Families Flock to School Choice Options Amid Pandemic

Will Flanders:

Many have made the case that the pandemic increased the movement of families away from traditional public schools. Families are moving to nontraditional options, like learning pods, as well as to more established educational options, including public charter and private schools. Now, more and more data is available that helps to confirm this notion.

The latest example comes from a study by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS).  They examined public charter school enrollment state-by-state over the period that included the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Of the 42 states across the nation that have public charter schools, 39 saw a significant increase in enrollment over that time period (the only states to see a decline in public charter enrollment were Illinois, Iowa and Wyoming).  The rate of enrollment growth nationwide at 7% was the highest since the 2014-15 school year. This increase is different from that seen in 2014-15 because at that time, the increase was due to a quickly growing number of new schools, which was not the case during the pandemic.

Wisconsin was among the states that saw significant growth in student enrollment.  According to the research, public charter school enrollment grew by 13.8% growth even as public school district enrollment declined by about 3.8% in the state.  Wisconsin ranked 11th in the rate of public charter enrollment growth among the 42 states.

This was not simply a story of public charter schools remaining open while public schools closed their doors, but rather of public charter schools having a great ability to offer options tailored to student need. For example, the study highlight public charter schools that emphasized the mental health of students and the ability offer one-to-one technological support in virtual learning as key drivers of growth.

This is consistent with research conducted by WILLwhich showed that schools that offered in-person instruction, as well as those that had pre-pandemic experience with virtual learning, grew in Wisconsin during the pandemic. Traditional school districts that went fully virtual saw a 3% decline in enrollment, while those that remained in-person, as some public charter schools did, saw far smaller enrollment declines. Virtual public schools in Wisconsin are classified as public charter schools by the Department of Public Instruction. These schools saw enrollment growth of about 4%, which likely helped to spur the overall growth found by NAPCS.

Bad news on NAEP math and Reading Results

Joanne Jacobs:

Reading and math scores fell between 2012 and 2020, especially for 13-year-olds, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which released is 2020 assessment of long-term trends today.

High performing students did as well as ever, but low-performing students slid farther behind, reports Kevin Mahnken on The 74.

Students were tested before the pandemic lockdowns. Tests in 2022 are expected to show the effect of disrupted education.

Scores for nine-year-olds held steady, except for girls, who did significantly worse in math than in 2012.

“It’s really a matter for national concern, this high

A Yale Law Student Sent a Lighthearted Email Inviting Classmates to His ‘Trap House.’ The School Is Now Calling Him To Account.

Aaron Sibarium:

Administrators at Yale Law School spent weeks pressuring a student to apologize for a “triggering” email in which he referred to his apartment as a “trap house,” a slang term for a place where people buy drugs. Part of what made the email “triggering,” the administrators told the student, was his membership in a conservative organization.

The second-year law student, a member of both the Native American Law Students Association and the conservative Federalist Society, had invited classmates to an event cohosted by the two 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 in a Sept. 15 email to the Native American listserv. In keeping with the theme, he said, the mixer would serve “American-themed snacks” like “Popeye’s chicken” and “apple pie.”

Orange County Public Schools board chair ejects parents, speakers from meeting

AP Dillon:

North State Journal has requested emails related to the creation of the resolution but has not yet received any documents from the district.

Several of those speakers Mackenzie had ejected were members of the “Proud Boys,” who came to address the resolution and the discovery of books they called “porn” in the district’s high schools.

The resolution makes a number of claims including a “growing presence of white nationalist displays and intimidating behavior, including bigoted, misogynistic, racist, homophobic and transphobic language” with the intent of “bullying” board members, as well as minority and LGBT students.

Written by Mackenzie and Orange County schools superintendent Monique Felder, the resolution praises Black Lives Matter while claiming the aforementioned alleged behavior has caused “emotional and psychological harm” and that harm “has been deepened by White people standing by and applauding, failing to intervene, or even failing to name the racist, bigoted, and threatening behavior.”

An Orange County parent who did not wish to be identified says “the entire goal of the resolution is to paint rightly concerned and outraged parents as extremists.”

Australians ‘complacent’ to rapid growth in digital surveillance

Dedham Sadler:

She said Australians need to be more aware of the influence of tech and media monopolies on their activities online and their freedom of speech and expression.

“When I first came to Australia, I thought people were too complacent. Australian media is controlled by a few monopolies which creates this sense of fear, complacency and self-censorship,” Ms al-Sharif said on the panel.

“Living in a democracy is scary when tech manipulation becomes a form of soft oppression. People don’t realise they are being manipulated and that they are victims of persuasive technology. We think we have reached a conclusion from our own freedom of thinking. This is completely misleading.

“Once you go online and are facing a machine that understands who you are, what makes you tick and how to keep you engaged – there is no freedom of choice and freedom of thinking anymore.”

Former head of USC’s School of Social Work allegedly gave Mr. Ridley-Thomas’s son admission in exchange for county contracts

Christine Mai-Duc:

A Los Angeles city councilman and a former University of Southern California dean have been indicted on federal corruption charges stemming from an alleged scheme to trade county contracts for graduate-school admission for the politician’s son.

Mark Ridley-Thomas, previously a Los Angeles county supervisor, is accused of conspiring with Marilyn Louise Flynn, former dean of USC’s School of Social Work, to award the school contracts for county services believed to be worth millions of dollars.

In return, Ms. Flynn allegedly arranged in late 2017 and early 2018 for the school to admit Mr. Ridley-Thomas’s son, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, to the social work school’s master’s program on full scholarship and offered him a paid position as a professor.

MIT Abandons Its Mission. And Me.

:

I have been a professor in the Department of the Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago for the past 10 years. I work on topics ranging from climate change to the possibility of life on extrasolar planets using mathematics, physics, and computer simulation.

I have never considered myself a political person. For example, a few days before an election I go to ISideWith.com and answer the policy questions, then I assign my vote using a weighted draw based on my overlap with the candidates. It’s an efficient algorithm that works perfectly for a nerd like me.

But I started to get alarmed about five years ago as I noticed an increasing number of issues and viewpoints become impossible to discuss on campus. I mostly just wanted to do my science and not have anyone yell at me, and I thought that if I kept my mouth shut the problem would eventually go away. I knew that speaking out would likely bring serious reputational and professional consequences. And for a number of years I just didn’t think it was worth it.

But the street violence of the summer of 2020, some of which I witnessed personally in Chicago, and the justifications and dishonesty that accompanied it, convinced me that I could no longer remain silent in good conscience.

In the fall of 2020 I started advocating openly for academic freedom and merit-based evaluations. I recorded some short YouTube videos in which I argued for the importance of treating each person as an individual worthy of dignity and respect. In an academic context, that means giving everyone a fair and equal opportunity when they apply for a position as well as allowing them to express their opinions openly, even if you disagree with them.

As a result, I was immediately targeted for cancellation, primarily by a group of graduate students in my department. Whistleblowers later revealed that the attack was partially planned and coordinated on the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program listserv by a graduate student in my department. (Please do not attack this person or any of the people who attacked me.)

The American Educational Research Association’s Trans Activism Leaves Little Room for Debate

Richard Phelps:

Recently, I received a broadcast message from my online neighborhood chat room news feed. An autistic neighbor was soliciting donations for “medically necessary and lifesaving” top surgery.1 Before researching this article, I would have had no idea what “top surgery” was. Essentially, plastic surgeons transform a biological male chest into a transgender female chest, or vice versa. (Many transgenders undergo “bottom surgery” too.)2

Two neighbors responded online. The first suggested therapy first as a young person is likely to change their mind a lot by middle age. The second asked how top surgery was “lifesaving.” In response, the trans neighbor suggested the questioner research transgender suicide rates.

My libertarian bias tells me that if an adult wishes to undergo gender transition, and they pay for it themselves, more power to them. Turns out, insurance was paying for most of my neighbor’s top surgery; even Medicare will pay for transgender surgeries. Donations would pay for some uncovered medical procedures, such as the anesthetization, and travel expenses.

My empathic bias tells me that if someone is willing to put themselves through all the hassle, including drug and hormone treatments, social stigma, incapacitation time, as well as the major surgeries — removing body parts, or fabricating new ones from skin grafts — they must feel genuinely compelled.

But I would not agree that gender transitions represent just another instance of an oppressed group fighting for equal rights, as have native Americans and African-Americans, women, and gays. For two reasons: (1) if transitions are financed by the public through insurance, the public does have standing to participate in the policy debate; and (2) if the person transitioning is legally a minor, adults remain responsible for their welfare.

Moreover, transitions aren’t the only source of transgender controversy. There is also the hot-button issue of trans youth participating in competitive sports. Here, again, others have standing in the policy debate. Some girls have complained that trans girls (that is, transgenders who were classified as male at birth) enjoy unfair physical advantages in many sports.

d

Long-Term NAEP Scores for 13-Year-Olds Drop for First Time Since Testing Began in 1970s — ‘A Matter for National Concern,’ Experts Say

Kevin Mahnken:

Thirteen-year-olds saw unprecedented declines in both reading and math between 2012 and 2020, according to scores released this morning from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Consistent with several years of previous data, the results point to a clear and widening cleavage between America’s highest- and lowest-performing students and raise urgent questions about how to reverse prolonged academic stagnation.

The scores offer more discouraging evidence from NAEP, often referred to as “the Nation’s Report Card.” Various iterations of the exam, each tracking differentsubjects and age groups over several years, have now shown flat or falling numbers.

RelatedA ‘Disturbing’ Assessment: Sagging Reading Scores, Particularly for Eighth-Graders, Headline 2019’s Disappointing NAEP Results

The latest release comes from NAEP’s 2020 assessment of long-term trends, which was administered by the National Center for Education Statistics to nine- and 13-year-olds before COVID-19 first shuttered schools last spring. In a Wednesday media call, NCES Commissioner Peggy Carr told reporters that 13-year-olds had never before seen declines on the assessment, and the results were so startling that she had her staff double-check the results.

“I asked them to go back and check because I wanted to be sure,” Carr recalled. “I’ve been reporting these results for…decades, and I’ve never reported a decline like this.”

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.

Covid, lockdown and the retreat of scientific debate

Martin Kulldorf:

But with lockdown, science is in danger of being suppressed by politics. Lockdown moved instantly from untested theory to unchallengeable orthodoxy: where dissenters face personal attack. Understandable on social media perhaps, but it has now crept into the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in a recent article about the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD). 

The GBD, which I wrote, together with Dr. Jay Bhattacharya at Stanford and Dr. Sunetra Gupta at Oxford, argues for focused protection. Rather than a blanket lockdown which inflicts so much harm on society, we wanted better protection of those most at risk – mindful that Covid typically poses only a mild risk to the young. For saying so, we are smeared as ‘the new merchants of doubt’ – as if scepticism and challenge is regarded by the BMJ as something to be condemned. 

The BMJ article is full of errors that ought to have never found their way into any publication. Here are some examples:

  1. My colleagues and I are described as ‘critics of public health measures to curb Covid-19’. On the contrary, throughout the pandemic we have strongly advocated better public health measures to curb Covid-19 – specifically protection of high-risk older people, with manyclearly defined’ proposals. The failure to implement such measures, in our view, has led to many unnecessary Covid deaths.
  2. We are described as ‘proponents of herd immunity’which is akin to accusing someone of being in favour of gravity. Both are scientifically established phenomena. Every Covid strategy leads to herd immunity. The key is to minimise morbidity and mortality. The language, here, is non-scientific: herd immunity is not a creed. It’s how pandemics end.
  3. It says we have ‘expressed opposition to mass vaccination’. Dr. Gupta and I have spent decades on vaccine research and we are all strong advocates for Covid and other vaccines. They are among the greatest inventions in history. To falsely credit the anti-vaccine movement with support from professors at Harvard, Oxford and Stanford is damaging for vaccine confidence. This is unworthy of a medical journal.
  4. The GBD is referred to as a ‘sophisticated science denialism’. Note here how something that challenges an orthodoxy is described as anti-science – a label that presumably could have been applied to any scientific innovator who ever questioned a failed orthodoxy. Collateral public health damage from Covid restrictions are real and enormous oncardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes,backsliding childhood vaccinations, starvation andmental health, just to name a few. It is not the GBD, but those who downplay lockdown harms who should be equated with those who question the harms of tobacco or climate change.
  5. The GBD was not ‘sponsored by the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) – and I’m pleased to see that the BMJ has at least retracted this claim. We were there for media interviews, with no sponsorship. How did such a blunder end up in print in the first place? The AIER staff did not even know about the Declaration until the day before it was signed, and the AIER president and board did not know about it until after publication. If we had written the Declaration at say, Starbucks, would the BMJ have claimed that it was sponsored by the coffee shop?

