed an approach to social issues … that Cairn deemed inconsistent with its own core beliefs,” the university’s president, Todd Williams, wrote a year later. “Thus, the university withdrew from CSWE and its accreditation, which is, of course, voluntary.”

Withdrawing from accreditation, for Cairn, was equivalent to nuking its social work program. Without accreditation, it could not promise its graduates social work licenses upon graduation.

North Carolina’s congressional representation is not the only group of legislators taking accreditors to task. The political leanings of the higher-ed overseers have led to increasing hostility between Republican politicians and accrediting bodies.

Governor DeSantis, a harsh critic of the political leanings of universities in Florida, also has tried to curb the power of accreditors. His Stop WOKE Act, in addition to stifling diversity training and critical race theory instruction, requires universities to change accreditation agencies at least every 10 years.

Before signing the bill into law, Mr. DeSantis said the “self-anointed” accrediting bodies hold an “inordinate amount of power” — even power over legislators, as the UNC debate illustrates.

In 2015, Senator Lee of Utah and Mr. DeSantis, when he was a member of Congress, introduced legislation to strip the Department of Education of its monopoly on conferring power to accreditors, which the two men said enabled a “higher-ed cartel.” They instead proposed allowing states to develop independent accreditation agencies.

The public schools in the Sunshine State are currently accredited by the same agency fighting with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Ms. Wheelan at the helm.

This is not the first time UNC-Chapel Hill has found itself in a tug-of-war between its conservative and liberal stakeholders.

The most contentious case in recent history was that of a prominent statue of a Confederate soldier, known as Silent Sam, on its quad. A former chancellor of the University of North Carolina, Carol Folt, sought to dismantle the statue, but was blocked from doing so by a 2015 state ordinance preventing the removal of Confederate monuments.

Ms. Folt clashed with the Board of Governors over the statue before it was toppled by student protestors in 2018 — a move that would eventually result in Ms. Folt’s resignation.

In 2017, the Board of Governors prohibited the law school’s Center for Civil Rights from providing legal counsel — in many instances, to clients who were facing the state.

The university faced a 2021 lawsuit after denying tenure to the intellectual mother of the 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones — a decision later reversed. Ms. Hannah-Jones sued the school, and the parties settled on an agreement that would boost diversity initiatives on campus. ?


Something Interesting Happened When DeSantis Showed Removed Books From Schools

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) held a press event in Tampa on Wednesday to "set the record straight, debunking the mainstream media, unions and leftist activists’ hoax of empty library bookshelves and political theater pretending that Florida’s schools cannot teach about topics like African American History, including topics like slavery."

The primary reason for the crackdown on inappropriate books stems from making sure no pornographic content is available to Florida students at school.

"Exposing the ‘book ban’ hoax is important because it reveals that some are attempting to use our schools for indoctrination," said DeSantis. "In Florida, pornographic and inappropriate materials that have been snuck into our classrooms and libraries to sexualize our students violate our state education standards. Florida is the education state and that means providing students with a quality education free from sexualization and harmful materials that are not age appropriate."

The books DeSantis was using as examples of inappropriate materials were found in 23 school districts across the state. While he was showcasing the books, local news channels who were broadcasting had to cut away due to the overt sexual nature of the books.

Of the 23 districts that reported removing materials, the most removed were tied at 19 in Duval and St. Johns Counties — not even close to a whole classroom library, DeSantis office said. Of the 175 books removed across the state, 164 (94%) were removed from media centers, and 153 (87%) were identified as pornographic, violent, or inappropriate for their grade level.

Books and courses teaching African-American history not only have not been removed from the curriculum, but it was recently expanded for Florida students.




Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Indiana Student Counselor Fired for Condemning School District’s Hidden Transgender Policy

An Indiana school district fired a student counselor Thursday night for confirming and condemning the existence of a secret transgender policy that keeps parents in the dark about their children’s “gender transitions.”

Kathy McCord worked as a counselor at Pendleton Heights High School for 25 years before the school board voted unanimously to terminate her contract for speaking to the media about confidential documents that board member Buck Evans claimed were “false.”

Evans did not indicate which statements were false.

McCord previously confirmed in an interview with The Daily Signal that the school district, South Madison Community School Corporation, was using a “Gender Support Plan” to assist students in transitioning to a different gender, including calling those students by a new name and personal pronouns.

