Commentary: Racially Sensitive ‘Restorative’ School Discipline Isn’t Behaving Very Well

Students in shop class at school with safety goggles on

The fight outside North High School in Denver was about to turn more violent as one girl wrapped a bike chain around her fist to strike the other. Just before the attacker used the weapon, school staff arrived and restrained her, ending the fight but not the story.

Most high schools would have referred the chain-wielding girl to the police. But North High brought the two girls together to resolve the conflict through conversation. They discovered that a boy was playing them off each other. Feeling less hostile after figuring out the backstory, the girls did not fight again.

This alternative method of discipline, called “restorative practices,” is spreading across the country – and being put to the test. Many schools are enduring sharp increases in violence following the return of students from COVID lockdowns, making this softer approach a higher-stakes experiment in student safety.

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Commentary: MIT Bucks the Trend and Reinstates Its SAT/ACT Requirement

SAT multiple choice exam with a number 2 pencil

In case you missed it, on Monday MIT announced that they would be reinstating their SAT/ACT requirement for future admissions cycles. Like many universities, MIT had ditched the tests during the pandemic.

Even prior to the pandemic, however, there had been a widespread push to abandon these tests to enhance diversity.

“Data shows tests like the SAT are biased against students from low-income households. Poorer students tend to perform worse on the test,” CNN reported in 2015. “Blacks and Hispanics also consistently score lower on the SAT than whites.” (CNN conveniently left out that Asian Americans score much higher than whites, presumably because it didn’t fit the narrative.)

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Commentary: Parents Can Fight and Defeat Critical Race Theory

Critical Race Theory sign with a table of books

Five years ago, hardly anyone knew what Critical Race Theory (CRT) was, but now the phrase is a common one in American households. The Marxist-based theory advocating a race-essentialist approach to education, law, public policy, and even health care, seeks to deconstruct the foundations of society and rebuild it as “antiracist,” while discriminating against whites along the way. Many people are overwhelmed with both the pervasiveness of the doctrine and the large task of fighting it.

Parents in Loudon County, VA, have tackled the issue head on, making national news by loudly criticizing CRT and electing school board members opposed to it. Such efforts, however, have been piecemeal nationwide.  

Momentum in fighting this hate-doctrine is growing, though, and many parents want to know how they can protect their children and eradicate such teaching from their local schools. Catrin Wigfall, a Policy Fellow with the Center of the American Experiment, offers some practical ways parents can fight CRT.

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Tennessee’s Proposed Public School Funding Formula Will Not Increase Local Taxes, Commissioner Schwinn Insists

Local taxpayers should not be worried about a large local tax increase in four years if a new public school funding formula is enacted, Tennessee Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner Penny Schwinn said.

An introductory overview of the proposed new formula, which would replace the current Basic Education Program (BEP) created in 1992, from the DOE showed “local contributions are set to be lower in FY24, FY25, and FY26 and begin to increase again in FY27, in an amount similar to prior years so that the new state investment does not overwhelm local requirements.”

During discussion in the House K-12 Subcommittee, however, Schwinn pushed back on the notion there would be a four-year cliff where local governments would see a heightened required local expense for public schools.

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Iowa House Passes Bill Requiring Schools to Post Curriculums, Materials Online for Parent Review

The Iowa House voted 60-30 in favor of passing a bill that would require Iowa public and charter schools to post their curriculum and books online for parents to review.

Some educators have argued that the bill (HF2577) will limit their ability to “adapt and meet the individualized needs of their students.”

The bill will give parents the ability to review instructional materials and request that their children opt out of certain reading materials. If the schools materials do end up changing, teachers will be required to update the information online by week’s end or be subject to a fine between $500-$5,000.

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Commentary: Hybrid Schools Are Reshaping Education

They’re not exactly schools, but they’re not homeschools either. They have elements of structured curriculum and institutional learning, while offering maximum educational freedom and flexibility. They provide a consistent, off-site community of teachers and learners, and prioritize abundant time at home with family. They are not cheap but they are also not exorbitant, with annual tuition costs typically half that of traditional private schools.

Hybrid schools are, in the words of Kennesaw State University Professor Eric Wearne, the “best of both worlds,” drawing out the top elements of both schooling and homeschooling while not being tied too tightly to either learning model.

