Majority of School Board Associations Have Distanced Themselves from National Organization

Since the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent a letter to the White House equating the acts of concerned parents at local school board meetings to “domestic terrorism and hate crimes” and requesting federal intervention, the majority of state chapters of the organization have either left or distanced themselves from the NSBA.

There are 49 state chapters that paid dues to the NSBA before the Sept. 29 letter, which sparked backlash from parents, lawmakers and education leaders. Since then, 27 state school board associations have distanced themselves from the NSBA, while 17 state associations have taken further action, according to data compiled by Parents Defending Education (PDE).

The NSBA apologized for the letter and removed it from its website.

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Parents Defending Education Files Civil Rights Complaint over Middle School’s Plans for Racially Segregated ‘Affinity Groups’

Parents Defending Education (PDE) filed a civil rights complaint Thursday with the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) against New York City Public Schools for its plans to hold racially segregated “affinity groups,” according to the complaint.

PDE filed the complaint with the Office for Civil Rights “for discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance,” claiming the district violated both Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Lower Manhattan Community School, which is the reason for the complaint, planned to divide students into affinity groups at school on Nov. 23 and 24, based on skin color to “undo the legacy of racism and oppression in this country that impacts our school community,” according to an email sent to parents, the Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported.

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‘Academic Fiasco’: Duke Student Leaders Vetoed Pro-Israel Student Organization

Christina Wang

The Duke Student Government (DSG) recently “chartered” a chapter of Students Supporting Israel (SSI), only to uphold its president’s veto of the organization days later.

The Chronicle reported that the Nov. 10 approval followed SSI’s stated intention to be “clear and confident pro-Israel voice on college campuses and to support students in grassroots pro-Israel advocacy.” 

Five days later, however, the outlet reported that the DSG president, Christina Wang, vetoed the body’s approval of SSI over a now deleted social media interaction reportedly between the group and an individual that did not conform to expected conduct for a student organization.

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Commentary: The Path to ‘Racial Justice’ Runs Squarely Through Fixing Failed Schools

The Rittenhouse verdict has unleashed a torrent of stupidity and racist rhetoric from commentators across the country. The usual race peddlers seem to have kicked into high gear—even though everyone involved was a person of pallor.

But for me it only got my blood boiling. Let me explain.

In the course of my management consulting, I’ve been to some of the roughest neighborhoods in the country.

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Students Meet to Move Campus ‘Beyond Policing’ After Shooting Near Campus

University of Texas at Austin hosts their "#NationalNightOut "

After a shooting involving two non-university individuals occurred near the University of Texas at Austin over Halloween weekend, a segment of the student body is working to realize a vision of campus safety “beyond policing.”

Following the incident, The UT Senate of College Councils hosted an event titled “Campus Safety Beyond Policing” during which students discussed various ways to pursue a supposedly safer campus without needing UTPD. 

The event was led by the Equity and Inclusion Team of the Senate of College Councils, which opened up the meeting by stating that the purpose of the meeting was to “gain insight into what safety means to you beyond policing and how to best advocate for your needs.”

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Analysis: Teacher Unions, Parents Gird for 2022 Battles

Protestor with megaphone, talking

Over the last year, school board meetings have become ground zero for the country’s culture wars as irate parents have showed up in droves to decry school COVID closures, mask mandates, and critical race theory, as well as transgender policies.

After political analysts credited a parental uprising with helping Republican political newcomer Glenn Youngkin capture the Virginia governorship this month, these fights show no sign of easing. Both major political parties are already gearing up for next year’s midterm elections with Republicans sensing an advantage and Democrats digging in to defend beleaguered school boards, teacher unions, and the progressive policies they hold dear.

This week, conservative parents and their supporters are expressing new outrage over news that the FBI is placing “threat tags” on individuals accused of harassing or trying to intimidate school board members and teachers. For months, disgruntled parents have angrily targeted school board trustees for recalls across the nation, regularly denouncing union control of the schools as the crux of the problem. Recall attempts against school board trustees have tripled in 2021, targeting at least 216 officials, according to Ballotpedia.

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Commentary: Critical Race Theory Destroys American Justice

BLM protest signs

The George Floyd riots, conveniently shut off this past summer, were as much theater as reality. They were designed to associate Donald Trump with police abuses and disorder, while painting Democrats and their notions of “racial justice” as the path forward.

Ordinary citizens standing up for themselves interfere with this guerilla theater indoctrination; after all, there are a lot more normal people who do not want their towns burned down than there are maniacs willing to do street violence. This is why individuals like Kyle Rittenhouse and citizen self-defense groups are dealt with so harshly by the government and the media.

Government Did Not Protect Us Last Summer

Consider that there were dozens of fires and beatings and a significant number of killings in Minneapolis, Kenosha, Chicago, Portland, St. Louis, and Seattle in the summer of 2020. Hardly any Antifa and BLM rioters have been brought to justice. Federal authorities have made no significant effort to roll up these groups.

