Thursday, May 11, 2023

Jeffco Public Schools and JCEA’s Are Engaged in a Discriminatory Bargaining Agreement

“No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Title VI of the Civil RIghts Act of 1964 very explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.

But that didn’t prevent Jeffco Public Schools and the Jefferson County Education Association from drafting a bargaining agreement last fall that contains undeniably discriminatory anti-white initiatives, offering special programs and professional advancement opportunities to people of color.

The agreement between the district and the association makes clear their intent to “…implement programs to attract, recruit and retain staff, educators and administrators that more closely reflect the racial, ethical and linguistic diversity of the student body of the district, including supporting non-licensed personnel in attaining educator licenses and providing programs for students of color to explore and pursue education as a future profession.”

The agreement further expressed the district and the association’s stated goal to “…create a safe space for educators of color to meet and support each other and find support around the challenges and opportunities of being an educator of color in Jefferson County.”

Nowhere are these programs offered to white faculty or students, even though more than 90 percent of Jefferson County residents are white.

Last September, Parents Defending Education (PDE) filed a federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against Jeffco Public Schools for discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin, violating both Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Colorado parents are already witnessing these discriminatory ideals in action, with leftist dogma like Critical Race Theory (CRT) replacing the three R’s. One parent told The Denver Post her son’s class was “… given a ‘privilege checklist’ so they could reckon with the unearned perks of their identity.”

The article noted, “The impression her son took away is that all white people are racist; all men are sexist; racism is everywhere; slurs against white people are acceptable, and it is OK to stereotype whites.”

Despite the Colorado Springs School District voting to ban the teaching of CRT, many educators – including at least 100 from Colorado – have already signed a pledge authored by the Zinn Education Project, a radical left-wing initiative named after self-proclaimed socialist college professor Howard Zinn, vowing to teach CRT anyway.

The nation’s largest teachers’ union, the National Education Association (NEA) tweeted in June of 2021 promoting CRT educational curricula. The tweet was supported by the Colorado Education Association (CEA), the largest teachers' union in the state, and appeared on the same day they retweeted the information about A Day of Action, the event sponsored by the Zinn Education Project, encouraging teachers to pledge to teach CRT regardless of government regulation.

Nearly half of the U.S. has banned or are considering passing legislation to ban the teaching of CRT, but the NEA, who collaborates with approximately 14,000 school districts has formally announced, “We oppose attempts to ban Critical Race Theory.”

Elisha Roberts, chief academic officer at a Denver Public Schools charter school, asserted, “If you want to be the visionary leader that this city needs, talk about what educational equity means. It means rich, white families in this city giving up something. It means reallocating resources to our black and brown schools. It means providing opportunities for educational equity for our black and brown educators, and that means potentially paying them more for being black and brown in our cities, and in our schools.”

Incredibly, the Denver Public Schools’ indoctrination goes even further. In January 2020, the district released a “Resolution on Inclusion for Our LGBTQIA+ Employees, Students and Community Members” updating the district’s human resources policy to include more genders than male and female, requires teachers to call the students by their chosen name regardless of whether the student had legally changed it and prescribes that every Denver Public School and building must offer a gender neutral restroom.

Further, it calls for eliminating practices that “reinforce inflexible structures surrounding gender” and implementing curricular changes that include trans and non-binary students.

The LGBTQIA+ resolution was initiated by the Denver Public School Board Education Director, Tay Anderson, who proudly played a pivotal role in introducing and passing the resolution. Anderson was endorsed by the Denver Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) in his race for school board, despite the union being aware of sexual misconduct allegations against the candidate.

DCTA also contributed $50,000 in monetary and in-kind donations to his campaign thereafter, campaign finance records show.

Anderson, who won election to the school board in 2019, has been under investigation by a private firm hired by Denver Public Schools following an anonymous accusation of sexual assault.

The school year after Anderson’s LGBTQIA+ initiative was propagated, Denver Public Schools witnessed a 35 percent increase of students reporting they use “nontraditional gender markers.”

The radical left-wing ideology that has infiltrated Colorado public schools goes beyond gender and race, with the largest teachers’ union in the state, the CEA voting in April to approve an expressly anti-capitalism resolution allowing the CEA to lobby anti-capitalistic initiatives through the Colorado legislature.

In an effort to combat this radical indoctrination, Colorado lawmakers introduced curriculum transparency legislation during the 2021 session that would require public schools to post all teaching materials online. The bill drew major opposition from the CEA, the Colorado Association of School Boards and the Colorado Rural Schools Alliance, according to lobbying records from the secretary of state’s office.

The CEA leader called the transparency legislation a “massive distraction,” claiming, “There’s simply not a problem to be solved here.”

In fact, her denial of the problem is the problem.

The state of Colorado’s public school system is transforming into a Marxist indoctrination camp, and Coloradans must filter out the lies and distortions to confront these radical initiatives or risk collapsing into a full-fledged authoritarian regime.


DeSantis Signs 4 of Largest Reforms of Public Education in Florida History

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' office dubs the package of four bills the “Teachers Bill of Rights,” saying it contains some of the largest reforms to public education since the school choice wave that began in the Sunshine State in 1996. (Photo illustration: Chris Ryan/Caiaimage,/Getty Images)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed four landmark pieces of education legislation Tuesday that seek to “empower teachers,” protect schools from the harmful effects of social media, expand student scholarships, and authorize one standardized test as an alternative to two others.

DeSantis’ office has dubbed the package of four bills the “Teachers Bill of Rights,” saying it contains some of the largest reforms to public education since the school choice wave that began in Florida in 1996.

In one significant change, Florida will become the first state to allow use of the Classic Learning Test, or CLT, as an alternative to the Scholastic Aptitude Test or the American College Testing exam to determine whether students qualify to graduate.

SB 256, one of the bills signed by the governor, focuses on “paycheck protection.” This includes prohibiting teachers unions from deducting union dues directly from teachers’ paychecks. Florida joins other states, such as Indiana, that already have taken such a step to prevent teachers unions from sneaking thousands of dollars a year out of teachers’ pockets with such incremental paycheck deductions.

SB 256 also requires annual audits and financial disclosures for all teachers unions, both local and national affiliates, operating in Florida. The Florida Attorney General’s Office will be required to investigate suspected union fraud.

Teachers unions in Florida will be banned from parlaying with school boards in backroom deals at taxpayers’ and teachers’ expense.

In perhaps the biggest change of SB 256, teachers unions now must garner a membership of at least 60% of a school district’s faculty to remain recognized by the district or to engage in collective bargaining on behalf of members.

Another bill signed by DeSantis, HB 1537, rolls back regulations that have been accused of stunting growth in Florida’s education sector for decades. Temporary teaching certificates will be good for five years rather than three, and all levels of certification will have fewer “unnecessary bureaucratic requirements.”

Specifically, teachers have new pathways to maintain and renew their certifications. This will begin Florida’s disentanglement from deeply out-of-date professional development requirements that have eaten up thousands of hours of teachers’ time with little to show in gained skill or methodology.

Concerning teacher training, HB 1537 also allows “aspiring teachers” to apply for temporary certification if they hold professional skill in other but related fields—even if those aspiring teachers aren’t members of teacher education programs on the university level.

In a monumental shift, Florida is now the first state to authorize the Classic Learning Test for students to qualify for graduation and to earn one of the state’s Bright Futures scholarships. The CLT is an alternative assessment for high school students that focuses on evaluating “English, grammar, and mathematical skills, providing a comprehensive measure of achievement and aptitude.”

Many universities have begun adding the CLT to their standardized testing choices.

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts, whose background is in education, points out: “More than 200 private colleges and universities accept the CLT, and Florida’s fastest growing Catholic university, Ave Maria University, recently made it the school’s ‘preferred’ college entrance exam for applicants.”