Wearne studies hybrid schools and is the director of the National Hybrid Schools Project which seeks to better understand this educational approach and why it’s been gaining popularity in recent years. Wearne joined me on this week’s episode of the LiberatED Podcast to talk more about hybrid schools and how they are reshaping American education.

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Michigan Parents Demand Resignation of School Board and Administrators

student and teacher reading together

A group of parents in Rochester, Mich., are demanding a dramatic change in school leadership.

Parents expressed their anger at Rochester Community Public Schools administrators and school board members during a Monday meeting. Parents are demanding the school board fire Superintendent Robert Shaner, then tender their resignations.

The parents’ pique was prompted by revelations school employees were monitoring parents’ social media accounts, compiling dossiers of publicly disgruntled mothers and fathers, and phoning parents’ employers, which, in the case of Elena Dinverno, resulted in her firing.

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Wisconsin Professor Suspended After Publicly Criticizing University’s ‘Wokeness’

Rev. Dr. Gregory P Schulz of Concordia University of Wisconsin

Rev. Dr. Gregory P Schulz, a philosophy professor and Lutheran pastor, was suspended from Concordia University in Wisconsin following the publishing of his Feb. 14 article “Woke Dysphoria at Concordia.”

“Wokeness appears to be developing into a pathology at my ‘institution of Lutheran higher education’” Schulz wrote in Christian News article, criticizing the direction of Concordia University.

Five days later, Schulz discovered that he was suspended from the university. He apparently did not know why, even after getting locked out of his university email account and banned from all campus properties.

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Commentary: Schools’ COVID-Aid Joy Ride Could Send New Hires off a Fiscal Cliff – Again

As school districts across the country grapple with declining enrollments induced by the pandemic, many are engaged in spending sprees like those of the past leading to widespread layoffs and budget cuts when federal money ran out.

Bolstered by $190 billion in pandemic relief funding from Washington, the nation’s public schools are hiring new teachers and staff, raising salaries, and sweetening benefit packages. Some are buying new vehicles. Others are building theaters and sports facilities.

Using such temporary support for new staff and projects with long-term costs is setting the table for perilous “fiscal cliffs” after COVID funding expires in 2024, some education budget analysts say. And that’s on top of doubts about whether money to battle the pandemic is being properly spent in the first place.

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Commentary: Civics Education Is More Important Than Ever

At its founding, American K-12 public education was meant to prepare young people to be active participants in our democratic republic. That should still be its highest purpose, especially when it comes to teaching civics.

Historically, public schools held fast to the principle that effective education must be non-partisan. Knowing they had great power to influence young minds, teachers used to be careful to choose content and pedagogies that restricted their ability to impose their personal political views on schoolchildren.

Today, maintaining non-partisanship is more important than ever in classrooms. Sadly, it’s increasingly dishonored. Civics has become a hot-button issue of late, particularly after remote learning allowed more parents to see what their children were actually being taught. Many were not happy with what they saw, and the debate over civics education is symptomatic of the larger divide that has become such a looming threat to American society.

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Most Minnesota School Districts Facing Budget Shortfalls amid Enrollment Decline

empty hallway

Minnesota school districts belonging to the Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD), a lobbying organization, are facing a collective budget shortfall of $235.3 million for the upcoming 2022-23 school year.

That figure comes from the results of an AMSD survey taken by 45 school districts across the state.

For example, Minneapolis and Saint Paul Public Schools are facing respective shortfalls of $59.5 million and $42.8 million — approximately 43% of the combined shortfall. Only eight school districts that took the survey reported no projected shortfalls.

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Commentary: Women’s Opportunities Are Being Taken Away by ‘Womxn’

In celebration of Women’s History Month, colleges and universities are hosting events to celebrate womxn, not women.

In an effort to become more inclusive of those that deny biological reality, higher education is in fact erasing women’s opportunities to excel in academics, athletics, and career tracks.

I am proud to be a woman. Women have been pivotal to our society. But making women compete with men undermines females’ ability to achieve success.

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Georgia Senate Approves Bill to Ban Teaching ‘Divisive Concepts’

Bo Hatchett

Georgia teachers would be banned from teaching “divisive concepts” in the classroom under legislation signed off on by the Georgia Senate.

