A new poll shows that the majority of American voters are deeply opposed to having critical race theory (CRT) principles being taught in schools.
The survey, conducted by Competitive Edge Research for Parents Defending Education, also shows that people overwhelmingly prefer Capitalism to Socialism (61.8% to 31.4%), frown upon “cancel culture,” (62.7% to 10.6%) and believe the United States is headed “on the wrong track” (60.7% to 32.8%).
Additionally, more respondents had a negative opinion of Black Lives Matter, than had a positive opinion (48.1% to 44.4%).
Throughout America, a very important – and highly racialized – conversation is taking place about overcoming injustice. Here in Florida, that conversation has often gone in a markedly different and very promising direction. And schoolchildren of color are among the greatest beneficiaries.
The conversation in Florida, at least as it pertains to education, has focused on what might be called “systemic privilege.”
If you are unfamiliar with this (de-racialized) mash-up term, try this: Go to a public forum and suggest that all families should be treated fairly – that all parents should have access to the per-pupil funds for their children even if they choose to educate them outside the public school system.
Tennessee’s highest court heard arguments on a disputed school choice program.
Tennessee’s Education Savings Accounts (ESA) pilot program, approved by the state Legislature in 2019, would provide state-funded scholarships of about $7,100 to low-income students in Nashville and Memphis – home to the state’s two lowest-performing school districts. Students would be able to use the funds to attend nonpublic schools of their choice.
A district court ruled the program unconstitutional when the two counties sued the state to stop the program. The state Court of Appeals upheld that ruling, and the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
Despite being abolished by the Biden administration, the 1776 Commission established by President Trump to develop a patriotic education curriculum lives on.
The commission’s executive director, Matthew Spalding, told Just the News that the panel is staying operational despite losing its federal charter and shifting its focus to state and local education. A Web site and new social media presence are forthcoming.
“You can abolish a commission, you can take a report off the website, but you can’t erase history,” Spalding told the John Solomon Reports podcast in an episode that aired Wednesday.
Just four weeks ago, I wrote about the rising resistance to the woke craze and critical race theory, and much has transpired since then.
Here in California, even Disneyland has not been spared the wrath of the crazies. On May 7, the incomparable Christopher Rufo reported that “The Wokest Place on Earth” now includes employee trainings on systemic racism, white privilege, white fragility, and white saviors, and also launched racially segregated “affinity groups” at the company’s headquarters.
But just five days later, Rufo disclosed that Disney “has removed its entire antiracism program from the company’s internal portal, effectively scrubbing it out of existence.” Rufo added, “This is a major victory in the war against ‘woke capital,’” and noted that a “significant backlash from the public” was responsible for the shift. While some skeptics suggested that the policy was being “tweaked or rebranded, not scrubbed,” Rufo responded, “Possibly, but small victories start to add up. We’ve set the precedent—and forced a $329 billion company to back down.”
The highest-ranking prosecutor in the state of Montana has declared Critical Race Theory to be a violation of state and federal law, and has banned the far-left theory in Montana’s schools, as reported by ABC News.
Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R-Mont.) made his announcement on Thursday, after he was asked for his opinion by the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Erise Arntzen (R-Mont.). His declaration bans the concept not only from Montana’s schools, but from employee training as well.
The far-left American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a statement criticizing Knudsen’s decision, falsely accusing him of attempting to “impose an alternate version of American history – one that erases the legacy of discrimination and lived experiences of black and brown people.”
Critical Race Theory and its potential impact on students, and the broader community, has many parents worried in Williamson County. These worries have grown ever since Fostering Healthy Solutions (FHS) was hired – by unanimous vote by the WCS school board – to do an audit of the WCS system. FHS is Shan Foster’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consultancy, which he co-founded with his mother, Anita Foster, in 2017. FHS was brought in to address charges of bullying and claims of incidents of racism in the WCS. The WCS School Board has paid FHS $55,000 over 4 months to help the district “provide a safe learning environment for all students by creating a cultural strategy plan”, according to an April 28 article in the Brentwood HomePage.