In his remarks Thursday night, Evans said:

Mrs. McCord admitted she did not tell the truth about providing Mr. Kinnett with the document or correct misleading statements within his article, although she did read it before she started. Misleading statements in The Daily Signal article, along with editing the document, enflamed the public unnecessarily. You can see on this document there is to be a meeting with the child’s parents and/or guardians. Mrs. McCord has not been dismissed because she gave the document to Mr. Kinnett, but because of untruthful statements she made to the administration.

The South Madison school district’s Gender Support Plan allows use of a student’s “old name” and pronouns with parents to keep them unaware of what is going on with their child.

Emails obtained by The Daily Signal from South Madison parents and teachers who asked to remain anonymous show that student counselors would send out notices of a student’s “gender transition” and, if the student chose, request that teachers only use the student’s “old” name and pronouns with parents:

At several school board meetings, Schools Superintendent Mark Hall has claimed that this secret transgender policy both does and doesn’t exist.

At a board meeting in December, Hall said hiding medical information from parents is required as part of the school district’s nondiscrimination policy. But the superintendent appeared to cite the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Nondiscrimination Policy concerning school lunches, which appears on the district website.

Hall repeatedly has refused to provide any comment on or explanation of the secret transgender policy to The Daily Signal or any other media outlet.

Although other medical, counseling, and permission forms are located on the school district’s website, the school district’s Gender Support Plan is absent.

McCord provided a blank copy to The Daily Signal, which confirmed that the form was modeled after a similar form at Hamilton Southeastern Schools in Fishers, Indiana.

South Madison school board members have stated both that they were aware and not aware of the policy, that it didn’t exist, and that it was approved by the board in both 2011 and 2022.

School board President Mike Hanna and his immediate predecessor, Joel Sandefur, have refused to comment to The Daily Signal concerning the discrepancies.

Former geography teacher Amanda Keegan told The Daily Signal that she resigned, in part, due to this secret transgender policy.

“When I had to look at that parent, and feel like I was lying to that parent … I was sick to my stomach. I can’t lie to parents. I can’t do that again,” Keegan said.

Parents repeatedly have shown up to voice their support for McCord. School board meetings have been standing room only in November, December, January, and February, with supporters spilling out into the hallway.

After hearing dozens of supportive testimonies and statements from parents and concerned members of the Pendleton community in November, December, and January, the school board adopted a new policy requiring all speakers to sign up before the start of a meeting. This restriction cut the number of speakers allowed at the February board meeting.

When parents gathered again March 9 at a public hearing by the school board to voice their support for McCord, attendance seemed greater than for any previous board meeting since The Daily Signal exposed the transgender policy.

Yard signs reading “Keep Kathy” have been stolen from several yards in Pendleton, and the Pendleton Police Department told The Daily Signal that it is investigating.

The South Madison school district didn’t respond to requests from local parents to move the public hearing Thursday night to a larger venue to accommodate more attendees.

“It’s despicable what this district is doing to her,” one parent, who held a sign saying “We Support Kathy,” told The Daily Signal on March 2. “Everyone in Pendleton loves Kathy [McCord] to death.”

“She shouldn’t be fired for telling parents what Hall doesn’t want us to know,” the parent added, referring to the superintendent of schools.

Two South Madison teachers, saying they wished to remain anonymous for fear of also being fired, told The Daily Signal on March 1 that they plan to leave the school district at the end of the year to work elsewhere.

“I’m not going to keep secrets from parents for some power-hungry a——,” one teacher said. “I just want to teach.” ?


Arkansas’ Sanders Signs Ambitious Education Reform Agenda of School Choice, Anti-Indoctrination

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday signed into law what she called “the largest overhaul of the state’s education system in Arkansas history.”

The “Arkansas LEARNS” initiative is an ambitious reform agenda that expands school choice, modernizes school transportation, restructures teacher compensation to pay more for performance, provides supplemental education for struggling students, and prohibits Arkansas public schools from indoctrinating students.

“We’ve seen how the status quo condemns Arkansans to a lifetime of poverty, and we’re tired of sitting at the bottom of national education rankings,” Sanders said. “We know that if we don’t plant this seed today, then there will be nothing for our kids to reap down the line.”

Perhaps the boldest component of the initiative is the creation of Educational Freedom Accounts, which are similar to education savings account (ESA) policies in 11 other states. With an ESA, families can pay for private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, homeschool curriculums, online learning, special-needs therapy, and more. ESAs empower families to choose the learning environments that align with their values and best meet their children’s individual learning needs.

