A school district in New Jersey will remove all names of holidays from the school calendar to avoid any “hurt feelings.”
Randolph Board of Education members unanimously voted last week to remove all holiday names from the school calendar. The action would remove religious holidays such as Christmas and Yom Kippur, as well as Thanksgiving and Independence Day. The holidays will be replaced with “day off.”
“After careful consideration of concerns introduced by both proponents of the change as well as those in opposition to the change, a motion was presented for consideration to stop using holiday titles on the district’s calendar,” a statement from the Randolph Board of Education said. “We agreed unanimously that the change would be both inclusive and equitable. Although we have made these changes to the school district’s calendar, our decision to change the calendar titles will not impact the education of holidays as guided by the district’s curriculum.”
The controversial move stemmed from a prior decision by the school district to stop celebrating Columbus Day and rename it “Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” which angered Italian-Americans.
In an attempt to not offend any groups, the school district in Morris County decided to remove all holiday names on Thursday.
“If we don’t have anything on the calendar, we don’t have to have anyone [with] hurt feelings or anything like that,” board member Dorene Roche told WNYW-TV.
‘I don’t think really it is the board’s responsibility to be naming these holidays,” board member Ronald Conti said. “Either take them off or just adopt whatever the federal and state governments are doing.”
Republican state Sen. Anthony Bucco argued against the changes at the June 10 meeting, where there was reportedly “crying, shouting and angry walkouts.”
The removal of holidays was met with backlash from parents. A petition calling for the resignation of Superintendant Jen Fano and all Randolph Board of Education members was created, and has nearly 1,700 signatures.
“Jen Fano and all of the Board of Education Members have disgraced our community and clearly do not have the best interests of our children in anything they do,” the petition reads. “They represent everything that is wrong in education today and are completely incompetent in every aspect of their role.”
The Randolph Board of Education released a statement in response to the backlash:
In partnership with the Randolph Township School district, the Board of Education has always been committed to supporting diversity and inclusion amongst our students, staff, and community. We believe an effective partnership can only be accomplished between the schools and the community through collective input from all stakeholders. Involvement and communication with our constituents help us guide policy decisions/changes and improve district protocols.
New York City schools have been largely shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic. But now that COVID-19 vaccinations have been OK’d for adolescents, the city’s leadership has found a use for the buildings: inoculations.
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced Wednesday during his daily news briefing that the city will begin a pilot program to administer vaccinations to students at public schools, the New York Post reported.
Touting that the move will “open up a world of opportunities,” de Blasio revealed that his administration planned to “reach a lot of young people quickly” by making “schools a place where kids can get vaccinated.”
“In certain schools, we’re going to pilot something very exciting,” Hizzoner declared. “We’re going to start launching in-school vaccination sites.
“We are going to reach kids everywhere and make kids much, much safer,” he continued.
According to the mayor, the city and its health department are teaming with the United Federation of Teachers.
The program will begin in four Bronx public schools and then eventually expand to the other five boroughs.
Did he say the UFT is involved?
Yes, the same massive teachers union that held the city hostage has been tapped to help get shots in kids’ arms.
It was just last summer that the UFT declared that teachers would not return to in-school instruction until every student and every staff member was tested for COVID-19, along with a list of other demands.
“Every single person — both adult and child — that is to enter an NYC school must have evidence that they do not have the COVID virus,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said at the time. “New York City must have a rigorous and intensive testing system in place. What happened in March cannot happen again.”
Since then, research has shown that schools are not serious vectors for the virus.
Months later, when the vaccine was first being administered to the public, the UFT wanted teachers given inoculation priority before returning to the classrooms. The city obliged, but still it wasn’t enough to get schools reopened.
Finally, just last month, de Blasio decided he would no longer cave to the unions and announced that all New York City schools would reopen at the beginning of the new school year and that remote learning would not be an option.
It’s no secret that teachers unions are strident opponents of charter schools — despite the fact that charter schools are simply independently operated public schools.
Charters are a form of school choice that the unions fear will one day lead to education vouchers, which will allow students to receive government dollars to escape the many failing public schools that unions have so long dominated. The schools also have the freedom to create classrooms that meet students’ needs and hire non-union employees.
Now a former teachers union president is explaining why he went from fighting against charter schools to advocating for them.
What did he say?
George Parker spent 30 years as a math teacher in low-performing schools in Washington, D.C., and then six years as president of the Washington Teachers’ Union. A onetime opponent of charter schools, he’s now a senior adviser at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
In a new op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Parker explained why he made such a dramatic transition: Despite claims by the unions that charter schools are unaccountable impediments to kids’ educations, he finally realized that charters were not a threat to students but to unions.
“Too many teachers oppose them because they’re bad for unions, not kids,” the subtitle on Parker’s article declared.
Parker began with a memory of telling a group of children that he was focused on making “sure their teachers had what they needed to do their jobs” and “to help them become the best teachers they could be.
“But I knew that wasn’t always the case,” he lamented, adding:
Like many union leaders, I had relentlessly negotiated contracts that protected not only teachers’ rights, but their wrongs. As I drove home, I thought about the $10,000 my union had spent to keep a poorly performing teacher in the classroom—not because she deserved another chance, but because of a technicality.
After three decades as a teacher in D.C.’s lousy public schools, he said it was “natural to become an advocate for the profession.”
But after a few years, he realized a problem: “Somewhere along the way I became more of a union leader than an educational leader.”
It’s time to do what’s best for the kids, not unions
Now, with the pandemic coming to an end and millions of children across the country having been locked out of their schools for an entire year, it’s time unions understand “the need to be nimble, to serve the needs of children and families where they are.”
“We will fail our children and our teachers if we return to a pre-pandemic educational system,” Parker wrote. “Unfortunately, many teacher unions want to limit access to quality education for underserved kids.”
It’s time to do what’s best for the kids, not what’s best for the unions, he added.
“I used to oppose charter schools, not because they were bad for kids, but because they were bad for unions,” Parker said. “Some call it a binary choice: You either support teachers unions or you support charter schools. Nowadays I disagree. … I’m still a union member. But I now work on behalf of charter schools.”
More from Parker:
Charter schools are also public schools. All of them. They provide more than three million students, mostly black and Hispanic, access to a quality public education. They are innovative and student-centered. They break down barriers that have kept families of color from the educational opportunities they deserve. Another two million children would attend charter schools if there were space for them. How could I work against these kids?
All too often charter critics get caught up denigrating “the system” and forget the duty to do whatever it takes to provide all children with access to high-quality public schools, no matter their race, ethnicity or ZIP Code.
Parker closes with a warning: Charter schools are leading the way for great options for our kids, and “[I]f anyone says differently, keep in mind the messenger.”
Kate Bossi, a grandmother and Sunday school teacher from New Hampshire, was arrested on Thursday after refusing to wear a face mask at a school board meeting.
Just moments after Bossi arrived at the Timberlane Regional School Board meeting to demand that children no longer be required to wear face masks in school, police arrested Bossi for refusing to wear a face mask.
Video of the incident shows police officers forcibly arrest Bossi after she entered an auditorium without wearing a mask.
“You are violating my rights right now. You are remiss,” Bossi said.
Jackie Wydola, the daughter of Bossi, also told officers, “Are you seriously doing this you guys. This is law enforcement. You’re not enforcing laws, you’re enforcing policy. That doesn’t matter.”
The meeting was planned to be held in-person, but was ultimately held remotely. “I didn’t want to jeopardize the health of the staff and the students,” school board chairwoman Kimberly Farah told the Union Leader, referring to maskless people.