Senators voted, 34-20, in favor of Senate Bill 377. The legislation now heads to the state House, where lawmakers previously passed similar legislation, House Bill 1084.

The bill outlines nine “divisive concepts,” including that one “race or ethnicity is inherently superior to another race or ethnicity” and that an “individual’s moral character is inherently determined by his or her race, skin color, or ethnicity.”

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Texas Lt. Governor Proposes Eliminating Tenure to Rid CRT from Public Universities

Dan Patrick of Texas

The Texas Lieutenant Governor has stated his priority to eliminate tenure in an attempt to stop Critical Race Theory (CRT) from “poisoning the minds of the next generation.”

During a Feb. 18 press conference, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick argued that academia has been infiltrated by “tenured, leftist professors” and called for additional oversight methods to crack down on the controversial curriculum. 

Patrick defined CRT as “an offshoot of critical legal studies, which is an offshoot of a socialist program (which says) that everything that happened in life is based on racism.”

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Commentary: Trump Knew How to Handle Putin, But Biden Has No Clue

Sometimes we need time to pass and distance to extend to gain fuller perspective on what we did not see contemporaneously from too close. Indeed, G-d tells Moses that no person can see His face (which I teach as meaning an up-close encounter) and live, but people can see the back of G-d’s head (which I teach as meaning a more distant previous encounter, growing ever more distant). See Exodus 33:18-23.

In their October 22, 2012, debate, Obama mocked GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney for expressing concern about Russia and Vladimir Putin:

Gov. Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that al Qaeda is a threat because a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia. The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.

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Vanderbilt Professor Calls Parents ‘Ignorant Racist[s]’ for Opposing Critical Race Theory

Vanderbilt University

A Vanderbilt University professor recently said that parents who oppose Critical Race Theory (CRT) are “ignorant racist[s].” 

“Meanwhile, ignorant racist [sic] are worried about scaring their kids w CRT,” Gilman Whiting tweeted last month after a bomb threat against Howard University, an historically Black college in Washington, DC. 

Earlier the same day, Whiting tweeted, “[S]chool boards across the country are banning teaching history while ignorantly calling it CRT.”

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Michigan Education Department Touts Video That Makes False Claims About School Funding

The Michigan Department of Education posted a document on its website that encourages people to watch a YouTube video about systemic racism, but it contains inaccurate information about finances in the state’s public school system.

The document was published in July 2020 by an entity called the Governor’s Educator Advisory Council two months after George Floyd was killed in Minnesota by a police officer, and while riots were taking place in many U.S. cities. The document promotes and links to a video titled “Systemic Racism Explained,” telling visitors it “is a good place to start.” But the video suggests that Michigan school districts which service low-income communities get less funding than others. The claim is not accurate; the reverse is true.

The video tells a story of two youths – an African-American child named Jamal and a white child named Kevin – and how their school districts are funded. The fictional students are said to live a few streets from each other.

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Commentary: Revitalizing K-12 Education with 10,000 New Charter Schools

The American K-12 education system has been failing too many students for too long. And the problem has only gotten worse amid pandemic-era school closures and remote learning.

Increasingly, parents are venting their frustration at local government bureaucracies and teachers’ unions that they believe have too often failed to put the interests of kids first — and some are voting with their feet.

Throughout Covid-19, traditional public school enrollment has dropped by 3.3% (1.45 million students) while charter school enrollment has increased by 7.1% year over year (237,000 students). Families are increasingly taking advantage of other non-traditional schooling options as well: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of homeschooling nationwide increased by 5.6 percentage points between April and October 2020.

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American Bar Association Requires Law Schools to Educate Students on ‘Bias, Cross-Cultural Competency, and Racism’

Man in a suit writing on paperwork at a table

The American Bar Association House of Delegates has approved new law school accreditation standards at the 2022 ABA Midyear Meeting, of which two amendments were focused on “diversity.”

In order to eliminate bias and enhance diversity, the ABA’s amended Standard 303(c) requires that “a law school shall provide education on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism: (1) at the start of the program of legal education, and (2) at least once again before graduation.”

To fulfill this requirement, “Law schools must demonstrate that all law students are required to participate in a substantial activity designed to reinforce the skill of cultural competency and their obligation as future lawyers to work to eliminate racism in the legal profession.”

