Thursday, May 23, 2024

Educational ‘Redlining’ Still Affects Public School Boundaries

While public schools can no longer discriminate against students based on their race, unfortunately, they continue to use school district and attendance area boundaries to exclude or limit students’ opportunities based on where they live.

Oftentimes, the only way for students to access higher-quality public schools than the ones they’re assigned to is by moving inside their attendance boundaries. However, this option is only available to families who can afford to do so since housing costs typically increase based on their proximity to better schools.

In some cases, families lie about their home address–also known as address sharing–so their children can go to better schools. But falsifying an address can carry major risks, including prison time, in the 24 states that criminalize it.

Unfortunately, living on the wrong side of a school boundary isn’t just bad luck. Even today, schools and governments gerrymander boundaries to exclude students they perceive as undesirable.

Moreover, this practice carries an unsavory past since gerrymandered boundaries sometimes reflect the lingering effects of redlining–now illegal racist zoning policies.

Nearly a century ago, federal agencies drew 239 color-coded maps identifying the lending risks associated with particular neighborhoods. However, eligibility for these loans was based on varying demographic factors, including race.

Neighborhoods that housed large minority populations were often color-coded red and marked as “hazardous.” The Federal Housing Administration’s official Underwriting Manual even went so far as to state that redlining policies would help prevent “large numbers of inharmonious racial groups” from attending the same schools.

While a series of federal laws eventually outlawed housing redlining, many school boundaries still reinforce the old redlined boundaries, limiting students’ public education options.

For example, the map in Figure 1 shows the attendance areas for Cranbrook and Barrington Road Elementary Schools in Columbus, Ohio, ranked 2,146th and 165th overall respectively by the Ohio 2023 Performance Index.

The high-performing Barrington Elementary School’s neighborhoods were exclusively zoned as Blue or Green, the best possible ratings provided by the federal government, back in the 1930s. Meanwhile, most of the neighborhoods assigned to Cranbrook Elementary Schools, at that time, were rated as “hazardous” (red) or “declining” (yellow).

The student populations of these public schools are still divided by race and socioeconomic status. Yet these boundaries block students from attending schools that are closer to their homes or that are a better fit.

For instance, some students living along King Avenue near the boundary line are only about a mile from Barrington Elementary, but they are assigned to Cranbrook, which is three times that distance.

This is just one of the many examples that show how broken public school assignment is nationwide.

A new report by yes. Every kid. Showcases how some policymakers have tried to ameliorate these barriers so students’ public school options aren’t solely determined by their geographic location. Specifically, the report highlights three key policies that can expand public school access today:

Weakening these barriers is a popular policy, as 78% of school parents support strong open enrollment laws according to March polling by EdChoice. Moreover, six states, most with bipartisan political support, strengthened their open enrollment laws last year, letting students attend any public school with open seats, regardless of where they live.

While 43 states permit some sort of public school student transfer, most of these laws are weak and don’t prioritize allowing students to get to better public schools. Brown vs. Board of Education was seven decades ago, and state policymakers still need to take important steps to make schools more accessible to all students by weakening the barriers that residential assignment imposes on families so students can attend schools that are the right fit.


District That Suspended Student For Using Term ‘Illegal Alien’ Fails To Provide Docs To Parents Org

A North Carolina school district that suspended a student for using the term “illegal alien” failed to provide all public records pertaining to the incident that were requested by a parental-rights organization, the group told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Christian McGhee, a 16-year-old student at Central Davidson High School, received a three-day suspension in April for using the term “illegal aliens” during class while asking the teacher for clarification on a vocabulary assignment, prompting his parents to file a lawsuit against the Davidson County Board of Education. Parents Defending Education (PDE) filed a records request about the suspension, but received only four emails totaling eight pages that were provided to the DCNF.

“It is possible that said emails so requested may contain confidential student/educational records under FERPA that would not be subject to a public records request and/or to the extent that such emails can be provided pursuant to your request, they may have to be heavily redacted or not provided at all,” a representative for the district told the parental-rights group, referencing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

The Davidson County Board of Education and Davidson County Schools Superintendent Gregg Slate did not respond to multiple requests for comment from the DCNF.

A spokesperson for PDE told the DCNF that McGhee’s parents were not involved in the records request, nor were they in contact with the parental-rights group. A spokesperson for the Liberty Justice Center, which is representing the parents, declined to comment on the PDE records request.

McGhee eventually withdrew from Central Davidson High School and transferred to a homeschooling program after receiving threats due to the suspension, according to court documents.