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Democratic Senate Bill Allocates $5 Million for ‘Chief Diversity Officer’ at National Science Foundation

Black scientist with safety goggles and mask on

A Senate bill that ostensibly focuses on strengthening American competition with China includes a provision between the lines that would designate $5 million for funding of a new “chief diversity officer” position at the National Science Foundation (NSF), according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The bill is the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which is supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans. The bill aims to address the ongoing economic rivalry and supply chain crisis between the United States and China, by increasing domestic manufacturing and tightening supply lines in the United States.

According to the bill, the duties of the NSF’s new “chief diversity officer” would include “establishing a strategic plan for diverse participation” in the foundation’s various programs, as well as collecting information on the demographics of the NSF’s staff and patent applicants, in order to know which demographics to hire to offset alleged “inequity.” The bill would direct states to close such “equity gaps” by giving subgrants to students in computer science education classes who face “systemic barriers.”

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Legislation Expands Options for Pennsylvania Home-School Students

The Pennsylvania House has advanced legislation introduced by Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Bedford, to expand educational offerings for home-school students.

House Bill 1041 amends the Public School Code of 1949 to permit home education students to take advantage of their local high school by attending up to four academic courses in a school day and participating in co-curricular activities. They also would have access to programs offered at career and technical education centers.

Pennsylvania home-school students currently are permitted to participate in extracurricular activities at the high school in their district.

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Students Behind Viral Arizona State University Video Face Code of Conduct Charges, Faculty Say That Is Racist

Screen cap of student with a laptop that has a "Police Matter" sticker on it.

Faculty members are pushing back against Arizona State University for charging Code of Conduct violations against the female students who attempted to kick out two White men from the school’s Multicultural Community of Excellence Center earlier this year.

Campus Reform obtained a copy of the email asking faculty and staff to sign an “internal letter requesting that the University Administration revoke Code of Conduct violation charges against” the students behind the now viral video from September.

Leah Sarat, an associate professor of Religious Studies, sent the mass email, which was co-signed by 11 other individuals, on Nov. 2.

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Commentary: Biden Using Backdoor Rule to Pass Free College Agenda

Americans by and large oppose giveaways to the affluent or privileged, which explains why they consistently oppose forgiving college student-loan debt. Eighty percent of Americans have no student loan debt, and those who carry debt are disproportionately millennials with advanced degrees – and higher earning potential. Easy loan forgiveness falls under the umbrella of the free college agenda championed by most Democrats, but strong opposition led the Biden administration to drop free college from the spending bill it proposed last month.

Not to worry: Democrats discovered a backdoor to free college through an obscure and arcane Department of Education (DOE) rule. Known as Borrower Defense to Repayment (BDR), the rule existed as little more than a formality in the annals of the Federal Register, a stopgap to finalize the Federal Direct Loan Program. Through the first twenty years of its existence, it was implemented just five times, but it has now evolved into a battering ram for Democrats to get free college through the political barricades.

In 2015, Corinthian Colleges, which enrolled over 100,000 students at its 100 subsidiary campuses, filed for bankruptcy. The school’s collapse coincided with growing momentum for the “cancel college debt” and “free college” campaigns, which had evolved out of the Occupy Wall Street movement of the early 2010s and found friendly supporters in Congress, such as Senators Elizabeth Warren and Dick Durbin.

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Commentary: Parent and School Board Tensions Could Be Eased by School Choice

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

Public education has been under the microscope lately, especially since many states shut down in-person learning last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. With children learning from home via technology, many parents had the chance to hear what their children’s teachers were saying—and they didn’t always like it. In fact, many were downright disturbed by what public schools were teaching their children.

Parents should not be forced to sit by and watch as their children get indoctrinated with progressive ideas they don’t agree with. Assuming it is legitimate for the government—that is, the taxpayers—to fund education, the government should distribute those funds directly to parents in the form of vouchers and allow them to choose where to educate their children. Not only would this allow for more choice in schools, but it would also reduce much of the conflict we are seeing today between parents and school boards across the country.

A common response to voucher proposals is that they would allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to send their children to private religious schools, thus violating separation of church and state. In other words, atheists and progressives argue that they should not have to financially support schools that teach students religious worldviews.

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Missouri Teachers Told ‘White Supremacy’ Includes ‘All Lives Matter,’ Calling Police on Blacks

Sign that reads "What happened to all lives matter?"

Training materials for the Springfield, Mo., school district told teachers they could be engaging in white supremacy simply by insisting the English language be used or calling police on a black suspect, according to records released under a freedom of information request.