Eligibility for the ESAs phases in over three years. In the third year of the ESA program’s operation, all K-12 students will be eligible. In the first year of the ESA program (the 2023-24 academic year), all incoming kindergarten students in Arkansas will be eligible. So will students with disabilities, homeless students, children in foster care, the children of active-duty military personnel, students assigned to low-performing district schools, or children enrolled in one of Arkansas’s other school choice programs.

According to a recent Morning Consult survey, 7 in 10 Arkansans support an ESA policy. Support is even higher among parents of school-aged children, 78% of whom support ESAs.

The Arkansas LEARNS initiative will significantly improve the state’s national standing on education issues. Last year, Arkansas ranked No. 18 in the nation for education choice on The Heritage Foundation’s Education Freedom Report Card. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

The enactment of a universal ESA would have boosted Arkansas to No. 5 in the nation, assuming other states’ policies remained constant. Of course, competition for the top five will be fierce as states such as Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas are also considering adopting universal education choice policies.

Arkansas’ initiative also takes important steps to protect school students from being exposed to indoctrination or discrimination.

The law requires the Arkansas Department of Education to review its “rules, policies, materials, and communications” to ensure that they are in compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and do not “conflict with the principle of equal protection under the law or encourage students to discriminate against someone based on the individual’s color, creed, race, ethnicity, sex, age, marital status, familial status, disability, religion, national origin, or any other characteristic protected by federal or state law.”

The law also prohibits school faculty and staff or guest speakers from compelling students to “adopt, affirm, or profess an idea in violation” of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, such as that people of one race or ethnicity are inherently superior or inferior to anyone else, or that individuals should “be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of the individual’s color, creed, race, ethnicity, sex” or other characteristics protected by law.

The statute makes clear that it does not prohibit the discussion of ideas and or the teaching of history.

Students in Arkansas will still learn about the ugly aspects of American history, such as slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow. However, the law will appropriately prohibit lessons that divide students into “oppressors” or “oppressed,” based solely on skin color or that associate certain traits with particular skin colors.

As Tony Kinnett recently reported in The Daily Signal, there are recorded instances of such lessons in critical race theory in Arkansas classrooms, despite the best efforts of mainstream media outlets to deny it.

With the enactment of the Arkansas LEARNS initiative, Sanders has raised the bar for conservative education reform. Arkansas will now be among the top states that empower families to choose the learning environments that work best for their kids.

Arkansas has also taken an important step to ensure that traditional public schools are focused on education, not indoctrination.


Texas A&M system bans DEI statements

Amidst the nationwide chorus to eliminate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in education, the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) announced on Mar. 2 that it will ban diversity statements from admissions and hiring.

The announcement from TAMUS Chancellor John Sharp follows a Feb. 6 directive from Gov. Greg Abbott. A memo from Abbott’s chief of staff, obtained by The Texas Tribune, told the state’s public colleges and universities to use merit, not DEI, in its considerations.

“We believe serving Texas can be accomplished best by recruiting the brightest and most qualified students, faculty and staff,” Sharp states in the TAMUS announcement.

Sharp also states, "No university or agency in the A&M System will admit any student, nor hire any employee based on any factor other than merit."

TAMUS reviewed its admissions and hiring procedures in response to Abbott’s directive. Job applications, according to the announcement, should only include “a cover letter, curriculum vitae, statements about research and teaching philosophies, and professional references.”

The Texas Tribune reported that the memo from Abbott’s office accused DEI initiatives of “push[ing] policies that expressly favor some demographic groups to the detriment of others.”

“Rebranding this employment discrimination as ‘DEI’ doesn’t make the practice any less illegal,” the memo continued.

The announcement from TAMUS, composed of 11 universities and eight state agencies, follows the University of Texas (UT) System’s decision to pause DEI initiatives at its 13 campuses while reviewing its admissions and hiring.

Texas Tech University (TTU) similarly updated its policies after an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal by John Sailer shared documents revealing that its biology department “penalize[s] candidates for heterodox opinions.”

In what appears to be a response to Sailer taking the documents public, Campus Reform reported that TTU eliminated diversity statements from hiring.

Efforts to eliminate DEI from academic and professional life have spread like wildfire. Legislation introduced in Tennessee would ban DEI requirements from the education, training, and employment of professionals providing services in health care, mental health, and social work.

