SF School Board Recall Funded Mostly by Local Donors, With Venture Capitalists Topping the List

Guy Marzorati and Vanessa Rancaño:

San Francisco’s school board has spent the past year in the national spotlight, garnering the attention of pundits from Fox News to the New York Times editorial pages for its controversial decisions on distance learning, school renamings and admissions policies.

The campaign to recall board members Alison Collins, Gabriela López and Faauuga Moliga, however, has relied on a donor network close to home.

A KQED analysis of campaign filings for the election, slated for Feb. 15, found that at least 76% of the pro-recall cash raised so far is coming from donors in San Francisco.

Opponents of the recall, who haven’t started fundraising, will likely seek to portray the campaign as spearheaded by forces outside of the city — as has been the case in a number of other recent school board protests across the country — said Jason McDaniel, associate professor of political science at San Francisco State University, who reviewed KQED’s findings.

“I suspect they’ll still do that message, but I do think that so far the fact that most of the donations … are coming from people in San Francisco who are individuals will at least be a counterargument to that,” he said.

Get Cops Back in (Madison) Schools

Dave Cieslewicz:

Removing police from Madison’s public high schools never made any sense. It was destined for disaster. Today’s news brings evidence that the disaster is upon us. 

On Wednesday afternoon about 100 people brought an altercation that began inside East High School onto a street that borders the school. Ten Madison cops and a supervisor had to respond to quell the situation. To make matters worse, members of the crowd fled the scene after refusing to cooperate with the police. That suggests gang connections or other criminal activity that the perpetrators didn’t want revealed. 

Would it have come to this if the Educational Resource Officer (the bureaucratic title for a cop imbedded in a school) was still there? Of course, there’s no way to be sure, but it’s a fair bet that that officer would have defused the situation long before it became a near riot. 

ERO’s had been in Madison’s high schools for almost three decades and their service had been exemplary. There were no problematic incidents involving them. In fact, most were women or people of color and they served as positive role models.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Civics: Just 29% trust US media

Issues and Insights:

According to a recent survey conducted by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford, among 92,000 news consumers in 46 countries, the United States ranked last in terms of media trust at 29%.  Finland received the highest level of trust in the study, at 65%. The United States performed worse than Poland, the Philippines, and Peru.

Here are the trust levels for G-20 countries included in the survey.

Civics: Not since 2013 has a judgeship been contested

David Blaska:

Dane County WI has 17 circuit court judges; they are elected in the non-partisan Spring (April 5) elections to six-year terms. Job pays $130,00 annually. (Another 11 court commissioners set initial bail at arraignment court. They are appointed.)

They are largely faceless; they rarely face opposition on the ballot. Not since 2013 has a judgeship been contested. For that reason, they rarely need to campaign, respond to questionnaires, sit for an endorsement interview, debate an opponent.

Five judgeships are on the ballot in the next election on 5 April 2022. Those benches are occupied by Valerie L. Bailey-Rihn, Nicholas McNamara, John Hyland, Stephen Ehlke — and Everett Mitchell. Mitchell is, by reputation, at least, the king of catch and release. Consider this case as Exhibit A:

One defendant at a time. A fellow by name of Sir Emarion M. Tucker this week pled guilty to raping a woman in her southwest side home on 1 September 2018. He also pled out to two unrelated burglary charges committed while he was free on bail. In March 2020, Judge Mitchell agreed to reduce Tucker’s $30,000 bail to $2,000. Tucker was back on the streets.

Two months later, he robbed a woman on Radcliffe Drive on the far west side, struck her in the head and demanded sex. (More here.) Two months after that (July 2020), Tucker robbed and punched a 77-year-old woman and also attempted to steal her car in a parking lot on Cottage Grove Road. A raft of charges were dismissed to get Tucker’s plea. Those include aggravated battery, armed robbery, armed burglary, attempted sexual assault, battery, and child pornography. Two felony bail jumping charges were also dismissed.

Sex Differences in Adolescents’ Occupational Aspirations: Variations Across Time and Place

Gijsbert Stoet David C. Geary:

We investigated sex differences in 473,260 adolescents’ aspirations to work in things-oriented (e.g., mechanic), people-oriented (e.g., nurse), and STEM (e.g., mathematician) careers across 80 countries and economic regions using the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). We analyzed student career aspirations in combination with student achievement in mathematics, reading, and science, as well as parental occupations and family wealth. In each country and region, more boys than girls aspired to a things-oriented or STEM occupation and more girls than boys to a people-oriented occupation. These sex differences were larger in countries with a higher level of women’s empowerment. We explain this counter-intuitive finding through the indirect effect of wealth. Women’s empowerment is associated with relatively high levels of national wealth and this wealth allows more students to aspire to occupations they are intrinsically interested in. Implications for better understanding the sources of sex differences in career aspirations and associated policy are discussed.

Non-Profit Acquires Vacant School, Plans Private Choice School for Mattoon, Wisconsin


A non-profit finally acquired a vacant elementary school in Mattoon, Wisconsin, subject of a lengthy legal dispute over ownership, and intends to start a private choice school in the underserved community. The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) represented the non-profit, Shepherd’s Watch, in the legal fight over ownership of the building that concluded earlier this year when the Antigo School Board voted to sell the property to the Village of Mattoon and Town of Hutchins, who in turn sold it to Shepherd’s Watch.

The Quotes: WILL Deputy Counsel, Anthony LoCoco, said, “We are thrilled Shepherd’s Watch finally acquired the empty Mattoon Elementary school and can now work towards opening a private school that offers new options to local families. Rural Wisconsin deserves school choice just as much urban and suburban communities.”

Wade Reimer, President of Shepherd’s Watch, said, “The community of Mattoon and the surrounding area can only benefit from a Christian choice school. The excitement of this potential radiates throughout the community. Shepherd’s Watch continues to pray for leadership and guidance to reach this goal.”

“What we need is a board and an administration that is primarily focussed on providing a high quality education for students who are well-behaved and want to learn”

Dave Cieslewicz:

We owe it to those students — and the taxpayers who will now be paying about 9% more as a result of the new budget — to provide the kind of calm and orderly environment where learning can happen. 

As for the disruptive kids, they need to be removed from class. Then they need to get the services they need, but they should only be allowed back in class when they won’t be messing things up for others. 

If that makes sense to you, then you are out of touch with this school board. There is very little diversity of experience and almost none in perspective on this board. There is, for example, not one school board member who is an employer and who might be concerned about the quality of the work force. There is no school board member who is an advocate for taxpayers or who might be considered a fiscal watch dog. There is no proponent of personal responsibility and not one who would dare question the latest fad coming out of schools of education. 

Look, I’ll be honest. From what I can tell this board actually does represent where the majority of Madison voters are at. Since Trump a lot of liberals have just gone off the deep end, and Madison sure has a lot of liberals. 

But I’m one of those rare liberals who I like to think has kept his head and tried to tether himself to at least some approximation of reality. And — I’m just guessing here — there might be maybe a third or so of Madisonians who agree with me about all this. Maybe not a majority, but certainly a significant minority.

Wisconsin AB446 Vote and Representative Remarks

AB446 Legislative links and lobbying information. (League of Women voters is against!)

Speakers, in order:

0.08: Rep. Dave Considine (D-Baraboo) voted No.

4:50: Rep. Robert Wittke (R-Racine) voted Yes.

6:30: Rep. Deb Andraca (D-Whitefish Bay) voted No.

11:40 Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) voted yes.

14:14 Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du lac) voted yes.

30.08: Rep. LaKeisha Myers (D-Milwaukee) voted no.

39:10 Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) voted no (?).

41:37 Rep. Don Vruwink (D-Milton) voted no.

43:52 Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee) voted no.

50:20 Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) voted yes.


Legislative campaign finance reports. WisPolitics summary.

Much more on our latest attempt to address Wisconsin (and Madison’s) long term, disastrous reading results: AB446.

Parents, Education and Governor elections: Virginia Edition

Related: My question to Ben Wikler & Paul Farrow on Our Disastrous Reading Results and the 2022 Wisconsin Governor Race

Students Walk Out of Loudoun Schools Over Sex Assault Concerns


Students walked out of Loudoun County high schools Tuesday morning over concerns about sexual assaults and the school district’s handling of two reported attacks.

Students walked out of Broad Run High School, Riverside High School and Stone Bridge High School.

“Loudoun County protects rapists,” a group of students chanted outside Broad Run High.

I have been through this before

Ann Bauer:

Since Bettelheim took his life, the Orthogenic School has undergone major changes. Their own Family Handbook makes glancing reference to Bettelheim’s “highly controversial” theories and credits him (briefly) for drawing attention to the problem of autism. In 2014, the school moved from the somber brick buildings where it had been housed for almost 100 years to a sunny campus in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood. Earlier this year, they announced they are closing their residential program for good.

At some point—I cannot say when, because there were years that went by like dark water—I went to Chicago and visited the site of the old Orthogenic School where Bruno Bettelheim once ruled. A psychiatry fellow I’d contacted showed me around, talking gravely about the bizarrely ignorant methods that had once dominated his field. He showed me the rooms where the children lived, far from their parents, and the courtyard where in Bettelheim’s era there had been a statue in the shape of a mother that he’d encouraged his young male students to urinate on.

I don’t know what I thought I’d find there. Maybe I was looking for the answer to how terribly and repeatedly we as people can get our responses to nature so wrong. The courtyard was empty, brilliantly sunny. The brick buildings were old and graceful, like hallowed monuments to science. I had to remind myself there were decades of abuse, psychological terror, and forced separation from parents within the walls of this place. And for all those years, staff watched and participated without a single one of them speaking out.

Notes on renaming Madison Memorial High School

Scott Girard:

Phillips was one of four names under consideration by the committee, which had narrowed an initial list of 24 proposals to a final set: Vel Phillips Memorial High School, Bruce Dahmen Memorial High School, Darlene Hancock Memorial High School and simply Memorial High School.

Throughout the process and Wednesday’s discussion, one of the largest questions facing the committee was whether to name the school after a person at all. While some committee members spoke to the dangers of using any person’s name, given that no person is infallible, others felt strongly that this was an opportunity to make a powerful statement.

“For years to come it can spark change and different things among students and represent something that ‘Memorial High’ simply can’t,” committee chair Julian Walters said.

A vote was first taken on the Memorial High School proposal, but it failed with five voting in favor and six against. Those in support of the Memorial proposal spoke to the public comments in support of that idea and their personal experience hearing from people who supported it.

Cost Disease Socialism: How Subsidizing Costs While Restricting Supply Drives America’s Fiscal Imbalance

Niskanen Center:

We are in an era of spiraling costs for core social goods — health care, housing, education, child care — which has made proposals to socialize those costs enormously compelling for many on the progressive left. This can be seen in the ideas that floated around the 2020 Democratic primary, which are a preview of coming policymaking attractions. Proposals for free college and student debt relief, Medicare for All, free or nearly free universal child care, and massive subsidies for renters in expensive cities were floated by President Biden’s challengers, and continue to be at the top of the progressive agenda. Indeed, the current vogue for “socialism” on the left is, on closer examination, almost always about socializing these common household expenditures. The traditional socialist call to “seize the means of production” has thus been updated to something closer to “subsidize my cost of living” — a less revolutionary ambition, perhaps, but one that is no less myopic.