The materials, provided to Just the News, include a 40-plus slide training deck that proclaimed its goal was to train teachers on how to address “systemic racism and xenophobia” in the school district and to understand the difference between oppressors and the oppressed. Critics say the slide deck is part of a larger Critical Race Theory curriculum that parents are increasingly rejecting.

It included an “oppression matrix” that identified privileged social groups capable of oppression as including “white people,” “male assigned at birth,” “gender conforming CIS men and women,” “heterosexuals,” “rich, upper-class people” and “Protestants.”

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Arizona State University Professor Calls Traditional Grading Racist, Suggests ‘Labor-Based Grading’ Instead

Asao Inoue

Arizona State University professor Asao Inoue recently ranted about “White language supremacy in writing classrooms,” during which he called for abolishing traditional grading in favor of “labor-based grading.”

The latter method scores assignments based on the amount of effort students put towards in the work, devaluing quality and accuracy in the grading.

During Nov. 5 lecture at the University of Tennessee titled “The Possibilities of Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies”, Inoue claimed that “White language supremacy in writing classrooms is due to the uneven and diverse linguistic legacies that everyone inherits, and the racialized white discourses that are used as standards, which give privilege to those students who embody those habits of white language already”.

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Ric Grenell and Gloria Romero Commentary: A Plan to Deliver Equal Opportunity to Every Student in California

Group of young students working in classroom

When students are armed with a world class education, they can break down barriers and achieve their deepest dreams. However, in America today, big government and big unions are preventing students from receiving a quality education by forcing American kids to attend the school closest to them, even when it is totally failing. There is no school competition for kids who can’t afford to opt-out of the shoddy school they are forced to attend. This policy and practice especially impacts poor and minority children. But in our home state of California, we’ve had enough of failing government monopolies. We are launching a ballot initiative that will deliver educational freedom to every child in the state, regardless of where they live or how much income their parents earn.

We have all seen government schools that transition from safe havens for learning and hope into depressing institutions that fall short of educating tomorrow’s leaders. Parents are mad, taxpayers are frustrated, and our teachers are not supported by their union bosses. Nowhere is that reality truer than in states where big unions—like the California Teachers Association—control political decision makers with massive campaign war chests seized from their members’ obligatory dues. That’s why Fix California has launched a project to put a ballot initiative in front of voters in 2022—to emancipate students from the government monopoly on education.

Currently, in California, residents are taxed exorbitantly at every turn, with the ruling party’s promise that those dollars will ostensibly be spent on improving the state. That’s a lie on many fronts, but it’s especially untrue in education where failing government schools continue to be rewarded by more tax dollars and virtually no accountability. Tax dollars are siphoned off in the form of required union dues and are funneled straight into the coffers of corrupt unions financing campaigns of politicians who ensure the gravy train keeps flowing. It is a crooked cycle that has destroyed government education across the country.

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Commentary: On Critical Race Theory, the Left’s Manipulations and Double Standards Are No Match for the Truth

"End Racism Now" sign and "Black Lives Matter" in a crowd

People old enough to remember the academic culture wars of the late 1980s and early ’90s have a special insight into this year’s controversy over critical race theory. I don’t mean insight into the identity politics of the old days and into the identity politics of 2021, though the basic features are the same whether we are talking about the English syllabus in college in 1989 or the equity lesson in elementary school this fall. I mean, instead, the particular way in which liberals have handled the backlash once the trends in the higher education seminar of yore and in the 6th grade classroom of today have been made public. 

Here’s what happened back then. In the 1970s and ’80s, a new political awareness crept into humanities teaching and research at elite universities, casting the old humanist ideals of beauty and genius and greatness as spurious myths, as socially constructed notions having a political purpose. We were told that they are not natural, neutral, or objective. No, they are Eurocentric, patriarchal, even theological (in that they presumed a transhistorical, universal character for select masterpieces). Shakespeare, Milton, Bernini, et al., were not on the syllabus because they were talents superior to all others. No, they were only there because  the people in control were institutionalizing their biases. This whole canon thing, the revisionists insisted, was a fake. As Edward Said put it in “Secular Criticism,” “The realities of power and authority . . .  are realities that make texts possible,” and any criticism that skirts the power and authority that put Shakespeare on the syllabus and not someone else is a dodge. 

They could diversify, then. That’s what the skepticism enabled them to do. They could drop requirements in Western civilization. They needn’t force every student through a “great books” sequence. The “classics” are just one possibility among many others. That was the policy outcome at one tier-one campus after another. 

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Professor Canceled Because He Wasn’t Upset over a Fake Racial Bias Incident

Steven Earnest

A professor at Coastal Carolina University was canceled after he emailed his department questioning their reaction to a perceived racial bias incident that proved to be baseless.

“Free speech and basic civility are disappearing,” the theater professor Steven Earnest told Campus Reform. “So, I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I still am.”

On Sept. 16, a non-White visiting artist working with non-White theatre students at the South Carolina university wrote a list of names on the board so that the students could connect as a group.