Oklahoma’s superintendent of public instruction issued a DeSantis-style probe into DEI spending at the state’s public colleges and universities. After DeSantis appointed six new members to the New College of Florida’s board of trustees, the board voted to shut down its DEI office.

Trustee Christopher Rufo said that the move made the New College “the first university in America to abolish its DEI bureaucracy and restore the principle of colorblind equality.”




Monday, March 13, 2023

Diversity director fired for questioning California college’s anti-racism policies, she claims

A black director of a “woke” California college’s Office of Equity, Social Justice and Multicultural Education claims she was fired for questioning the institution’s anti-racism “orthodoxy” and what the term “anti-racism” even means.

Dr. Tabia Lee said De Anza College, a community college in Cupertino, retaliated after she objected to several campus policies aimed at inclusion.

“I was working in a California community college, and I noticed that there was a lot of resistance to my even asking questions about anti-racism, policy efforts and language,” Lee told nonprofit Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism.

“And I just purely wanted to know what folks meant when they were using those terms. And I encountered a lot of hostility a lot of resistance to me even asking question.”

She told Higher Ed she was canned after declining to join a “socialist network,” objected to the college’s land acknowledgments for an Indigenous tribe and questioned why the word “Black” was capitalized but not “white.”

Additionally, Additionally, Lee said she refused to use the gender-neutral terms “Latinx” and “Filipinx” because of her belief they only fuel racism.

“I find that the same toxic ideologies around race ideologies are now being advanced under gender ideologies,” Lee said, according to the outlet.

“I also find that the constant obsession with pronouns and declaration of pronouns causes deep discomfort for individuals who identify as gender fluid or who struggle with gender dysphoria.”

A colleague of Lee’s also accused the black faculty member of “white speaking,” “whitesplaining” and supporting white supremacy.

The school has a very different reason for firing Lee, however.

In a letter obtained by Higher Ed, district chancellor Judy Miner wrote Lee showed a “persistent inability to demonstrate cooperation in working with colleagues and staff” and an “unwillingness to accept constructive criticism.”

De Anza College voted Tuesday not to re-employ Lee, who started at the school in 2021, for the next academic year.

Lee claims she felt backlash from administrators shortly after she started the position.

They finally saw a reason to fire her when she published a Feb. 18 essay published in “Journal of Free Black Thought” stating: “Under the banner of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts, in many learning environments a neo-reconstructionist race(ist) orthodoxy has emerged that actively works to suppress and exclude alternative frameworks, methods, ways and means for dealing with American education’s race(ist) problem.”


The University of Michigan Is in a DEI Mess

Policies that divide Americans by race, or increase their perception of racial differences, spawn tribalism, separation, and hatred.

Although black and Hispanic enrollment rose slightly [at U of M], students are increasingly avoiding students of other races, ethnicities, and political views.

The DEI administrators at the University of Michigan have chosen small tribes over greater uniting principles. No wonder its students are unhappy.

Read many of America’s greatest writers about race and legal equality, and you’ll find a similar theme: policies that divide Americans by race, or increase their perception of racial differences, spawn tribalism, separation, and hatred.

Frederick Douglass warned that policies fostering racial identity, rather than shared American values, sow “dangerous seeds of discontent and hatred.” Justice Thomas Cooley wrote that distinctions based on race would “assail the very foundations of [our] government.” Justice John Marshall Harlan said that nothing could “more certainly arouse race hate” and “a feeling of distrust between these races” than segregationist polices. And Justice Antonin Scalia, quoting Professor Alexander Bickel, called racially discriminatory policies “destructive of a democratic society.”

Scores of others, like Thomas Sowell, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Shelby Steele, have said the same.

The University of Michigan did not listen to them, and it is learning its lesson the hard way.

As reported in The Michigan Review, one of the university’s student-run publications, the school launched a major Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative in 2016 that made racial identity a key focus for all of the school’s programs and vastly increased the size of its DEI bureaucracy.

At the same time, the school conducted Campus Climate Surveys of its students. Comparing those surveys to ones conducted in 2021 reveals some of the harmful effects of that initiative. Students are increasingly self-segregating. Although black and Hispanic enrollment rose slightly, students are increasingly avoiding students of other races, ethnicities, and political views. The Michigan Review reports:

The number of students who interacted with people of different political persuasions decreased by more than 11 percent, of different religious beliefs by over 9 percent, of a different national origin by 5 percent, and of different races by more than 3 percent.

Students are also increasingly unhappy.

