Commentary: Back to School and New Radical Ideology on Campuses

In 2011, a “Dear Colleague Letter” (DCL) that required schools provide access to bathrooms, showers, and dorm rooms based on gender identity, rather than biological sex was introduced by the Obama Education Department. It defined sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature”; required only that the alleged harassment potentially “interfere with or limit” access, rather than “deprive” the victim of access creating a “single-inquisitor” model where the investigator, prosecutor, and hearing officer could be the same person, and reduced the accused’s rights to a hearing to confront his accuser.

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Kari Lake Blasts Katie Hobbs for Taking a Week to Reject a Referendum as Arizona’s Universal ESA Law Is Now Set to Go into Effect

Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake blasted her Democrat opponent, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, for taking a week to reject a referendum to stop Arizona’s universal Empowerment Scholarship Account law from going into effect, despite evidence already showing the motion failed.

“It is shameful that Katie Hobbs aligned herself with the radical unions’ effort to permanently trap Arizona’s kids in failing schools, then hung Arizona’s parents out to dry for a week by suspending the school choice program despite overwhelming evidence the referendum failed to get enough signatures,” Lake said in a statement to the Arizona Sun Times. “Katie Hobbs is on the side of corrupt, bloated school bureaucracies, but I will never stop fighting to give Arizona’s parents more choice in their children’s schools and more control over their children’s education.”

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Ohio State Board of Education Considers Resolution Against Gender Ideology

Ohio’s State Board of Education on Tuesday heard public comment on a proposed resolution treating biological sex as an “objective, scientific fact” and opposing school policies that seek to blur the lines on this subject.

Board member Brendan Shea (District 5) introduced the measure, which balks at regulations recently proposed by President Joe Biden. If finalized, the federal Department of Education rules would effectively force schools to call gender-dysphoric K-12 students by their preferred names and pronouns rather than their given names and biological pronouns. They would also require school athletic programs to assign children to teams based on avowed gender identity rather than physiological sex. 

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Biden Admin Spends Millions to Create a ‘Diverse Educator Workforce’

The Department of Education (DOE) is giving about $25 million in grants to several universities to help them hire and train a “diverse educator workforce,” according to a Sept. 12 press release.

The DOE partnered with Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP), a group that works on preparing higher education faculty, to provide 22 new five-year grants to several universities, including three historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), according to the press release. The institutions receiving grants will work with TQP to “recruit highly qualified individuals, including individuals of color” for educator positions.

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Groups from the Left and Right Agree on Opposition to Biden’s Title IX Reform as Comment Period Ends

From the feminist Women’s Liberation Front to the conservative Child & Parental Rights Campaign and Parents Defending Education, groups opposing the Biden administration’s proposal to redefine sex as “gender identity” are urging supporters to file comments in the Title IX regulatory proceeding before it closes Monday.

An 18-month-old nonprofit unexpectedly joined their ranks last week: the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR), cofounded by black intellectuals including Columbia University’s John McWhorter and Brown University’s Glenn Loury, which fights identity politics in education and government and has focused mainly on race.

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JC Bowman Comments on Tennessee Public Education Lacking Local Control and Disbanding the Department of Education

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Professional Educators of Tennessee Executive Director and CEO JC Bowman in studio to discuss the lack of local control Tennesseans have on their public school education and doing away with the federal Department of Education.

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Oversight Republicans Investigate Why DOE Hasn’t Spent COVID Relief Funds, Role of Teachers Unions

Oversight Republicans have launched an investigation into how the U.S. Department of Education has handled billions of COVID-19 relief dollars, raising the alarm about the major learning loss experienced by students.

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona demanding documents and answers as to why most of the money has reportedly remained unspent.

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‘SAVE’ Chairman Ed Bartlett Explains Eastern Tennessee Court Ruling Overriding Transgender Radicalism

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed Ed Bartlett, Chairman of (SAVE) to the newsmaker line to talk about the Eastern District of Tennessee’s court ruling on Title IX and what it means.