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National School Boards Association Executive Reportedly Knew About Attorney General’s Memorandum Targeting Parents Before It Was Published

A National School Boards Association (NSBA) executive reportedly knew about Attorney General Merrick Garland’s memorandum targeting concerned parents before it was published, according to new information obtained by Parents Defending Education.

Chip Slaven, then-interim executive director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) knew about Garland’s memorandum that called on the FBI to “use its authority” against parents who threaten or use violence against public school officials, according to an email obtained by Parents Defending Education (PDE) through a public records request.

“I understand Chip knew about the U.S. AG Directives before they were published,” Alabama NSBA member Pam Doyle told Florida NSBA member Beverly Slough in an Oct. 5, 2021 internal email exchange. “So much for communicating with the BOD,” she added.

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Tennessee Education Commissioner Vows Arts Teaching Jobs Will Not Be Outsourced

Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn made clear Thursday the state’s new public school funding formula will prioritize teachers and will not outsource teaching responsibilities in the arts.

Schwinn was asked about the outsourcing after questions arose from comments she made during a Feb. 3 steering committee meeting when asked about schools working with nonprofits for art education.

Schwinn clarified Thursday she was referring to the flexibility of getting added help for additional arts programs. She said the new formula, the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement (TISP), would have the same allowances the current Basic Education Program (BEP) has for schools to get additional help for custodial contracts or after-school programs from outside sources.

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Sen. Darling: Break Up Milwaukee Schools, Allow for Choice

Senator Alberta Darling

The latest school choice plan in Wisconsin would break up Milwaukee’s public schools.

Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, introduced the plan.

“Wisconsin was the first state to give parents more say in their children’s education and future. We have an opportunity to build on our reputation and reclaim our status as a national model for reforming K-12 education,” Darling said in a statement.

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Gubernatorial Candidate Benson Proposes Changes to Minnesota’s Substitute Teacher Licensure

blonde woman in floral blouse

Many Minnesota schools are struggling to find substitute teachers.

State Sen. and gubernatorial candidate Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, on Friday posted on her campaign website her proposed changes to substitute teacher license regulations, which she claims would increase the pool of short-call substitute teachers and help schools stay open.

Currently, substitute teachers in Minnesota must have a bachelor’s degree (or U.S equivalent as verified by a foreign evaluation) in any field; be enrolled in a teacher preparation program; have completed student teaching, or, for candidates in career and technical education (CTE) fields, have professional certification, associate’s degree, or at least five years of relevant work experience in the CTE field, according to the state application. If they meet those qualifications, they can teach up to 15 consecutive days per teaching assignment. Their license is valid for three years. Currently tiered licensure teachers can use their teaching license.

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Missouri Considers Pension Changes to Solve Teacher Shortage

Man standing in front of a room, giving a lecture with a presentation

Legislators are considering changes to Missouri’s teacher and non-certified school employee pension plans to alleviate pandemic-related teacher and staff shortages.

HB2114, sponsored by Rep. Rusty Black, R-Chillicothe, will reduce restrictions on pensions if a retired public school teacher returns to the classroom or to a non-teaching position in a public school. The legislation also increases from two to four years the length of time a retired teacher or retired non-certified public school employee can work while still receiving their pension.

During testimony before the House pensions committee, Rep. Black, the committee vice chairman, said similar legislation was passed by the House and died in the Senate last year as the legislative session ended in May. He said the legislation simplifies and improves the amount retirees can earn before their pensions are restricted.

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Iowa Schools Must Require Masking to Accommodate Students with Disabilities

 Iowa schools must require masking when necessary as a reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at St. Louis ruled Tuesday.

The court cited the Rehabilitation Act Section 504 in its determination.

What’s more, Iowa statute currently allows masking when federal law requires it, the court ruled, American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said in an explainer of the ruling.

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Missouri Attorney General Sues Nine More School Districts over Mask Requirements

young girl getting face mask put on her face

Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Monday filed lawsuits against nine public school districts with mask requirements.

Schmitt, a candidate for the seat of retiring U.S. Republican Senator Roy Blunt, filed suit against 36 school districts on Friday. Today’s districts being sued include the Kirkwood School District and the Special School District of St. Louis, both serving where Schmitt resides in Glendale, Mo.

