Parent-Teacher Tensions Run High over Lack of Mental Health Transparency from Mentor School Educators

Mentor Schools is withholding mental health information about transgender or transitioning students from parents.

An Ohio school board meeting on Tuesday, September 13th raised concern in parents over an e-mail which went out to teachers in the district informing them that they are not required to inform parents if a student, 11 years old or older, who is transgender or transitioning asks to use a different name or pronoun.

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First Lady Jill Biden and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona Traveling to Knoxville This Week

First Lady Jill Biden and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona are traveling to Knoxville this week to kick off the Road to Success Back to School Bus Tour.

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Georgia Teacher Supply Supplement Will Cost $20 Million

Georgia plans to spend about $20 million on a program to give teachers and school employees a $125 bonus, a state official confirmed on Friday.

Georgia announced the “Back-to-School Supply Supplement” program in July. Under the plan, the state will give a $125 supplement to teachers and school staff members “who work to provide instructional and supportive services directly to students on a daily basis.”

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Minnesota Licensure Changes Ask Teachers to Make Students ‘Agents of Social Change’

The Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB), whose members are appointed by the governor, is revising its “standards of effective practice” for teacher licensure that will apply to all new teachers when adopted.

According to the Center of the American Experiment, the changes will impact teacher licensure programs and “require aspiring educators to ‘demonstrate’ ideologically driven content in their coursework to obtain their teaching license.” This goes for educators who end up teaching at private schools, too.

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Florida Pushes to Recruit Military Veterans for Teaching Jobs

Gov. Ron DeSantis is encouraging military veterans interested in teaching at Florida public schools to consider applying through a new program.

“Florida is leading the way by bringing some of the best, the brightest and the bravest among us into our classrooms through a new program that helps military veterans become teachers,” he said in a video announcement Thursday. “If you served in the military for at least four years, were honorably discharged, have taken 60 college credits, and pass a subject area exam, we want you to be able to teach Florida students.

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Two Studies Raise Concerns About Public School ‘Serious Violence Incidents’

At a time when school shootings are a concern for many Americans, serious violence incidents are also up in schools across the nation, reports two recent studies.

One study, from the National Center for Education Statistics, shows a 35% increase in serious violence incidents in K-12 public schools from the 2015-16 school year to 2019-20. Serious violence incidents include rape, attempted rape, sexual assault other than rape, threatened rape, physical attacks, fights with a weapon, threat of physical attack with a weapon, and robbery with or without a weapon.

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DeWine Tells Ohio School Leaders Arming Teachers Remains Optional

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, in a letter to school superintendents around the state, called arming teachers in classrooms a serious local decision that remains optional after he signed a new law that reduces training needed for guns in schools.

DeWine, who recently signed House Bill 99, also told school leaders he would rather districts use school resource officers than armed teachers.

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More Teachers, Fewer Students Nationwide Despite Claims of Teacher Shortage

The number of teachers in the U.S. has increased from 2013 to 2020 while the number of students has decreased, according to data from the National Education Association, the nation’s largest public-school union.

While total enrollment has dropped 1.4% over those seven years, there has been a 2.3% increase in the number of public-school teachers.

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Ohio GOP Gov. DeWine Signs Bill Allowing Teachers to Carry Gun After 24 Hours of Training

Ohio GOP Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill Monday making it easier for teachers to carry guns in schools, capping the required training to no more than 24 hours.

Teachers and other school employees previously were required to complete the same basic training as law enforcement, which took over 700 hours.

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Teachers Explain How They Push ‘Gender Lessons’ on Young Children

Teachers across the country revealed the strategies they use to teach young children about gender ideology in a Friday article published by The Washington Post.

Teachers discussed the various ways they are injecting gender-related discussions into their lessons, including comments about using hormones to stop menstrual periods and declining to state that sexual anatomy is gender-specific, according to The Washington Post. One transgender teacher makes a point of telling students about the process of gender transitions, including with personal testimony.

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Lamont: Taxpayers Will Help Aspiring Teachers Earn Certifications

Connecticut is spending taxpayers dollars to help defray testing costs for teachers, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

The governor announced that $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding will be used to help aspiring teachers defray the costs of certification-related testing in the state over the course of the next two years.

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Larry Sand Commentary: American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten Needs to Get a Grip

My Dearest Randi,

What is going on! It has been a year since my last missive, and I have not heard a peep from you. This is not the first time you have snubbed me, however. When I tried to say hi to you outside the Supreme Court after the Janus oral arguments in 2018, you refused to even look at me, and then turned to a newsman and launched into a kooky rant, insisting that unions “actually make communities safer and…the right-wing is threatened by that.”