The regulatory roots of cost disease explain why fiscal conservatives are poorly served by strategies focused on austerity and direct budget controls. Unless we are able to effect regulatory reforms to subdue costs in diseased sectors, public demand for socializing such costs will prove irresistible. But such socialization will only exacerbate cost disease over time, leading to renewed public demand for increased socialization in a dismal cycle of bloat and waste.

Just Having Standards Isn’t Enough — Study Finds Teachers Use High-Quality Curricula in States That Actively Promote Them

Beth Hawkins:

The number of teachers using curriculum aligned to academic standards has ticked up since 2019, rising more quickly in states that have adopted policies incentivizing the use of high-quality materials than in others, according to a new report from the RAND Corp. Teachers are much more likely to use standards-aligned math curriculum than English language arts, and more likely to use it in elementary and middle school grades than high school, researchers found

The results buoy a four-year-old effort by 13 states to push teachers to use higher-quality classroom materials. States belonging to the network, organized by the Council of Chief State School Officers, generally saw quicker adoption of curricula vetted for quality by the nonprofit ratings group EdReports

By incentivizing the use of better materials, members of the network hope to influence what is taught, by extension increasing students’ academic achievement. Past research has shown that the mere existence of academic standards has little effect on what happens in classrooms, but early efforts to promote the use of curriculum that conforms to expectations of what students should know at any particular grade level appear promising. 

Just 22 percent of a nationally representative sample of high school teachers surveyed in spring 2021 as a part of RAND’s American Instructional Resources Survey reported using aligned math and reading materials, with more than 70 percent using no curriculum at all or materials that did not conform to state academic standards or were unrated.

We Added New Words to the Dictionary for October 2021


Just as the language never stops evolving, the dictionary never stops expanding. New terms and new uses for existing terms are the constant in a living language, and our latest list brings together both new and likely familiar words that have shown extensive and established use.

Words from Online Culture and Communication

We’ve been communicating online for decades now, and pandemic-related circumstances have only increased the practice. The quick and informal nature of messaging, texting, and tweeting has contributed to a vocabulary newly rich in efficient and abbreviated expression.

More failing grades for the ‘Education Governor’

MD Kittle:

The latest woeful proficiency numbers show what conservative lawmakers have been saying for a long time: It’s not about dumping more money on the problem. These are failing grades a long time in the making, and they have much to do with the failings of the “Education Governor.” Before winning election in 2018, the Democrat ruled the state Department of Public Instruction for a decade. He was a tool for the state’s teachers unions. So was his hand-picked successor, Carolyn Stanford Taylor. Underly is just as beholden to the unions and to the status quo of failed policies.

More so, despite billions of dollars at his disposal, Evers and DPI failed to come up with plans that would have extended the school year or added instructional time to the school day, MacIver reports.

“Undely has spent most of her time talking about the need to implement the racist Critical Race Theory in our schools and pushing mediocrity on our children rather than using the bully pulpit to raise awareness about this critical problem,” MacIver asserts.

Republicans took aim at the state’s education failures on Evers’ watch.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Was NIH-funded work on MERS virus in China too risky? Science examines the controversy

Jocelyn Kaiser:

Questions related to the frustrating search for the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic keep creating commotion. Last week, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) placed one of its grantees, and itself, in the hot seat when it told Congress in a letter that the EcoHealth Alliance in New York City had failed to promptly report potentially worrisome results from a virology experiment done by a collaborator in China. In a progress report for one of its grants, EcoHealth had mentioned an altered bat coronavirus made mice sicker than expected, a discovery it should have notified the agency of immediately, NIH asserted in a letter to Congress.

EcoHealth, which has directed some of its NIH money to researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), was already under attack. Some scientists, politicians, and journalists espouse the idea that the ongoing pandemic was likely sparked by a virus that escaped from WIV.

There is no concrete evidence for that. But to detractors of NIH and EcoHealth, the letter and the progress report show NIH supported what’s often called gain-of-function (GOF) virus research in China, the type of studies that can make pathogens more dangerous to humans and that some think may have spawned SARS-CoV-2. (“In Major Shift, NIH Admits Funding Risky Virus Research in Wuhan,” Vanity Fair declared, for example.)

NIH has consistently denied that it has funded risky GOF research in China, and still does. EcoHealth’s work didn’t meet the bar, the agency says, because the more pathogenic bat coronavirus was created from one not known to infect humans. Still, NIH demanded that EcoHealth provide by this week any unpublished data beyond its last progress report, which covered year five of the grant.

Full-Time Duke And North Carolina Faculty Receive $2,300 In Settlement Of Claim That Non-Poaching Agreement Stifled Lateral Moves; Adjunct Faculty Receive $150

Julien Shen-Berro and Kate Murphy:

The lawsuit, filed by a UNC-CH professor, alleged that non-medical faculty were paid less because Duke and UNC had a “no-poach understanding” that violated state and federal anti-trust laws.

The plaintiffs accused the schools of agreeing not to hire each other’s faculty in order to “suppress the pay of Duke and UNC faculty,” according to the initial complaint. …

More than 15,700 current and former faculty members at Duke and UNC-CH were eligible for these payments, according to court documents. …

Regular faculty members will receive an average of $2,341.19 in compensation, according to the site. Other faculty positions, like adjuncts or visitors, will receive an average of $152.54.

School board democracy is ‘rigged

Joanne Jacobs:

People might yell less at school board meetings if they realized they have the power to vote out board members who don’t listen and vote in better ones. But, the system is “rigged,” writes Matthew Ladner on reimaginED.

Unionized employees follow board elections closely, lobbying for their preferred candidates, while most people don’t know there’s an election or who’s running, much less what they stand for.

Ladner favors school choice, so families can find (and afford) the alternative that fits their family’s priorities.

But he also likes a simple, doable idea suggested by Max Eden, an American Enterprise Institute fellow. On-cycle school board elections would boost turnout and “elect governing boards with a stronger claim to community support and democratic legitimacy,” writes Eden.

Madison School Board approves suspension moratorium for grades 4K-5

Scott Girard:

The board added an addendum to the Behavior Education Plan for grades 4K-5 outlawing out-of-school suspensions beginning Tuesday.

District officials and board members hope the change will keep more students in school, especially the Black students who have been disproportionately disciplined using suspensions.

A presentation last month along with the proposal to eliminate the suspensions showed that in grades 4K-3, 45% of those suspended in 2017-18 were Black, though Black students currently make up just 19% of the overall student population. The number rose to 60% in 2018-19 and 50% in 2019-20.

For fourth- and fifth-grade, it was 50% in 2017-18, 53% in 2018-19 and 60% in 2019-20.

Overall, the total number of out-of-school suspensions in these grades has been relatively small in the district’s overall population — 146 affecting 79 students in 2017-18, 191 affecting 99 students in 2018-19 and 174 affecting 97 students in 2019-20.

While the policy passed unanimously, board member Cris Carusi expressed concerns that the change was coming “at a time when our schools are understaffed” and supports like social workers are busy filling in for others and less able to support students than normal.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Mission vs Organization: Wisconsin DPI punts on reading, again

An unidentified DPI writer:

We can improve children’s literacy through authentic family engagement, not increased assessment

To create students who stay curious and inquisitive throughout their lives – active participants in democracy, critical consumers of information, creative contributors to our communities – we need to ensure our students are literate. When it comes to literacy in Wisconsin, I know we have a distance to go. And yet that distance also represents a great opportunity for our state: the opportunity to build on the rich literacy practices we find in every family, culture, and community that make up this great state and, in doing so, create equitable and sustainable systems to continue that valuable work.

We do this by centering authentic family engagement rather than focusing on parental notification concerning assessment results. Rich family engagement revolves around communication, but only if it is a collaborative process, not a one-way street. We do this by using assessments to gather purposeful evidence that can inform and improve universal instruction. I appreciate that our legislature recognizes the need to concentrate on literacy, but we must remember that increased assessment is not the end goal; improved reading is the end goal, and to achieve that, we need to focus our resources on what we know works. We do this by ensuring our educators have the support they need to engage families, interpret assessments, and implement meaningful instruction and interventions.

Representative LaKeshia Myers on Wisconsin AB446

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

The 10 best global universities of 2022, according to U.S. News and World Report

Abigail Johnson Hess:

On Tuesday, U.S. News & World Report released its eighth annual ranking of the best global universities around the world. 

The 2022 ranking assesses 1,750 institutions from more than 90 countries across 13 different metrics, including research reputation, faculty publications and international collaboration. 

“These rankings stand out from our other education rankings due to their emphasis on academic research,” says Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News in a statement. “The Best Global Universities feature an overall ranking of more than 1,700 universities, as well as subject rankings of additional 255 universities, for a total of 2,005 schools, providing even more information for prospective students interested in schools where research is a top priority.”

As in previous years, universities from the United States dominated the ranking, claiming eight of the top ten spots — which remain largely unchanged from the previous year with the exception of the University of Washington, Seattle, and Cambridge University each rising one spot. California Institute of Technology fell two spots.

Enrollments Still Falling 2 Years Into Pandemic

Emma Whitford:

The post-pandemic enrollment rebound everyone wished for has not come to pass.

College and university enrollments are still on the decline for most institutions, early data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show. Undergraduate enrollment across the board fell by 3.2 percent this fall, echoing last fall’s 3.4 percent decline. Since fall 2019, undergraduate enrollments have dropped by 6.5 percent.

The top-line findings paint a bleak picture for higher education’s recovery.

“We’ve really not seen declines across the board like this,” said Doug Shapiro, vice president of research and executive director of the research center.

Students still have not returned to college at the rate they left, and it will likely take years of work to bring them back into the fold, Shapiro fears.

“A lot of those freshmen who didn’t show up last year — they haven’t come back yet,” Shapiro said. “The longer students are away from school, the harder and harder it becomes for them to come back. It may well be that a majority of them might not ever make it back, and that’s very much a concern.”

Commentary on the NEA’s membership and influence

Mike Antonucci:

Everything was rosy for the National Education Association during the 2008-09 school year. Barack Obama was elected president, and the union reached an all-time high of 3,234,639 members.

But it has been a long, slow slide since then, as NEA membership has not recovered from the lasting effects of the recession, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus ruling and, now, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Numbers from early 2021 show a decline to 2,937,366 members, including retirees. That’s more than a 9 percent decline. Some state affiliates have lost a fifth or more of their members over the past five years. Though NEA still claims 3 million members, it hasn’t hit that figure at any time since 2011-12. Membership levels haven’t been this low since 2006.

But the evidence so far indicates that dwindling membership has had a negligible effect on the union’s overall finances. NEA and its state affiliates still take in almost $1.7 billion annually, as increases in dues tend to offset the loss of members.

An update on the war in parents (Lawfare)

Don Surber:

A month ago, the National School Boards Association was riding high. It sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding that he investigate “domestic terrorism” by parents who say things they don’t want to hear at board meetings.

Oh those poor dear school board members. Maybe they should get combat pay.

Garland complied.

The letter cited a few incidents and said, “As these acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials have increased, the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes. 

“As such, NSBA requests a joint expedited review by the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, and Homeland Security, along with the appropriate training, coordination, investigations, and enforcement mechanisms from the FBI, including any technical assistance necessary from, and state and local coordination with, its National Security Branch and Counterterrorism Division, as well as any other federal agency with relevant jurisdictional authority and oversight. 