Christian McGhee had returned to his class after using the restroom and arrived to find the class discussing aliens, leading him to he ask whether the class was discussing aliens from space or illegal aliens, Dean McGee, an attorney with Liberty Justice Center representing McGhee and his parents, told the DCNF.

“A Latino boy in class turned around and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to kick your ass,’” McGee said. “It was said jokingly, and class moved on as normal until later, a girl in class brought up the Latino student’s comment about kicking Christian’s ass, and that’s when the teacher called the assistant principal.”

Despite both boys telling the assistant principal that the comments were not a big deal, the assistant principal viewed Christian’s use of the term “illegal alien” as a racial slur and issued the suspension, McGee told the DCNF. McGee referred the DCNF to Liberty Justice Center’s complaint against the Davidson County Board of Education when asked for more details about the assistant principal’s conduct.

The term “alien” is defined in 8 USC 1101 as “any person not a citizen or national of the United States.” The term “illegal aliens” is used in multiple parts of the United States Code, including 8 USC 1182, 8 USC 1252c and 8 USC 1366.


California parents demand principal be fired for ‘humiliating’ their son, censoring his school election speech

The parents of a California middle school student are calling on their son’s principal to be fired after they say he was discriminated against over his beliefs.

Saint Bonaventure Catholic School student Jimmy Heyward, who was running for “Commissioner of School Spirit & Patriotism,” was “completely humiliated” after principal Mary Flock barred him from giving his speech at a school election rally, his parents say.

Heyward’s mother, Hattie Ruggles, claims her son was told to remove “all parts about patriotism” from his campaign speech or he would not be allowed to deliver it before the school assembly. In the speech, the student talks about the importance of showing respect to veterans, and paying attention during the National Anthem or when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

“Jimmy stood up to her and said he wasn’t going to take the parts about patriotism out of his speech,” Ruggles wrote in a petition calling on Flock to be fired. “She then told him he would not be speaking. Jimmy sat on stage with all the other candidates while they said their speeches. Mary Flock directed the kids hosting the rally to skip Jimmy entirely. He was on the stage for an hour in front of his peers/teachers/parents being completely humiliated by Mary Flock.”




Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Elite University Raked In Almost $700 Million From Qatar

Northwestern University has raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from Qatar, a nation that has been harboring Hamas’ leaders since 2012, federal disclosures show.

Roughly $690 million in funds originating in Qatar has flowed into Northwestern University since 2007, according to records maintained by the Department of Education. Northwestern caved to several demands made by pro-Palestinian protestors last month, including by providing them with a pathway to make the university divest from Israeli businesses, The Daily Northwestern reported.

Northwestern’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine took credit for the agreement with the university. A group of law firms are suing National Students for Justice in Palestine, alleging that the organization is working to advance Hamas’ goals.

“Around the country, prestigious universities are succumbing to pressure from protestors who have damaged campuses, interfered with other students’ education and safety, and broadcast messages of hatred,” Open The Books CEO Adam Andrzejewski said in a press release. “Deals like the one at Northwestern seem inexplicable—that is, until you follow the money,” he continued.

Qatar constituted the largest bloc of Northwestern’s revenue from Muslim nations that support Palestinian independence, sending about $690 million to the university since 2007, records show. Since 2018, Qatar has sent millions of dollars to the Gaza strip that have been used to prop up Hamas, the terrorist organization behind the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel, according to CNN.

Qatar is also harboring Hamas’ political leadership, which it has been doing in some capacity since 2012, according to The Times of Israel.

Qatar’s funding included disbursements to provide scholarships for Qatari students to attend Northwestern, funds for a Northwestern campus in Qatar as well as other financial transfers lacking detailed descriptions, according to Open The Books.

Entities located in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have also given money to Northwestern, according to federal records.

Northwestern received about $24 million originating in Saudi Arabia, records show. About $2.2 million of that was for scholarship grants to Saudi students, according to Open The Books.

Saudi Arabia has historically called for the establishment of a Palestinian state under its 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem as the state’s capital, according to the Associated Press.

Northwestern also took in $250,000 and $525,000 from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, respectively. Turkey has been highly critical of Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 attacks, halting trade with the Jewish state citing humanitarian concerns, and the United Arab Emirates has similarly condemned Israel’s conduct.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also defended Hamas, calling the group a “resistance movement” and refusing to label them as terrorists, Reuters reported.

Some universities are getting funds directly from entities located in the West Bank and Gaza.

Harvard University, Brown University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania collectively took in about $10 million in funds originating in the Palestinian territories between 2017 and 2023.