Civics: That One Side Would Like to Utterly Destroy the Other Side Seems Significant, To Me

Freddie deBoer:

Ezra Klein interviews David Shor about his recent rise in visibility, his particular take on Democratic policy and messaging, and the debate over “popularism.” It also glancingly mentions Shor’s cancellation, for expressing limited and polite skepticism about the political outcomes of post-George Floyd riots.

Klein references this controversy, as he must, but it’s kept separate as a piece of flavoring for the larger argument, rather than central to the discussion that follows. (It’s framed as one of the media’s favorite “ironic” tales these days, that Shor was actually helped by being cancelled – which far from being a defense of canceling is as damning an indictment I can think of.) But I find Klein’s disposing of that story so quickly to be quite odd, as it seems totally germane to the topic of who will determine the future of the Democratic party. What could be more relevant to the conversation than pointing out that one slice of that conversation feels perfectly comfortable attempting to utterly destroy their opponents, and everyone else is too scared to condemn them for it?

If you’re unaware, Shor was canceled for accurately summarizing the contents of an academic paper. Shor made a point that he felt was important for the messaging of the Democrats. At the time the country was exploding in riots aligned with BlackLivesMatter and driven by anger over the deaths of George Floyd and Breanna Taylor. Shor linked to a paper that argued that riots have bad political consequences for Democrats. This would not seem to be particularly inflammatory; people indiscriminately burning and smashing shit has little obvious utility for the marginalized or anyone else. But Shor lost his job for tweeting that paper and agreeing with its thesis. Similarly, the Intercept’s Lee Fang was absolutely mobbed for the crime of recording an interview with a young Black man who was critical of the riots and the protest movement from which they sprang. He almost lost his job, as well.

(Here’s a fun tip for you all: if you have the power to get someone fired or otherwise ruin their life you are not a powerless, marginalized Other.)

Not that they had rebutted a particularly coherent pro-riot argument. There was little in the way of defense of riots in 2020 at all, really. Many attempted to invoke Martin Luther King in that regard, which is hilarious and bizarre concerning a man who among many other critiques of riots said that they “are not revolutionary but reactionary because they invite defeat; they offer an emotional catharsis, but they must be followed by a sense of futility,” and that close to the end of his life. (In their defense, almost no one who invokes MLK has actually read him.) But what Shor and Fang were guilty of was not of breaking with some intellectual mandate within liberalism but with speaking out of turn, with criticizing the wrong people. The difference between Shor and Fang’s criticism of the pro-riot side and the behavior of those who rose against them is that Shor and Fang never tried to destroy anyone, didn’t tweet at anyone’s boss in an attempt to get them fired, didn’t have the inclination or the power to punish those who dared to disagree with them. But those who targeted them were operating in a bizarre liberal discursive culture where, if you dress up what you’re doing in vague language about oppression, you can operate however you’d like without rebuke and attempt to ruin the life of whoever you please.

Poll: Voters reject hypocritical politicians on school choice

David Bass:

A new national poll from the pro-school choice organization the American Federation for Children shows most voters dislike politicians who deny school choice to other families while practicing it for their own.

The poll of more than 2,000 registered voters found that 62% said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who opposes school choice policies yet sent his or her own child to a private school. Nine percent would be more likely to vote for such a candidate, and 20% said it make would no difference.

The trendline held true across political parties, with 66% of Republicans, 65% of Independents, and 56% of Democrats saying they would be less likely to vote for such a candidate.

“Unfortunately, we too often see politicians who bow to special interests and block expanded educational opportunity for families, despite exercising that freedom for themselves and their own children,” said AFC CEO Tommy Schultz. “From presidents of the United States to governors to state lawmakers, and school board members, many in such places of privilege disregard the needs of families who want nothing but the same opportunity to access an educational environment that meets their own children’s needs.”

High-profile politicians in North Carolina — including Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper — have chosen elite private-school options for their own children while rallying against choice for others. Support for school choice in the Tar Heel State remains strong, with over 77% of respondents to a recent Civitas poll saying that parents are best suited to determine where a child should attend school.

How well are schools teaching disadvantaged students to read? In California, it depends where you live.

Todd Collins:

How do we know if a school district is doing one of its most basic jobs—teaching students to read? That’s one of the main questions the California Reading Coalition, which I helped organize earlier this year, set out to answer with the California Reading Report Card, released in September.

Early reading achievement has gained increasing popular attention with the emergence of the “science of reading” and the success of Mississippi (and before it, Florida) in raising fourth grade NAEP reading scores, especially for low-income and Black and Brown students.

In California, reading results are grim. The state ranks fortieth in fourth grade NAEP reading for all students, and thirty-first for Latino students, who make up almost half of our 6 million students (Florida and Mississippi are first and and second for Latino students, respectively). Two out of every three low-income Black and Latino California students are below grade level.

But reading is tricky, since schools aren’t the only place kids learn to read. Particularly in families with affluence and educational attainment, learning to read starts at home, with everything from bedtime stories to direct phonics instruction. It’s not surprising that in California, over 75 percent of high-income White and Asian third graders read at grade level. Even if the school fails them, their parents can pick them up.

Taxpayer supported lobbying, redux: National Association of school boards

Fred Lucas:

“They are sympatico on public education and the power of unions,” Watson said. “Teacher unions have organized campaigns to win school boards.”

Reed D. Rubinstein, senior counselor and director of oversight and investigations for America First Legal Foundation, signed the letter of complaint to the Justice Department’s inspector general.

In their Sept. 29 letter to Biden, the National School Boards Association’s Garcia and Slaven called for the administration to “investigate, intercept, and prevent the current threats and acts of violence against public school officials through existing statutes, executive authority, interagency and intergovernmental task forces.” 

The association’s letter states that threats of violence “could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” It asks for a review to: 

Schools boards, bastions of local democracy, persecute dissident parents

Glenn Reynolds:

American parents are organizing to fight racist critical race theories being taught in their kids’ schools. Attorney General Merrick Garland, once touted as a moderate, has responded by asking the FBI to treat them as domestic terrorists.

As befits the Biden administration, this over-the-top authoritarianism is accompanied by the stench of corruption, as it turns out that Garland’s son-in-law is in the business of selling educational materials on CRT.

Garland’s self-dealing and thuggery are grounds for resignation. But that isn’t the worst thing that’s happened. Bad as it is, the Biden administration’s poisonous combination of graft and authoritarianism can be remedied by getting rid of the administration — something that, if polls are any indication, is eminently doable.

The bigger problem is that school boards all over America seem to be growing ever more authoritarian themselves. Instead of serving as bastions of small-scale representative democracy, boards seem to regard themselves as above accountability to the voters and parents.

It was, after all, the National School Boards Association that, citing shaky claims of “threats,” asked the administration to investigate anti-CRT parents as “domestic terrorists,” specifically invoking the Patriot Act in its letter.

What the impending state takeover of SFUSD means

CW Nevius:

The San Francisco Unified School District has been a slow-motion car crash for years.

Declining enrollment, unhappy parents and school board meetings that drone aimlessly into the night? Yep, that sounds like the SFUSD.

But recently we came upon two tipping point moments that we can’t ignore.

First, for all the exasperation about the district, last week’s news had to shock even jaded critics.

The state of California announced that the SFUSD budget was so deep in the red that the state is likely going to take over. This as the district predicts deficits over $100 million, beginning in 2022.

It doesn’t take much calculation to understand the dilemma. The district is not attracting new students, meaning attendance continues to drop, which means less funding, at a time when the district is already unable to pay its bills. It’s not just a vicious circle, it’s a death spiral. 

Things are so bad we’ve lost control of our school system. That should get all of our attention. 

The second point is actually good news. A confluence of factors, including the likely recall of three members of the school Board, might result in the kind of systemic teardown and rebuild that is clearly needed.

School Suspension Policies and student safety

Will Flanders and Ameillia Wedward:

Federal intervention in school discipline policy became an issue of increasing importance beginning during the Obama administration. Based on the argument that differences in the rates of discipline for students of different racial groups was evidence of racism, the administration issued a “Dear Colleague” letter informing school districts that they needed to work to reduce gaps in suspensions for those of different racial backgrounds.

A reprieve of sorts occurred during the Trump administration, with the “Dear Colleague” letter eventually being rolled back. But, under President Biden, we are likely to see similar, or even more stringent, federal intervention. What, then,
was the result of previous interventions under Obama? This report seeks to answer that question through the prism of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), which was subject to an inquiry from the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division, and eventually entered into an agreement with them to reduce disparate suspension outcomes.

We combine several data sets in this analysis. Data from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on suspension rates at the school level is combined with data from a UW-Milwaukee survey of students on how safe they feel in
their school.

Among the key takeaways from this study:

• Suspension Rates Declined in Milwaukee After MPS Agreement. While suspension rates increased in Milwaukee for several years, there was an immediate decline following an agreement between MPS and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Education.

• Reduced Suspension for African American Students Resulted in Lower Reports of Safety. When suspension rates for African American students fell, the share of students reporting that they feel unsafe in their school’s hallways went up.

• Suspension Rates for Other Student Groups Change in a more “normal” manner.
Among all students and Hispanic students, higher suspension rates occur in schools where students report feeling less safe.

• African American Students Suffer the
Most. African American students are heavily concentrated in schools with other African Americans, meaning other African American students bear the brunt of lax discipline practices.
This research has important implications for policy makers at both the state and federal level. It shows there are real-world, negative implications from applying political correctness to school discipline standards. Moreover, students in the group that is ostensibly meant to be helped by relaxed discipline are actually the most likely to be harmed.

What better wake up call do you need than the fact that you have to worry about your kindergartener being ideologically manipulated at school by teachers and administrators?

William Jacobson:

For the first decade of Legal Insurrection, we documented and did our best to oppose the “gradually” phase of societal collapse, what in 2017 on our 9th anniversary I described as the continuing loss of institutions:

Imagine living in a repressive country in which the government blocked access to and suppressed internet content. You don’t need to move. It’s coming here but from private industry. This is, in many ways, more dangerous than government suppression of free speech because at least in the U.S. the government is subject to the First Amendment, and can be voted out of office.

I don’t know if there are any uncorrupted institutions left that matter. The education system, from public grade school through public and private higher ed, is gone. The frontal assault on free speech on campuses is the result. If you think this is just a Humanities and Social Sciences problem, stay tuned. In 3-5 years, if we’re still here, we’ll be writing about how the social justice warriors have corrupted the STEM fields. It’s happening now, it’s just not in the headlines yet.

There is a rising tide of absolutism in ideas and enforcement of ideological uniformity that is palpable. I feel it in the air, even at Cornell which is far from the worst….

Even language as a means of communication is corrupted, with terminology manipulated and coerced to achieve political ends. It started on campuses, and it’s moved into the AP stylebook and the mainstream.

The press could stand as a bulwark against this slide, but it too is corrupted.

We are in the suddenly phase now.