“Additionally, NSBA requests that such review examine appropriate enforceable actions against these crimes and acts of violence under the Gun-Free School Zones Act, the PATRIOT Act in regards to domestic terrorism, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Violent Interference with Federally Protected Rights statute, the Conspiracy Against Rights statute, an Executive Order to enforce all applicable federal laws for the protection of students and public school district personnel, and any related measure. As the threats grow and news of extremist hate organizations showing up at school board meetings is being reported, this is a critical time for a proactive approach to deal with this difficult issue.”

While we are at it, why not give school board presidents nuclear weapons? Small tactical ones, of course. We would not want to overdo it.

“Civic Demotion”


Five years ago, Facebook gave its users five new ways to react to a post in their news feed beyond the iconic “like” thumbs-up: “love,” “haha,” “wow,” “sad” and “angry.”

Behind the scenes, Facebook programmed the algorithm that decides what people see in their news feeds to use the reaction emoji as signals to push more emotional and provocative content — including content likely to make them angry. Starting in 2017, Facebook’s ranking algorithm treated emoji reactions as five times more valuable than “likes,” internal documents reveal. The theory was simple: Posts that prompted lots of reaction emoji tended to keep users more engaged, and keeping users engaged was the key to Facebook’s business.

Expanding some Madison High Schools…

Scott Girard:

The plans caused equity concerns among some, especially given that both schools are on the west side of Madison and have lower rates of students of color and students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged. La Follette and Capital high schools later added their own, smaller, capital fundraising campaigns.

Taxpayers funded the expansion of Madison’s least diverse schools a few years ago; Hamilton and Van Hise. This, despite space in nearby schools.

Loudoun County Forces Parents To Sign NDA-Style Form To View CRT-Inspired Curriculum

Chrissy Clark:

Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) is requiring parents to sign a form comparable to a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to view a portion of the district’s new curriculum inspired by critical race theory, according to documents reviewed by the Daily Caller.

As part of LCPS’ broader equity agenda, the district spent approximately $7,700 to become a “licensed user” of Second Step Programs, a branch of the left-leaning non-profit organization Committee for Children. According to a copy of the NDA-style form reviewed by the Daily Caller, “eligible parents” at LCPS must sign the document to view the Second Step curriculum.

Curriculum presentations can only be given in person and parents cannot broadcast, download, photograph, or record “in any manner whatsoever.” Downloadable files of part of the curriculum are available on LCPS’ website, per Second Step’s copyright policy.

“I understand that the Authorized Presentation of Second Step Materials I am about to view is not a public event, and that copying, broadcast or recording of any kind is not permitted,” the form reads. “I agree to comply with the terms of the above Special License.”

Censorship and Google

many taxpayer supported K-12 school districts use Google services, including Madison.

50 years ago, ‘The Electric Company’ used comedy to boost kids’ reading skills

Elizabeth Blair:

When The Electric Company debuted in October 1971, television hadn’t seen anything quite like it. Psychedelic graphics, wildly creative animation, mod outfits, over-the-top characters and sketch comedy all functioned to serve the same goal: teaching kids to read. 

Brought to you by the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) — the same producers behind Sesame Street, which debuted in 1969 — The Electric Company won two Emmys, aired on more than 250 public TV stations and became a teaching tool in thousands of classrooms nationwide. 

The show’s cast included Academy Award winner Rita Moreno, Bill Cosby and a then-unknown Morgan Freeman. Guest stars included Mel Brooks, Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder and Joan Rivers. The teen pop band Short Circus (get it?) included future star Irene Cara. The comedy writers were among the best in the business and later went on to work on hit TV shows, including MASH and Everybody Loves Raymond.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

The price of teacher mulligans

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

8.9% (!) Madison School District Property Tax increase, amidst substantial spending growth… (results?)

Elizabeth Beyer:

The total budget increases expenditures by 11.41% over the previous school year, which includes one-time federal and local COVID-19-related funding. The district expects a 4.5% increase in general state aid, or $40.2 million, even though the state provided no increase in the revenue limit. Enrollment, used to calculate the amount of state aid given to the district, was down 405 students during 2021-22 compared to the previous school year. The district’s total tax collections are a 1.96% increase from last year.

Scott Girard:

The Madison School Board approved a $538 million budget for the 2021-22 school year Monday night.

The budget is a $55 million increase over last year’s actual expenditures, but includes $18.9 million from federal COVID relief funds and about $20 million in unspent money that had been budgeted last year but was not needed for things like unfilled staff positions or transportation costs.

“This budget relies on re-evaluating prior year budgets and repurposing existing funds to new uses,” interim chief financial officer Ross MacPherson told the School Board Monday.

It also comes with a tax rate increase.

The tax rate had been projected in this summer’s approved preliminary budget to drop to $10.87 per $1,000 of property value from last year’s rate of $11.13. Instead, it will rise to $11.40, as the city of Madison’s equalized value unexpectedly dropped by 1.1%, even as surrounding municipalities saw a rise in valuation.

MacPherson said he is working with city officials and state Department of Revenue staff to determine why this happened, but even if they determine it was a mistake, nothing could change in time for this year’s budget.

“While we have no control over equalized valuation, we continue to work with the city of Madison and the Department of Revenue to identify the cause of this trend in future budget years,” he said.

The 27-cent jump from last year equals $81 more for the owner of a $300,000 home in the MMSD portion of their property tax bill.

WORT looks at the City of Madison’s budget.

Wisconsin “Equalized Value” report: 2021 | 2020

Taxpayer supported Madison School District tax & spending history.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

over $300K spent by Colorado Teacher Unions in School Board elections

Sherrie Peif:

Contributors to the effort launched the campaign in a year that has seen more candidates for school board than anyone can remember.

Many of those are slates of hopefuls running together and looking to hold sway over district policy decisions, despite school board races being classified as non-partisan, both major political parties have a foothold and interest in the races.

The renewed interest in school board seats comes as parents are pushing back on issues from mask mandates to the use of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in teaching methods and curriculum choices.

School districts across the state have a total 530 candidates running for open board seats, more than anytime in at least the last 20 years, and double the number of candidates from the 2019 election.

Civics: When the media’s credibility collapsed, the New York Times led the way

Batya Ungar-Sargon

But in American journalism, a dam had been broken. It is now normal for editors at legacy publications to capitulate to outrage not only from their readers, but from their own staff. That’s what’s so shocking about this censorious development in American journalism. It’s not that online activists would try to use their power to enforce their views. It’s that older journalists — people who should, who do, know better — now surrender to the pressure.

George Floyd’s murder on May 25, 2020 put this moral panic on steroids. Since then, liberal media outlets have fired writers, editors and even their founders to placate the woke left. The limits of acceptable discourse have shrunk. People have been fired for the crime of disagreeing with a person of color on Twitter, or for not promoting enough black women. In February 2021, the New York Times pushed out long-time science reporter Donald McNeil after staffers found out he had used the ‘n-word’ in response to a question from a student about whether it’s OK to use the ‘n-word’ as a joke. Instead of fighting for McNeil’s job, the NewsGuild, the Times’s staff union, observed that ‘there’s never a moment when harmful racist rhetoric is acceptable’.

The Washington Free Beacon, reporting how the union had failed to fight for McNeil’s job, noted how many Timesstaffers come from wealthy backgrounds and how few actually rely on the job security the union provides. It concluded that ‘defending workers has given way to defenestrating them, especially when they violate the taboos of well-to-do progressives’. It isn’t just a culture war anymore, between antiracist wokesters and the last old-school journalists committed to objectivity. It’s a class war between highly educated young elites and their older middle-class colleagues who offend their woke sensibilities and thus, they think, deserve to be fired.

Civics: The NSA and Computer Science


(U) Cryptology has historically entailed an intensive application of labor.
But since the middle ofthe last century, automation has been used as a way to greatly ease the making and breaking of codes. The formation and maturation of the National SecurityAgency(NSA)and theevolutionofitsmissionsparalleledinlargepartthe adventofthecomputerage. A!Jaconsequence,theNSAanditspredecessoragencies have historically been at the forefront of computer development in the United States.

Self Studying the MIT Applied Math Curriculum


I’m a Master’s student at Harvard and Georgia Tech studying Machine Learning and Computational Biology. I’m also a research assistant in a few labs, and my work spans Applied Math, Theoretical Neuroscience, and Machine Learning. Previously, I helped start an ML startup. I’m planning on applying to PhD programs this fall!

My journey into Machine Learning has been fairly non traditional, I studied mostly biology and cognitive science in my undergraduate career at UCSD and my internships were always in Product Management. I taught myself to code, mostly application development for web and mobile, and slowly started to see parallels between Information Science and Biology, and was fascinated by Neural Networks. This fascination led me to apply for graduate programs in CS and Biology, and I miraculously was accepted! So, with luck and momentum going my way, I dove deep into deep learning research and taught myself whatever mathematical preliminaries were necessary to make sense of the literature.

My question to Ben Wikler & Paul Farrow on Our Disastrous Reading Results and the 2022 Wisconsin Governor Race

October 21 WisPolitics Event (about 41 minutes into the video clip). A followup questioner, at 47:10, mentioned that the response to my question was money and in fact the school districts that spend the most money (Milwaukee and Madison) have among the worst results.

mp3 audio

Transcript (Machine generated).

Related: AB446.

Ben Wikler and a Teacher Union rally.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Notes on addressing the politics and substance of Wisconsin’s long term, disastrous reading results

Scott Girard:

Other groups that have registered against the bill include the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance and the Wisconsin State Reading Association. Those in support include the Wisconsin Reading Coalition, Decoding Dyslexia-WI and the Wisconsin Branch of The International Dyslexia Association.

Dykstra, a self-described “socialist” who supports this Republican effort, said just because the bill doesn’t solve every issue within the system of early literacy in the state doesn’t mean it’s a bad bill.

“That argument is, ‘We need so much more than this, let’s not do it,’” Dykstra said. “It’s like admitting that, ‘Yes we need to travel 1,000 miles, but 1,000 miles is so far and your plan only takes us 75 miles, let’s not do it.’ But they have no plan to go the 1,000 miles.”

Much more on Assembly bill AB446, here including DPI rhetoric.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Is the Public School System Constitutional?

Philip Hamburger:

The public school system weighs on parents. It burdens them not simply with poor teaching and discipline, but with political bias, hostility toward religion, and now even sexual and racial indoctrination. Schools often seek openly to shape the very identity of children. What can parents do about it?

“I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia, said in a Sept. 28 debate. The National School Boards Association seems to agree: In a Sept. 29 letter to President Biden, its leaders asked for federal intervention to stop “domestic terrorism and hate crimes” against public school officials. Attorney General Merrick Garland obliged, issuing an Oct. 4 memodirecting law-enforcement agents and prosecutors to develop “strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”

The pub­lic school sys­tem, by de­sign, pres­sures par­ents to sub­sti­tute gov­ern­ment ed­u­ca­tional speech for their own. Pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion is a ben­e­fit tied to an un­con­sti­tu­tional con­di­tion. Par­ents get sub­si­dized ed­u­ca­tion on the con­di­tion that they ac­cept gov­ern­ment ed­u­ca­tional speech in lieu of home or pri­vate school­ing.

I have long been amazed at the lack of lawfare addressing our long term, disastrous reading results.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

It’s Madness to Quarantine Schoolchildren

Leslie Bienen and Eric Happel~

An Oregon high school ordered all 2,680 of its students to stay home for a week and a half in September—two days of complete shutdown, followed by a week of online classes. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that the district sent a “flash alert message” to parents at Reynolds High at 5:35 a.m. informing them that their children wouldn’t be allowed in school that day.