Bossi was charged with disorderly conduct, according to her daughter.
What did Bossi say?
The grandmother told the Union Leader police announced her arrest immediately as she attempted to enter the meeting.
“I kept walking into the theater, and he goes, ‘You’re arrested,'” Bossi told WBZ-TV. “And I said, ‘No, I’m taking my seat.'”
Bossi has several grandchildren who attend schools in the Timberlane Regional School District and has concerns over children being forced to wear face masks.
“When you say, ‘Just wear the mask’, you clearly have no understanding of early childhood development, and these are educators,” she explained.
It’s not exactly clear what prompted Bossi’s arrest other than her entering an area that required face masks. According to WBZ, Bossi believes that she may have been arrested illegally.
The New Hampshire Department of Public Health Services, meanwhile, only recommends students wear face masks inside schools. The agency does not require they wear them.
“NH DPHS continues to recommend schools and childcare agencies implement face mask use whenever possible (for students/children, visitors, volunteers, staff, etc.), including outdoors in group settings. Face masks are strongly recommended indoors, especially if students are seated within 6 feet of each other,” the state agency said in recently updated guidance. “Whether or not face masks are required in schools has always been left to local school district/board policy.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) hammered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over its policies involving schools and the cruise industry that he declared to be driven by politics and not science.
During a news conference in Satellite Beach, Florida, DeSantis slammed the CDC for carrying water for school unions.
“If you look at some of the stuff that they’ve done on school openings, where they’re basically doing the teacher’s union’s bidding, when they say these kids should be masked in summer camp outdoors,” he said, the Daily Wire reported. “I’m sorry, that’s not science, that’s politics.”
DeSantis also ripped the CDC for its policies that have crippled the cruise industry, a critical economic catalyst for Florida’s economy.
The Republican governor asked if it was correct that the CDC could shut down the cruise industry, “Do you want one unelected bureaucracy to be able to have the power to indefinitely shut down a major industry in this country?”
“But we also want our cruise lines to open. The CDC has mothballed this for over a year,” he said of the health agency dragging their feet on giving cruise line companies the green light to reopen. “They said that it was going to be two weeks last March. You know the cruise industry, they wanted to do the right thing. So they’re like, ‘All right, it’s not going to be easy for us, but we’re going to do it.’ Now here we are over a year later and there’s no end in sight.”
“Now they say you can only cruise if you have 98% people show proof of vaccination, but that’s ridiculous,” he pointed out. “They’re cruising in other parts of the world where they don’t even have availability of vaccines yet, where they have much higher COVID than in the United States.”
The CDC will require 98% of a cruise ship’s crew and 95% of passengers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before the vessel is approved to set sail, according to Fox News.
DeSantis noted that if cruising is not allowed in Florida, travelers will simply fly to the Bahamas or other Caribbean islands to go on cruises, and they’ll take their spending money with them.
“So that is fundamentally unfair. It makes no sense and we are suing the CDC right now,” DeSantis said. “We have a hearing coming up in federal court. But I can tell you, I want the cruises going. I want the cruise ships going; I think it’s vital for our economy. There’s tens of thousands of folks that are impacted by this issue.”
“The CDC continues to hold the cruise industry hostage. With this lawsuit Florida looks forward to fighting back against never-ending restrictions targeting one industry in our state,” a spokesperson for DeSantis told Fox News on Tuesday.
In April, DeSantis filed a lawsuit against the federal government and the CDC to allow the cruise industry to open back up.
“Cruise ships were prevented from leaving ports with passengers by a no-sail order issued by the CDC more than a year ago,” the Palm Beach Post reported. “That order was replaced on Nov. 1 with a ‘conditional sail order‘ that allows ships to sail after the CDC reviews and approves of a cruise line’s safety plan.”
“Florida is fighting back,” DeSantis said of the lawsuit against the CDC in April. “This is not reasonable. This is not rational.”
BREAKING: DeSantis announces lawsuit against the federal gov & the CDC over cruises remaining shut https://t.co/43UAdHMXU7
The cruise industry is a major economic contributor to Florida. According to a report from the Cruise Lines International Association, a cruise line trade association, there were nearly 14 million U.S. cruise passengers in 2019, about 60% of the travelers embarking on their trips through ports in Florida. Passengers, crew, and cruise lines combined to directly spend $9 billion in Florida, the report added. The cruise industry provided Florida with 159,000 jobs and $8.1 billion in wages and salaries, the report found.
DeSantis then explained how not having stringent and lengthy lockdowns has been an economic sparkplug to the Sunshine State.
“You have a surplus of jobs, and particularly in restaurant, lodging, hospitality, that people want to hire,” he stated. “I mean, you see these signs all over the place. Look, that’s a good problem to have. But we also just want to make sure, look, if you’re really unemployed, can’t get a job, that’s one thing, but making sure that you’re doing your due diligence to look for work and making sure those incentives align better.
“But I can tell you this, our state was predicted to get hit worse on COVID economically than any other state because of our service economy and our tourism base,” DeSantis added. “And what we were able to do by keeping Florida open, we saved hundreds of thousands of jobs in the restaurant, hotel, hospitality industry. We saved thousands of businesses. You know how I know that? Because every time I go out, someone will come up to me and say, ‘Thank you for saving my job,’ or ‘Thank you for saving my business.'”
“So we’ve been able now with 4.7% unemployment, that’s significantly less than the national average of 6% and way less than lockdown states like New York and California have,” he said.
“So we’re doing it right,” he stated. “We obviously want to make sure those folks are able to succeed in terms of getting the people they need, but just think of where we could be. I mean, this is a good problem to have compared to seeing people — in some parts of the country, these businesses are dead. They’re never coming back.”
“This is the heavy hand of government crushing family businesses, ruining jobs and destroying millions of people’s lives,” DeSantis declared. “We chose another path in Florida; it was the right path; it was the successful path, and yes, we want to make sure that these things are — there’s actually restaurants that have to close one day a week because they don’t have enough folks.”
Gov. DeSantis holds news conference in Satellite Beach
Florida’s bill, SB 90, imposes new limitations on mail voting, including lessening the number of elections a single vote-by-mail application covers and restricting ballot drop boxes. Only drop boxes at main office locations, not the ones at early voting locations, can be open after regular hours but all drop boxes must be physically manned by an election worker when they are accessible to voters. While they did not require in person monitoring, drop boxes did have to be under constant video surveillance previously.
The California Department of Education is considering a new framework for teaching mathematics in the state that would appear to discourage naturally talented students from being placed in advanced math classes to combat “inequity.”
The draft framework, developed by the Instructional Quality Commission, states that the major obstacle for all California students to excel at math is a “history of exclusion and filtering” in the discipline that discourages girls and “black and brown” students from pursuing advanced mathematical studies.
“There persists a mentality that some people are ‘bad in math’ (or otherwise do not belong), and this mentality pervades many sources and at many levels,” the framework states.
The education department reasons that the way math is currently taught leads to unjust outcomes, namely that minorities and women are underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematical fields. The authors of this new framework “reject ideas of natural gifts and talents” in the belief that the very concept of natural talent in math creates inequities.
“The fixed mindset about mathematics ability reflected in these beliefs helps to explain the exclusionary role that mathematics plays in students’ opportunities, and leads to widespread inequities in the discipline of mathematics,” the commission says.
To correct this perceived injustice, the commission recommends keeping students with a natural talent for mathematics in the same classrooms as students who struggle with advanced math. The commission views encouraging some middle and high school students to take accelerated math classes beginning in eighth grade, with the goal of learning calculus in grade 12, as “misguided.”
