Category Archives: Uncategorized

“LeMonds said the victim’s parents called police while at the school, but “it is likely (Madison) West staff would have also.”

Chris Rickert:

16-year-old charged in beating outside Madison West High School

A 16-year-old boy was tentatively charged with substantial battery after he punched another boy in the head outside Madison West High School Monday, police said.

Police said the mother of the victim called them just before 3:30 p.m. to report the attack, which the victim did not fully remember because the punch might have caused him to black out. Madison police spokesperson Stephanie Fryer said the victim and a friend had been walking to a bus stop at the corner of Regent and Ash streets “when three other teens approached wanting to fight.”

“The victim and his friend turned around to leave the area and the victim was punched in the head,” she said.

Regent and Ash streets make up one corner of the block that includes West High, and police reported the attack happened “while at school.” Fryer said the victim and his attacker are West High students.

But Madison School District spokesperson Tim LeMonds said Tuesday morning that no such incident happened on “any of our campuses.”

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

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Intoxicated 13-year-old arrested after crashing stolen car at a Madsion Beltline off-ramp, police say

Chris Rickert:

“As a community, we should be extremely concerned over a 13-year-old driving a stolen car, during rush hour, while high on (marijuana),” Hanson wrote. “Everybody’s kind of numb, and we can’t be,” he added during the interview with the State Journal.

The vehicle was reported stolen on Monday, police spokesperson Stephanie Fryer said, and an investigation into the Tuesday crash was ongoing.

Hanson used the incident to highlight a $125,000 federal grant the department has received that could help deter similar crimes in the future, as the Madison area has for years been experiencing a rash of stolen vehicles and home break-ins by groups of teens and young adults. The vehicles are often used to go steal other vehicles and break into other homes, where credit cards are sometimes taken and used at local stores before cardholders know they’re gone, police have said.

The grant comes after Madison police sought ideas from the community last year for how to stem repeat juvenile crime, and as a result, the department is working with a four-year-old Madison nonprofit called RISE to “provide resources directly into the homes of our most familiar teenagers committing violence in our community,” Hanson said.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Madison East principal removed after tumultuous start to year

Madison365:

Madison East High School principal Sean Leavy has been reassigned to a district administration position and assistant principal Mikki Smith will take over as principal for the remainder of the school year effective Wednesday, Madison Metropolitan School District officials announced.

A Sean Levy serves on the Beloit Board of Education, according to their website. PDF copy on 30 November 2021.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Commentary on Covid “Mandates”

Ted Rall:

Ms. Mason, the teacher, feels vilified by a party for which she has voted in election after election: “I always thought the Democrats would be sympathetic to the working class. The unvaccinated don’t want to lose their jobs. Now it seems like conservatives are the only ones investigating” the safety of the vaccines.

Another New York high-school teacher, Ricardo Alexander, 51, says vaccines violate his religious beliefs: “My body is a temple.” As a student, Mr. Alexander received religious exemptions from vaccination requirements at City College of New York, Adelphi University and Columbia. But his request to the New York City Board of Education was summarily denied.

“Your application has failed to meet the criteria for a religious-based accommodation,” the board emailed him. “Per the Order of the Commissioner of Health, unvaccinated employees cannot work in a Department of Education (DOE) building or other site with contact with DOE students, employees, or families without posing a direct threat to health and safety. We cannot offer another worksite as an accommodation as that would impose an undue hardship (i.e. more than a minimal burden) on the DOE and its operations.” Regular free testing isn’t being offered as an alternative to the shot, making the New York mandate even more onerous for employees than OSHA’s.

Columbia Settles COVID-19 Class Action Tuition Refund Suit For $12.5 Million

Law360:

Columbia University has agreed to pay $12.5 million to resolve a lawsuit seeking tuition and fee reimbursements in the wake of coronavirus-spurred campus closures, according to a settlement proposal filed in New York federal court.

Students brought a putative class action last year, alleging the Ivy League school deprived them of in-person instruction, access to campus facilities, student activities and other benefits for which they had paid tuition and fees. Certain refunds the school had already provided were insufficient, according to the complaint filed Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman trimmed the students’ tuition claims, but said they were able to reclaim all the fees paid.

Under the deal announced Tuesday, the university will return more than $8.5 million in fees and pay an additional $4 million so the plaintiffs don’t seek to revive the tuition claims, according to a lawyer for the students, Roy T. Willey IV.

Progressives forget that parents are in charge of kids’ education

Andrew McDiarmid:

A growing number of parents are pushing back on public school teachings they consider harmful to their children. They’ve raised a collective voice against divisive approaches like Critical Race Theory, radical gender policies, and the injection of woke ideology into almost every school subject. And they’re making a difference. 

After winning Virginia’s gubernatorial race earlier this month largely on an education platform, Glenn Youngkin assured Virginian parents he’s in their corner: “We’re going to restore excellence in our schools…We’re going to embrace our parents, not ignore them.” 

But many public education proponents aren’t so welcoming toward parents. Youngkin’s opponent, Terry McAuliffe, ran on the premise that parents shouldn’t be telling schools what to teach. Former president Barack Obama echoed his sentiments, referring to parental concerns as “phony, trumped-up culture wars.” A recent opinion piece in The Washington Post by education professor Jack Schneider calls parents’ efforts “conspiratorial fantasies,” comments that earned kudos on Twitter from Randi Weingarten, head of one of the nation’s largest teacher’s unions. Another education professor, Christina Wyman, put it even more bluntly in an NBC News opinion piece: “Parents, community members, and politicians who aren’t qualified to teach should keep their noses out of school curricula.” And in a calculated attempt to scare parents and silence their dissent, liberal advocacy group National School Boards Association asked President Biden to intervene, calling angry parents a “form of domestic terrorism.” Less than a week later, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo activating the FBI to probe local “threats of violence” to school boards.

Chinese province targets journalists, foreign students with planned new surveillance system

Reuters:

Security officials in one of China’s largest provinces have commissioned a surveillance system they say they want to use to track journalists and international students among other “suspicious people”, documents reviewed by Reuters showed.

A July 29 tender document published on the Henan provincial government’s procurement website – reported in the media for the first time – details plans for a system that can compile individual files on such persons of interest coming to Henan using 3,000 facial recognition cameras that connect to various national and regional databases.

Inside the ‘Misinformation’ Wars

Ben Smith:

On Friday afternoons this fall, top American news executives have dialed into a series of off-the-record Zoom meetings led by Harvard academics whose goal is to “help newsroom leaders fight misinformation and media manipulation.”

Those are hot topics in the news industry right now, and so the program at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy drew an impressive roster of executives at CNN, NBC News, The Associated Press, Axios and other major U.S. outlets.

A couple of them, though, told me they were puzzled by the reading package for the first session.

It consisted of a Harvard case study, which a participant shared with me, examining the coverage of Hunter Biden’s lost laptop in the final days of the 2020 campaign. The story had been pushed by aides and allies of then-President Donald J. Trump who tried to persuade journalists that the hard drive’s contents would reveal the corruption of the father.

The news media’s handling of that narrative provides “an instructive case study on the power of social media and news organizations to mitigate media manipulation campaigns,” according to the Shorenstein Center summary.

Genetically informed, multilevel analysis of the Flynn Effect across four decades and three WISC versions

Evan J. Giangrande, Christopher R. Beam, Deborah Finkel, Deborah W. Davis, Eric Turkheimer:

This study investigated the systematic rise in cognitive ability scores over generations, known as the Flynn Effect, across middle childhood and early adolescence (7–15 years; 291 monozygotic pairs, 298 dizygotic pairs; 89% White). Leveraging the unique structure of the Louisville Twin Study (longitudinal data collected continuously from 1957 to 1999 using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children [WISC], WISC–R, and WISC–III ed.), multilevel analyses revealed between-subjects Flynn Effects—as both decrease in mean scores upon test re-standardization and increase in mean scores across cohorts—as well as within-child Flynn Effects on cognitive growth across age. Overall gains equaled approximately three IQ points per decade. Novel genetically informed analyses suggested that individual sensitivity to the Flynn Effect was moderated by an interplay of genetic and environmental factors.

Influential authors Fountas and Pinnell stand behind disproven reading theory

Emily Hanford and Christopher Peak

Mark Seidenberg, a cognitive scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies reading and language development, said this statement doesn’t square with what decades of scientific research has shown about how reading works. “If a child is reading ‘pony’ as ‘horse,’ these children haven’t been taught to read. And they’re already being given strategies for dealing with their failures. This is backwards. If the child were actually given better instruction in how to read the words, then it would obviate the need for using all these different kinds of strategies.” 

Seidenberg said the blog posts offered nothing new. “They clarified for me that they haven’t changed at all. They illustrate they still don’t get it and that they’re still part of the problem. These folks just haven’t really benefitted much from the ongoing discussion about what are the best ways to teach kids to read so that the most kids succeed.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

How to remove red tape and create a more robust teacher talent pool

Matthew Simon:

Key Points

  • Current teacher talent pipelines are deficient to meet students’ and schools’ needs and demands.
  • Reforming teacher certification laws to allow and empower individuals from diverse backgrounds—with different work experience and community ties—to enter the teacher workforce can help address teacher shortages.
  • Giving local school leaders the autonomy to hire, train, and certify their own teachers puts power at the local level and allows leaders to drive their own workforce needs. 

Crises of Elite Competition in the East and West

Malcom Kyeyune and Marty MacMarty:

Although this educational paradigm is often seen in the West as an outgrowth of the “Confucian model” of education, this is in some ways the opposite of the truth. There are, broadly speaking, two types of education, defined in terms of their method and purpose. In the first model, which can be called the “Confucian,” “classical,” or “humanist” model, the point of education is to create a more refined or virtuous human being, not to teach particular technical skills. The reasoning behind this approach is that a scholar who is steeped in the works of the classical world and the wisdom of the ancients will be equipped with the sound judgment and faculties of reasoning required to learn essentially any job, on the job. In ancient China, would-be public administrators studied the philosophy of Confucius in order to become wise, not to become engineers. It was believed that a wise person would have the necessary capacity to learn to be a great engineer, but a trained engineer would not necessarily have a path to attaining wisdom. If both wisdom and technical knowledge are considered important, then the Confucian or humanist view of education argues that the attainment of the former takes precedence over the latter, and so instilling wisdom is therefore the logical place to start.

Against the Confucian model stands a very different view of educa­tional attainment, a view that might be called the “Prussian” approach to education. Put simply, the Prussian approach focuses on instructing students in specific, measurable skills: technical knowledge, mathematical proficiency, mastery of official state propaganda, and so on. Learning to be a great engineer is the entire point, and proficiency in engineering can also be objectively measured, unlike nebulous concepts such as “wisdom” or “virtue.” The Prussian view has little use for scholarly ideals, and encourages rote memorization or similar practices to make knowledge of the subject matter stick.