Let’s Put Suspension or Expulsion Back on the Table for Violent College Students

Colleges are considering suspensions and expulsions for students who vandalized campuses and committed violence over the last month. These consequences are entirely appropriate, and overdue. School officials in North Carolina are even reallocating more funds to campus safety.

What took so long? The answer may help prevent violent riots on campuses in the future.

MIT officials recently announced they were suspending “dozens” of students who forced their way back into the area of campus where students had set up encampments. School personnel had warned those encamped, then cleared the tents and set up fencing around the area, telling students not to re-enter. Students proceeded to break through the fences—ignoring the warnings and destroying property.

Now, school administrators have announced sanctions are coming.

Events such as these have happened at schools nationwide. The incidents at MIT, UCLA, Columbia University and elsewhere were not examples of free speech. These were violent acts showing disregard for law and campus rules. School officials should not have waited as long as they did to call law enforcement, and the rioters who were not students, faculty or college staff should face charges. But administrators should be considering suspensions and expulsions for students involved.

College personnel are partly to blame for the disruptions that universities faced over the last month. Campus riots have a long history, but in the most recent iterations of campus unrest dating back at least as far as 2015, colleges were slow to respond to students and rioters who de-platformed or shouted down professors and invited lecturers. Middlebury College in Vermont and Evergreen State College were just a few of the sites of violent shout-downs over the last decade.

Students regurgitated the Marxist slogans from critical race theory and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as they de-platformed speakers—and in some cases, college administrators did not punish students. Predictably, surveys over the last decade have found that students are afraid to speak their minds on campus for fear of being canceled, shouted down—or worse.

Blocking someone else’s expressive rights is not a protected form of speech. Yet surveys found that some on campus approved of violence in the face of ideas with which they disagree.

In response to the shout-downs at Middlebury and the like, state lawmakers around the country—Alabama, Colorado, North Carolina, Tennessee and more—adopted provisions to reinforce the U.S. Constitution and protect free-speech rights. But with few notable exceptions, lawmakers did not include provisions that required school administrators to consider suspension or expulsion when students de-platformed a speaker or otherwise engaged in violence.

The message to students was clear: You can be disruptive with minimal or no consequences. Today, however, students have pushed the bounds even further, creating so much disturbance that some schools were forced to cancel classes and graduation ceremonies because campuses were not physically safe for anyone.

Lawmakers in North Carolina and Arizona were among the few who included disciplinary sanctions in provisions adopted after the outbreak of shout-downs between 2015 and the school closures caused by COVID-19. School officials should copy the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees’ latest decision to close its “diversity, equity and inclusion” office and reallocate spending to campus safety.

DEI offices promote censorship by supporting bias response teams, which courts have found to “chill” speech. The offices also promote racial bias in college admissions and other school functions—none of which improves school safety or the free exchange of ideas.

Had school personnel acted decisively during riots over the last 10 years, consistently suspending or expelling violent students, perhaps disrupters would have had second thoughts. State lawmakers should revisit their conduct codes and require public college administrators to involve law enforcement and consider suspension or expulsion when students destroy school property, injure others, violate free-speech protections or otherwise commit violence.

Considering suspension or expulsion to counter—and perhaps prevent—violence is not new. Yale University officials recommended these consequences in the Woodward Report issued in 1974, a seminal document protecting campus speech.

College educators must teach students the difference between free speech and violence. The former deserves protection. The latter should be met with consequences.


Australia: Homeschooling rises across Canberra post-pandemic

Since COVID lockdowns kept students out of schools, there's been a big rise in the number who now find home the best place to study.

There's been a 50 per cent increase in the numbers not going to school for their learning.

Official figures for the "home-educated" count 465 people of school age in the category in the ACT, compared with 305 just before the virus struck, and compared with only 166 just 10 years ago.

"School is an obsolete model," Ilaria Catizone says in a break between teaching a handful of homeschooled children who've come together to learn a bit of Italian.

She concedes formal schools work for some young people but not for all. The ones who don't quite fit the mould are often the ones opting out, perhaps because of bullying. Some parents told The Canberra Times they were unhappy with "woke" education, particularly on sexual matters.

Ilaria Catizone has been been schooling Audrey, 7, and Elody, 13, for the last three years. At the communal session, Elody also helps teach the younger children Italian through a game of bingo where numbers are called in Italian and pasta rings go on the numbered squares.

These kids are meeting in a community hall for their lesson, so homeschooling doesn't always happen at home. Sometimes, it's collective in that a group get together and learn.

The parents' motives vary.