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Commentary: Financial Stability Is Key to Being Able to Leave Job for Refusing Vaccine Mandate

Joshua Mawhorter

Until recently, I was a California teacher working in two charter schools, one as a full-time classroom teacher of Government/Economics and sometimes U.S. History, and the other as a part-time independent study teacher who assists families with a program primarily based around homeschooling. I have taught for about five years and love teaching.

Last week, I was fired from one school and put on unpaid administrative leave at the other because of my refusal either to take and demonstrate proof of the COVID-19 vaccine or test weekly. I even filed a religious exemption stating the following that was rejected:

“As a committed follower of Christ, I religiously and philosophically cannot submit to either a government vaccine mandate or weekly testing.

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‘What Were You Thinking?’: State National School Boards Association Members Slammed Letter to White House About Domestic Terrorist Parents

National School Boards Association meeting

State members of the National School Boards Association slammed the organization following its letter addressed to President Joe Biden’s administration that compared parental concern at school board meetings to actions of “domestic terrorists,” according to emails obtained by Parents Defending Education through a public records request.

Emails between Delaware, Florida and Ohio school board officials and National School Boards Association (NSBA) leadership showed the discontent its state members had with how the national organization handled the letter and the claims it made. The NSBA sent a letter on Sept. 29 that asked President Joe Biden’s administration to use federal legislation, such as the PATRIOT Act, to stop threats and violence in public schools toward school board members over actions that could be “the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

On Oct. 10, Devin Sheehan, a regional director for the NSBA, sent a letter to executive directors to “compile any concerns, thoughts or recommendations” from its northeast region state board associations, according to the emails.

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Virginia Scholar Refuses to Cave to Pressure Over Tweet Criticizing Bisexual Superman

Sophia Nelson

A scholar at a Virginia university is not backing down as students and faculty seek to get her fired for a tweet she posted criticizing DC Comics’ new bisexual Superman character.

“Regrettably, this has all gone too far,” Sophia Nelson, scholar in residence at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, says in an open letter to the university community dated Friday.

“I read the student petition against me in a Fox News article posted on Wednesday, October 27th,” Nelson writes, “and was devastated to read these words: ‘Our community is hurt and disappointed in the way this university has dealt with the homophobic and racist statements of Professor Nelson.’”

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NYC’s Likely Next Mayor Says He’ll Expand Gifted Student Program, Not End It

Eric Adams of New York

Eric Adams, the likely next mayor of New York City, said Friday he would keep and expand the city’s gifted program which current Democratic Mayor Bill De Blasio planned to eliminate.

“[De Blasio] can’t get rid of it until next year. There’s nothing to put back in place,” Adams told a CNN host when asked if he would reinstate the city’s gifted program.

Adams said New York needs to expand accelerated learning by testing children throughout their educational experience. Under the current system, children are tested for the gifted program at four years old, before they have entered the school system.

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‘Just Unconscionable’: Parents Protest Outside the Justice Department Against ‘Domestic Terrorist’ Label

Parents protesting

Frustration at school boards boiled over for some parents and activists who protested outside of the Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C. Sunday.

A small crowd gathered for the “Parents Are Not ‘Domestic Terrorists’ Rally,” a reference to Merrick Garland’s Oct. 4 memorandum that called on the FBI to “use its authority” in response to the “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”

Garland’s statement followed a letter from the National School Board Association (NSBA) that asked the federal government to get involved in the alleged “immediate threat” of violence from parents against American public schools and education officials. The letter encouraged President Joe Biden’s administration to use statutes such as the USA PATRIOT Act to address actions that could be “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

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Report Card Measuring U.S. Grades in Education Shows ‘Concerning’ Results

For the first time in nearly 50 years, the National Assessment of Educational Progress results showed that the reading and mathematics scores of 13-year-old students fell from 2012 to 2020.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results showed no change in the scores of 9-year-old students since 2012, according to the assessment, also known as The Nation’s Report Card. Among lower-performing students, scores declined in both the 9 and 13-year-old groups in both reading and mathematics.

“This was the first time in the almost 50-year history of the long-term trend assessments that we observed declines among 13-year-olds,” said National Center for Education Statistics Commissioner Peggy G. Carr in a press release. “These performance drops are especially notable among lower-performing students, who no longer demonstrate competency in skills that students were able to do almost a decade ago in both subjects and age groups.”

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Parents Announce ‘Not Domestic Terrorists’ Rally in Front of the Justice Department

Parents protesting certain library books in children's schools

Northern Virginia parents plan to protest in front of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Sunday, according to a flyer posted online.

A flyer reveals plans for a “Parents Are Not ‘Domestic Terrorists’ Rally Oct. 17. “Stand up, speak up, fight back!” the memo reads. “Bring friends, be heard … you can make a difference!”