“As we’ve made clear from the beginning, the power to make health decisions for their children should be in the hands of parents, not bureaucrats,” Schmitt said in a statement. “Today I’m filing nine more lawsuits against school districts that are illegally enforcing mask mandates on schoolchildren. Masking children all day in school is ineffective and these endless pandemic restrictions lead to lasting, negative psychological impacts on children and teens. This is a fight worth fighting, and I’m not going to back down.”

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Commentary: Critical Race Promoters Are More Odious than Marxists

Of late, Fox News has been hosting a series called “The MisEducation of America” featuring gatherings of critical race theory’s critics—such as Carol Swain of Vanderbilt University—focusing on the danger of teaching racially divisive versions of American history. According to Swain, a black professor of political science at Vanderbilt, forcing kids to do things like play games called “privilege bingo” are “a prime example of how CRT, has seeped down to K-12 education, and it disturbs students.” Further: “All of these critical theories with Marxist roots are destroying American education, and parents have to save their children. But they also have to work to save other people’s children.”

Although the media and our universities may choose to ignore Swain’s complaint, she is actually understating the problem she and “MisEducation” host Pete Hegseth are featuring. I’m not sure I see “the Marxist roots” of the crusade against white people and their history in quite the same way Swain and Hegseth see it. We are indeed witnessing class warfare but not of the kind that Marx foresaw. It is a war being waged by white elites against the “basket of deplorables,” the predominantly white, working-class, and small-town Americans whom these elites hate and want to divest of human dignity. Similar conflicts are going on simultaneously in other Western countries, featuring equivalent social conflict.

In none of these cases do we find Marx’s appeals to the proletariat to rise up against those who control the means of production. In fact, we are witnessing exactly the opposite. An alliance of corporate capitalists, feminists, the LGBT lobby, and black race hustlers are directing their fire on the working class, which seems to be the least affected by the hegemonic ideology of wokeness. If anything, we are now looking at what Pedro Gonzalez has characterized as “the counterrevolution of the ruling class.” If Marxist theory, which supposedly is “seeping in” has any application, it would be as an analysis of how our elites are suppressing those they are stepping on and trying through increasingly vicious hate speech to isolate.

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Denver Elementary School to Hold BLM Event Teaching Kindergarteners, First Graders to Disrupt the ‘Nuclear Family,’ Recognize ‘Trans-Antagonistic Violence’

sign that says "families of color playground night Wed. 12/8 4:10 p.m.

A school district in Denver, Colorado, plans to host a Black Lives Matter “Week of Action,” according to a report from Parents Defending Education.

Centennial Elementary School (CES) in Denver Public Schools (DPS) announced its plans to participate in the “Black Lives Matter (BLM) at School Week of Action” from Jan. 31 – Feb. 4, according to a report from Parents Defending Education (PDE). The school said it will instruct kindergarteners and first graders to be “transgender affirming” by “recognizing trans-antagonistic violence” and “queer affirming” so “heteronormative thinking no longer exists.”

Most kindergarteners and first graders are five, six and seven years old, according to PDE.

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Supreme Court Will Consider Landmark Challenge to Harvard, University of North Carolina Affirmative Action Policies

The Supreme Court announced Monday it will reconsider race-based affirmative action in college admissions, a decision that could eliminate a practice that in recent years primarily benefitted black and Hispanic applicants.

The high court says it will hear challenges to policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina that use students’ race as one criteria to decide who should gain admission.

In the case against Harvard, challengers say the same practices that have for close to four decades helped black and Hispanic students — not necessarily applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds — gain admissions have hurt Asian-American applicants.

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Missouri AG Sues 36 School Districts with Mask Requirements, But Not His Own District

Missouri Republican Attorney General Eric Schmitt completed on Friday a promise made earlier this week by filing lawsuits against 36 public school districts for requiring masks.

“Mask mandates in schools are illegal, they simply don’t work, and they contribute to alarming and negative psychological impacts on our children,” Schmitt, a candidate for the seat of retiring Republican U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, said in a statement announcing the lawsuits. “My Office has been on the frontlines of the fight to end the forced masking of children all day in school, and today we took concrete legal action toward that end. Parents and families, not bureaucrats, should have the power to decide what’s best for their children. With this litigation, we’re seeking to return that power back to parents and families, where it belongs.”