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JC Bowman of Professional Educators Discusses Change of BEP to TISA, Education Funding Creating Even More Bureaucracy

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed the Executive Director & CEO of Professional Educators of Tennessee, JC Bowman to explain the change of the Basic Education Program to the new TISA (Tennessee Investment and Student Achievement) and how it will create another level of bureaucracy.

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Alliance for Free Citizens Denounces Department of Education’s ‘National Parents and Families Engagement Council’

The Alliance for Free Citizens, a education-focused advocacy group, denounced a reported plan by President Joe Biden’s Department of Education to create the “National Parents and Families Engagement Council.”

According to a report from Fox News, the new organization will work to improve the relationship between parents and schools.

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Biden’s Education Secretary Calls Arming Teachers ‘One of the Stupidest Proposals’ Ever

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona criticized proposals to arm teachers to stop school shootings during a Thursday appearance on “The View.”

“Those are some of the stupidest proposals I’ve heard in all my time as an educator,” Cardona said when asked about arming teachers by co-host Sunny Hostin. “So that’s my answer to that. Listen. We need to make sure we’re doing sensible legislation, making sure our schoolhouses are safe as much as possible, but to say that we’re going to arm teachers to protect students, what happens when a teacher goes out on maternity leave?”

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TN-5 GOP Candidate General Kurt Winstead Witnesses Horrific Conditions for Minors at Southern Border, Gives Stance on the DOE

Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed TN-5 Congressional GOP candidate General Kurt Winstead to the newsmaker line to describe what he saw at the southern border over the weekend and how he feels about declining federal money from the Department of Education.

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Tennessee House GOP Candidate Michelle Foreman: ‘There Is No Reason in the World That We Need to Have the Federal Government Involved in Education’

Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed GOP Candidate for Tennessee’s 59th Congressional District, Michelle Foreman in-studio to answer questions on policy.

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Biden Set to Unveil Massive Student Loan Forgiveness: Report

President Joe Biden is planning to forgive $10,000 of student loan debt per borrower, according to a Friday report from The Washington Post.

Biden intended to announce the new student debt forgiveness plan at the University of Delaware’s graduation ceremony Saturday but postponed the decision after a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, unnamed sources familiar with the issue told The Washington Post. The newest debt forgiveness plan would apply to Americans who in the year prior made under $150,000 and to married Americans who made under $300,000 in joint filings.

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Arizona Charter Schools Rank First in the Nation: Report

Arizona is frequently criticized for funding its schools less than most of the other states, usually tied for last with a handful of other states. But what doesn’t get covered as much is that it is ranked number one among the states for academic growth and charter schools.

Matthew Ladner, director of the Arizona Center for Educational Opportunity, a researcher with the Arizona Charter Schools Association, and former vice president of research for the Goldwater Institute, told The Arizona Sun Times, “If you had to choose between states with the most funding or states with the most academic growth, which one would you choose?”

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Biden Administration to Reverse Trump-Era Free Speech Rights in Education

The Biden Administration’s Department of Education (DOE) is making plans to reverse Title IX regulations that had been implemented by the Trump Administration to more greatly protect free speech rights in education.

The Daily Caller reports that the soon-to-be-unveiled rewrite by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), focusing on Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, will roll back the Trump-era rules dictating that public schools, from K-12 to college, must investigate claims of sexual misconduct in a fair an unbiased manner. The rules implemented by President Trump allowed greater rights to both the accused and the accuser in such cases, including the right to be represented by counsel, the ability to cross examine witnesses, and the presumption of innocence.

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Lamont Sends $8 Million to Fund Connecticut Summer Enrichment Program

Ned Lamont

An investment of federal funds will benefit schoolchildren throughout Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

The governor announced $8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds will be invested in the Summer Enrichment Program. The funding will be sent to the Department of Education, which will disperse the funds to programs designed to help students continue to be connected to high-quality education programs when school is not in session.