University Administrators on the Rittenhouse Verdict

Conor Friedersdorf:

Rather than encourage independent scrutiny, administrators on many campuses have issued statements that presuppose answers to hotly contested questions, and assert opinions about the not-guilty verdict in the case and its ostensible significance as though they were matters of community consensus.

The whole episode is an illustration of a bigger problem in academia: Administrators make ideologically selective efforts to soothe the feelings of upset faculty members and students. These actions impose orthodoxies of thought, undermining both intellectual diversity and inclusion. “Certainly,” declared a statement by Dwight A. McBride, president of the New School, “the verdict raises questions about … vigilantism in the service of racism and white supremacy.” In reality, many observers are far from certain that, when 12 jurors concluded that a white man shot three other white men in self-defense, they were saying anything about white supremacy.

Afghan Teachers Defy Taliban by Secretly Schooling Teenage Girls

Margherita Stancati:

A group of teenage girls filed quietly into Fawzia’s house, took off their shoes and gathered in the living room for a clandestine history lesson.

Fawzia, who asked to be identified only by her first name, talked about Afghanistan’s fabled treasure, the Bactrian Gold, and its past kings and queens. The 56-year-old teacher sees her new, secret work with teens as essential.

When the Taliban started reopening public schools in September, they banned girls from attending beyond the sixth grade. Since then, middle and high schools in a few provinces have reopened to girls, but in Kabul and most of the country they remain shut.

“If they just sit at home they will get depressed or addicted to their phones,” Fawzia said. “We need to give them hope that one day schools will reopen.”

The Taliban leadership has so far espoused a more moderate attitude toward women and girls compared with their rule in the 1990s. Taliban officials say schools for older girls will reopen in Kabul and elsewhere once appropriate gender-segregation arrangements are made.

Yet three months after the Taliban seized control of the country, many Afghans wonder if those promises to reopen schools will be kept.

“It’s clear from their past behavior how they feel about women’s education. They don’t want to empower women through education. Their goal is to keep women in their homes,” said Axana Soltan, who fled Afghanistan as a child when the Taliban were last in power and runs an NGO in the U.S. that advocates for the education of Afghan girls.

Civics: The FBI’s Raid on James O’Keefe

Wall Street Journal:

The subject of the investigation is apparently a diary believed to belong to President Biden’s daughter, Ashley Biden. Project Veritas says it was given the diary by two individuals last year and chose not to publish it because its authenticity couldn’t be verified, then handed it over to law enforcement. The diary was later published by an obscure website.

It’s settled law that it’s not a crime for journalists to publish information that was obtained unlawfully. If it was a crime, most of America’s largest news organizations would be criminal enterprises. Project Veritas says the people who gave the group the diary said it was not stolen. How the diary was obtained, and how it came to be published by a different website, is still murky.

Yet the search warrant says Justice is investigating “possession of stolen goods” and related offenses, suggesting Project Veritas or its employees may be targets. Imagine if the Trump Administration raided New York Times editors’ homes after the publication of the President’s tax records—or even for an investigation into documents they did not ultimately publish.

Nothing that invasive ever happened. But partly in response to the furor over the Trump Administration’s supposed threat to press freedom, Mr. Garland published guidelines in July narrowing Justice’s ability to seize information from reporters. The policy said Justice “will no longer use compulsory legal process” against journalists “acting within the scope of newsgathering activities.”

There are exceptions for things like the threat of imminent terrorist acts, or where a reporter “has used criminal methods, such as breaking and entering” to obtain information. Mr. Garland’s deputy must also approve any searches.

School pulls event with former Islamic State sex slave over fears it would ‘foster Islamophobia’

Jamie Johnson:

A Canadian school has been forced to apologise after a book club event with Nadia Murad, a Nobel Prize-winner and former Islamic State sex slave, was cancelled over fears it would “foster Islamaphobia.”

Helen Fisher, the superintendent at the Toronto District School Board, voiced her concerns over Ms Murad’s ‘The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State’ and said that her students would not participate in a sit-down event with the author scheduled for February.

The move drew wide criticism, and the board has been forced to clarify that these views are not its official position and that it will be reviewing the books.

Ms Murad’s frightening story details her family being executed and how she was snatched from her home and sold into sexual slavery. She was raped, tortured and exchanged among militants in northern Iraq before escaping.

She is a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, UN Goodwill Ambassador, and a leading advocate for survivors of genocide and sexual violence.

After Ms Fisher’s claims, Tanya Lee, a Toronto mother and entrepreneur who runs the book club for teenage girls called A Room Of Your Own said she sent an email back with information about Islamic State from the BBC and CNN, according to the Globe and Mail.

University of Pittsburgh Students Disrupt Pro-Life Conference

Jonathan Turley:

We have previously discussed the worrisome signs of a rising generation of censors in the country as leaders and writers embrace censorship and blacklisting. The latest chilling poll was released by 2021 College Free Speech Rankings after questioning a huge body of 37,000 students at 159 top-ranked U.S. colleges and universities. It found that sixty-six percent of college students think shouting down a speaker to stop them from speaking is a legitimate form of free speech.  Another 23 percent believe violence can be used to cancel a speech. That is roughly one out of four supporting violence.

The issue is not engaging in protest against such speakers, but to enter events for the purpose of preventing others from hearing such speakers. Universities create forums for the discussion of a diversity of opinions. Entering a classroom or event to prevent others from speaking is barring free speech. I would feel the same way about preventing such people from protests outside such events. However, the concern is not with outdoor events where all groups can be as loud and cantankerous as their voices will bear. Both sides have free speech rights to express. The issue on campus is the entrance into halls, or classrooms to prevent others from hearing speakers or opposing viewpoints by disputing events.

This has been an issue of contention with some academics who believe that free speech includes the right to silence others. Berkeley has been the focus of much concern over the use of a heckler’s veto on our campuses as violent protesters have succeeded in silencing speakers, even including a few speakers like an ACLU official. Both students and some faculty have maintained the position that they have a right to silence those with whom they disagree and even student newspapers have declared opposing speech to be outside of the protections of free speech. At another University of California campus, professors actually rallied around a professor who physically assaulted pro-life advocates and tore down their display. In the meantime, academics and deans have said that there is no free speech protection for offensive or “disingenuous” speech. CUNY Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek showed how far this trend has gone. When conservative law professor Josh Blackman was stopped from speaking about “the importance of free speech,” Bilek insisted that disrupting the speech on free speech was free speech. (Bilek later cancelled herself and resigned after she made a single analogy to acting like a “slaveholder” as a self-criticism for failing to achieve equity and reparations for black faculty and students). We also previously discussed the case of Fresno State University Public Health Professor Dr. Gregory Thatcher who recruited students to destroy pro-life messages written on the sidewalks and wrongly told the pro-life students that they had no free speech rights in the matter.

Stop Telling Kids They’ll Die From Climate Change

Hannah Ritchie:

There are a couple of ways I think this doomsday scenario has become commonplace. First, you don’t need to look far to find people with large platforms promoting these messages. Take Roger Hallam, the founder of Extinction Rebellion. In one of his most recent videos—titled “Advice to Young People as They Face Annihilation”—he claims we must get emissions to zero within months, otherwise humanity will be wiped out. He claims that this annihilation is now locked in. The worst thing about this message is that, rather than inspiring action, it resigns us to the falsehood that we are already too late. There is now nothing we can do. It’s easy to dismiss Hallam as an extreme outlier, but he is also the founder of one of the world’s largest environmental movements. A movement whose name is hinged on this premise that we’re heading for a total wipeout. This is out of line with the science, and scientists should call this out more prominently.

Rare Greek Variables

Gwern.net:

Some  variables are just plain overused. It seems like no paper is complete without a bunch of E or μ or α variables splattered across it—and they all mean different things in different papers, and that’s when they don’t mean different things in the same paper! In the spirit of offering constructive criticism, might I suggest that, based on  frequency of usage, you experiment with more recherché, even, outré variables?

Instead of reaching for that exhausted π, why not use… ϰ(variant kappa)? (It looks like a Hebrew escapee…) Or how about ς(variant sigma), which is calculated to get your reader’s attention by making them go “ςςς” and exclaim “these letters are Greek to me!”

The top 10 least-used Greek variables on ⁠, rarest to more common:

Commentary on taxpayer supported k-12 reading practices

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

“The first and most important job of public schools is: Teach the basics”

Shannon Whitworth:

Ensure that kids can read, write, understand the fundamentals of math, science and history. But a lot of public schools appear to be more interested in pushing an ideological agenda than providing children with the skills they need to compete on a global scale. For the first time, many parents started to take note of critical race theory concepts and the sexual and gender ideology being taught at the youngest levels. Then, of course, there are the tanking proficiencies in math and English, closed schools and never-ending mask mandates, and even indescribable levels of violence in our urban schools. The deafness to parents’ concerns, coupled with the arrogance and condescension of a government that appears to have forgotten who is supposed to serve whom, appears to have “awakened a sleeping giant and filled it with a terrible resolve” (“Tora! Tora! Tora!”).

The educational establishment should be paying attention to this trend coming into an election period next year. If Wisconsin is going the way of the rest of the country, the establishment is particularly vulnerable. When the state of our public schools is coming under increasing scrutiny, those who have been failing our system for decades are about to be held to account. School choice is now favored by a majority of Americans. Inner city parents have been complaining and trying to get their children out of failing schools for decades. Now with the rest of the country paying attention to the sorry state of our public schools, the rising crescendo will be difficult to ignore. Which leads us to our latest educational outrage here in Wisconsin.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

In San Francisco, Parent Anger Focuses on School Board Recall

Christine Mai-Duc:

Siva Raj, a recall organizer with children in fourth and 10th grades, said the renaming campaign is one of several social justice issues the board focused on while schools remained closed. Board members also changed the admission policies of an elite public high school in an attempt to diversify its student body and rejected a gay father seeking to join a volunteer parent advisory board because he did not qualify as a diverse member.

“We are trying to take a school system that has fallen to rock bottom and lift it up to a better place,” said Mr. Raj.

Christine Pelosi, daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and mother to a seventh-grader in the district, said she is undecided on the recall but wants to hear the school board members acknowledge that they failed students.

“A lot of parents felt extremely unheard,” she said, “and to be told that our concerns are just because we’re not politically correct or that we’re being partisan or elitist does a disservice to what’s actually happening here.”

David Thompson has served as the recall campaign’s unofficial mascot as “Gaybraham Lincoln,” a character who sports a rainbow beard, tie-dye faux fur and silver pleather pants at campaign events in a satire of the school renaming debate.

“This is not about being anti-woke,” said Mr. Thompson, whose 10-year-old son is Black and attended a largely Latino school in the Mission neighborhood until late last year. “It’s just waking up to the fact that the board has an ideological agenda which is completely out of sync with most San Franciscans.”

Teaching ‘honest history’ from Douglass to King

Joanne Jacobs:

Daniel Buck describes how he teaches “real” American history — no white-washing — in National Review. There’s no need to teach “anti-racism” to get real about slavery, writes Buck, who’s denounced the “ubiquity and radicalism” of critical race theory.