By nearly every metric in the survey, students have become less happy since the beginning of DEI 1.0. They are less likely to believe that U-M has an institutional commitment to DEI and less likely to feel valued or that they belong on campus. The number of students who felt that they were treated fairly and equitably at Michigan fell by over 3 percent. Finally, the number of students satisfied with the campus climate overall fell by almost 11 percent.

The only thing that hasn’t changed, likely to the chagrin of the University’s DEI administrators, is students’ feelings about the racial climate on campus.

The school is about to launch a new DEI initiative, and this time it ought to pay some attention to the great minds quoted above.

Frederick Douglass offered advice in a 1867 speech called “The Composite Nation.” Much of his wisdom is directly applicable to modern universities. Let’s hope they take it.

Americans in 1867, Douglass said, “def[ied] all the ethnological and logical classifications. In races we range all the way from black to white, with intermediate shades which, as in the apocalyptic vision, no man can remember.” Then, as now, the country was “of all extremes, ends and opposites.”

What policy, he asked, should the nation adopt towards its many ethnic groups, which were only increasing?

The answer, he said, could not be racial separation: “Those races of men which have maintained the most separate and distinct existence … are a standing confirmation of the folly of isolation.” Besides, America had tried that already. It had previously chosen to be governed “by race pride, rather than by wisdom.” And that policy “filled the country with agitation and ill-feeling and brought the nation to the verge of ruin.”

This was entirely predictable. After all, prejudice “is an ancient feeling among men … peculiar to no particular race or nation.” But that is no reason to accept it, Douglass argued.

Instead, he urged Americans to embrace America’s founding principle, “that is the principle of absolute equality.” That principle transcends base and arbitrary classifications like skin color: “Man is man, the world over,” and we have much more in common than not.

Rather than adopt policies that separate us along racial lines, we ought to receive all others “as friends and give them a reason for loving our country and our institutions.” In fact, Douglass argued that we must adopt such a policy.

A nation like ours, unique in the world for its diversity of color and creed, has only two paths before it. On the one hand, it can tolerate tribalism and, in that case, allow “the very soil of the national mind [to become] barren,” or, on the other, it can set aside tribes and unite a disparate people under a greater principle.

It is worth remembering that these were the words of a former slave who had every reason to be resentful and to think that America’s founding principle was false. But he did not. Instead, he believed that root of the evil he suffered “was never our system or form of Government, or the principles underlying it; but the peculiar composition of our people, the relations existing between them and the compromising spirit which controlled the ruling power of the country.”

The principles were noble, the people were not. But if the people actually lived up to their principles, they could be.

Our nation, he said, “will be great, or it will be small, according to its own essential qualities.” So, we ought to adopt essential qualities greater than our small, divisive tribal loyalties.

The DEI administrators at the University of Michigan have chosen small tribes over greater uniting principles. No wonder its students are unhappy and self-segregating. Nothing at the University of Michigan inspires them to something greater than human nature’s petty tribal instinct.

The solution is not a new DEI plan, or more anti-racism initiatives, or segregated dormitories and graduation ceremonies. The solution is “the principle of absolute equality,” which is the only path away from human nature’s tendency toward petty prejudice.


Andrew Tate is flooding Australian schoolboys with an aggressive ideology contemptuous of feminist correctness

image from

So what are the schools going to tell the boys? Under feminist pressure, the official ideology is that boys should be more like girls. Such advice will go down like a lead balloon. Telling boys to be sensitive and respectful is probably good advice but it will at most get a bored yawn.

Tate has shown the emperor to have no clothes. There is no considered guide to healthy masculinity. There is nothing to replace his message. Masculinity is simply attacked by elite writers

A prominent principal has warned schools are contending with a “tsunami” of misogynistic digital trends and revealed they are tackling the problem with in-house education programs to specifically address the rise of so-called ”mega misogynist” Andrew Tate.

Tate, the former professional kickboxer turned king of “toxic masculinity’’ has amassed a huge global following on social media sprouting his extreme anti-feminist, alpha male views.

Youth workers say Tate, currently in a Romanian jail under investigation for human trafficking, rape and forming an organised crime group, has emerged as a key influencer of 11-17 year old boys.

St Joseph’s Nudgee College principal Peter Fullagar, 62, said Tate had been on the school’s radar for the past 12 to 18 months and discussions about him had been incorporated into its educational programs.

“There is a tsunami working against us to be fair. It is relentless,’’ Fullagar said.