News broke Wednesday that a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) student was allegedly raped in a school bathroom in May by a male student who wore a skirt. The victim’s father, Scott Smith, was arrested at a LCPS school board meeting weeks later for resisting arrest, and the perpetrator – who was charged with two counts of forcible sodomy – allegedly assaulted another girl at the school he transferred to following the initial incident, Daily Wire reported.

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Commentary: Educating Students About the Victims of Communism

Olbram Zoubek Communism Victims Memorial

Many Americans today assume that the threat of Communism subsided with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But “We continue to see Communist and socialist regimes pop up and spread not only in Latin America – for example, in Venezuela and Nicaragua – but around the world,” says Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, president and CEO of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC). “These regimes regularly kill their own citizens and have a devastating effect on human rights and their national economies.” In fact, over 1.5 billion people – including those living in Laos, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, and, of course, China – currently live under oppressive Communist and socialist governments.

Founded in 1993 by a bipartisan, unanimous Act of Congress, VOC is “devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to pursuing the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes.”

Before coming to VOC, Bremberg served as the Trump administration’s Representative of the United States to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva. During his time there, which he describes as a “profound and life changing experience,” he “became aware of the challenge of China,” which was “far worse” than he had realized. He notes that the U.N. International Human Rights Council made investigating the United States’ record on racism during the summer of 2020 its highest priority – putting it above China’s appalling human rights violations against Uyghurs, among other ethnic groups within its borders.

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Commentary: Leftists Are Waging a War on ‘Gifted’ Children

Public schools across the country are eliminating gifted and talented programs, removing advanced courses and overhauling admissions processes to achieve equity across racial categories.

Removing gifted and advanced courses is a no-cost way to cover up the racial achievement gap while ignoring its root causes, according to Harry Jackson, president of the Thomas Jefferson High School Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA).

“Gifted programs and advanced courses provide a mechanism for low-income households to achieve a stellar education for their children and serve as a ‘great equalizer’ to those families that opt for private education,” Jackson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “By eliminating gifted programs and advanced courses in the name of equity, they will create greater inequities,” he said.

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Commentary: Critical Race Theory Is Being Taught in Public Schools

Group of young students at table, reading and wearing masks

The National School Boards Association (NSBA), which according to its website serves about 51 million public school students nationwide, made headlines recently when it requested that President Biden use federal terrorism statutes and issue other “extraordinary measures” against those pushing back against school boards that are indoctrinating children in critical race theory (CRT) and gender ideology. Much has already been written about this, and for good reason. In our Constitutional Republic, the federal government has no authority over education. As James Madison famously stated in Federalist 45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” A quick scan of the Constitution reveals that the people and states have delegated no educational power to the federal government. Because all power originates in the people and the states, all powers not delegated to the federal government remain in the states and the people. The Tenth Amendment states this principle explicitly.

Instead of leaving educational policy (and challenges to it) to state and local governments, however, President Biden is using the power of federal law enforcement to quell debate and intimidate parents from exercising their First Amendment rights. Using federal law enforcement to chill debate on what is and should be a truly local issue is totalitarianism at its zenith. All totalitarian states centralize educational control in the federal government for the purpose of indoctrinating children in their preferred ideology.  The Nazis, Soviets, and Communist Chinese all did (or still do) it, and now, following in their footsteps, the Biden administration is giving it a try, albeit in an indirect, more nuanced manner.

But this piece is actually about a second, more subtle point. A key presupposition underlying the NSBA’s request — and the Biden DOJ’s response — is that parental protests against school boards are completely unfounded. As the NSBA letter notes, “many public school officials are [] facing physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula.” The letter then states that “[t]his propaganda continues despite the fact that critical race theory is not taught in public schools and remains a complex law school and graduate school subject well beyond the scope of a K-12 class” (emphasis added).

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Commentary: Parents Aren’t Domestic Terrorists

It is probably an understatement to say that when one group designates another as a terrorist organization, diplomatic relations between the two become strained.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights.”

Truths. Equal. Creator. Rights. Concerned parents want schools to teach truths, not ideologies; operate under equality, not equity; and respect faith in our Creator and our parental rights. These are the fundamental principles from our Declaration that are at stake in American education today.

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Professors Force Students to Mask in Violation of University Rules, with Mixed Pushback

University systems with bans on COVID-19 mask mandates are taking diametrically opposed approaches to faculty who refuse to comply, offering a real-time experiment in the effectiveness of persuasion versus coercion.

The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) removed biology professor Steve O’Kane from the classroom for the rest of the semester and forced him to forgo a merit pay raise for threatening to grade down students for not wearing masks.

The same day the faculty senate voted to indefinitely postpone O’Kane’s resolution to let faculty require masks in spite of the Board of Regents ban, Cedar Rapids news outlet The Gazette reported.