The College Board, which creates and administers the SAT and high school Advanced Placement courses, has received heavy criticism in recent years both for changing content on exams and including racially divisive, historically inaccurate, and unscientific material.

This, as well as the booming growth in classical education via charter, private, and homeschooling, has driven the CLT to national prominence in the past five years.

Including the CLT as an option for high school students to graduate could be a step toward giving students of diverse learning backgrounds a choice to focus on more “tried and true” subjects of study.

CLT founder Jeremy Wayne Tate told The Daily Signal:

It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of standardized testing. In addition to providing insight into where a student is at academically, the content of this test has a profound influence in shaping curriculum. I could not be more excited that Florida has made this move. We expect at least three more states [to do so] next year.

DeSantis also signed HB 477, which reduces term limits for Florida’s public school boards from 12 to eight years. This change, according to the governor’s office, brings school boards into line with the term limits set for Florida’s governor, the governor’s Cabinet members, and the Florida Legislature.

In another landmark action, the Legislature approved House Joint Resolution 31, which will put forward a referendum to return the state’s public school boards to a partisan election system in which candidates may identify themselves as Republicans, Democrats, or members of another party. The change would make Florida the fifth state to allow openly partisan elections for school boards.

The fourth bill signed by DeSantis, HB 379, focuses on taking social media out of Florida’s public education system altogether. It requires public school districts to “prevent students from connecting to social media sites on district-owned computers and servers,” as well as prohibits TikTok, a Chinese-owned social media program, to be accessed on district devices.

HB 379 gives teachers increased authority to establish their own rules, free of administration intervention, for students’ cellphone use in their classroom.

So far, responses from both legacy media and teachers unions have been interesting, to say the least.

An Associated Press headline accuses DeSantis of “taking aim” with the new laws at a teachers union that previously had “defied” him, although no specific teachers union is mentioned in any of the bills signed by the governor.

NBC affiliate WFLA-8 of Tampa, Florida, vaguely accuses DeSantis of “easing graduation requirements,” though reporter Trevor Sochocki doesn’t specify how the bills he signed would ease any graduation requirements whatsoever.

Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, released a written statement in which he claimed: “This new law grossly oversteps in trying to silence teachers, staff, professors and most other public employees. We will not go quietly—our students and our professions are simply too important.”


South Dakota History Standards Scrap Critical Race Theory, Build on Hillsdale Foundation

While much of the cultural debate about education centers on school libraries removing sexually explicit books, South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem’s team has been hard at work crafting new K-12 history and social studies standards that her chief of staff calls a “model for the rest of the country.”

Noem rejected an earlier effort in 2021, which her team faults for a leftist slant and for including critical race theory. The governor gathered a new commission to compile standards in 2022, including a former politics professor who had taught at Hillsdale College, a Christian school with decades of outreach in the K-12 classical school movement that is known for its rigorous approach to Western and American history. That former professor, Will Morrisey, served as a facilitator for a diverse commission—25% of which was Native American—that tailored the standards for South Dakota.

“When it comes to social studies standards, the governor wanted us to create a model for the rest of the country, and I think the rest of the country will see a model that they can follow,” Mark Miller, Noem’s chief of staff and a member of the 2022 commission, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview last week. “We think this is an incredible positive change and step forward in terms of providing a true and honest American history for the children of South Dakota from K to 12.”

The state’s Board of Education Standards voted to approve the standards in April. Miller mentioned the standards’ three pillars: world history that provides the foundation for U.S. history, Native American history that formed South Dakota, and U.S. history.

Ben Jones, the state historian and a member of the 2022 commission, said the new standards represent a model for the rest of the country because they reject the approach of progressive education reformer John Dewey, who transformed American education to focus on skills, rather than content.

The new standards “put content and knowledge at the center of things,” Jones told The Daily Signal in an interview last week. “I think they’re a model because they excavate the John Dewey progressive notion about skills” and using education as a tool to “funnel students into jobs,” rather than equipping them with the knowledge to be informed citizens.

Some education groups have opposed the standards, suggesting they require students to learn too much.

“I believe that more facts do not necessarily mean better standards,” Summer Schultz, president of the South Dakota School Superintendents Association, told KELOLAND. “We need every minute of the day that we can to make sure our students are leaving those classes at grade level in reading and mathematics so that they have that strong foundation to be successful academic learners later.” She warned that if students are focused on memorizing facts, “they have a lack of balance.”

Jones, the state historian, insisted that teachers can incorporate a great deal of civics and history material into reading lessons. “In the elementary years, the content is going to reinforce their reading,” he noted, which “can be heavy on history, civics, economy, geography, and stories about them.”

He also noted that South Dakota is launching professional development programs for teachers to help them incorporate these civics lessons into the curriculum.

Hillsdale weighs in

Kathleen O’Toole, assistant provost for K-12 education at Hillsdale College, noted that social studies standards “cannot, by definition, require memorization.” Yet she defended memorization as “important for setting a basic timeline in the students’ minds before deeper inquiry takes place.”

“Hillsdale’s own recommended curricula are built on this principle, and in its affiliated schools, teachers lead students through a deep inquiry of history through thoughtful questions and the discussion that naturally follows,” O’Toole added. “In any course of study, materials should be presented in a context that is age-appropriate and takes into account the developmental stages of students.”

O’Toole noted that many state officials, school administrators, and concerned parents often reach out to Hillsdale’s K-12 office for recommendations. In this case, South Dakota tapped Morrisey “independently of Hillsdale.” Hillsdale College did not review or approve the South Dakota standards.

“While Dr. Morrisey’s work was not connected to Hillsdale, we are proud that he used Hillsdale’s generic civics standards as the basis for the new South Dakota standards,” she noted. “The commission customized Hillsdale’s generic materials to reflect South Dakota’s Native Indian tribes and other historical details unique to that state. Hillsdale College believes that high-quality social studies standards should be robust, nonpartisan, and thorough. It is heartening whenever Hillsdale’s work is an aid to establishing such standards.”

Critical race theory

The true root of the controversy may involve debates over critical race theory, an approach to history, civics, and other disciplines that encourages students to find “systemic racism” throughout American institutions and to reexamine every aspect of life through a race-based lens that assumes white people are oppressors and black people are oppressed.

Miller, the governor’s chief of staff, said Noem moved to craft new standards because the 2021 proposed standards had a “leftward tilt” and politicized standards are “simply unacceptable to the governor.”

“We didn’t want to see a leftward tilt in the teaching of history, which we think has infected too much of the teaching of the public school system in general since Dewey,” he explained. “In our history classes and civics classes, we have to be careful not to teach our children that our country has been a bad actor since 1776 or even before that, but rather has been a shining light for the rest of the world.”

Jones, the state historian, said critical race theory is “a great conversation for college students and grad students to have, but it’s not proper historical inquiry.” Proper history involves investigating the facts to draw conclusions, but “critical race theory provides that answer right up front.”

K-12 teachers do students a “disservice” if they teach through a critical race theory lens because it leaves students “underinformed about and unable to test your preconceived notions.”

Jones noted that many commentators suggest that “critical race theory is just teaching about race, which is absolutely wrong.”

“There’s plenty of teaching about race in the standards we have, but there’s no preconceived notion about what the outcome is going to be,” he noted.

Jones praised Morrisey’s contributions for including “plenty of material about race, slavery, the Japanese exclusion laws, Chinese exclusion laws, the KKK.”

Jones and Miller insisted that the standards include the dark parts of U.S. history, but the state historian declared that “the idea that because someone is a certain race, they have certain talents” does not belong in K-12 education.

Jonathan Butcher, a senior research fellow in education policy at The Heritage Foundation who has analyzed the standards, praised them for excluding “woke orthodoxy.” (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)

“These standards appropriately reject the woke orthodoxy surrounding radical gender theory and racial preferences found in states such as Minnesota and California,” he told The Daily Signal in a statement Tuesday. “The standards are rigorous and involve a nontrivial amount of facts and specific content regarding notable individuals and events in American and world history.”