“We do talk to boys about Andrew Tate and rather than say, ‘Don’t go there’ and try to shut it down, we want to learn why boys are attracted to his message.

“As schools, as educators, we are working really hard to give boys an opposite message.

“We are dealing with young boys‘ behaviour all the time through mistakes they make in and around misogynistic behaviour, homophobic language, racial comments, bullying and harassment. It is part of young people’s landscape today.

“The power of social media has come at us in a rush over the past 10 years so schools are continually responding and refining responses. If it’s Andrew Tate currently, it will be a bigger name in a couple of years time.’’

Fullagar said his school’s established Student Formation Program covered a range of issues including respectful relationships, the definition of masculinity, mental health and wellbeing, risk taking, drugs, issues of consent, social media and being safe in the online environment. Andrew Tate was discussed in the context of social media and what it means to be a young man in today’s world.

St Paul’s School, a coeducational private school north of Brisbane, is also aware of Tate’s influence. Headmaster Dr Paul Browning said young people were bombarded with negative social media messages.

“The temptations are right there in their face, in their bedroom at night time. Unfortunately, undesirable influences follow them into that space,’’ Browning said.

“You can’t ignore it and we have strong programs at the school to help with social and emotional development of young people and the development of their character. We’re not just interested in a child’s academic achievement but also the type of people they are becoming.’’

St Paul’s executive director of Faith and Community Nigel Grant said he first became aware of Tate about a year ago when year nine boys “tried to shock me’’ during a school wellbeing program called The Rite Journey. “We are trying to be on the front foot on this,’’ he said.

“We were having a conversation with year nine boys about what it means to be a man, asking who they respected and who were their heroes. It was in that context that Andrew Tate’s name came up.

“The boys had heard all about him and were aware of the power to shock adults. Some had been impressed by some of the stuff he was saying.

“I was suitably naive but quickly became well informed and, as a group of teachers, we addressed the issue directly and tried to produce a suitable counter message.

“We are regularly shocked but rarely surprised at the content young people see. The internet is like the wild, wild west. Even the best filters can be worked around and children are particularly vulnerable.’’

QUT Professor of sociology Michael Flood, an expert in engaging men in violence prevention, men and masculinities, said schools must be proactive in dealing with toxic social media influencers.

“Schools have an absolutely central role to play particularly through respectful relationships education in inoculating young people against the sexism and the misogyny that Tate and others preach,’’ Flood said.

“Conversations about influencers like Tate should be going on in schools and certainly growing numbers of teachers are forced to have those conversations whether they want to or not because boys and young men are repeating some of the things that Tate claims.’’

A Department of Education Queensland spokesperson said the Respectful Relationships Education Program has been available in Queensland schools since 2017.




Sunday, March 12, 2023

Downplaying Academic Excellence in Med School Admissions

For some time now it has been true that many blacks avoid black doctors because they don't trust the qualifications of black doctors. That will now accelerate

America’s top medical schools, worried they have too few minority students, are doing something about it. They are lowering academic standards for admission and trying to hide the evidence. Columbia, Harvard, the University of Chicago, Stanford, Mount Sinai, and the University of Pennsylvania have already done so. The list already tops forty, and more are sure to follow.

Of course, the universities won’t admit what they are doing – and certainly not why. All they will say is that their new standards add “equity” and “lived experience.” Unfortunately, adding those factors inevitably lessens the weight given to others.

The harsh reality is medical schools are downplaying academic achievement and MCAT scores, which give the best evidence of how well students are prepared for medical school. The MCAT is specifically tailored for that purpose. In addition to a section on critical reasoning (similar to the SATs), it examines students on biology and biochemistry, organic chemistry, the physics of living systems, and the biological and psychological foundations of behavior. It’s easy to see how those relate directly to higher education in medical science. Yet med schools want to downplay them and add inherently subjective criteria like “lived experience.”

Med schools are especially eager to get rid of the MCATs. After years of evaluating admissions folders, they know they cannot meet their goals for minority enrollment if they retain their near-total emphasis on academic qualifications. They know, too, that standardized tests and grades leave a statistical trail. They want to kick dust over that trail before the Supreme Court’s expected ruling against affirmative action. They fear the statistics will show marked differences in admission rates for individuals from different groups who have similar scores and GPAs. That’s not a wild guess. Admission teams know the evidence from years of experience.