“The inequity of mathematics tracking in California can be undone through a coordinated approach in grades 6-12,” the framework states. “Unfortunately, many students, parents, and teachers encourage acceleration beginning in grade eight (or sooner) because of mistaken beliefs that Calculus is an important high school goal.”
It goes on to say that “middle-school students are best served in heterogeneous classes.”
Encouraging students to “rush to calculus” is viewed as unnecessary and perhaps harmful because colleges and universities typically require students to retake those courses and students who fall behind may lose opportunities to be accepted into institutions of higher learning.
In the name of “equity,” teachers are strongly encouraged to focus on countering “racialized or gendered ideas about mathematics achievement.” The framework explicitly rejects taking a “color-blind” approach to mathematics. “The belief that ‘I treat everyone the same’ is insufficient: Active efforts in mathematics teaching are required in order to counter the cultural forces that have led to and continue to perpetuate current inequities.”
The framework is currently available for public review and comment before the IQC meets on May 19-20 to produce a second draft for review and revision.
On the heels of enacting into law the nation’s first ban on sex-change hormone treatments or mutilating surgeries for transgender minors, the Arkansas House on Thursday passed a bill that would protect teachers from repercussions if they offend a student by refusing to use that student’s preferred pronouns or name.
The bill, HB 1749, states, “An employee of a public school shall not be required to use a pronoun, title, or other word to identify a public school student as male or female that is inconsistent with the public school student’s biological sex.” The legislation would enable an employee of a public school who faces “adverse action” for calling a student by the wrong name or pronoun to file a legal claim for relief.
Republican state Rep. Mary Bentley, the bill’s sponsor, said during debate on the House floor that the bill’s purpose is to protect teachers who fear litigation for refusing to use a transgender student’s preferred name.
“It’s not compelling anyone’s speech, it’s not prohibiting anyone’s speech,” Bentley said. “It’s helping those professors and teachers in our schools that do not want to be used for not using a certain person’s pronoun.”
She said that while the legislature needs to do more to protect parents and teachers, this bill is a necessary first step.
“Districts definitely need to look at this and do more. This bill is a simple bill. It has already been affirmed by the appeals court and the sixth district. All this is, is protecting our teachers, and they do feel threatened,” she said.
Democratic members of the state House spoke out in opposition to the bill.
“This bill is protecting and therefore emboldening teachers who are intentionally misgendering students and therefore are intentionally severing their relationship,” said Rep. Megan Godfrey.
Rep. Fred Love said that calling a transgender person by their preferred name or pronouns is simply the right thing to do if you want to be polite and respectful.
“Refer to someone as they choose to be referred to,” he said. “That’s not hard. That’s not difficult. That’s just a bit of decency and a bit of respect, and I think that’s what we need to do.”
The bill passed the House mostly along partisan lines, 62-21. Two Republican lawmakers joined Democrats in opposition to the legislation, which now proceeds to the state Senate.
In opposing the bill, Hutchinson argued that preventing doctors or counselors from prescribing puberty-blockers or cross-sex hormones to troubled transgender youths was tantamount to denying children health care. He also claimed that a limited government, conservative approach to governing means lawmakers should not interfere with the recommendations of medical professionals who believe administering drugs to children that can delay puberty and irreversibly alter their bodies is good medicine.
The reason the left has been so successful in transforming the country even when Republicans are in charge is because Republicans have ceded the education system to the most extreme social engineers in the country. The latest fad is the teaching of “critical race theory,” which essentially abuses young children with white guilt rather than de-emphasizing race altogether. Trump uprooted it from the federal curriculum last year, but now the Biden administration has brought it back in full force.
Now that New Hampshire Republicans won the trifecta of government in the Granite State last November, they can easily get rid of this divisive education curriculum, right? Not if Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has a say in the matter.
The New Hampshire House is planning to vote on HB 544, a bill that would prohibit New Hampshire public schools or government agencies from teaching divisive curricula, such as critical race theory. The bill enumerates the following list of offensive principles that have been percolating throughout the education system, the media, and the government:
(a) One race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; (b) The state of New Hampshire or the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist; (c) An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; (d) An individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment solely or partly because of his or her race or sex; (e) Members of one race or sex cannot and should not attempt to treat others without respect to race or sex; (f) An individual’s moral character is necessarily determined by his or her race or sex; (g) An individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex; (h) Any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of his or her race or sex; or (i) Meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or sexist, or were created by a particular race to oppress another race.
The Iowa House of Representatives recently passed a similar bill barring all schools and government officials from teaching diversity training. Iowa House File 802 specifically bars any curriculum teaching “that the United States of America and the state of Iowa are fundamentally or systemically racist or sexist, that an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past and that an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”
Although our country is deeply divided, can’t we all agree that such racist views should have no place in publicly funded and state-sanctioned schools? Evidently not. The left feasts off playing one group against another, which is why its curriculum places identity above all else.
Yet, in a shocking announcement, Gov. Sununu indicated that he would veto this bill. “Look, that bill, as I’ve read it to date, really limits free speech,” said the governor on March 9 to a NHPR show host. “We may not like what is said in a public setting or a school or whatever it is, but that’s the beauty of local control … you don’t control that by having a big government law that says you can’t say certain things. If that’s not changed, I’d very likely veto it” (audio at 47-minute mark).
So, like every RINO, Sununu discovers his conservatism and affinity for the Constitution in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is a man who has locked down his state and is criminalizing the breathing of human beings without masks. He has shredded life, liberty, and property of private citizens and has even criticized the legislature for encouraging “law breaking” by zeroing out his COVID business fines, referring to his edicts as the law and the lawmakers as some pariahs who have no say in legislation. Yet this same man somehow thinks that education institutions run by the state can only silence pro-American voices, but not anti-American curriculum, and that it is somehow protected by the First Amendment?
Also, you gotta love his affinity for localism. Suddenly, he thinks that little towns should be able to control the state’s education process when he knows darn well that New Hampshire is not a home rule state. In other words, localities have less autonomy than in almost any state on nearly every policy issue because the state’s constitution grants no power to towns and cities.
Remember, Sununu is being touted as the great hope of the GOP to win back the Senate for Republicans because he is weighing a challenge to Sen. Maggie Hassan for the Senate seat in 2022. But this is why we have so many liberal Republicans in the Senate. We rely on candidates who are out of touch with the most basic values of their own party in their respective states.
The antithesis of someone like Sununu is Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) of Florida. Even without the legislature passing any bill, he announced yesterday that he is banning critical race theory from the schools. “There’s no room in our classrooms for things like critical race theory,” said the Florida governor at a press conference on Wednesday. “Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.”
Indeed, as we are locked in mortal combat for the culture of our civilization, the difference between a DeSantis Republican and a Sununu Republican is greater than the difference between a standard Republican and a Democrat.
Classrooms in the second-largest school district in the nation will continue to be dark for the immediate future after the powerful United Teachers of Los Angeles voted “overwhelmingly” not to return to in-person learning until they deem work conditions to be safe.
The UTLA announced on Friday that its “members have voted overwhelmingly to resist a premature and unsafe physical return to school sites.” Of the UTLA members, 91% voted not to return to classrooms until certain “safety criteria” are met.
The teachers refuse to return to classroom learning until Los Angeles County is out of the purple tier. According to California’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” restrictions, purple tier regions are areas that have “widespread” COVID-19 infections. In order to get out of the purple tier, a county needs to have fewer than seven coronavirus cases per 100,000 and less than 8% of positive COVID-19 tests. Most of the state of California is in the purple tier, and has been for months.