It’s not hard to guess why. OPB reports that in the first two weeks of school “875 high school students and staff members . . . had to quarantine” before the shutdown. All that was in response to a mere four positive tests for Covid-19. Oregon is following the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite the disease’s low risk to young people and the widespread vaccination of adults, the CDC continues to recommend seven- to 14-day quarantines for schoolchildren who are suspected of having been exposed to the virus.

Thirty states have set aside the CDC’s guidelines, according to our research, and the agency itself has published studies suggesting that such measures are unnecessary. Yet the CDC has dragged its feet in considering a less-restrictive alternative known as “test to stay.”

Civics: “The time has come to create some level
of accountability for prosecutors.”

Frederick Block:

JABBAR COLLINS LANGUISHED in jail for over 16 years for a murder he apparently never committed. He was only freed a few years ago when it was revealed at a post-conviction hearing that the main witness at his trial had told the prosecutor that he was pressured by police to lie about Collins’ involvement in the murder.

The prosecutor, representing the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, never shared that information with Collins’ lawyer—an egregious violation of the law, which requires the government to inform the defense of any exculpatory evidence. At the hearing, the judge who tossed out Collins’ conviction called the conduct of the prosecutor and the DA’s office “shameful” and a “tragedy.”

Just 4% of black students in Las Vegas-area schools tested proficient in math

Victor Joecks:

In another context, how the Clark County School District fails minority students would be considered evidence of racism.

Last school year, only 20 percent of Clark County students tested proficient in English Language Arts. In math, it was 11.5 percent. Those results are from the Smarter Balance Assessments, which Nevada’s third- through eighth-graders are supposed to take yearly. They didn’t have to take the test during the 2019-20 school year because of the pandemic.

The results are even worse for Black and Hispanic students. Just 10.2 percent of African American kids tested proficient in English. In math, that number is a jaw-dropping 3.9 percent. For Hispanic students, the numbers are 15.7 percent in English and 7.4 percent in math.

This failure is widespread. There were 22,200 African American students in third through eighth grade last year. More than 140 schools enrolled at least 50 Black students in those grades. Just 21 schools had 20 or more African American students test proficient in English. In math, only three schools met that criteria. Three.

Today’s School Board Fights Recall the 1970s Busing Battles

Jason Riley:

Disgruntled parents, school board acrimony, and simmering racial tensions—these are the reactions to social activists who are trying to remake public education to their liking. For an older generation, however, this moment also recalls the busing wars of a half-century ago, a history no one should want to repeat.

Court-ordered busing of schoolchildren began in the South in the early 1970s, and the objective was to achieve more racial balance in public schools. The practice was controversial in part because the Civil Rights Act of 1964 stated explicitly that children must be assigned to schools “without regard to their race” and that desegregation did not require students to be placed in schools “to overcome racial imbalance.” The goal was to open schools to all races, not dictate where families could send their children.

Regardless, activist courts ignored the letter of the law at the urging of liberal elites and began signing off on school-integration plans that equated any racial imbalance in classrooms with de jure segregation. Soon, cities from San Diego and San Francisco to Minneapolis, Omaha and Cleveland were found guilty of operating deliberately segregated schools. The remedy was to bus students to whatever schools needed more members of a particular race to get the “right” mix. It was color-by-numbers, using children.

A recently published paper explains how “concept creep” in the field of psychology has reshaped many aspects of modern society.

Conor Friedersdorf

How did American culture arrive at these moments? A new research paper by Nick Haslam, a professor of psychology at the University of Melbourne, Australia, offers as useful a framework for understanding what’s going on as any I’ve seen. In “Concept Creep: Psychology’s Expanding Concepts of Harm and Pathology,” Haslam argues that concepts like abuse, bullying, trauma, mental disorder, addiction, and prejudice, “now encompass a much broader range of phenomena than before,”expanded meanings that reflect “an ever-increasing sensitivity to harm.”

He calls these expansions of meaning “concept creep.”

Although critics may hold concept creep responsible for damaging cultural trends, he writes, “such as supposed cultures of fear, therapy, and victimhood, the shifts I present have some positive implications.” Still, he adds, “they also have potentially damaging ramifications for society and psychology that cannot be ignored.”

Two stories illustrate how concept creep can be a force for good or ill.

Story 1: During the 1950s, third graders would climb into their parents’ cars and ride around without seatbelts. When stopping short, fathers and mothers would use their right arms in hopes of keeping their little ones from hitting their heads on the dashboard. These kids lived in houses slathered with lead paint and spent hours in family rooms thick with cigarette smoke. Today, there are laws against letting children ride around without seat belts, lead paint is banned, and there is such a powerful stigma against exposing children to second-hand smoke that far fewer kids suffer from poor health outcomes related to such exposure. Society’s concept of what constituted an unacceptable risk, harm, or trauma expanded for the better.

Virginia Legislation on School Sexual Assault Reporting

Isaac Schorr:

Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly voted for — and Governor Ralph Northam signed — a law allowing schools to refrain from reporting instances of sexual battery, stalking, violation of a protective order, and violent threats occurring on school property in 2020.

§ 22.1-279.3:1 of Virginia code had required that these, among a number of other major crimes, be reported to law enforcement if they occurred on campus. Democrats insisted that misdemeanors be extirpated from reporting requirements in House Bill 257, replacing the word “criminal” with “felony” in the code.

In a stunning exchange between legislators in the House of Delegates last year, Todd Gilbert, the Republican Leader in the body, asked Delegate Mike Mullen “did I hear correctly that you would not have to report sexual battery to law enforcement any longer if we accept these amendments?”

“I would answer the minority leader that he is not hard of hearing, and that he is asking me to repeat this over again even though he heard it the first time,” responded Mullen, the bill’s sponsor.

“Forgive me, Madam Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, for being shocked that the patron, a career prosecutor, would want to accept these amendments, and frankly would want to put you all in the position of voting to accept these amendments,” shot back Gilbert.

“So I apologize for my hard of hearing, but frankly I couldn’t believe my ears,” he added.

Lawfare & K-12 Parents & Schools: White House staff had been in communication with NSBA staff over “several weeks,”

Erika Sanzi:

Remember the letter that the National School Board Association (NSBA) sent to President Biden a few weeks ago that complained about frustrated and angry parents and referred to them as the “equivalent of domestic terrorists?” It turns out that the president and CEO of the organization went rogue together (after direct coordination with White House staff) and sent the letter without the knowledge of their board. 

How do we know? My organization, Parents Defending Education, filed public records request to find out. 

We were immediately suspicious. Let’s remember that five days after the letter was sent, US Attorney General Merrick Garland fired off an official memorandum from the Department of Justice saying that the FBI would take the lead on the law enforcement response to parents at school board meetings. That lightning fast turn around time (5 days!) is only possible if the fix is already in. 

And it was. 

Not only were the NSBA board members left out of the loop, but they were then forced to answer for the letter that they did not know about, did not approve and don’t even agree with on the merits.

How Climate Scenarios Lost Touch With Reality

Roger Pielke:

The integrity of science depends on its capacity to provide an ever more reliable picture of how the world works. Over the past decade or so, serious threats to this integrity have come to light. The expectation that science is inherently self-correcting, and that it moves cumulatively and progressively away from false beliefs and toward truth, has been challenged in numerous fields—including cancer research, neuroscience, hydrology, cosmology, and economics—as observers discover that many published findings are of poor quality, subject to systemic biases, or irreproducible. 

In a particularly troubling example from the biomedical sciences, a 2015 literature review found that almost 900 peer-reviewed publications reporting studies of a supposed breast cancer cell line were in fact based on a misidentified skin cancer line. Worse still, nearly 250 of these studies were published even after the mistaken cell line was conclusively identified in 2007. Our cursory search of Google Scholar indicates that researchers are still using the skin cancer cell line in breast cancer studies published in 2021. All of these erroneous studies remain in the literature and will continue to be a source of misinformation for scientists working on breast cancer. 

In 2021, climate research finds itself in a situation similar to breast cancer research in 2007. Our research (and that of several colleagues) indicates that the scenarios of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the end of the twenty-first century are grounded in outdated portrayals of the recent past. Because climate models depend on these scenarios to project the future behavior of the climate, the outdated scenarios provide a misleading basis both for developing a scientific evidence base and for informing climate policy discussions. The continuing misuse of scenarios in climate research has become pervasive and consequential—so much so that we view it as one of the most significant failures of scientific integrity in the twenty-first century thus far. We need a course correction.

Civics: Legislative Audit Bureau on Wisconsin Election Administration

Wisconsin LAB:

The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) is responsible for ensuring compliance with state and federal election laws, and county and municipal clerks administer elections. Statutes require WEC to provide training and guidance to municipal clerks in the state’s 1,849 municipalities. Statutes also require WEC to design and maintain the state’s electronic voter registration system, which is known as WisVote, and approve electronic voting equipment before it can be used in Wisconsin.

After the General Election on November 3, 2020, questions were raised about elections administration issues. On February 11, 2021, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee directed us to evaluate such issues, including:

The Married Will Soon Be the Minority

Charles Blow:

When I was young, everything in society seemed to aim one toward marriage. It was the expectation. It was the inevitability. You would — and should — meet someone, get married and start a family. It was the way it had always been, and always would be.

But even then, the share of people who were married was already falling. The year I was born, 1970, the percentage of Americans between the ages of 25 and 50 who had never married was just 9 percent. By the time I became an adult, that number was approaching 20 percent.

Some people were delaying marriage. But others were forgoing it altogether.

This trend has only continued, and we are now nearing a milestone. This month, the Pew Research Center published an analysis of census data showing that in 2019 the share of American adults who were neither married nor living with a partner had risen to 38 percent, and while that group “includes some adults who were previously married (those who are separated, divorced or widowed), all of the growth in the unpartnered population since 1990 has come from a rise in the number who have never been married.”

This came on the heels of data released by the National Center for Health Statistics last year, which showed that marriage rates in 2018 had reached a record low.

We are nearing a time when there will be more unmarried adults in the United States than married ones, a development with enormous consequences for how we define family and adulthood in general, as well as how we structure taxation and benefits.

Mountain lion sighting in North Bay prompts school lockdowns

Jessica Flores:

A mountain lion was spotted in Rohnert Park near a creek path on Monday morning, prompting two school lockdowns.

The Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety said the lion was seen near the area of Five Creek Trail and Crane Creek Trail, east of Evergreen School.

Evergreen and Lawrence Jones Middle Schools were both on lockdown Monday morning, officials said.

Wisconsin Science Festival returns, offering more than 100 free activities

Kayla Huynh:

The Wisconsin Science Festival is taking over the state Thursday through Sunday, with 170 events in more than 30 counties, including Madison. 

The activities, from interactive science experiments to conversations with prominent scientists on topics like psychedelics, Chilean astronomy and animal development, are happening both virtually and in-person. 

Laura Heisler, program director at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the Morgridge Institute for Research, said the festival is aimed at engaging those of all ages in science. The festival is “a way of having fun with science,” she said, and is especially targeted toward people who don’t often get the chance to interact with the field.

Madison East High School Fight among 100

Jeff Richgels:

More than 10 police officers and a supervisor responded to fights amid a crowd of more than 100 students and parents outside East High School Wednesday afternoon, Madison police said.