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TN-5 Republican Candidate Beth Harwell Committed to Six-Year Term and Reducing the Footprint of the Department of Education

Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed TN5 Republican candidate Beth Harwell to the newsmaker line to discuss her commitment, if elected, to a six-year term and slowly dismantling the Department of Education and bringing money back to local governments in the state.

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15 Attorneys General Call on Department of Education to Halt Revising Title IX Regulations

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, leading a coalition of 15 Republican attorneys general, has called on the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to cancel its plan to revise Title IX.

The DOE’s plan to do so, they argue, appears to be an attempt by the federal government to infringe on parental rights in education, erode the rights of women’s and girls’ sports, and reverse existing guarantees for victims of sexual harassment and assault.

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Biden Budget Proposes $100 Million for ‘Racial Diversity’ in Schools

President Joe Biden administration’s newly proposed $5.8 trillion federal budget includes massive spending increases for the Department of Education to promote “racial” diversity.

The new education allocations for fiscal year 2023 include “$100 million for a new Fostering Diverse Schools program” which will use grants to help communities “develop and implement strategies that will build more racially and socioeconomically diverse schools and classrooms, ” according to the Department of Education’s (DOE) budget summary.

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Biden Administration Allegedly Set to Extend Title IX Rights to ‘Transgender’ Students

The Biden Administration’s Department of Education (DOE) is set to impose new Title IX regulations in the coming weeks that will extend federal civil rights to so-called “transgender” students.

The Daily Caller reports that at least two anonymous DOE officials told the Washington Post about the planned expansion of Title IX, which currently only prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender. The new regulations will redefine Title IX to include “gender identity” and sexual preference. A DOE spokesperson said that the newly-updated guidelines will be formally published in April.

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Over 120,000 Students and Families Have Left NYC Public Schools in Last Five Years

The New York City Department of Education (DOE) is bracing for a potential massive loss in its budget after over 120,000 students and families have left the city’s public school system over the last five years.

The New York Post reports that the city’s Chancellor of Schools David Banks addressed the matter before the City Council’s Education Committee on Monday, warning that the decline in enrollment could negatively impact the system’s budget plans for the coming years.

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Congress Considers Bill to Expose Russian, Chinese Funding of American Groups

Newly introduced legislation would require think tanks and nonprofits to reveal whether they have significant funding from governments and political groups in Russia and China.

U.S. Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, introduced the “Think Tank and Nonprofit Foreign Influence Disclosure Act” Thursday, which would require nonprofits and think tanks to disclose foreign donations over $50,000. The bill would require the U.S. Treasury Department to create a “publicly available in a searchable database information relating to such gifts and contributions received from foreign governments and political parties…”

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GOP Candidate for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, Morgan Ortagus and Her Top Legislative Priorities

Tennessee Senate Chamber

Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed GOP primary candidate Morgan Ortagus in studio to talk about her top three legislative objectives if elected to Congress.

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Biden Admin to Cancel $415 Million in Student Loan Debt for Roughly 16,000 People

A see of college graduates at the commencement ceremony.

The Biden administration announced Wednesday it will cancel $415 million in student debt for nearly 16,000 borrowers who claim they were misled by for-profit colleges.

The loans for almost 16,000 former students will be canceled under a legal provision called the borrower defense to repayment, which allows students to have their debts erased if they prove a for-profit school defrauded them, the Department of Education (DOE) said in a press release.

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Over a Hundred Conservative Groups Call on U.S. Education Secretary to Resign over Infamous Letter Equating Concerned Parents to ‘Domestic Terrorists’

National School Boards Association meeting

Over 100 conservative groups and leaders are calling on Education Secretary Miquel Cardona to resign over allegations that he collaborated with the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to draft the infamous letter equating parents to domestic terrorists.

The Conservative Action Project (CAP), along with 120 conservative groups and leaders, released a letter Monday calling on Cardona to resign immediately, following reports that he worked with the NSBA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to silence parents from speaking out about their concerns at America’s public schools, citing “threats” they posed to school boards.