The Los Angeles teachers union also states that they won’t reopen schools until “staff are either fully vaccinated or provided access to full vaccination.” California entered Phase 1B of its COVID-19 vaccination effort this month, which allows coronavirus shots for individuals who are age 65 and older, those who work in agriculture, food, emergency services, childcare, and education.
Before they return to classrooms, the United Teachers of Los Angeles also demanded that “safety conditions are in place at our schools including PPE, physical distancing, improved ventilation, and daily cleaning.”
“This vote signals that in these most trying times, our members will not accept a rushed return that would endanger the safety of educators, students, and families,” said UTLA president Cecily Myart-Cruz said.
On Thursday, both chambers of California’s Legislature nearly unanimously passed a school reopening. The bill does not require schools to reopen, but holds back approximately $2 billion in grant money until districts return for at least part-time in-person learning by March 31. The school will lose 1% of the grant money for every day after April 1 that there is not in-person education, according to the Daily Wire.
The United Teachers of Los Angeles responded to the reopening plan by labeling it as “a recipe for propagating structural racism.”
“If you condition funding on the reopening of schools, that money will only go to white and wealthier and healthier school communities that do not have the transmission rates that low-income black and brown communities do,” Myart-Cruz said. “This is a recipe for propagating structural racism and it is deeply unfair to the students we serve.”
“We are being unfairly targeted by people who are not experiencing this disease in the same ways as students and families are in our communities,” the UTLA president added. “If this was a rich person’s disease, we would’ve seen a very different response. We would not have the high rate of infections and deaths. Now educators are asked instead to sacrifice ourselves, the safety of our students, and the safety of our schools.”
The Los Angeles Unified School District has over 600,000 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade at over 1,000 schools.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines on how schools should reopen in February, which clearly stated that school reopening should not be conditional on having teachers and faculty vaccinated.
“But there has been another cost that we’ve seen, particularly in high schools,” he said. “We’re seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than we are deaths from COVID. We’re seeing far greater deaths from drug overdose that are above excess that we had as background than we are seeing the deaths from COVID.”
The former CDC director also said in July that he would “100%” have his grandchildren go back to school.
Last month, the nation’s fifth-largest school district proclaimed that it wanted to reopen as “quickly as possible” after a rash of student suicides. Clark County School District in Nevada experienced double the number of student suicides in nine months this year compared to all of last year.
While forcible masking of adults is immoral and illogical, the masking of children is downright satanic. Even if, in some alternate universe, cheap Chinese face burkas worked against transmission of particles much smaller than their pores, the virus poses no statistically meaningful danger to children. Together with the hiatus of the flu, children are actually better off than they’ve ever been in terms of viruses. So why, as a free people, are we forcibly masking babies often younger than two years old with no regard for the evidence of masking’s efficacy or the physical and psychological damage of such demonic measures?
By now, most of us have seen the outrageous video of a family being thrown off a Frontier Airlines flight in Miami, when the child caught not wearing a mask was reportedly a baby younger than 2 years old. As outrageous as the story is, we have become desensitized to the fact that children across the country are being masked for seven hours a day every day. How can this be tolerated for another day, especially when our “leaders” plan on doing this indefinitely? Where are the lawsuits? Where are the numerous GOP-controlled legislatures banning this draconian form of child abuse?
Evidently, Italy values freedom more than we do. Last week, il Giornale, a daily newspaper in Milan, reported that an Italian court ruled in favor of a parent who sought an exemption from the mask mandate for their child who suffers from breathing issues. Although the court ruling applied only to that particular plaintiff, the judge found that the government “has not provided proof of the scientific validity, for the purpose of containing the spread of the COVID virus, of the use of masks during school hours” and that therefore “[masking] is suspended immediately.”
What is so absurd is that even if masks worked, children are not threatened by this virus, nor are they vectors of spread. Children are actually being abused at a time when respiratory viruses are a lower threat to them than ever, even according to Biden’s top coronavirus adviser, Dr. Michael Osterholm.
“We are seeing almost no viral respiratory pathogens today in our pediatric population,” said Osterholm on a talk show last week (beginning at 16:40 mark). “If you go look at our hospitalization rates for kids, it is dramatically below what we’ve seen in recent years.”
So why did the flu disappear? Because of the masks? Not a chance.
“Now, you can’t say it’s just because of mitigation, because frankly we haven’t done all that well with mitigation with COVID-19,” continued the famed University of Minnesota scientist. “Look at all the cases we’ve had. So, if, in fact, it were just that, you’d expect to see at least some activity with flu and with the other viral repository pathogens. So, I think there is something going on here that mother nature is doing and across a diverse area of the world that we just don’t understand.”
Indeed, when the politicians and the “scientists” were still predicting a “twindemic” of the flu and COVID back in the early fall, I proved, with the help of Kyle Lamb, that the flu had disappeared in areas and during times when people were not wearing masks or locked down.
The point is that masks played no role in mitigating any of this, and children are better off than ever before. So why are we continuing the abuse of endless masking?
It’s simply an article of faith – a modern-day version of Moloch, whereby we sacrifice the physical and mental health of a generation of children to the gods of virtue-signaling.
Yale epidemiology professor Dr. Harvey Risch & Dr. Paul Elias Alexander discuss how the “absurd and nonsensical” de… https://t.co/QnKuqEOu3q
Just how absurd is mask-wearing? We know that 87% of particles with influenza viral RNA are smaller than 1 micrometer, with many particles as small as less than one-tenth of a micrometer. One study that examined a sample of over 11,000 particles found that over 90% of SARS-CoV-2 particles were smaller than 0.3 microns, which clearly means this virus is primarily an airborne transmission virus. Most people who are together indoors for long periods of time, who are responsible for most of the transmission, wear cloth masks. Studies have shown most cloth masks have pores between 80 to 500 micrometers and that they expand with each washing. It is simply ludicrous to suggest that they can have any degree of efficacy, any more than using a screen door on a submarine.
The reality is that if you are indoors with someone who is predisposed to spread and you are pre-disposed to getting the virus (both factors still unclear and likely out of our hands), you will get infected regardless of masks or the ritualistic six-foot distance. While relatively large droplets, 100 micrometers for example, fall to the ground within a few seconds (even larger spittle falls immediately) and rarely wind up in someone else’s mouth, the microscopic aerosols can remain suspended for days.
How can we permanently mask our children, beginning with toddlers, based on such anti-scientific insanity?
European officials seem to be fighting harder for liberty than Americans. Yesterday, the U.K. Express published comments from experts and school officials decrying recommendations in England that children be masked in schools.
“The use of masks in classrooms will undoubtedly be detrimental to learning particularly for any children with learning impairments or any special educational needs,” wrote Ross Jones, former consultant pediatrician, in the British Medical Journal.
Jones noted that even the WHO’s recommendation of masking schoolchildren states that it should be “accompanied by monitoring not only of any effect in reducing SARSCoV-2 transmission but also of any harms to either mental or physical health, but this has not been done.”
We must remember that as schools begin to reopen in critical numbers in the coming days, we will have just one shot at defining what that reopening looks like: Will it be the only normal of children interacting with each other, or will it be a satanic hell of shaming a human being for his or her own God-created face?
The Biden administration has withdrawn a rule proposed by former President Donald Trump’s White House shortly before he left office, which would have required American schools to disclose their agreements with Confucius Institutes — a Chinese language program accused by U.S. officials of spreading communist propaganda fed from Beijing.
What are the details?