Police found no one with injuries from the incident, although several people left the scene shortly after police arrived, Officer Ryan Kimberley said in a statement. 

You’ve installed your home security system, but are you getting the most out of it? Here are four easy tips to keep your home extra safe.

At about 12:30 p.m., police were dispatched to a fight involving students and parents at the Fourth Street entrance to East High, 2222 E. Washington Ave., Kimberley said.

As officers were responding, police received reports that a gold van had left the area containing the students who were fighting, Kimberley said.

The first officer at the scene found more than 100 people gathered in the middle of Fourth Street, with some appearing to want a fight. The lone officer used the public address system on his squad car and its sirens in an attempt to disperse the crowd, which ignored the officer’s efforts, Kimberley said.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Lawfare and the National Association of school boards

Jordan Davidson:

Garland then confirmed it wasn’t until NSBA contacted him that his department began to investigate claims of violence and terrorism.

“Well, the National School Board Association, which represents thousands of school boards and school board members, says that there are these kinds of threats. When we read in the newspapers reports of threats of violence—” Garland said before Jordan interjected again.

“The source for this … was the National School Boards Association letter,” Jordan reiterated before his time expired.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=FDRLST&dnt=true&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3NwYWNlX2NhcmQiOnsiYnVja2V0Ijoib2ZmIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1451214699559800835&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fthefederalist.com%2F2021%2F10%2F21%2Fag-merrick-garland-admits-federal-war-on-parents-sprang-from-school-boards-letter-not-evidence%2F&sessionId=ef9bdc2a4372340f64e83091a5829e9db78032bb&siteScreenName=FDRLST&theme=light&widgetsVersion=f001879%3A1634581029404&width=550px

Biden AG Merrick Garland concedes that he started targeting parents for “possible domestic terrorism” because the NSBA sent a letter. pic.twitter.com/ZDvhZ6vDzO

— The First (@TheFirstonTV) October 21, 2021

The NSBA sent a letter to the Biden administration last month begging federal law enforcement to use domestic terrorism laws to target parents who oppose anti-science mask mandates for children and the infiltration of racist curriculum in schools. The school board organization claimed federal action was warranted to “deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation.”

Most of the incident examples the NSBA used to justify intervention by the Biden administration did not escalate to a level that even yielded arrests or charges on the local level, yet Garland quickly directed the FBI and state attorneys to address “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation’s public schools.”

More from Elizabeth Elkind.

White House Knew About Letter That Compared Parents to Domestic Terrorists

His ‘society offenders’ now include parents who object to critical race theory and Covid-19 restrictions.

Gerard Baker:

Merrick Garland’s got a little list.

The attorney general is compiling a steadily lengthening register of “society offenders who might well be underground and who never would be missed,” as Ko-Ko, the hypervigilant lord high executioner, sings in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado.”

Mr. Garland’s list of society offenders is compendious. At the top are right-wing extremists who’ve been officially designated the greatest domestic threat to U.S. security, but whose ranks seem, in the eyes of the nation’s top lawyer, to include some less obviously malevolent characters, including perhaps anyone who protested the results of the 2020 election. Then there are police departments not compliant with Biden administration law-enforcement dicta, Republican-run states seeking to regularize their voting laws after last year’s pandemic-palooza of an electoral process, and state legislatures that pass strict pro-life legislation.

They’d none of them be missed.

Black Children Were Jailed for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist. Almost Nothing Happened to the Adults in Charge.

Maribah Knight & Ken Armstrong:

The police were at Hobgood because of that video. But they hadn’t come for the boys who threw punches. They were here for the children who looked on. The police in Murfreesboro, a fast-growing city about 30 miles southeast of Nashville, had secured juvenile petitions for 10 children in all who were accused of failing to stop the fight. Officers were now rounding up kids, even though the department couldn’t identify a single one in the video, which was posted with a filter that made faces fuzzy. What was clear were the voices, including that of one girl trying to break up the fight, saying: “Stop, Tay-Tay. Stop, Tay-Tay. Stop, Tay-Tay.” She was a fourth grader at Hobgood. Her initials were E.J.

The confusion at Hobgood — one officer saying this, another saying that — could be traced in part to absence. A police officer regularly assigned to Hobgood, who knew the students and staff, had bailed that morning after learning about the planned arrests. The thought of arresting these children caused him such stress that he feared he might cry in front of them. Or have a heart attack. He wanted nothing to do with it, so he complained of chest pains and went home, with no warning to his fill-in about what was in store.

Civics: Canceling Thomas Jefferson

National Review Editors:

After more than a century, the New York City Council is removing a statue of Thomas Jefferson from its chamber. The decision, which was made by the New York City Public Design Commission, was unanimous.

It was wrong, too.

Justifying the move, Councilperson Adrienne Adams proposed that Jefferson had to go because he “embodied some of the most shameful parts of our country’s long and nuanced history.” But, ironically enough, it is precisely “nuanced history” that is missing from this analysis. Like many people, Jefferson could, indeed, be hypocritical and self-contradictory. Like many people from his region, he did, indeed, own slaves (and, unlike George Washington, he did not free them upon his death). And, like many people of his generation, he possessed some unpleasant private views. But it is not for any of that that we celebrate him. We celebrate him because he authored the Declaration of Independence— a magisterial document, which, both at home and abroad, has served as a beacon of hope and liberty throughout that “long” history to which Adrienne Adams refers.

This matters, for, as Princeton’s Sean Wilentz told the commission in a letter, the statue in question “specifically honors Jefferson for” his role in penning the Declaration, which Wilentz describes as “his greatest contribution to America, indeed, to humankind.” Jefferson deserves to be honored for that contribution, which has served, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, as “an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times,” as “the definitions and axioms of free society,” and as “a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of re-appearing tyranny and oppression.” It is no accident that the most pernicious expositor of the pro-slavery cause, Alexander Stephens, loathed Thomas Jefferson and was keen to cast the Confederacy as having been founded upon “exactly the opposite idea” to those “entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution.”

Jury finds ex-Madison teacher not guilty of child abuse

Emily Hamer:

State prosecutor Rebekah Rennicke argued that Rumbelow’s actions were unreasonable because he should have known that the boy was right behind the door since he had been kicking it. She said the door was opened “forcefully,” showing a disregard for the 8-year-old’s safety.

“How hard does someone have to push open a door to cause that?” she said of the “goose egg” on the boy’s head.

Madison gym teacher faces charge of reckless child abuse after door hits student, says complaint
Madison gym teacher faces charge of reckless child

Cynthia Lovell, the school nurse, said the boy had an inch-long bump on his head, about a quarter of an inch wide, with a half-inch superficial cut. She said there were occasional dots of fresh blood.

Rumbelow, who is now retired after a more than 30-year teaching career in which he won multiple awards for his work as a physical-education instructor, testified that the door was “big, old” and “heavy,” with some natural resistance because of a door-closing mechanism on top. It had no windows. He said it took a bit of a push to get the door open, and he did not intend to hit the boy.

The decline in faculty diversity

Colleen Flaherty:

Four-year colleges and universities cut tenure-track hiring by 25 percent around the time of the Great Recession — and hires of people of color declined disproportionately, especially at public and research-oriented institutions, according to a new study in Sociological Science.

In addition to these data, the new paper offers another, urgent takeaway: the same reversal of progress toward faculty diversity could happen in the COVID-19 era, if institutions don’t take steps to ensure it doesn’t.

“That hires of faculty of color declined during the Great Recession may have gone unnoticed by administrators struggling to keep the ship afloat,” the study says. “Provosts and deans facing the COVID-19 crisis should take note that institutions facing uncertainty may reduce new-hire diversity unwittingly. It may be that public and research-oriented institutions will again face the greatest uncertainty over the next few years and will again see the greatest declines in the diversity of new faculty.”

Representative LaKeshia Myers on Wisconsin AB446

mp3 audio

Transcript (Machine Generated).

Representative LaKeshia Myers.

Related: Assembly bill AB446

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Wisconsin Senate SB454 reading readiness assessments: DPI Testimony

I believe the DPI presenters were Barbara Novak and Tom McCarthy.
mp3 audio [Transcript: machine generated]

Written testimony (PDF):

Thank you Chairwoman Darling and committee members for holding a hearing on Senate Bill 154 today.

In Wisconsin, 64% of fourth graders are not proficient readers, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, with 34% failing to meet even the test’s basic standal Nationally, Wisconsin ranks dead last in reading achievement among black students, falling 31 places since 1992. In the same timeframe, reading achievement for Wisconsin white students has fallen from 6th to 27th, and Hispanic students from 1st to 28th. Wisconsin ha a dire reading problem.

Reading is critical to future success. Children who don’t learn to read by the end of third grade are likely to fall behind in other subjects and remain poor readers for the rest of their lives. Poor readers are more likely to drop out of high school, live in poverty, and end up in the criminal justice system. Of those who fail to gain a high school diploma, almost 90 percent experienced trouble reading in the third grade and seven in 10 prison inmates cannot read above a fourth-grade level.

Although Wisconsin was once a leader in literacy, our students now lag behind states where evidence-based approaches to early literacy have been adopted. Thankfully, over the past two decades, neuroscience – including groundbreaking research at UW-Madison – has allowed us to move beyond theory and guesswork, to identify exactly how children become skilled readers AND what effective literacy interventions look like for a child struggling to read. SB 454 aligns Wisconsin law with this growing body of research by strengthening state literacy screening standards, providing more transparency and ensuring teachers have the framework and tools needed to help every child become a proficient reader.

Under current law. Wisconsin schools are required to select and administer an annual literacy assessment to students in four-year-old kindergarten through 2nd grade. Screening assessments are typically only a few minutes in length, and consist of a teacher or volunteer using a flipchart or tablet to guide a child through a handful of exercises. Costs of these assessments are reimbursed by the state. Senate Bill 454 strengthens these existing state screening standards and provides the framework and tools to help every child learn to read in five major ways: Broadens Screening Components to Reflect Evidence-Based Best Practices: Dozens of literacy screeners are available to schools, but not all assess what research shows are the most critical components for reading. This bill expands the required screening components from two to five components to ensure schools are using high quality, evidence-based screeners. This helps teachers more easily identify reading difficulties AND select effective intervention strategies to help children overcome reading difficulties as early as possible.

Increases Assessment Frequency from annually to three times per year to better evaluate student progress, build a baseline for each student, and catch reading difficulties earlier.

Keeps Parents Involved and Informed: Too many parents do not find out their child is struggling to read until third grade (!) when they receive their child’s Forward Exam results. SB 454 requires schools to notify parents of screener results within 15 days, including plain language about the child’s score, percentile rank and if the child is identified as “at-risk”. The bill also requires schools to inform parents if a child begins a reading intervention plan, and detail the interventions that will be used.

Creates Clear Direction to Get Kids Back on Track: There are currently no requirements for when schools must provide additional literacy screening, and there are minimal requirements regarding reading interventions for students. This bill requires students who score below the 25th percentile on a literacy screener be given a more comprehensive screener to inform targeted, evidence-aligned interventions. Increases Transparency and Accountability: Under the bill, schools must annually report the number of students identified as at-risk at each assessment level and the number of students provided with literacy interventions. Statewide consistency across screening components, testing frequency and reporting will give districts, DPI and the legislature critical information to help us all make better informed policy decisions.