World and Native American history

Yet the standards do not just include U.S. history—warts and all—but also the longer history of human civilization.

“The United States didn’t just spring anew,” Miller said. “It came from an intellectual history going back centuries, and that’s the idea for these standards.”

The new South Dakota standards require lessons on ancient Egypt, China, India, Babylon, Greece, Persia, and Rome, along with medieval and modern European, Middle Eastern, and Asian history, at appropriate age levels.

Finally, the standards include a great deal of Native American history.

“The governor wanted a significant role for Native Americans to play,” Miller said, noting that a quarter of the commission was Native American. He mentioned Joe Circle Bear with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, state Rep. Tamara St. John with the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe, and Stephanie Hiatt with the Florida Seminole tribe.

“These standards have more teaching of Native American history than any standards South Dakota has had before,” Miller added.




Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Due Process or Transgender Protection on Campus?

College campuses have long been battlegrounds between due process for those accused of sexual misconduct (innocent until proven guilty) and legal privileges for alleged victims who many automatically believe (guilty until proven innocent).

The front line is Title IX, the 1972 federal law designed to curb sex discrimination in schools. President Joe Biden’s Department of Education (DOE) wants to add gender identity to the mix. The players in this renewed conflict are Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, who has introduced a bill to champion due process rights on campus, and Biden’s DOE, who is expanding the definition of discrimination.

The specific issue addressed by the DOE is athletic eligibility. The issue is a political flash point that revolves around the question, “Should transgendered male-to-females compete in women’s sports or is their strength advantage unfair to biological females?” This article examines the competing and overlapping provisions of the draft Title IX regulation, the 2023 draft sports regulation, and Kennedy’s bill.

The Biden executive order 14021 (March 8, 2021) that sparked the current conflict is entitled “Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.” It is a statement of intent. On April 6, 2023, the DOE rolled out an implementation mechanism for the executive order “Proposed Change to its Title IX Regulations on Students’ Eligibility for Athletic Teams.”

The language in the 116-page document is confusing and vague, but the core of it redefines terms such as “discrimination” and favorably includes gender identity into the framework for athletic eligibility. The opening summary states that the DOE will “set out a standard that would govern a recipient’s adoption or application of sex-related criteria” that might “limit or deny a student’s eligibility to participate on a male or female athletic team consistent with their gender identity.” This regulation presumes transgendered athletes are able participate in their chosen categories unless the school identifies safety reasons to not allow this.

Backlash from progressives has been swift. The “Proposed Change” is insufficiently protrans, they claim. “These regulations specify methods schools may employ to determine a student’s sex, including invasive physical examinations,” complains the transgender journalist Erin Reed.

Moreover, the DOE document would give school districts the final say on whether injecting gender identity into athletics is problematic. Progressives react with horror. Actually, this is no issue at all. As with past DOE recommendations, schools are likely to over comply not only due to the extreme liberal bias on most campuses but also to avoid a catastrophic loss of federal funds. The “Proposed Change” makes this threat explicitly.

And, on the other side, there is a renewed push for due process rights. On March 28, Kennedy introduced the Ensuring Fairness for Students Act that would codify due process protections for an accused into campus Title IX proceedings. It may be the finest due process legislation in decades. And it is timely. Donald Trump’s secretary of education Elizabeth DeVos (2017 to 2021) worked with some success to install traditional legal protections into campus hearings.

Now Kennedy accuses the Biden administration of trying to “roll back fair proceedings on school campuses by making students guilty until proven innocent.” The bill would provide other traditional due process protections, such as written notice of the allegations, objective evaluation of evidence, and cross-examination.

Kennedy’s bill is timely for at least two reasons. First, a few days after the bill was introduced, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education released its report “Spotlight on Campus Due Process 2022,” which is based on a national survey. Among the findings: 72 percent of universities did not provide timely notice of allegations to those accused of wrongdoing; 60 percent do not assure the presumption of innocence; only 15 percent of institutions guarantee that both accusers and the accused could see the evidence on hand. To the extent DeVos was successful, that progress is being eroded.

Second, the DOE’s “Proposed Change” focuses on transgender eligibility for sports, but this is almost guaranteed to expand into areas like harassment. The inevitability of the expansion is based on several factors, including the wording of Biden’s executive order “Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free From Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.” Title IX is a broad antidiscrimination measure, not limited to sports. Moreover, the history of Title IX is one of constant redefinition and expansion. Even before the “Proposed Change” is enacted, progressives are pushing hard for more protections.

If gender harassment is included in Title IX, then it will be as subjective and legally vague as past sexual harassment standards which hinged on whether the complainant felt offended. The “Proposed Change” repeatedly prohibits causing “embarrassment” to those who gender identify but nowhere does it define or describe what causes or constitutes embarrassment.

Does it include a refusal to use a complicated and evolving set of self-declared pronouns from “xemself” and “zirself” to “ney” and “zie”? What if a student simply gets them wrong? If the mistake embarrasses a trans person, is it punishable? This provision violates what is called the vagueness doctrine. In constitutional law, a statute is void when it is so vague as to be either unenforceable or incomprehensible to the average person.

One thing is clear: if sexual misconduct expands to gender misconduct, many more people—almost always men—will be accused of abuse. This would further chill free speech on already cold campuses. It would also destroy innocent human beings. Accused violators will be punished, tried, and even expelled with scarlet Ts (transphobic) branded on their academic records. Without due process, Title IX proceedings are kangaroo courts.

People who oppose due process are opposing common decency in the legal treatment of others. With bitter irony, they do so in the name of protecting the vulnerable—in this case, the gender identified. Anyone who needs protection against common decency and truth is not pursuing justice. They want privilege and power. If the voice of reason can still be heard, people need to hear it now.


Is it Wise to Fire-Proof Education Bureaucrats?

California Senate Bill 494, authored by Fullerton Democrat Josh Newman, stipulates that “The governing board of a school district shall not take action to terminate a superintendent or assistant superintendent of the school district, or both, without cause, at a special or emergency meeting of the governing board.” In similar style, the board shall not terminate a superintendent or assistant superintendent, “within 30 days after the first convening of the governing board after a general election.” Californians might wonder what this is about.

At a January 5 meeting, Orange Unified School District board members Rick Ledesma, John Ortega, Angie Rumsey, and Madison Miner fired superintendent Gunn Marie Hansen and suspended assistant superintendent Cathleen Corella, both out of the country at the time. The move came without explanation and left many in the district confused.

Some wondered whether the majority had violated the Ralph M. Brown Act, the state’s open-meetings law. Taxpayers might question whether SB-494 is the proper remedy as the district works this out.

In California’s K-12 government school system, superintendents occupy a special place. They don’t teach, but they cost taxpayers a lot of money.

For example, Gunn Marie Hansen’s salary was $336,157–much higher than Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 224,020–with total pay and benefits of $426,978. Assistant superintendent Cathleen Corella is paid $203,086 in base salary, with a total pay and benefits package of $259,071. The beginning teacher’s salary in a small district is $46,844.

Before taxpayer dollars reach the classroom, they must trickle down through four layers of bureaucratic sediment: federal, state, county, and local. California’s county offices of education tend to be holding tanks for bureaucrats.

Prior to her employment in the Orange District, Cathleen Corella was a regional director for the Los Angeles County Office of Education. Superintendent Debra Duardo is paid a base salary of $361,280 with total pay and benefits of $440,604. If taxpayers thought such bureaucrats were grossly overpaid, it would be hard to blame them.

These exorbitant salaries are not conditional on student achievement. The taxpayer dollars keep coming, regardless of performance. In these conditions, taxpayers might question the wisdom of making superintendents fireproof.