His students read Frederick Douglass’s autobiography, which “paints in every graphic detail the torn-skin and broken-body reality of American slavery,” he writes.In a unit on the Harlem Renaissance, students read poems and short stories and “listen to Strange Fruit performed by Billie Holiday, a poetic description of a lynching, before reading Claude McKay’s poem If We Must Die.”

Correlates of “Coddling”: Cognitive distortions predict safetyism-inspired beliefs, belief that words can harm, and trigger warning endorsement in college students

Jared Celniker Megan Ringel Karli Nelson Peter H. Ditto:

In their book, The Coddling of the American Mind, Lukianoff and Haidt (2018) contended that the rise of “safetyism” within American society has inspired beliefs and practices that hinder college students’ socioemotional development. One of their most controversial claims was that college students’ safetyism-inspired beliefs (e.g., emotional pain

Beyond Conspiracy Theory – The Sick History of Public Education

Zay:

Funding America’s New Education

John D Rockefeller donated over $100 million dollars (equivalent of over $3bn in today’s dollars) to establish the General Education Board in 1902, and also to fund universities and teacher’s colleges across the nation. Andrew Carnegie chartered the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1905. Both organizations had the explicit purpose of helping to bolster institutional schooling across the US. Though the aims of these men may appear altruistic (It should be noted Rockefeller only had two years of actual school attendance and Carnegie had none), their actual motives were of a different intent. Frederick Taylor Gates, who Rockefeller put in charge of daily operations of the General Education Board, had the below excerpt from the Board’s internal memos reprinted in his book The Country School of To-morrow:

In our dreams…people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is very simple…we will organize children…and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers were doing in an imperfect way.”

Ellwood P Cubberley, dean of the Stanford School of Education, was monumental in shaping educational practices across the US and was “perhaps the most significant theorist of educational administration of his day.” He worked directly and intimately with the Rockefeller General Education board on how to bring scientific management into public schooling. Cubberley wrote in his 1916 treatise, Public School Administration:

Our schools are, in a sense, factories in which the raw products (children) are to be shaped and fashioned into products… The Specifications of manufacturing come from the demands of twentieth-century civilization, and it is the business of the school to build its pupils according to the specifications laid down.”

The Rockefeller board explicitly worked to bring standardized and compulsory education out of the industrialized urban centers of the North and into the cities of the south and vast rural areas across the country. Additionally, the Rockefellers along with the Carnegie trusts worked to implement and expand standardized testing as the means in which schools could procure funding from both the public and private sector.

Remarks of the time will reflect on the success of these titanic influences. Edward A Ross, an esteemed economist and president of the American Sociological Association noted in his book bluntly titled Social Control: “The schooling of the young is a long-headed device to promote order” The goal of such a system is “To collect little plastic lumps of human dough from private households and shape them on the social kneading-board.

Hamilton County’s 3rd-grade reading scores languishing in the tank

Clint Cooper:

“To a child who doesn’t read,” the nearly 50-year-old public service television advertisement intoned, “the world is a closed book. Drifting, dropping back, dropping out. Once you start a child reading, there’s no stopping them. If America is to grow up thinking, reading is fundamental.”

The commercials were made on behalf of a now 55-year-old organization called Reading Is Fundamental, the country’s largest children’s literacy nonprofit whose goal is to ensure that children have the ability to read and succeed.

As a country, as a state and as a county, though, we’re not making the reading progress we should. In some ways, we’re probably going backward.

The reading proficiency scores for Hamilton County third-grade students were released recently, and what they revealed flies in the face of some of the hoopla the school district trumpeted earlier this fall with its announcement of schools that increased achievement, schools that met or exceeded growth standards and teachers whose classes met or exceeded growth standards.

“The district [now] is in a completely different place,” Dr. Nakia Towns, interim schools superintendent, said at the time.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

“She accused American higher education institutions of stripping people’s ability to think critically”

Teny Sahakian:

One of several hundred North Korean defectors settled in the United States, Park, 27, transferred to Columbia University from a South Korean university in 2016 and was deeply disturbed by what she found. 

“I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think,” Park said in an interview with Fox News. “I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying.”

Those similarities include anti-Western sentiment, collective guilt and suffocating political correctness.  

Yeonmi saw red flags immediately upon arriving at the school.

During orientation, she was scolded by a university staff member for admitting she enjoyed classic literature such as Jane Austen. 

“I said ‘I love those books.’ I thought it was a good thing,” recalled Park. 

“Then she said, ‘Did you know those writers had a colonial mindset? They were racists and bigots and are subconsciously brainwashing you.’”

In a citywide overhaul, a beloved Black high school was rezoned to include white students from a richer neighborhood.

Minneapolis, among the most segregated school districts in the country, with one of the widest racial academic gaps, is in the midst of a sweeping plan to overhaul and integrate its schools. And unlike previous desegregation efforts, which typically required children of color to travel to white schools, Minneapolis officials are asking white families to help do the integrating — a newer approach being embraced by a small group of urban districts across the country.

The changes included redrawing school zones, including for North. “This plan is saying, everyone is going to be equally inconvenienced because we need to collectively address the underachievement of our students of color,” Mr. Moore added.

Research shows that de facto school segregation is one major reason that America’s education system is so unequal, and that racially and socioeconomically diverse schools can benefit all students.

But decades after Brown v. Board of Education, the dream of integration has remained just that — a dream.

Today, two in five Black and Latino students in the United States attend schools where more than 90 percent of students are children of color, while one in five white students goes to a school where more than 90 percent of students look like them, according to the Century Foundation, a progressive think tank.

Locally, Madison taxpayers recently expanded our least diverse schools (despite space in nearby facilities). Boundaries have not been adjusted in decades.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Award-winning Indiana teacher who exposed how CRT is being taught in schools in viral video has been put on leave because he is causing colleagues ‘anxiety’

Stephen LePore:

An Indiana school administrator has been punished for a viral video where he explained how his school district pushes critical race theory on students.

Tony Kinnett, the Indianapolis School District science coordinator, instructional coach and administrator blew up social media on November 4 with the video.

‘When we tell you that schools aren’t teaching critical race theory… that’s misdirection,’ he says in the video, which has been retweeted and quote-tweeted more than 7,000 times.

Commentary on K-12 Taxpayer spending variation. (Excludes redistributed Federal tax and borrowed funds)

Mark Lieberman:

In close to two dozen states, high-poverty schools get less money per student or just the same amount as low-poverty schools, a new report shows, despite abundant evidence that high-poverty schools benefit from more robust investment.

A new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data also shows wide disparities in how evenly school funding is distributed. On average, schools in the U.S. spend roughly $15,000 per student. But within states, average funding ranges from roughly $9,700 per student in Arizona to roughly $26,700 in New York. That’s a difference of roughly $17,000 per student.

These figures are among the findings in the annual “Making the Grade” report published Thursday by the Education Law Center.

They highlight the longstanding reality of U.S. public school funding: Per-student spending ranges widely from state to state and varies considerably from year to year, depending on property values, tax revenues, budgetary constraints, and political conditions. A highly complex and chaotic school finance system leaves thousands of schools with inadequate resources and millions of students with insufficient opportunities to learn.

Schools in more than half of U.S. states get fewer dollars per student than the national average. In 12 of those states, average school funding is more than $3,000 below the national average.

Failing the Class: How our education system went wrong and what to do about it

Ines Lee & Eileen Tipoe:

The original model of education, devised by the Ancient Greeks, aimed to produce well-informed citizens by fostering intellectual development and thinking skills. Under the rise of pragmatism in the late 1800s, the primary focus of education shifted to achieving economic outcomes and specific jobs, which stood in direct contrast to philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey’s idea that “the educational process has no end beyond itself; it is its own end”.

In modern times, the two purposes of education are often conceptualised as a dichotomy, with greater emphasis on one purpose requiring a sacrifice of the other. Nowadays, most students, particularly those studying subjects not explicitly associated with a vocation, have been asked: “But how will that help you get a job?” The ubiquity of this question reflects the growing importance of education for career development, fuelled by changes to the higher education business model and government priorities.

A dean found something fishy in a magazine’s list of business schools. The editors say he’s off base.

Nell Gluckman:

There was a lot that Anjani Jain liked about Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking of business schools. It was only when the deputy dean at the Yale School of Management dug deeper that it stopped making sense to him.

Like most publications that rate institutions of higher education, this one chose certain categories to evaluate, such as how much money graduates make, and weighted each category based on its importance. But unlike with many other rankings, Businessweek asked students, recent alumni, and recruiters what was important to them, and used their responses to determine how much weight to give to each of the five categories it used to evaluate schools: compensation, learning, networking, entrepreneurship, and diversity. To Jain, this seemed like a good idea.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Early Child Cognitive Development: Initial Findings in a Longitudinal Observational Study of Child Health

Sean CL Deoni, Jennifer Beauchemin, Alexandra Volpe, Viren D’Sa, the RESONANCE Consortium:

Since the first reports of novel coronavirus in the 2020, public health organizations have advocated preventative policies to limit virus, including stay-at-home orders that closed businesses, daycares, schools, playgrounds, and limited child learning and typical activities. Fear of infection and possible employment loss has placed stress on parents; while parents who could work from home faced challenges in both working and providing full-time attentive childcare. For pregnant individuals, fear of attending prenatal visits also increased maternal stress, anxiety, and depression. Not surprising, there has been concern over how these factors, as well as missed educational opportunities and reduced interaction, stimulation, and creative play with other children might impact child neurodevelopment. Leveraging a large on-going longitudinal study of child neurodevelopment, we examined general childhood cognitive scores in 2020 and 2021 vs. the preceding decade, 2011-2019. We find that children born during the pandemic have significantly reduced verbal, motor, and overall cognitive performance compared to children born pre-pandemic. Moreover, we find that males and children in lower socioeconomic families have been most affected. Results highlight that even in the absence of direct SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 illness, the environmental changes associated COVID-19 pandemic is significantly and negatively affecting infant and child development.

Inside the academic destruction of a proud private university

Jacob Howland:

But it became clear some years ago that TU was in financial trouble. Faculty have had no raises since 2015. That same year, President Steadman Upham (whose compensation in 2014 exceeded $1.2 million) informed the campus community that the university was providing athletics with a $9 million annual subsidy. The total deficit in 2016 was $26 million. For nine months in 2016–2017, the university ceased to contribute to faculty retirement accounts—effectively, a 9 percent cut in pay. In September 2017, 5 percent of the nonfaculty workforce was laid off. In December 2017, Moody’sdowngraded $89 million of TU’s parity revenue bonds and $57 million of student-housing revenue bonds. Around the same time, it was revealed that TU had for years been running a structural deficit of about $16 million. Athletics accounted for most of the total loss; TU’s law school and Tulsa’s Gilcrease Museum, which the university has managed since 2008, made up much of the rest.