The bottom line is that research shows that the earlier we catch reading difficulties and begin simple interventions, the more successful those interventions will be. Strengthening our existing literacy screening laws will ensure that every struggling reader gets the help they need before they’ve fallen behind, lost self-esteem, and disengage from school and learning.

Related: Assembly bill AB446 SB454

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Flying Blind: majority of taxpayer funded Madison Students opt out of state tests…, wordsmithing at the DPI

Elizabeth Beyer:

More than half of Madison School District students opted out of statewide assessments last school year, far more than the unusually high number of students statewide who opted out amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The high opt-out rate makes comparing the test results with those of previous years nearly impossible.

The results showed Madison having among the highest percentage of proficient or better students among Dane County schools, even though the district usually ranks near the bottom. That suggests the students who opted out disproportionately would have scored below proficient.

Roughly 1 in 6 students opted of the exam statewide during the 2020-21 school year, compared with an opt-out percentage below 3% in all test subjects during the 2018-19 school year.

Notes and links:

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

How Baylor Steered Lower-Income Parents to Debt They Couldn’t Afford

Tawnell D. Hobbs and Andrea Fuller:

Some of the wealthiest U.S. colleges are steering parents into no-limit federal loans to cover rising tuition, leaving many poor and middle-class families with debt they can’t repay.

Parents at Baylor University had the worst repayment rate for a type of federal loan called Parent Plus among private schools with at least a $1 billion endowment, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of available Education Department data. Only about a quarter of Baylor parents paid down any of what they originally borrowed after two years.

Unlike undergraduate loans that have limits, there is no cap on what parents can borrow through the fast-growing Parent Plus program, no matter their income. Some parents wanting the best schools available for their children sign on the dotted line unaware how the debt can burden them into retirement.

Baylor increased its tuition sharply to transform itself from a regionally known Baptist college into a national brand that now has a $1.8 billion endowment. The central Texas school has added facilities, built a sports powerhouse and climbed college-ranking lists in a push to become a world-class research institution.

“They told me it was ‘good debt’—that it will pay itself off,” Ms. Massey said of family members who encouraged her to attend Baylor. “I honestly haven’t found anybody that cares about where I went to school.”

Teachers unions influenced last-minute CDC school guidance, received copies before public release, emails show

Joe Schoffstahl:

The records further show that the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, the two largest teachers unions in the U.S., received a copy of the guidance before the CDC released it to the public. The guidance included a phased reopening approach for K-12 schools based on coronavirus cases in the area.

“These documents are further evidence that instead of following the science, the White House and the CDC allowed politics to influence policy,” Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of Americans for Public Trust, told Fox News.

Sutherland’s group obtained the emails as part of an ongoing lawsuit against the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services and provided them to Fox News. The group filed the litigation after the government failed to provide records on the decision-making process regarding school guidance.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Amherst College Drops Admissions Advantage for Children of Alumni

Melissa Korn:

Amherst College is abandoning its policy of giving preference to applicants whose parents attended the Massachusetts liberal-arts school, placing it among the first elite private colleges to ditch legacy admissions.

Selective schools like Amherst have been under intense scrutiny in recent years for putting a thumb on the scale for legacy applicants, with critics arguing the programs do little more than cement the privilege of students, and leave fewer slots for applicants from less-represented backgrounds.

“We’re doing what we can to examine where the barriers are and change what we can change” as the school pushes forward on efforts to broaden access, said Amherst President Biddy Martin.

The school, which this year had an 8.5% acceptance rate, historically gave preference to any children of graduates who were academically qualified. Dr. Martin said legacies are often among the top applicants, so many may still be admitted without considering their familial ties.

Male Workers Allowed Into (Oberlin) Baldwin, Unsettling Residents

Peter Fray-Witzer:

When I asked other Baldwin residents how they felt about the whole debacle, some responded with the usual complaints about any hardware project — the mess, the noise, the suddenness — but others admitted that they weren’t entirely comfortable with the way the installation had been handled and the fact that they were subject to the whims of the contractors. One resident told me that they were instructed to ask another resident to hurry up in the shower so that the workers could have access to the bathrooms. In my experience, if the workers couldn’t hear the water running, they would come into the communal bathroom as they pleased, regardless of who was occupying it.

I understand, of course, that installations like this are routine; the College needs to improve its facilities occasionally, and who am I to stand in the way of that? After all, I get a brand-spanking-new radiator, right in time for the cold weather. But why not finish the project during the four months of the summer semester, when the building was unoccupied? Why not alert us earlier to the intrusion? Why didn’t the College make a schedule detailing when the workers would be likely to arrive at each dorm and in each room? They should have taken measures to keep students comfortable and safe — especially those who have elected to live in a specifically designated safe space.

Roadmap to Reading Success Wisconsin Assembly Vote (AB446)

October 21, 2021 11:00a.m. CST. Watch via Wisconsin Eye.

Wisconsin AB 446; SIS links.

The list of lobbying organizations (many taxpayer supported!) opposed to Roadmap to Reading Success is remarkable:

Association of Wisconsin School Administrators

League of Women Voters Wisconsin (!)

Pearson NA (!)

Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance


Wisconsin Association of School Boards

Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials

Wisconsin Association of School Personnel Administrators

Wisconsin Education Association Council

Wisconsin Retired Educators Association

Wisconsin State Reading Association

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Hong Kong Is Erasing the Tiananmen Square Massacre

Jillian Kay Melchior:

A gruesome sculpture rises from a courtyard at the University of Hong Kong. It depicts dozens of human bodies contorted in agony, some with mouths open in silent screams, some skeletal and apparently motionless. The public university has demanded that this work of art be removed by 5 p.m. Wednesday (5 a.m. Eastern in the U.S.)—an ultimatum Hong Kongers find more horrifying than the statue’s grisly presence.

The sculpture, “The Pillar of Shame,” memorializes the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Its creator, Danish artist Jens Galschiøt, calls the work “an overt accusation of the old men’s regime in Beijing” and “a litmus test of the authorities’ vow to respect human rights and free speech in Hong Kong.” The Chinese Communist Party has “already erased the memory of what happened at Tiananmen inside of China, and now they will do the same in Hong Kong,” Mr. Galschiøt says.

In a letter last week, the university’s lawyers said that if “The Pillar of Shame” wasn’t gone by their deadline, “the Sculpture will be deemed abandoned,” and “the University will deal with the Sculpture at such time and in such manner as it thinks fit without further notice.”

Beijing imposed a national-security law on Hong Kong last year that criminalizes dissent, so finding a new local forum willing to display “The Pillar of Shame” will be difficult, especially on short notice, Mr. Galschiøt says. He adds that his fiber cement sculpture has already required repairs and “probably is a bit frail.” He fears that “if people from a construction firm come from a crane and truck and try to put this away, then they will, I think, destroy it. Maybe they want to destroy it, who knows.”

AAP, AACAP, CHA declare national emergency in children’s mental health


The AAP, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and Children’s Hospital Association have declared a national emergency in children’s mental health, citing the serious toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on top of existing challenges.

They are urging policymakers to take action swiftly to address the crisis.

“Young people have endured so much throughout this pandemic and while much of the attention is often placed on its physical health consequences, we cannot overlook the escalating mental health crisis facing our patients,” AAP President Lee Savio Beers, M.D., FAAP, said in a statement. “Today’s declaration is an urgent call to policymakers at all levels of government — we must treat this mental health crisis like the emergency it is.”

Before the pandemic, rates of childhood mental health concerns and suicide had been rising steadily for at least a decade. By 2018, suicide was the second leading cause of death for youths ages 10-24 years.

Taxpayer funded lobbying: National Association of School Boards

Matt Beienburg:

Educational leaders around the country are disavowing the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) inflammatory claim that the parents of school children are perpetrating a form of “domestic terrorism,” just for daring to stand up to the rise of politicized curriculum in their kids’ classrooms. But in Arizona, school leaders who wish to distance themselves from the organization and its state affiliate may not be given their freedom without a fight.

Indeed, the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) has implemented tactics—such as declaring legal ownership over school districts’ publicly adopted governing policies and alleging potential copyright infringement against member districts who would break away from the ASBA—coercing member districts into continued financial submission even when they wish to cease supporting an increasingly radicalized political agenda.

As explored in a new Goldwater Institute report, Under Control: Arizona School Boards Are Being Forced to Fund Critical Race Theory at Taxpayer Expense, the ASBA has demonstrated its support for ideologically charged programming in public schools while at the same time holding hostage dissenting school board members by staking out outlandish claims of legal control over the board’s existing policy infrastructure.

In particular, the report highlights the following:

  • Like its national affiliate, the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) is using taxpayer-funded dues from virtually every district in the state to promote programming aligned with Critical Race Theory (CRT), even as its state and national leadership deny the existence of CRT in K-12. Like other proponents of this politically charged and racially divisive content, the ASBA has struggled to reconcile its avowed impartiality with the organization’s own actions and statements.
  • The ASBA has coerced governing board members who have sought to terminate their district’s affiliation with the association due to its political activism: In testimony before the district governing board of Western Maricopa Education Center (West-MEC) in August 2021, the ASBA declared that it legally owns the district’s publicly adopted board policies, rendering the district essentially captive to the association in perpetuity.
  • The ASBA asserted that member school districts would be guilty of copyright infringement for using the districts’ own previously adopted policies (or replicating those of other public bodies) if they ceased paying membership fees to the ASBA.

In other words, the ASBA claims that the framework of rules, procedures, and protocols that elected members of school districts—that is, public agencies—have adopted, are actually the private property of the association, and that any district that surrenders its membership in the ASBA could be sued for copyright violation unless that district replaces its publicly adopted suite of rules and policies with completely new ones.

Civics: but challenging the order may involve going to court, incurring costs disproportionate to any legal or moral victory.

Tim Bradshaw:

My tweet was one of dozens identified by the record label as “unlicensed reproductions” of the Beastie Boys track. If I reposted it, or other infringing material, Twitter warned, I face the prospect of “permanent account suspension”. 

While some Twitter users have been “cancelled” by an online mob, my copyright infringement was most likely identified by an algorithmic crawler

This is my 15th year on Twitter. Since 2006, I have posted more than 26,000 tweets, made countless valuable contacts and broken plenty of stories thanks to the platform. But those 26,000 tweets are now also a potential liability. Is there another ticking time bomb buried amid the #breakingnews and my musings on sandwiches? 

While some Twitter users have been “cancelled” by an online mob, my copyright infringement was most likely identified by an algorithmic crawler, which scans the web continuously on behalf of the record labels. Twitter has not yet struck the kind of music licensing agreementthat YouTube and TikTok have with labels that can insulate their users from some complaints. I could argue that my clip was “fair use”, which permits short excerpts without a licence, but challenging the order may involve going to court, incurring costs disproportionate to any legal or moral victory.

The Woke Profession Of Faith At American Universities

Ben Reinhard:

Applying for academic jobs is, as any graduate student will tell you, very nearly a job itself. When I was on the market in 2013, compiling, submitting, and tracking applications consumed my time, even though most of my countless applications were all variations on the same theme. But one application package was different: In addition to the standard cover letter, CV, and writing sample, Christendom College required a separate statement in support of the college’s Catholic mission and identity.

