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.




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.”




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.




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.




Monday, March 20, 2023

Complaint Filed Over School Event Only Allowing Girls and ‘Gender Diverse’ Students

On Tuesday, parental rights organization Parents Defending Education filed a federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against a school district in Pennsylvania for hosting STEM events only open to “girls and gender diverse students.”

According to documents obtained by PDE and shared with Townhall, Lower Merion School District in Ardmore, Pennsylvania will host an academic event called “the inaugural Girls+ STEM Night.” The event is meant to “expose younger girls and gender diverse students to various STEM-related careers and fields in hopes that it will spark an interest to pursue science, technology, engineering and math inside and outside of the classroom” and promises to hold future events of the same nature.

“By its plain terms…only some students may attend this school program. It excludes others — and this exclusion is based solely on an individual’s sex,” PDE noted. “As for the future ‘girls and gender diverse’ programming and networking opportunities, that too would confer a benefit on the basis of sex not offered to all students.”

The letter outlining the complaint notes that discrimination on the basis of sex violates Title IX, which declares that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

"Discriminating against a group of students based on sex is unconstitutional and all such instances of discrimination should be examined with a fine-toothed comb. Every student deserves the same opportunities to thrive and be challenged through STEM-related programming and Lower Merion students are no exception. This is the second OCR complaint we've filed against this district in the last month. The district clearly needs to weed out the bad apples who put these policies in place,” PDE Vice President Caroline Moore said.

Previously, PDE filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Office for Civil Rights after a public high school in Massachusetts restricted auditions for a school play for students who identify as people of color, which Townhall covered. Last month, the organization unveiled documents that exposed a school district in Kansas for hiding students’ gender transitions from parents.

And, earlier this month, documents uncovered by PDE revealed that one of the country’s top public high schools, located in Fairfax, Virginia, reportedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars from groups affiliated with China’s military.


What Happens When Parental Rights Are Surrendered to the Government?

Considering how egregiously parents' rights have been trampled in recent years, federal parental rights legislation recently reintroduced in Congress sounds promising, but its premise is dangerous. It could erode parents' God-given rights to direct the upbringing of their children.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis initiated the precedent for parental rights legislation, whose bill was dubbed by critics the "Don't Say Gay" bill. A noteworthy feature of the DeSantis law is that it prohibits sex education in kindergarten through third grade (five through nine-year-olds). It is hard to believe that we need a law to restrict sex education for children who, at these young ages, aren't even thinking about sexuality, but it is necessary.

Governor DeSantis has done more to protect children and our country's freedom than any governor I have observed. He has been right on education policy on many fronts and continues to take the lead on common-sense education policy. But the reality is that our Creator, not the government determines parental rights. Despite such good intentions from leaders like DeSantis, any parental rights legislation is flawed at its inception, suggesting parents' rights are determined by the government rather than the fundamental, inalienable rights of parents afforded by their Creator.

Prominent conservative legal scholar Joanna Martin, J.D., recently published an article titled "A Massive Transfer of Power Over Children from Parents to Governments," She discusses similar concerns with parental rights legislation. She writes specifically about the bill passed by the North Carolina Senate, saying, "… what S.B. 49 does is to transfer power over children from parents to governments. Parents' rights' consist of the privilege of being notified of decisions made respecting their children by governments, and they are granted specific rights to challenge some of the findings."

At last count, seventy-three Republican U.S. House of Representatives members are sponsors of the federal Parental Rights bill filed on March 1, 2023. Several bill sponsors are Freedom Caucus members, which begs the question — have they read the bill? Do they understand the implication of the government delineating parental authority?

When parents file lawsuits citing an infringement of their parental rights, they do so on "a fundamental, inalienable right" basis. According to N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law, "We have at least a century of U.S. constitutional jurisprudence explaining that the history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental rights, and the U.S. Supreme Court has described parental rights as 'beyond debate as an enduring American tradition.'"

If Parental Rights Laws are passed, the point of debate becomes the content and context of that law, not the fundamental right. We could end up arguing whether or not a school counselor has the right to assist children in accessing medical treatment, like gender transitioning drugs and surgeries, based on some loophole in the new law. Fundamental, inalienable rights do not have loopholes.