All the “progressive” pieces were in place but needed a spark to burn down the house. That spark was the death of George Floyd in late May 2020.

What followed was state-sanctioned lawlessness, rioting, and looting; a vicious cultural purge from academia to corporations to the military to historical monuments; gaslighting and burying of news by a corrupt and dishonest mainstream corporate media and Big Tech; and the solidification of our post-truth world where we are required to state things we know to be untrue or with which we disagree in order to avoid social ostracization, where feelings matter more that facts, and where telling facts some people don’t like can get you fired, denounced, and boycotted.

We don’t have mean tweets anymore, instead we have a sociopathic federal government that wants to watch over almost every financial transaction we make and labels as domestic terrorists parents who raise objections to their kids being force-fed ideological poison at school. All the while destroying our borders, our energy independence, and the credibility of our military.

You cannot depend on the government of your personal safety, certainly not in large cities. When seconds count, the police are 1619 minutes away.

Facing major campus disruption and firings, LAUSD extends staff COVID-vaccine deadline

Howard Blume:

The Los Angeles school district — confronted with widespread campus disruption and the firing of potentially thousands of unvaccinated teachers and other staff — has extended the looming deadline for all workers to be fully immunized for COVID-19.

The prior deadline of Oct. 15 — this Friday — has been moved to Nov. 15, when employees must have received the second of two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, according to a brief district statement. The district did not clearly state a timetable for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Interim Supt. Megan Reilly said the move represents the right balance of firmness and forbearance.

“We don’t want people to be out of jobs,” Reilly said in an interview. “Our employees are one of the strongest assets that we have.” At the same time, she said, “we’re absolutely adamant about keeping our schools the safest possible environment — and vaccinations are clearly the pathway to keeping them safe.”

Compulsory Mental Health Education

Ni Dandan:

Beijing’s education authority has instructed the city’s primary and junior middle schools to include mental health education in their curricula and ensure each school has at least one dedicated counselor to address the students’ psychological needs.

On the eve of World Mental Health Day on Sunday, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education said teachers should provide support to students struggling with academic difficulties, those from single-parent households, and children of migrant workers to avert any possible mental health crises. Teachers are also required to closely monitor students with disabilities and severe health issues to ensure their physical and mental wellbeing. 

In China, an estimated 24.6% of the country’s teenagers live with some form of depression, according to the latest report on mental health published by the Institute of Psychology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. As many as 7.41 million children aged between 4 and 16 are said to suffer from mental or behavioral conditions, according to media reports citing a survey, while a separate report published in 2019 estimated that nearly 100,000 minors died from suicide annually. 

“Half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age, but most cases are undetected and untreated,” according to the World Health Organization, which also says suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among teens aged 15 and 19 worldwide.

RI (and maybe Ohio) will require financial literacy

Joanne Jacobs:

Rhode Island students will have to study financial literacy to earn a diploma, reports Marianna McMurdock on The 74. It will be a requirement starting with the class of ’24.

“On average, Rhode Island graduates have the second-highest student loan debt of any state, at $36,193,” she writes.

Last year, senior Saloni Jain took a personal finance course in a hybrid learning setup, with three days of learning online, at the suburban East Greenwich High School. She said course simulations, like completing mock returns on TurboTax and creating a budgeting spreadsheet, kept her engaged during virtual learning.

“We were getting paychecks — how do we put that money towards a 401(k) and pay all our bills and pay down our credit card or student loan debt? That was really helpful to visualize, you know, how we might live in the future,” Jain said. “It was just a one-semester course, but it honestly changed the way I think a lot.”

Nationally, 21 other states teach financial literacy, usually as part of math or civics classes, writes McMurdock, but “only seven require that a standalone, full-semester course be completed before graduation.”

Ohio may be the next to make financial literacy a graduation requirement. A bill passed with strong bipartisan support and is now on the governor’s desk.

Young people (and their parents) are more wary about the risks of taking on college debt, which may be fueling the interest in financial planning.

Kelly Butler Wisconsin AB446 Testimony

Transcript (machine generated)

mp3 audio

Notes and links on AB446.

Kelly Butler Barksdale Reading Institute bio.

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.

Waunakee (former Madison PTO President) Mom on our Disastrous Reading Results

“Waunakee, they’re getting 65% proficiency. That’s great for Wisconsin. That’s great. Want to keep to doing great. And so we like really, we’re going to move there (from Madison).

How are we going to tutor all the kids we’ve missed in Wisconsin?”

Machine generated transcript.

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.

Donna Hejtmanek Wisconsin AB446 Testimony

“1993: Wisconsin Students #3 in the Nation in Reading

2019: #27

If Mississippi can do it, we can do it”.

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.

Standoff over face mask results in lockdown at LHS

Greg Johnson & Eve Newman:

Laramie High School was locked down for about 90 minutes Thursday morning during a showdown of wills between school administration and a 16-year-old junior who was arrested and removed from the school in handcuffs.

Grace Smith returned to LHS on Thursday morning after serving two consecutive two-day suspensions for not complying with Albany County School District #1’s mask mandate, which says anyone inside a district building must have his or her face covered. The rule, brought on by an upsurge in COVID-19 cases, was put in place last month and will be reviewed by the school board next week, ahead of a scheduled Oct. 15 sunset.

Ethnic studies becomes graduation requirement for California students

Joe Hong:

After a years-long battle reignited in recent months by controversies over misunderstandings of critical race theory, California students will soon be required to take ethnic studies to graduate high school.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 101 into law on Friday afternoon, requiring California high school students to take ethnic studies to graduate, starting with the class of 2030. Educators and recent studies attest to the benefits of students learning the histories and cultures of marginalized communities, but a few parents still worry the requirement could create more tensions between students.

“The inclusion of ethnic studies in the high school curriculum is long overdue,” said Assemblymember Jose Medina, a Democrat from Riverside who authored AB 101. “Students cannot have a full understanding of the history of our state and nation without the inclusion of the contributions and struggles of Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans.”

Last year, Newsom vetoed a similar bill, also authored by Medina, citing the need for revision in the model curriculum.

In Defense of Sandra Stotsky

Richard Phelps:

In a review essay appearing in the Fall 2019 issue of AQ, James Shuls criticized author Sandra Stotsky for suggesting in her 2018 book Changing the Course of Failure that the federal government should take control of the education of low-achieving students by establishing something resembling boarding schools. “That’s a dangerous belief,” Shuls wrote, “it would be a short step for someone on the fringe to take from Stotsky’s idea of a voluntary boarding school to the mandatory internment of low achieving children.” In a response to Shuls in the same issue, Stotsky explained that her recommendation was one of several that addressed a fact that educators have failed to adequately address: “massive adolescent underachievement is a social problem, one that has not been solved by our educational institutions in over fifty years.” Below, Richard Phelps offers a defense of Stotsky’s body of work followed by a reply from Shuls.

Sandra Stotsky can claim experience that the vast majority of pundits, policy advisors, and advocates who directly influence our country’s education policy cannot: she helped design and operate a large-scale program—combining reforms of curriculum, professional development, and student assessment—that consistently raised educational achievement for all students. She put in the long hours working out the details, reaching consensus, making adjustments, and managing systemwide solutions that worked. Her patient work was integral to the Massachusetts “education miracle” of the 1990s and early 2000s, the envy of forty-nine states. Few individuals involved in education reform in the United States have affected as much positive change.

Stotsky, a co-author with me and Mark McQuillan on a 2015 study for the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research, also deserves respect for her independence of thought and word. In a U.S. education policy world full of grifters, enablers, and sellouts, organized largely into cliques, Sandra Stotsky shines through. Like so many of the policy analysts aligned with either of the major political parties, she could have taken the money and become a prominent player in the Gates Foundation’s regressive Common Core World. Unlike so many others, however, she has chosen to keep her own counsel, navigated by a steady compass of core principles and evidence.

Not conforming, however, appears to have made her some enemies. In an astonishingly slanted review of the first of her two recent books (Academic Questions, Fall 2019, 412–421), James V. Shuls accused her of writing what she did not and characterized its entirety based on his misreading of just one of her several suggested “possible long-term solutions.”

Briefly, in response to Shuls’s perverted perspective, in Changing the Course of Failure:

America is the place that ‘invented freedom’

Joanne Jacobs:

Raised in Berkeley — she remembers when free speech was a left-wing thing — Caitlin Flanagan though of America as “this all-powerful, invulnerable, monolithic thing,” she tells Yascha Mounk in a Persuasion conversation.
After 9/11 happened, she remembered that a real estate company had put foot-high plastic American flags on everyone’s lawn for Fourth of July. She found them in the garage and put them in her front yard.

I remember . . . for the only time in my entire life feeling like I’m an American, and I love this country, and I stand for this country. . . . (It was) the only time in my life that I ever thought that this is a good place. Growing up the way I did, all I’d ever thought about was things like the School of the Americas teaching torture in Latin and Central America — all these terrible, terrible things America has done.

People say the history of American taught in school celebrates the triumphs and ignores the evils, says Flanagan. But Berkeley schools didn’t just teach history, “warts and all.” It was all warts. Students learned “that we were just an imperialist, colonialist country.”

Parents and the education establishment

“An emphasis on adult employment”.

“An emphasis on adult employment.”

This Drop Came So Quickly’: Shrinking Schools Add to Hong Kong Exodus

Vivian Wang:

Long before the school year began, Chim Hon Ming, a primary school principal in Hong Kong, knew this year’s student body would be smaller. The city’s birthrate had already been falling, and families were increasingly frustrated by Hong Kong’s strict pandemic restrictions and the political turmoil.

Even he was not prepared for the extent of the exodus. When school started last month in his district of western Hong Kong Island, the first-grade classes were about 10 percent smaller than the previous year’s — a decrease of more than 100 students.

“This drop came so quickly,” Mr. Chim said.

As Hong Kong has been battered by two years of upheaval, between the pandemic and a sweeping political crackdown from Beijing, many of the consequences have been immediately visible. Businesses have shuttered, politicians have been arrested, tourists have disappeared. One major change is just coming into focus: some residents’ determination that the city is no longer where they want to raise their children.

Last year, Hong Kong experienced a population drop of 1.2 percent, its biggest since the government began keeping records in the 1960s. From July 2020, when China imposed a national security law, through the following July, more than 89,000 people left the city of 7.5 million, according to provisional government data.

Ideology and Law Schools

George Leaf:

Law schools in the U.S. used to be run by no-nonsense individuals who, whatever their personal politics, thought that their institutions existed to teach students about the law, not to engage in advocacy or speculation.

That began to change in the 1980s, as some younger law professors started to push into previously forbidden terrain, introducing blatantly ideological material, and getting away with it. As law professor Charles Rounds put it in this 2010 Martin Center article, the legal curriculum started to fill up with courses that were “bad sociology, not law.”

At Columbia, president Lee Bollinger (a former law dean), saidthat introducing Critical Race Theory was “urgent and necessary.” And Professor Gillian Lester, referring to the Columbia Law faculty, stated, “Their scholarship, teaching and advocacy have illuminated the pervasive effects of structural racism in our society and the law.”

But is teaching CRT anything to brag about, in law school or any other educational institution? Many think not. For instance, professors Richard Vedder and Amy Wax, writing for Independent Institute, state, “the most pernicious aspect of CRT instruction is not its content, but the one-sided, dogmatic intolerance of any alternative points of view.”

Vedder and Wax continue,

The CRT approved story is that white racism is pervasive and accounts for all racial disparities. What is not taught—what students are not even allowed to hear—is the contrary position that persistent racial inequalities are oftentimes rooted in cultural differences and behavioral tendencies that are not traceable to slavery and cannot be solved by purging the vague category of ‘structural racism.’

To that point, I would add that it is also forbidden to argue that government policies are to blame for the poor average economic results experienced by blacks and some other groups. Law students “learning” CRT aren’t going to question the harmful effects of public education or licensing laws, for example, even if they were appropriate topics for legal study.