But dropping the tests, or making them optional, presents a thorny PR problem. Schools fear they would sink below competitors in national rankings, which include MCAT scores. So, they are doing what undergraduate colleges have already done. They are colluding. By withdrawing jointly from US News and World Report rankings, they hope to soften the blow to each one’s prestige. (It’s an interesting question whether this collusion violates anti-trust laws, as their collusion about scholarship awards did.)

What medical schools call “equity” and “lived experience” are code words for discrimination by racial category. They are using this word fog to cloud over four crucial but uncomfortable facts. First, today’s standardized tests are actually fair and unbiased. Medical schools don’t deny that. They know test makers have spent fortunes over the past half century to scrub their tests of any racial, cultural, or ethnic bias. Second, medical schools aren’t claiming the tests are poor predictors of performance. They can’t.

Third, they know criteria like “equity” and “lived experience” are inherently subjective and opaque to outsiders. That’s their magic potion for admissions officers. These education bureaucrats are following the advice Humpty Dumpty gave in “Alice in Wonderland.” Alice asks him, “Must a name mean something?” And Humpty replies, “It means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” Humpty Dumpty would be enthralled with code words like “lived experience” and “equity.” They mean exactly what Humpty and admissions officers choose them to mean – neither more nor less.

Finally, by emphasizing non-academic “experience,” these schools are downplaying the reality that their applicants have already graduated college, most likely as science majors. That academic background is the most important “lived experience” for graduate study in any rigorous field, including medicine.

To implement the bias they prefer and do it secretly, medical schools are counting on public ignorance and apathy. When patients believe any subgroup of doctors has systematically higher or lower qualifications, they will take that into account. They do the same thing in choosing lawyers, dentists, accountants, and other professionals.

That may be unfair to any individual practitioner, but it’s inevitable. That’s because ordinary patients (or consumers) have no direct way of judging professional competence. They can only look for indirect (and imperfect) signs of a good doctor. Did she go to a top medical school, for instance, or practice at a teaching hospital? If they think it is harder for an outstanding Chinese-American undergraduate to gain admittance, they will reasonably guess she’s a better student and a more-qualified doctor. They may be wrong about that particular doctor, but it’s a sensible guess.

There’s a general ­– and inescapable – point here. When admissions, hiring, or promotion are influenced, either positively or negatively, because of group membership, when outsiders know that and cannot measure quality directly, they will see that “group membership” as a telltale sign of ability.


‘School Choice’ and Homeschool Families Must Fight Together

President Reagan once famously quipped, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.” Indeed, those of us on the right are rightly skeptical of government schemes to inject its tentacles into private life, and some have raised good-faith questions about the risks of bringing “public funding” (and the strings attached to it) into private education.

But Reagan himself knew that empowering parents reduced the threat of government influence over our nation’s children, and he proposed in 1985 to allow parents to redirect up to $600 of what taxpayers would have otherwise spent via existing programs on a child in a public school and instead use it for that child’s private education. Just like today, Reagan’s faith in school choice programs horrified—and terrified—those on the left who believe our children should be molded chiefly by the state, not parents.

For years since, a small portion of American families have been able to direct their own children’s education through values-based private school or by directly homeschooling their own kids. Some have done so with help from the current patchwork of school choice programs, and others by fully bearing the financial burden themselves. But now, states across the country stand poised to break down the financial barriers holding back millions of families from doing likewise, while also obliterating the current penalty levied against private and home-educating families who not only dutifully pay taxes to support other children, but then also bear the full financial burden again to provide for their own.

Indeed, education savings account (ESA) programs are now blossoming in conservative friendly states such as Florida, Arizona, and West Virginia—even as union-backed leftists fight tooth and nail to suppress them in progressive bastions such as California, Illinois, and New York.

Some fear that accepting ESA funds will empower the left to hijack their control of their children’s education. This fear should not be taken lightly. But neither should it blind nor paralyze our judgment.

There is no doubt that with or without ESA legislation, parents and lawmakers will always have to remain vigilant to defend the integrity of private and home-based education. But as California has shown with the likes of its recently enacted legislation, SB 107—threatening the custody of any parent nationwide who does not support radical gender theory when it comes to their own children—families will never be “safe” from the ambitions of the left simply because they ask to be left alone. Indeed, the threat to families directing the upbringing of their children exists not because of programs like ESAs, but in spite of them.