TU’s board of trustees is composed of business executives and lawyers, none of whom has a higher-education background. Three trustees graduated from TU’s law school; two others serve on the board of the Gilcrease; more than a few are major supporters of TU’s Division I football program. Disinclined to address the deficit’s primary causes, the board prefers to plug the deficit through a combination of academic program cuts and consolidations, faculty attrition, and a massive capital campaign. Then again, it was never clear to faculty why a university with a billion-dollar endowment needed to cut academic programs. Some suspected that the financial crisis was just an excuse for fundamentally transforming the institution.

India’s fertility rate drops below 2.1, contraceptive prevalence up: NFHS

Rhythma Kaul and Anonna Dutt:

India’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR), or the average number of children a woman gives birth to in her lifetime, has declined from 2.2 to 2 while the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) has increased from 54% to 67%, according data from the National Family Health Survey-5. The union health ministry released data for Phase-2 of the survey on Wednesday; data from Phase-1 was released in December 2020.

A TFR of 2.1 is termed the replacement rate, and means there will be neither an increase, nor a decrease in population.

As per the fourth edition of the survey conducted between 2015 and 2016, the TFR was 2.2. The fifth survey was conducted between 2019 and 2021 in two phases and reflects gains made in population control.

Choose life.

Robin Appleby quits following a row over a new ‘woke’ agenda

Guy Adams and Vanessa Allen:

Although presented as a resignation, sources last night said the head’s departure was forced by the board of trustees after a furious revolt by parents.

One parent celebrated her departure but claimed that several teachers remain who ‘appear resolute in their determination to continue to indoctrinate our children into this racist and toxic ideology’.

A recent email from the board’s chairman told parents: ‘Robin Appleby has given us notice of her resignation, effective as of January 1, 2022.

‘Robin has informed the board that she now needs to focus on her own wellbeing and that of her family, which we fully understand.’

The move comes five months after the group of parents wrote their letter criticising the school’s decision to teach the theory.

This was sparked by the tragic killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota last year, triggering worldwide anti-racism protests.

During the holidays, parents were sent an email declaring that, in the wake of that unrest, ASL had decided to implement a ‘detailed action plan’ to improve its policies on ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ as well as ‘social justice’.

Understanding the response to financial and non-financial incentives in education: Field experimental evidence using high-stakes assessments

Simon Burgess Sally Sadoff:

We analyze the impact on high-stakes assessments of incentivizing students’ effort in a field experiment with over 10,000 high school students. We contribute to the literature by using our rich data and machine learning techniques to explore treatment heterogeneity; by comparing financial and non-financial rewards in rewarding effort rather than grades; and by using high-stakes outcomes. We find little average impact of incentives in the overall population, but we identify a “right tail” of highly responsive students: in the upper half of the responsiveness distribution, test scores improve by 0.1-0.2 SD, about half the attainment gap between poor and non-poor students.

Rittenhouse Revisited: How Media Misinformation Can Fuel Social Unrest

Jonathan Turley:

The growing disconnect between actual crimes and their coverage is unlikely to change in our age of rage. Rittenhouse had to be convicted to fulfill the narrative and any acquittal had to be evidence of a racist jury picked to carryout racist justice.

That is what occurred in the Rittenhouse trial. The jury stood between a mob and a defendant to see that objective justice was done. On that chaotic night on Aug. 25, 2020, in Kenosha, few things were clear. What is clear however is that the shooting – and those killed and accused – became vehicles for broader narratives. Those popular portrayals crashed in Kenosha on a wall of 12 jurors who ruled by proof rather than passion.

Public School Curriculum Transparency Legislation Key to Battling Politics in the Classroom

WILL:

Reform proposal would arm parents with the ability to access, review controversial curriculum material

The News: A new report from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) is urging the adoption of curriculum transparency legislation to arm parents and taxpayers with the ability to access and review controversial curriculum material in public schools. WILL recently issued identical open records requests to nine large Wisconsin school districts and experienced, first-hand, the cost, time, and difficulty of accessing curriculum material.

The Quotes: WILL Policy Associate, Jessica Holmberg, said, “America’s culture wars are finding their way into public school classrooms. With curriculum transparency legislation, we can arm parents and taxpayers with access to curriculum material to ensure that local school districts are held accountable.”

Scarlett Johnson, a Hispanic American parent in the Mequon-Thiensville School District, said, “Parents like myself are at a disadvantage when school districts are not forthright about philosophies like Critical Race Theory being taught in the classroom. More transparency is vital for parents to ensure that our students are not being taught propaganda that denies the fundamentals of the U.S. Constitution or losing precious learning time in critical topics like math, science, and reading.”

Diving Deeper: Opening the Schoolhouse Door: Promoting Curriculum Transparency, by Will Flanders, Ph.D, and Jessica Holmberg, provides an in-depth look at some of the controversial curriculum material being presented in Wisconsin classrooms, along with the difficulty of accessing the material. The findings include:

Where the Humanities Aren’t in Crisis

Scott Samuelson:

The pandemic has unveiled the reality behind what’s been vexing the academic humanities for decades. Classes went online, as business demanded. Classes returned to in-person, as business demanded. Since humanities enrollments have been declining, naturally higher education has been hiring more administrators to hire consultants to figure out how to attract what we’ve grown used to calling its customer base—or, if that doesn’t pan out, to provide a rationale for cutting its programs. When students and administrators aren’t teaming up against professors for not delivering what the customer wants, all parties seem to have made a non-aggression pact for reasons that have almost nothing to do with liberal education.

Fear not, payers of exorbitant tuition and legislative defunders of the public good, our institutions have all been taking ample time away from class to generate epic assessment reports that quantify our continuous quality improvement in the latest management lingo. In their new book Permanent Crisis, Chad Wellmon and Paul Reitter argue persuasively that crisis talk is constitutive of the modern academic humanities. But this is the first time I’ve looked around the room at a faculty meeting and realized that my colleagues were inwardly doing early-retirement math.

Miraculously, the pandemic has revealed to me where the humanities aren’t in crisis. It all began in July 2020, when Zena Hitz—the author of Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life and a fellow Hiett Prize winner—reached out to me over Zoom.

Segregating kids by race — even as a class exercise — will only fuel endless racial conflict

Jonathan Tobin:

The ostensible purpose is to increase sensitivity to race. But kids understand that people from various backgrounds have different experiences. After all, the school has a population that is 44 percent Asian, 29 percent white, 15 percent Hispanic and 8 percent black.

Public education in a country committed to racial equality would not, however, seek to reinforce the notion that race is what defines us as individuals. And it would never pressure a diverse group of students to essentially re-enact the shameful racial segregation that was once commonplace in American schools.

“Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) spending has increased five times faster than enrollment”

Arthur Purves:

Since 2000 Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) spending has increased five times faster than enrollment. However, according to ACT test  results, only 55 percent of seniors are prepared for college STEM courses, and that’s only for students applying to college. The percentage would be lower if all seniors took the ACT. Schools futilely try to raise achievement with higher salaries, more staff, or relocating students instead of fixing the real problem, which is a flawed curriculum.

Finally, the advertised budget gives a large increase ($26M) to WMATA. The average WMATA salary is $90K, (compared to $77K for FCPS teachers). WMATA employees can retire at age 50 with 50% of salary or age 60 with 70% of salary. WMATA has a $3 billion unfunded liability for its pension and retiree health plans.

To pay for all this, Fairfax County residential real estate taxes have increased three times faster than household income since 2000. That may explain why the average price of homes sold in 2018 increased by only 1.9%.

The supervisors should cap school spending until the curriculum is fixed and school administration is cut, and should reduce raises and benefits, whose cost is eating away at the county’s economy. The supervisors should demand similar restraint on raises and benefits from WMATA, whose ridership is declining, as a condition for more funding.

Yes, American education has a transparency problem

Robert Pondisco:

Teachers don’t generally conceive of themselves as government employees, but they are. This alone suggests that transparency should be the default mode. At the same time, there’s a difference between a cop, a sanitation worker, and a teacher charged with the care and education of two dozen children whose privacy is protected under various state and federal laws. The politics are also complicated and unpredictable. The same people who demand body cameras on police officers might be horrified at the suggestion they be worn at all times by kindergarten teachers.

To a degree most people don’t fully appreciate, the American public school classroom is a bit of a black box. According to a RAND study, nearly every US teacher draws upon “materials I developed and/or selected myself” in teaching English language arts. Only one in four secondary-school social-studies teachers cited resources “provided by my school or district” as comprising the majority of what they use in class on a given day.

All this creation, customization, and tinkering is not evidence of teachers subversively undermining officially sanctioned curriculum. Often it is the curriculum. Teachers are expected to “differentiate instruction” to account for disparate skill levels or to make lessons more engaging. Often they are left to their own devices to choose texts to meet vaguely written “standards” that describe the literacy skills children should master but are silent on specific texts or content. A few years ago a researcher from the University of Southern California had to file Freedom of Information Act requests merely to find out what textbooks were in use in several states. The issue wasn’t secrecy but indifference: School districts were either not required to post the information publicly or didn’t think it important enough to report.

Most Americans are only now becoming aware of the degree to which race and “equity” concerns are central to education policy and practice, but it’s not a recent development. To receive my own masters degree in elementary education 20 years ago, I had to demonstrate my ability to “teach for social justice” and willingness work as “an agent of change.” This implies a significant degree of teacher discretion, which I exercised in my classroom. It was news to me some years later to learn the courts generally regard teachers as “hired speech” and that school boards — not teachers — have nearly unquestioned authority to set and enforce school curriculum. My question, then and still: what curriculum? There wasn’t one.

The elite American media apparatus is disturbingly similar to the Chinese propaganda machine.

Habí Zhang:

In China, where I grew up, news is known to the people as propaganda in its neutral, if not positive, sense. Since all news agencies are run by the state, “news” is whatever events and opinions the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party permits or manufactures.

Growing up in a household of illiterate parents, I never saw newspapers as a child. My first dose of propaganda was a 30-minute TV program named Xinwen Lianbo(“CCTV Network News”), broadcast in the early evening via all local stations, that I occasionally watched at relatives’ homes. Sounds and images, rather than words, work better with uneducated or indifferent masses. Since 1978, this daily news program remains a textbook success of the Soviet style of propaganda—a refined manipulation warping concepts, language, and history, aimed at convincing the Chinese people of the benevolence of the Party and the superiority of Socialism. Many years later, when I read Orwell’s 1984, the depiction of the Two Minutes Hate ritual reminded me of the 30-minute Xinwen Lianbo.

The government — in failing to maintain order in Kenosha — deserves blame for the Kyle Rittenhouse incident. (Reading?)

Ann Althouse:

Evers is at fault and so is the leadership of Kenosha. 

ALSO: More government responsibility for chaos in Wisconsin: “Milwaukee County DA admits it was a mistake to grant $1,000 bail to SUV-driving felon days before he smashed into Xmas parade: Darrell Brooks was freed after running over mother of his child and is now charged with homicide after killing five” (Daily Mail).