Attacked from within

atdt:

This article attempts to fundamentally rethink what constitutes community and society on the web, and what possibilities exist for their maintenance and reconstruction in the face of scale and malicious users. The recommendations reached, after analyzing the weaknesses of the web forums we all know and love, are:

User anonymity should be forced.
Barriers to participation should be as low as possible.
Moderation should not focus on users or on comments in isolation, but on the relational quality of comments.
Passive moderation filters can mitigate problems of scale.
Preservation of community must shift from being based on exclusion to being based on demonstrated constructive interaction.
Forums should discriminate between content types: original content, links, and personal content.
Story promotion and front page position should be driven by conversation, not voting.

“used surveys in early 2020 to assess how students felt in their math classes and what teachers thought about their own efforts to help students feel like they belong”

Scott Girard:

Key findings include that classroom and school belonging are distinct and that teachers with more confidence in their ability to teach math had a stronger sense of classroom belonging among their students. The research also found there was no systematic difference in math classroom belonging across racial/ethnic groups or by gender.

“I’m heartened to know that second finding, that teachers’ sense of their efficacy has an impact on kids,” said Madison Metropolitan School District executive director of research and innovation Beth Vaade. “That’s what we want, we want to know as educators that what we do in a classroom is going to be connected to what scholars feel.”

MEP, which is a partnership between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and MMSD, initially hoped to use observations and interviews with students and staff to complement the data from the surveys. But the COVID-19 pandemic prevented that extra step, something researcher and MEP co-director Eric Grodsky called “disappointing.”

Specifically, they explored that feeling in middle school math classrooms. Grodsky said that decision came partly because of the “stereotype threat” surrounding the subject, with the assumption that women and students of color are worse at math creating a psychological threat as soon as they enter a classroom. MMSD STEM director Patti Schaefer said math was an “appealing” subject for this type of research.

“We see math as I’m either a math person or I’m not, a very split way of seeing ourselves in math,” Schaefer said.

To measure belonging, researchers surveyed 1,887 students and 60 teachers at five MMSD middle schools.

Math curriculum/rigor and student performance are not new topics. A few links: Connected Math, Discovery Math, Math Task Force, 21% of University of Wisconsin System Freshman Require Remedial Math, UW-LaCrosse’s Remedial Math Courses and Math forum.

What impact do high school mathematics curricula have on college-level mathematics placement? (Traditional math curriculum students placed higher).

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 State Does Not Own Your Children”

Paula Bolyard:

** I recall a former Madison Superintendent occasionally using these words “we have the children”. **

Moms and dads, you know what’s best for your own children. That’s long been my mantra, harkening back to my early blogger days when I fiercely defended a parent’s right to determine the course of his or her child’s education. Although I’m an unapologetic advocate for homeschooling, I recognize that it’s not the best option for every family. But regardless of my personal views, I trust you, as parents, to do what’s best for your own personal children. How you educate your children is none of my business, just like it’s none of my business whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed or whether or not you believe in spanking. It’s not any of the government’s business, either. God gave your children to you, not to the state, and He’s tasked you, not the government, with the task of raising them.

I’m always disappointed when I hear parents ceding the education of their kids to teachers and school boards, believing that the schools know best. After all, many of you reason, teachers and administrators at your kids’ school have advanced degrees in education! Surely, they know better than you do what your kids need. Only trained professionals are qualified to decide what kids should be taught, right? And lest you think I’m exaggerating, this poll offers proof that many parents trust the schools more than they trust their own judgment:

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.

Training Urged New Jersey Teachers To Track Conversations With Parents, Students Regarding The COVID-19 Vaccine

Kendall Tietz:

A training provided by Made to Save, a vaccine “equity” nonprofit, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) directed teachers to “follow up and track” conversations with parents and teachers regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, Fox News reported.

They were told to log their conversations into the Democrat campaign app, “Reach” and incentivized with gift cards to be active users. Campaign operative Jake DeGroot devised Reach, which New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez utilized in her 2018 campaign, Fox News reported.

“Having the audacity to back this type of presentation shows that the NJEA, NEA, AFT, and any other organization involved clearly does not regard educators as professionals or critical thinkers,” Mess told Fox News. “We literally teach our students to be able to look at information critically before making a decision.”

The Politicization of Education Research and the AERA

Richard Phelps:

A story line in one of my favorite television shows—a courtroom drama—concerns a rogue judge caught tipping the proverbial scale of justice toward his own personal biases. At his disciplinary hearing, the presiding judge says to him matter-of-factly, “You’re not supposed to care who wins, remember?”

As it is supposed to be with judges in the U.S. court system, so it is supposed to be with academic research faculty. As Bertrand Russell implored, objective scientific inquiry requires that investigators not be diverted by what they wish to believe, or think would have beneficial social effects if it were believed. If not genuinely disinterested, objective scientists should at least conduct their research such that unfavored outcomes are possible. Otherwise, outcomes are predetermined, and the activity is not research, but advocacy. If research is performed for the sake of advocacy, that fact should be made transparent.

To the casual observer, the name of the century-old American Educational Research Association (AERA)—a professional organization largely comprising education school professors—might sound like any academic society, such as the American Historical Association or the Association for Psychological Science. Indeed, that juxtaposition fools many who naïvely assume the AERA to be a comprehensive resource for objective expertise.

In its early days, a century ago, the AERA hosted objective research in the teaching and learning of subject matter knowledge and skills. That was before the creation of graduate schools of education, back when most education researchers were either psychology professors or state or local agency program evaluators, and teachers were trained in apprenticeship-like programs at “normal schools.” AERA’s current mission statement hints at this legacy.

Literacy and numeracy targeted as foundation for later success in low-income countries

Andrew Jack:

Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour.
https://www.ft.com/content/7caf45b1-a5ef-4156-8332-e8794049d56d

At her primary school in Ndiebel, western Senegal, Marietou Diagne has seen a sharp improvement in her young pupils’ grasp of the basics of reading since she adopted a new approach to teaching two years ago.

Children in the first three grades now study in Wolof, their mother tongue, before switching to French, the country’s main language of instruction. Based on these stronger foundations, the aim is to improve the children’s learning and progression through the education system.

“I’ve seen real advances,” says Diagne. “The children are much more at ease and grasp the essentials very quickly. They take books home and their family can help them read. I’ve even had a couple of parents say the younger children are better at reading than their older brothers and sisters.”

Showing up to dress down school boards over their dereliction of duty isn’t a crime. It’s good parenting and good citizenship.

Maud Maron:

I am a mother of four, a criminal defense attorney and a lifelong liberal who is deeply concerned about the direction of New York City’s public schools. I’ve been outspoken about my views, along with an untold number of frustrated parents. For that, the FBI is considering using the PATRIOT Act against me. 

Let me explain: late last month, the National School Boards Association, an umbrella organization representing thousands of local elected school board officials, sent a letter addressed to President Biden. It warned that “America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat.” But not just any threat: “the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” The letter implored the White House to enlist the support of Homeland Security, the FBI and the Department of Justice to investigate the threat — adding that the alleged crimes fall under the purview of the “PATRIOT Act in regards to domestic terrorism.”

I read the letter with grave concern, as would any American who cares about our public schools and the safety of teachers and students. What was the nature of this threat? And would my own children be at risk?

As it turns out, the threat is me. The threat is parents showing up to dress down school boards over their dereliction of duty. That is what the NSBA considers a crime.

I urge you to read the letter in full. You will see that it contains 24 footnotes. The worst of the so-called crimes include prank calls; a single individual in Ohio yelling a “Nazi salute in protest of masking requirements”; another individual in Washington State whose disorderly conduct prompted the board to call a recess; “spreading misinformation” online, and disorderly conduct arrests. In New York, where I live, disorderly conduct is not even a criminal offense. 

And yet within days of the NSBA letter, the top law enforcement official in the country, Attorney General Merrick Garland, publicly responded to the letter with a memorandum to the director of the FBI. Garland agreed with the NSBA that “there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” against board members — without providing any evidence. He further announced specialized training for board members to “aid in the investigation and prosecution of these crimes” and, more worryingly, the creation of a task force composed of FBI and Justice Department representatives to “determine how federal enforcement tools can be used to prosecute these crimes.” The FBI’s clear message to parents is that the NSBA is on the right track.

Commentary.

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.

Loudoun County Schools Tried To Conceal Sexual Assault Against Daughter In Bathroom, Father Says

Luke Rosiak:

On June 22, Scott Smith was arrested at a Loudoun County, Virginia school board meeting, a meeting that was ultimately deemed an “unlawful assembly” after many attendees vocally opposed a policy on transgender students.

What people did not know is that, weeks prior, on May 28, Smith says, a boy, allegedly wearing a skirt, entered a girls’ bathroom at nearby Stone Bridge High School, where he sexually assaulted Smith’s ninth-grade daughter. 

Juvenile records are sealed, but Scott’s attorney, Elizabeth Lancaster told The Daily Wire that a boy was charged with two counts of forcible sodomy, one count of anal sodomy, and one count of forcible fellatio, related to an incident that day at that school.

“One district issued exemptions to 14 percent of its school employees”

Mike Antonucci:

The Daily Herald in Everett, Washington posted a story that should be a model for news outlets everywhere. Headlined, “Mandate won’t keep unvaccinated teachers out of classrooms,” it not only provides details of what the state and local vaccine mandates entail, but also gives the vaccination counts of every school district in the area.

While most school employees are complying with the mandate, the Edmonds school district notified parents that 13 teachers, 25 aides, 26 bus drivers and five custodians had still not been vaccinated or granted an exemption. Teachers with exemptions can either teach online or, if they return to the classrrom, must wear a KN95 mask and face shield and get tested once a week.

Vaccination rates, particularly among teachers, are high, but the Herald notes the “robust” number of exemptions granted. One district issued exemptions to 14 percent of its school employees.

School board meetings show only that freedom is messy

Selma Zito:

When Carson used a media platform in discussions about school district issues, as he did last year when the children in the Pittsburgh Public Schools went for months without in-person education, he said he had to be “profoundly cautious” in expressing his views.

School board meetings have been around forever, and they have always had the potential to become raucous. I remember attending them with my mother as a teenager, then as a mother myself when my children were young. I also had to attend a few as a reporter for the local newspaper I worked for at the time. Emotions often ran high, as they should when children’s welfare is involved. Good parents never lose sight that the people who educate their children spend more day time with them in a classroom setting than parents themselves do. Emotions also ran high when new buildings were proposed, which always eventually meant higher taxes. 

I have often told young reporters that if they want to see firsthand the most important political process in the U.S. system, turn off cable news, get off the iPhone, turn their eyes away from Washington, and cover a local school board meeting.

No one should accept threats or physical violence at a school board meeting or anywhere else. But such conduct is fortunately rare. The problem today is, can we trust our government to distinguish between the actual threat of violence and the passionate expression of viewpoints by parents?

Civics: “It’s that a tiny handful of oligarchs (and political class influencers) are dictating what is knowable, or what views are valid.”

Joel Kotkin:

Attempts to shape or control thought by the tech giants are proceeding with astonishing speed. Staffers at Google, Facebook and Twitter increasingly “curate” the content on their sites. Often this means eliminating conservative views, according to former employees; companies increasingly use algorithms intended to screen out “hate groups.” But as reporting has shown, the e-programmers put in charge of this work often have trouble distinguishing between “hate groups” and those who might simply express dissenting if legitimate supported views.

If once we thought the IT revolution would foster a more democratic era in communications, what happened was the opposite: The media became more concentrated, with just a few companies controlling all the information pipelines.The steady erosion in anti-trust enforcement under both parties has left firms like Facebook and Google with almost unlimited power to acquire or crush competitors and ideological opponents. And these firms are near-absolute monopolies; they hold market shares that exceed eighty percent in key markets like search, social media, and book sales, as well as phone and PC operating systems.