The nonprofit organization's mission, where I serve as president, is to close the U.S. Department of Education and end all federal education mandates. This is the mission because we understand that nefarious pedagogies originate and are pushed onto states by federal agencies incentivized with federal dollars.

Federal parental rights legislation creates more federal education mandates. This is a step in the wrong direction if our goal is to restore parental and local control of education.

The federal Republican bill passed out of committee 25 to 17 and now moves to the full House. In the meantime, the Democrats have offered alternative legislation touts "… inclusive, safe, and responsive public schools … and protecting the civil rights of students and families."

I like the simplicity of the Republican bill, but when reading explanations offered by leading advocates for parental rights legislation, they make it clear that these rights already exist!

One clear point in the federal legislation is the parental ability to influence their child's experiences within a public school. But this is a local control issue. We must hold school boards accountable. After all, implementing this control must happen at the local level. A rogue teacher who ignores approved parental restrictions will not face a federal law. But school boards could set policies to fire them.

U.S. Parents Involved in Education seeks to return education to its proper local roots and restore parental authority over their children's education by helping parents and local communities to escape federal and other national influences.


First-Year Med Students Told to Call Women ‘People With Cervices’; Professor Slams ‘Anti-Biological’ Lesson

A professor at Indiana University School of Medicine condemned a lesson inculcating gender ideology among first-year medical students as “anti-scientific” and “anti-biological,” warning that it would have “very detrimental effects to the health care profession” and stating that he had not heard of any internal discussions about the lesson before professors implemented it.

“I did not hear about it until it came out in the news,” the professor, who spoke with The Daily Signal on condition of anonymity, said in a phone interview Wednesday. He said the transgender lesson did not surprise him, however, because “the entire biomedical profession has been conquered by this aggressive ideology that inculcates a certain worldview.”

The lesson, “Sex and Gender Primer” for the Human Structure course, endorses calls for the redefinition of sex, claiming that biological sex is “NON-binary” (emphasis original). According to a PowerPoint presentation that the medical organization Do No Harm provided to The Daily Signal, it encourages medical students to use “inclusive terminology” based on the notion that gender is divisible from sex.

It presents as a “resource” the “genderbread person” diagram separating gender identity from gender expression and from anatomical sex.

The lesson laments that “most textbooks present sex as binary” and advocates for “anatomy texts to discuss sex on a spectrum.” It notes that it “will take time to update” the “sexual, reproductive, and genital system content” that is “highly gendered.”

The lesson endorses “person-first language” such as “people with cervices” rather than “women,” and “anatomy-based language,” such as “the testes produce sperm” rather than “the male gonad produces sperm.”

The lesson also notes that “linguistic practices are open to change as LGBTQIA+ advocates refine their perspectives on language.”

The school of medicine’s website describes “Human Structure” as a nine-week course in phase one, year one at medical school.

Do No Harm, an organization of doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals that speaks out against medical abuses, first obtained the lesson, which The Daily Mail first published Sunday, without attribution to Do No Harm.

Do No Harm’s board chairman, Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a kidney specialist, condemned the lesson in remarks to The Daily Signal, tying it to so-called diversity, equity, and inclusion classes.

“Indiana University School of Medicine’s woke DEI classes on gender are highly speculative and won’t change the health of any group in America for the better,” Goldfarb said.

“This class conflates the anatomy of male and female reproductive systems with a highly controversial and scientifically dubious concept of ‘gender fluidity,’” he noted. “It uses complex and very rare abnormalities in human development to assert that gender is a spectrum and not the manifestation of the basic biologic reality of the sexes. These ideas should not be presented as established biology. By doing so, they provide support for the gender transition of minor children. DEI indoctrination in medical schools must be stopped for the sake of quality of patient care.”

The Indiana University medical professor agreed.

“It’s anti-scientific and anti-biological,” the professor told The Daily Signal. “This is going to have very detrimental effects to the health care profession. It’s going to degrade the trust of the public in health care.”

He warned that transgender ideology “reverts us to a pre-Enlightenment era, where biology and objective facts are not relevant.”

“I have not heard of any internal discussions about this,” he added, lamenting that “there is no open debate about it at all.”

“It reminds me of what I’ve read about the Stalinist era and the way scientists were handled by the state regime during the 20th century,” the professor added. According to English science writer Simon Ings, the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin “embraced, patronized, and even fetishized science like never before,” but “scientists lived their lives on a knife edge,” facing exile, imprisonment, or death if they countered the regime’s ideology.