School boards have been battlegrounds for culture wars over mask rules, COVID-19 vaccinations, schools reopening, Critical Race Theory (CRT), gender ideology and remote learning. The Monday letter also calls on Congress to further investigate the NSBA letter “to ensure any other Biden administration officials who were inappropriately involved are held accountable.”

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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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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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Rep. Jim Jordan Calls on National School Boards Association Leaders to Testify

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has requested the interim CEO of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), Chip Slaven, and the NSBA’s president, Dr. Viola Garcia, testify before the House Judiciary Committee for their involvement in seeking a Justice Department probe of parents.

In his letters to the NSBA leaders, Jordan explains how they wrote to President Biden, saying, “that ‘malice, violence, and threats’ against school officials ‘could be the equivalent of a form of domestic terrorism or hate crimes,'” while suggesting the Patriot Act could be used to prosecute parents.

He added that for several weeks prior to the letter being sent, the NSBA was already “engaged with the White House and Department of Education,” according to an email sent to their board members.

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Virginia Education Department Promotes Pro-Critical Race Theory Book, Despite McAuliffe’s Claims the Curricula Isn’t Taught in the State

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

The Virginia Education Department promotes pro-Critical Race Theory books despite claims from state officials, including Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, that the curricula is not taught in its public schools.

The state’s Department of Education (DOE) promotes pro-Critical Race Theory (CRT) content on its “What We Are Reading” tab on its website, which compiles a list of resources from the Office of Equity and Community Engagement to recommend reading and develop its own work, Fox News first reported.

The list includes titles such as “Foundations of Critical Race Theory in Education” that “acts to further spur developments in education policy, critical pedagogy, and social justice, making it a crucial resource for students and educators alike,” according to its description.

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Commentary: Biden’s Unlawful Plan to Federalize Elections

Person voting in poll booth

The White House recently issued a statement regarding new actions dozens of federal agencies are taking related to voter registration. These actions come in response to an order President Joe Biden issued back in March.

The order commanded the heads of every federal agency to submit a plan outlining their strategy to engage in voter registration and mobilization efforts to the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Susan Rice. This is an unlawful effort by the Biden administration to federalize elections and keep the president and his political party in power.

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New York City to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine for Entire City Workforce

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that all New York City municipal workers would be required to have a COVID-19 vaccination.

All municipal employees, including police and firefighters, will have until Oct. 29 to receive their first shot or risk losing their jobs, according to de Blasio. City employees will receive an additional $500 in their paychecks after receiving their first dose.

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Commentary: Remembering the Courage of Christopher Columbus

Today we remember the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, who in October 1492 landed in the Bahamas and became the first Western European to discover what the Europeans would call the New World.

When Columbus and his crew of approximately 200 sailors left Spain in three crowded ships – the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria – they set their sails toward an unknown horizon. They expected to discover a trade route to India. (Most Europeans at the time knew the earth was round – but they were unaware of the North and South American continents.) Instead of finding a route to Southeast Asia, Columbus and his crew landed on a continent of new opportunities. Columbus’s accidental discovery opened a permanent passage across the Atlantic and redrew the known map of the world.

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Governor Bill Lee and Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn Call for Review of State Education Funding Formula

On Friday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn invited Tennesseans to participate in the full review of the state’s education funding formula and explore possibilities for a more student-centered approach.

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Commentary: Envy as the Path to Political Power

Bernie Sanders

Demagogues appeal to envy because they believe that promising to destroy the advantages enjoyed by others will win votes and inspire loyalty. Sometimes it does. As the envy-driven horrors of Rwanda and Nazi Germany demonstrate, pledging to disrupt the envied lives of a despised “other” can be a ticket to victory for a political candidate savvy enough to convince voters that he has their best interests at heart.

More than 25 years ago, Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, pronounced in his book The Politics of Envy: Statism as Theology that we “live in an age of envy.” Pointing out that “people don’t so much want more money for themselves as they want to take it away from those with more,” Bandow suggested that although “greed is bad enough, eating away at a person’s soul, envy is far worse because it destroys not only individuals, but also communities, poisoning relations.” A Christian libertarian, Bandow wrote that 

those who are greedy may ruin their own lives, but those who are envious contaminate the larger community by letting their covetousness interfere with their relations with others. 