City orders educators to find the thousands of students ‘missing’ from schools

Susan Edelman:

City educators are scrambling to find what some officials fear are 150,000 or more kids who have not yet set foot in school — and others who don’t show up on a given day.

“Reach out to every absent student every day,” the Department of Education instructed principals last week in a memo obtained by The Post.

Schools were told to follow up daily with each missing kid until they nail down the reason why he or she has not shown up — whether for one day or not at all.

“Outreach to families may include phone calls, text messages, postcards, and where possible, home visits,” the memo says.

In another urgent missive, principals told staffers that all schools with more than 20 percent of students absent will get weekly visits from DOE higher-ups — a dreaded occurrence. “We cannot continue in this direction,” one administrator warned.

The Plague of the Poor: A dangerous COVID-era authoritarianism targets the most vulnerable—and threatens the foundation of democratic society

Alex Gutentag:

Proponents of vaccine mandates and passports claim that such policies will get us “back to normal.” But the increasingly unequal world that these requirements are actually building is anything but normal. It is a world in which the most basic forms of participation in society are contingent on submitting to an often unwanted medical procedure for which there is no long-term data. It is a world in which fundamental human freedoms—starting with the freedom to ask questions and to choose what substances go into one’s body—are now being suspended and mocked by politicians, judges, and journalists whose jobs are ostensibly to safeguard those freedoms.

As the $1.3 trillion pharmaceutical industry increasingly captures the media, elected officials, and scientific institutions, the public health establishment that many people trusted to protect their well-being has become a tool of profit and control. If we fail to resist this establishment now, the harms caused by a medicalized “show your papers” regime will far exceed the threat posed by the virus itself.

Proposed Changes in the Child Tax Credit

Greg Mankiw:

new paper by Kevin Corinth, Bruce Meyer, Matthew Stadnicki, and Derek Wu finds the following (emphasis added). 

The proposed change under the American Families Plan (AFP) to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) Child Tax Credit (CTC) would increase maximum benefit amounts to $3,000 or $3,600 per child (up from $2,000 per child) and make the full credit available to all low and middle-income families regardless of earnings or income. We estimate the anti-poverty, targeting, and labor supply effects of the expansion by linking survey data with administrative tax and government program data which form part of the Comprehensive Income Dataset (CID). Initially ignoring any behavioral responses, we estimate that the expansion of the CTC would reduce child poverty by 34% and deep child poverty by 39%. The expansion of the CTC would have a larger anti-poverty effect on children than any existing government program, though at a higher cost per child raised above the poverty line than any other means-tested program. Relatedly, the CTC expansion would allocate a smaller share of its total dollars to families at the bottom of the income distribution—as well as families with the lowest levels of long-term income, education, or health—than any existing means-tested program with the exception of housing assistance. We then simulate anti-poverty effects accounting for labor supply responses. By replacing the TCJA CTC (which contained substantial work incentives akin to the EITC) with a universal basic income-type benefit, the CTC expansion reduces the return to working at all by at least $2,000 per child for most workers with children. Relying on elasticity estimates consistent with mainstream simulation models and the academic literature, we estimate that this change in policy would lead 1.5 million workers (constituting 2.6% of all working parents) to exit the labor force. The decline in employment and the consequent earnings loss would mean that child poverty would only fall by 22% and deep child poverty would not fall at all with the CTC expansion.

A view of Columbus Day: Celebrating the Wrong Italian

James Bennett:

The interesting thing to me was the complete absence of anything representing the United States. This was not a coincidence. Columbus, and the holiday celebrating his landing in the New World, are seen throughout the Spanish-speaking world as having to do primarily with the extension of Spanish-speaking, Catholic civilization to the New World and the creation, through a conflicted encounter, of a new culture. It is, to coin a phrase, the creation of the Hispanosphere that is commemorated. 

Traditionally, the role played by the United States in this narrative is not one of a joint participant, but rather an antagonist. In the narrative of Hispanosphere nationalists, Latin America is Shakespeare’s Ariel, the graceful and sensitive artistic spirit. The United States, or “Gringolandia” as it is sometimes called, is Caliban, the powerful but ugly monster that dominates tragic Ariel. 

Columbus Day in the United States carries an entirely different set of connotations. During the 19th century, Columbus was reinvented by Washington Irving and his successors as a sort of Yankee visionary entrepreneur before his time. His specific roots in time, space, and culture as a Genoese in the service of Spanish monarchs was downplayed; what was celebrated was his seeming prescience and capacity for self-reinvention. 

In fact Columbus did have some such characteristics; entrepreneurism is often a leap into the unknown, and he was neither the first nor the last to set out to seek one thing and discover another, nor to venture on the basis of mistaken calculations and assumptions. There was, it is true, a certain Enron-like quality to his mileage calculations. 

Subsequently, this useful narrative was seized upon and expanded by Catholic immigrant communities eager to demonstrate that Catholicism was not inconsistent with being American. Italian immigrant groups found Columbus a particularly appealing figure; here was an Italian Catholic already elevated to heroic status by the Americans they sought to join. Columbus Day became established as an American holiday, but for reasons and with symbolism quite different from those for which it is celebrated in Latin America.. 

Now, of course, Columbus Day is under attack as a holiday in the United States by the forces of political correctness. This is primarily an effect of the Calvinist Puritan roots of American progressivism. Just as Calvinists believed in the centrality of the depravity of man, with the exception of a miniscule contingent of the Elect of God, their secularized descendants believe in the depravity and cursedness of Western civilization, with their own enlightened selves in the role of the Elect. 

I do not particularly sympathize with the demonization of Columbus Day by the politically correct, although I do not think the injustices suffered by our Siberian-American fellow immigrants should be glossed over. However, I think Columbus Day should be reconsidered as a U.S. holiday for a different reason. I am fundamentally in agreement with the Hispanosphere nationalists on one point: Columbus’s voyage was very specifically the initiation of the contact between Spain and Spanish America. Neither the settlement of Brazil nor of English-speaking North America were direct consequences of Columbus’s voyages, and would probably have happened had Columbus never returned with the news of his landing.

Estimating the returns to schooling

David Card:

Card is best known amongst intellectuals for his minimum wage work, but he also has been central in estimating the returns to higher education, using superior methods.  In particular, he has induced many economists to downgrade the import of the signaling model of education.  Here is one excerpt from his Econometrica paper, appropriately entitled “Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems:

A review of studies that have used compulsory schooling laws, differences in the accessibility of schools, and similar features as instrumental variables for completed education, reveals that the resulting estimates of the return to schooling are typically as
big or bigger than the corresponding ordinary least squares estimates. One interpretation of this finding is that marginal returns to education among the low-education subgroups typically affected by supply-side innovations tend to be relatively high, reflecting their high marginal costs of schooling, rather than low ability that limits their return to education.

Peer Review, a Tarnished “Gold Standard”

Richard Phelps:

I recently submitted a manuscript to an education journal, a review essay of another scholar’s work. It opened with a compliment of the author’s “highly-praised and influential work.” To that statement, one reviewer of my manuscript asserted that I used “emotionally loaded language of incredulity, dismissiveness, and hyperbole.”

More “tone policing” comments riddled the review, suggesting that even when my words might sound benign or complimentary, what I really meant was malevolent. There were several examples of another curious critique type as well: Raw declarations that my claims could not possibly be true, without any effort having been made to follow my footnotes to the evidence.

Few of my manuscript submissions to education journals have been reviewed substantively. For those familiar with Paul Graham’s hierarchy of disagreement, the reviews tend to lack a refutation of the central point, refutation in general, or counterargument. Instead, most consist of responding to (perceived) tone or being ad hominem (even anonymously) attacks.

I consider it likely that this reviewer knew that I had written the manuscript. And that may have motivated the decision to volunteer. If I read the editor’s reviewer numbering system correctly, three others had agreed to review but then failed to follow through. Who knows how many were originally asked?

As it is, the traditional peer review system relies on unpaid volunteers from a small population of very busy people to perform an intensive and time-consuming task. Two types of scholars feel most compelled to review papers: Those intrinsically motivated (not necessarily for noble reasons) such as the aforementioned reviewer, and those who “have to,” such as graduate students and not-yet-tenured professors.

Teacher resigns from Winterville Charter Academy after “racially insensitive lesson”

WITN TV:

A charter school in the east is under fire for a racially charged school lesson that resulted in a teacher’s resignation and alleged bullying by other students.

WITN began investigating what happened at the school after receiving calls and social media questions about the lesson.

Winterville Charter Academy parents that WITN spoke with Wednesday described their children being singled out by the teacher in a lesson about the U.S. Constitution.

“She had them raise their hand during a constitutional lesson and reminded them that if it wasn’t for the Constitution, they would be her slaves. Her field slaves,” said Kanisha Tillman, whose child was in the classroom.

Down the Memory Hole: Evidence on Educational Testing

Richard Phelps:

What happens to the research evidence in a scientific field when the professionals in that field do not like it?

Some naively believe, as I once did, that all scientific research is somehow accumulated and preserved. Some of it is, even if its preservation may be obscure. Many scholarly journal indexes, for example, date back to the early twentieth century, and their earliest journal contents can still be found in some dusty academic libraries or on microfiche. Other scientific research is not deliberately preserved, or even indexed, and can more easily be forsaken and forgotten.1

Research on educational testing, its uses and effects, should greatly interest the American public. A standardized test, when administered by objective third parties, is one of the few instruments available to measure what happens inside our schools, which is not controlled by those who run our schools. For several decades, most U.S. states have incorporated systemwide testing in their education programs. Then, starting in the early 2000s, the federal government intervened with system wide testing requirements in most states in seven grade levels. Those requirements continue today. To many, testing seems omnipresent in our public schools.

It is no secret, however, that education professors tend to be less enthusiastic than the general public about testing mandates or externally administered standardized tests.2 Nonetheless, by default our graduate schools of education, their libraries, and the scholarly journals they manage serve as the primary repositories of research on the uses and effects of educational testing.

In my “spare” time, I read research on the effect of testing on student learning. Over the years, I have reviewed thousands of studies and found several hundred that fit the requirements for a statistical meta-analysis, including hundreds of randomized controlled experiments—the “gold standard” in social science research—dating back to the 1910s. Among the many sources I found helpful were a 233-page Bibliography of Educational and Psychological Tests and Measurement from 1923 and a 1942 book by C. C. Ross, Measurement in Today’s Schools—a source that led me to many other sources.

The “scientific” study of school testing—that is, the statistical analysis of test use and its effects—dates back to the 1890s. In 1923, standardized educational tests were still relatively new, but had already proliferated widely. The Bibliography, conducted for the U.S. Department of Interior, lists several hundred different tests and cites several hundred more reports of their implementation.

Five foot tall Rhode Island mom is not intimidated by the DOJ or FBI.

Jim Polito:

Nicole Solas is fighting CRT indoctrination in schools while being a mom taxi and changing diapers. The Rhode Island mother is being sued by the state’s largest teacher’s union for asking questions about what’s being taught to her kids. Now the Department of Justice and FBI have accepted the premise that she could be a domestic terrorist because she is holding her local educators and administrators accountable. Click the podcast below to be inspired by this incredible woman.

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.

Following a Twitter outcry, a scientist was stopped from giving a lecture at MIT for reasons that had nothing to do with the lecture itself.

Yascha Mounk:

Dorian Abbot is a geophysicist at the University of Chicago. In recognition of his research on climate change, MIT invited him to deliver the John Carlson Lecture, which takes place every year at a large venue in the Boston area and is meant to “communicate exciting new results in climate science to the general public.”