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Minnesota Spending COVID Relief Funds on ‘Anti-Bias’ Training for Teachers

Minnesota is spending untold millions in COVID-relief funds on controversial education initiatives, like implementing ethnic studies in schools and recruiting teachers on the basis of race.

President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package included $122 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. Minnesota received a total of $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan funds, $1.3 billion of which came from ESSER.

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Sen. Kapenga Presses State Superintendent for CRT Webinar for Wisconsin Teachers

There are new questions for Wisconsin’s state superintendent of schools about critical race theory, politics, and a webinar for teachers in the state.

Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, on Monday released an open letter to State Superintendent Jill Underly that asks her a series of questions about a February webinar featuring activist and author Charlene Carruthers.

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Minnesota House DFL Pitches $1.15B Increase in Education Spending Using State Surplus

Catrin Wigfall

Minnesota House DFL committee chairs on Monday pitched a $1.15 billion increase in education funding for fiscal year 2023 and $2.12 billion in fiscal years 2024 and 2025.

The Minnesota House Education Finance, Policy and Early Childhood committees proposed using the state’s historic budget surplus for the increases.

Center of the American Experiment Policy Fellow and Educated Teachers MN Director Catrin Wigfall told The Center Square in an emailed statement Monday that the House plan won’t help.

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‘Cynical Symbolism’: Biden’s Education Department Issues New Rules to Crush Charter Schools

President Joe Biden’s administration is pushing new policies that make it harder for charter schools to survive while strengthening the power of teachers unions, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The newly proposed rules, which apply to the Department of Education’s (DOE) 2023 budget, will make it more difficult for charter start-ups to qualify and receive funding from a $440 million federal charter school program by requiring charter schools to prove there is a demand for education not being met by other institutions like public schools. The guidelines will consequently give teachers unions more control over education, experts told the DCNF.

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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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Georgia Doling Out More Than $11 Million in COVID Relief to Help Teachers

The Georgia Department of Education is dishing out more than $11 million in federal COVID-19 relief to help more than 14,600 Georgia teachers.

The State Board of Education approved $6.8 million in Expanding Opportunities for Teachers Grants for 19 school districts, higher education institutions and Regional Educational Service Agencies (RESAs). Recipients can use the money to pay for tuition, fees and exam costs for Georgia public school teachers enrolled in approved Teacher and Teacher Leader Endorsement programs.

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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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Pennsylvania Substitute Teacher Shortage Means Fewer Barriers to Hiring Teachers

While the pandemic has upset the norm in education, a substitute teacher shortage in Pennsylvania has sparked changes to state law and continues to delay the return of a normal school day.

The shortage sometimes means pay spikes for substitutes, cutting into school district budgets. In the long run, shortages may require more tax revenue to cover costs and attract teachers.

Some schools have turned to remote days or shut down when they became shorthanded, like they did during a rise in COVID-19 cases, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review noted. By February, disruptions in Pennsylvania and nationally leveled off, but the supply of substitute teachers remains small.

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Christian Student Sues Florida School, Alleges He Was Mocked By Students and Teachers for His Faith

A Florida student has sued his school over what he alleges is religious discrimination by his teachers and fellow classmates.

Nicholas Ortiz, a freshman at Miami’s Mater Academy has filed a lawsuit claiming he “was discriminated and retaliated against by his high school … because he is a Christian,” according to the complaint. Ortiz said he regularly brings his bible to school to read, which he alleges has made him a target for “disparaging comments” from other students, as well as school staff and administrators.

The complaint also outlines what it calls false and defamatory statements that circulated among students claiming Ortiz was planning a school shooting. Screenshots of communications between students show them discussing the rumored shooting and details their plans to physically assault Ortiz as a result.

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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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Commentary: Mike Rowe Scholarship Highlights the Lost Virtues of Hard Work and Sweat

Tracy Wilson is sitting in the cutest little ranch house in this Calvert County town. It is her dream house—literally her dream house, she explains, as she has had the image of this very home in her mind, down to the color scheme of the exterior.

It is 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and the single mother of two just got home from another dream—her job. She spends her days working as an instrumentation technician in the flight test program at Boeing.

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Veteran Phoenix School Teachers Protest Pay Cuts to Oust Them for New Critical Race Theory-Supportive Teachers

Phoenix Elementary School District 1 is cutting the merit-based pay of veteran school teachers, which accounts for 15% of their salaries, while offering $1,500 bonuses to new teachers who join the district. Some of the teachers believe it is in part due to the fact more experienced teachers are less likely to support CRT and other radical curriculum. Teachers at one of the district’s schools, Shaw Montessori, held a protest in front of the district’s administration building Wednesday night while its leadership was meeting.

