Ducey Appeals Ruling Against Arizona’s Limiting COVID Relief to Open Schools

Gov. Doug Ducey is appealing a federal judge’s decision blocking his decision to withhold federal COVID-19 relief to unopened schools. 

While Arizona had lifted all mask mandates in April 2021, some schools still maintained a mask requirement.

To incentivize the removal of classroom mask policies, Ducey restricted a $163 million aid package to maskless, opened schools. The aid amounts to $1,080 per student. The state funding came from the $2 billion in federal stimulus money from the American Recovery Plan Act.

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Poll: Racial and Sexual Curricula in Schools Dividing Americans

According to a new poll, Americans are divided along party lines on the question of whether or not to actively teach about race and sexuality in public schools.

The Associated Press reports that the poll by the University of Chicago, AP, and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research asked two questions of respondents: Do parents have too little, too much, or about the right amount of influence over what their children learn, and do teachers have too little, too much, or about the right amount of influence in the same area?

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Arizona Schools Must Give Students Moment of Silence Each Day

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill to ensure that students will have time to take a moment of silence at school each day.

Ducey signed House Bill 2707. It’s a bill that requires all public and charter schools to give students a moment of silence at the beginning of the day. The one-to-two-minute moment of silence can be used in a way determined by the student and their parents.

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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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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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Washington, D.C., Lifting COVID Mask, Vaccine Mandates but Face-Covers Still Required in Schools

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is lifting the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate and will not extend its mask requirement into March.

The Democratic mayor also says that as of Tuesday many businesses in the nation’s capital will no longer be required to check that customers have at least one dose of the vaccine before allowing them to enter. However, they will still be allowed to make such a request on their own, according to dcist.com.

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Over Half of Americans Don’t Think Schools Need to Teach About the Ongoing Impact of Slavery and Racism

Over half of Americans don’t think schools have a responsibility to teach students about the ongoing impact of slavery and racism, according to according to a poll released Monday by the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State University in partnership with APM Research Lab.

Two-thirds of Republican respondents and almost half of Independents said educators should only teach the history of slavery, according to the “Mood of the Nation” poll. Only one-fifth of Democratic respondents said exclusively the history of slavery should be taught.

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Commentary: Democrats Want to Destroy Your Children

No, this is not another Qanon or Pizzagate conspiracy theory. It’s a sober recitation of the facts and incidents that can support no other conclusion.

Let’s start with one important stage-setting fact: According to OpenSecrets.org two organizations account for practically all of the contributions made by teachers unions: The National Education Association (about $20 million in 2016) and the American Federation of Teachers (almost $12 million). Both groups — which compete for members, but also collaborate with each other through the NEA-AFT Partnership — are consistently among the organizations that contribute the most money to candidates and political groups. From 2004 to 2016, their donations grew from $4.3 million to more than $32 million — an all-time high.

Even more than most labor unions, they have little use for Republicans, giving Democrats at least 94 percent of the funds they contributed to candidates and parties since as far back as 1990, where the Open Secrets’ data begins. Go here for a detailed breakdown of teachers union political giving.

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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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Former Obama White House Adviser Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Steal $218k From Schools He Founded

Former Obama White House adviser Seth Andrew this week pleaded guilty to participating in a wire fraud scheme in which he attempted to steal over $200,000 from a network of schools he helped found.

Andrew “admitted today to devising a scheme to steal from the very same schools he helped create,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement on the Justice Department’s website.

“Andrew now faces time in federal prison for abusing his position and robbing those he promised to help,” Williams noted.

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Commentary: The Fixation on COVID Testing Is Leading to the Widespread Disruption of Another Academic Year

Last week, a friend phoned to tell me that her child would be unable to make a playdate with my 8-year-old scheduled for the following day. Her son had tested negative for COVID that evening, yet she planned to take him for another PCR test the next morning “out of an abundance of caution.” Days earlier, a neighborhood mom was so distraught that her daughter had shared the same bus with a classmate who was later discovered to have had COVID that she insisted on stocking up on at-home testing kits for use every day that week. Despite displaying no symptoms and being fully vaccinated, the child and her siblings were subjected to daily nasal swabs.

While television programs like HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm poke fun at liberals who stockpile COVID essentials, progressive professionals who retain the luxury and time to devote to their hypochondria are inevitably contributing to the nationwide shortfall of available tests while undermining the efforts of Americans whose testing needs revolve around a real exposure to the virus. Yet, as has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic, American children continue to pay the heftiest price for the Left’s misguided and irresponsible conduct.

