Politics, Competition With Religious Schools, Far Outweighed Science in School Shutdown Decisions, Analysis Found

In response to state and local government shutdowns reportedly designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, schools districts and local governments implemented different reopening guidelines and timelines – but did so more because of politics or competition with private schools than because of science, a new report published by Brown University found.

The EdWorking Paper published by The Annenberg Institute at Brown University authored by Michael T. Hartney from Boston College and Leslie K. Finger from the University of North Texas found that “the most critical decision facing the nation’s school boards – whether or not to re-open in person and to what degree – appears to be closely related to the partisanship of a local school district.”

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Report: Some Public Schools Obstructing Parents’ Efforts to Withdraw Children for Home-Schooling

Some public schools are telling parents they can’t withdraw their children to home-school or aren’t following the TEA guidelines for withdrawal, according to a new report published by the Texas Home School Coalition Association (THSC).

The largest statewide advocacy organization for home educators in the state sent a written notice to 9,500 school administrations in August, clarifying the Texas Education Agency policy for student withdrawal.

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San Diego School Districts Abolish Grades to Combat Racism

In an effort to combat racial discrimination the San Diego Unified School District last week announced plans to abolish the traditional grading system, Fox News reports.

According to the data, black students received D or F grades 20 percent of the time and hispanic students received them 23 percent of the time, while white students received them 7 percent of the time and asian students received them 6 percent of the time from the first semester of the last school year, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

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Think Tanks Square Off Over More Government Oversight of Michigan’s Charter Schools

A report recommending expanded government oversight of Michigan’s charter schools has prompted a rebuttal from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy (MCPP).

“Improving Oversight of Michigan Charter Schools and Their Authorizers” was issued on Feb. 25 by the Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School, which had commissioned the study from the Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC), a Michigan-based think tank.

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Ohio State Prof Says Clarence Thomas Not ‘Authentically Black’

At a symposium hosted by Texas A&M University at Commerce, titled, “What the Truth Sounds Like,” Professor Donna Ford argued that one of the significant problems in education is White females. She also noted that diversity of “skin color” is not enough, considering that she wouldn’t want “Clarence Thomas teaching my damn kids.”

“There is a monopoly on education, where White females being about 85 percent of the teaching force, and then you know pretty much the same thing with white administrators. So White females I’m speaking to you, and I’m saying you’ve got to get your sh- stuff together,” said Ford during her lecture.

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Commentary: If Everyone is Behind, then No One is Behind

In early September, researchers Corey DeAngelis and Christos Makridis released the results of a study they spearheaded, which found that “school districts in places with stronger teachers’ unions are much less likely to offer full-time, in-person instruction this fall.” The authors stress that the results are remarkably consistent after controlling for differences in demographics, including age, race, population, political affiliation, household income, COVID-19 cases, deaths per capita, et al.

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Former Democratic Lawmaker Pushes Back on Civil Rights Commission Recommendation to Cut Charter School Funding

A former Democratic lawmaker disagrees with recommendations from the “Education Equity in Michigan,” report the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC) adopted Wednesday.

The report was issued after the MCRC held statewide public hearings in 2018 and 2019.

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House Education Committee Approves Legislation to Increase Access to Apprenticeship Programs

The Michigan House of Representatives Education Committee approved legislation that increases accessibility to apprenticeship programs in high schools on Thursday.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Ben Frederick (R-85-Owosso), brings Michigan apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in line with federal workforce mandates so federal funding can be used.

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UM, MSU Excited to See Football Return, Fans Have Mixed Reactions

Michigan sports fans had mixed reactions after the Big Ten conference announced it would be bringing back football this year, while conference leaders rejoiced.

The conference, which had originally postponed playing because of the coronavirus pandemic, announced on Wednesday that it will resume games on October 24, according to ESPN.

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Michigan Begins Identifying Schools with COVID-19 Outbreaks

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has begun publishing coronavirus outbreak information broken down by school building.

The state had previously been confirming regions in which outbreaks were taking place at schools, but not identifying the individual schools or school districts.