“I suspect that if there was open discussion” at Indiana University Medical School, “most individuals would be opposed to forcing this very aggressive ideology on trainees,” the professor said.

He urged the medical field to “encourage and require open debate” and to “purge ideology and politics from medicine,” even if it requires politicians to use “financial leverage” to remove gender ideology from schools.

Indiana University School of Medicine declined to comment on the document to The Daily Signal.




Sunday, March 19, 2023

Four Oxford dons forced to retire by university at the age of 68 win age discrimination claim

Academics can remain productive into their '90s so forced early retirement always was nonsense

Four academics forced to retire at 68 under a policy designed to promote ‘diversity’ have won their age discrimination claim against Oxford University.

The Employer Justified Retirement Age policy was found by an employment tribunal to have a discriminatory effect and could not be legally justified.

The senior academics all left the university between 2019 and 2021 because of the policy introduced a decade earlier. Some went on to work elsewhere instead of retiring.

Nicholas Field-Johnson, 71, head of development in continuing education; Bent Flyvbjerg, 70, a professor in the Said Business School; Philip Candelas, 71, the Rouse Ball head of mathematical physics; and Duncan Snidal, 69, a professor in international relations, successfully joined forces to challenge the university’s ageist policy to push them into retirement.

They stand to receive substantial damages. A future hearing will decide on a remedy unless a deal is struck with Oxford.

The judgment has not yet been published but was revealed by lawyers representing three of the academics.

Their solicitor Simon Henthorn, a partner at Doyle Clayton, said: ‘In our experience it is difficult for employers to lawfully retire employees.

'This was certainly the case in this matter, and we are delighted that the Employment Tribunal has ruled in the professors’ favour.’

Employers used to be able to force workers to retire at 65 but this default retirement age was scrapped in 2011, allowing most to continue working if they want or need to.

Oxford’s policy was also introduced in 2011 and covered staff ranging from the Vice-Chancellor down to senior research staff.

The idea was that it could be justified as the aim was to promote ‘equality and diversity’ by opening up new jobs to a younger generation likely to be more diverse than the existing workforce.

The university claimed that ‘refreshing’ the academic and research staff would help it maintain ‘its rich academic environment and foster innovation.’

But this latest legal challenge has put the policy - set to increase the retirement age to 69 later this year - in doubt.

By law an employer can ask employees to retire at a certain age there is a legitimate aim behind it. In this case the tribunal ruled the policy could not be justified in this way.

The tribunal panel said the university had not produced evidence to show the policy’s success in creating vacancies.

Figures provided indicated ‘nine in ten’ vacancies for statutory and associate professor roles would have arisen if the EJRA had not existed.

The tribunal concluded ‘the overall contribution of the EJRA to promoting equality and diversity is very limited.’

Oxford, Cambridge and St Andrews are the only universities to have such age-related retirement rules in place.

An Oxford University spokesman said: ‘The university has been notified of the tribunal’s ruling. We are currently reviewing the detail and considering our next steps, including the option of appeal.’

None of the academics were available for comment.


‘Restorative Justice’ Is Killing American Classrooms

As record numbers of fistfights are erupting amid a behavior crisis in the American public education system, more schools are attempting to use restorative justice—even though that process often makes behavioral problems worse.

Restorative justice is a remediation theory that suggests students respond better to affirmation-based conversations in which an adult de-escalates any problem situation by calmly discussing the students’ feelings about the problem until everyone agrees.

Restorative justice relies on student investment and commitment to say, “I am willing to do this.”

Traditional methods of discipline are seen as utterly barbaric, with fans of restorative justice suggesting that punishing a student for violent or other bad actions sets them on an unshakable path toward prison and abuse.

Proponents often point to schools that adopted the practice of restorative justice and saw a sharp decline in suspensions—Oakland Unified School District in California, for example. Although suspensions in Oakland Unified have decreased, the level of violence and total number of police incidents in the school district have not.

Few, if any, schools that have adopted restorative justice as a replacement for traditional discipline have seen a healthier school environment that is safer for teachers and students.