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Arizona Gov. Ducey and Gubernatorial Candidate Kari Lake Differ on Putting Cameras in Classrooms

Leading Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake voiced support for putting cameras in schools in order to allow parents to monitor what educators are teaching their children, and Gov. Doug Ducey responded by criticizing the idea. 

Ducey said during a press conference that it could lead to “predators” monitoring children, the Arizona Capitol Times reported. “We’ve got young kids in these classrooms,” he said. “We want to protect them from predators, of course.” 

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Homeless Encampments Begin Forming Near Schools in Los Angeles

Homeless encampments have begun cropping up near schools throughout the city of Los Angeles, even despite a citywide ban on any such encampments near public areas, as reported by the Epoch Times.

The Los Angeles City Council had previously passed a new resolution, Ordinance 41.18, which was signed into law by Mayor Eric Garcetti (D-Calif.), forbidding any such homeless camps from being set up within 500 feet of “sensitive-use” areas, including schools, daycares, libraries, and parks. The ordinance also banned such camps from forming near freeway overpasses and underpasses, ramps, tunnels, and bridges.

But in order for the ordinance to be enforced, each individual district’s councilmember must introduce a motion to do so, which then must be approved by the council. As such, homeless encampments have begun sprouting up near schools in the Venice Beach neighborhood, which falls under District 11; that district is represented by Councilman Mike Bonin (D-Calif.), who has a history of refusing to enforce anti-homeless measures for other districts, and has not yet introduced any such measures to protect his own district.

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Commentary: The Biggest Junk Science of 2021

Doctor with protective gloves handling vaccine

Just as it did last year, the most dangerous pandemic in a century spawned all sorts of junk science in 2021, running the gamut from pure quackery to ideology-fueled misinformation. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to spot junk science, especially when it’s disguised in techno-babble or parroted by governments, doctors, or other traditionally trusted sources. This sneakiness, combined with the unprecedented stress of a novel, highly-infectious disease, makes almost anyone prone to falling for BS.

To help identify junk science in the future, it’s useful to showcase junk science from the present and past. Here are six of the worst examples from this year:

6. Star NFL Quarterback Aaron Rodgers Was ‘Immunized’ Against COVID-19 With Homeopathy. Through much of the NFL season, Green Bay Packers starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers led reporters and fans to believe that he had been vaccinated against COVID-19. But when Rodgers was diagnosed with the illness in early November, it was revealed that he had not in fact been vaccinated, but rather had been ‘immunized’ with a homeopathic remedy. Homeopathy is a ridiculous, utterly disproven pseudoscience based on the magical notions that “like cures like” and that water can ‘remember’ the essence of a substance. Furthermore, according to practitioners, diluting a substance down to infinitesimal, often nonexistent amounts actually makes the homeopathic remedy stronger. In keeping with this fairytale logic, Rodgers likely imbibed a homeopathic potion (essentially just water) that before dilution may have had some sort of virus in it, and claimed that it raised his antibody levels, rendering him ‘immunized’. It’s utter nonsense.

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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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Arizona School District Opens Probe into Dossier Assembled on Parents Opposing Board President

An Arizona school district announced Friday night is has hired a forensic investigator to determine if school resources were used to “compile, access or modify” a private dossier on parents critical of the school board president.

The Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) acknowledged it was aware of allegations that the dossier may have been assembled by School Board President Jann-Michael Greenburg’s father, Michael, a local activist, and some of its contents shared by the school board president.

The district “began the process of hiring an independent forensic investigator to determine if any school resources were used to compile, access or modify the private dossier allegedly created and maintained in Google drive folders by Mark Greenburg, the father of SUSD Board President Jann-Michael Greenburg, and shared by the latter,” Superintendent Scott A. Menzel announced.

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Condoleezza Rice Has Harsh Words for Critical Race Theory

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice debunked critical race theory during a recent appearance on ABC’s The View.

Rice, who is now director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, spoke bout the role of public schools in the United States during a discussion on broader education issues including homeschooling and sex education.

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Attorney General Garland Grilled by GOP Senators over Department of Justice Memo Targeting Parents at School Meetings

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday faced a litany of hard-edged Senate questions about agreeing to allow federal law enforcement to investigate alleged incidents of outspoken parents at school board meetings.

Garland, in a memo, agreed to responded to a Sept. 29 letter from the National School Board Association to President Biden asking that the FBI, Justice Department and other federal agencies to investigate potential acts of domestic terrorism at the meetings. Parents across the nation have been voicing their concerns about the curricula being taught to their children, in addition to instances like the one currently playing out in northern Virginia, in which there was an apparent coverup of the sexual assault of a female student in a bathroom.