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California Mothers Sue California Gov. Newsom, Saying His Partial Reopening of Schools Hurts Special Needs Students, Causes Anxiety Over Grades

Four mothers have filed a lawsuit against California Gov. Gavin Newsom over his coronavirus education plan, claiming adverse effects including anxiety over poor grades and lack of special education access.

The lawsuit was filed Sept. 10 in Shasta County Superior Court by the Freedom Foundation on behalf of the northern California families. The complaint is available here.

The plaintiffs allege the plan that requires students to be in classes part-time denies them their constitutional right to a quality education as enshrined in the California Constitution.

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University of Michigan Resident Advisers, Cafeteria Workers Join Strike

The resident assistants at University of Michigan have joined protests over the school’s coronavirus regulations, announcing earlier this week that they would be striking.

More than 100 residential advisers voted to strike in demand of increased coronavirus protections, hazard pay and additional communication about coronavirus statistics at the school, according to reporting by The Michigan Daily, the student newspaper for the University of Michigan. The strike began Wednesday morning and mostly impacts mailroom operations and lock-out services. Participating resident assistants will also not perform duty shifts, although they will informally enforce COVID-19 safety regulations.

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University of Michigan Graduate Student Employees to Go on Strike

The graduate student union at the University of Michigan has voted to go on strike beginning Tuesday, the group announced on Monday.

The Graduate Employees’ Organizations represents Graduate Student Instructors and Graduate Student Staff Assistants at Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan.

The four-day strike is protesting the university reopening for in-person classes during the coronavirus pandemic and has the potential to be reauthorized for a longer work stoppage. The union called the strike a “historic moment.”

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Commentary: The New Maoists Bind and Gag Academics

Recently I spoke with a teacher at an exclusive private school, tuition $40,000 per year, located in Northern Virginia. He described the ongoing deterioration of the school’s standards, including a dumbing down of academics, more cheating, parents demanding higher grades for their children, and a pervasive climate of political correctness.

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Former Vanderbilt University Professor Carol Swain Weighs in on Constitution Question Scandal at Her Teaching Alma Mater

Dr. Carol M. Swain appeared on Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends Weekend Edition to discuss the recent backlash facing Vanderbilt University for asking a quiz question suggesting the Constitution may perpetuate White supremacy by protecting the institution of slavery.

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DeVos Tells Michigan Schools Not to Expect Federal Testing Waivers

Michigan schools should not anticipate waivers to allow schools to skip statewide testing for the upcoming school year, according to a letter sent by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to State Superintendent Michael Rice.

Rice and State Board of Education President Casandra Ulbrich had, in light of the continuing coronavirus pandemic, requested waivers from DeVos that would allow Michigan schools to skip student assessments typically required federally.

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Michigan to Publish Which Schools Have Coronavirus Outbreaks

Michigan will begin identifying K-12 schools that have coronavirus outbreaks beginning on September 14, a state spokesperson told BridgeMI on Tuesday.

Up to this point, the state has been confirming the regions in which the outbreaks are occurring, but have not provided more specific information, such as the specific school districts in which the outbreaks are located.

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86 Percent of Michigan Schools to Offer In-Person Learning

Eighty-six percent of school districts in Michigan will offer some or all in-person instruction at the beginning of the school year, according to a study conducted by Michigan State University (MSU).

The study, released Friday, showed that 59 percent of Michigan school districts will be offering in-person schooling five days a week and 27 percent will be offering it at least two to three days a week.

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Liberty University Hires Outside Firm to Investigate Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Tenure

Liberty University says it is conducting a forensic investigation of Jerry Falwell Jr. a week after he resigned as president.

Falwell resigned last Tuesday after amid conflicting claims about a sexual relationship his wife Becki Falwell had with a business partner, The Associated Press reported. Falwell reportedly participated in some of the liaisons as a voyeur.

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Commentary: How to Recognize a Bad Teacher

The sign of a good music teacher, I was told as a teenager, is a willingness to allow parents to sit in on lessons. A teacher willing to have parents observe their lessons demonstrates that she has nothing to hide, is open to critique or comments, and is one who partners with parents in helping students succeed. Having witnessed this policy firsthand with my own piano instructor, a woman whose students won competitions and entered world famous music schools, I followed suit when I began teaching myself.

