U.S. Department of Education Finds Fairfax Schools Didn’t Provide Necessary Services to Students with Disabilities During Remote Learning

The U.S. Department of Education found that Fairfax County Public Schools didn’t take needed steps to ensure that students with disabilities received a legally-guaranteed free appropriate public education (FAPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Based on the evidence obtained through the Division’s documents and data, as well as interviews of administrators, OCR [Office for Civil Rights] found that the Division failed or was unable to provide a FAPE to thousands of qualified students with disabilities in violation of Section 504,” OCR District of Columbia Regional Director Emily Frangos wrote in a Wednesday letter to FCPS Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid.

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Biden Admin Extends Student Loan Payment Pause Again

The Biden administration extended the student loan repayment pause to until the end of June 2023 while the administration’s student loan forgiveness plan is tied up in court, according to a Tuesday press release from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).

Under the extension, loans do not need to be paid until 60 days after June 30, 2023, or whenever “litigation is resolved,” according to the DOE press release. The extension of the repayment pause comes as the Department of Justice (DOJ) urges the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s ruling which blocked the student loan forgiveness plan.

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Vanderbilt Research Professor Appointed to Serve in the Biden Administration

President Joe Biden appointed Vanderbilt Peabody College research professor Douglas Fuchs, PhD to the National Board for Education Sciences, the university announced in a Wednesday press release.

Biden selected Fuchs, along with 13 others, to serve as board members on October 27.

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Group Sues U.S. Department of Education over Biden’s Student Loan Cancellation Plan

A nonprofit legal group filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the U.S. Department of Education to block its move to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for some borrowers.

“Congress did not authorize the executive branch to unilaterally cancel student debt,” Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Caleb Kruckenberg said. “It’s flagrantly illegal for the executive branch to create a $500 billion program by press release, and without statutory authority or even the basic notice and comment procedure for new regulations.”

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Leahy and Gulbransen Weigh In on Tennessee AG Skrmetti’s Position on Title IX, Redefining the Word ‘Sex’

Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Aaron Gulbransen in studio to comment upon recent public statements made by newly elected Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti regarding Title XI and redefining the word “sex.”

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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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Debbie Lesko Demands Answers on Biden Administration Gender Ideology Training for Schools

Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ-08) recently sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, requesting information regarding gender ideology training for schools.

“The Biden Administration will stop at nothing to impose the gender ideology of the radical left in our nation’s schools,” Lesko said in a press release. “As the founder of the Protect Kids Caucus, I am requesting answers from the Department of Education [DOE] to ensure that schools are not forced to provide this training or promote gender ideology to young students without parental notice and consent.”

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7,190 Virginians to Receive Debt Forgiveness After Finding That ITT Technical Institute Misled Students

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) granted federal loan forgiveness to former ITT Technical Institute students, including $141.6 million across 7,190 Virginians, after findings that the school falsely advertised the value of its degrees.

“Attending higher education is a big decision, and a sacrifice for many Virginians,” Attorney General Jason Miyares said in a press release.

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Biden Admin to Investigate Major University for Alleged ‘Hostile Environment of Anti-Semitism’

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating the University of Southern California in Los Angeles for allegedly creating a “hostile environment of anti-semitism” on campus, according to a press release.

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law filed a complaint in November 2020 to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for Rose Ritch, a USC student who was forced to resign from her role as student body vice president after students allegedly harassed her for being a “Zionist” and excluded her because she is Jewish, according to the press release. The OCR notified the Brandeis Center that it will investigate the university on Tuesday, the center announced.

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Pennsylvania Lawmaker Wants Education Department to Explain ‘Gender Unicorn’ Material

A Republican lawmaker is pressing the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to explain the use of material featuring characters called “Genderbread Person” and “the Gender Unicorn.” 

A week ago, State Rep. Aaron Bernstine (R-Ellwood City) sent a letter to Pennsylvania Secretary of Education (PDE) Noe Ortega asking about a diagram apparently distributed by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) that depicts the two figures.

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Commentary: Louisiana’s Bold Move to Overhaul High School Career and Technical Education

America’s high schools have problems. Nearly twenty years ago, Bill Gates observed that the existing model is obsolete — that, even when high schools “work,” the results are too often mediocre. In 2016, The Education Trust found that 47 percent of high schoolers graduated prepared for neither college nor a career. In 2018, Gallup reported that two-thirds of high schoolers described themselves as wholly or partially disengaged. And, just last month, the National Center for Education Statistics concluded that high schools are plagued by grade inflation: Over the past decade, grades have risen to a record high even as math and science performance by 12th graders has edged down.

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Biden Administration Endorses Transgender Hormones and Surgeries in Children

Joe Biden

The Biden administration released documents Thursday that endorse children and adolescents with claims of gender dysphoria to experience “gender-affirming care,” including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and body-mutilating transgender surgeries, including elective double mastectomies and castrations.

Biden appeared in a video endorsing transgender treatments and surgeries for children.

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Biden Education Department ‘Declares War’ on Charter Schools as School Choice Becomes Overwhelmingly Popular in America

As more families and teachers flee government schools, the Biden administration – bound to the teachers unions – has now “declared war” on charter schools, as Robert Maranto, editor of the Journal of School Choice, wrote at National Review Monday.

The Biden education department is now on a path to sabotage the federal grant program that funds charter schools, public schools that are privately managed, with its proposal of new rules that appear to actually deter applicants from seeking grants.

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Former Tennessee Speaker Beth Harwell Officially Announces Her Candidacy for the 5th Congressional District

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Leahy welcomed former Speaker of the House, Beth Harwell to the newsmakers line to officially announce her candidacy for the Fifth Congressional District seat and her two top priorities if elected.