Unfortunately for those who seek the utopian, unicorn sunshine of these practices, the majority of students don’t respond well to restorative justice. Hundreds of public school districts that use it are experiencing large numbers of physical fights and continual chaos that is more responsible for driving teachers out of the classroom than almost any other issue.

Restorative justice fails thousands of classrooms a day in situations such as this recent one in Wisconsin described by Milwaukee English teacher Daniel Buck:

A student gets into a violent fight in the classroom—students’ safety is threatened, and the teacher struggles to break up the fight before calling the office. The office may (or may not) send an administrator, counselor, or other office-staff member to the classroom, where the fighting students are taken into the hallway or the office for a brief discussion about their actions.

Most often, the students are told to get along, sent back to class, and within five minutes nothing more has occurred than putting the safety of students at risk with both violent students back in their seats with no more than a polite ‘talking to.’ These students don’t buy into restorative practices. Why should they care?

Any adult who has spoken with a child after (or during) a fight knows that rational dialogue and feelings-centric relationship-building aren’t at the forefront of his mind. Why would a violent or disruptive student choose to engage in an “opportunity for equitable dialogue and participatory decision-making” when he can simply mumble at the floor and be sent from the office back to class without punishment regardless?

I have yet to see a single pair of high school students who just smashed each other’s faces into lockers and cement walls genuinely respond with an air of reconciliation to the questions, “What can you do to repair the harm?” or “Who else was affected by what you did?”

You’re far more likely to hear a screaming explanation of why the other student “needed his a– beat.”

American classrooms have given up detentions, suspensions, and community service as methods of delivering justice in order to gain a never-ending cycle of violence; this teaches students that they may do whatever they wish with no observable risk.

We also forget the additional impact that this horrific policy has on innocent students and teachers who are just trying to engage in the learning process.

How are students supposed to focus on their education when desks are thrown aside by students who are pulling each other’s hair and screaming at the top of their lungs? How are teachers supposed to teach when students are throwing each other across the room without respite?

As the science and STEM coordinator for Indianapolis Public Schools, I watched my science teachers struggle under the weight of a failed system as their students beat each other to the point of senselessness day after day, without any administrative action other than “sharing their feelings.”

The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, continues to preach that the “school-to-prison pipeline” is solved by restorative justice. But it seems that students are more likely to be thrown in prison as a result of the practice.

Students who are violent and disruptive without consequences one day will find that police departments don’t have restorative conversation circles. Crimes will be met with prison sentences.

As a teacher, I was told repeatedly in our “equity meetings” that the classical methods of justice were harmful and ineffective—yet charter and private schools that still practice these methods enjoy the privileges of safe hallways and classrooms, fewer police incidents, and a better environment for learning.

Restorative justice practices have driven many teachers I’ve spoken with to tears. Entire schools have locked their bathrooms during the day to prevent students from killing each other between classes. Instagram accounts celebrating hourly fights in large public schools spring up so often that social media platforms have trouble taking them down.

The Justice Department announced March 6 that it would offer grants to teach university education departments about the supposed virtues of restorative justice, hoping to “educate, train, and build knowledge on restorative justice approaches, principles, and their application to criminal justice and community safety.”

Despite the record of classical discipline and justice in creating safe environments, despite the numerous examples we have of these methods working effectively, the Biden administration seems bent on pushing us ever close to the false dream of utopia. And our children will pay the price.


Distressing moment female teacher QUITS in the middle of class after being taunted by kids

The woman, who has not been identified, looked distressed as she started to pack up her belongings before storming out of the classroom.

Initially pupils can be heard laughing, before a male voice says 'woah isn't no way' as she continues on her outburst.

It is unclear which school or even where in the US the incident took place, with text over the top of the footage saying 'they made the teacher leave'.

A woman can be heard saying 'just come out' as another member of staff wearing a lanyard appears to stand in the classroom watching it unfold.

The teacher said: 'And people are laughing, I'm gonna go I don't even care if I don't get paid today. I'm just a stupid old white lady, that's all.

'Yeah do whatever you want to do I don't care. You're gonna do it anyway.' 'I'm walking, I'm walking right out the door. I won't ever be back.'

Many teachers have spoken out in solidarity with the woman, saying that 'bullies come in all ages' as well as blaming it on parents for controlling their children.

One said: 'They literally brag about making teachers cry or quit like it's cute or something.