A better strategy would be to empower parents to send their children to the school of their choice. Instead of funding a bloated bureaucratic system, let the dollars follow the scholars to the government or independent school of their choice, as in the G.I. Bill.

Meanwhile, SB-494 passed out of committee but needs full Senate approval before moving to the Assembly. How much difference it would make is debatable. Less than two months after her firing, the Westminster School District hired Dr. Gunn Marie Hansen at an annual salary of $335,000 plus benefits. In the government K-12 system, what goes around comes around.


School shootings nationwide near 20 this year as communities struggle with safety measures

School shootings are on the rise. Last year was the highest number of shootings since EdWeek began tracking the issue in 2018. So far this year, there have been 19 shootings in K-12 schools resulting in 30 people killed or injured and communities are grappling with how to stop the violence.

At a school safety town hall in Virginia Monday night, parents told FOX mental health and communication should be among the top concerns for school districts.

"We do need to have information, concrete information, so I can make a solid risk decision about whether or not the school is safe enough for my daughter," said Dan Verton, parent of a student in Fairfax County Public Schools.

"I think that more emphasis on counseling and sort of the emotional support in the school, really make me feel better about sending my daughters here," said Paul Thomas, also an FCPS parent.

Some see arming educators as a way to fight back in the event of a shooting at school. FOX spoke with a group in Texas called the Cinco Peso Training Group, which has made it their mission to equip educators with the resources to protect themselves and their students against an armed intruder.

"The term we use for that is immediate responder," said Mike Lane, a co-founder of the group. Lane is a retired police captain and current police chief at a Texas public school.

Authorities investigate a home possibly connected to the school shooting in Nashville, Monday, March 27, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. Nashville police identified the victims in the private Christian school shooting Monday as three 9-year-old students and three adults in their 60s, including the head of the school. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Over 40 districts in Texas have educators who have completed the training, but Lane said that there are a lot of conversations before anyone picks up a firearm.

"We took the basic model that a police officer will get in the academy and expanded on that by a long, long shot along a lot more detail training on it," he said.

First, the superintendent and school board decide whether they want to allow armed faculty. Then they ask for community response. If the community supports the idea, the district goes to the faculty to see if anyone wants to volunteer. All "defenders" -- the term Lane and his team use to talk about those who complete the training -- are volunteers. No one is required to take this training.

For those interested, Lane said his group does extensive psychological evaluations and background checks before they admit someone in their training. All defenders also need to work in their district for about two years so colleagues can attest to how they handle pressure and stress. Lane said he narrows the pool of applicants based on these evaluations. The training goes beyond firearms and includes the national Stop the Bleed program, which teaches people how to respond to victims in life-threatening situations. After they complete the multi-day training, defenders are back on the range monthly to maintain their skills.

All of this training, said Lane, will save lives.

"If you equip people, and you empower them with training, and provide them with the tools to react in an emergency, it will without doubt make a difference in the number of casualties, injuries or any other problems, regardless of the type of event," he said.

Lane added that defenders are not a substitute for first responders, and they're not trained to take down an attacker. The purpose is to give educators the ability to defend themselves and their students.

"We just want to prepare and protect those children and staff members best as we can to fill in that gap between the time of the incident until the first responders have the ability to arrive," he said.

One superintendent, who self identified as a defender, said he thinks the program is even more crucial after recent shootings in rural areas like his.

"The tragedy in Uvalde really was a wakeup call to small rural communities all across our state that school safety and security has to be our top priority," said Brad Burnett, superintendent of Jacksboro Independent School District located about two hours outside Dallas.

Burnett said the defender program was already in place when he became superintendent, but as someone who went through the training, he supports giving his staff the option to be armed.

"We've seen a lot of support in our community and also just in our region to train educators to carry a firearm to protect students. So, I see it as a positive thing as a school leader," he said.

Critics say more guns in the classroom is not the answer to school safety.

"Let's just be very clear about the situation we're talking about here," said Kris Brown, president of the gun safety group Brady United. "An educator teaching a class with 20, 30, 40 students in the room, being expected to have access easily to a firearm, want to use it, and then successfully shoot the shooter without having any carnage of any other students."

Brown said she was also concerned students could get access to the firearm.

"There is a real risk that that gun will be found by a student when the teacher is going to the bathroom," she said. "Are they supposed to strap fully loaded all of the time as they're teaching? And how the kids feel about a teacher who's carrying a loaded weapon?"

Brown said her group supports the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed by Congress last year. The legislation allocated money for crisis intervention, barred those convicted of domestic violence from owning a firearm, and increased funding for school security.

Parents in Fairfax County said firearms in schools makes them uncomfortable even with adequate training.

"I've been a Homeland Security professional for decades, and former Marine, so arming teachers is the worst idea you could possibly come up with," said Verton. "You cannot put a teacher who's never handled a firearm, or in a stressful situation like that, give them a gun, and have them be able to make that split decision."

Sixteen states – including Virginia – currently prohibit staff from having firearms in school. Over 30 states, however, do allow educators to carry a weapon, but many have restrictions and stipulations




Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Education Choice Empowers Californian Families Facing Continuous School Closures

After the pandemic lockdowns, it seemed schools and their employees would do anything to stay open. But recent school closures due to strikes in large California school districts show that the traditional public education system is not prioritizing students' academic and social well-being.

In March, two Los Angeles-based K-12 employee unions, in solidarity, closed Los Angeles Unified schools for three days when the district rejected the service employees union's demands which included a 30 percent pay increase. Eventually, a tentative agreement was reached that gave service employees in the school district their 30 percent raise and allowed the teachers union to continue negotiating their own new deal. Just last week, 88 percent of the Oakland Education Association members who are employees in the school district authorized a strike to shut down Oakland Unified Schools. The strike started May 4th and will continue for the foreseeable future if the district does not meet its demands, which include a 23 percent pay raise, installation of drought-resistant shrubbery, and many other wants laid out in a 7-page common goods list.

In both cases, the unions deliberately excluded students and their families from these negotiations, but that's no surprise. The public education system has rewarded unions that dispossessed students of academic instruction and services for years. Unless state legislators make education choice options available for Californians, many students will continue to suffer from the union's manipulation of the system.

Over the past thirty years, there have been 75 work stoppages by K-12 public employees, with a third of those strikes occurring in the last five years. The uptick in strikes is primarily due to what Derrell Bradford, the President of 50CAN, calls a "Rolling National Teacher Strike," where the K-12 public sector unions have consistently been rewarded for closing down schools.

For example, in January 2019, the United Teachers of Los Angeles went on strike for an entire week. The district responded by giving the union a six percent pay increase and smaller class sizes. A similar story happened this past March when that same union joined the local K-12 service employees union in closing schools down for another three days. Following the strike, the union used students' learning as a bargaining chip to allow them to receive a 21 percent pay raise over the next three years without giving any assurance the union would not close schools again shortly.

But more school closures are the last thing any Californian student needs. During the Covid-19 pandemic, California closed its schools for a significantly longer period of time than many other states nationwide, and students are still experiencing the harm from these overextended school closures, both socially and academically.

For instance, California's fourth graders experienced a learning loss worth nearly six years of gains in Math and English Language proficiency. School closures also create fundamental dilemmas for working parents, many of whom struggle to get by in the current economic climate, as parents cannot afford to take unpaid leave or be forced to underwrite the union's strike with PTO. Still, despite leaving families high and dry, these unions have been rewarded with millions of dollars of compensation and new legislation at the state level to potentially increase teacher salaries by fifty percent over the next seven years.

Nonetheless, these strikes have resulted in many students leaving public schools permanently in favor of learning pods, private schools, microschool, and other alternative learning models. For many families sick of routinely being subjected to the whims of K-12 employee unions, alternative education models free of union interests offer more reliability and educational stability. But all too often, these options are financially out of reach. Wealthier families can usually choose the best education option for their students — whether by living in a nicer neighborhood with better public schools or paying out of pocket for private education. However, the same cannot be said for students from lower-income families who can't always afford private education.