Then the campaign to cancel Abbot’s lecture began. On Twitter, some students and professors called on the university to retract its invitation. And, sure enough, MIT buckled, becoming yet another major institution in American life to demonstrate that the commitment to free speech it trumpets on its website evaporates the moment some loud voices on social media call for a speaker’s head.

But there is more to this story than meets the eye. For although most outlets have covered Abbot’s disinvitation as but the latest example of an illiberal culture on campus, it is qualitatively different from other recent instances in which invitations have been rescinded—and suggests that the scope of censorship is continuing to morph and expand.

Is Abbot a climate-change denier? Or has he committed some terrible crime? No, he simply expressed his views about the way universities should admit students and hire faculty in the pages of a national magazine.

Back in August, Abbot and a colleague criticized affirmative action and other ways to give candidates for admission or employment a leg up on the basis of their ethnic or racial identity in Newsweek. In their place, Abbot advocated what he calls a Merit, Fairness, and Equality (MFE) framework in which applicants would be “treated as individuals and evaluated through a rigorous and unbiased process based on their merit and qualifications alone.” This, Abbot emphasized, would also entail “an end to legacy and athletic admission advantages, which significantly favor white applicants.”

A Research-Based Explanation of How Children Learn to Read Words

Stephen Parker:

Sight Words

Ehri distinguishes 4 ways to read words:
“The first three ways help us read unfamiliar words. The fourth way explains how we read words we have read before. One way is by decoding, also called phonological recoding. We can either sound out and blend graphemes into phonemes, or we can work with larger chunks of letters to blend syllabic units into recognizable words. Another way is by analogizing. This involves using words we already know to read new words – for example, using the known word, bottle, to read throttle. Another way is by prediction. This involves using context and letter clues to guess unfamiliar words. The fourth way of reading words is by memory or sight. This applies to words we have read before. We can just look at the words and our brain recognizes them.” [1] [boldface mine]

[Note: If you’re unfamiliar with the terms “decode,” “blend,” “segment,” “grapheme,” or “phoneme,” you can find easy-to-understand definitions here. Understanding these terms is a necessity for reading this blog.]

Since the first 3 strategies for reading (above) all involve conscious effort and time, using any of them will impede reading comprehension. Reading by sight, however, requires no conscious effort – all the brain’s resources can be directed toward comprehending the text.

“Given that there are multiple ways to read words, consider which way makes text reading most efficient. If readers know words by sight and can recognize them automatically as they read text, then word reading operates unconsciously. In contrast, each of the other ways of reading words requires conscious attention. If readers attempt to decode words, to analogize, or to predict words, their attention is shifted from the text to the word itself to identify it, and this disrupts comprehension, at least momentarily. It is clear that being able to read words automatically from memory is the most efficient, unobtrusive way to read words in text. Hence, building a sight vocabulary is essential for achieving text-reading skill.” [2]

If you’re a skilled reader, you’ll likely read every word in this blog effortlessly – by sight. A mere glimpse of each word will immediately link to that word’s pronunciation and meaning. The brain’s ability to do this is astonishing. How does it happen?

A traditional view of how sight words are created holds that beginners memorize some type of association between a visual characteristic of the word (perhaps its overall shape) and its meaning. The pronunciation of the word is activated only after the meaning of the word has been retrieved. Ehri calls this notion “incorrect.”

College Scam Parents Found Guilty in Admissions Cheating Trial

Patricia Hurtado:

A former Wynn Resorts Ltd. executive and a private equity investor were found guilty in the first trial of parents accused of cheating to get their children into elite U.S. universities.

Gamal Abdelaziz, 64, was convicted of conspiracy by a Boston jury after prosecutors alleged he paid $300,000 in bribes to get his daughter into the University of Southern California as a purported basketball player. John B. Wilson, 62, was also convicted of conspiracy after prosecutors alleged he paid more than $1.2 million in bribes to get his son into the University of Southern California and his twin daughters into Stanford and Harvard as star athletes. Both men face years in prison.

School quality in cities commentary

Tyler Cowen:

On your podcast recently you asked Ed Glaeser for his political economy model to explain why schools in cities are so bad. I think it may just be schools in American cities that are bad rather than schools in cities in general, and the political economy reason why is probably local control over schools.

I am familiar with the situation in England, where outcomes are better in large cities. English children on free school meals (usually because their parents are on welfare) have substantially better exam results and are a lot more likely to go to university in large cities than in the rest of the country, while children not on free school meals do about as well as in large cities or slightly better.

That said, schools in large English cities were bad 20-30 years ago – in 2001 educational outcomes in inner London were the worst in England – and the improvement coincided with major policy change. Starting in 1990, school governance reforms in England have nearly eliminated the powers of local authorities over schools. Most schools are now ‘academies’ entirely independent from local authorities, and local authorities have very little discretion in how they manage schools theoretically under their control. On the other hand, in the US local government makes more of the decisions on education than in any other OECD country: 72% of decisions in the US are local, compared to the OECD average of 3%.

Civics: Lawfare, Citizen Activism and taxpayer funded schools

Bradley Thompson:

Garland’s letter is a moral, political, and constitutional abomination. To say there are serious problems with the Attorney General’s Orwellian letter would be an understatement. The letter asserts, for instance, that “there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” It claims as fact a “rise in criminal conduct directed toward school personnel.” Neither the NSBA nor the Justice Department have provided any credible or meaningful evidence to support this unfounded claim, nor does Garland’s passive-aggressive letter specify what it classifies as “criminal conduct” or “domestic terrorism.” (Not surprisingly, Garland’s letter neglects to mention that some school board members and the teachers’ unions have been harassing and threatening parents for months. See herehereherehere, and here.) The simple fact of the matter is that virtually no violence has occurred at school board meetings this year.

In support of the NSBA request, Garland’s memorandum announced that he has directed the FBI and each U. S. Attorney to convene meetings immediately with “federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district” in order to “facilitate the discussion of strategies” for dealing with threats against school officials. The Department of Justice will also “open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response. In other words, the government will establish “snitch” lines against parents. If a school board member doesn’t like what they hear in a public meeting, they will be able to report (presumably anonymously) threats of harassment and intimidation.

But there’s more. In conjunction with Garland’s letter, the Department of Justice issued a press release in which it announced that the DOJ will be creating a task force “consisting of representatives from the department’s . . .

  • Criminal Division
  • National Security Division
  • Civil Rights Division
  • Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys
  • FBI
  • Community Relations Service
  • Office of Justice Programs

The purpose of this Star Chamber will be to “determine how federal enforcement tools can be used to prosecute these crimes.”

America’s security state has not been mobilized like this since 9-11. Recall, for instance, that the Justice Department’s National Security Division was created in 2005 to conduct “counterterrorism and counterespionage” operations against foreign enemies threatening the United States and its citizens, enemies such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS—ya know, the kind of individuals and organizations that commit mass murder as their day job.

The Biden Regime is now turning the full apparatus of America’s security state against ordinary American citizens who are challenging the hegemony of America’s Education-Industrial Complex. Dissenting parents who are unhappy with the substance and method by which their children are being taught are now to be designated and possibly prosecuted as domestic terrorists! To wit: the FBI and the National Security Division will now be in charge of monitoring school board meetings and parent organizations around the United States.

But we need to be crystal clear about who these alleged “terrorists” really are. Have you ever wondered what the new Merrick Garland version of a “domestic terrorist” looks and sounds like? You might start by taking a good look at your mother, your wife, your sister, or your daughter. 

Where will all this lead? Should we not treat “domestic terrorists” in the same way that we treat international terrorists? (Asking for a friend.) I’m told there are now a lot of empty bunks (with a view) at Guantanamo Bay. Should America’s domestic terrorists receive the full Khalid Sheikh Mohammed treatment? 

But even if it were true that there have been a few isolated threats of physical violence, how is this an issue for the FBI and the full apparatus of the National Security State rather than for local law enforcement? It’s not. This is massive power grab and a serious threat to the rights and liberties of millions of ordinary Americans.

Let’s not kid ourselves. We all know what this is and is not about. It’s NOT about alleged threats of violence against school board members. It’s about targeting political opponents, criminalizing dissent, and weaponizing the FBI and the National Security State against parents who are protesting peacefully and lawfully against indoctrination and censorship in America’s government schools. It’s about turning complaining parents into domestic terrorists for the crime of being parents. It’s about turning America’s mothers into the legal equivalent of Islamic jihadists. It’s about intimidating parents. It’s about using the coercive force of the State against our First Amendment rights to free speech, to assemble peaceably, and to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” It’s about silencing parental opposition to the Education Establishment. Make no mistake about it, that’s what this about.

Government pensions create moral collapse and slavery

Bookworm:

This is not going to be a post about the fact that government pension plans can support corrupt systems in other countries; e.g. by investing in electric vehicles, pension plans support the child slavery used in the Congo to collect cobalt for batteries. Instead, I want to talk about the way government pensions lead to a slave mentality and moral collapse in government workers.

Over the years, I’ve talked a lot about how corrupt the FBI is. Years ago, I wrote that FBI employees won’t risk their salaries by making a noise when they see corruption within the FBI because they’re way too dependent on their salaries. They have all the financial obligations that simultaneously raise up the quality of middle-class lifestyles while chaining the workers to a constant cash flow: mortgages, car payments, computers, washers/dryers, smartphones, private school fees, nice vacations, etc. People will put up with a lot of corruption in their organization, especially if they only “sort of” know about it in order to prevent the possibility of unemployment.

Government unions have also turned the Deep State into a Democrat institution. I’ve written about unions too because of their deeply corrupting influence. In private-sector unions, when management and the union representative sit down at the table to negotiate, they both have skin in the game because both are invested in the company’s financial well-being. If management gets too greedy, it either has difficulty retaining workers or they do a lousy job. If workers get too greedy, the company will go bankrupt or shift its factory to Mexico or China.

However, when it comes to government unions, the two people sitting at the table have no skin in the game, just greed. The money comes from taxpayers, who are only theoretically represented by the government negotiator at the table. In fact, the government negotiator, who is himself a unionized government employee, wants to give the unions as much taxpayer money as possible. The quid pro quo for that is that the unions will in turn take a portion of that money from workers and give it to the Democrat party. Eventually, not just the union but the workers themselves will see the Democrat party as the holy cash cow. They quickly lose sight of the taxpayers who make this all possible.

Colleges Learning Costly Woke Math in the Courtroom School of Hard Knocks

Steve Miller:

As they reel from revenue losses connected to the pandemic, many colleges and universities are racking up other costs not likely to turn up in their glossy brochures or as line items on staggering tuition bills: untold millions of dollars in legal fees and settlements for allegedly violating the rights of students, professors, and applicants on free speech, admissions and other matters as the schools pursue social justice causes.

Harvard University’s legal costs fighting a continuing 2017 challenge to its racial admissions practices have surpassed $25 million, the cap of its primary insurer, and it is now suing a secondary legal insurer, the Zurich American Insurance Company, over its refusal to pick up the tab going forward.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had spent more than $16.8 million by the end of 2018, and its costs have only grown as it, like Harvard, continues defending admissions policies allegedly favoring blacks and Hispanics over whites and Asians.

Challenges to alleged free-speech violations, which have plagued universities for decades, continue to grow with a heightened grievance culture. 

The University of California San Diego in 2019 paid nearly $1 million after a four-year court fight over its move to defund student media because of a school newspaper piece satirizing “safe spaces.”

UW Madison Grows out of state enrollment

Kelly Meyerhofer:

With out-of-state students paying nearly four times what in-state students are charged, UW-Madison puts some of that money toward Bucky’s Tuition Promise, a full-tuition scholarship for in-state students whose families make less than $60,000 annually. The program, now in its fourth year, serves about one in every five Wisconsin freshman.