Earlier this week, leaders of two Missouri public school district collaboratives told The Center Square that attorneys for many school boards believe two Missouri statutes require districts to create and enforce policies to ensure the health and safety of students. Schmitt stated a November Cole County Circuit Court ruling, now being appealed by St. Louis and Jackson Counties at the Missouri Court of Appeals, prevents school districts from enforcing any public health orders. Schmitt set up an email box through his office in December and received 11,000 messages and photographs from people witnessing mask requirements in public schools.

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Missouri Legislators Remain Divided over Critical Race Theory Bill

Bob Onder and Nick Schroer

If criticism of two Republican members of the Missouri House of Representatives is any indication, a bill to ban critical race theory (CRT) will face challenges.

More than a thousand people filed digital testimony forms on the bill and the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee’s hearing lasted more than four hours.

State Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon and a candidate for the term-limited Senate seat of Bob Onder, R-St. Charles, testified on HB1474 on Tuesday. State Rep. Doug Richey, R-Excelsior Springs, joined Schroer as they teamed to combine the banning of critical race theory with Richey’s “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” HB1995.

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State Superintendent Says She Won’t Approve Curriculum That Instructs Disabled Preschoolers to ‘Deconstruct Whiteness’

North Carolina Superintendent Catherine Truitt

The North Carolina State Superintendent walked back plans to implement a statewide curriculum that would teach disabled preschoolers to “deconstruct whiteness,” according to a report from Education First Alliance (EFA).

Catherine Truitt, North Carolina’s superintendent of public instruction, said she has not “will not sign” a contract proposal that would teach disabled preschoolers “we are all products of a racialized society” and that “Whiteness affects everything … inside and outside the classroom.”

“Instead, I will create a new contract proposal that has strict guardrails and new accountability measures to ensure the true needs of our youngest and most vulnerable learners are met,” she said. “As long as I am Superintendent, our pre-K classrooms will remain places of play and learning.”

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Las Vegas Says It Will Offer Teachers up to $2,000 to Stay in the Classroom Amid COVID Surge

The school district that oversees public education in Las Vegas said it will offer teachers and other employees up to $2,000 in bonuses if they stay on amid the current COVID-19 surge and concurrent employment crisis.

Clark County School District said in a statement this week that the CCSD Board of School Trustees had “approved an agreement with all five employee bargaining units to provide eligible regular and full-time employees employed as of January 1, 2022 with a $1,000 COVID retention bonus.”

“CCSD will also pay an additional $1,000 bonus to eligible regular and full-time employees who are employed on May 25, 2022, for a total of $2,000,” the statement added.

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University Fires 100 Professors Due to COVID

William Paterson University

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into its third year, William Paterson University is now laying off 100 full-time faculty over the next three years. 

The university, located in Wayne, New Jersey, originally planned to let 150 professors go before union negotiations revised the number to 100, or 29% of the institution’s 340 faculty, reports Inside Higher Ed.

Thirteen tenured professors lost their job at the end of 2021, according to the outlet. 

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Analysis Shows Education Vouchers Saved Georgia Taxpayers Money

Georgia’s school choice programs saved taxpayers at least $605 million in fiscal year 2018, an updated analysis by EdChoice found.

EdChoice examined the fiscal effects of 40 private educational choice programs in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The nonprofit found the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program and the Georgia Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit saved taxpayers between $605 million and $1.1 billion in fiscal 2018.

Each taxpayer saved money on the sum they would have paid in taxes for each student enrolled in the program to attend public schools. The programs saved each taxpayer between $4,355 to $8,013 per student, according to the report.

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Thousands of Students Plan School Walkouts Across the U.S. in Protest of in-Person Learning

Boy walking down a school hallway

Students across the U.S. are planning school walkouts in protest of in-person learning as COVID-19 cases spike amid the rise of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

There are nearly 3,500 schools actively disrupted as of Friday, according to Burbio’s K-12 School Opening Tracker, which tracks school closures for 1,200 districts, including the 200 largest school districts in the nation.