Rebecca Bonazza said her daughter Skyler, 10, was bullied in her public school in Canberra.

"Bullying was rife. When she concentrates, she hums, and a lot of kids picked on her," the mother said.

"Kids just seem to be more nasty these days, and because she's a bit different she rarely wanted to go to school."

Her mother was also unhappy about the amount of mention of sex, both in class and outside - "woke", as she put it. "A lot of things they are told are a bit much," she said.

She felt homeschooling meant "super-young children" could be protected from "things on the internet".

"You can't protect your children from that but at home you can," she said.

So the mother has bought the daughter a pile of books about a string of subjects, including science and maths.

"We learn about the world, about money. And I plan to take her out into the world, to teach her things, to galleries. We have a lot of discussions. We go to the library. We go to book stores. She has a lot of books," Ms Bonazza said.

Skyler is not yet in her teens and her mother said she may go to college in years 11 and 12 to get formal qualifications.

But for now, home (and a community hall) is the place of learning.

It should be said the number of homeschoolers remains small compared with the number of on-campus schoolers, even though the percentage rise is big.

The latest official figures for the ACT have 465 children in homeschooling compared with 82,280 students across primary schools (47,174), high schools (23,926) and colleges (11,180).

But the rise upwards since COVID is unmistakable (as is the fall for public schools: 50,556 in 2023 compared with 51,153 ACT pupils in 2021).

One of the organisations promoting homeschooling is holding an information session at Downer Community Hall between 4pm and 6pm on Monday.

The organiser, Ms Catizone, said she would try to answer common questions like, "What about socialisation?", "Will my children learn enough?" and "What about university?".

She said kids had opportunities to socialise despite not going to school, with a public school's wide mix of types and backgrounds.

Her daughters' education is "interest-led". Her eldest daughter was curious and learns, even about formal subjects like mathematics.

"She learns a lot of maths through shopping or cooking or helping us do our tax returns. She's renovated her room, and that involved a lot of maths like measuring," Ms Catizone said.

"If she wants to go to university, she will do more formal maths."

Ms Catizone is a vegetarian and, at home, there is an interest in "ethical behaviour" which prompted her daughter to research vegetarianism, both in terms of food but also fashion.

The teenager is interested in make-up, and that provides two fields of learning. "She's done research on ethical make-up", and the daughter has researched "make-up through the ages".

"It's very important for them to do their own research," the mother said.

She rejects the idea schooling children at home gives parents an opportunity to indoctrinate children in the parents' values.

In response to the idea, she says religious schools do the same.

Ms Catizone is a convert to homeschooling but she also concedes it doesn't suit everyone. It is obviously only for those with some money and time.

There is a class aspect.

Parents who both work fixed and long hours to just about pay the bills may not be convinced about homeschooling. For them, public schools are the only option.




Monday, May 20, 2024

Truman Scholarships overwhelmingly awarded to progressive students for tenth year in row

Meanwhile, fewer than one in 10 are openly conservative, analysis finds

Nearly three in four recipients of this year’s prestigious, federally funded Truman Scholarship have clear ties to Democratic politicians or progressive causes, a College Fix analysis found.

Approximately 43 of the 60 students have worked for Democratic politicians, advocated for progressive causes, or identify as left-leaning — continuing an annual trend exposed in past Fix analyses.

In contrast, only five scholars have worked for Republican politicians, advocated for conservative causes, or identify as right-leaning. The College Fix determined this information based on provided biographies, LinkedIn profiles, and email inquiries.

Terry Babcock-Lumish, the executive secretary of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, told The Fix in a recent email the foundation does not consider students’ political affiliation “as a criteria for selection.”

“The Truman Foundation’s selection process is based solely on applicants’ demonstrated commitment to public service, leadership potential, and academic excellence,” she said.

Babcock-Lumish said the foundation often does not know applicants’ political affiliations and students regularly work for politicians “with whom their beliefs are not 100% aligned.”

She continued, “Our annual competition requires nominations from undergraduate institutions, so the Truman Scholars we select are reflective of the pool of candidates that we have before us. If students are not nominated or do not apply, we cannot select them. Accordingly, let me again ask The College Fix to encourage readers making commitments to careers in public service to apply.”

The Democratic politicians whom the 2024 scholarship winners have worked or interned for include Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, California Rep. Adam Schiff, Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green, and Michigan state Rep. Abraham Aiyash.

Awardees also have been involved with left-wing organizations, including Planned Parenthood Generation Action, College Democrats, Young Democrats, Equal Rights Advocates, and Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Resolution.

