Thursday, March 30, 2023

Sorry, College Dems: George Mason University Won't 'Silence' Glenn Youngkin

This article has been updated to reflect how ridiculous the petition against Youngkin speaking is, as well as to highlight how many of the petitioners are not even from Virginia, where Youngkin governs and where GMU is located.

As woke as university administration, there's been something of a glimmer of hope as of late that they will at least stand for sanity. Then again, what they must contend with is nothing sort of insanity from both students and faculty. As Leah covered earlier on Wednesday, a professor at Wayne State University was referred to the police and suspended for quite the threatening social media post. And, at George Mason University (GMU), the administration is standing by its decision to have selected Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) as commencement speaker, despite outcry from Democrats at Mason.

While one wouldn't expect the Democrats on campus to have selected the Republican governor as their first choice for their commencement speaker, he is the governor of Virginia, where GMU, the largest public university in the commonwealth, is located. It's within the realm of possibility to believe that the university would have invited Youngkin's Democratic opponent, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, to speak if he had been elected, but he was not. McAuliffe did address the class of 2016, though, when he was in office.

A Monday statement from President Gregory Washington, "What it means to be a patriot," highlighted such a distinction of it being the largest public university in the commonwealth and also referred to GMU as the "most diverse public university" in Virginia. Diversity, as these students evidently refuse understand, also applies to diversity of speech, expression, and politics.

His statement went on to raise several more thoughtful points:

Is [Youngkin's] inclusion in commencement a betrayal of our core identity of diversity, and commitment to inclusivity? Or are his presence and the passionate objections it has inspired actually the purest reflections of who we are as Mason Patriots?

Mason students come by their objections to the Governor authentically, and their rejection of his positions are rooted in very real, deeply personal, often painful life experiences. It is my sincere hope that our students use this opportunity to share their stories, challenges and triumphs, and that the Governor will hear their opinions, respectfully consider and reflect on them, and consider that feedback when making, amending or changing his administration’s policies.

This discourse highlights one of the fundamental purposes of a university. It is a place to engage, debate, and educate on topics where we agree and disagree, sometimes profoundly. If the Governor’s speech were to be cancelled, it is unlikely that such public attention would be paid to the policies students so passionately oppose.

This is vital because our students must prepare to inherit and lead a world with endless conflicts and divisions. Would we really be preparing them for that world if we removed the opportunities for them to safely engage in debate and discourse?

Or is it better to expose them to people and ideas that may offend or challenge them, but in an environment of steadfast support and safety, so they may develop the agency to effectively express and advocate for themselves once they leave the university environment?

I believe it is the latter. If we teach that the only way to deal with opposition is to suppress it, we rob students of the very tools they will need to build an effective society.

Such points are lost on the angry students, though. Since Washington's statement, the Democrats at Mason's Twitter account has posted pictures and coverage of their protests against Youngkin. One tweet declares they "won't be silenced," though it's worth noting Washington in his statement acknowledged he had "heard from both" those opposed to the governor speaking and those opposed.

The group's retweets also suggested the students believe that Fairfax, where the university is located, is the only part of Virginia that matters in elections. Fairfax is heavily populated, and is one of the most democratic localities not only in the commonwealth but the country. That ought to be irrelevant to the governor speaking at the university, but it's also worth pointing out that Youngkin actually overperformed in the area as part of his victory in 2021. Such facts don't fit the students' narrative, though.

The account also tweeted and retweeted mockery of Washington's handling of the matter.

While the students may appear to have a loud and hyped up response, the numbers of those protesting represent a very small amount of the student body. Fox 5 highlighted about 100 students, but the student body is over 36,000 students.

Worse than the students who can't handle true diversity is that many of those who have signed the petition appear to be non-students. Many are even from out of state, and thus had no business in voting to elect Youngkin or not to the state office he holds.

Many comments from those who signed are unfortunately about as immature as you'd expect. "F**k that hoe," Kiva Brazier from North Carolina wrote, though the expletive was spelled out. Nancy Hawkins from Maryland inexplicably claimed "Youngkin does not believe in free speech." Cathy Knights from Florida made a particularly bold claim that "It's spreading through all red states and is just racism and hatred dressed up as freedom." Virginia has been considered a purple or even blue state.