Indeed, it is tempting to some on our side to embrace the status quo out of concern that in the future, leftist lawmakers would try to burden ESA-type programs with damaging regulations. But that status quo means stranding more than 90% of our nation’s kids in a system where groups like the National Education Association (NEA) are actively seeking to inculcate the next generation in state-sponsored leftwing ideologies. This generational monopoly presents a far greater risk to the future of the nation and to the liberties of our children than a hypothetical battle down the line to preserve the victories we will have won for school choice and private education in the meantime.

The more families and schools that are involved in nonpublic education (which will be boosted significantly by programs like an ESA), the larger the constituency of voices to speak out and defend families against future attempts to undermine private or home-based learning. Already, for instance, the hugely successful public Great Hearts charter network responded to Arizona’s ESA expansion by launching religiously affiliated “Christos” campuses.

We must not join with the unions and prematurely impose our own civilizational defeat. Rather, as homeschool parents themselves have written at length, we must re-center families and amplify the voice and power of parents who wish to educate their own children free of bureaucratic interference or undo financial strain.


Parents and Education

Parents will be held responsible by God for their children’s education, says the Bible. This was a view shared by the majority of America’s founders.

But today there is a great defiance against this on the part of many in our educational establishment. Many leaders in the educational system seem to think they know better than the parents as to what should and should not be taught. reports (3/4/23): “A Colorado elementary school’s private emails show secret plans to defy parents’ wishes on transitioning their child's gender.”

Recently, a Fairfax (Virginia) County parent, Neeley McCallister noted: “As parents, it is our primary duty to protect our children and preserve their innocence…Unfortunately, there is a toxic movement infiltrating our schools that is more interested in pushing a political agenda rather than teaching…our children the subjects we were taught in school: math, reading, science, history.”

McCallister made these remarks during hearings to promote a bill in the new U.S. House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The new bill seeks to assert parental rights when it comes to what is taught in the schools.

This is right and good. Centuries ago America made great strides in becoming a “city on a hill” in part because of the great education so many citizens received. Initially it was based on the Bible and resulted in astounding levels of literacy.

As James Madison, a key architect of the Constitution, observed, “A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people.”

The first Congress under the Constitution that gave us the First Amendment also passed a law that ensured that each state to be added to the new nation should be committed to education. If the American experiment were to work, it could only do so if the people could read and write for themselves. So on August 4, 1789, Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance.

This important document said in Article III: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” This was in a day when “Religion” meant Christianity of one stripe or another.

Even Thomas Jefferson, who departed from Christian orthodoxy later in life, at least indirectly allowed the Bible and Isaac Watts’ hymnals to be used to teach reading at two schools for which he served as president of the board of trustees. Isaac Watts was a great writer of classic Christian songs, including “Joy to the World,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” and “Jesus Shall Reign."

However, in the last few decades, there has arisen an anti-God tenor in the schools. Last week, reported on a story out of the Phoenix area, where a school board rejected hiring teachers from a Christian college because these teachers were deemed “not safe”: “An Arizona school board member wearing cat ears during a meeting said she would oppose having a contract with a Christian university over the religious and Biblical beliefs they espouse.”

Another board member concurred with her, as he decried the university for “teaching with a Biblical lens." The board agreed with the anti-Christian ban.

The school board says in effect, “Teachers needed. Biblical Christians need not apply.” This sort of discrimination is clearly unconstitutional. But is it what parents want?

We all have a lens, a worldview. It was a Biblical worldview, a “Biblical lens,” that made us the most free and prosperous nation. But if the Left had their way, only those with godless values should be teaching our children---with little or no significant input from the parents. noted a similar example of anti-Christian bias at work in the schools. A public school teacher in Washington state said we need to keep the schoolchildren safe from their “Christo-fascist parents.”

Some parents teach their children to follow the Bible---the way Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan learned their values. “Horrors,” say many in the education establishment today, trying to separate parents from their children’s education.

Thankfully, the new Congress is fighting back, as noted. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich writes, “Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans have given the American people an opportunity to dramatically strengthen the role of parents in the education of their children.”

The preamble to The Parents Bill of Rights Act declares: “Parents have a God-given right to make decisions for their children. Unfortunately, many school districts have been ignoring the wishes of parents while special interest groups try to criminalize free speech.”

The preamble adds, “This list of rights will make clear to parents what their rights are and clear to schools what their duties to parents are.”

Perhaps Rep. Elise Stefanik says it all: “Parents are the primary stakeholders in their child’s education, and they have a right to know what is going on inside their child’s classroom.” Hear, hear.