The Daily Caller reported that “the Trump administration submitted a proposed rule to the Department of Homeland Security on Dec. 31, 2020, titled ‘Establishing Requirement for Student and Exchange Visitor Program Certified Schools to Disclose Agreements with Confucius Institutes and Classrooms.'”
NEW: Biden admin quietly withdraws Trump admin proposal to require U.S. schools to disclose their relationships wit… https://t.co/SXFm2bUAK0
But the Biden administration rescinded the recently passed Trump policy on Jan. 26 — less than a week after he took office — a spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed to Campus Reform.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted Tuesday in reaction, “It has been a year since the Chinese Communist Party let a pandemic spread around the world. Instead of holding them accountable for hiding the truth, the Biden Admin is rewarding China by allowing their propaganda to infiltrate our college campuses.”
But Newsweek noted the same day that “Trump administration’s foreign mission designation and last-minute executive order on the CI never actually banned the education programs altogether, nor did they issue guidelines on what the programs can and can’t teach.”
The outlet also pointed out that “at least 45 K-12 schools and universities in the U.S. have closed their CI programs in recent years, citing the same concerns about academic freedom and pro-China propaganda.
What’s the background?
Confucius Institutes were branded a foreign mission of the Chinese Communist Party by the Trump administration in August, a claim that has also been made by several Republican lawmakers and other U.S. officials.
David Stillwell, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, told the Associated Press at the time, “We’re not kicking them out. We’re just highlighting the fact that these folks do work for the Ministry of Education of the (Chinese) Communist Party.”
According to The Daily Caller:
Around 500 K-12 schools and 65 colleges in the U.S. have partnerships with the Confucius Institute U.S. Center, a U.S.-based affiliate of the Beijing-based Confucius Institute Headquarters. The institute, also known as Hanban, is affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education.
In March 2020, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) issued a letter warning 74 American colleges and school districts that “U.S. Government agencies, including within the Intelligence Community, assert that the Communist Chinese Government uses Confucius Institutes embedded in our academic institutions as a propaganda tool within the United States. Despite these concerns, your institution’s website indicates that a Confucius Institute is active on your campus.”
Joy Behar, co-host of “The View,” suggested over the weekend that every American student, most of whom have had their education relegated to remote learning since the beginning of the pandemic, should be forced to “repeat” this school year.
According to Behar, returning to in-person learning should be jettisoned completely this school year.
“Sending kids back to school this year is so fraught with anxiety and uncertainty. Why not just have everyone repeat the year? Is that such a far out idea?” Behar tweeted on Sunday.
Sending kids back to school this year is so fraught with anxiety and uncertainty. Why not just have everyone repeat… https://t.co/uQjR6fCWBv
In response, Behar was promptly rebuked for suggesting what many considered would be a punishment to students.
“Yes, it is far out to punish the schools and students who have safely reopened by arbitrarily making them repeat the year,” one person said.
“Regression is the progressive way,” another person mocked.
“Absolutely not. I’m a teacher and have busted my back teaching this year virtually and that is like telling all of us nothing we do right now matters, and it was all for nothing,” another person responded.
“My kids went back in August and not 1 case. Now we have kids out there committing suicide not to mention what their home life is like. Send them back to school. As the dems say…. Follow the science!!” another person said.
“Living is so fraught with anxiety and uncertainty. Why not just have everyone stop living? Is that such a far out idea?” another person mocked.
What’s the background?
Whether students have returned to in-person learning very much depends on location. Many school districts nationwide have returned to in-person learning or a hybrid between in-person and remote learning. Most of the biggest school districts, though, remain closed for in-person learning.
The impacts of remote learning have not been insignificant.
School districts from coast to coast have reported the number of students failing classes has risen by as many as two or three times — with English language learners and disabled and disadvantaged students suffering the most.
Indeed, one of the often unspoken consequences of remote learning, especially for younger and disabled students, is that many parents have been forced to choose between working or sitting with their child during their remote learning sessions. Work, of course, is almost always picked over school, meaning many of the most disadvantaged students in Title I schools are missing school entirely.
Teachers’ unions have further complicated the process.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered as part of a recent study that schools operating with in-person instruction have contributed to hardly any transmission of the coronavirus at all.
“As many schools have reopened for in-person instruction in some parts of the U.S. as well as internationally, school-related cases of COVID-19 have been reported, but there has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission,” the researchers wrote.
“The preponderance of available evidence from the fall school semester has been reassuring insofar as the type of rapid spread that was frequently observed in congregate living facilities or high-density worksites has not been reported in education settings in schools,” they added.
The team came to its conclusion after reviewing data from schools in the U.S. and around the world, including data from 11 North Carolina school districts that restarted in-person instruction for nine weeks during the fall semester of 2020. Of the more than 90,000 students and staff attendants in the districts, just 32 infections were reported from school activities and no cases of student-to-staff transmission were reported.
The researchers concluded that the data, which aligns with what other studies have found, “suggests a path forward to maintain or return primarily or fully to in-person instructional delivery.”
Schools debate on whether to reopen
The news comes as several schools across the U.S. grapple with whether or not to fully reopen, of which many have adopted a fully or partially online approach to instruction for the better part of year since the start of the pandemic.
Additionally, a growing amount of evidence also indicates that school lockdown measures have taken an immense toll on students’ mental health. Yet even with accumulating data supporting a return to in-person classes, some teachers’ unions have fought back against plans to reopen.
The CDC researchers were careful to note in the report that however safe in-person instruction is, certain activities, such as school sports, pose a greater risk for transmission and should still be avoided if possible.
They also advised continuing to practice transmission mitigation efforts such as mask-wearing and social distancing.
“The conclusion here is with proper prevention efforts … we can keep transmission in schools and educational settings quite low,” Margaret Honein, lead author of the JAMA report, told the Washington Post. “We didn’t know that at the beginning of the year but the data has really accumulated.”
New York City students first lost in-person instruction last spring thanks to the pandemic.
Thanks to the United Federation of Teachers’ threats — and the city’s apparent inability to keep proper vaccination records — kids are still not back in the classroom full-time.
What’s going on?
One of the union’s demands to get teachers back into classrooms daily was for the city to prioritize educators for COVID-19 vaccinations, which the city agreed to. New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced Jan. 10 that teachers and education workers would be prioritized for vaccinations and urged all education employees to make appointments to get their shots.
With that, calls for teachers to get back to in-classroom work forthwith began to ring out.
But the UFT wasn’t done with its threats, saying that a potential shortage of vaccine supplies (as well as unwillingness on the part of teachers) could force a delay in returning to classrooms — and not just this year, but even next September, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew told the Journal that the timing of the union’s agreement to go back to school partially depends on the number of teachers who are both able and willing to get vaccinated.
“Whatever happens this school year, happens,” Mulgrew said. “But I want to be fully open in September, and I can’t guarantee that right now.”
The union admitted that it needs not only more supplies but more willingness from teachers to get vaccinated to make the back-to-school plan work.
But now there’s a problem.
If returning to full-time in-person instruction is contingent upon teachers getting the vaccination, the school system needs to know how many educators have received their shots. However, the city can’t say how many teachers have been vaccinated because officials haven’t bothered to keep track, the New York Post reported Monday night.
On Jan. 11, one day after Chancellor Carranza’s teacher vaccination announcement, the UFT said that 17,000 teachers requested the shot within 24 hours of its announced availability.
And that’s the last figure reported by either the union or Gotham’s city hall.
According to the Post, the city has 75,000 classroom teachers and another 25,000 unionized staffers — and no one seems to know how many of them have actually been inoculated.