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Commentary: Guided by Faith, Divinity Student Fought His ‘Anti-Racist’ Princeton Seminary — and Won

Timothy Keiderling’s decision to enroll in the Princeton Theological Seminary reflected his commitment “to give my life to work for justice and to live out the values of the Kingdom of God.” In a letter to the seminary’s president, Craig Barnes, he wrote that he “would sacrifice anything to make sure that my brothers and sisters see relief from their oppression.”

But the seminary’s concept of justice clashed with Keiderling’s conscience when PTS required him to attend “anti-racism” training sessions that he considered a form of indoctrination. He refused to participate in the sessions even after being reminded that they were mandatory. And then – early this year, with the potent support of the newly founded Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA) – he convinced the seminary to exempt him from the training.

It was “a real victory which can advance the academic freedom cause substantially,” says Princeton Professor Robert George, a leader of the AFA who acted as an adviser to Keiderling, and whom the latter credits with making his victory possible. “Instead of a victim, we have a victor — one who stuck to his guns and persuaded his institution not only to respect his right of conscience, but to acknowledge the difference between education and indoctrination.”

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Wisconsin Lawmakers Look at Opt-out Option for Parents on Gender and Sex Classes

Girl student standing and holding books in hand in a classroom

Wisconsin lawmakers are wrestling with the question of who should talk to their kids about sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Assembly Committee on Education on Thursday held a marathon hearing on a plan that would allow parents to opt their kids out of classes on both.

“This is merely just a way to give parents a choice,” Rep Bob Whitke, R-Racine, said. “Because there are a lot of concepts now that are coming out in school … it’s being done in a way that parents don’t understand, and parents aren’t notified.

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Merit System Is Unjust Because It Rewards Productive Individuals, Professors Argue

Woman on laptop working outside

Professors from the University of Arizona and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs are arguing that “success and merit” are “barriers” to the equity agenda. 

“Admitting that the normative definitions of success and merit are in and of themselves barriers to achieving the goals of justice, diversity, equity and inclusion is necessary but not sufficient to create change,” professors Beth Mitchneck and Jessi L. Smith recently wrote for Inside Higher Education.

Mitchneck and Smith attributed those definitions to a “narrow definition of merit limited to a neoliberal view of the university.” Specifically, they express concern that universities receive funding and recognition based on the individual performances of professors’ own work such as peer reviewed journals and studies. 

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Judge Okays Preliminary Injunction for Western Michigan University Athletes

Western Michigan University football practice

Federal District Court Judge Paul L. Maloney granted 16 Western Michigan University (WMU) athletes’ request to continue participating in intercollegiate athletic competition without being injected with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Initially, four soccer stars sued in August over WMU’s vaccine mandate for athletes, which required athletic participants take the COVID-19 vaccine by Aug. 31 or forfeit their spot on the team. WMU has denied all the athletes a religious liberty accommodation.

No similar vaccine requirement exists for any other students at WMU and other universities. The lawsuit says Michigan State University and the University of Michigan are granting religious accommodations to their athletes.

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Students Think 9/11 Lessons Should Omit ‘Gruesome’ Details, ‘Avoid Placing Blame’

The Virginia Department of Education recently posted a video on their YouTube Channel telling teachers to avoid talking about American exceptionalism while teaching about September 11, 2001.

Campus Reform reporter Ophelie Jacobson talked with University of Florida students about this video to see how students think 9/11 should be taught in the classroom.

Suggestions for lesson plans included keeping “gruesome” facts out of lesson plans  avoiding discussion of who was responsible for the attacks.

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Detroit Schools Reach New Contract with Union

Terrence Martin and

The Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), Michigan’s largest public education system responsible for educating 51,000 children, has reached a new agreement with the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) Local 231 on a two-year successor contract before starting the ’21-22 school year.

DPSCD Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti and DFT President Terrance Martin agreed to terms on August 26, and DFT members ratified the agreement on September 1.

In August, the unit reached a safe reopening plan outlining the safety guidelines, additional hazards, and blended learning bonuses.

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Virginia Universities Start Kicking Out Unvaccinated Students

Some Virginia universities have started kicking out students who refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and other institutions may start following suit.

Virginia Tech disenrolled 134 students this week who did not receive the vaccine. Before that, the University of Virginia disenrolled 288 students, and William & Mary withdrew 42 students for the same reason. All three universities require students be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they receive a medical or religious exemption.

“Of the approximately 37,000 students enrolled at Virginia Tech, 134 students were not in compliance with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, meaning that they did not submit vaccination documentation or receive a medical or religious exemption,” a statement on Virginia Tech’s website read. “These students have been disenrolled. The university does not know whether any of these students were not planning to return for reasons unrelated to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.”