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Parents Allege Arizona School Disregarded Opt-Out from ‘Gruesome’ Curriculum

The parents of a seventh-grade student in an Arizona school district claimed that a teacher disregarded an “opt-out” from an assignment while speaking before a school board Thursday.

“After being made aware of inappropriate racial and political content being taught in our daughter’s seventh-grade social studies class, we reached out to the teacher, then the principal, then the curriculum department, and finally the superintendent to obtain curriculum for us to review ahead of time,” Amy Souza told the Peoria Unified School District Governing Board in a video posted to Twitter by Free to Learn.

After relating how she and her husband finally obtained the curriculum following “exhaustive efforts to get it,” they determined an upcoming lesson would be “gruesome, violent, and inappropriate” for their daughter.

They emailed their concerns to the teacher, announcing they would “opt out” of that lesson. They stated in the video that the teacher emailed back, agreeing to an alternate assignment.

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Flooding Could Wipe Out 25 Percent of Critical Infrastructure: Report

About 25% of critical infrastructure in the U.S., or 36,000 facilities, is at serious risk of being rendered inoperable as a result of flooding over the next three decades, according to an industry report released Monday.

American infrastructure such as police stations, airports, hospitals, wastewater treatment facilities, churches and schools were all considered in the analysis, according to First Street Foundation, the group that published the first-of-its-kind report. The U.S. is “ill-prepared” for a scenario where major flooding events become more commonplace, the report concluded.

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Gov. Abbott Bans All COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates in Texas

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order late Monday prohibiting all COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the state of Texas.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should always remain voluntary and never forced,” Abbott said in a tweet announcing the executive order.

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School Sees COVID Cases Decline after Court Said It Can’t Require Masks

Group of young students working in classroom

After a judge told a school district it couldn’t require masks for students without a quarantine order, the district reported fewer COVID-19 cases, but it has faced other consequences.

It comes as a member of the Illinois Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules said there is further evidence the Illinois State Board of Education can’t revoke a public or private school’s recognition status for failing to follow the governor’s mask mandate.

Attorney Thomas DeVore said since securing a temporary restraining order enjoining the Hillsboro school district from mandating masks on children on Sept. 17, cases have gone down.

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Teacher Reportedly Forced to Remove a Pro-Police Flag Because the School Deemed It a ‘Political Symbol.’ BLM and Pride Flags Still Allowed

Blue line flag

A middle school teacher in Washington state reportedly was told to remove a pro-police flag she had hanging in her classroom, while Black Lives Matter messages and pride flags are still permitted at the school, according to documents obtained by the Jason Rantz Show and 770 KTTH.

A Marysville Middle School teacher had a Thin Blue Line flag hanging in her classroom to show her support for police, but the school district’s human resources department said the flag could cause “disruption in the classroom,” because it is a “political symbol,” according to documents obtained by the Jason Rantz Show.

The teacher’s brother, Chris Sutherland, was formerly a police officer with the Marysville Police Department and a school resource officer when the fatal Marysville Pilchuck High School shooting happened on Oct. 24, 2014, which resulted in five deaths, the Jason Rantz Show reported.

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Commentary: The Other Back to School Story

Back to school stories this year will focus, naturally, on the Covid-19 pandemic’s toll on students and families and on remedying these difficulties.

But another story is being shortchanged: it’s about how parents sought new options for their children like homeschooling, small learning pods, and micro-schools, with civic entrepreneurs and their partners creating new organizations or expanding existing ones to meet this demand.

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Arizona Student Assessments Hint at Significant Learning Loss Amid COVID Pandemic

Students in Arizona’s public schools failed reading and math assessments at higher rates this spring than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Test results from the AzM2 and MSAA – Arizona’s two statewide assessments conducted annually – show around oner-third of students who took the tests passed them, though the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) warns not to read too deeply into the low scores.

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Kentucky Lawmakers Override Governor, Ditch School Mask Mandate

Group of young students at table, reading and wearing masks

Kentucky’s Republican legislature overrode the state’s Democratic governor late Thursday and repealed a statewide public school mask mandate.

The move, reported by the Louisville Courier Journal, came on the final day of a special session called by Gov. Andy Beshear. The mask mandate was repealed as cases in the state increased for the 10th straight week, and as over 30% of Kentucky’s new cases Thursday were in people 18 and younger, according to state data.

The legislature last month moved to significantly limit Beshear’s pandemic-related power, an action that was upheld by multiple judges in the state.