Fueling WCS parents’ concerns about FHS, are controversies regarding Critical Race Theory that are erupting in other school districts nationwide. The concern being, that firms like FHS are enacting programs in the name of “Diversity”, “Equity” and “Inclusion”, but hiding behind those nice-sounding terms is a bevy of lesser known CRT-based ideas. For example, concepts such as “white privilege”, “anti-racism” and “systemic racism”, as well as a “oppressor/oppressed” framework for understanding America. Oppressor/Oppressed narratives are rooted in Neo-Marxist philosophies and are usually presented as fact to faculty and students via DEI programs, rather than academic theory.
The Tennessee Legislature just banned the teaching of CRT in schools – with Governor Bill Lee signing HB 0580/SB 0623 – which penalizes funding to any school system that teaches CRT concepts. Still, the question many Williamson County parents have is, does CRT inform the worldview of the FHS’s founders? And does FHS intend to use CRT concepts and ideas to guide discussions about DEI should their contract be renewed in July?
Williamson County? Never heard of it. What’s the big deal?
Well, a lot.
Williamson County, Tennessee is what you might call “Republican Heaven.” Just south of Democrat-stronghold Nashville, much of it is a gorgeous suburb, home to the likes of country star Luke Bryan of “American Idol” fame – on an 150 acre estate – and Senator Marsha Blackburn.
Its county seat, Franklin, has a downtown straight out of an updated version of Norman Rockwell, the kind of place you can get both great barbecue and haute cuisine.
That small city and county are growing like crazy in large part because they are also supposed to have one of the best public school systems in the country.
Throughout his campaign and his presidency so far, Joe Biden has focused his message on fostering unity in the country. Newsflash: it’s not working.
Despite the president’s stated goal of ending the “uncivil war that pits red against blue,” as he called it in his inaugural address, issues including health care, immigration, racial justice, and even Covid-19 continue to divide the American electorate. Ostensibly, few issues remain on which Republicans and Democrats can find common ground.
That’s where school choice should come into the picture. Recent polling suggests that school choice may be the issue where a majority of Americans see eye to eye. If Biden really wants to unify, he should pick up the mantle of choice.
Earlier this year, an Aiken County teacher wrote to South Carolina state Rep. Bill Taylor in alarm about critical race theory emerging in public schools.
“I know full well the insidiousness of the so-called critical race theory that aims to resegregate society, discriminate against those who are white, victimize those who are black, and render America a nation of identity groups rather than Americans,” the teacher wrote.
Hardly a day goes by, Taylor said, that he doesn’t hear from a constituent on the issue.
With widespread school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the debate over school choice has once again taken center stage.
For the past seven years, approximately two-thirds of Americans have consistently supported school choice. Additionally, support is largely bipartisan, with 82 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Independents, and 55 percent of Democrats in favor of school choice.
The positive impact of access to quality education is clear. As President Donald Trump said during his State of the Union Address on February 4, 2020, “The next step forward in building an inclusive society is making sure that every young American gets a great education and the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.”
A Christian nonprofit legal group has sent a letter to the University of Alabama-Birmingham after the public university blocked a student from registering for classes because she would not take vaccines.
The letter from First Liberty Institute asks university officials to follow the religious exemption it granted Jackie Gale for her first year at school. The university does not currently mandate the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Due to Ms. Gale’s religious beliefs, she cannot receive the childhood immunizations UAB requires under its immunization policy,” Christine Pratt, counsel for First Liberty, wrote in a May 13 demand letter.
Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Crom Carmichael in studio to explain why school choice is becoming more important why parents need to stand up against critical race theory despite limited resources.
Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed GOP candidate for Nashville’s Fifth District, Robby Starbuck, to the newsmakers line to discuss his motivation for running, an endorsement by Senator Rand Paul, and his upcoming Critical Race Theory event in Franklin on May 19.
Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Metro School Board Member for District Six, Fran Bush in studio to give her philosophy on charter schools and the process by which they are instituted.
Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Florida State Representative Randy Fine to the newsmakers line to discuss current legislation on the table in the Sunshine State that will address Big Tech, critical race theory, pro-police policy, and anti-rioting.
On Monday, the Florida Senate passed SB 1028 which would allow Florida’s colleges and universities to sponsor an unlimited number of charter schools. Under current law, colleges and universities can, through the Florida Department of Education’s approval, sponsor one school.
A state university is permitted to work with a school district to develop a charter school but can only sponsor one. Now, there is no limit to the amount of charter schools an institution can sponsor.