City Hall told the Post that the figures are still being tabulated because officials have yet to break down vaccination rates by worker group.
Because the shots are not mandatory for teachers and keeping track of the rate of inoculations wasn’t a priority for the city government, parents still have no idea when their kids will be back to school.
It’s important to realize who these teachers’ unions are fighting. It’s not against governors like Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) or Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), who have argued for aggressive early reopening plans. It’s against the public, Democratic faces of excessive caution in the face of the coronavirus pandemic — like Andrew Cuomo, Bill de Blasio, and Lori Lightfoot.
That’s right, even the public officials who have systematically crushed businesses and churches with far-reaching COVID-19 edicts that may or may not have been effective have reached the point where it has become obvious: It’s time for teachers to go back to the classroom. But the unions will not budge.
Now listen, it’s obvious that no one wants to catch COVID-19. In the middle of an infectious disease pandemic, I am sure that there are a great many people who would strongly prefer not to have to go in to workplaces where they will have to be in close, indoor proximity with their fellow workers (and customers), some of whom might have been reckless in terms of their own potential exposure to COVID-19.
But here’s the thing: For the last 11 months, a huge sector of the economy has been required to do it anyway. To name just a few: fast-food workers, grocery store employees, employees in the food production sector, employees who work in distribution warehouses for companies like Amazon, public transportation employees, and the like. We did this because, in the estimation of policymakers, it was deemed that their jobs were “essential” to the continued functioning of an orderly society. So we marched them off to work, in many cases before their workplaces were adjusted even in the slightest way to prevent them from unnecessary exposure to the virus.
Now come the teachers’ unions, months after COVID-19 protocols have been developed and after millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent to make their workplaces as safe as possible, to demand that they not be made to return to work, even after being afforded the COVID-19 vaccine. One Virginia teachers’ union head even demanded that teachers not be made to go back to work until students have all been vaccinated. By way of reminder, neither of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines is approved for use on anyone under the age of 16.
Let us set aside for a second the fact that the science is clear and overwhelming, and even accepted by the most pro-lockdown Democratic politicians, that return to classroom learning is extremely low-risk. Let us also set aside the fact that their refusal to return to in-person learning is affecting the ability of other, vital sectors of the economy to function properly, as parents who previously had careers have been trapped inside their homes for weeks acting as de facto classroom teachers for their children, who are simply not getting the same learning experience by staring at a computer screen all day and being continually distracted by their normal in-home activities.
It’s important to realize what, exactly, these teachers’ unions are saying about the job of teaching. What they are saying, without realizing it, is that teaching is a much less essential function for the continuation of an orderly society than unions have been saying for years. Prior to 2020, the teachers’ unions’ public position was that teachers ranked somewhere between the Navy Seals and Batman on the scale of importance to society.
Now that the time has come for them to return to the job for which they are paid taxpayer money, however, the message is that they are (apparently) less important to society than Walmart employees, fast-food workers, bus drivers, and warehouse employees. After all, we required those people to go back to work, whether they wanted to or not, or else face replacement by someone who would do the job, on the basis that they were “essential.”
By saying that their members should not likewise be forced to return to work — under conditions that are much, much safer than any conditions that existed last March and April — they are admitting that the function they perform is simply not as essential as any of these jobs. And that reality ought perhaps to be reflected in the relative amount of taxpayer-funded salaries and benefits they should be entitled to.
Make no mistake: There are many good teachers throughout the country who believe that their job is truly important and have acted like it by providing the best in-person learning experience they could under trying conditions. But there are a great many more who are playing the part of the hypocrite; after all, I would assume that when the pandemic broke out last year, they did not go out and live on farms where they grew their own food and manufactured all the goods they needed in their own home.
No, the vast majority of teachers have continued to eat food procured from grocery stores and restaurants and ordered all their usual life needs and luxury goods from internet companies and possibly even from stores. They have thus maintained some sort of normalcy in their lives on the backs of employees of companies who have been put in harm’s way so that they could continue to have their preferred household items delivered to their doorsteps. But when the call came for them to release millions of parents from doing their jobs — jobs that many parents are not qualified or trained to perform — they have recoiled in horror. “Surely not us! Returning to a workplace is for other people.”
If that is their perspective, they are entitled to it. But we should remember it the next time the unions complain that their teachers are underpaid and unappreciated. If they are less important than all these other employees, as they are inadvertently stating by their actions, then it stands to reason that they should be paid less, as well.
And it also ought to inform how afraid politicians should be of the power of teachers’ unions. Gavin Newsom has already apparently been cowed by the unions in his state, and Chicago Public Schools have thus far balked at following through on their completely justified threat to treat teachers’ refusal to return to classroom learning as an illegal strike. These Democratic politicians ought perhaps to re-evaluate how simmering anger from parents has changed the public’s perception of teachers’ unions in the last year and whether it is worth it to kowtow to them any longer.
Medical professionals in California are calling on state schools to reopen this February, arguing that the risks posed to children by social isolation are greater than the dangers of COVID.
A group of 30 University of California San Francisco medical professionals led by Dr. Jeanne Noble, the director of COVID response and a professor of emergency medicine at UCSF, have written an open letter urging state officials to open the schools by February 1.
“Long term closures have a detrimental, measurable impact on children and adolescents,” the letter states.
California schools closed last March at the beginning of various state governments’ responses to the coronavirus pandemic across the nation. More than 5.7 million K-12 California children, nine out of 10 of whom are public school students, were sent home for what initially was said to be two weeks to slow the spread of the virus.
Nearly a year later, Dr. Noble says there is an ongoing mental health crisis for children caused by the social isolation of lockdown policies. She explained why she’s calling for the schools to open in an interview on Fox News Monday, saying, “There really is a mental health crisis among our youth from this lack of socialization and in-person education. And that was really the impetus for our letter, to bring attention to this other half of the equation,” Dr. Noble said. “We focus a lot on the COVID risks of going back to school, risks for teachers and students, but we don’t spend a lot of time talking about the mental health damage that’s ongoing.”
She reported CDC data that shows there’s been about a 24% increase in ER visits for mental health reasons for children under the age of 11. For kids 12 and up there’s been a 31% increase. Dr. Noble said local data in California “mirrors those national trends.”
“In our children’s hospital of Oakland we have something called, ‘Ask Suicide Questions,” where all kids coming into the ER are asked about recent thoughts of suicide,” she explained. “Back in March, we had 6% of 10- to 17-year-olds reporting recent thoughts of suicide. That number had increased to 16% by September.”
Children are suffering from more mental health issues than just thoughts of suicide.
“In the ER a lot of kids are coming in with signs of distress, so not just thoughts of suicide,” Dr. Noble said. “That’s kind of the tip of the iceberg. Those are the worst-case scenarios. We have kids who are cutting, who have become very anxious about going out of their homes, new social phobias, new eating disorders. Just a lot of signs of mental health distress that we’re seeing in the ER.”
“We have data about how we can return kids to the classroom safely,” she added, explaining why now is the time to open schools.
“We closed our schools back in March because we assumed COVID was going to be like the flu, that kids would be the primary drivers of this pandemic, that they would get sick more often and transmit more often than adults. Now we know that we were wrong. Kids are less likely to get COVID, less likely to get sick, and less likely to pass it on than adults are,” she said.
“If we knew in March what we know now, I don’t think we would’ve closed our schools,” Dr. Noble added. “And we have good data about safe school reopening. North Carolina just released a large data set: 90,000 kids K-12 back in school, 10,000 teachers. There were only 32 school-based transmissions of COVID during a 9-week period. Those are really tiny, reassuring numbers.”