Education Saving Accounts (ESAs) can level the playing field by giving all families access to a sum of per-pupil spending designated for their child's education — in California, that's nearly $17,000 a year as of 2020. ESAs are the gold standard of education choice legislation, granting families the necessary funds to provide for their child's unique educational needs, including school tuition, private tutoring, special needs therapies, or trade skills. Moreover, a recent Georgia Public Policy Foundation study found that ESAs result in "higher lifetime earnings and increased academic achievement."

California currently lacks an ESA or any private school choice legislation. State legislators must propose and pass an ESA in the next legislative session to give students and their families a fighting chance. If they do, all California students stand to benefit as each student, no matter their background, can finally escape the union's grasp.


We Have To Hold Our Children Close

The Left's hysterical claims about so-called “book bans” doesn't make any sense because, as always, the people making the claims aren't being honest about their true concerns. The real issue here is that we are trying to exercise control over the material that our children are exposed to — they don't want us stepping between our children and them.

President Biden made the agenda clear during a speech in the Rose Garden yesterday, meant to honor the 2023 national and state teachers of the year:

"There is no such thing as someone else's child, the president declared. Your child is not your child. Your child belongs to everyone."

You might like to think that Biden doesn't mean this literally, that it's just a meaningless platitude. But remember that he belongs to the same party that just passed this law in Washington State. The New York Post reports:

“A Washington State bill that would strip parents' rights to intervene on their kids' medical care in certain circumstances passed the House Wednesday, clearing its pathway to being signed by Gov. Jay Inslee.

'An act relating to supporting youth,' or Senate Bill 5599, allows host homes for runaway youth 'to house youth without parental permission.'

Furthermore, the host homes do not need to notify parents about where their kids are or if they are getting medical interventions 'if there is a compelling reason not to, which includes a youth seeking protected health services.'

The 'protected health care services' included 'gender-affirming care,' which for minors arbitrarily included anything prescribed by a doctor to treat dysphoria, the bill said. 'Gender affirming treatment can be prescribed to two-spirit, transgender, nonbinary, and other gender diverse individuals,' the bill stated.

Another 'compelling reason' not to notify parents about kids staying in a host home was 'circumstances that indicate notifying the parent or legal guardian will subject the minor to abuse or neglect.’”

In other words, if a child in Washington state decides that he wants to undergo a medical gender transition, and his parents object, all he has to do is run away from home, land at one of these “host homes,” and from there his parents will be stripped of all rights to protect him from being sterilized and butchered.

Keep in mind that refusing to affirm your child's gender confusion, telling him that he's really a boy even though he thinks he's a girl, counts as “abuse and neglect” according to the people who write laws like this.

This is how they will, and have already begun, to, strip rights away from parents across the country and induct children into the gender cult by force. First they set the stage by declaring that a lack of affirmation is abusive. Then they “come to the rescue” by extracting the children from those “abusive” homes and leaving them in the arms of the state, where they can be shaped and molded — in a literal, physical sense — and made into the sort of person that the system wants them to be.

So who exactly is consenting to the procedure in a case where the parent has been cut out completely? The child cannot consent. The parent does not consent. Who is authorizing this?

The answer is that the parent is authorizing it, because a new parental figure has been appointed. Joe Biden said that our nation's children are all of our children.

But we already know from extensive experience that when anyone on the Left uses the word “our” or “us” or “we” they do not mean it in a general collective sense. This is an “us” that does not include you.

“Us” means the system, the institutions, the powers that be. “Our nation's children are all our children” means that “our nation's children are the system's children.” It will raise your child. It will decide what is best for him. It will take charge of his formation — both physical and moral.

As should be clear to everyone by now, the family unit is the greatest threat to the system. It is the Left's greatest enemy. The Left hates local authority, militating against localization in every form. It wants you to be totally subject to overarching, inhuman bureaucratic powers.

It wants your life to be run by institutions that do not know you, do not love you, and do not recognize you as a distinct individual. And the most localized structure, the most local form of authority, is the family.

In a healthy family, the members all look to each other for love, guidance, purpose. This makes them much harder to influence, harder to control.

And so the family must be destroyed, and all of the vibrant and fulfilling bonds that define it — the bond between husband and wife, the bond between parent and child — must be severed and replaced by the lifeless, empty bond between subject and system, where the subject can be unmade and remade in the image of the institutions that wish to control his life.

That is what they intend to do to you and especially to your children. And it's why we have to hold our children close, and never allow it.


Bill would end early, legacy admissions at NY colleges, universities

State lawmakers are eyeing a ban on the practice of early admission to colleges and universities as the legislative session nears its end, with progressives claiming the practice is racist.

Supporters of a bill that would outlaw early admission — in which prospective students agree to attend their top-choice college in exchange for acceptance earlier in the admission cycle — as well as legacy admissions say both practices disproportionately help white and wealthy students get into prestigious schools like Columbia, NYU, and Cornell.

“The bill seeks to eliminate structural barriers created by legacy and early admissions policies which tend to reward connected and affluent white students and discriminate against students of color and first-generation students like myself,” Assemblywoman Latrice Walker (D-Brooklyn), who is sponsoring the bill in her chamber, said Monday.

Supporters of the legislation aim to get it passed by leveraging opposition to a potential Supreme Court ruling in cases challenging race-based admissions at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.

“If the Supreme Court is not going to allow us to use affirmative action to help improve economic and racial diversity on college campuses,” state Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Brooklyn), who is sponsoring the bill in his chamber, said Monday, “then we, the state of New York, will not allow the same institutions to use affirmative action for privileged students in picking and choosing which children or grandchildren of their alumni they will choose.”

Supporters of the Albany effort say early admissions are problematic because they require students to commit to a school before they know what financial aid they might get, a situation that data suggests helps white students who tend to be wealthier than those from other groups.

“Applying early decision requires two things. It requires college admissions know-how and money, which may be why students attending private high schools are more than three times more likely than public high school students to apply early decisions,” Gounardes said, referring to a 2022 study by the advocacy group Education Reform Now.

Roughly two-thirds of private school students in New York City are white, according to a 2020 Manhattan Institute analysis.

Meanwhile, most of the top universities in the country give some advantage to family members of alumni, who are approximately 45% more likely to win admission compared to non-legacy students with similar qualifications, according to the Century Foundation.

“At a time when universities are seeking to diversify by race and socioeconomic status, legacy preferences, on average, negatively impact minority and low-income students,” Richard Kahlenberg, then a senior fellow at the think tank, wrote in a 2018 letter to Congress.

And while legacy admissions are race-neutral on their face, Kahlenberg wrote at the time, they have roots in policies that replaced admission quotas for groups like Jews.




Monday, May 08, 2023

Christian University Brings Out the Big Guns After Public School District's Underhanded Move

An Arizona school district has reversed its policy of prohibiting Arizona Christian University education students from doing their student teaching in the district.

The board of the Washington Elementary School District, which covers Phoenix and Glendale, changed its stance in Wednesday’s settlement of a lawsuit filed by Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of ACU two months ago.

In February, the district’s governing board, which KSAZ-TV said has three LGBT members, voted 5-0 to end the district’s 11-year relationship with the university because of the university’s beliefs in Christian values, specifically in the area of sexuality and marriage, according to an ADF news release.

The break came despite no reports of complaints regarding the behavior of ACU student teachers.

“By discriminating against Arizona Christian University and denying it an opportunity to participate in the student-teacher program because of its religious status and beliefs, the school district was in blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution, not to mention state law that protects ACU’s religious freedom,” David Cortman, ADF senior counsel and vice president of U.S. litigation, said in a statement.