The petition, created by Alaina Ruffin, who describes herself as a "prospective alumna," further highlights how insufferably aggrieved and entitled college students claim to be, and how tiring it all is, as it's worth wondering how these ill-equipped young people will be able to function in the real world. A significant portion of the petition doesn't even have to do with Youngkin. One paragraph, for instance, laments:

Preceding this announcement, GMU has neglected to meet the needs of students. From allowing homophobic, transphobic, racist, and/or anti-abortion groups to regularly occupy campus and harass passersby, to ignoring students and student organizations requesting assistance or support in their endeavors, GMU administration has taken pride in the diversity of the student body. At the same time, however, the administration has failed to protect and defend those same students from harm.

Commencement is a celebration, and it's not mandatory. Rather than just staying home, though, these students seem to be suggesting that they will cause a disruption and potentially ruin the ceremony for their fellow graduates, with it being quite chilling that they think such warnings would be acceptable.

The concise and cordial statement from Gov. Youngkin's spokeswoman Macaulay Porter could not stand in more stark contrast to the disruptive students. "Governor Youngkin looks forward to addressing the 2023 graduates of George Mason University and celebrating their tremendous accomplishment," she told Townhall.

"Youngkin" was trending on Twitter throughout Wednesday, in part to the news about him indeed speaking at GMU's commencement in May, but also because of chatter he may run for president in 2024. On Wednesday, RealClearPolitics (RCP) featured a POLITICO column from John F. Harris, who wrote that "Why Glenn Youngkin Would Be Crazy Not to Run for President." Youngkin remains committed to doing the best job he can as governor of Virginia.

When asked by press last August about potential plans for higher office, the governor emphasized his "top priority is to make Virginia the best state to live work and raise a family" and that "2024 is a long way off." Reiterating his focus being on the present, he also said that "I am focused on delivering on promises made last year that have been kept. We've got a giant agenda for the rest of this year and into next year. And 2024 will happen when 2024 gets here."


Virginia School District Boots 14 Sexually Explicit Books to County Libraries

A Virginia school district’s new superintendent decided Wednesday to remove 14 sexually explicit books from school libraries and donate them to the county government’s public library system.

The 14 “young adult” novels to be removed from libraries in Spotsylvania County Public Schools by order of Superintendent Mark Taylor, on the job since Nov. 1, include:

“All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto” by George Johnson
“Like a Love Story” by Abdi Nazemian
“Dime” by E. R. Frank
“Sold” by Patricia McCormick
“Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez
“Beloved” by Toni Morrison
“America” by E. R. Frank
“Looking for Alaska” by John Green
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky
“Water for Elephants” by Sarah Gruen
“Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe” by Preston Norton
“More Happy Than Not” by Adam Silvera
“The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
“Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult

It is not clear whether the Spotylvania County government’s library system would accept copies of the 14 books from the school system, or place restrictions on minors’ access to them if it does. A committee of school district staff consulted by Taylor had defended the 14 titles.

A detailed complaint filed by local parent Jennifer Petersen outlines excerpts from these 14 novels that include questionable content for a school library.

“All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto” includes a detailed scene in which the author (age 13) is molested, both receiving and giving oral sex to his cousin (age 17 or 18). The author also describes several other obscene sexual scenes.

“Dime” contains explicit scenes describing the statutory rape and prostitution of a 13-year-old, who expresses joy at losing her virginity to her pimp, “Daddy.”

“America” contains several disturbing scenes in which the 15-year-old main character is raped, describes his erections and how excited he gets by seeing both boys and girls naked, and relishes how no one can stop him from imagining rape:

“The Bluest Eye” contains several instances of characters fantasizing and experiencing incest, rape, and pedophilia. Morrison spends considerable time with many scenes intimately describing sex with children.

The effort to ban sexually explicit content from public school libraries isn’t unique to Spotsylvania County, Virginia, which is about 67 miles south of the nation’s capital. Parents and teachers around the country recently have questioned the placement of explicit books in school libraries that romanticize sexual abuse and describe or picture intimate sexual acts.

Picture books in which small children question their sexuality and express a different “gender identity” have flooded libraries around the nation in the past few years as LGBTQ+ activist groups reach out to younger audiences.

Missouri, Texas, Utah, and Virginia all recently passed measures limiting sexual content in public school curriculum and pedagogy.

Virginia law specifically states that local public schools must notify parents of “sexually explicit instructional material,” permit parents to review the material, and provide an “alternative to instructional material and related academic activities that include sexually explicit content, nonexplicit instructional material and related academic activities to any student whose parent so requests.”

Taylor, the superintendent, reasons in a memo issued Wednesday that the definition of instructional materials “includes library resources” in Spotsylvania County Public Schools libraries—and so those books are subject to parental and committee review.

Following the parental complaint made by Petersen, the Spotsylvania school district appointed a committee of school staff members to review the 14 books.