One can satisfy greed in innocuous, even positive ways—by being brighter, working harder, seeing new opportunities, or meeting the demands of others, for instance.

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Biden’s Education Department Won’t Enforce a Key Due Process Protection for Students Accused of Sexual Assault

The Department of Education announced it would stop enforcing a Trump administration rule designed to protect those accused of sexual assault on college campuses.

A district court in Massachusetts upheld most of the Title IX 2020 amendments in a July ruling, maintaining new regulations related to public institutions managing allegations of harassment, assault, violence, and more. Although, the court struck down one procedural regulation related to what evidence a “Decision-Maker,” or the employee who is designated to adjudicate the case, may consider in making rulings.

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Ohio Bill Would Close Teacher Misconduct Loophole

Two Ohio lawmakers want to close a loophole in state law that allows teachers who are under investigation for misconduct to retire and school districts to not file a report with the Ohio Department of Education.

The legislation, filed this week by Reps. Adam Miller, D-Columbus, and Sarah Fowler-Arthur, R-Geneva-on-the-Lake, was proposed after five Rocky River School District teachers resigned and one retired in the spring as the district investigated alleged inappropriate contact.

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Biden’s Education Department Won’t Enforce a Key Due Process Protection for Students Accused of Sexual Assault

The Department of Education announced it would stop enforcing a Trump administration rule designed to protect those accused of sexual assault on college campuses.

A district court in Massachusetts upheld most of the Title IX 2020 amendments in a July ruling, maintaining new regulations related to public institutions managing allegations of harassment, assault, violence, and more. Although, the court struck down one procedural regulation related to what evidence a “Decision-Maker,” or the employee who is designated to adjudicate the case, may consider in making rulings.

Following the court ruling and a letter from the Department of Education on Tuesday, the chosen adjudicator can now consider emails and texts between the parties and witnesses, police reports and medical reports, regardless of cross-examination status at the live hearing.

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Commentary: Biden Seeks to Override States Prohibiting School Mask Mandates, Citing Civil Rights Act

The back-to-school mask wars have been heating up for weeks, but the Biden administration just took them to a whole new level. On Wednesday, the president ordered the US Department of Education to use all available measures to prohibit states from banning school mask mandates.

In his remarks, Biden decried the contentious school board meetings that have occurred in districts across the country as parents argue for and against school mask mandates. He indicated that the “intimidation and the threats we’re seeing across the country,” from concerned citizens who oppose mask mandates “are wrong. They’re unacceptable.”

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House Education Committee’s Top Republican Tells Secretary to Purge CRT-Related Material

Faced with nationwide pushback against its plan to prioritize grant funding for American history and civics programs informed by critical race theory (CRT), the Department of Education clarified its thinking. Perhaps.

Secretary Miguel Cardona’s blog post on “invitational” priorities in grant competitions drew polarized interpretations among critics of CRT, who either claimed the agency backed off its plan or simply used deceptive language to create the impression that it backed off.

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REPORT: Biden’s Education Department Has Closer Ties to Critical Race Theory Group Than They Admit

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

The Biden administration called it an “error” to promote a critical race theory (CRT) activist group’s guide in a Department of Education (DOE) handbook meant for use in over 13,000 public school districts on reopening recommendations and policies, Fox News reported.

The activist group, Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN) has connections to at least two high-ranking officials in the Biden administration’s DOE, Fox News reported. It is unclear why ATN was mentioned in the April 2021 handbook and who added the link.

The Biden administration DOE backtracked on the promotion and its link to the group in a statement to Fox News Wednesday which said, “The Department does not endorse the recommendations of this group, nor do they reflect our policy positions. It was an error in a lengthy document to include this citation.”