Additionally, some have advocated for progressive issues such as “the safety of LGBTQ+ disabled youth,” “racial justice activism,” “pro-union policies,” “environmental justice,” and “social justice and equity,” The Fix analysis found.

A few of this year’s recipients worked for Republican politicians, including Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty, Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, and Tennessee Rep. Diana Harshbarger.

The remaining 12 recipients did not respond to inquiries from The Fix about their political leanings, and their ideologies could not be definitively determined based on public information.


New York City’s public school system has received billions of dollars in additional funding since 2020 — despite enrollment cratering

Per-student spending at K-12 Department of Education schools is expected to hit $39,304 in the upcoming fiscal year 2025 budget — a massive 26.3% increase, equating to $8,185 more per student since 2020, the “Did You Know” study by the Citizens Budget Commission found.

Mayor Eric Adams proposed a 10.2% increase or $2.1 billion more in city taxpayer funding for the Big Apple public school system — which would mostly offset the $2.4 billion phase-out of federal pandemic aid given to DOE.

Total DOE spending will be $269 million, or 0.7%, less than current funding levels.

But the CBC analysis said, “Between fiscal years 2020 and 2025, spending climbed steadily as enrollment fell.”

Total DOE expenditures are projected to reach $39.8 billion in fiscal year 2024, an increase of $5.2 billion, or 15.2 percent, since fiscal year 2020.

City spending rose from $19.7 billion to $20.6 billion from 2020 to 2024, while state aid increased from $12.3 billion to $14.2 billion, according to the report.

Federal funds funneled to the DOE jumped from $2.1 billion in 2020 to $4.6 billion in 2024.

Enrollment plummeted precipitously during the COVID pandemic with the DOE losing 104,374 students between fiscal years 2020 and 2023.

The city now projects an increase of 10,355 K-12 students this year and next, thanks in large part to the migrant influx.

But DOE still has 94,019 fewer students than in the pre-COVID-19 era, the CBC report noted.

During a City Council budget hearing on Wednesday, Council members made it clear they want to jack up education spending in the final negotiated budget with City Hall.

The Council is pushing to boost spending on early education pre-K and 3-K programs by $170 million more than the mayor recommended.

Education officials and the Council are awaiting a report that spells out where the demand is needed for early childhood education seats and where they are not.

Councilwoman Rita Joseph (D-Brooklyn), who chairs the education committee, expressed concern about the more than $200 million gap — the loss of federal aid that was not replaced by city and state funding — in the DOE budget.

“That’s significant,” she told Schools Chancellor David Banks, who testified at the hearing.


Hard to Argue With Logic of 13 Judges Who Say They Won’t Hire Columbia Grads

Is it proper for federal judges to boycott hiring students who attend a particular university? Thirteen federal judges, all of whom were appointed by former President Donald Trump, have announced that they are going to do just that.

In a May 6 letter to Minouche Shafik, president of protest-rocked Columbia University, the 13 judges referred to “recent events” there and informed her that, “absent extraordinary change,” they would “not hire anyone who joins the Columbia University community whether as undergraduates or law students—beginning with the entering class of 2024.”

The recent events, of course, are the campuswide anti-Israel demonstrations that resulted in the occupation of a school building (Hamilton Hall), multiple arrests, and a smaller-than-usual commencement ceremony punctuated by ongoing protests.

Such antisemitic protests, of course, have been taking place on dozens of campuses, but things seem to have been particularly bad at Columbia.

In addition to occupying a Columbia University building and assaulting maintenance workers, protesters accosted and assaulted Jewish students, shouting “F— Israel” and “Israel is a b—-” and telling them that they would be Hamas’ “next targets” and should “Go back to Poland!” (This last was a thinly veiled reference to Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek, Belzek, Sobibor, and Chelmno, the horrific extermination camps for Jews that existed in German-occupied Poland during World War II.)

Many protesters at Columbia were joined by sympathetic faculty members (hundreds, according to The Guardian), who linked arms and formed a protective wall around the anti-Israel encampments. Among these supportive faculty members was Joseph Massad, who said Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel, which left over 1,200 dead and 250 hostages taken, was “awesome” and a “stunning victory of the Palestinian resistance.”

The situation became so dicey that one rabbi associated with Columbia said Jewish students should go home and remain there because the school could not guarantee their safety.

Columbia Law School was not exempt from this activity. The editors of the Columbia Law Review—presumably among the best and the brightest students—said that they, like most of their classmates, were “irrevocably shaken” by what was happening on campus and demanded that the school cancel final exams and simply pass all students.

