Study Recommends ‘Dynamic Upgrades’ to Address Disparities in Michigan’s Per-Pupil School Funding

Ben DeGrow

Asserting “student aid should take precedence over school aid,” a new study seeks to address among other topics the funding disparities between traditional public schools and charter school academies.

Released earlier this week, “From School Aid to Student Aid” was written by Ben DeGrow, Education Policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

DeGrow notes the COVID-19 pandemic played a significant role in parents selecting alternatives to publicly funded schools for their children. He also says schools are recognizing the effects of declining birth rates.

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Iowa Awards Two-Thirds of Strengthening Communities Grants to YMCA or YWCA Projects

Kids at a table, wearing masks, with teacher who is wearing a mask

Projects in the rural communities of Clinton, Hampton, Keokuk, Lake City, Maquoketa, Red Oak and Stanton will all together receive $250,000 in Strengthening Communities grants, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs announced Thursday.

The Iowa legislature appropriated funding for the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund for the Strengthening Communities grants. The grants support communities of fewer than 28,000 residents (based on the 2010 Census) that are renovating facilities or undertaking construction projects that promote “youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.” Organizations must present a minimum of 50% of the grant amount they request. The funding must be secured, dedicated to eligible expenses, raised through public and private funding (not including state funding), and be spent between 2022 and 2024.

The funding will support the following projects:

$65,000 for the YWCA in Clinton’s reconfiguration of childcare spaces and youth classrooms to expand capacity and improve efficiency to help increase child care accessibility and provide a safe environment.

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Operation Lone Star Border Security Efforts Get Additional $38.4 Million In Funding

An additional $38.4 million of Texas taxpayer money has been allocated to fund border security efforts at the Texas-Mexico border. It’s money Texas shouldn’t have to spend, Gov. Greg Abbott said, but is because of President Joe Biden’s open border policies that have ushered into the state rampant trafficking of drugs, people and crime.

The money will provide additional funding for Operation Lone Star, which Abbott launched in March and go towards law enforcement, jail operations, and court administration costs. It brings the total PSO funding for Operation Lone Star to $74 million to date designed to assist border cities and counties.

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Report: Biden Considering $450,000 Payments to Illegal Immigrant Families Separated at Border

The Biden administration is considering paying illegal immigrant families who were separated at the border under former President Donald Trump’s policies up to $450,000 per person, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The illegal immigrants filed a lawsuit claiming the federal government detention resulted in major psychological trauma, according to the WSJ. Most of the families were made up of one parent and child who could receive around $1 million in payouts, though the amount could vary by family depending on the circumstances.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) represents some of the families involved in the lawsuit against the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services, the WSJ reported. Around 940 families filed claims and the number of those who might qualify for the settlement is expected to be lower.

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Commentary: The Movement of Black Lives Matter

If Black Lives Matter were a civil rights organization, one would reasonably expect its patron figure to be Martin Luther King, Jr., and its aspiration to be King’s vision of a race-free America where individuals are judged on their merits and not by their skin color. Instead, the revered figure and inspirational icon for Black Lives Matter activists is a designated terrorist and convicted cop killer: Assata Shakur. 

In the 1970s Shakur was a member of the Black Liberation Army, a group that robbed banks and murdered police officers to achieve a Marxist revolution. Shakur is still wanted for the 1973 murder of Werner Foerster, a New Jersey state trooper who stopped her for a broken taillight on her car, whereupon she pulled out a gun and shot him. The 34-year-old officer and Vietnam vet was lying wounded on the pavement pleading for his life when Shakur walked over and finished him off, execution-style. Foerster left behind a wife and two young children. Shakur was convicted of the murder but escaped from prison in 1979 with the help of left-wing terrorists, including Susan Rosenberg. With the help of Rosenberg and others, Shakur fled to Communist Cuba, where she has lived as a fugitive for nearly 40 years. After being pardoned by Bill Clinton, Rosenberg went on to become board vice chair of Thousand Currents, the left-wing nonprofit organization that served as Black Lives Matter’s fiscal sponsor from 2016 to 2020. 

The dedication page of Patrisse Cullors’s memoir, When They Call You a Terrorist, contains these lines written by Shakur, which allude to the most famous incitement from Marx’s Communist Manifesto:

It is our duty to fight for our freedom. 

It is our duty to win. 

We must love each other and support each other. 

We have nothing to lose but our chains.