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More Than $37 Million in Grant Funding Available to Close Technology Gap, Provide Mental Health Support in Schools

School districts seeking additional funding to help offset the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for a grant from the Education Equity Fund.

The fund, created by the Michigan Department of Education, is aimed at helping to close the technology gap and provide mental health services for students and staff.

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Whitmer Calls for Staff and Children at Day Camps and Child-Care Centers to Wear Masks

Both children and staff are required to wear face coverings while at child-care centers and day camps, according to a new executive order signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday.

The order requires all staff and children ages 2 and up to wear a face covering on a school bus or other transportation. It also requires staff and children ages 4 and up to wear a face covering in all indoor common spaces. Staff and children ages 12 and up are required to wear a face covering in classrooms, homes, cabins, or other indoor small-group settings.

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University of Michigan Students Required to Observe ‘Enhanced Social Distancing’ Prior to Arrival on Campus

University of Michigan is requiring its students to participate in “enhanced social distancing” for two weeks before arriving on campus, according to a letter published for students earlier this week.

The school is offering both in-person and online classes and said that it estimates roughly 70 percent of undergraduate credits can be taken online during the upcoming semester.

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Tennessee Will Host The National Constitution Bee, Grand Champion Set to Win $25,000 Education Scholarship

The Star News Education Foundation announced Wednesday the first ever National Constitution Bee competition will take place on Saturday, October 24 in Brentwood, Tennessee, where the Grand Champion will be awarded an unprecedented education scholarship of $25,000.

In addition to the announcement, organizers have launched a new website, GuidetotheConstitution.org, where Bee contestants may review the new podcast series of the groundbreaking book, The Guide to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights for Secondary Students.

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Counselor in Texas School District Shares List of Marxist Literature as ‘Tool’

A lengthy email from a counselor in Plano Independent School District (PISD) sent to colleagues contained three attachments including, among other things, a list of overtly Marxist media for use in classrooms, and a study guide for those “trying to become better allies.”

The attachments highlight materials like The 1619 Project (which claims America’s history is based on racism and slavery), talking points concerning the deaths of George Floyd; Breonna Taylor; and Ahmaud Arbery; and suggested reading lists including Marxist and Communist literature.

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Sen. Peters Asks FEMA to Help Fund Michigan Coronavirus School Response

Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Monday asking the agency to help fund schools in Michigan as they prepare to open during the coronavirus.

In the letter, Peters pushed FEMA to allow schools in Michigan and nationwide to access to funding from the Disaster Relief Fund to help pay for public safety trainings, adapting classrooms and acquiring personal protective equipment for students and staff.

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Carol Swain Tells Fox and Friends Weekend: Politics Underlies Everything We Are Doing With COVID-19

Dr. Carol M. Swain appeared on Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends Weekend Edition with hosts, Jedediah Bila and Pete Hegseth Sunday to discuss how the coronavirus has been politicized and schools have become indoctrination camps of an anti-American agenda.

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Michigan High School Fires Teacher After Pro-Trump Tweet

A Michigan high school is receiving backlash after it fired a teacher shortly after he tweeted “Trump is our president.”

Varsity baseball coach and social studies teacher Justin Kucera said that Walled Lake school district gave him the option of being fired or resigning after he had tweeted his support of President Trump and for reopening schools, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

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Trump Touts Education, Economic Opportunities for Hispanics

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday creating a program aimed at improving Hispanic Americans’ access to education and economic opportunities.

“We will expand our efforts across all of the federal government to create educational and economic opportunity for Hispanic Americans,” Trump said to applause in the Rose Garden, describing the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative.

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Michigan Publishes Reopening Guidance for Schools, Allocates $256M

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer released a set of health and safety guidelines on Tuesday for schools returning to in-person classrooms among the pandemic.

The “MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap” outlines safety protocols for schools in each stage or reopening and includes information on the proper use of personal protection equipment, disinfecting, spacing in classrooms and identifying symptoms, among other things. Guidance is distinguished by phases and includes both required and recommended protocols.