What judge could have faith in the integrity and academic rigor of any institution teaching future lawyers that this is an appropriate response to disturbing events?

As someone with a long family history at Columbia (my grandfather taught at the medical school and I went to Columbia, as did my father and my daughter), this hits close to home.

In their letter to Shafik, the 13 federal judges wrote that they had “lost confidence in Columbia as an institution of higher education” and that the school had “become an incubator of bigotry.” To restore academic freedom and reclaim a “once-distinguished reputation,” the judges stated, Columbia should do three things at a minimum:

1) See to it that students and faculty members who violated the school’s rules and disrupted campus life, including by threatening Jewish students, suffer serious consequences.

2) Ensure that in the future the university protects free speech and enforces rules of conduct in a neutral and nondiscriminatory fashion.

3) Make “[s]ignificant and dramatic change[s] in the composition of its faculty and administration” to promote viewpoint diversity.

Two of the judges who signed the letter are appellate judges, namely James Ho of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Elizabeth Branch of the 11th Circuit. Also signing: eight District Court judges from Texas (Alan Albright, David Counts, James Hendrix, Matthew Kacsmaryk, Brantley Starr, Jeremy Kernodle, and Drew Tipton), a District Court judge from Georgia (Tilman Self), a District Court judge from North Dakota (Daniel Traynor), a judge on the Court of Federal Claims (Matthew Solomson), and a judge on the Court of International Trade (Stephen Vaden).

The federal judges noted that the anti-Israel demonstrations on the Columbia campus had made it clear “that ideological homogeneity throughout the entire institution … had destroyed its ability to train future leaders of a pluralistic and intellectually diverse country,” and that it was equally “clear that Columbia applies double standards when it comes to free speech and student misconduct.”

The judges cited abortion as an example, stating that they had “no doubt” that the response of Columbia administrators would have been “profoundly different” had religious conservatives on campus who “view abortion as a tragic genocide” engaged in an uprising.

I also have no doubt that this is true, and could cite many other examples: Protest racial preferences in admissions policies or the establishment of black-only housing on campus? Rally against biological males being allowed to compete in women’s sports? Galvanize a petition drive against being forced to refer to students by their preferred personal pronouns? Raise a ruckus over the legality and morality of same-sex marriages? Gather a crowd and give a speech claiming that the 2020 presidential election was stolen?

Not a chance! Any student group that did any of those things would be subjected to discipline for engaging in “hate speech.” But wear a mask and carry placards proclaiming, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free” (with its implicit message that Israel must and will be eliminated)? Well, then, “It depends on the context.”

There are those, including Columbia Law grad Dan Abrams (whom I recently debated on this subject on his NewsNation show) and MSNBC columnist Jessica Levinson, who say this is a dramatic overreaction tantamount to guilt by association that punishes innocent students who didn’t participate in anti-Israel protests.

Levinson goes so far as to say that the 13 judges are engaging in extortion and blackmail of Columbia. Other commentators, such as Berkeley Law School professor Orin Kerr, say they believe that “judges as judges do not have an important role to play in our society beyond the work they do in the courtroom or in chambers … , and they shouldn’t be trying to help American society solve problems like anti-Semitism, in any kind of official capacity.”

Still others, less thoughtful or kind, have stated that the judges who vow not to hire Columbia graduates are engaging in a performative protest designed to appeal to “their chosen audience of wackjobs.”

One wonders whether these critics would respond the same way if a university or college, and especially a law school, were to foster a hostile environment, replete with threats to students by mask-wearing fellow students and faculty members, for female, black, or LGBTQ students?

Are there students who will suffer the consequences of this hiring boycott even though they had nothing to do with, and may well have disapproved of, the campus protests? Certainly. But the same could be said of any boycott.

When a group chooses to boycott a product or restaurant chain because of some corporate policy or practice, those who produce that product or work in that restaurant inevitably will suffer the consequences and may well lose their jobs, even though they had nothing to do with formulating the policy or implementing the practice that the protesting group finds objectionable. Boycotts are a blunt but often effective tool designed to bring about systemic change from the top. And change is certainly needed here.

Many of our elite universities, including Columbia, pay far less attention than they should to teaching students how to think and far more attention than they should to teaching students what to think. Overwhelmingly liberal faculty members and administrators divide the world into “oppressors” and “oppressed,” indoctrinate students in left-wing ideology, and “cancel” any contrary views in the process.




Sunday, May 19, 2024

Survivor of Mao’s political purge getting ‘PTSD’ watching history repeat on college campuses

A survivor of Mao’s Cultural Revolution says she is experiencing post-traumatic stress witnessing history repeat itself on college campuses as “Marxist hordes” have taken over in anti-American and anti-Israel demonstrations.