This request, though unusual, made sense. Christendom is a fiercely independent confessional college and a bastion of conservative Catholicism. It refuses all federal funding in pursuit of its educational apostolate, and its faculty make a yearly profession of faith and oath of fidelity. Thus the orthodoxy of the faculty is central to the mission of the college; its students, alumni, and donors expect nothing less. As a practicing Catholic, I was happy to write the statement and overjoyed to accept the job.

Less than a decade has passed since I was on the job market, but the world has changed dramatically. What was peculiar to Christendom in 2013 has become common practice in 2021. It is now difficult to find a job posting in the humanities that does not require some sort of profession of faith—albeit in a radically different creed.

Consider this recent job posting from my alma mater:

Purdue University’s Department of History is committed to advancing diversity in all areas of faculty effort including discovery, instruction, and engagement. Candidates should address at least one of these areas in a separate diversity and inclusion statement, indicating their past experiences, current interests or activities and / or future goals to promote a climate that values diversity and inclusion.

This is, all things considered, a relatively benign example of the genre, a fact perhaps attributable to Purdue’s identity as an agriculture and engineering school, its location in conservative Indiana, and its current leadership (Mitch Daniels, the school’s president, is a former GOP governor and dark horse presidential candidate). But despite all this, Purdue’s history department believes that a commitment to diversity and inclusion is necessary for a candidate who hopes to teach the history of medieval science.

Yale Law School’s Bullying, Coercive Diversity Leaders

Andrew Koppelman:

But in other respects, the diversity and inclusion movement is becoming the enemy of diversity and inclusion, imposing a cookie-cutter orthodoxy and trying to turn thinking human beings into marionettes. An already-notorious recent episode at Yale Law School (disclosure: I’m an alumnus) highlights the problem. It offers lessons in how to, and how not to, manage issues of inclusion.

Trent Colbert, a Yale Law student who belongs to the Native American Law Students Association (he’s part Cherokee) and the conservative Federalist Society, had invited classmates to an event cohosted by both groups. “We will be christening our very own (soon to be) world-renowned Nalsa Trap House … by throwing a Constitution Day Bash in collaboration with FedSoc,” he wrote. The invitation promised “Popeye’s chicken, basic-bitch-American-themed snacks (like apple pie, etc.)” and hard and soft drinks.

It is unsurprising that Colbert did not know all the connotations of “trap house.” The term, which originally referred to crack houses in poor neighborhoods, has, according to Urban Dictionary, “since been abused by high-school students who like to pretend they’re cool by drinking their mom’s beer together and saying they’re part of a ‘traphouse.’” It is one of a huge variety of slang terms from marginalized urban culture that have entered the mainstream, where many people acquire it ignorant of its etymology.

Additional Commentary.

Cybersecurity Experts Sound Alarm on Apple and E.U. Phone Scanning Plans

Kellen Browning:

More than a dozen prominent cybersecurity experts on Thursday criticized plans by Apple and the European Union to monitor people’s phones for illicit material, calling the efforts ineffective and dangerous strategies that would embolden government surveillance.

In a 46-page study, the researchers wrote that the proposal by Apple, aimed at detecting images of child sexual abuse on iPhones, as well as an idea forwarded by members of the European Union to detect similar abuse and terrorist imagery on encrypted devices in Europe, used “dangerous technology.”

“It should be a national-security priority to resist attempts to spy on and influence law-abiding citizens,” the researchers wrote.

The technology, known as client-side scanning, would allow Apple — or, in Europe, potentially law enforcement officials — to detect images of child sexual abuse in someone’s phone by scanning images uploaded to Apple’s iCloud storage service.

How the pandemic affected enrollment at the University of California and California’s community colleges differently

Nani Sumida:

California is home to three public higher education systems: the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU) and the California Community Colleges (CCC). Together, they educate about 80% of the nearly three million college students in the state.

But the three systems vastly differ in the types of students they educate and the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on undergraduate enrollment. Overall, the community college system educates more students of color and is experiencing dramatic declines in enrollment, leading to thousands of students of color leaving California’s public higher education system.

The Chronicle collected data on undergraduate enrollment for the 2019 and 2020 fall semesters for each of the three systems. Data on the current fall semester (2021) is not yet available and therefore was not included in the analysis.

Ordinarily, community college enrollment increases during an economic recession, with students choosing to attend school instead of compete for scarce jobs. But the pandemic is fundamentally different. Commuting to school has health risks for students and their families. Student parents — roughly four in ten at California Community Colleges — have limited child care assistance with most child care centers closed. Others attend school while also serving as front-line or essential workers.

“We just can’t overestimate the level of responsibility that the students that we serve have to their families and to this notion of working as a necessity. When you think about communities that have to make real choices about what to do during very challenging times, the choice often becomes what can I do to survive? And education can become second on the list for many of these students,” said Executive Vice Chancellor Dr. Lizette Navarette

How Time Series Databases Work—and Where They Don’t

Alex Vondrak:

In my previous post, we explored why Honeycomb is implemented as a distributed column store. Just as interesting to consider, though, is why Honeycomb is not implemented in other ways. So in this post, we’re going to dive into the topic of time series databases (TSDBs)and why Honeycomb couldn’t be limited to a TSDB implementation.

If you’ve used a traditional metrics dashboard, you’ve used a time series database. Even though metrics are cheap to generate, they were historically quite costly to store. TSDBs are therefore ubiquitous nowadays because they’re specifically optimized for metrics storage. However, there are some things they aren’t designed to handle:

Selective abortion in India could lead to 6.8m fewer girls being born by 2030

Amrit Dhillon:

An estimated 6.8 million fewer female births will be recorded across India by 2030 because of the persistent use of selective abortions, researchers estimate.

Academics from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia projected the sex ratio at birth in 29 Indian states and union territories, covering almost the entire population, taking into account each state’s desired sex ratio at birth and the population’s fertility rates.

The cultural preference for a son was found to be highest in 17 states in the north of the country, with the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh showing the highest deficit in female births. Researchers predict that the cumulative number of missing female births in the state would be 2 million between 2017 and 2030.

11 shot Saturday into Sunday, including 11-year-old injured when another child, 8, accidentally shot him (chicago)

Talia Soglin:

An 11-year-old boy, wounded when another child accidentally shot him, was among 11 people shot in Chicago between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, according to Chicago police.

The 11-year-old had been in the living room of a residence in the 4000 block of South King Drive in Bronzeville with two other children when one of them, an 8-year-old, accidentally fired a handgun around 2 a.m. Sunday, police said in a statement. The 11-year-old was struck in the thigh and taken to Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago, where he had been listed in fair condition.

Hours later, a man was fatally shot in the 600 block of South Springfield Avenue in the East Garfield Park neighborhood shortly before 8:45 a.m. Police said the man — who was being referred to as a John Doe because investigators could not immediately identify him — suffered multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to Stroger Hospital in Chicago where he was pronounced dead.

About 11:55 p.m. Saturday, two teenagers — a 17-year-old girl and a 19-year-old woman — were shot while traveling in a vehicle in the 4600 block of South Paulina Avenue in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, police said.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: How the Fed Finances U.S. Debt

Judy Shelton:

But Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen nixed the idea. “It’s really a gimmick,” she said. The platinum coin “is equivalent to asking the Federal Reserve to print money to cover deficits that Congress is unwilling to cover by issuing debt. It compromises the independence of the Fed, conflating monetary and fiscal policy.”

This worry about mixing the central bank and the budget was ironic, given the cross-pollination that already exists. In the past two years alone, the Fed acquired more than $3.3 trillion of Treasury debt—which equates to more than half of the combined federal budget deficits for 2020 and 2021.

Moreover, the Fed takes the interest payments received on its portfolio holdings of Treasury securities and other U.S. government-backed securities and sends the vast bulk of that income as revenues to Treasury. The Fed’s “remittances” to Treasury totaled $87 billion in 2020—some 85% of the Fed’s $102 billion annual interest income. Remittances to Treasury are running even higher this year, based on the Fed’s June 2021 quarterly report, and will likely exceed $100 billion. How’s that for a gimmick?

hose numbers are significant in the debate over whether the U.S. government might default. Consider that $6.3 trillion of the $28.4 trillion in total public debt is Treasury debt issued to federal trust funds and other government accounts. The interest paid on those securities is treated as an “intragovernmental” transaction that has no effect on the budget deficit. The payments and receipts are both recorded in the same category of spending in the federal budget.

It is the cost of financing the remaining $22.1 trillion in federal debt held by the public—of which the Federal Reserve holds $5.4 trillion—that bears on the size of the federal budget deficit. Given that the Congressional Budget Office estimates net interest expense at $413 billion this year, the remittances transferred to Treasury by the Fed have a significant effect, offsetting the government’s interest expense (i.e., its net interest outlay) by some 25% or more.

In short, with the Fed owning roughly one-quarter of the federal debt held by the public on which the Treasury must pay interest—and with the Fed’s practice of sending weekly remittances to Treasury—it’s clear that monetary and fiscal policy are conflated.

Madison’s well funded K-12 system is set to receive an additional $70M in federal taxpayer and borrowed funds….

College Mandate Climate

Jennifer Smith:

ollege students at schools across America are lashing out against ongoing COVID-19 rules that include tracking them with apps, restricting their travel, threatening them with arrest unless they disclose their vaccination status, and making them leave the classroom if they want to take a sip of water.

The messy new era of the pandemic has some students and millions of Americans increasingly frustrated, with one student calling it ‘the growth of the surveillance state’ and that it ‘feels like the school is blackmailing me.’

The rules vary by school. In some, they apply only to unvaccinated students, with those who have received the shots able to come and go as they please once they prove they are vaccinated.

But in some, even vaccinated students are being told they must undergo weekly testing and continue to wear masks in classrooms.

Colorado State University, where tuition is $31,712 a year for out-of-state students, is going further and threatening any student who doesn’t register their vaccine status with arrest for trespassing.

The University of Southern California, where fees are $60,446 a year, will not allow students to even take sips of water in class because it means they would have to slip their masks down to their chins. They must leave the room if they want to have a drink.

Harvard is mandating vaccines for all students and staff, and Yale is enforcing it among students. Other Ivy Leagues, like Princeton, are forcing unvaccinated students to continue wearing masks.

Many students say the rules are an ‘overreach’ by college staff and a violation of their privacy.

“Less than 50% of Minneapolis students read at grade level.”

Karen Vaites:

Later that evening, Minneapolis superintendent Ed Graff nearly lost his job. Four school board directors voted not to extend his contract. The only named concerns related to literacy, a weak spot in his performance review and a source of community concern (cut to 1:52:15 of the meeting for more). Graff held onto his job by only one vote.

The story is both unique and all-too-familiar to literacy advocates. It deserves national attention – especially by superintendents in balanced literacy districts (which is most school districts in America). 

The concerns in Minneapolis aren’t new. Parents with concerns about literacy outcomes in MPS have been organizing for more than a year now, and held their first protest back in June

These concerns also aren’t unique to MPS. Minneapolis teaches kids to read via an approach described as balanced literacy. It’s the dominant model in K–12 schools, having risen to popularity over the last two decades – a period marked by flat reading outcomes in US schools. And while the nuances of implementation vary, common issues persist in balanced literacy curricula and classrooms.

Parents are catching on to these issues, as evidenced by a growing chorus of voices in social media and a growing number of districts whose parents have organized to advocate for better approaches. The issues in Minneapolis are absolutely reflected in districts across America.