The teachers found out in early February about the pay cuts. Administrators, principals and other staff are getting pay raises, veteran teacher Vanessa Stricker told the Arizona Sun Times. And Phoenix Elementary School District 1 School Superintendent Larry Weeks got a 12% pay raise last year, just in time to substantially increase his retirement pay when he retires in May. 

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Taxpayer-Funded Federal Program Trains Teachers in Critical Race Theory

Newly uncovered federal grant documents show that the U.S. Department of Education awarded roughly $2.5 million in taxpayer dollars to a Florida-based education program that trains future teachers and other professionals in, among other things, critical race theory.

The funding came through two grants, one in 2017 and another in 2021. Both grants went to faculty at Florida State University, which has partnered with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

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Commentary: Shutting Down Parents Does Not Help Public Education

As school districts start dropping the mask mandates, removing pornographic books from their libraries, and explicitly prohibiting critical race theory, it’s clear that the parent protests are working. School boards, even in progressive bastions like San Francisco, are currently being cleaned out and replaced by more pro-parent members. Moreover, politicians like the governor of Oklahoma are openly instituting a school choice model that would allow for different schooling models and have education dollars follow the student, not automatically go to the school.

Naturally, these developments invite more pushback (sometimes literally so) from those who believe they’re supporting public education. It was fine in the past to let various kooky parents carry on about the evils of teaching Harry Potter or sex ed; school boards and district leaders could simply yawn and carry on as before. However, now that it actually threatens their authority and influence, they can no longer ignore parents’ concerns..  

In general, opponents of protesting parents make the same points over and over. They deny that public schools have problems, play semantic games with critical race theory (“it’s just an abstract legal theory taught in law school,” etc.), and accuse angry parents of being misguided racists. In their view, parents who demand a more wholesome and academic experience for their children are actually demanding an exclusively white and privileged experience. And for good measure, they will add an anecdote about a heroic public school teacher changing lives, proving beyond any doubt that public schools are still doing noble work and are essential for a healthy, diverse society.  

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Petition Vowing to Teach Critical Race Theory Regardless of Law Tops 8,000 Signatures

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

A petition by teachers nationwide pledging to teach Critical Race Theory (CRT) to students regardless of whether states pass laws against the practice has reached more than 8,000 signatures.

“From police violence, to the prison system, to the wealth gap, to maternal mortality rates, to housing, to education and beyond, the major institutions and systems of our country are deeply infected with anti-Blackness and its intersection with other forms of oppression,” the Zinn Education Project’s petition page says. “To not acknowledge this and help students understand the roots of U.S. racism is to deceive them — not educate them.”

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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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Commentary: The Outcome if Government Unions Get Control of an Entire State

Chicago Teachers’ Union protesting

Chaos. Disruption. Uncertainty.

The Chicago Teachers Union provides a real-world example of what happens when a government union has too much power.

CTU has gone on strike three times in three school years. In the latest work stoppage, over 330,000 schoolchildren missed five days of school. Parents were notified of the walkout after 11 p.m. on a school night, leaving them just hours to develop a back-up plan after the union decided not to show up.

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Public School Pandemic Decline Leads to Rise in Parent-Formed Microschools

School closures and district struggles to provide adequate remote learning platforms for students have led parents, and some teachers, to think outside the box to create their own private “microschools” that provide individualized learning and flexibility.

In late summer of 2020, as many school districts wrestled with reopening amid government-imposed mandates and teacher union demands, Jason Bedrick, director of policy at EdChoice, and his colleague, fellow Matthew Ladner, prepared a report at Heritage.org that explained the concept of microschools.

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New Iowa Bill Would Allow Parents to Watch Kids’ Classrooms

An Iowa representative introduced Tuesday a bill that would allow parents to watch live footage of their children in public school classrooms.

“I think we need to showcase the great work our teachers do,” Rep. Norlin Mommsen, R-DeWitt, a farmer, told The Center Square in a phone interview Tuesday.

He said that through the COVID-19 pandemic, parents learned they wanted to be more involved, and this is a mechanism of facilitating parental involvement.

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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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Tennessee Officials Release New Project School Performance Data Predating COVID-19

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and staff at the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) this week released projected data that predates COVID-19 and compared it to student’s actual TCAP scores. They said in a press release that they did this to measure the pandemic’s impact on student achievement via the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) public site. State officials use the site annually to measure students’ overall growth.

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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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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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Tennessee Becomes First State to Sponsor Teacher Apprenticeship Program

The Tennessee Department of Education announced in a press release it has pioneered a new way to develop teacher pipelines. As of Thursday, Tennessee is the first official state to be approved by the U.S. Department of Labor to establish a permanent Grow Your Own model, with the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System and Austin Peay State University’s Teacher Residency program becoming the first registered apprenticeship program for teaching in the country.