The Florida Senate Monday passed a bill that would provide $200 million in state funds for school choice voucher programs, sending the bill to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
As reported by The Florida Capital Star last week, the Florida House passed HB 7045 by a margin of 79-36, with four Democrats joining the Republican majority. The voucher program will allow 60,000 more students in Florida to attend an alternative to public school, usually in low-income areas.
A bill that was both supported and opposed on the grounds of accountability passed the Florida House Wednesday.
HB 7045, which will combine two school choice voucher programs and expand eligibility for parents too choose where their children go to school, passed by a vote of 79-36. It will expand Florida’s voucher program to enroll 60,000 more students.
The Tennessee Senate passed a bill to standardize open enrollment processes for schools. Present law allows local educational authorities (LEA) to develop their own policies for open enrollment periods. Through the bill, each LEA would be required to have the open enrollment period last at least 30 days, as well as identify schools with available space for enrollment based on grade, class, and program level at least two weeks before the open enrollment period begins. It wouldn’t allow students to enroll in counties outside of their own.
The bill passed 27 to 2, with 3 senators abstaining their vote. State Senators Heidi Campbell (D-Nashville) and Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville) voted against the bill; Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis), Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville), and Sara Kyle (D-Memphis) abstained.
Last week, Kentucky was the first state legislature to pass a new program to fund students instead of systems this year. The proposal, House Bill 563, would allow eligible students to access scholarships to use at approved private education providers of their families’ choosing. But the Bluegrass State’s Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, blocked educational opportunities for thousands of children by vetoing the bill on Wednesday.
Kentucky requires a constitutional majority in both the House and Senate to override Beshear’s veto, and that vote is expected to happen Monday.
During his press conference announcing the decision, Beshear said that the bill “would greatly harm public education in Kentucky by taking money away from public schools and sending it to unaccountable private organizations with little oversight.”
Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William) and Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach), who are both running for lieutenant governor, started their education debate on Twitter during the 2021 General Assembly session. On Saturday, the two candidates met on Zoom to continue their discussion about the future of education in Virginia.
GOP gubernatorial candidates Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), Peter Doran, Sergio de la Peña, and Glenn Youngkin met on Zoom on Thursday evening to answer policy questions about school reform, fixing Virginia’s tax code, improving broadband access, and making Virginia more veteran friendly. The New Mission PAC hosted the forum. PAC founder Daniel Gade and former Delegate Chris Saxman asked the questions in a format designed to allow candidates to demonstrate policy positions without engaging in direct debate.
Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed attorney and Secretary for ReThink Forward to the newsmakers line to talk about Nashville Collegiate Prep charter school and the power of school choice.
Wednesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed education expert Timothy Benson of the Heartland Institute to the newsmakers line to discuss school choice legislation trends and the true intention of teacher unions.
Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed VP of State Advocacy for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Todd Ziebarth to the newsmakers line to talk about federal funding and state ranking.
Newly proposed legislation would establish an annual scholarship program enabling students to choose private schooling. The bill, filed on Tuesday by State Representative Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna), would apply to students within Tennessee’s rapid growth school districts (TRGSDs) according to Tennessee’s Department of Education (TDOE). Any local education agency (LEA), or school district, that has two percent growth over the course of five years would be eligible.
The bill capped scholarship recipients at 1,000 students. If more than 1,000 students applied for the scholarship, then TDOE would select the recipients via lottery preference. Students who have enrolled previously or have siblings in any given participating school would receive preference in such a lottery.
The Tennessee Supreme Court has agreed to the state’s appeal on the constitutionality of its education savings account program (ESA). The pilot school voucher program has been tied up in a legal battle for all of 2020 after its passage by the General Assembly in 2019, thereby preventing any planned advancement of the program.
The program was previously ruled unconstitutional by Davidson County Chancery Court Judge Anne Martin. She assessed it would disproportionately impact two counties: Shelby County Schools (SCS) and Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS). Those districts reportedly contain about 90 percent of the state’s failing schools list. The Court of Appeals upheld Martin’s decision last September.
Thursday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Inez Stepman senior policy analyst with the Independent Women’s Forum to the newsmakers line to address the recent Biden administrations’ trends in education policy and why school choice is important now.