“At a time when a critical shortage of qualified, caring teachers exists, the Washington Elementary School District board did the right thing by prioritizing the needs of elementary school children and agreeing to partner once again with ACU’s student-teachers,” said Cortman, who represented ACU in federal district court.

As part of the settlement with ACU, the board agreed to pay $25,000 in attorneys’ fees.


Children targeted by WHO ‘Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe’

The World Health Organisation has orchestrated a ‘framework for policy makers, educational and health authorities and specialists’ titled, Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe.

Its purpose is to standardise (in other words override) the diverse teaching practices of each sovereign nation within Europe and the wider international community with regards to sexual education.

Having all-but forced European nations to comply, the United Nations is seeking to expand a similar framework to all UN member states – including Australia. This framework is called International Guidance on Sexuality Education, produced as part of UN Education 2030 and counter-signed by UNICEF. The WHO are now actively promoting the framework. In mid-April of 2023, the Commission on Population and Development failed to reach a consensus on advancing the strategy, providing a reprieve … for now.

‘Nobody is happy with this result,’ said a spokesperson representing Senegal. They went on to point out that people come from different ‘horizons and realities’ and that the commission must ‘respect all cultures’. The problem with communist-style policy is that it demands a uniform approach with identical ideological outcomes irrespective of culture.

And what sort of ‘vision’ does the WHO have in mind for the world’s children?

Their preferred framework demands that sex education begin at birth and be guided by the State via the relentless work of educators instead of the current model of parent-led development with catch-up assistance from schools.

European countries have already begun integrating the WHO agenda into their curricula with Germany, for example, using the WHO document ‘widely’ for ‘development and revision, advocacy work, and training educators’.

Quite frankly, the Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe is a ‘rapey’ document that reads like the mind of a child-fiddling psychopath given control of public health.

The UN document makes their intention very clear that:

‘This framework aims to empower children and young people to develop respectful social and sexual relationships. These skills can help children and young people form respectful and healthy relationships with family members, peers, friends and romantic or sexual partners.’

The Framework also teaches children what consent consists of, meaning they assume a child can content to sex.

The WHO lays out its reason for teaching children aged 0-6 the detail of biological reproduction – that is, children who are still young enough to believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy. By age 6, the WHO wants the education industry – and presumably their teachers – to expose children to the concepts of intercourse, masturbation, and pornography. By age 9, they are expected to reach an ‘adult’ knowledge of sex including teaching of masturbation and viewing of online pornography. At age 12 – remembering that we are still talking about young children – the WHO wishes the official European education course to explore political and emotional responses to sex, puberty, and gender.

Starting sex education at birth is an indication of the mindset of these people. 0-4 year-olds should be able to distinguish between consensual and non-consensual sexual interaction and develop a ‘positive attitude’ to the different sexual lifestyles of adults.

These standards, if you can call them that, form part of an initiative launched by the WHO Regional Office for Europe in 2008 and were further developed by the Federal Centre for Health Education with the collaboration of 19 ‘experts’ from Western European countries.

In their own words, it was created as part of a ‘new need’ for sexual education ‘triggered by various developments during the past decades’. These include ‘globalisation and migration of new population groups with different cultural and religious backgrounds, the rapid spread of new media, particularly the internet and mobile phone technology, the emergence and spread of HIV/AIDS, increasing concerns about the sexual abuse of children and adolescents and, not least, changing attitudes towards sexuality and changing sexual behaviour among young people’.

It sounds as though bad parenting, incompatible cultural practices, and a lacklustre policing of child abuse is being used as an excuse to do away with fundamental child protection standards and the innocence of children that the West used to pride itself in.

The original argument for introducing basic levels of sex education into the school system centred around child safety. These courses were designed as a catch-up, particularly for young girls who had reached an age where it was possible for them to get pregnant, to ensure they understood reproductive essentials in order to protect themselves. The point was to avoid dangerous adolescent pregnancies and abuse – not to encourage sexual behaviour in minors.

Now it appears that adults seeking affirmation for their sexual choices are flooding the education system with age-inappropriate content that is being solidified through the edicts of unelected global bureaucracies such as the WHO.

In this case, the education framework points out that there is an increase in the spread of sexual diseases among children and a rise in teen pregnancies across Europe – but what the report does not explain is that this is largely being seen among migrant demographics after coming from cultures where the abuse and sexualisation of children is common compared to European standards.

There are countless articles detailed a doubling of child abuse in recent years, with some publications describing Europe as ‘a hub of child abuse material’ and Save the Children reporting that child migrants are being ‘systematically abused by police, people smugglers, and other adults’.

It could be argued that policies, like that of former Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and her 2015 ‘refugee pledge’ encouraging Europe to open the floodgates to mass migration (and thus the escalation of people smuggling rings) is largely to blame for the danger children in Europe now face.

The solution would seem obvious: focus on the integration of migrant communities into the established moral order of European nations and severely punish adults who carry on illegal practices imported from their homelands while enforcing extreme criminal penalties on people smugglers and the police who assist them.

Above all, you might imagine that parents and the education system would seek to shelter children from the sexual world in their formative years to ensure the cycle of degeneracy was broken.

That is not what is being proposed by the WHO.


Australian Federal Budget 2023: Funding for 5000 teaching scholarships and new ad campaign

Typical Leftism: They think that they can solve a problem by throwing money at it. Tackling the feral environment in classrooms that their discipline policies have created does not even occur to them. It occurs to those considering a teaching career, though

Five thousand teaching students will be offered up to $40,000 each if they stay in the classroom and a $10 million advertising blitz to recruit new teachers will be launched by the Federal Government in a bold bid to tackle crippling school shortages.

The moves come in the wake of News Corp’s groundbreaking Australia’s Best Teachers and Best in Class campaign, which Education Minister Jason Clare said had already made teachers feel more valued and respected and inspired the government’s follow-up campaign.

The Minister has just returned from a high-level international gathering of 22 international education ministers in Washington DC, where he was alarmed to discover fewer than half of Australian teachers felt their work was valued, well behind countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Finland and even Mexico.

In an exclusive interview with News Corp, Mr Clare revealed the 5000 $10,000 scholarships would be included in next week’s Budget – making good on an election promise.

However they will now be tied to teaching graduates committing to serve a number of years in the classroom, most likely five – a condition teachers themselves urged the Minister to place on the scholarships in order to boost flagging retention rates.

It is part of a broader government push to elevate the status of teachers to that of other professionals and attract the highest performing students to the nation’s schools.

“There’s nothing more important in a classroom than the teacher shaping the outcomes for our kids,” he said.

“These are 5000 scholarships worth up to 40 grand each. They encourage some of our best and brightest to become a teacher rather than a lawyer or a banker and applications for those scholarships will open later this year.”

Following the success of our education advocacy campaign, Mr Clare will also later this year launch a multimillion-dollar recruitment drive in partnership with the states and territories.

The $10m campaign – $5m of which will be provided by the Commonwealth and $5m by the states – will take inspiration from a powerful ad Mr Clare saw in the New York subway 20 years ago, long before he even entered parliament.

The billboard simply read: “Everybody remembers their first teacher’s name. Who will remember yours?”

“We’re developing that campaign now with teachers and principals,” Mr Clare said.

“We’re bringing them together to help us design this campaign, which will involve TV, social media, but also ads on the back of buses and taxis and billboards.”

The Minister said the comparative data he saw at the US conference showed there was a clear link between teachers feeling valued and teacher shortages and was alarmed that only around 38 per cent of Australian teachers believed they were valued by society.

“In countries like Singapore and Finland, where there is no shortage of teachers at all – in fact people are queuing up to become a teacher – that percentage is more like 60 or 70 per cent,” he said.

“So that data underlies the importance of the campaign.”

However, Mr Clare said the education advocacy campaign and his own personal determination to place teachers front and centre of education reform had already started to turn around this attitude.