Taylor notes in his memo that, regardless of the sexually explicit content, the staff committee suggested that all 14 of the books remain in school libraries.

But Taylor disagreed with those findings, writing that it is “indisputable” that the 14 books contain graphic sexual content as defined by Virginia law:

As used in this new law, ‘sexually explicit content’ means (i) any description of or (ii) any picture, photograph, drawing, motion picture film, digital image or similar visual representation depicting sexual bestiality, a lewd exhibition of nudity, as nudity is defined in § 18.2-390, sexual excitement, sexual conduct or sadomasochistic abuse, as also defined in § 18.2-390, coprophilia, urophilia, or fetishism.

The superintendent also noted the difficulty of creating controlled spaces in each school library to store “sexually explicit books” that would be reviewed and curated from among over 300,000 books in the Spotsylvania school system’s library for students to check out upon request with parental permission:

The full control over sexually explicit books that is required to comply with the law would necessitate setting aside secure, controlled space in each library to store the sexually explicit books and a system to make them available to students only upon request and after checking for any parental prohibition. This would be a cumbersome and time-consuming process at best. We have no funds budgeted for the creation of secure, controlled spaces in our libraries for sexually explicit books. I am concerned also that our SCPS librarians are already stretched thin and lack the workload capacity to provide the mandated notifications, track objections, and implement parental prohibitions.

Critics have claimed that removing any book from a public school library is tantamount to book-banning, fascist practices.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second-largest teachers union, has called efforts to ban explicit books a “culture war designed primarily to goose conservative turnout at election time.”

Weingarten apparently has defended the “young adult” graphic novel “Gender Queer,” which contains illustrations of a child giving oral sex to an elderly man. The union president accused Republicans of “banning books and bullying vulnerable children,” also blaming them for the number of teachers leaving the profession.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in January 2022 against the Wentzville School District in Missouri for removing Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.” One month later, the Wentzville school board voted to reinstate the novel. The school district previously removed over 300 books after the Missouri Legislature passed a bill banning sexually explicit books from schools.

Taylor’s proposed solution in Virginia’s Spotsylvania school district is to move all copies of the 14 sexually explicit books from the school libraries into the county government’s public libraries:

Moreover, it is also apparent that no law requires SCPS [Spotsylvania County Public Schools] to keep books that include sexually explicit content in our school libraries. To the contrary, the only mandated sexually explicit instructional content in the Commonwealth of Virginia is (or is supposed to be) the Family Life Education curriculum materials prescribed by the state. Clearly, there is no information suggesting that any of the 14 books listed above is part of the Commonwealth’s Family Life Education curriculum.

I find that none of the 14 books listed above truly needs to be included in any SCPS school library. So, having met with the complainant [Petersen], it is my decision and direction on our further course of action as a division … that all 14 of the books listed above are to be excluded from our SCPS school libraries. All copies of these books are to be removed from our libraries and delivered to the School Board Office, and I will recommend that they be declared surplus property and donated to a public library.

This move appears to provide access to students whose parents grant permission to read the 14 explicit books, while keeping sexually explicit content out of Spotsylvania County’s school libraries.

Given the chaos of prior Spotsylvania County school board meetings, this memorandum is almost certain to make the next one quite the battle.


NYC: The UFT should stop trying to close excellent public schools

Relentless in its war on public charter schools, the United Federation of Teachers is suing to evict two Success Academy schools from spaces the city Department of Education awarded them last year.

This particular brand of UFT lawfare goes back over a decade.

The courts have tossed well over a dozen similar suits brought by the union or its allies, dating back to 2011.

The new cases are based on a pure technicality, a claim that DOE didn’t adequately consider the new (UFT-engineered) class-size mandate when it designated the space for SA.

Yet both buildings clearly have plenty of room. One site, in Rockaway Park, is more than a third empty, and the other school that’s there has seen steadily falling enrollment. The other building, in Sheepshead Bay, is more than half empty.

This is nothing but harassment: filing endless nuisance lawsuits in the hopes that someday one of them will manage to triumph — and so prevent a few dozen kids from escaping to a public school that actually teaches.

Despite the union’s best efforts, Success Academy keeps growing; if it were its own school district, SA would be one of the state’s largest — and by far the most successful.

Its scholars regularly beat the results of some of the state’s most affluent districts on state math and English exams

That, though enrollment at SA is overwhelmingly from low-income black and/or Hispanic families.

The disastrous performance of DOE schools during COVID, and the evisceration of the city’s once-selective middle schools, has enrollment plummeting in the regular public school system.