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Arizona Attorney General Leads Charge Against Biden Administration’s Race-Based School Discipline Policies

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich responded to the Biden Administration’s interest in potentially reviving a pre-K and K-12 discipline policy based on race. The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a request for information early last month, asking the public to submit written comment on the state of discipline in pre-K and K-12 schools. In the accompanying press release, ED alluded that it would form policy to reduce the number of certain demographics being disciplined at higher rates, specifically citing Black and disabled students. Public commentary for ED’s request for information closed last Friday.

In response, Brnovich organized a coalition of 15 other attorney generals to submit a letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona opposing any discipline policy based on race. Brnovich asserted that a policy similar to the Obama-era discipline policy would be illegal. In 2014, the Obama Administration imposed a policy requiring schools to include disparate impact requirements within their disciplinary guidelines, referred to as the “2014 Dear Colleague Letter.” Brnovich recounted the history and cited several stories detailing failures of the policy, like students receiving no discipline for assaulting teachers. 

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Minnesota Schools Spend Big on Equity Consultants

School bus

Taxpayer-funded school districts across the state have spent huge sums of money hiring outside consultants to conduct “equity audits” and related work, in some cases using COVID-19 relief funds to cover the costs.

The primary beneficiaries of this scheme include Equity Alliance Minnesota and the Minnesota Education Equity Partnership, a group managed by a current state legislator.

In the Sartell-St. Stephen School District, school administrators entered into an $80,000 contract with Equity Alliance Minnesota last October, according to a copy of the contract recently obtained by a group of concerned parents.

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Parents Concerned About Critical Race Theory in Schools, Poll Says

Parents Mad About CRT

The Biden administration has sparked controversy for endorsing elements of critical race theory in education programs, and the latest polling reveals a source of that concern.

A poll released by Convention of States Action found that many Americans are opposed to critical race theory in curriculum, and are open to removing their kids from public schools to avoid it.

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Nearly 30 New Tennessee Virtual Schools OK’d for Upcoming School Year

Young boy on desktop computer doing virtual learning with video chat

The Tennessee Department of Education has announced 29 new virtual schools have been created and approved to begin for the 2021-22 school year.

The new schools bring the state’s total to 57 virtual schools in operation across the state. Tennessee public schools have continued to add more virtual learning options, beginning with 2011 legislation and an added emphasis during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual schools are created, operated and overseen by a local school district and hold students to the same academic standards as in-person schools, but the virtual schools provide all or most of their education remotely.

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Biden’s Office for Civil Rights Pick Questioned on Her Position on Campus Due Process

Catherine Lhamon’s (right) work in President Barack Obama’s administration on Title IX issues may have won her praise from liberal groups and organizations representing alleged and confirmed victims of sexual assault, but it drew criticism from the ranking member of the Senate’s education committee.

President Joe Biden has nominated Lhamon to lead the federal Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Education, the same position she held under Obama. But Senate Republicans and due-process advocates have questioned her position on the rights of accused students.

Republican Senator Richard Burr said he is concerned that Lhamon “will charge ahead unraveling significant pieces of the previous administration’s Title IX rules.” He made the comments during a July 13 Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee meeting.

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Education Department Civil Rights Nominee Rejects Presumption of Innocence for Accused Students

Catherine Lhamon

The Biden administration’s nominee to lead the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights told a Senate committee Tuesday that a year-old Title IX regulation does not require the presumption of innocence for students accused of sexual misconduct.

The claim drew bafflement from critics of Catherine Lhamon, who held the same job in the Obama administration’s second term.

In response to threats from Lhamon to pull their federal funding, colleges lowered evidentiary standards and enacted policies that treat accusers more favorably than accused students. Courts have been steadily reining in those practices, sometimes citing the pressure from Lhamon’s office as evidence of bias.

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Tennessee Department of Education Awarded $830 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) awarded Tennessee $830 million in funds to reopen and secure schools. The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) earned these funds based on their American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Plan (ESSER). All states may submit an ARP ESSER plan. So far, ED reports that 40 states have submitted one.

According to the ED press release, this latest funding brings Tennessee’s total ARP funds to nearly $2.5 billion.

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