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Calls to Fire Glen Ellyn School District 41 Teacher in Illinois After She ‘Shows Off Book Collection She Uses to Indoctrinate 3rd Grade Students’

D41 Kids Foundation, person reading

Calls to fire Glen Ellyn teacher Lauren Crowe were spreading across social media Thursday night after the D41 educator shared a video on Tik Tok promoting books highlighting LGBTQ+  activism to her grammar school students.

Crowe, who teaches third grade at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School,  posted the video on Tik Tok. It was then shared on Twitter by a user who goes by the name “Libs of Tik Tok.” 

“Activist teacher shows off book collection she uses to indoctrinate 3rd grade students,” the user posted.

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Wayne County Mandates Masks for Schools, Daycares

inside of a nursery/daycare facility

The Wayne County Public Health Department issued a new order mandating school districts and daycare providers require students, faculty, staff, and visitors to wear a face mask while in school and during school-sponsored indoor events.

The order takes effect immediately directing public, private, and parochial schools and daycare providers to:

Require indoor wearing of face masks for all pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students, regardless of their vaccine status; and,
Require face masks to be worn indoors by all teachers, administrative staff, other employees, parent and guardians, attendees, and volunteers.

The order remains in effect until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention categorize COVID-19 community transmission for Wayne County as “moderate” for at least 14 consecutive days or further notice by Wayne County officials.

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Commentary: Christian Schools Vastly Outperforming Public Schools During COVID-19, According to New Survey of Parents

Among last year’s other lessons, none may be more important than this: Our taxpayer-funded education establishment cares more about adults than children.

Consider the evidence: public school union bosses pressured officials to close schools and keep them shuttered beyond what medical authorities recommended. In spite of the obvious harm to children of school closures, unions throughout the country lobbed threats and issued demands. In Chicago, the union went so far as to sue the Mayor to keep schools closed; in San Francisco, the city had to sue its school board.

A public education system that failed to do right by our children has kept union bosses empowered and politicians cowed. Thankfully, our country offers an alternative—one that proved its mettle this past year. In a recent survey of public school and Christian school parents, the Herzog Foundation found that parents of children who attended a Christian school were vastly more satisfied with their school experience.

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University of California Freezes Safety Officer Hiring until Campuses Submit ‘Holistic, Inclusive’ Plan

University of California Berkeley Campus

University of California’s new Community Safety Plan shifts major responsibilities and funding away from UC Police Departments.

The plan, based on an 80-page report released this summer by the Department of Public Safety Community Advisory Board, was announced by UC President Michael Drake last week and will be implemented across all 10 campuses. It reflects UC’s “commitment to equity and social justice.”

“Under this new model, a multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals, campus police, social service providers, police accountability boards and other personnel will work together to prioritize the well-being of the entire UC community,” Drake said in a message to the university. “This reimagined structure will ensure that the m,ost appropriate responders are deployed to meet our community’s specific needs with tailored care resources and services.”

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University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media Dean Resigns Post after Nikole Hannah-Jones Controversy

Susan King of UNC

Susan King is stepping down as dean of the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media. 

The university announced the decision yesterday. 

The Hussman School faced backlash from progressives after it apparently backed off from a plan to give Hannah-Jones tenure for her work as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism. 

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Biden Administration Plans to Cancel $5.8 Billion More in Student Loan Debt

Man on macbook working

The Department of Education announced Thursday that it will cancel student loan debt for over 300,000 borrowers with severe disabilities.

The program, set to erase over $5.8 billion in total debt, will begin in September and apply to over 323,000 borrowers classified as having a “total and permanent disability” by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Education Department announced. Borrowers will now receive automatic discharges of their debt, whereas previously needed to fill out applications.

“Today’s action removes a major barrier that prevented far too many borrowers with disabilities from receiving the total and permanent disability discharges they are entitled to under the law,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in the announcement.

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Biden’s Education Secretary Voices Support for Schools That Force Mask Mandates

Miguel Cardona

Joe Biden’s Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, admitted to having spoken directly with faculty members from school districts that are defying the law and forcing mask mandates on their students, even if their states have banned such mandates, ABC News reports.

Cardona said that some such schools fear repercussions from the state governments if they continue defying the bans, including in Texas and Florida. “I have had the conversations with superintendents,” Cardona said in an interview on Tuesday. “And they have asked, if this goes in that direction, how do we get support? My message is, open the schools safely; we got your back.”

Cardona had previously sent a letter to several school districts in Florida promising that the federal government would fund the schools directly in the event that Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) follows through on his promise to suspend the salaries of all superintendents who force such mandates onto their students in defiance of state law.

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School Board Recall Attempts Spike Amid Concerns About COVID Closures, Critical Race Theory

Group of young students at table, reading and wearing masks

School board recall efforts are sweeping the country, with many driven by parents claiming Critical Race Theory (CRT) is infecting schools, demanding schools reopen in person, and arguing that boards are consumed by virtue signaling.