The middle class, lured back under Mayor Mike Bloomberg, is fleeing.

Success and other charters now represent the best hope for saving public education in New York City.

But the UFT doesn’t care, because charters don’t serve its needs.

To ensure that future members actually have jobs, the union would do far better working to restore excellence in the regular system, rather than trying to shut down schools that work.




Florida sets shining example on school choice. Here's how

Florida Gov. DeSantis expected to sign school choice bill
Arizona Director of American Federation Steve Smith and Director of Leadership Institute Bridget Ziegler joined 'Fox & Friends Weekend' to discuss the importance of school choice.

Florida has long been a pioneer in ensuring that families can choose the learning environments that align with their values and work best for their children. Now its lawmakers have cemented the state’s status as a national leader in education freedom and choice.

Last week, the Florida Senate passed House Bill 1, which expands the state’s groundbreaking education savings account (ESA) policy to all K-12 students "regardless of race, income, background, or zip code," said House Speaker Paul Renner. Until now, only students with special needs were eligible.

With an ESA, families can customize their child’s education. They can use ESA funds to pay for private school tuition, tutoring, textbooks, homeschool curriculum, online learning, special-needs therapy, and more. Florida was the second state, after Arizona, to enact an ESA policy.

Florida will now be the sixth state nationwide to make an ESA or ESA-style policy available to all K-12 students.

Due in no small part to its robust education choice policies, Florida ranked first in the nation in The Heritage Foundation’s inaugural Education Freedom Report Card last year. "Florida’s schoolchildren are thriving because we invest in our students, and we empower parents to decide what learning environment is best for their kids," explained Gov. Ron DeSantis at an event launching the report card.

However, as DeSantis conceded during his remarks, Florida did not take the top spot in every category. The Sunshine State ranked third for education choice behind Arizona and Indiana due to their more expansive education choice policies. "We’re going to be working hard to make sure we do even better going forward," DeSantis declared.

With the imminent signing of the universal education savings account program into law, DeSantis has done just that.

Governor Kim Reynolds on school choice bill: 'This gets us to universal school choice'Video
Florida faces some tough competition, though. In the last two years, Arizona and West Virginia have also made ESAs available to all students. This year, Iowa, Utah and Arkansas all enacted new ESA or ESA-style policies that are either open to all K-12 students or will phase-in to universal eligibility over the next three years. Several other state legislatures, most notably in Texas, are also considering bills to create robust education choice policies.

What explains the meteoric success of states in finally adopting universal education choice options? Two shifts: connecting choice to the issues about which families care most and making sure every family can benefit from the policy.

Parents care about academic outcomes. But more than that, they care about the values schools are inculcating in their children. When a survey asked Florida families using tax-credit scholarships to list the top three factors that influenced their choice of school, the only factors selected by a majority were "religious environment/instruction" (66%) and "morals/character/values instruction" (52%).

Parents want schools to teach their children to be good students, good citizens and good workers, but most of all they want their children to become good people.

This is apparent from the issues that have been driving parents to turn out in droves at school board meetings. They’re not there because of low test scores or a lack of rigorous instruction. Parents are raising concerns about classroom lessons that teach children to divide people along racial lines, pornographic books in public school libraries, and school policies that keep parents in the dark when their children are struggling with their "gender identity."

DeSantis and the Florida legislature have tackled these issues head on while recognizing that school choice policies are a vital part of the solution. School choice gives parents an immediate escape hatch if their child’s school is pushing an ideology that runs counter to their values. But equally importantly, school choice policies empower families who want to push back against radical policies in their schools.

This is one reason why education choice options should be open to all children. With school choice, families are no longer a captive audience of their assigned school. School officials and school boards are less likely to be dismissive of parents who are raising concerns when they know that unhappy parents can take their children elsewhere – and the money will follow them.

Making school choice policies universal is also more popular among voters. In a 2022 survey, barely half of the respondents favored making school choice available based on financial need, but 75% favored making it available to all families. State policymakers nationwide are achieving greater success advancing universal choice proposals than ones that are limited to particular populations.

For setting the standard for empowering all families to choose the right learning environments for their children, Florida lawmakers deserve an A+. Lawmakers in other states would do well to follow the Sunshine State’s shining example.


Law school grad says he was suspended, forced to undergo psych eval for questioning school's COVID policies

A Georgetown University law school graduate claims he was forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation for questioning the school’s COVID policies.

William Spruance, currently a practicing attorney, said he was suspended, forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and threatened by administrators in August 2021 for questioning the law school’s COVID and masking policy.