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

A look at the intimate details Amazon knows about us

Chris Kirkham and Jeffrey Dastin:

As a Virginia lawmaker, Ibraheem Samirah has studied internet privacy issues and debated how to regulate tech firms’ collection of personal data. Still, he was stunned to learn the full details of the information Amazon.com Inc has collected on him.

The e-commerce giant had more than 1,000 contacts from his phone. It had records of exactly which part of the Quran that Samirah, who was raised as a Muslim, had listened to on Dec. 17 of last year. The company knew every search he had made on its platform, including one for books on “progressive community organizing” and other sensitive health-related inquiries he thought were private.

“Are they selling products, or are they spying on everyday people?” asked Samirah, a Democratic member of the Virginia House of Delegates.

Samirah was among the few Virginia legislators who opposed an industry-friendly, Amazon-drafted state privacy bill that passed earlier this year. At Reuters’ request, Samirah asked Amazon to disclose the data it collected on him as a consumer.

The company gathers a vast array of information on its U.S. customers, and it started making that data available to all upon request early last year, after trying and failing to defeat a 2018 California measure requiring such disclosures. (U.S. Amazon customers can obtain their data by filling out a form on Amazon.com.

Mandates for thee but not for me: “I just decided that if anyone came up that I didn’t know, I would put my mask on,” Fauci replied.

Andrew Stiles:

Dr. Anthony Fauci was spotted Tuesday nightwithout a mask while he attended journalist Jonathan Karl’s book party at Café Milano, the élite Washington, D.C., bistro frequented by Hunter Biden’s corrupt business partners.

“As gawkers tried to snap pictures of [Fauci] indoors not wearing a mask, America’s doc would put it on and take it off depending on whom he was around,” Politico reported. “Sally Quinn—who’s known Fauci since his days as a young NIH doctor, when he inspired a love interest in one of her erotic novels—asked him why he was at a party with a mask in hand, not on face.”

“I just decided that if anyone came up that I didn’t know, I would put my mask on,” Fauci replied.

The maskless indoor affair appeared to violate the district’s existing health and safety guidelines, which mandate the use of masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. The mandate is scheduled to be lifted on Nov. 22, but the élite journalists and other liberals in attendance just couldn’t wait that long to mingle.

Karl posted a photo on his Instagram account that shows the guest of honor and other attendees violating the indoor mask mandate, putting countless lives at risk. The ABC News host and author of Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show has a history of recklessly defying health and safety guidelines.

Related: Mandates without County Board or City Council votes from non-elected Dane County Madison Public Health:

Mandates for thee but not for me: Snapchat shows UW-Madison chancellor indoors without wearing mask in violation of COVID mandate

Jackson Walker:

Not wearing a mask indoors is a direct violation of two campus indoor masking orders, both for Camp Randall Stadium and the university at large.

Asked for comment, a university spokesperson told The College Fix via email on Saturday that “Chancellor Blank supports campus indoor masking policies, including those for indoor spaces in UW Athletics facilities.”

“During several instances Saturday, she removed her mask to eat or drink and did not immediately put it back on while talking with campus guests. She regrets the oversight and plans to be more vigilant in the future.”

The mask policy was created in August by a “Chancellor Order.”

Related: Mandates without County Board or City Council votes from non-elected Dane County Madison Public Health:

K-12 Education Spending Spotlight: An in-depth look at school finance data and trends: up 24% in real dollars 02-19

Aaron Garth Smith:

Nationwide, inflation-adjusted K-12 revenues grew by nearly 24%—or $3,005 per pupil—between 2002 and 2019. During this time, per-pupil revenues increased in all but two states and 23 states plus D.C. increased their education funding by at least 20%. Notably, education spending grew by nearly 68% in New York and more than 50% in New Hampshire and North Dakota. Figure 1 and Table 2 below show the rates at which states have increased their education spending since 2002.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

ABA Tries Again With Legal-Ed Diversity Rule

Josh Blackman:

The American Bar Association Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has released a revised proposal for Standard 206. The Council approved a version of this rule in May, but it generated some controversy, including a letter co-authored by Eugene.

Standard 206. DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION

(a) A law school shall ensure the effective educational use of diversity by providing:

(1) Full access to the study of law and admission to the profession to all persons, particularly members of underrepresented groups related to race and ethnicity;

(2) A faculty and staff that includes members of underrepresented groups, particularly those related to race and ethnicity; and

(3) An inclusive and equitable environment for students, faculty, and staff with respect to race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, and military status.

(b) A law school shall report in the Annual Questionnaire and publish in accordance with Standard 509(b) data that reflects the law school’s performance in satisfying Standard 206(a)(1)-(2).

(c) A law school shall annually assess the extent to which it has created an educational environment that is inclusive and equitable under Standard 206(a)(3). The law school shall provide the results of such annual assessment to the faculty. Upon request of the Council, a law school shall provide the results of such assessment and the concrete actions the school is taking to address any deficiencies in the educational environment as well as the actions taken to maintain an inclusive and equitable educational environment.

Interpretation 206-1

Underrepresented groups are groups related to race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, and military status that are underrepresented in the legal profession in the United States when compared to their representation in the general population of the United States. Faculty for purposes of Standard 206(a)(2) includes full-time and part-time tenured and tenure-track faculty, as well as contract faculty, research faculty, adjunct faculty, and any other faculty category.

Controversy Rages as California Follows SF’s Lead With New Approach to Teaching Math

Joe Hong:

At the heart of the wrangling lies a broad agreement about at least one thing:
The way California public schools teach math isn’t working. On national standardized tests, California ranks in the bottom quartile among all states and U.S. territories for 8th grade math scores.

Yet for all the sound and fury, the proposed framework, about 800-pages long, is little more than a set of suggestions. Its designers are revising it now and will subject it to 60 more days of public review. Once it’s approved in July, districts may adopt as much or as little of the framework as they choose — and can disregard it completely without any penalty.

“It’s not mandated that you use the framework,” said framework team member Dianne Wilson, a program specialist at Elk Grove Unified. “There’s a concern that it will be implemented unequally.”

K-12 Math links:

“Discovery math” (Seattle lawsuit)

What impact do high school mathematics curricula have on college-level math placement?

Connected Math.

Singapore Math

Math forum

Making “Meta” Mandatory?

Michael Watson:

But COVID-19 was not the first pandemic in human history, just the first pandemic of the Digital Age. Many compared COVID to the Great Influenza of 1918–1920. During that pandemic, comparable to if not worse in scope than COVID, governments ordered social distancing and mask mandates, but they were typically brief, not years-long as at present.

Looking at how normal life was amid the Great Influenza is startling. The 1918 midterm elections were held as scheduled. There were no major, Big Tech oligarch–funded efforts to fundamentally alter the administration of voting, though campaigning periods were shorter in some areas. Republicans handed a major defeat to President Woodrow Wilson’s Democrats and raised Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Calvin Coolidge to the top of Beacon Hill. The 1919 World Series went down in history, not for short seasons, neutral-site games, player “bubbles,” and limited spectators, but for the infamous game fixing of the Black Sox.

While liberals laugh heartily at the Anti-Mask League of San Francisco, the group was perhaps more effective than any contemporary anti-lockdown pressure group outside the state of Florida. It organized a protest meeting one week after the city instituted a mask mandate in January 1919. After the league presented a petition, the city repealed the mandate on February 1, 1919.

And lockdowns? They were unthinkable in a world that was still at war until the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. The BBC notes the rarity of lockdown-style measures in the UK during the Great Influenza:

Parents are scrambling after schools suddenly cancel class over staffing and burnout

Anya Kamenetz

Two weeks’ notice: Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in North Carolina voted on Oct. 28 to close schools on Nov. 12 for a “day of kindness, community and connection.”

Five days’ notice: On the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 17, Ann Arbor Public Schools in Michigan announced that schools would be closed the following Monday and Tuesday, extending Thanksgiving break for a full week. The district cited rising COVID-19 cases and staff shortages.

Three and even two days’ notice: On Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 9 and 10, three different districts in Washington state — in Seattle, Bellevue and Kent — announced schools would be closed that same Friday, the day after Veterans Day, due to staff shortages.

Schools and districts around the country have been canceling classes on short notice. The cancellations aren’t directly for COVID-19 quarantines; instead schools are citing staff shortages, staff fatigue, mental health and sometimes even student fights.

Why Academia Is Doomed

Tom Knighton:

Employees at a university are being pressured to sign a letter in support of two students who made asses of themselves and tried to kick two other students out of a space because they held the wrong views.

They’re not really even trying to hide it, either. The letter notes that the two white students had “symbols” that included things like “Police Lives Matter sticker, a Chik-fil-A cup, and a shirt with the slogan ‘Did not vote for Biden’” and were supposedly linked to systemic racism.

Which is really just a way to claim the two black female students were justified without opening yourself up to libel lawsuits should the two white male students find out about it.

I don’t think it’ll work.

But things like Police Lives Matter stickers and Chic-fil-A cups and shirts with slogans that show a lack of support for Biden aren’t racist. If they’re anything, they’re indicative of a conservative worldview, which is supposed to be protected under the First Amendment.

“they felt Democrats closed their schools and didn’t feel bad about it”

ALG Research:

4. Voters think we are focused on social issues,not the economy. They aren’t hearing us talk about the economy enough, and the things they are hearing about our agenda (people mentioned the child tax credit, paid leave, free college) don’t have to do with getting people back to work or taking on the cost of goods. That’s deadly in an environment when it’s the top issue.

Education dominated — not so much CRT (which was a problem) but more broadly parental control + shutdowns. These swing voters didn’t agree with what they thought the liberal position on race in schools was. However, it wasn’t as salient as the fact that they felt Democrats closed their schools and didn’t feel bad about it. They also knew about his debate quote on parents; it clearly burned in and resonated with them.

“Society should get behind teaching everybody to read the right way; and we should make solid vocational training as easy to obtain as a college education.”

Joanne Jacobs:

Forging an identity around victimhood is a mistake, McWhorter argues. The woke world view infantilizes blacks, lowering standards for them and denying them agency.

Jilani, who grew up in a Pakistani immigrant family in Georgia, sees religion as a force for good. “A firm belief that all humans carry souls bestowed by God precludes prejudging them through such corporeal categories as race,” he writes. “But I agree with McWhorter that a religion that seeks to defeat white supremacy by insisting that nonwhite people cannot be expected to uphold the same standards of conduct and ethics as white people isn’t one worth believing in.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Renaming Madison Memorial High school to Vel Phillips

Elizabeth Beyer:

“Folks are ready to change, it’s to what extent that we’re discussing tonight,” board president Ali Muldrow said.

A committee of community members charged with the task of renaming the high school brought their suggestion before a board committee at the beginning of November after a five-month deliberation process. The committee whittled a list of 26 names to four, and finally settled on Phillips in a 10-1 vote last month.

Scott Girard:

The process of renaming began in March, a few months after former Memorial student Mya Berry submitted a proposal to change the name to honor Phillips instead of Madison, a former president and slaveholder.