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Commentary: Vaccine Mandates and Bribery Are Headed for K-12 Schools

Young girl getting COVID vaccination

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, more than 680 U.S. public and private colleges require students to get a coronavirus vaccine. This is a non-negotiable mandate for students to maintain enrollment status.

The vaccination edicts come even as the coronavirus has an extremely low mortality rate among college-aged students — CDC data attributes only 2.8 percent of coronavirus deaths to those under age 45. Regardless of this reality, those favoring mandated vaccines argue that schools already require students to provide proof of other vaccinations.

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Biden Commends Phoenix School District That Violated Ban on Mask Requirements

Biden Commends Phoenix School District

President Joe Biden called the head of Phoenix Union High School District after the district implemented mask requirements that may be contrary to state law, praising Superintendent Chad Geston for the move. In a statement, Biden said he told Geston during his Friday phone call that he “did the right thing.” 

The issue is currently under litigation in Maricopa County Superior Court. Numerous state legislators asked Governor Doug Ducey a few days ago to take action against the school districts in violation, and Ducey responded on Tuesday with a directive financially penalizing the districts. They will not receive any of the $163 million that the state got through the American Rescue Plan to boost per-pupil funding. Students in those districts will receive vouchers to attend schools elsewhere.

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Science on Mask Usage Indicates Scant Benefit

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended that all schools require mask-wearing indoors by teachers and students, vaccinated or unvaccinated against COVID-19. 

And many school districts are adopting that requirement, to the dismay of many parents.

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Court to Hear Clash over Phoenix School District’s Mask Mandate That Defies New State Law

A judge is expected to hear arguments on August 13 in a lawsuit filed by a teacher in the Phoenix Union High School district over its revived mandatory mask policy. Governor Doug Ducey signed SB 1826 in June, the education budget bill, which includes an amendment prohibiting schools from requiring masks. 

Biology teacher Douglas Hester filed the lawsuit against the school district, its governing board and superintendent Chad Gestson, citing the conflict with state law. The school contends that the law isn’t scheduled to go into effect until 90 days after the legislature adjourns, September 28. However, A.R.S. 15-342.05 includes a clause making it retroactive to June 30.

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Columbia Medical School Will Teach Students How to ‘Disrupt Racism’ and Confront Microaggressions

Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health entrance

Columbia University has developed new programming to help black and Hispanic medical students “disrupt racism” and confront microaggressions they could face.

A medical school professor, who is also the diversity director, said that the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota has made the situation worse at the New York institution.

Professor Jean Alves-Bradford said in a news release that “it’s been very difficult for students in general, but especially for students underrepresented in medicine.”

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In a Reversal, Gov. Ducey Tells Two School Districts Their Quarantine Policy for Unvaccinated Students is Illegal

An advisor for Governor Doug Ducey sent letters Wednesday to two Arizona school superintendents letting them know their policies of requiring unvaccinated students exposed to COVID-19 to quarantine is illegal. Education policy advisor Kairlin Harrier told the superintendents of Peoria Unified School District and Catalina Foothills School District their policies violate a new law, HB 2898, which states, “A school district or charter school may not require a student or teacher to receive a vaccine for covid-19 or to wear a face covering to participate in in-person instruction.” 

Harrier went on, “The policy must be rescinded immediately.” She pointed out that children under age 12 haven’t even received approval from the federal government to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Children ages 12-15 only received approval for the vaccine in May.

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Clemson School Administrators Used COVID Caps and Fake RSVPs to Suppress Turnout at Conservative Event

Assortment of conservative buttons with a "Get Involved" Turning Point USA fillout

During the height of the pandemic, two college administrators from Clemson University used phony ticket reservations to suppress attendance at a conservative student event and bragged about it on Facebook.

The conservative group Turning Point USA’s local chapter hosted speakers Tomi Lahren, Brandon Tatum, and Graham Allen for an event on the South Carolina campus in April 2020.

The event was limited in capacity because of COVID-19, and people had to reserve tickets from a smaller pool in advance.

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Utah House Passes Bill to Ban Critical Race Theory in Public Schools

Students in class, listening to the teacher at the front of the room

Utah is one of many states in America considering banning critical race theory in public schools.

Republican State Representative Steve Christiansen sponsored a bill that takes direct aim at critical race theory concepts being taught in public education. The bill passed the Utah House and is awaiting the signature of the Speaker to move onto the state Senate.

That bill, HR901, calls on the Utah Board of Education for a re-evaluation of guidelines to weed out critical race theory in publicly funded classrooms.

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Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Teaching Critical Race Theory in Schools

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

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%).

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Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Teaching Critical Race Theory in Schools

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

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%).

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