Growing out-of-state enrollment has also helped UW-Madison double its other institutional financial aid since 2015, said Matt Mayrl, Blank’s chief of staff. The money helps support Wisconsin students who may not be eligible for Bucky’s Tuition Promise but still in need of some financial assistance

Google, YouTube to prohibit ads and monetization on climate denial content

Sara Fischer:

Google and YouTube on Thursday announced a new policy that prohibits climate deniers from being able to monetize their content on its platforms via ads or creator payments. 

Why it matters: It’s one of the most aggressive measures any major tech platform has taken to combat climate change misinformation.

Details: Google advertisers and publishers, as well as YouTube creators, will be prohibited from making ad revenue off content that contradicts “well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change,” the company’s ads team said in a statement.

Many taxpayer supported K-12 School Districts use Google services, including Madison.

Chicago had a long list of disengaged students. Did efforts to reel them in pay off?

Mila Koumpilova:

On the eve of the school year’s start, schools had reached out to roughly 90% of those students and connected with almost two-thirds of them, according to data obtained last month by Chalkbeat Chicago. But those outreach rates varied greatly across campuses, with some schools trying to contact only a small fraction of students. 

Some critics, such as the district’s principal group, say the effort has been too focused on hitting phone call targets, rather than going all out to reconnect with the toughest-to-reach students. Some said the program was at times plagued by poor coordination among the district, campuses and the community groups the district hired. 

District officials have pointed to early attendance numbers to declare the ongoing effort a success: A Day 1 attendance dip this fall was modest, given the early, pre-Labor Day start and the pandemic’s ongoing pressures. Enrollment data Chicago Public Schools has not yet disclosed would help paint a more complete picture; leaders have signalled the district saw another enrollment drop.

In any case, experts and educators stress the work of reengaging students will continue long after schools have gotten them through the doors.

“We haven’t all been in the building with children wall-to-wall for 18 months,” said Ellen Kennedy, the principal at Richards. “We have to figure out how to function together and do school again.”

The ACLU Decides ‘Woman’ Is a Bad Word

Nicole Ault:

The American Civil Liberties Union has apologized for excluding the word “woman” from a Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotation in a tweet posted Sept. 18: “The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a [person’s] life, to [their] well-being and dignity,” as the organization rendered the statement. ACLU executive director Anthony Romero told the New York Times that in the future the group “won’t be altering people’s quotes.”

But it will surely find more palatable ways to hedge the word, because doing so has become a progressive point of order. House Democrats qualified the word “woman” in a September bill by saying the term reflects “the identity of the majority of people” who might seek an abortion: “This Act is intended to protect all people with the capacity for pregnancy—cisgender women, transgender men, non-binary individuals, those who identify with a different gender, and others.”

The Justice Department made a similar note about “any individuals who become pregnant” in a brief filed against the Texas abortion law. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Covid vaccines are safe for “pregnant people.” The White House budget’s neutered term for mothers: “birthing people.”

Such squeamishness about calling women “women” is notable from self-professed feminists. But tension between old-fashioned feminism and new gender ideology has been brimming for a while.

Civics: Corporate Media Practices

Peng Her Wisconsin Assembly Bill 446 Testimony

mp3 audio: PDF Transcript (Machine generated).

Related: Some legislators attempt to address 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.

De Blasio to Phase Out N.Y.C. Gifted and Talented Program

Eliza Shapiro:

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday he planned to overhaul New York City’s gifted and talented education system, a sea change for the nation’s largest public school system that may amount to the mayor’s most significant act in the waning months of his tenure.

The mayor’s action attempts to address what the city has known for decades: Its highly selective gifted and talented program has led to a racially segregated learning environment for thousands of elementary school students citywide. The program will no longer exist for incoming kindergarten students next fall, and within a few years, it will be eliminated completely, the mayor said.

Students who are currently enrolled in gifted classes will become the final cohort in the existing system, which will be replaced by a program that offers accelerated learning to all students in the later years of elementary school.

But Mr. de Blasio, who is term limited, will leave City Hall at the end of December. His almost-certain successor, Eric Adams, will choose what parts of the plan he wants to implement — or whether to put it in place at all.

“Eric will assess the plan and reserves his right to implement policies based on the needs of students and parents, should he become mayor,” said Evan Thies, a spokesman for Mr. Adams. “Clearly the Department of Education must improve outcomes for children from lower-income areas.”

Barring any major reversal, the gradual elimination of the existing program will remove a major component of what many consider to be the city’s two-tiered education system, in which one relatively small, largely white and Asian American group of students gain access to the highest-performing schools, while many Black and Latino children remain in schools that are struggling.

Gifted and talented programs are in high demand, largely because they help propel students into selective middle and high schools, effectively putting children on a parallel track from their general education peers. Many parents, including Black and Latino parents, have sought out gifted classes as an alternative to the city’s struggling district schools, and have come to rely on them as a way to set their children up for future success.

Related: English 10 and they’re all rich white kids and they’ll do just fine, NOT!

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Mortgage Payments Are Getting More and More Unaffordable (property tax growth, as well)

Orla McAffrey:

House prices are rising at a record pace but incomes aren’t keeping up, which is making home ownership less and less affordable.

The median American household would need 32.1% of its income to cover mortgage payments on a median-priced home, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. That is the most since November 2008, when the same outlays would eat up 34.2% of income.

Supercharged home prices in markets across the country are canceling out the impact of modestly higher incomes and historically low interest rates, two factors that typically make owning a home more affordable. Prices rose at a record pace for the fourth consecutive month in July, driven by a shortage of houses for sale. Higher prices require buyers to take out larger loans, essentially signing them up to make larger mortgage payments each month for years.

Locally, Madison’s K-12 taxpayers have long supported far above average tax & spending, despite long term, disastrous reading results.

Americans’ Trust in Media Dips to Second Lowest on Record

Megan Brennan:

  • Americans’ trust in the media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly has edged down four percentage points since last year to 36%, making this year’s reading the second lowest in Gallup’s trend.

In all, 7% of U.S. adults say they have “a great deal” and 29% “a fair amount” of trust and confidence in newspapers, television and radio news reporting — which, combined, is four points above the 32% record low in 2016, amid the divisive presidential election campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In addition, 29% of the public currently registers “not very much” trust and 34% have “none at all.”

Are gun ownership rates and regulations associated with firearm incidents in American schools? A forty-year analysis (1980–2019)

Daniel Hamlin:

This study examines the relationship between state gun ownership rates and school firearm incidents (n = 1275) and injured/killed victims (n = 2026) of these incidents over a forty-year period (1980–2019). It also investigates whether child access prevention, minimum age requirements for gun purchases, and mandatory gun safety training laws are associated with fewer school firearm incidents and injured/killed victims.

Methods

Data were linked together from the School Shootings Database, State Firearm Law Database, the National Center for Education Statistics, and the US Census Bureau. State fixed effects and interrupted time series analyses were performed.

Results

State gun ownership rates declined between 1980 and 2019 while school firearm incidents generally ranged between 20 and 40 incidents before skyrocketing to 102 incidents in 2018 and 110 incidents in 2019. Findings were mixed on the relationship between state gun ownership rates and school firearm incidents and injured/killed victims. Additionally, child access prevention, minimum age requirements for gun purchases, and mandatory gun safety training laws exhibited weak and inconsistent relationships with school firearm incidents.

a State-by-State Breakdown of How Often Schools Call the Cops

Mike Antonucci:

The Center for Public Integrity has produced a lot of work about the issue of police in schools. This latest effort adds a new perspective. While focused on the misdeeds of cops in classroom settings, it also shines a light on those schools, districts and states that call in the police a disproportionate number of times.

This chart shows state rankings by the number of times students were referred to law enforcement. Nationally, the average is 4.5 students for every 1,000. But some states go way beyond that, and political leanings do not seem to be a factor.

School officials in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Wisconsin all called the cops on students at a rate at least double the national average. At the other end of the scale, some states with very large school districts, such as Massachusetts; Washington, D.C.; New York; and Ohio, called the police far less often.

In virtually every state, Black students and those with disabilities were referred to law enforcement at rates higher than those for all students.

While incidents of police violence and improper arrests of students made headlines, districts were also making questionable decisions in funding school police. The American Civil Liberties Union got involved in Vermont when it discovered that at least two school systems were using Medicaid reimbursement funds to pay for school cops. The money is supposed to be used to “facilitate early identification of and intervention with children with disabilities.”

The Des Moines, Iowa, school district canceled its contract with the city police but admitted school officials were also responsible for mishandling the use of security personnel.

Police calls, Madison Schools: 1996-2006.

Priced Out of Public Schools: District Lines, Housing Access, and Inequitable Educational Options

Bellwether Education:

Public schools are designed to provide every student with an equal opportunity to achieve the American dream. In reality, that ideal is removed from the lives of millions of K-12 schoolchildren. Geographic school district boundaries and the rental housing market limit options for students with the highest needs while benefiting more affluent families in far too many communities across the country.

Priced Out of Public Schools: District Lines, Housing Access, and Inequitable Educational Options*, a new report by Bellwether Education Partners, examines the relationships among rental housing access, per-pupil funding, and school district boundaries in the 200 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. by exploring three core questions:

  • How much access do low-income families have to housing in each district?
  • What is the relationship between the accessibility of rental housing in school districts and per-pupil funding?
  • How do school district boundaries affect low-income families’ access to public schooling options within their broader communities?

The combination of two factors — how district boundaries are drawn and where accessible housing is located — often have the effect of clustering lower-income families into some districts and separating more affluent families into others. This is a housing crisis and an education crisis that contributes to an inequitable gap that averages $6,355 in district funding per pupil and affects 12.8 million students across the country. Unless policymakers begin addressing all of the interrelated problems, millions of families will continue to find themselves priced out of their preferred public school systems. 

Abolish Legacy Admissions Now

Ronald Daniels:

In the late 1990s, I served as dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. As Canada’s most selective law school, the competition for admission was fierce. Applicants were always in search of anything they could do to secure an advantage in the application process. In my position as dean, it was not uncommon for alumni whose children were applying to the school to approach me and inquire what kind of admissions bump those children would receive by virtue of being a legacy. The answer I gave was always the same: none whatsoever.

State & Local Governments With the Most Debt Per Capita

commodity.com

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, total state and local government debt was $3.17 trillion in 2019 or about $9,700 per person. State governments use debt to finance education, infrastructure and to cover budget gaps, among other things. State and local government debt can fluctuate due to spending habits or changes in income from taxes and other sources, such as during recessions. In the 1940s and 1950s, state and local government debt was much lower than today. Federal, state, and local governments grew substantially during the 20th century. Spending, revenue, and debt increased as the population grew, and the government invested more in infrastructure, education, and social programs. Leading up to the Great Recession that began at the end of 2007, total state and local government debt increased sharply. It has been falling since 2010 but increased between 2019 and 2020. In the wake of the pandemic, the coming years will likely see a continuation of this trend. States with rising debt may raise taxes or cut spending to help bring their budgets under control.

Read more at: https://commodity.com/blog/us-local-debt/

Critical race theory distracts from academic underachievement

Bob Woodson and Ian Rowe:

With a new school year underway, parents, teachers, and children anxiously return to classrooms amidst an ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

But this year, school board members, teachers, academics, politicians, and parents continue to argue over critical race theory and how to enact its version of equity.

Last week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution to support the teaching of critical race theory in public K–12 schools. The resolution initially listed among its sponsors liberal mayors like Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot, Portland’s Ted Wheeler, and Louisville’s Greg Fischer.

Over the summer, Oregon governor Kate Brown suspended a requirement for students to demonstrate reading, writing, and math proficiency in order to receive a high school diploma, in a supposed effort to build “equity.” The governor’s office said the new standards for graduation would aid the state’s “Black, Latino, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.”

These efforts by politicians to push critical race theory distracts from a real analysis of educational achievement in their states and cities. The real issue in American education is a failure to enable the majority of students—regardless of race—to achieve academic excellence or even, in many cases, basic skills.