“To have a high school named after Vel Phillips would feel like a step in the right direction for the community,” Berry wrote in the email to the Cap Times in March. “Instead of honoring historical figures that oppressed and enslaved Black Americans, we will have a school respecting the life of a woman who worked toward bridging racial gaps right here in Wisconsin.

“I also think it is significant to credit a Wisconsin leader as the new name, to demonstrate the possibilities that exist to Black and Brown students specifically.”

Phillips, who died in 2018, has a University of Wisconsin-Madison dorm named after her and could soon have a statue outside the state Capitol building. She has a long list of “firsts” on her resume, as the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin Law School, the first female and first Black person elected to the Milwaukee Common Council, the first female judge in Milwaukee County, and the first female and first Black person elected to a statewide office in Wisconsin, becoming the secretary of state.

The district formed an ad hoc committee per its school renaming policy. The group discussed 24 initial proposalsfrom community members, including Phillips, late U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and civil rights icons like Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis.

The list of possible names was trimmed through a series of rankings and voting by committee members, who eventually narrowed it to four options: Phillips; former Memorial High School principal Bruce Dahmen; the first Black female principal in MMSD, Darlene Hancock; and foregoing a person’s name, instead calling it simply Memorial High School.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Facebook, Google and “clickbait”

Karen Hoa:

One year after that rollout, legitimate publishers accounted for only two of the top 10 publishers on Facebook in Myanmar. By 2018, they accounted for zero. All the engagement had instead gone to fake news and clickbait websites. In a country where Facebook is synonymous with the internet, the low-grade content overwhelmed other information sources.

It was during this rapid degradation of Myanmar’s digital environment that a militant group of Rohingya—a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority—attacked and killed a dozen members of the security forces, in August of 2017. As police and military began to crack down on the Rohingya and push out anti-Muslim propaganda, fake news articles capitalizing on the sentiment went viral. They claimed that Muslims were armed, that they were gathering in mobs 1,000 strong, that they were around the corner coming to kill you.

It’s still not clear today whether the fake news came primarily from political actors or from financially motivated ones. But either way, the sheer volume of fake news and clickbait acted like fuel on the flames of already dangerously high ethnic and religious tensions. It shifted public opinion and escalated the conflict, which ultimately led to the death of 10,000 Rohingya, by conservative estimates, and the displacement of 700,000 more.

In 2018, a United Nations investigation determined that the violence against the Rohingya constituted a genocide and that Facebook had played a “determining role” in the atrocities. Months later, Facebook admitted it hadn’t done enough “to help prevent our platform from being used to foment division and incite offline violence.”

U.S. listed as a ‘backsliding’ democracy for first time in report by European think tank

Miriam Berger:

The United States for the first time was added to a list of “backsliding democracies” in a report released Monday by the Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.

“The United States, the bastion of global democracy, fell victim to authoritarian tendencies itself, and was knocked down a significant number of steps on the democratic scale,” the International IDEA’s Global State of Democracy 2021 report said.

UC slams the door on standardized admissions tests, nixing any SAT alternative

Teresa Watanabe:

Without testing requirements, Drake added, UC attracted a record-breaking number of freshman applications for fall 2021 — more than 200,000 — and admitted the most diverse class ever. UC admissions officers have said they were able to thoroughly evaluate the flood of applications without test scores, using 13 other factors in the system’s review process, such as a student’s high school grade-point average, the rigor of courses taken, special talents, essays and extracurricular activities.

The faculty committee said UC should step up other ways to advance equity in admissions. Recommendations included a closer partnership between UC and the K-12 system with greater access to college-preparatory courses required for admission; more state funding for academic preparation programs, and enhanced monitoring to make sure UC is reaching underserved high schools.

The report also called for more funding to help UC thoroughly assess applications, provide anti-bias training for application readers and strengthen supports to help students complete their degrees.

Regents hailed the decision. Regent Eloy Ortiz Oakley, one of the earliest and most outspoken opponents of standardized testing for admissions, urged UC to continue to lead the way in promoting test-free admissions, particularly since they seem to increase the diversity of applicants. 

Board Chair Cecilia Estolano called her vote to eliminate SAT and ACT testing requirements one of her proudest moments as a regent. She said the next pressing task is to double down on ways to prepare more students for UC admission and support them once enrolled.

What is the Greedy Doctor Problem?

Jan Hendrik Kirchner:

The subtext for the thought experiment is: How should you act when interacting with someone smarter than yourself? What can you say or do, when your interlocutor has thought of everything you might say and more? Should you trust someone’s advice, when you can’t pinpoint their motivation? As a Ph.D. student, I run into this problem around three to five times a week, when interacting with colleagues or my advisor3.

After bugging a few people I learned that (of course) I’m not the first person to think about this question. In economics and political science, the situation is known as the principal-agent problem and is defined as “a conflict in priorities between a person or group and the representative authorized to act on their behalf. An agent may act in a way that is contrary to the best interests of the principal.” This problem arises f.e. in the context of conflicts between corporate management and shareholders, clients and their lawyers, or elected officials and their voters. Well-trodden territory.

The Rise and Fall of Science: “despite massively increasing the number of people working in academia, we’ve seen an absolute decline in the rate of major theoretical progress in most academic fields”

Ideas and data:

To begin with, it is necessary to make clear how we go about measuring scientific progress. Broadly speaking, there are two ways of quantitatively measuring this construct.

First, there is the subjective approach. This approach measures scientific progress during a time period by counting up the number of important events which occurred during that period or the number of important people who lived and made achievements during the period. What events and which people are important is determined by relevant experts.

This expert opinion can be measured in a variety of ways. For instance, you can ask experts to rate a list of potentially significant figures or events, you can analyze the frequency with which individuals or works are cited within expert material, you can analyze the frequency with which individuals are included in encyclopedias, or the amount of space they are given in such works, etc.

Obviously, this approach will not work if experts do not agree on which events/people were important, but, as it turns, out, there is a high degree of consensus between experts in a wide variety of fields.

This can be seen by looking at how different experts (both individual experts and groups of experts) rank the relative importance of individuals across various methods, including having people give direct ratings, looking at how frequently individuals are cited, or even analyzing the space each person is given in topic-specific encyclopedias. Such methods produce reliability coefficients of .86 for art and .94 for both philosophy and science. Even when comparing sources from different nations, including comparisons between western and non-western sources, there is a remarkable degree of agreement (Eysenck, 1995Murray, 2003).

So, there exists a set of people and events that experts consider to be important and there is a rank order of these people and events that experts largely agree on, and this rank ordering does not appear to be culturally biased. We can use these lists to measure scientific progress by comparing how many important people and events occur during different times or in different places.

K-12 Governance Climate: Politicians Have Earned Your Distrust

Andy Kessler

California government becomes less trustworthy by the minute. It lifted most Covid restrictions in June based on 70% of adult Californians receiving at least one vaccine dose, meaning you could go maskless in Trader Joe’s. By August, however, health officials, blaming the Delta variant, reimposed mask mandates in California’s big cities. Then in October, the same health officials said that restrictions will be lifted when 80% are vaccinated. No problem, 80% of adults had gotten jabbed. But wait, the new target is 80% of the entire population, including children under 12, who weren’t eligible for shots. Talk about moving the goal posts.

Civics: YouTube (google) Penalizes ‘Breaking Points’ For Criticizing China Over Disappearing Peng Shuai

Rachel Brovard:

All of America’s tech giants have a fraught relationship with China, but perhaps none more so than Google. While the company performatively plays to the American norms of standing for freedom of speech and human dignity, when pressed they are more than happy to bend the knee to Chinese censors.

On Friday, they were at it again. Google’s YouTube announced it was de-monetizing — that is, removing ads — from a segment of the popular YouTube show Breaking Points. The show’s two hosts, Saagar Enjeti and Krystal Ball, had run a segment discussing the disappearance of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, after she accused a senior Chinese Communist Party official of rape.

“After manually reviewing your video,” YouTube wrote to Breaking Points, “we’ve confirmed that it isn’t suitable for all advertisers. As a result, it will continue to run limited or no ads.”

Parents protesting ‘critical race theory’ identify another target: Mental health programs

Tyler Kingkade and Mike Hixenbaugh:

“Some of these kids, they’re just trying to get through the day, get through compacted math, get through algebra, go to cotillion on Sunday,” Eddins said. “They are not thinking about these issues.”

Two days after Eddins made the remarks, Southlake Families PAC — a group that has fought to stop a diversity plan at Carroll — sent an email to supporters calling on the school district to “Leave mental health and parenting to parents.”

Christina Edmiston, a Southlake resident and mother of two, was outraged when she saw the email. Earlier that month, Edmiston had pulled her 12-year-old son out of the Carroll district after he reported thoughts of suicide after having been bullied by classmates for his sexuality.

Madison police oversight board mulls thousands of dollars in payments for its members

Chris Rickert:

Having so far failed to hire Madison’s first independent police monitor, Madison’s new Police Civilian Oversight Board voted Thursday to recommend that the City Council effectively use some of the money that had been budgeted for the monitor to provide the board’s leader with a onetime $20,000 honorarium — more than the salary for City Council members.

Board members have also discussed recommending that all “active” members of the 13-member board receive honorariums of either $3,000 or $5,000 but tabled that over concerns from the city attorney that doing so could run afoul of city ethics rules.

During sometimes contentious meetings of the board on Thursday and the board’s executive subcommittee on Nov. 10, chair Keetra Burnette and supporters of the honorarium portrayed it as payment for the many hours of work Burnette has spent getting the board up and running and preparing for the monitor’s hire, including staffing the board in the absence of the monitor. The honorariums were proposed by vice chair Shadayra Kilfoy-Flores.

In China, my son had to study hard. Here in the U.S., he just needs to bring a ‘healthy snack’ to school

Habi Zhang:

As a Chinese doctoral student raising a young son in the U.S., I am mystified by how American elementary schools coddle students. In China, schools are run like boot camps. What do the therapeutic comforts America showers on its youth portend for a growing competition with China?

I recently registered my son in the third grade at a New Jersey public school. Hattie had recently finished two years of elementary school in Chengdu, China, where he trotted off to school each day with a backpack stuffed with thick textbooks and materials for practices and quizzes. Here he leaves for school with little in his backpack other than a required “healthy snack.”

The first day he came home with a sheet of math homework: 35 addition problems. He finished in about a minute. On the second day, he was asked to write 328 in different configurations. He first wrote down 300+20+8, following the prompt, and then 164×2, 82×4 and 656÷2.

My son is not a genius, but he started studying math at an early age. When he was 5, I taught him fractions. Two years later, I introduced him to algebra. It is a core belief in Chinese society that talent can be trained, so schools should be tough on children. Chinese students score at the top of international math and science tests.

Rising numbers of single people and plummeting birth rates are bad news for civilisation.

Joel Kotkin:

Families, and the lack of them, are emerging as one of the great political dividing lines in America, and much of the high-income world. The familial ideal was once embraced by all political factions, except on the extremes, but that is no longer the case.