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Lily Tang Williams, who is currently running as a Republican candidate for Congress in New Hampshire’s 2nd district, said she fears the country she left is coming back to haunt her again in the United States.

“I sometimes I get nervous, and I feel like I’m having a little bit of PTSD and like I can’t sleep well whenever I see the way they’re chanting, using drums and us[ing] slogans, [are] humiliating people and have a huge amount of young people…chanting ‘Death to America,’ not just ‘Death to Israel.’ I just feel like, oh my goodness the… Red Guards are in action again,” she said.

The Red Guard was a massive student-led, paramilitary social movement in China that was mobilized by Chairman Mao Zedong in 1966.

Young people were one of the most effective tools Mao exploited to fuel his revolution, Tang Williams said. Most of the young people protesting on college campuses today are “naive” and therefore ripe for manipulation by bad faith actors, she added.

“I think that a lot of students who were protesting on college campuses [are]… confused… Because that’s what Mao said, the young people’s mind is a blank piece of paper, and you can draw the most beautiful pictures,” she said, adding that she thinks they are “naive and easily manipulated… [for] revolution.”

Tang Williams was born in China’s western Sichuan province on the cusp of Mao’s deadly terror campaign – the Cultural Revolution. She experienced extremely poor living conditions, food rationing, social chaos and communist indoctrination.

She came to America in 1988 to study at a graduate school, but it took 20 years over the course of her journey in America to rid herself of all the communist propaganda.

Tang Williams drew a parallel between the Chinese revolution that was based on class and what she believes is a neo-Marxist Cultural Revolution that is based on identity groups molded together into a coalition on an oppression matrix, with Palestinians considered an oppressed group.

“It’s traditional Marxism. It’s oppressor versus oppressed. Doesn’t matter how many subcategories you put under each category,” she said. “And it’s this movement’s agenda. It’s well-funded. And students on college campuses are leading the way.”

“They’re using this international conflict, chanting… ‘from the river to the sea’ before Israel even had the chance to launch the defense and go after Hamas. So [the protesters] are the ones who first called for the… genocide of Israel when they were [protesting right after Oct. 7],” Tang Williams added.

Mao’s Great Leap Forward, an economic policy, led to the deaths of up to 45 million people. Adhering to communist ideals, the state seized control of production. Private farmland was confiscated and food distribution was placed under the purview of the government. As a result, the Chinese people died from starvation, forced labor, suicide and torture.

The Five Black Categories of oppressors included right-wingers, rich farmers, landlords, counter-revolutionaries and bad influencers. On the other side were the Red Categories, the poor, working-class, Revolutionary guards and active members of the Chinese Communist Party.


Federal Appeals Court Rules Maryland Parents Cannot Opt Children Out of LGBTQ Lessons

Despite national attention and thousands of protesting parents, a federal court is refusing to allow parents to opt their children out of LGBTQ courses in school.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided on Wednesday that Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland does not have to allow parents to opt their children out of LGBTQ-themed lessons.

Judge G. Steven Agee, a George W. Bush appointee, claimed that the parents seeking to opt their children out of the lessons in question did not provide sufficient evidence to justify a preliminary injunction.

In March of last year, MCPS added nearly two dozen “LGBTQ+ inclusive texts” to the pre-K through eighth-grade curriculum. According to a lawsuit filed in May, parents were told that “no notice will be given” of when LGBTQ-themed lessons will be taught and that “no opt-outs [will be] tolerated because [students] must learn to be more ‘LGBTQ-Inclusive.’”

The federal lawsuit was brought by a group of Christian and Muslim parents who wished to remove their children from LGBT-themed lessons on religious grounds. More than 1,000 parents—including Catholic, Ethiopian Orthodox, evangelical, Muslim, and Jewish parents—attended a subsequent MCPS board meeting to protest the decision to rescind parental opt-outs.

Then, in August, President Joe Biden-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Boardman ruled against Maryland parents, claiming that mandatory LGBT lessons do not constitute a religious liberty infringement. She wrote that reading books about transgenderism, drag queens, and bondage fetishes to children as young as 3 “is not indoctrination” and does not “directly or indirectly” coerce children into activity “that violates their religious beliefs.”

Instead, she suggested that concerned parents—who, according to the policy Boardman sanctioned, have no notice of when these lessons are being taught—discuss the lessons with their children at home after school.