On Tuesday, New York City students staged a walkout in protest of in-person learning over what they said were concerns about testing and safety mitigation measures. NYC Mayor Eric Adams said school was the “safest place” for children during a Friday news conference.

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School District Openly Promotes Implementation of CRT, High School Presentation Discusses ‘Pyramid of White Supremacy’

Girl standing up in the middle of classroom

A high school in Oregon gave a presentation featuring a “Pyramid of White Supremacy” that discussed concepts like “white fragility” and “white saviorism,” according to documents obtained by Parents Defending Education.

Grant High School in Portland, Oregon, taught students about equity and racial justice as part of its “Race Forward” project from December of 2021, according to documents obtained by Parents Defending Education (PDE).

The presentation defined “whiteness” in connection with “the belief that white people are the standard in society” and said “white fragility” is demonstrated by white people showing discomfort and defensiveness “when confronted by information about racism,” such as “bringing up having family members or friends who are Black.”

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Wisconsin Schools, Public Health Managers Change Coronavirus Rules for Students

students working on school work and wearing masks

School kids across Wisconsin will likely miss fewer days because of a change in the state’s coronavirus rules.

Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services on Monday sent a letter to every school in the state, informing them of new guidance for coronavirus isolations and quarantines.

“Science shows that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission happens early in the illness, so CDC has shortened the recommended length of isolation from ten days to five days for people with COVID-19 who do not have any COVID-19 symptoms or symptoms have resolved or are improving after five days,” DHS wrote in its letter.

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Tennessee Professor Is ‘Ungrading,’ Letting Students Teach Each Other

Tim Gill

Timothy Gill, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, tweeted yesterday that he intends to spend the semester “ungrading” and “unteaching” his students. 

“I want this to be THEIR classroom,” tweeted the sociology professor, who also expressed his intention to let the student select “the readings for the class” as well as teach “via group presentations.” 

Campus Reform reached out to Gill for comment.

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Commentary: It’s 2022, But Many Schools Are Reverting to 2020’s COVID Playbook

young girl getting face mask put on her face

It’s 2022 but you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s still 2020—especially if you have children enrolled in K-12 district schooling. Some parents are grappling this week with a return to, or threat of, remote learning first introduced nearly two years ago.

Fear of the fast-spreading Omicron variant of the coronavirus is leading school officials across the country to once again shutter schools. In Cleveland, for example, this first week of school for the new year is entirely remote for public school students. Several districts throughout Ohio are following suit, while others are re-imposing 2020 virus-related restrictions or extending the holiday break into this week.

Newark, New Jersey public schools announced they will be fully remote for the next two weeks, as did other districts throughout the state. Public schools in Atlanta will also be closed this week, reverting back to remote learning.

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Virtual Universities Going for the 2022 Academic Year

Woman on laptop working outside

Campus Reform is monitoring the colleges and universities starting the 2022 academic year online.

These institutions are imposing the changes due to the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.

Seven out of the 10 University of California chancellors decided to begin the winter quarter remotely. This includes UC Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz.

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University Accused of Weaponizing Public Records Law to Harass, Intimidate Faculty

Indiana University campus

Indiana University paid a law firm to file a public records request against itself to search the emails of a law professor who was investigating its presidential search process, the professor claims, citing an invoice for the firm’s services.

Steve Sanders said he learned about the Access to Public Records Act (APRA) request made by Hoover Hull Turner, “presumably to attempt to find out how I’ve learned what I know,” on the eve of publishing his investigation on Medium in October.

The request covered any presidential search-related emails he may have sent or received with trustees, search committee members, former officials and recently departed President Michael McRobbie.

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‘BIPOC’ Debate Tournament Banned White Students from Competing

University of Chicago Library

Student-run debate organizations at Northeastern University and Boston College co-hosted the American Parliamentary Debate Association’s (APDA) “inaugural BIPOC tournament” and explicitly prohibited white students from competing.

The BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color,) only tournament included teams from multiple universities including the University of Chicago.

As The Chicago Thinker reported this past semester, The University of Chicago informed students the BIPOC debate was only open to anyone who “does not identify as white.”