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Michigan Schools Will Hold In-Person Classes in Fall, Whitmer Announces

Michigan schools will be allowed to reopen and hold in-person classes in the fall, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Wednesday.

Schools will be required to follow strict safety measures. Whitmer said she plans to release an executive order and a “Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap” on June 30 that will contain the requirements and recommendations for schools. It is currently unclear what those requirements may be.

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GOP Bill Would Withhold Funding from Schools That Don’t Reopen by September

Republican lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday meant to incentivize schools to reopen from coronavirus closures by September 5.

Republican Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin introduced the Reopen Our Schools Act Thursday, which would withhold federal funding from schools that don’t open in the fall for in-person learning.

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Michigan Publishes Map of WiFi Hotspots to Increase Accessibility As Residents Continue to Work, Learn At Home

Michigan has released a map of WiFi hotspots available in the state as a way to assist residents who may not have reliable internet access while they continue to work or learn at home during the pandemic.

The WiFi mapping — spearheaded by the Michigan Public Service Commission, Connected Nation Michigan, the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, and the Department of Education — highlights locations where public internet access is available, such as libraries, public schools and parks. More than 300 locations have already been added to the map, which also includes information about the location and the password used to access the internet there.

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Commentary: The Media-Education-Entertainment-Tech Complex’s Latest Victim

The History Channel premiered a three-part miniseries about Ulysses S. Grant Monday. Produced by the arch-leftist and globalist Leonardo Di Caprio, with commentary by left-wing reparations activist Ta-Nehisi Coates, the show is based on Ron Chernow’s 2017 biography. This is the same Chernow who excoriated President Trump at the 2019 White House Correspondents’ Dinner and says Alexander Hamilton would have supported Trump’s impeachment.

But I am not interested in revisiting the endless spurious assertions we’re sure to hear from the people who produced what is sure to be another tired, this-is-who-we-are jeremiad pushing progressive liberalism. 

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Michigan Becomes First State to Offer Emergency Food Assistance for Students Through EBT

Michigan has become the first state to gain federal approval for a program that helps families feed students who were previously relying on schools for meals.

Through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program, food assistance benefits will be given to students ages 5 to 18 who would normally be eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.

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Commentary: We Are All Homeschoolers Now

What does education look like in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic?

At the K-12 level, you’ve got problems. At the collegiate level, you’ve got existential problems.

School is out for the year in most locales. More innovative districts are retooling like crazy and trying to do online classes. Parents are looking for cheap or free resources to do the job and keep their kids occupied during our enforced isolation.

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Commentary: Coronavirus Exposes Just How Antiquated and Unworkable the Michigan Education System Really Is

The coronavirus has thrown our entire society in disarray, and no less poignant an example exists than our K-12 public schools. The closure of schools across the country has stopped the normal learning process dead in its tracks.  In a valiant attempt to continue, many districts have sought to leverage long distance learning. Unfortunately, weaknesses in the law, technological infrastructure, and teacher preparation, as well as inequities among students, are barriers to success. For example, the Michigan Department of Education has announced that under the law, virtual learning will not count for funding purposes as “seat time.”

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Judge Warren Commentary: Electronic Learning During the Times of the Coronavirus

With the coronavirus, schools across America are scrambling to put together a hodgepodge of solutions to continue teaching for learning while their buildings are closed.  Many are valiantly attempting to leverage technology to create on-line and virtual learning opportunities. Unfortunately, weaknesses in technological infrastructure, teacher preparation shortfalls, inequities among students, and ill-equipped students and parents are barriers to success.  The information highway has more than one virtual flat tire.

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Whitmer Threatens Removal of Accreditation for Wayne State University

  Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other Michigan leaders sent a letter to the Wayne State University Board of Governors threatening them with removal of accreditation if it did not adopt a Code of Conduct at its next meeting. The letter comes on the heels of squabbling within the board over…

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Michigan Dems Want to Amend Sex Ed Curricula to Be ‘Inclusive of Same-Sex Relationships’ and ‘Gender Expression’

Michigan House Democrats have introduced a slate of bills to provide what they describe as “much-needed updates to the sexual education curriculum” taught in the state’s public schools.

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