Critical race theory distracts from academic underachievement

Bob Woodson and Ian Rowe:

With a new school year underway, parents, teachers, and children anxiously return to classrooms amidst an ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

But this year, school board members, teachers, academics, politicians, and parents continue to argue over critical race theory and how to enact its version of equity.

Last week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution to support the teaching of critical race theory in public K–12 schools. The resolution initially listed among its sponsors liberal mayors like Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot, Portland’s Ted Wheeler, and Louisville’s Greg Fischer.

Over the summer, Oregon governor Kate Brown suspended a requirement for students to demonstrate reading, writing, and math proficiency in order to receive a high school diploma, in a supposed effort to build “equity.” The governor’s office said the new standards for graduation would aid the state’s “Black, Latino, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and students of color.”

These efforts by politicians to push critical race theory distracts from a real analysis of educational achievement in their states and cities. The real issue in American education is a failure to enable the majority of students—regardless of race—to achieve academic excellence or even, in many cases, basic skills.

Civics: The Experts Somehow Overlooked Authoritarians on the Left

Sally Satel:

An ambitious new study on the subject by the Emory University researcher Thomas H. Costello and five colleagues should settle the question. It proposes a rigorous new measure of antidemocratic attitudes on the left. And, by drawing on a survey of 7,258 adults, Costello’s team firmly establishes that such attitudes exist on both sides of the American electorate. (One co-author on the paper, I should note, was Costello’s adviser, the late Scott Lilienfeld—with whom I wrote a 2013 book and numerous articles.) Intriguingly, the researchers found some common traits between left-wing and right-wing authoritarians, including a “preference for social uniformity, prejudice towards different others, willingness to wield group authority to coerce behavior, cognitive rigidity, aggression and punitiveness towards perceived enemies, outsized concern for hierarchy, and moral absolutism.”

Published last month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the Costello team’s paper is persuasive, to the point that you have to wonder: How could past researchers have overlooked left-wing authoritarianism for so long? “For 70 years, the lore in the social sciences has been that authoritarianism was to be found exclusively on the political right,” the Rutgers University social psychologist Lee Jussim, who wasn’t involved in the new study, told me in an email. In the 1950 book The Authoritarian Personality, an inquiry into the psychological makeup of people strongly drawn to autocratic rule and repressive politics, the German-born scholar Theodor W. Adorno and three other psychologists measured people along dimensions such as conformity to societal norms, rigid thinking, and sexual repression. And they concluded that “the authoritarian type of human”— the kind of person whose enthusiastic support allows someone like Hitler to exercise power—was found only among conservatives. In the mid-1990s, the influential Canadian psychologist Bob Altemeyer described left-wing authoritarianism as “the Loch Ness Monster of political psychology—an occasional shadow, but no monster. ” Subsequently, other psychologists reached the same conclusion.

The Facebook Whistleblower Is Heroic… And Terribly Wrong

Matt Stoller:

It was an immensely slick and effective public relations campaign, and devastating to the firm’s image. Haugen offered a lot of great information, and she was compelling, articulate, composed, and authoritative. She was impressive, even if you are somewhat skeptical of her motives. Along with these documents, she also offered some a good policy ideas, like making platforms responsible for the speech they amplify through algorithms (changing the law known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act), as well as creating rules to move social media away from an engagement-based business model. Haugen’s goal was, in part, to simplify Facebook as a platform, to make it human scale. 

But there is a huge problem with Haugen’s overall policy recommendations. And since she got a lot of attention, her ideas are getting attention as well.

Haugen is a trained designer of algorithms, and along with many naive Silicon Valley insiders turned critics, at heart does not see a danger with concentrated power. “I don’t hate Facebook,” she has said. “I love Facebook. I want to save it.” Her approach to social media is similar to what many left consumer oriented groups support, which is not to take apart a concentration of power, but to regulate it. It is, in many ways, a similar framework as Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank financial reform package, which, rather than making systemic changes to concentrated and bloated dysfunctional sectors, simply overlaid captured regulators on top of them.

In fact, Haugen’s proposal is also very similar to that of… Mark Zuckerberg. Both want to keep Facebook a dominant monopoly. Why? Both Haugen and Zuckerberg think the firm’s market power allows it to make a lot of money, and that money can be reinvested in safety systems and better site features. Haugen thinks that Facebook is a natural monopoly, as advertisers will only learn and finance one social media platform. Splitting off Facebook Blue from Instagram effectively would mean that all the ad revenue would go to Instagram. Facebook Blue, she suspects, would remain a dangerous social network, but would lack financial resources to mitigate problems. 

If the firm stays together, so goes Haugen’s story, then WhatsApp, Facebook Blue, and Instagram will all have plenty of resources to invest in safety. So what does she suggest with this dominant natural monopoly? Her recommendation is to place a separate data-specific regulatory overlay on top of Facebook and its subsidiaries to protect the public interest. This agency, according to Haugen, would allow people who are in between stints at social media firms to join the government and help make regulations on the sector. And here again she joins team Facebook, as Facebook’s Nick Clegg wrote an oped earlier this year recommending just such a regulator.

And:

Katie Harbath:

K-12 Lawfare, continued: Virginia Moms

Timothy Sandefur:

The Goldwater Institute filed a motion with a Virginia judge today to defend the rights of two moms in Fairfax County, Virginia, who are under attack by their local school district for exercising their freedom of speech. It’s just the latest example of a growing trend of school districts nationwide aggressively persecuting parents who are trying to promote the best interests of their children.

Fairfax County mother Debra Tisler took an interest in how her school district was spending its money, especially given that the county has been in national news about its legal troubles recently. So she filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out how much the district was paying for its legal bills. The district turned over more than 1,000 pages of receipts from its law firm, and another Fairfax-area mother, Callie Oettinger, published some of them on her website, specialeducationaction.com, redacting and sharing select documents related to the superintendent, the school board, and investigations into Fairfax County Public Schools’ cyber hacking and its virtual learning launch debacles.

That’s when trouble started. When the school district realized it had handed over potentially embarrassing material, it demanded that Callie take the material down from her website, and when she refused, district officials sued her—notwithstanding the fact that the Constitution clearly protects her right to publish the information online.

“As a parent, I have a right to know what’s happening in my children’s school, and as a taxpayer, I have a right to know how money is being spent,” Callie said. “I created my site to help advocate for children with special education needs. This includes sharing and holding Fairfax County Public Schools accountable for its noncompliance. I will not let them silence my voice.”

The Entitlements of U.S. Decline

Wall Street Journal:

You have to admire the audacity of pitching higher taxes and more social welfare as the path to national revival, especially when the global evidence is the opposite. The result of Mr. Biden’s expanded entitlements is likely to be reduced incentives to work and invest, slower economic growth, lower living standards, and less fiscal space for essential public goods like national defense.

That’s the lesson from Europe’s cradle-to-grave welfare states, which Bernie Sanders explicitly pitches as models. Most have older populations than the U.S., but this alone doesn’t account for their lower labor participation rates and much higher structural unemployment. European jobless rates tend to be much higher than in the U.S., especially for the young. In 2019 labor participation was 62.6% in the U.S. versus 49.7% in Italy, 55% in France, 57.7% in Spain, 59.3% in Portugal and 61.3% in Germany.

Commentary on K-12 Curriculum

James Causey:

Who is responsible for teaching children about race and racism?

Is it the responsibility of parents? Schools? Society?

Actually, it’s all of the above.

I mostly learned about the evils of racism from my family. My parents and my grandparents passed on their experiences. They owned the Ebony Black Encyclopedia set, had books by famous Black authors, and shared their personal stories.

During summer break, I spent time with my grandparents in Gloster, Miss. and under the shade tree heard their stories about brushes with racism. Tales of shootings and beatings of Blacks by whites. The story of Emmitt Till, who was killed just three hours away from my grandparents’ farm. Run-ins with whites over the years that were too numerous to count.

Government Secretly Orders Google To Identify Anyone Who Searched A Sexual Assault Victim’s Name, Address And Telephone Number (Keyword Warrant)

Thomas Brewster:

In 2019, federal investigators in Wisconsin were hunting men they believed had participated in the trafficking and sexual abuse of a minor. She had gone missing that year but had emerged claiming to have been kidnapped and sexually assaulted, according to a search warrant reviewed by Forbes. In an attempt to chase down the perpetrators, investigators turned to Google, asking the tech giant to provide information on anyone who had searched for the victim’s name, two spellings of her mother’s name and her address over 16 days across the year. After being asked to provide all relevant Google accounts and IP addresses of those who made the searches, Google responded with data in mid-2020, though the court documents do not reveal how many users had their data sent to the government.

It’s a rare example of a so-called keyword warrant and, with the number of search terms included, the broadest on record. (See the update below for other, potentially even broader warrants.) Before this latest case, only two keyword warrants had been made public. One revealed in 2020 asked for anyone who had searched for the address of an arson victim who was a witness in the government’s racketeering case against singer R Kelly. Another, detailed in 2017, revealed that a Minnesota judge signed off on a warrant asking Google to provide information on anyone who searched a fraud victim’s name from within the city of Edina, where the crime took place.

While Google deals with thousands of such orders every year, the keyword warrant is one of the more contentious. In many cases, the government will already have a specific Google account that they want information on and have proof it’s linked to a crime. But search term orders are effectively fishing expeditions, hoping to ensnare possible suspects whose identities the government does not know. It’s not dissimilar to so-called geofence warrants, where investigators ask Google to provide information on anyone within the location of a crime scene at a given time.

Loudoun County Parent Group Celebrates Victory

Wendi Strauch Mahoney:

Loudoun County parents, a small but mighty group, celebrated victory yesterday. Together with a Virginia-based advocacy group, Fight for Schools, the parents are one step closer to recalling school board member Beth Barts. Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Jeanette A. Irby ruled in their favor—three times—after months of showing up at school board meetings and working tirelessly to petition citizens to sign off in the first step toward Barts’ removal.

Lawfare and K-12 Governance (outcomes?)

Sundance:

Lisa Monaco was Barack Obama’s former homeland security advisor and former legal counsel in the White House.  Monaco was the tip of the spear in using political activism under the guise of ‘homeland security’ to target political opposition.  That type of political targeting is her specialty.  Lisa Monaco is now the Deputy Attorney General of the United States.

As a direct result of her skill-set in combination with her current position, it is almost a guarantee that Deputy AG Lisa Monaco authored the DOJ targeting memorandum that AG Merrick Garland signed and sent to the FBI. Again, weaponizing internal political targeting under the guise of homeland security concerns is what Monaco is specifically famous for doing. Today, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley confronted DAG Monaco about the targeting memo. WATCH her response:

WILL Warns UW-Madison: Mental Health Counselors Cannot Discriminate on Basis of Race

Wisconsin institute for law and liberty:

UPDATE: UW-Madison quietly updated their announcement, nearly a month after it went out, to suggest their mental health counselors will not serve students exclusively on the basis of race.

WILL Deputy Counsel, Dan Lennington, said, “While we don’t necessarily oppose counselors claiming certain expertise in issues facing students of color, we remain concerned that such “expertise” will consist of little more than stereotypes and worry about the disparate treatment that such stereotypical thinking might beget. We do read UW’s revised release to abandon the notion of making counseling resources exclusively available to students on the basis of race. Should this understanding be incorrect or should counseling services be provided in a discriminatory way, UW may be hearing from us.”

PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS CANNOT OFFER OR RESTRICT SERVICES BASED ON RACE

The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) issued a letter to University of Wisconsin System President, Tommy Thompson, and University of Wisconsin- Madison, Rebecca Blank, warning the leaders that recently hired mental health counselors cannot be assigned to serve only non-white students. A recent announcement from UW-Madison said three new mental health counselors, hired in September, “will exclusively serve students of color.”