“It’s important for me to get on the record, to say thank you to News Corp for this campaign, it’s really important,” he said.

“We’ve got a teacher shortage crisis in the country, that’s been building for a long time. And if we’re going to recruit more great teachers and retain more great teachers, then that starts with respect. And that’s what this campaign at its core is all about.”

But Mr Clare also stressed: “It’s a whole of community job. It’s not just the job of ministers, and the media, it’s the whole community pulling together. Because if we respect teachers, we’re going to get more of them.”

The Australia’s Best Teachers campaign launched in February to help change perceptions about the role of teachers, many of who feel the public does not respect the work they do. Major organisations ANZ, Teachers Mutual Bank, Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools, Care For Kids, Griffith University and PwC have also backed the campaign.

Samantha Brimfield, a teacher at Santa Sophia Catholic College at Gables in Sydney’s northwest, said it was a rewarding career.

“You develop such beautiful relations and connections with the students and families you work with,” said Miss Brimfield, who features in The Daily Telegraph’s list of Australia’s Best Teachers on Saturday.

“You are not just a teacher, you are someone your students look up to and are inspired by. It is a special feeling knowing you have made an impact on a child’s life and that you have the ability to leave a lasting impression.”

Miss Brimfield said it was important the public valued and respected the work of teachers.

“How the community views teachers can have an influence on student’s and their attitudes and feelings towards school,” she said.

“Schools that have a great partnership with their wider community help to create a sense of belonging within the families and students and aids in creating a positive learning environment.”




Sunday, May 07, 2023

Parents Get Back in Charge of Their Children’s Education

Parents in the pandemic era have asserted themselves with new vigor for the sake of their children. Parents no longer presume that the zoned public school is the right fit, or that the school puts students first.

Nor do parents presume that most teachers wish to reproduce the values of the community. Since 2020, Americans’ satisfaction with K-12 education has plummeted.

Their skepticism is warranted: All too many schools seek to undermine, destroy, and rebuild American society in a revolutionary, neo-Marxist image.

Outrageous? Yes. Believable? Yes, as documented by the stories in a new Pacific Research Institute book. “The Great Parent Revolt: How Parents and Grassroots Leaders Are Fighting Critical Race Theory in America’s Schools,” by Lance Izumi and co-authors, provides a dozen accounts from around the country.

Many parents will be able to see themselves in these stories. The point is to inspire more parents to advocate for a high-quality education that doesn’t divide students by race, ethnicity, and other characteristics in order to tear apart American society.

By that measure, this book admirably succeeds. What the parents in these stories have done is not so difficult, and organizations of concerned parents are now all over the country, ready to empower and equip newcomers.

Polls consistently show that when people learn what critical race theory is, they generally dislike it. But if you come to this book thinking that the only problem is CRT, be prepared to learn that the real situation is worse. The book focuses significant attention on critical race theory, but the bigger culprit is critical theory generally, with its roots in a Marxist binary of class warfare.

Indeed, many American schools are focused not merely on the oppressed-oppressor binary regarding race, but also regarding sex and the usual list of identities. If you are “oppressed” in multiple ways (for example: a black overweight gay woman), then congratulations, you have intersectional oppression (described in Chapter 3). The various categories of the oppressed commonly are expected to act in solidarity to smash and rebuild American society, culture, and government.

So, I recommend lingering on the treatment of ethnic studies in chapters 2 and 8—this field is not merely “a Trojan horse for CRT,” the authors note, but problematic in additional ways—such as its frequent antisemitism.

In the proposed California curriculum, notably, critical ethnic studies or liberated ethnic studies is the dominant branch of the subject. Proponents of this “militant” doctrine teach an extreme version of the victim-oppressor binary: They all too often dismiss leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. for being too “docile”; they reject math, capitalism, private property, and sometimes even money as oppressive; and they call for completely reworking society.

Ironically, one parent notes: “Critical or Liberated Ethnic Studies has predetermined outcomes. They’re not teaching kids to think critically.”

Even so, it is fair that this book focuses primarily on race, because race is the most prevalent victim-oppressor binary. Also, the authors are fully correct to observe that teaching critical race theory means teaching the tenets or principles of CRT; a lesson doesn’t need to be titled “Critical Race Theory” to count. Not just ethnic studies but also social and emotional learning and other innocent-sounding pedagogies have become infused with CRT.

The story of Gabs Clark and her son is one of many showing that any alert parent can fight back successfully. If a school compels a student to reveal his personal opinions, forces him to say he’s an oppressor because of his race, sex, or religion, and tries to get him to change, he has a good chance of succeeding in court. (Thanks to the Liberty Justice Center for taking her son’s case.)

After Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia, complained of having too many Asian students and revolutionized admissions to get the numbers down, parent Asra Nomani publicly criticized this racism by Fairfax County Public Schools. Nomani became an activist, founded the Coalition for TJ, and sued the school board with the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation. She won.

With smoking-gun documents that can be found with requests under open-records laws, other parents can win, too. As the judge wrote in the Virginia case, quoting earlier cases, “racial balancing for its own sake is ‘patently unconstitutional.’” (The decision is on hold pending an appeal.)

A lawsuit is far from the only option. Exit is another.

The student story of Joshua (not his real name) is one of several chapters showing divisive “diversity, equity, and inclusion” activities in action. Students were to reveal their personal and sexual preferences, and the programming used racial stereotypes to divide students from one another.

Joshua saw what happened to students who spoke out—a “horrific outbreak of screaming”—so he self-censored. Greater education freedom would permit more students to leave hostile environments such as Joshua’s.

Another activist, Xi Van Fleet, grew up in revolutionary China and exited that environment, but she sees commonalities with America today. Most notable is the proliferation of “bias reporting” protocols that encourage students to inform on one another to the authorities.

In the bias reporting program at Virginia’s Loudoun County Public Schools, students inform on each other anonymously. Van Fleet adds that one study found that 80% of K-12 students “never heard about the Chinese Cultural Revolution,” and it shows.

In Rhode Island, Nicole Solas fought back by calling for transparency. She had enrolled her daughter in a local kindergarten, but in 2020 the school went hard into critical race theory. After she wrangled this confession from the principal, she filed about 160 open-records requests for the details.

The local school board publicly considered suing Solas, apparently hoping to hide the documents. Instead of fulfilling their public mission, school boards all too often inflate the costs of fulfilling record requests and prevent parents from speaking at meetings.

In fact, the National School Boards Association even enlisted the federal government to declare outspoken parents to be terrorist threats.

Although her local school board ultimately declined to sue Solas, the teachers union did sue her. She fought back with help from the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, and the union withdrew its complaint.

Solas also sued the school district, accusing it of “holding meetings for the district’s racial advisory board in secret,” in violation of Rhode Island’s Open Meetings Act.

Solas’ case is rare, though—records requests by parents often work without lawsuits. And another route to transparency is legislation. More and more states require that course materials be posted online or that parents be allowed to review these materials in person.

Another way to get school and school board records is to run for school board and win. Amazingly, many parents are doing just that. Even San Francisco voters recalled (fired) some of their worst school board members.

One political action committee, the 1776 Project PAC, claims to have “flipped” more than 100 school boards or school board seats since 2021, while Moms for Liberty (see below) successfully endorsed dozens of candidates and flipped seven more districts.

These parents now can use their power for good. After Mari Barke won a school board seat in Orange County, California, she held public forums that exposed critical race theory in schools and demonstrated how CRT often is unlawful because it discriminates on the basis of race.

After Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich each won board seats in their Florida districts, they formed Moms for Liberty to educate and empower parents, fight critical race theory, and promote equal opportunity. They also call for high standards instead of the lower standards needed to produce “equity” (characteristically resulting in more similar outcomes by race but worse outcomes overall, as Joshua’s story relates).