Georgia State Rep. Wes Cantrell (R-Woodstock) has introduced a bill that, if enacted into law, would offer greater school choice for parents through Educational Scholarship Accounts. Parents could take these ESA’s and use them for private educational opportunities instead of public education funds.
The Georgia House Education Committee introduced legislation to fund education savings accounts for qualifying parents. House Bill 60, or the “Georgia Educational Scholarship Act,” proposes granting certain state educational funds to parents directly rather than schools.
The bill would allow students with circumstances including poverty, foster care, active duty military parent(s), disability, bullying, or mandated distance learning to apply certain state educational funds to attend the participating school of their choice.
Legislation to expand Ohio’s school choice eligibility was signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday.
Senate Bill 89 will expand the state’s EdChoice Program, which allows students to apply for vouchers for private schools if they are in low-performing schools or low-income districts. Supporters say this bill provides more opportunities for students and parents, but opponents say it diverts potential public resources away from public schools and toward private schools.
A new study from the University of Arkansas found the average disparity in per-pupil funding between traditional public schools and their public charter schools across 18 cities reached $7,796 per-pupil — a record high.
In Detroit, public charter schools educate over 40% of K-12 students.
A RealClear Opinion Research poll of 2,020 registered voters in August saw a 10-point increase in support of school choice policies since its last poll in April, from 67 percent to 77 percent.
The American Federation for Children describes school choice as the right for parents to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education in a school of their choice. The tax dollars would follow the child, not be tied to a nearby school system. Funding could be used for public, private, charter, or homeschool education, whichever method the parents believes provides the best learning environment for their child.
Minnesota Representatives Ilhan Omar (DFL-MN-5) and Angie Craig (DFL-MN-2) helped pass a House bill to “desegregate” schools nationwide. All 105 cosponsors are Democratic. “This legislation is an important step in making sure every student receives an excellent public education,” stated Craig in a press release.
In the wake of many schools around the country participating in remote learning, one Harvard University professor has admitted that parents are finding public schools to be “worse than they thought.”
The Harvard law professor gained national attention earlier in 2020, calling for a homeschooling ban. According to The Harvard Gazette, Elizabeth Bartholet said in May, “when it comes to homeschooling, the victims are all children so it’s harder to mount a political movement.”
Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio to discuss Trump’s recent announcement that if schools close funding should go to families so they can have a choice.
Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio.
During the second hour, Carmichael weighed in on Joe Biden’s recent advocacy for teachers and not students in his endorsement of the National Education Association (NEA) during a virtual assembly last Friday. He stated that Donald Trump is the clear choice for Blacks, Hispanics, and other people of color that care about their children’s education.
The Supreme Court ruled against a ban on taxpayer funding of religious schools Tuesday in a monumental win for school choice.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined conservative justices in a 5-4 ruling backing a Montana tax-credit scholarship program that gives residents credit if they donated to private scholarship organizations, according to Fox News, which would help the students pay for the private school of their choice.
by Mary Margaret Olohan President Donald Trump said Tuesday that school choice is the “civil rights statement of the year.” “School choice is the civil rights statement of the year, of the decade and probably beyond,” he said at a White House press conference. “Because all children have to…
Next time you hear progressives talk about how they are the ones who are sticking up for minority communities, ask them to square their opposition to educational freedom – or the ability for families to customize their child’s education.
Progressives cheered this week as Nashville Chancellor Anne C. Martin ruled that the state’s education savings account program is “unconstitutional” because of an obscure section in our constitution where it talks about “home rule.”
Two separate sources show there is pent up demand for the state’s Education Savings Account (ESA) Pilot Program, but there is not yet a way for interested parents to apply with the Tennessee Department of Education for the upcoming school year.
Ohio Democrats seized on an opportunity to blame Republicans for what they call an inability to fix the EdChoice school voucher program and for delaying the start of enrollment for two months.
Last week, state lawmakers signed off on a plan to move the start of the enrollment period for the Educational Choice Scholarship Program – colloquially known as EdChoice – from Feb. 1 to April 1. The program “provides students from designated public schools the opportunity to attend participating private schools.”
I am a glass-half-full kind of person, so while we could focus on the criticisms and some of the setbacks related to expanding educational freedom to more families, there is much more to celebrate than to lament. As National School Choice Week ends, it’s a great time to spotlight the growing variety and abundance of education options available to parents and young people.