This is among the biggest lessons from the Republicans’ big electoral wins earlier this month. Areas close to Washington DC, where singles predominate and birth rates are negligible, remained Democratic, but in the suburbs, from Northern Virginia to Dallas to Long Island, where the families roam, voters shifted to the centre-right. It’s a poor omen for Democrats, who made strong gains in these areas in 2018. 

Virginia’s new governor, Glenn Youngkin, hit the jackpot by attacking the education establishment – and the teachers’ unions – for its woke indoctrination of kids and arrogant attitude towards parents. According to some pre-election polls, governor-elect Youngkin beat Democrat Terry McAuliffe by 15 points among parents and cut the GOP deficit in half from 2020, even in staunchly Democratic areas. Many Virginians, not just knuckle-dragging Trumpistas, object to having their children’s brains washed with racialist ideology by their ‘betters’.

Yet if these results demonstrated the still existent potency of family voters, the power of the radical education agenda reflects the growth of non-families – particularly in the deep-blue precincts of the inner city, but more widely as well. In the United States, more than a quarter of households in 2013 were single-person households. In urban areas like Manhattan, that figure is estimated at nearly half. In 2018, a record 35 per cent of Americans aged 25 to 50, which is 39million people, had never been married, according to a new Institute for Family Studies (IFS) analysis of US Census data. The share was only nine per cent in 1970.

For many people, having offspring seems like an impossible dream, a luxury item, as the costs associated with child-rearing, including school and housing, have risen far faster than incomes. Overall, young Americansplace much less of a focus on having children than their parents did – a worrying sign. Already in 2020 half of US states have experienced more deaths than births, which was only partially due to Covid.

This reflects a global phenomenon that has been building for decades. Europe – including Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece and most of Eastern Europe – now experiences some of the world’s lowest fertility rates. As in the US, more children who are born do so out of wedlock. In Britain eight per cent of households in 1971 were headed by a single parent; now the rate is over 22 per cent. In the Scandinavian countries around 40 per cent of the population lives alone.

Choose life.

Who’s listening to the Tenderloin’s children? Letter to Mayor Breed begs for help

Heather Knight:

Kids bounded up the grand marble staircase at San Francisco City Hall on a recent afternoon and down the hallway to Room 200 where the mayor works. Alongside some teachers and parents, they handed a letter to Mayor London Breed’s secretary describing what it’s like living in the Tenderloin and demanding the mayor’s help.

But first they had questions.

The Weirdness of Government Variation in COVID-19 Responses

Richard Hanania:

It’s similar when you look at American jurisdictions. Los Angeles County was the first major jurisdictionin the country to bring back mask mandates after they had been lifted everywhere in summer 2021. Meanwhile, Orange County, the next jurisdiction to the south, doesn’t have one. Before COVID-19, most Americans would have considered having to wear a mask in public a major infringement on liberty. I would’ve believed you if you told me that the presumption against such an extreme mandate could be overcome if things got bad enough, but again, like the EU, I would never have expected similarly situated neighboring American counties to adopt such radically different policies. LA County and Orange County are at the same level of community transmission according to the CDC.

An emerging industry of nuclear-fusion firms promises to have commercial reactors ready in the next decade.

Philip Ball:

The ancient village of Culham, nestled in a bend of the River Thames west of London, seems an unlikely launching pad for the future. But next year, construction will start here on a gleaming building of glass and steel that could house what many people consider to be an essential technology to meet demand for clean energy in the twenty-first century and beyond.

Long derided as a prospect that is forever 30 years away, nuclear fusion seems finally to be approaching commercial viability. There are now more than 30 private fusion firms globally, according to an October survey by the Fusion Industry Association (FIA) in Washington DC, which represents companies in the sector; the 18 firms that have declared their funding say they have attracted more than US$2.4 billion in total, almost entirely from private investments (see ‘Fusion funding’). Key to these efforts are advances in materials research and computing that are enabling technologies other than the standard designs that national and international agencies have pursued for so long.

How Activist Teachers Recruit Kids

Abigail Shrier:

Incensed parents now make news almost daily, objecting to radical material taught in their children’s public schools. But little insight has been provided into the mindset and tactics of activist teachers themselves. That may now be changing, thanks to leaked audio from a meeting of California’s largest teacher’s union.

Last month, the California Teachers Association (CTA) held a conference advising teachers on best practices for subverting parents, conservative communities and school principals on issues of gender identity and sexual orientation. Speakers went so far as to tout their surveillance of students’ Google searches, internet activity, and hallway conversations in order to target sixth graders for personal invitations to LGBTQ clubs, while actively concealing these clubs’ membership rolls from participants’ parents.

Verona High student arrested with loaded, semi-automatic handgun at school, police say

Lucas Robinson:

Tavion Flowers, 18, was taken into custody after school security learned he had a firearm, Sgt. Jesse Christensen said in a statement. While security staff took Flowers into the parking lot, he was detained and the .40-caliber pistol fell out of his waistband, Christensen said. 

Officers responded to the school around 12:37 p.m. after the school told authorities they had recovered the handgun. 

Flowers was taken to the Dane County Jail on tentative charges of felony possession of a firearm on school property, misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon and felony bail jumping for an unrelated case, Christensen said.

Experts Weigh in on Efforts to Protect CPS Students From Sexual Abuse

Maureen Kelleher:

In the wake of the Chicago Tribune series, “Betrayed,” which revealed hundreds of incidents where school and district leaders failed to follow proper reporting procedures when educators sexually abuse students, Chicago Public Schools has taken steps to correct its practices.

In June, CPS announced it would create an Office of Student Protections and Title IX with a budget of $3 million and 20 staff positions, according to a recent Chicago Tribune story. The office will be responsible for both staff training and coordinating responses to incidents of sexual assault and abuse, including reporting them to police and child welfare investigators. 

The district has taken further steps to change how cases of child sexual abuse in schools are investigated–providing training to ensure school staff report all suspected abuse to the Department of Children and Family Services, as required by state law, and shifting responsibility away from its own law department–a conflict of interest–to the CPS Office of the Inspector General, the independent body that investigates misconduct and mismanagement in the district.

Today, CEO Janice Jackson will be speaking at the City Club about the district’s efforts to address sexual abuse, as well as announcing the hiring of 250 new social workers and special education case managers. She’s very likely to be asked questions about the district’s continuing response to the Trib’s revelations regarding child sexual abuse, too. (Update: while the City Club audience did not ask questions on the topic after her remarks, the toughest grilling she received was from talk show radio host William Kelly during a brief Q and A with press after the event.)

As both a reporter and the mom of a CPS student, I wanted to know what experts thought about the steps the district is taking. So I spent most of last week reading policy papers and speaking with experts. (See the end of this post for full bios of the experts I spoke with.)

Here’s what I learned.

COVID origin Controversy continues amid sketchy data and lack of transparency from Chinese authorities

Joel Achenbach

“It is based on fragmentary information and to a large degree, hearsay,” David A. Relman, a professor of microbiology at Stanford University, said in an email after reading an embargoed copy. “In general, there is no way of verifying much of what he describes, and then concludes.”

Jesse Bloom, a computational biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said the quality of the data from China on early coronavirus infections is too poor to support any conclusion.

America’s Catholic schools are seeing a surprising rise in enrollment

The Economist:

“Why are Catholic schools suddenly growing?…When Catholic schools reopened, most provided in-person learning. This appealed to families who struggled with remote learning—many of the new pupils are children whose parents cannot work from home.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Victory for Virginia Moms Who Challenged School District

Goldwater Institute

Two Virginia moms who were silenced by the Fairfax County school district won a resounding victory in court this morning when a judge upheld their First Amendment rights and struck down the district’s unconstitutional attempts to shut down their speech.

“This is an important victory against the bullying tactics of school bureaucrats who have resorted to intimidation and harassment of parents who just want to do what’s best for their children,” said Timothy Sandefur, the Goldwater Institute attorney representing the pair.

Fairfax County mothers Debra Tisler and Callie Oettinger wanted to know how their school district was spending taxpayer dollars, especially given that the county has been in national news about its recent legal troubles. Debra filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out how much the district was paying for its legal bills, and after the Board turned over 1,300 pages of documents, Callie posted some of them on her website specialeducationaction.com, after deleting any potentially confidential information.

Incredibly, the simple act of publishing public information online provoked a backlash from the school district, which sued Debra and Callie, demanding that they destroy the documents, remove them from their website, and replace them with heavily censored substitute documents. The reason: The district realized that the documents were embarrassing to school officials who have spent outrageous amounts of taxpayer money for legal representation and have been careless with private student information in the past.

Unfortunately, this case is just one of the latest examples of public school bureaucrats attacking parents for daring to ask questions about how tax dollars are being used and what is being taught in schools. But with the Goldwater Institute’s help, parents are fighting back. Represented by Sandefur and by Virginia attorney Ketan Bhirud of the firm Troutman Pepper, the two mothers argued that the Board’s demand contradicted the First Amendment, which protects the right of all citizens to publish documents they legally obtain from the government. To bar the two from publishing the information was a “prior restraint,” which the Supreme Court has said is virtually never constitutional.

Clarity about Fountas and Pinnell

Mark Seidenberg:

Fountas and Pinnell have written a series of blog posts defending their popular curriculum, which is being criticized as based on discredited ideas about how children learn to read. (See Emily Hanford’s post here; EdReports evaluation here, many comments in the blogosphere.) The question is why school systems should continue to invest in the F&P curriculum and other products if they are inadequate. 

Their blog posts indicate that Fountas and Pinnell (hereafter F&P) have not benefited from ongoing discussions about approaches to reading instruction. They are staying the course. The posts are restatements of their views that add little new information.

Here are some further observations, from a reading researcher who has been looking closely at several curricula that dominate the enormous market for such materials. I’ve summarized basic flaws in their approach and responded to their defense of it. The quotes are from the F&P “Just to clarify” posts.

1. Fountas and Pinnell’s misconceptions about the knowledge and mental operations that support reading, and how they are acquired, make both learning to read and teaching children to read more difficult.

Being able to read and understand words quickly and accurately is the basic foundation for reading, which enables the development of more advanced forms of literacy. 

Because the F&P curriculum doesn’t adequately address the development of these skills, it focuses on coping with the struggles that follow. Beginning readers are seen as plodders who, knowing little about the written code, need ways to figure words out. This can be done by using several “word solving” strategies. There is greater emphasis on teaching children how to cope with their lack of basic skills than on teaching those skills in the first place

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

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

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Commentary on K_12 Curriculum

John Hindraker:

The precepts of Critical Race Theory are only taught to law school students, right? Sure. And also to pre-schoolers. Check out this new program from the University of Texas called GoKAR!. KAR stands for Kids Against Racism. UT is looking for parents “caregivers” who have preschool children ages four to five. They must “identify as white.” This is so the four and five year olds can be subjected to an “anti-racism” curriculum. In particular, “GoKAR! creates opportunities for caregivers to engage in dialogue about anti-Black racism with their preschool-aged children at home.” How about if we read them Winnie the Pooh instead? Please?