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State Department of Education and Metro Nashville School District to Hold Town Hall

The Metro Nashville School District and the State Department of Education is set to hold a town hall meeting Wednesday night at 6:30pm. Parents, students, teachers, and community members are encouraged to share their thoughts on state education funding. The meeting is scheduled to last an hour.

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Commentary: Americans Believe Damaging Sleep Myths

Woman sleeping

A new survey suggests that at least half of Americans fall for a number of sleep myths, some of them quite damaging for sleep health.

Assistant Teaching Professor Elizabeth Pantesco and Associate Professor Irene Kan, both in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Villanova University, spearheaded the research, which was recently published to the journal Sleep Health.

The duo surveyed 1,120 adults residing in the United States via CloudResearch’s Prime Panels. Participants were queried about their demographics, then asked whether they agreed or disagreed with twenty statements about sleep, for example, “Watching television in bed is a good way to relax before sleep” and “For sleeping, it is better to have a warmer bedroom than a cooler bedroom.” Unbeknownst to them, the statements were all widely recognized as myths by sleep experts.

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Teachers Get Raises, Bonuses From Federal COVID Relief Funds Meant to Reopen Schools Safely

This week’s Golden Horseshoe once again goes to the U.S. Department of Education for allowing school districts to use pandemic relief funds for pay raises and bonuses for teachers despite the funds being appropriated to reopen schools safely.

Schools nationwide received $190 billion through three relief packages passed. Of that total, the largest sum, $122 billion, was from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

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Wisconsin Gov. Evers Vetoes Classroom Transparency Proposal

Parents across Wisconsin will not get to see everything their kids are learning in school.

Gov. Tony Evers on Friday vetoed the so-called classroom transparency act.

The idea of the plan was to have schools share their curriculum, lesson plans, and assignments with parents so they knew just what their kids are being taught.

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Analysis: Teacher Unions, Parents Gird for 2022 Battles

Protestor with megaphone, talking

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

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

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

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Democrats Boast That Their Donors’ Most Common Profession Is Teacher

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) tweeted that the most common DNC donor-reported occupation in 2021 is teacher.

The tweet sparked widespread mockery online, with commentators pointing out that teachers’ widespread alignment with Democrats is a root cause of conservatives’ distrust in public education.

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Scottsdale School Board President Stripped of Title, Refuses to Resign

Jann-Michael Greenburg

The head of the Scottsdale Unified School District has lost his gavel after his peers have voted to strip him of his title and asked for his resignation, which he flatly refused.

Jann-Michael Greenburg is under investigation by school district officials and the Scottsdale Police Department for his alleged involvement in keeping and sharing a set of online files containing personal information of parents who opposed the board’s COVID-19 mitigations, including information on some of their children. 

Greenburg’s father, Michael Greenburg, was listed as the owner of the files before they were taken from public view, according to the Scottsdale Independent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Group of young students working in classroom

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

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

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

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Lawmakers Call on Minnesota School Boards Association to Withdraw from National Organization

Minnesota School Boards Association meeting

Several state lawmakers want the Minnesota School Boards Association to withdraw from the national affiliate after it compared concerned parents to domestic terrorists.

The National School Boards Association wrote to President Joe Biden in September regarding an alleged increase in “acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials.”

The infamous letter described this alleged behavior as “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

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Minnesota Teachers Union Wants State Holiday to Vaccinate Kids

Education Minnesota, the state’s far-left teachers union, wants lawmakers in St. Paul to “consider a state holiday for vaccinating students.”

Denise Specht, president of the union, thinks all eligible children should be vaccinated unless they have a “rare and legitimate medical reason” for not getting the shot.

“State and local leaders must be bold in their efforts to make this vaccine available to every student, no matter where they live or how much money they have,” she said.

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

National School Boards Association meeting

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

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

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

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Colleges Offer ‘Social Justice’ Math Classes for Students, Future Teachers

This school year, colleges around the country will teach students to use math to drive a “social justice” agenda. Campus Reform has found several courses, aimed both at math students and future teachers, that will teach math through social justice and social justice through math.

Central Washington University’s “Mathematics for Social Justice,” identified by Twitter user @OrwellNGoode, purports to teach students how, and why, to use math for social justice activism. The course description says, “The overarching goal of this course is for students to develop the ability and inclination to use mathematics to understand, and improve, the world around us, exploring social, political, and economic justice.” Students will use math and analysis to “draw conclusions concerning social justice issues,” “make and evaluate assumptions in a social justice context,” and “analyze and critique social justice claims and arguments.”

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