“So now that we know that kids can return to the classroom safely, it’s time to get them back to school.”
The Los Angeles Unified School District has announced that students will be required to show proof that they have received a vaccine for the novel coronavirus before returning to in-person learning, according to a report from Fox News. According to District Superintendent Austin Beutner, parents who have concerns about the safety of the vaccine will be required to keep their children in remote learning, presumably indefinitely.
Beutner’s comments, as first reported in the Los Angeles Times, caused concern in light of the fact that neither of the currently approved vaccines for the coronavirus have been tested for use in teenagers, much less small children. Additionally, school-aged children are likely to be the last in line to receive the vaccine, since children generally have far milder symptoms and are much less likely to experience serious complications from COVID-19 than adults.
However, Beutner told the Times that he did not mean to advocate that schools should remain closed until all students are vaccinated. Instead, he said, the state should set standards for reopening all schools and require schools to reopen once all directives have been achieved. In his view, once the vaccine has become available to children, the COVID-19 vaccination requirement would be no different from the mumps/measles requirement, which the district already has.
In spite of having perhaps the strictest lockdown measures in the country, and one of the nation’s most temperate climates, California has seen COVID-19 cases skyrocket, particularly of late. California public schools have lagged behind most of the rest of the country already in in-person learning, due largely to the influence of teachers’ unions.
Among other things, Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the United State’s head tyrants trying to usher in the New World Order, is “sure” that the COVID-19 vaccine no one wants will be mandatory for school or traveling. Institutions could “mandate” the vaccine for the government, so they literally won’t have to write it into policy.
Institutions like hospitals and possibly schools will mandate that a person receives a COVID-19 vaccination, Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted. “I would not be surprised, as we get into the full scope of [COVID-19] vaccination, that some companies, some hospitals, some organizations might require [COVID-19] vaccination,” he said in an interview with Newsweek.
There has already been quite a bit of talk on how to “punish” those who decide they don’t want this concoction swimming around in their veins.
“I’m not sure [the vaccine is] going to be mandatory from a central government standpoint, like federal government mandates,” he said. “But there are going to be individual institutions that I’m sure are going to mandate it.”
Fauci pointed to his own experience with the National Institutes of Health, which mandates all employees and contractors receive yearly influenza and Hepatitis B vaccines. “I have to get certified every year,” he told Newsweek. “If I didn’t, I couldn’t see patients. So in that regard, I would not be surprised, as we get into the full scope of [COVID-19] vaccination, that some companies, some hospitals, some organizations might require [COVID-19] vaccination.”
Fauci also said schools will be mandating to vaccine too and it is also “quite possible,” he said, that the vaccine will be required for travel to and from the United States. “Everything will be on the table for discussion” within the incoming Biden administration, he said. The Biden transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The decision to standardize the vaccine as a travel requirement is not one that Fauci can make, he said. But he thinks it would be a smart move, he told Newsweek.
“Yellow fever’s a good example. So we, in this country, don’t require [people] to get a yellow fever vaccine when you go [to] some place. It’s the place to which you are going that requires it,” he said. “I went to Liberia during the ebola outbreak. I had to get my yellow fever vaccine or they would not let me into Liberia.” –Yahoo News
A Massachusetts school has reportedly removed “The Odyssey” from its English curriculum as progressive education activists and critical race theory ideologues seek to “disrupt texts” by purging material they deem objectionable from classrooms.
Meghan Cox Gurdon, in an opinion column for the Wall Street Journal, wrote about a “sustained effort” by “critical-theory ideologues, schoolteachers and Twitter agitators” to “deny children access to literature.” These activists object to classic texts, such as Homer’s Odyssey or Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” because they allege such texts may teach “racism, sexism, ableism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of hate.”
“The subtle complexities of literature are being reduced to the crude clanking of ‘intersectional’ power struggles,” Gurdon wrote.
She quoted from an article by young-adult novelist Padma Venkatraman published in the School Library Journal, that claims “challenging old classics is the literary equivalent of replacing statues of racist figures.”
“[E]xposing young people to stories in which racism, sexism, ableism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of hate are the norm may sow seeds of bias that can grow into indifference or prejudice,” Venkatraman wrote.
“Racism in classics can’t be negated merely by alerting young readers to its presence,” she continued. “Unless we have the time, energy, attention, expertise, and ability to foster nuanced conversations in which even the shyest readers feel empowered to engage if they choose, we may hurt, not help. Pressuring readers of color to speak up also removes free choice and can be harmful.”
She further claimed, “Insisting on exposing diverse children to racist classics in which they see characters like themselves demeaned, or, at best, entirely excluded, is not just insensitive, but downright cruel,” but she does not advocate banning classic texts from the classroom.
“I’m not advocating we ban classics. Or erase the past. Classics are undoubtedly examples of excellent writing, or they wouldn’t have survived the test of time. I’m just suggesting we study classics in social studies classrooms, where inherent ideas of inequity are exposed and examined,” Venkatraman clarifies.
However, Gurdon’s column provided examples of other activists that indeed want to outright ban classics.
Ninth-grade English teacher Heather Levine, who works for Lawrence Public Schools in Massachusetts, celebrated the fact that “The Odyssey” was removed from the school curriculum in response to a tweet calling the epic poem about the Greek mythological hero Odysseus “trash.”
@sheathescholar @DisruptTexts Hahaha – very proud to say we got the Odyssey removed from the curriculum this year!
Gurdon contacted Levine to confirm that the school banned the Odyssey, but was told her inquiry was “invasive.” The English Department chairman of Lawrence Public Schools did not return Gurdon’s multiple requests for comment.
Seattle English teacher Evin Shinn in 2018 tweeted that he’d “rather die” than teach “The Scarlet Letter” in class.
@tsuejohnson @triciaebarvia I don’t mind saying it: I’d rather die than teach Scarlet Letter. Unless you are teachi… https://t.co/XVEyoU5qVy
Gizmodo is reporting that schools in the US are buying equipment to unlock cell phones from companies like Cellebrite:
Gizmodo has reviewed similar accounting documents from eight school districts, seven of which are in Texas, showing that administrators paid as much $11,582 for the controversial surveillance technology. Known as mobile device forensic tools (MDFTs), this type of tech is able to siphon text messages, photos, and application data from student’s devices. Together, the districts encompass hundreds of schools, potentially exposing hundreds of thousands of students to invasive cell phone searches.
It has been a rough week for the left-wing Democratic governor of America’s largest state as he attempts to deal with the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Gov. Gavin Newsom first declared limits on social gatherings in indoor dining, only to be discovered — and photographed — attending an indoor birthday party at a restaurant with a dozen other people. Adding insult to injury, it turned out that some of the people with him were officials from the California Medical Association — presumably folks who should have known better.
And now, as schools are being closed around the country despite the fact that COVID-19 infection rates in schools have been lower than infection rates in their surrounding communities, Newsom’s policies on school closures are getting new scrutiny.
Though many Californians have been begging the government to reopen the schools, Newsom — at the behest of the unions — has chosen to keep them closed, which means most of the Golden State’s 6 million public school students are stuck going to school remotely, Politico reported.
Even Democrats are beginning to notice and call out the governor for what seems an inconsistent and discriminatory policy, as even areas with the lowest infection rates are not even trying to get back to school — despite the fact that the communities and the schools are remarkably low in COVID-19 cases.
And as the year wears on, Newsom’s fellow Democrats are pointing out that the state’s approach to schools is disproportionately impacting low-income and minority communities.