“His 2018 request for $14.2 million from the Pentagon to do this was turned down amid uneasiness that it was too risky; but the very fact that he was proposing it was alarming”

Matt Ridley:

Most of the funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology comes from the Chinese not the American government, after all; so the failure to win the US grant may not have prevented the work being done. More-over, exactly such an experiment had already been done with a different kind of coronavirus by — guess who? — the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

It is almost beyond belief that Dr Daszak had not volunteered this critical information. He played a leading role in trying to dismiss the lab-leak idea as a ‘conspiracy theory’, using his membership of the WHO-China investigation to support the far-fetched theory that the virus reached Wuhan on frozen food.

If the trail to the source of the pandemic leads through Laos, it is possible western countries can find out more. The Chinese government has blocked anybody who tries to get near to the mineshaft in Yunnan where RaTG13 was found. But now that we know the US government was funding virus sampling in Laos, the EcoHealth Alliance should be required to report in full on exactly what was found. Saying ‘Oh, that data belongs to the Chinese now’ is not good enough. American taxpayers funded the work. Belatedly, the US National Institutes of Health has requested more information.

The Wuhan Institute had a database of 22,257 samples, mostly from bats, but took it offline on 12 September 2019, supposedly because somebody was trying to hack into it. The lab has published few details of viruses collected after 2015, so details of any found in Laos since then are presumably in that database. Dr Daszak says he knows what’s there and it’s of no relevance. Yet he refused even to request that the Wuhan Institute release it, despite his close relationship with the scientists in question.

College rules against professor who defended rigorous math standards

Christian Schneider:

A hearing officer at a Nevada community college has ruled against a professor who saysthe school is trying to fire him for standing against weakening math standards.

In a report issued November 12, Truckee Meadows Community College Special Hearing Officer Vicky Oldenburg found that math Professor Lars Jensen violated several school codes when he protested a new curriculum structure that essentially allows remedial math classes to count for college credit.

The report brings Jensen one step closer to being fired with cause.

The report will now go to a faculty panel that will vote and write up its own recommendation. College President Karin Hilgersom will issue a final decision once she receives both reports.

“We are very disappointed with the conclusions and recommendations in Special Hearing Officer Oldenburg’s report,” Jensen said in an email to The College Fix. “We feel that her report ignored longstanding state and federal precedent protecting faculty speech and academic freedom.”

Jensen, who has been a professor at Truckee Meadows Community College for 22 years, told The Fix that Oldenburg’s report ignored guidelines set for faculty speech in previous decisions handed down by the Nevada Supreme Court and federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“This follows a dangerous pattern at TMCC,” Jensen said. “It further underlies the importance that faculty disciplinary panels be subject to outside binding arbitration, which unfortunately is not available at TMCC.”

Voicing academic freedom concerns, Cornell faculty push for greater role in university’s global expansion plans

Sarah McLaughlin:

For years, Cornell University has been an institution of note for those interested in how U.S. academic institutions approach academic freedom, free expression, and ethical challenges in international collaborations. Between the university’s 2018 cancellation of an exchange program in China due to student rights concerns, its creation of guidelines intended to protect academic freedom in global programs, last year’s campus-wide protest against a proposed dual degree program in China, and the university’s decision to move forward with the dual degree program despite the pushback, Cornell has been a campus to watch. 

Now, Cornell’s faculty senate has added another chapter to the university’s international engagement dealings with the proposal of a resolution pressing for Cornell’s administration to include faculty input in its future Global Hubs decision-making. As the resolution (and common sense) make clear, universities should be more conscious of core values like free expression and academic freedom while pursuing international expansion. 

The resolution, sponsored by nine faculty members, asserts that “Cornell already has a significant footprint in international educational programs” and in some cases “there were serious ethical issues, which remain, that were bypassed in the agreements negotiated . . . that had these relationships come before the faculty senate would have at least received a public airing.” It goes on to explain (emphasis added):

Parents in some school districts find their input suppressed—and their dissent criminalized.

Christopher Rufo:

The school board was able to do this because the Round Rock Independent School District has its own police force, with a three-layer chain of command, patrol units, school resource officers, a detective, and a K-9 unit. The department serves under the authority of the board and, through coordination with other agencies, apparently has the power to order the arrest of citizens in their homes. For many parents, the school board is sending a message: if you speak out against us, we will turn you into criminals. When reached for comment, the school district’s police department confirmed that it initiated the investigation and that “one board member requested details from the RRISD Police” prior to the criminal referral.

Round Rock is not the only school board to resort to repressive tactics to stifle dissent. In Loudoun County, Virginia, for example, where parents have protested against critical race theory and a sexual assault cover-up, the superintendent asked the county sheriff to deploy a SWAT team, riot control unit, and undercover agents to monitor parents at school board meetings. The sheriff refused, telling the superintendent that he had not provided “any justification for such a manpower intensive request,” but the mere attempt was astounding.

Even the FBI, under the direction of Attorney General Merrick Garland, has mobilized to monitor parents at school board meetings and, if necessary, prosecute them under domestic terrorism laws. The National School Boards Association, which had requested the federal intervention in a letter to the Justice Department, was later forced to apologize after state chapters strenuously objected to the tone and content of that letter. Yet the Biden administration has moved forwardwith the effort, creating a task force of federal agents and attorneys to coordinate against parent protesters.

WILL, ADF Sue Kettle Moraine School District for Violating Parents’ Rights

WILL:

School district refuses to respect parents’ decision about transitioning at school

The News: Two sets of Wisconsin parents are suing the Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) for a policy that facilitates and “affirms” a minor student’s gender transition at school, even over the parents’ objection. The Kettle Moraine School District’s policy violates parents’ constitutional rights to raise their children by taking a major, controversial, and potentially life-altering decision out of parents’ hands. The lawsuit was filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

WILL and ADF filed a notice of claim with the Kettle Moraine School District in May 2021, warning their policy may result in a lawsuit.

The Quotes: WILL Deputy Counsel, Luke Berg, said, “Schools cannot override parents when it comes to decisions about their children. Gender identity transitions are no exception. Schools must defer to parents about what is best for their child.”

“Parents’ rights to direct the upbringing, education, and mental health treatment of their children is one of the most basic constitutional rights every parent holds dear. Yet we are seeing more and more school districts across the country not only ignoring parents’ concerns, but actively working against them,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kate Anderson, director of the ADF Center for Parental Rights. “The parents in this case know and love their daughter and are doing their best to get her the expert care she needs in her battle with anxiety and depression. We are asking the court to respect the serious concerns of these parents by ensuring Kettle Moraine School District swiftly changes its policy that is undermining parents and harming children.”

Background: The Wisconsin (and United States) Constitution recognizes the “inherent right” of parents to “direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.” This means parents are the primary decision-makers with respect to their minor children. But the Kettle Moraine School District adopted a policy that disregards parents’ decision about how their children will be addressed at school.

Civics: The situation is so bad that the DNC is considering disaffiliation with the national organization.

Alex Thompson:

They are caught up in their own drama and playing ‘Boys State’ government,” said the same Democrat. “They think they’re the hottest s— on Earth.”

“I can’t just make a tweet about pop culture without it being ripped apart for underlying messages and hidden meanings.”

Nourhan Mesbah, the College Democrats of America

The controversy began in September when Tasneem Ahmad Al-Michael, a Muslim and former vice president of the CDA abruptly ended his presidential campaign after a 2014 tweet in which he used a racial slur resurfaced, CDA members involved in the election said. He said the subsequent attacks on him and his campaign team prompted him to pull out of the race. “What I said as a 15 year old prior to being in politics was ignorant, inappropriate, and flat out wrong,” Al-Michael said in a text message to POLITICO. “It doesn’t define me, my character, or invalidate the work that I continue to do.”

“the problem with all this talking is that it was happening as a lot of San Francisco parents were struggling”

Mary Harris:

What did that incident tell you about how the school board sees its job?

It demonstrated that the school board was very committed to these types of decisions at the expense of other types of decisions that typically school boards would make. A lot of things that they have taken up have been very directed toward the superintendent and very administrative tasks. At one point, the superintendent threatened to leave and then decided to stay if they stepped back and let him do his job.

So they were making trouble for everyone.

This is a board that likes to stir the pot.

This well-intentioned focus by the school board on more symbolic issues continued through the pandemic. In January, as more kids around the country began returning to classrooms, the San Francisco school board made headlines again—this time for an expensive push to rename schools within the district, all while parents waited impatiently for guidance on reopening.

For a while there have been some schools that the parents and the community and the teachers wanted renamed. And so they created this task force to come up with which schools should be renamed. The idea was any schools associated with a person connected to slavery or oppression would be renamed. The task force then went through every school name and reportedly did their own research to determine whether that person had a connection to slavery or colonization or other types of things. They went down through the list, and out of about 118 schools, they pulled 44 names.

Whistleblower: FBI targeting parents like Nicole Solas for opposing CRT.

Jim Polito:

US Attorney General Merrick Garland told Congress last month the FBI is not using counter terrorism tactics to tag parents protesting political indoctrination in schools, but a whistleblower says otherwise. On Tuesday, November 17th, the whistleblower’s claims were made public. At the same time, Rhode Island activist Mom Nicole Solas was in Washington, DC speaking out against teaching CRT in schools at a rally on the national mall. Click below to hear the reaction from this diaper changing “domestic terrorist.”

Missouri Attorney General Sues Springfield School District Over Refusal To Turn Over Critical Race Training Records

Missouri Attorney General:

Upon questioning by the Attorney General’s Office, Springfield Public Schools admitted that they’ve provided equity training to students in the GO CAPS program for the past three school years. In May of 2021, Springfield Public Schools reported that it had formed a “Culturally Relevant Curriculum Review” and adopted a Culturally Responsible Scorecard to implement a social justice evaluation of core curriculum, including math.

Civics: Media Veracity

Matt Taibbi:

“There is an old saying in journalism: You’re only as good as your sources,” wrote Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler, in a piece about the indictment of “Steele Dossier” source Igor Danchenko. The latter is being set up to take the rap as the dirty Russian rat who hoodwinked poor civic-minded Christopher Steele, the FBI, and the entire American press corps into propping up the biggest hoax since the WMD affair.

Wisconsin’s State Report Cards Mask Troubling Proficiency Rates

Will Flanders:

Wisconsin’s recently released state report cards for the 2020-21 school year paint a relatively rosy picture: 399 (out of 422) districts “Met”, “Exceeded”, or “Greatly Exceeded” expectations according to the data. But these report cards seem to be whistling past the graveyard of deep problems with student achievement.  

The Lake Wobegon Effect – Is Everyone Really Above Average?  

Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) are a great example of this problem. During the 2020-21 school year, reported proficiency rates on the Forward Exam were just 7.3% in English and 4.2% in mathematics. Even accounting for the huge percentage of students that didn’t take the exam, proficiency rates have fallen consistently over the past four years. English/Language Arts proficiency is depicted, but a similar pattern exists for other subjects.