The hard work by Justice and Descovich has led to about 275 chapters with a total of 115,000 members, by recent count. If a parent isn’t sure where to go, Moms for Liberty is one great place to begin (or Parents Defending Education, which also files free speech lawsuits, or other organizations mentioned in the book).

Parents don’t have to do all this work alone. Many teachers, for example, do agree with the resisting parents and can be allies and whistleblowers—they are, the book says, “as frustrated as the public about the counterproductive thought indoctrination going on in public education.”

Meanwhile, Izumi and the other authors add, “grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and other ordinary Americans are also on the front line” defending American freedom and opportunity against critical theory.

Notably, Ryan Girdusky, founder of the 1776 Project PAC, says he also finds support from moderate Democrats who oppose the revolutionaries (often confidentially, because of progressive bullying).

This kind of solidarity will be hard to beat.


Rescuing Our Kids From Public School's Pleasure Island

There is a terrifying logic to the leftist infiltration of our public schools. If they control the minds of children, they have their hooks in the future of the country. Aside from the multitude of evils that this is already producing (transgenderism, critical race theory, environmental cultists), kids are failing academically. This is particularly true in the arenas of history and civics.

History and civics actually got the lowest scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) — i.e. the Nation's Report Card — when the test was given to eighth-graders. These represent the lowest scores since the test was first administered in the 1990s. Only 13% of eighth-graders were proficient in civics, and only 20% were proficient in history. Math and reading scores dropped to a distressing level as well. However, history and civics — the subjects dealing with culture and the world — achieving the lowest scores is especially telling.

The Biden administration has blamed the low scores on the pandemic and Republicans. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said: "Kids have lost so much in the pandemic. This is why, when the president walked in, he made [it] ... a priority to open schools." This particular delusion about President Joe Biden being in a hurry to open schools is revisionist history, but the bigger issue at hand is that this score decline has been developing for years now.

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Commissioner Peggy Carr has been doing research on the NEAP scores in her job within the Department of Education. According to her findings, these latest scores have made her "very, very concerned, because it's a decline that started in 2014 long before we even thought about Covid." She goes on to correctly demand that teachers get this material in front of the kids.

Knowing our Constitution, how our government is supposed to work, and the U.S.'s story within history are all vitally important so that our next generation of voting citizens is informed and educated.

When it comes to failing students in general and these two subjects in particular, there are many elements at play. There is the political (boards of education and activist teachers), there is the cultural (the sort of environment at play within the schools), and there is the individual student.

Let's start with the political. When a growing number of people with the power to influence and teach history and civics are increasingly anti-America and anti-Western culture, they are not going to be able to teach these subjects well. As The Wall Street Journal points out: "Dropping scores reflect the falling quality of history and civics lessons taught in American schools, which has been fueled by political acrimony. ... Teachers have said controversies over the content of lessons have damped morale. These subjects are considered hard to staff in many districts, according to teachers union officials."

Who has made teaching this material difficult? The anti-America teachers have made it difficult by actively teaching children to hate their country and all that we have built as a nation. The woke teachers unions, school boards, and school administrators have made it difficult by threatening conservative teachers and dictating what they can and cannot say.

On a cultural level, as our Brian Mark Weber wrote back in 2017: "Universities today are more interested in turning students into political activists than knowledgeable citizens who value the ideals upon which our country was founded. As a result, Americans have a lot to say about 'rights' that their teachers and professors have conjured up, but they know nothing about the rights in the Constitution."

Then there is the challenge of the individual student. History and civics are two of those subjects that some kids really struggle with. A good teacher can get them to engage, but even so, in this instant-answer-in-your-pocket age, the information doesn't necessarily stick.

Then there is the whole other problem that no one outside of the teaching profession is willing to speak out about: Student behavior.

Teaching is a work of heart, but many of these students are straight-up hooligans. These kids have been allowed to do whatever they want. They have no respect for authority and they have no boundaries or consequences that are meaningful or corrective to their abhorrent behavior. This is cause for a high burnout rate amongst teachers. Who wants to teach angry rude student who don't want to learn?

These next two generations of kids in the public schools are looking and behaving like the kids in "Pinocchio" who run away from home and go to Pleasure Island. Those kids are allowed to do whatever they want — break every taboo, hurt one another — and eventually the kids are turned into donkeys. Our culture and political overlords are creating this Pleasure Island-type mentality for students and literally turning them into Democrat donkeys and ignorant jackasses.

There are several solutions available to parents. You can take your kids out of public school and try private or charter schools. Homeschooling is also a great option. Hope is not lost if parents are invested in educating their children in these subjects. Lead by example and make history and civics come alive for your children. And above all, emphasize the importance of being an intelligent and discerning person.

Our government has shown through its public schools what it is willing to do to ideologically and morally kidnap your students. It's time to stop letting them get away with it. Our kids are too important.


Educators Report Spike in Student Behavioral Problems Since Lockdowns

Last year, a study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 40 percent of teenagers reported feeling “sad or hopeless” during the pandemic. This was a time where schools closed their doors, forcing students to finish their classes online and be separated from their classmates. Some states kept students from in-person learning into the fall.

Lockdowns had devastating impacts on America’s youth, including massive learning loss. And, a study published recently found that students misbehaving escalated after lockdowns, according to educators.

A study published late last month by the EdWeek Research Center found that seventy percent of educators, including over 1000 teachers, principals and school district leaders, said that students are misbehaving more than in fall 2019 – right before pandemic lockdowns. One-third of educators specifically said that students are misbehaving “a lot more.”

In December 2021, 66 percent of educators surveyed said that their students were misbehaving “more or a lot more” compared with fall of 2019.

In a January study, 80 percent of educators said since the pandemic students have been less motivated to do their best in school. One-third of all educators said that the students, schools, anand school districts were unmotivated. Sixty-eight percent of educators said their students’ morale was lower than before the pandemic.

Crystal Thorpe, the principal of Fishers Junior High School in Indiana, told The Hill that last year was the worst year for student behavior she’d seen at her school, including fights and other kinds of aggressive behavior. Thorpe gathered all her faculty together last year to come up with a game plan to handle it.

“I think it’s because we just — we paid more attention to it because I think as a staff, we were all exhausted last year, and we were talking about ‘OK, what’s going on? How do we better address this? How do we handle this?’ And I think for this year, we’ve actually got a much better handle on it because we knew that it was a problem last year,” she said.

"It’s no surprise that after forcing kids to learn at home for months on end, they may have forgotten how to behave in a classroom. When kids finally returned to school, administrators began swapping any sort of punitive disciplinary practices for ‘restorative justice’ or ‘healing circles.’

These practices sound nice, and they make administrators sound like kind, caring community builders. In reality, these practices and the administrators that use them are an absolute sham. They create unproductive learning environments and fail to prepare children for life outside of the classroom," Alex Nester, an investigative fellow with Parents Defending Education, told Townhall. "‘Restorative’ practices destroy school infrastructure that instilled students with integrity, urgency, and discipline. But it’s easier for administrators to use ‘restorative’ practices than actually discipline students. And as a result, our classrooms are a mess."

In addition to misbehaving students, the National Assessment of Educational Progress found last year that math and reading scores among 9-year-olds fell across all race and income levels in the past two years, though they were significantly worse among low-ranking students. Those in the 90th percentile showed a 3 percent drop in math scores, while students in the 10th percentile fell 12 points, which Leah covered. Average 9-year-old scores declined the most on record for math (seven points) and in reading since 1990 (five points).

National Center for Education Statistics Commissioner Peggy Carr said that “school shootings, violence, and classroom disruptions are up, as are teacher and staff vacancies, absenteeism, cyberbullying, and students’ use of mental health services,” in response to the numbers. She did not acknowledge how students not attending school at all contributed to the learning loss.