Facial Recognition Cameras in UK School Canteens

Cynthia O’Murchu:

Facial recognition computers have found an unlikely new niche: scanning the faces of thousands of British pupils in school canteens. 

On Monday, nine schools in North Ayrshire will start taking payments for school lunches by scanning the faces of pupils, claiming that the new system speeds up queues and is more Covid-secure than the card payments and fingerprint scanners they used previously. 

“It’s the fastest way of recognising someone at the till — it’s faster than card, it’s faster than fingerprint,” said David Swanston, the managing director of CRB Cunninghams, the company that installed the systems.

San Francisco School Board Recall

Civics: ACLU defends censorship in Virginia

Hans Bader:

In Virginia, the ACLU did nothing to help parents who were subjected to clearly-unconstitutional censorship in Fairfax County. Instead, it filed a brief in support of censorship in neighboring Loudoun County.

In Virginia’s Fairfax County, mothers Debra Tisler and Callie Oettinger suspected their Fairfax County school district was wasting taxpayer money on excessive legal fees. Tisler made a Freedom of Information Act request, and Oettinger published some of the records Tisler received on her website, after redacting any confidential information. School officials sued both women, demanding that the court order the mothers to return the documents—even though Tisler had legally obtained them—and order Oettinger to take the information off her website.

Incredibly, a state court judge granted a temporary order last month ordering Oettinger to take down the information. This was a flagrant, obvious violation of Supreme Court rulings declaring that such court orders against speech are unconstitutional “prior restraints” that violate the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has long made clear that people can’tbe prevented from publishing information given to them by the government, even when the government gave them that information by mistake, and even when the information is highly private in nature. (See, e.g., Florida Star v. B.J.F. (1989)).

As of today, the ACLU has not said one word about this highly-publicized instance of censorship, which has been widely discussed in the media in the last couple weeks, such as at Fox News, on TV, and in print publications.

They need everyone working and paying taxes. EVERYONE. Even then their system doesn’t work, but it fails SLOWER.

Hello Galt:

Third, yeah, we can see it coming. They want all our money. Why should we work for them?

This is something the left doesn’t get.

The other thing they don’t get because they can’t, is that no, they don’t have the support of the majority. Or even a substantial plurality. And that this country is not one large city. It’s vast, chaotic and ornery.

They’re starting to panic at sick-outs and resistance to the stupid vax mandates. They should panic harder, because as rumor leaks, more people are going to go “F*ck you. Make me.*

And the other part is that they can’t help themselves. They. Can’t. Help. Themselves. Noisome, having survived the recall through fraud is outlawing…. private homes and the two cycle engine? Thanks, Governor Noisome. My home in CO went up 50k this MONTH. Not that Polis is much better, but I guess Californians still want to go somewhat blue? And we’re …. freer. I guess.

Two out of three low-income black and Latino students in California read below grade level.

Joanne Jacobs:

The Report Card focuses on low-income Latino third graders, who make up 43 percent of public school students. Only one school district in California — Bonita Unified in Los Angeles County — has more than 60 percent of these students reading at grade level; 12 teach the 50 percent mark.

The best-performing districts for low-income Hispanic students aren’t the best funded or the most affluent, writes Collins. He’s a school board member in Palo Alto, where 80 percent of low-income Latino third graders are reading below grade level.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

Civics: The Washington Post & Waukesha School Board

Dan O’Donnell:

Rajnicek never actually said that students would become spoiled by free lunches.  While speaking ahead of the board’s decision to exit the Seamless Summer Option, she wondered aloud whether she and other upper middle-class parents like her might unfairly take advantage of a program for low-income families that was never intended to include them. During a school board meeting in June, she raised the possibility that she and other parents like her who could easily afford to pay for lunches for their children would become spoiled by taking advantage of a program that was never intended for upper-income families.

“Can we just get back to, ‘If I have children, I should be able to provide for them and if can’t, there is help for them?’ Stop feeding people who can provide for them,” she said.  “I feel that this is a big problem.  And it’s really easy to get sucked into and to become spoiled and to think it’s not my problem anymore.  It’s everyone else’s problem to feed my children.”

The Post never included this context in its original story and deliberately misquoted Rajniceck in both its tweet and headline, and as a result she bore the brunt of the hatred from outraged liberals, who review-bombed her salon for days on end.

A teacher is targeted after she described the baleful effect of critical race theory.

Wall Street Journal:

Bad teachers are rarely held accountable, but the public school bureaucracy seems to be less tolerant of teachers who transgress against the Democratic-union establishment. Behold how one middle-school English teacher in Providence, Rhode Island, is being run out after publicly criticizing critical race theory.

The Providence Public School District hauled in Ramona Bessinger on Wednesday for a “pre-disciplinary administrative” hearing because she allegedly let students leave her classroom during a school lockdown related to a fight between a student and staff member. Ms. Bessinger, who has taught for 22 years, denies the charge.

Her real offense is chronicling the alarming effects of critical race theory on students and teachers. “I love being a teacher and I care a great deal about my students, almost all of whom are non-white. This past 2020/21 school year was a sad and worrisome turning point for me as an educator,” she wrote this summer on the blog Legal Insurrection.

The myth of the ‘stolen country’ What should the Europeans have done with the New World?

Jeff Flynn-Paul:

Last month, in the middle of the Covid panic, a group of first-year university students at the University of Connecticut were welcomed to their campus via a series of online ‘events’. At one event, students were directed to download an app for their phones. The app allowed students to input their home address, and it would piously inform them from which group of Native Americans their home had been ‘stolen’.

We all know the interpretation of history on which this app is based. The United States was founded by a monumental act of genocide, accompanied by larceny on the grandest scale. Animated by racism and a sense of civilisational superiority, Columbus and his ilk sailed to the New World. They exterminated whomever they could, enslaved the rest, and intentionally spread smallpox in hopes of solving the ‘native question’. Soon afterwards, they began importing slave labour from Africa. They then built the world’s richest country out of a combination of stolen land, wanton environmental destruction and African slave labour. To crown it all, they have the audacity to call themselves a great country and pretend to moral superiority.
This ‘stolen country’ paradigm has spread like wildfire throughout the British diaspora in recent years. The BBC recently ran a piece on the 400th anniversary of the Plymouth landings, whose author took obvious delight in portraying the Pilgrim Fathers as native-mutilating slave drivers. In Canada, in the greater Toronto school district, students are read a statement of apology, acknowledging European guilt for the appropriation of First Nations lands, before the national anthem is played over the PA system every morning.

As a professional historian, I am keenly aware of the need to challenge smug, feelgood interpretations of history. I understand that nationalism and civilisational pride carry obvious dangers which were made manifest by the world wars of the 20th century. And I understand that these things can serve as subtle tools not only of racism but of exploitation of many stripes, and as justification for a status quo which gets in the way of meritocracy and fairness.

But I also know that if the pendulum of interpretation swings too far in any one direction, thin

Community College Is Already Affordable

Preston Cooper:

The reconciliation bill currently under debate in Congress includes a scheme to provide two years of free community college, the centerpiece of a $111 billion boost to higher education funding. The bill’s Democratic backers say that “every American should have the opportunity to get the quality and affordable education they need to find a rewarding career.” But community college is already affordable. The problem is the quality, which is something the free-tuition plan does too little to address.

Nationwide, average community college tuition is just $3,770. Over the last decade, real tuition at these schools has risen by only $50 per year, far less than the increase at four-year colleges.

But even that overstates the cost. The $3,770 figure represents the “sticker” price of tuition at community colleges. In practice, most students get financial aid from federal and state governments, which defrays the cost of attendance. After applying financial aid, the average community college student pays no tuition at all.

Yes, you read that right: on average, community college is already free.

Civics: Atmospherics vs Reality

Casey Chalk:

“The growing influence of the doctrine on my way of thinking came up against the resistance of my whole nature,” writes Nobel laureate Czeslaw Miłosz in The Captive Mind, of his experience in post-war Stalinist Poland of bureaucratically driven tyranny. That also well describes the feeling many Americans have—Miłosz describes it as something originating in the stomach—when confronted with the ever-growing list of irrational behaviors demanded of us by the progressivist pandemic regime.

Like the Eastern Bloc, our culture is one in which our public behavior bears increasingly little resemblance to what we know to actually be the case. Such a dualistic, dissociative identity disorder is not a recipe for civic health.

In countless scenarios acted out every day, Americans are expected to engage in various performative gestures that we know are incoherent—if not absurd—and yet, for the sake of conformity and a very real concern that we will be professionally or personally penalized, we assent to them. In the process, our real self becomes disconnected from our public self, and we slowly become cynical and disillusioned. When citizens no longer believe laws, rules, and cultural norms are coherent or ordered to their good, they lose faith in their society and its governing institutions.

Perhaps the most salient example of play-acting is America’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in what comedian Jim Breuer describes as an endless game of “Simon Says.” As Breuer explains: “Simon Says: ‘Put your mask on when you go into a restaurant.’ Simon Says: ‘Sit down and take it off.’” If we get up to use the restroom, the mask must go back on; as long as we are periodically sipping our beer or water, the mask can stay off. At our jobs, our cafeterias are filled with maskless coworkers talking, laughing, eating, spreading their germs all over the place, but we are mandated to keep ours on as we walk past them. We know this doesn’t make any sense, but we play along anyway, often out of a sense of exhaustion or fear of retribution.

But it’s not just pandemic-related health directives. The technocratic regime commands us to respect the ever-expanding list of preferred pronouns and gender identities of our fellow citizens or risk accusations of “gendered violence” or “deadnaming”—crimes that until recently no one even knew existed. Our employers urge us to affirm and celebrate coworkers who spend company time organizing events and writing corporate emails declaring their sexual preferences and lifestyles, while we silently wonder how these people’s fetishes have anything to do with, well, work. And though it remains illegal for an employer to make decisions about job assignments and promotions based on race, recruiters and managers are explicitly or implicitly coerced to diversify their offices and ensure the “right people” are promoted for the sake of diversity and inclusion.

Notes & Commentary on the Mequon-Thiensville School Board Recall

MD Kittle:

The “extremists” in question are the friends and neighbors of the recall opponents who have grown increasingly frustrated by a school board and administrators they say have refused to listen to their concerns.

Many are sick of the district’s stringent COVID-19 mitigation policies. Others have had it with radical curriculum and race-obsessed indoctrination in the classrooms. Schroeder, who has grown so frustrated she pulled her younger children from the district and enrolled them in private school, said a lot of recall supporters feel the school board is nothing but a “rubber stamp” for an administration disconnected from the community’s needs.

It seems a lot of school district residents are fed up. Recall organizers collected more than 17,000 signatures from members of the Mequon-Thiensville community over a 60-day period.

Parents across the nation are rising up and speaking out against overreaching educrats, who in turn are asking President Joe Biden to check the opposition through the politically weaponized use of federal law enforcement agencies. 

Johnson said the same people who say they are standing up for civility are bullying her and other recall supporters online. She said she’s been attacked for her Latina heritage. She’s been told to leave Mequon.

“The mayor signed off on this saying, ‘That’s okay. I stand with the people that are treating other constituents like this,’” she said.

Johnson, who is a candidate challenging an incumbent in the upcoming recall election, said she and supporters will not be silenced.

“The mama bears are waking up,” Schroeder said.

No Pukaite said she’s “dismayed by the lack of civility” and the refusal of people to work for the “common good.” She said the school board recall effort is part of that incivility.