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Minnesota College Ends Segregated ‘Anti-Racism’ Training Program After Civil Rights Complaint

Aerial photo of Carleton College

A liberal arts college in southeastern Minnesota ended its “anti-racism” training program following a civil rights complaint.

Carleton College, located in Northfield, held racially segregated “mandatory monthly affinity groups” as part of its “anti-racism training series” for employees and staff throughout the spring 2021 semester (January through May 2021).

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ANALYSIS: A Look at Universities’ Foreign Contribution Filings

College student studying

Data collected by the US Department of Education show that during 2021, colleges and universities amassed a total of $1.3 billion in contracts and gifts from foreign sources, including $337 million from foreign governments.

The U.S. Department of Education has expressed concern about foreign nations using funds to influence American institutions of higher education. “For at least two decades,” the Department said in a report published last October, “the industry has been on direct notice that at least some of these foreign sources are hostile to the United States and are targeting their investments (i.e., “gifts” and “contracts”) to project soft power, steal sensitive and proprietary research, and spread propaganda.”

Campus Reform has covered how China uses Confucius Institutes to exert influence on American schools. Needs a line about what Confucius Institutes are Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated the program as “part of the Chinese Communist Party’s global influence and propaganda apparatus.”

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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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Report: More Than Half of Federal School COVID Relief Funds Used for Non-Pandemic Purposes

This week’s Golden Horseshoe Award goes to the U.S. Department of Education for approving pandemic relief spending plans by school districts that include millions for upgrading athletic facilities, installing security cameras, purchasing floor shiners and other non-pandemic related projects.

Approximately $190 billion in pandemic funding under both the Trump and Biden administrations was allocated to schools to safely reopen and protect teachers and students.

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Federally Funded Critical Race Theory Program Removes ‘Critical Race Theory’ from Description

Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Education approved a grant application for a summer research program whose “core feature” was introducing student fellows to “critical race theory.”

The feds approved a five-year extension of the original grant for the Research Institute for Scholars of Equity (RISE) this year, with one notable and unexplained omission: the term “critical race theory.”

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Federal Taxpayers Pay Millions to Fund Program That Funds Students to Promote Critical Race Theory

Students walking on college campus

Federal grant records show the U.S. Department of Education has awarded millions of taxpayer dollars to fund critical race theory training for future educators at several colleges across the country.

In 2016 under the Obama administration, the federal government awarded its first five-year grant of $1,116,895 to North Carolina Central University (NCCU) for “training” college students in critical race theory.

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Biden Administration Warns Florida About Penalties for Mask Mandates

After the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) proposed to ramp up punishment for school boards enforcing mask mandates, the Biden Administration warned them on Monday to “reconsider” their “threatened actions.”

On October 7th, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran announced his proposal to prevent school boards from receiving federal funding from the Project to Support America’s Families and Educators grant program – or “Project SAFE” – that provides funding to school districts that are financially penalized for implementing CDC guidelines such as mask mandates.

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U.S. Senate Confirms Gwen Graham for Position in U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Senate confirmed former Florida Congresswoman and attorney, Gwen Graham, as assistant secretary of legislation and congressional affairs in the U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday.

Representing the Tallahassee area and other parts of north Florida, Graham was part of the Florida House of Representatives from 2015 to 2017, and lost a bid for governor in 2018.

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U.S. Department of Education Pays Fines for Florida School Board Members

Group of young students at table, reading and wearing masks

School board members in Alachua County, who saw their salaries cut due to mandating masks in their schools against Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 21-175, were repaid Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE).

Funding for the payment comes from a new program established by the Biden Administration known as the Project to Support America’s Families and Educators grant program, or “Project SAFE.”

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Tennessee State Legislators Push Back Against Biden Administration Claim Parents Opting Out of Mask Mandates Is a Civil Rights Violation

U.S. Department of Education (USDE) officials announced Monday they will investigate Tennessee and five other states that allow parents the right to opt out of a public school’s COVID-19 mask mandates. In a press release, USDE officials said such policies could discriminate against students who are disabled and at heightened risk for severe illness.

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Feds Address DeSantis’ ‘Mask-Optional’ Order

The U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) has expressed their concern over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ insistence on Florida’s public schools being mask optional for this school year. DeSantis issued an executive order banning mask mandates in Florida’s schools ensuring the parents have “freedom to choose.”

However, the U.S. DOE sent a letter to DeSantis and Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran on Friday.

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Despite Criticism, Florida Governor DeSantis Awards Bonus Checks

Governor DeSantis held three ceremonies in the state of Florida Tuesday, awarding first responders and educators with $1,000 bonuses from the for their hard work and dedication through the pandemic.

In addition to first responders’ work through the pandemic, DeSantis’ first ceremony was held in Surfside for search-and-rescue task force members who helped in the aftermath of the Champlain Tower collapse. The last two ceremonies were in Jacksonville and Pensacola respectively.

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U.S. Department of Education Questions DeSantis Teacher Bonus Plan

Th U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has questioned Governor Desantis’ announcement to give Florida teachers a $1,000 bonus for returning to the classroom for the upcoming school year.

On Wednesday, the USDOE sent a letter to Florida Education Commissioner, Richard Corcoran, that claimed the approved bonuses do not fit the eligible guidelines set by federal agency, as reported by the Associated Press (AP). 

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Georgia Department of Education Officials Want Public Input on American Rescue Plan Spending

Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) officials want public feedback as they plan how to spend taxpayer money they received through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which is the federal government’s third COVID-19 relief bill. This, according to a press release that GaDOE officials emailed this week.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Legislation That Hurts School Discipline

Lack of student discipline, inadequate administrative support, and lack of respect are frequently cited why teachers leave the profession. The continued barrage of top-down legislation by the Tennessee General Assembly does not help.

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