According to Ballotpedia, 58 such efforts against 144 board members have taken place in 2021. Those are both all-time highs since it started tracking school board recall efforts in 2006, and far above the next highest year, 2010.

Only one school board member has been removed in 2021, however, while three resigned and seven were retained in elections. One is scheduled for a November recall vote in Kansas for upholding a mask mandate.

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Professor Calls America Failed Experiment: ‘Only for White People … Didn’t Work for Black People’

Chanelle Wilson

A Bryn Mawr College professor argues that America is “only for white people.”

Speaking on the “Refuse Facism” podcast, Chanelle Wilson, assistant professor of education and director of Africana Studies at the women’s liberal arts college, said the country “didn’t work for black people.”

“Damn sure it didn’t work for indigenous people,” she continued. “It did not work for people of Mexican ancestry. It didn’t work for Asians, it didn’t work for Jewish people, it didn’t work for Japanese people. It didn’t work for Chinese people.”

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Number of Homeschooled Students Has Doubled Since Pandemic, Continues to Rise

Student working on school work at home.

As a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, the total number of students being homeschooled in the United States has more than doubled from pre-pandemic levels, and continues to rise even as schools begin to slowly reopen, according to Fox News.

By March of 2021, the total number of homeschooled students in America stands at over 5 million, in comparison to just 2.6 million in 2020. Christopher Chin, president of Homeschool Louisiana, said that “interest has exploded,” and that although some students may ultimately return to regular schools after the pandemic, “many parents [are] finding this is a better way of life for them and their children.”

Additionally, Chin says the homeschooling model has proven successful even for households where both parents work, due to the rise in remote work at many companies and places of business.

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Memo Reveals University of North Carolina Plan to Sideline ‘Diversity of Thought’ Ahead of Nikole Hannah-Jones Appointment

Nikole Hannah Jones

A memo obtained by Campus Reform reveals that the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media considered “diversity of thought” to be in conflict with its efforts to achieve social justice objectives.

Hussman Dean Susan King wrote the August 1, 2020 memo to university Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz. She stated, “There is a fundamental conflict between efforts to promote racial equity and understandings of structural racism, and efforts to promote diversity of thought. These two things cannot sit side by side without coming into conflict.”

King wrote the memo in anticipation of Nikole Hannah-Jones joining the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faculty and teaching a class based on the “1619 Project.” 

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Commentary: School Choice Is Not Enough

Young girl wearing black headphones, smiling

If there is a public policy silver lining to this past year, it is the increased support for school choice. Most public schools went online during lockdowns and parents, dissatisfied with the results, sought out other solutions, including private schools, pods, charter schools, online learning, and homeschooling. The last more than doubled with 11.1 percent of households homeschooling, up from 5.4 percent the year before.

Many state legislatures improved school choice options in their states. This is to be celebrated and continued.

School choice by itself, however, will not save students from a failing education if charter and private schools adopt the same curriculum and practices as the most woke schools. Without a focus on the right subjects and lessons, students will be unprepared for personal or professional success. 

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Michigan University Among Universities Training Future Teachers to Push Critical Race Theory and Social Justice

School bus with "use your voice" on the windshield

As the controversy over Critical Race Theory rages across the country, several prominent teacher preparation programs are training future teachers to use Critical Race Theory in the classroom.  Several of the nation’s largest teacher preparation programs are training future teachers to use Critical Race Theory in the classroom.

Campus Reform reviewed course descriptions for upcoming classes in college teacher training programs at several major universities. Many intentionally prepare students to use progressive ideology in their own classrooms. Several use Critical Race Theory and social justice as a starting point for learning how to teach.

Among those courses are the University of North Carolina education department’s class, “”Critical Race Theory: History, Research, and Practice.” The course will cover how Critical Race Theory connects to “LatCrit Theory, AsianCrit, QueerCrit, TribalCrit, and Critical Race Feminism,” those terms being more recent areas of study that draw heavily from Critical Race Theory.

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Chicago Teachers Union Plans to Use ‘Delta Variant’ as Excuse to Shut Down Schools Again

Chicago Teachers’ Union protesting

The Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) declared its belief that schools should be shut down again if the India Variant of the coronavirus, also known as the “Delta variant,” continues to spread, as reported by the Daily Caller.

In a letter published on Thursday addressed to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D-Ill.), the union demanded that the mayor “acknowledge the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 virus” and make further bargains with the CTU regarding conditions for possibly returning to school.

“Parents are concerned,” the letter states in part, “and they deserve assurances that our union and the [Chicago Public Schools] team are working…to ensure safety in hundreds of school buildings across the city.” In fact, many parents have been critical of CTU and other teachers’ unions across the country, which have sought to extend school shutdowns for as long as possible for the teachers’ pleasure, often including absurd and unreasonable conditions in their requirements for returning to in-person instruction.

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