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Fauci-Funded Wuhan Lab Viruses Exhibited over 10,000 Times Higher Viral Load Than Natural Strain, Documents Show

Anthony Fauci

U.S. and Chinese researchers funded by Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) created viruses in a Wuhan lab that exhibited over 10,000 times higher viral load in humanized mice than the natural virus they were based on, according to an infectious disease professor citing documents recently released by the agency.

The U.S. nonprofit group EcoHealth Alliance notified the NIAID in two reports that between June 2017 and May 2018 it had created three lab-generated chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses in China that exhibited “significantly higher” viral loads, documents first reported by The Intercept show, but the agency continued to fund the project with taxpayer dollars without flagging it for review by an independent federal committee created in late 2017 to oversee gain-of-function research.

Rutgers University professor Richard Ebright, a vocal opponent of gain-of-function research, said the data was a “bona fide bombshell” that proves the NIAID, under Fauci’s leadership, violated federal policies, endangered the public and lied to the public.

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Gov. Whitmer Obtains $13 Million for Michigan Rural Hospitals

Gretchen Whitmer

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) secured a $13 million grant from the federal government to support COVID-19 testing and mitigation in 51 small, rural hospitals.

“Our top priority is supporting the brave professionals on the frontlines of our health care industry in every corner of our state to ensure that they have what they need to protect themselves, their family, and their neighbors,” Whitmer said in a statement. “This funding will help rural hospitals continue serving their communities by expanding their COVID-19 testing capacity and mitigation efforts. I want to thank the nurses, doctors, and all medical professionals who continue to go above and beyond to keep people safe each and every day.”

Rural hospitals with fewer than 50 staff will be able to use the funds from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration for testing equipment, personnel, temporary structures, or education. Mitigation strategies must follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) community mitigation framework, including education, contact tracing, communication, and outreach. Each hospital will receive about $257,000 that must be spent within 18 months of receipt.

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Michigan’s $348.7 Million Pandemic Relief Bill, with Funds for Child Care, Hospitals, Signed into Law

Jim Stamas

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed Senate Bill 27 to appropriate $384.7 million in supplemental pandemic relief funding.

Signed by the governor on Monday afternoon, the bill also provides $10 million of financial support for Southeast Michigan families and businesses that endured massive flooding in June.

SB 27 was introduced by Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, in January. The bill combines $367.7 million of federal COVID relief funding authorized through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and $17 million from the state’s general fund.

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Tensions over Capitol Police Funding Bill Hit Boiling Point in the Senate

Senate tensions over a Capitol Police funding bill are nearing a boiling point, with Democrats and Republicans unable to agree on an amount with just weeks before its funding runs dry.

The department said last week that its funding could run out as soon as next month, risking furloughs and sparking bipartisan concern. But while the House passed a $1.9 billion funding bill in May, partisan divisions in the Senate have stalled it, with Democrats insisting for even more funding and Republicans calling the House bill a nonstarter.

Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s chair and ranking member, have both put forward plans only to see them shot down by one another.

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House Appropriations Committee Votes to Prohibit Funding to Wuhan Institute of Virology

The House Appropriations Committee in meeting

The House Appropriations Committee voted to include an amendment to prohibit funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for the upcoming fiscal year on Thursday.

The amendment was introduced by Republican Rep. Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania for the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill. “It is deeply disturbing that American taxpayers footed the bill for over $1 million to support dangerous and potentially deadly research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a laboratory run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and tied to military biological research,” Reschenthaler said in a press release Thursday.

“I thank my colleagues for including my amendment to end the flow of federal dollars to the WIV. We must ensure Americans’ hard-earned money never again funds risky experiments in labs operated by our adversaries,” he added.

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Advocacy Groups Ask Biden Admin to Stop Surveilling Approximately 100,000 Immigrants

Close the camps protest, dated 2019

Immigration advocacy groups asked the Biden administration to end an Immigration and Customs Enforcement digital program surveilling approximately 100,000 immigrants, The Guardian reported Tuesday.

Latino social justice movement Mijente and immigrant rights group Just Futures Law released “Ice Digital Prisons,” a report explaining how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) monitors immigrants using ankle monitors, facial recognition and digital applications, according to The Guardian.

The report asserts that the strategies currently in use “do more harm and inhibit any true progress in providing the social and economic tools for immigrants to thrive in their communities,” The Guardian reported.

The technology used by ICE criminalizes immigrants and can negatively impact their quality of life, the report claims.

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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, Rice File Brief Supporting Challenge to Funding Law for Nonpublic Schools

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Rice filed a brief in the Michigan Supreme Court on Friday supporting a challenge to a law prohibiting the funding of nonpublic schools, except in the case of transportation.

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