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Commentary: The Pandemic Has Increased the Need for Student Tutoring

Two people writing on a dry-erase board

The first time I caught a plagiarized essay was at the beginning of my career as an English professor over 20 years ago. Two of my students had turned in papers with more than a few suspiciously similar phrases, and a quick Google search revealed that they had lifted whole paragraphs directly from an academic website about American poetry that was, as far as I could tell, honestly trying to help students understand the subject.

The culture of student cheating on the Internet has come a long way since then, and the COVID-19 pandemic has brought it into even sharper focus. One thing that has changed dramatically in the past two decades is that students aren’t turning to crude HTML sites put together by well-intentioned poetry scholars to cheat on their assignments, but to sophisticated “homework help” sites like Chegg.com that grew by almost 70 percent during the pandemic, reaching a current market cap of $8.5 billion.

Chegg is trying to encourage university faculty to partner with it, claiming (accurately) that “90% of college students say they need more help with their studies.” But the solution to helping students with their homework isn’t to move them onto online platforms that could easily be exploited for student cheating. Rather, students need to work with peer tutors on their own campuses.

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University President Calls out Chinese Students He Says ‘Harassed’ Their Dissident Peer

After a Chinese student at Purdue University spoke out against the Chinese Communist Party, fellow Chinese students at the American school allegedly threatened to report him to China for espionage. 

Zhihao Kong told ProPublica that after he posted a letter condemning the Tiananmen Square Massacre, China’s Ministry of State Security began threatening him and his family. 

“His family back home, in this case China, was visited and threatened by agents of that nation’s secret police,” President Mitch Daniels said in an email published by the Purdue Exponent. 

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Over 500 Freedom of Information Act Requests Filed Against Loudoun County School District

Man looking at folders

The Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) district, which has faced widespread backlash and scrutiny over its handling of a two-time rapist, is now dealing with over 500 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by county parents, Breitbart reports.

The sheer amount of new requests represents an increase of more than five times the previous yearly average; from 2012 to 2018, the average amount of FOIA requests for LCPS was about 90. Roughly 40 percent of the new requests have been filed on behalf of the group Fight for Schools, a nonprofit watchdog group that has been fighting for transparency from the school board.

As the process of fulfilling a FOIA request under Virginia state law, much like the federal equivalent, is a time-consuming process, LCPS “has begun billing VFOIA requesters because it cannot handle the current volume free of charge,” according to LCPS Public Information Officer Wayne Byard. In addition, the district has had to hire twice as many staffers to focus solely on processing such requests.

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Nearly 60 Percent of American Parents Are Concerned With What Their Kids Are Learning: Poll

Roughly 6-in-10 parents are concerned about the current quality of American education, according to a survey conducted by an education advocacy group.

An overwhelming number of parents believe they should be able to determine what their kids are taught in the classroom, according to a Free to Learn (FTL) poll. Concerns over COVID-19 mitigation measures, Critical Race Theory (CRT), gender ideology and virtual learning have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic.

CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet it teaches people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies.

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1619 Project Creator Says She Doesn’t ‘Understand This Idea That Parents Should Decide What’s Being Taught’ in School

The 1619 Project Creator said she doesn’t understand the argument “that parents should decide what’s being taught” to their children in school on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.

The 1619 project was created by Nikole Hannah-Jones, a writer for The New York Times, and it promotes the idea that America’s ‘true founding’ occurred when slaves arrived in the colonies, framing the history of the country around race and slavery.

“I don’t really understand this idea that parents should decide what’s being taught,” Hannah-Jones said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I’m not a professional educator. I don’t have a degree in social studies or science,” she said.

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Los Angeles Students Lost over 90,000 School Days in Compliance with Quarantine Protocol

A California activist group calculated that students in Los Angeles County missed over 90,000 school days in the span of a month, Fox News reported.

In about a month a total of 92,455 in-person school days in Los Angeles County were lost, which Jonathan Zachreson, the founder of Reopen California Schools called “astounding,” Fox News reported Monday. Quarantine measures to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic kept kids home from school, which led to the learning loss that Zachreson said “could have been avoided” if school officials hadn’t intervened in public health matters.

Many students were able to stay in school because of “Test to Stay” programs, which allow unvaccinated students who are exposed to the virus to stay in school as long as they are asymptomatic, wear a mask and take two COVID-19 tests a week, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

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