On a separate note, Boardman expressed a concern that too many parents would opt their children out of LGBTQ lessons, which she claimed would “expose students who believe the books represent them and their families to social stigma and isolation” and would further “defeat [the school board’s] ‘efforts to ensure a classroom environment that is safe and conducive to learning for all students’ … ”

Finally, the judge denied any preliminary injunction, meaning that parents cannot currently opt their children out of the objectionable lessons. Boardman wrote that “a constitutional violation is not likely or imminent” and thus “the plaintiffs are not likely to suffer imminent irreparable harm.”

In comments to The Washington Stand, the Family Research Council’s senior fellow for education studies, Meg Kilgannon, warned: “It’s important to understand that this is an effort to develop curriculum to affirm diverse identities.” She noted that the LGBTQ-themed lessons are “not a separate unit (it’s not sex education),” but instead “sexual material that is meant to be incorporated in lessons as the teacher is instructing children in math, reading, science, or history.”

“That is what makes it so noxious. The incorporation of this material this way makes it impossible to remove the content or to remove children from the classes where it is taught,” Kilgannon explained


Far-Leftist university lecturer sacked over Nazi swastika incident loses bid to get reinstated

He got off the Hilton bombing by the skin of his teeth. At his appeal, a very skeptical judge (Gleeson) just did not believe some of the evidence

The University of Sydney has won its appeal against a court ruling that found a controversial lecturer was unlawfully sacked after he showed students a slide show that superimposed a Nazi swastika on the Israeli flag.

In October 2022, Federal Court Justice Thomas Thawley ruled Dr Tim Anderson was exercising his academic freedom. He accepted the lecturer’s argument the swastika graphic was created to encourage critical analysis.

The judge said that while he considered Anderson’s comments would be offensive to many people, he did not consider the context in which the swastika was used involved “harassment, vilification or intimidation”.

But on Friday, the Federal Court overturned the decision in a two to one majority, finding Anderson’s comments did not comply with the “highest ethical, professional and legal standards” required to be protected under the intellectual freedoms enshrined in the university’s enterprise agreement.

The political economy lecturer, who was supported by the National Tertiary Education Union through the case, was sacked from the university in February 2019, a few months after he had superimposed a swastika over an Israeli flag.

Friday’s judgment said that in July 2018, Anderson posted to his Facebook account a photograph taken at a lunch in Beijing where one of the people wears a shirt with antisemitic slogans in Arabic which translate into English to: “Death to Israel”, “Curse the Jews” and “Victory to all Islam”.

The university directed him to remove the photograph, which he did not do.

In October 2018, the university moved to sack Anderson after he showed a PowerPoint presentation in a lecture about civilian deaths in Gaza that featured the Nazi swastika imposed over the flag of Israel.

It came after two other warnings in 2017 and 2018 over statements made about a News Corp journalist and his labelling of US senator John McCain as a “key al-Qaeda supporter”.

Anderson had previously told the court, in an affidavit: “While some may feel offended by Nazi-Zionist analogies, I say the inclusion of the analogy in that graphic was appropriate. The purpose of the slide was to encourage critical analysis ... No student raised any issue with the slide during the seminar.”

In his reasons, Judge Nye Perram said he accepted it may “in an appropriate case” be consistent with the standards in the university’s enterprise agreement for an academic to use a Nazi swastika.

“It was for Dr Anderson to engage in the forensic gymnastics of explaining how his at least incendiary conduct could be characterised as being consistent with the highest ethical, professional and legal standards. This he did not do,” he said.

The university submitted Anderson’s comments were “variously intemperate ad hominem attacks” and were not in pursuit of academic excellence.

Last year, the court dismissed Anderson’s claims for damages but found Anderson should be reinstated to his position, pending the outcome of the university’s appeal.

Friday’s ruling, which overturns that order, comes amid ongoing discussions about freedom of speech and antisemitism on campus. Vice chancellor Mark Scott has written to the attorney-general to seek legal advice from federal authorities on how to respond to protesters who call for an “intifada” against Israel.

“We’re pleased with this outcome, as we were confident of our actions,” a University of Sydney spokeswoman said.

“We strongly defend freedom of speech and the ability of our staff to express their expert opinion as outlined in our Charter of Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom. The principle and practice of intellectual freedom must be upheld in accordance with the highest ethical, professional and legal standards.”

The swastika incident followed years of controversial statements and activities by Anderson, including several trips to North Korea and Syria and expressions of solidarity with their dictatorial regimes.

Anderson was also convicted in 1990 over the 1978 Hilton hotel bombing in Sydney. He was acquitted the following year.