"So after I was encouraged to give a speech to a student council-type group at Georgetown, I received an email that I was indefinitely suspended from the school, that I'd have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and waive my right to medical confidentiality," he alleged Monday on "Tucker Carlson Tonight."

"During the psychiatric evaluation – It would start with kind of innocuous questions like, ‘Do you ever get angry?’ Followed by ‘Do you get angry about masks? And then do masks make you want to hurt anybody?’ So it was an ongoing cycle of questions that were designed to make me seem unhinged for being willing to question their COVID policies."

Host Tucker Carlson expressed shock and questioned if any of the law school administrators were willing to have a "rational" conversation with him about the masking policy.

"I found that individual professors were willing to have the conversation with me behind closed doors, but they wished to remain anonymous. As for the administrators, there was no such luck," Spruance responded.

"While ostensibly this was about COVID, it was really part of a much larger cycle of events at Georgetown Law. We had people like Sandra Sellers and Ilya Shapiro, who were thrown out of the institution just for being willing to question campus orthodoxies. And it was part of an ongoing double standard where if you're progressive and you regurgitate the proper slogans, then there's an indemnity built into shouting down speakers," he explained.

"If you're willing to question the orthodoxy of campus, then they'll bring the whole horde of administrators against you and work to professionally and socially and reputationally destroy you."

Spruance added that the whole alleged ordeal has not left him optimistic about the future of the school.

"I think in the long run, it's hard to be optimistic about future judges and administrators and unimpressive bureaucrats because Georgetown Law is really just an incubator for an unimpressive ruling class of tomorrow," he said.

"These people won't stay on campus and just make the people there miserable. They'll be running institutions like Georgetown Law. They will be at various government agencies. They'll be judges. And that, to me, is the more alarming aspect."

"I made it out of this process relatively unharmed. I mean, it was about a week that was difficult in my life. But going forward, people have come out to me since my piece was released about similar stories, and they're going through far worse than me," he continued. "At the root of this is the administrators. And that's where these students and these professors and these administrators will go on to inflict more damage."


Drag queen straddles girl at North Carolina public school

A new viral video shows a drag queen straddling a young girl during an LGBTQ pride event at a North Carolina school that enrolls students as young as 14.

A video obtained by Libs of TikTok showed multiple adults laughing and watching a drag performer appearing to give a lap dance to a student at Forsyth Technical Community College last Wednesday.

The public college has two on-campus high school programs that begin enrollment in ninth grade. Photos posted by the school’s official Instagram account showed drag queens posing with young girls.

The school told Libs of TikTok that the event was open to students of all ages.

"These students, like all college students, are open to attend any student event," the school said. "Forsyth Tech is committed to being a place of promise for our students. In order to fulfill that promise, we have clearly spelled out our mission, vision and equity statements."

Promotional materials for the 2023 Pride Festival, which was held at a restaurant on campus, advertised four drag queens, a "drag performance" and "free food, drinks, music & activities."

At least one Christian church, Parkway United Church of Christ, attended the event, according to photos posted by organizer Forsyth Tech PRIDE Club on Facebook.

A program of the Forsyth County Health Department, Prevent Ongoing Spread of STIs Everywhere (POSSE), set up a free HIV and STI testing station at the event and repeatedly promoted it on its Facebook page.

Forsyth Public Health Director Joshua Swift issued a statement to Fox News Digital Tuesday evening saying POSSE had spent $58 in taxpayer funds for supplies for the event, but he also disavowed "the actions that allegedly took place."

"P.O.S.S.E, which stands for Prevent Ongoing Spread of STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) Everywhere is an outreach section of Forsyth County's Department of Public Health," Swift said. "Our staff is committed to meeting the people we serve where they are. We believe we assign an appropriate amount of attention on the LGBTQIA community around education and prevention of sexually transmitted infections."

"Our staff was aware that there would be drag performances but was not involved with planning the event and had no information regarding the age of the attendees," he continued. "We spent $58 on supplies from the department's operational budget which is funded locally and in-part by the State of North Carolina. We do not condone the actions that allegedly took place during the event."




Tuesday, March 28, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

Multiple staff members did not intervene.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Not Free Speech to Silence Others’

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

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

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

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

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


Judge Deals Blow to Regents’ Scheme Against NYC Jewish schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It wasn’t a winning strategy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Monday, March 27, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The School Choice Juggernaut Marches On

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Sunday, March 26, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Bullies Rule Under Woke Discipline Policies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Australia's national curriculum substitutes emotion for hard learning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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