In fact, the governor was recently called out for announcing that he was sending his own kids back to private school in Sacramento, while the city’s public schools remained shuttered, Politico pointed out.
Actually, Democrats are doing more than pointing out Newsom’s inconsistent school stances: They’re actually turning on him.
State Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, who chairs the Assembly Education Committee, ripped the union-backed policy that Newsom has stuck to.
O’Donnell said in an interview, according to Politico, that the state’s current system amounts to “state-sanctioned segregation.”
“Some kids get to go and some don’t. That’s not what California stands for,” he said, the paper reported. “I think we need to move faster but remain thoughtful.”
According to O’Donnell, the state needs Newsom to lead and to provide “strong guidance.”
“We might be dead last to open,” he warned, “and our students might be dead last when it comes to academic success if we’re not careful.”
Veteran news journalist and media maven Megyn Kelly has pulled her children out of their New York City school and plans to leave the city behind altogether.
Kelly announced the decision after learning that her kids’ school promoted the “reform” of white children in racially biased practices.
Kelly did not reveal the name of the school her children previously attended.
What are the details?
During Monday’s broadcast of her podcast, “The Megyn Kelly Show,” Kelly said that she received a letter from the administrators of her two young sons’ school that detailed a plan to implement an extreme racial social justice agenda in the school.
“It’s so out of control on so many levels, and after years of resisting it, we’re going to leave the city,” Kelly admitted. “We pulled our boys from their school, and our daughter is going to be leaving hers soon, too. The schools have always been far left, which doesn’t align with my own ideology, but I didn’t really care. Most of my friends are liberals; it’s fine. I come from Democrats as a family.”
Kelly added, however, that the final straw was when she found out that the administration was peddling concerning sentiments about how white children are “left unchecked and unbothered” in their schools, homes, and communities.
“I’m not offended at all by the ideology, and I lean center-left on some things, but they’ve gone around the bend,” she insisted. “I mean, they have gone off the deep-end. The summer in the wake of George Floyd, they circulated amongst the diversity group — which includes white parents like us; there are people who want to be allies and stay attuned to what we can do — an article, and afterward, they recirculated it and wanted every member of the faculty to read it.”
Kelly recalled that the article asserted that white children are inherently racist.
According to Kelly, a portion of the article — which appears to have been written by Nahliah Webber, executive director of Orleans Public Education Network in June — said, “There is a killer cop sitting in every school where white children learn. They gleefully soak in their whitewashed history that downplays the holocaust of indigenous native peoples and Africans in the Americas. They happily believe their all-white spaces exist as a matter of personal effort and willingly use violence against black bodies to keep those spaces white.”
“As black bodies drop like flies around us by violence at white hands, how can we in any of our minds conclude that whites are all right?” the article added. “White children are left unchecked and unbothered in their schools, homes, and communities to join, advance, and protect systems that take away black life. I am tired of white people reveling in their state-sanctioned depravity, snuffing out black life with no consequences.”
The article continued, “Where’s the urgency for school reform for white kids being indoctrinated in black death and protected from the consequences? Where are the government-sponsored reports looking into how white mothers are raising culturally deprived children who think black death is okay?”
“Where are the national conferences, white papers, and policy positions on the pathology of whiteness in schools?” the article said. “This time if you really want to make a difference in black lives — and not have to protest this s*** again — go reform white kids. Because that’s where the problem is — with white children being raised from infancy to violate black bodies with no remorse or accountability.”
A portion of Kelly’s podcast appeared on Twitter Monday, captioned, “‘After years of resisting it, we’re going to leave.’ @MegynKelly describes why she pulled her kids out of their NYC schools — and she, @GlennLoury and @Coldxman Hughes discuss how ‘woke’ leftism has taken over schools.”
‘After years of resisting it, we’re going to leave.”
@MegynKelly describes why she pulled her kids out of their NY… https://t.co/VImX9HzIpU
Administrators at the Burbank Unified School District have determined that a variety of classic novels — including Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” and more — will no longer be permitted for curriculum use following concerns of racism.
What are the details?
According to a Tuesday Newsweek report, middle school and high school English teachers will not be able to include the following books in lessons following reports of parental concerns of racism:
Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”
John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”
Theodore Taylor’s “The Cay”
Mildred D. Taylor’s “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry”
The outlet reported that four parents — three of whom are black — reportedly said the classic novels posed “alleged potential harm” to the district’s “roughly 400 black students.”
What are people saying about this?
One parent, identified as Carmenita Helligar, said a white student approached her black daughter and taunted her with the N-word, which the student said he “learned” from reading “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.”
Another boy reportedly told Helligar’s child, “My family used to own your family, and now I want a dollar from each of you for the week.”
Helligar told the outlet, “My daughter was literally traumatized. These books are problematic … you feel helpless because you can’t even protect your child from the hurt that she’s going through.”
Nadra Ostrom, another black parent, said that the books are problematic because there is “no counter narrative to this black person dealing with racism and a white person saving them.”
What else is there to know?
The National Coalition Against Censorship sent a letter to the district urging the administration to reconsider the move.
“[W]e believe that the books … have a great pedagogical value and should be retained in the curriculum,” a spokesperson for the organization wrote in the letter, which was obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Poets, Essayists, and Novelists America also crafted a petition demanding the district reinstate the use of the books.
A portion of the petition says, “Each of the books in question deal with difficult subject matter from our country’s complicated and painful history, including systemic racism. Blocking engagement with these important books is also avoiding the important role that schools can and should play in providing context for why these books inspire and challenge us still today.”
At least one district teen created and distributed a Change.org petition calling for the district to stop the censorship.
A portion of the teen’s petition states, “In a time where racism has become more transparent than ever, we need to continue to educate students as to the roots of it; to create anti-racist students. These literatures, of which have been declared ‘Books that Shaped America’ by the Library of Congress, won Newbury Medals, and are some of the most influential pieces, cannot disappear.”
Philadelphia’s public schools had planned to reopen to some grades at the end of November, but now the city is scrapping that plan and keeping its schools shuttered indefinitely, leaving 120,000 students stuck with virtual instruction.
What’s that now?
School Superintendent William Hite Jr. announced Tuesday that he made the decision to continue virtual education “to help safeguard the health and well-being of our staff, students, and school communities” as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the city and across the U.S., the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The city’s teachers’ union praised Hite’s announcement as a “big victory,” the paper said. The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers had opposed returning to schools during the current spike in cases.
The city initially planned to bring back pre-K through second-grade students for in-person instruction starting Nov. 30. The teachers for those grades were scheduled to return to their classrooms Monday.
Hite claimed he wanted students to return to school as soon as possible, but now the 32,000 students who would have been eligible to return to school at the end of the month don’t know when they’ll eventually get back into the classroom.
And with this announcement, the 120,000 students in the city’s public schools will have to stay home indefinitely, the Inquirer said, noting that the school district “hopes” it will be able to return to in-person instruction someday.
The superintendent said he knew the decision was “disappointing for many families and many students” and lamented that the lack of school time had a disproportionate impact on kids in poverty who do not live in conditions where learning can happen.
According to the paper, the district has “no timetable” for when students will be able to return to school — if ever.
Philadelphia’s health commissioner, Thomas Fraley, said be backed Hite’s call, saying, “There’s no question we are in a dangerous period.”
PFT President Jerry Jordan celebrated the decision, saying in a statement, “The decision to remain fully virtual for the foreseeable future will save lives. The science of COVID-19, paired with the massive ventilation and other facilities issues throughout the District, makes it clear: Returning to school buildings, in any capacity, is unsafe right now,” the Inquirer reported.