University Fires 100 Professors Due to COVID

William Paterson University

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

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

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

Read More

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.

Read More

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

young girl getting face mask put on her face

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

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

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

Read More

Former Planned Parenthood President Says School Closures Harm Children

Dr. Leana Wen

A former Planned Parenthood president and public health professional argued in a Thursday op-ed for The Washington Post that the rise in cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant is not a reason to keep schools closed.

Dr. Leana Wen argued “both sides [of the school reopening debate] are wrong,” in her op-ed. “let’s agree that schools are essential and then work to reduce risk to get students back to in-person learning,” Wen wrote.

Wen called it “astounding” that governors in states like Texas, Georgia and Iowa are fighting against school mask mandates and that Florida’s surgeon general is discouraging testing in schools, attributing ” “low vaccine uptake among children” to “rampant right-wing disinformation.”

Read More

‘BIPOC’ Debate Tournament Banned White Students from Competing

University of Chicago Library

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

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

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

Read More

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

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

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

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

Read More

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

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

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

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

Read More

Commentary: Poll Reveals Education Quality, Curriculum Stoke Parents’ Concern

After a year in which parents across the country began exercising more political power at school board meetings and through activist groups, the COVID-fueled parent movement is unlikely to subside any time soon, a new poll released Monday found.

Even as some school districts in Oregon and other locales this year suspended math and reading proficiency graduation requirements, most Americans believe public school academic standards aren’t high enough.

Read More

Students ‘Demand’ Roles for Black Actors, Professor’s Resignation

Silhouette of three performers onstage

A student organization at the College of Wooster is calling for the school to apply affirmative action to its theater productions. 

The BIPOC Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) has written a list of demands for the university, which according to The Wooster Voice, include having: 

At least one department play yearly that is BIPOC written or starring a BIPOC student (this student should not be the only BIPOC student in the cast) in one of its leading roles. This can also be fulfilled by student productions that are treated like main stage productions. The department must show a vested interest in BIPOC work.

Additionally, the students demand that Shirley Huston-Findley, a professor of theater and dance, resign “from department chair until further substantial equality education is reached and the DEI plan is completed.” 

Read More

Taxpayer-Funded Critical Race Theory Training Program Draws Criticism

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

Critics are questioning a taxpayer-funded program that trains students in critical race theory.

The backlash comes after The Center Square uncovered federal grant documents from the Department of Education that showed the federal government has awarded millions of dollars to a program that trains future educators in critical race theory.

Experts said the program disproves claims that critical race theory is not being pushed at K-12 schools.

Read More

Princeton Students Call out Dean’s Rittenhouse Email for ‘Factual Inaccuracies, Misconstrual, and Virtue Signaling’

Kyle Rittenhouse

Some Princeton university students are pushing back after receiving a politically-charged email from a dean following the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict.

Princeton University students enrolled in the School of Public and International Affairs received a Nov. 20 email, obtained by Campus Reform, titled “Our Moral Duty” from the dean of the school, Dean Amaney Jamal.

“Last August, Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two protestors and wounded a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin. During his trial, he emotionally broke down on the stand, saying he was acting in self-defense. Today, he was acquitted of all six charges against him, including three of which were homicide related,” the email read.

Read More

‘Academic Fiasco’: Duke Student Leaders Vetoed Pro-Israel Student Organization

Christina Wang

The Duke Student Government (DSG) recently “chartered” a chapter of Students Supporting Israel (SSI), only to uphold its president’s veto of the organization days later.

The Chronicle reported that the Nov. 10 approval followed SSI’s stated intention to be “clear and confident pro-Israel voice on college campuses and to support students in grassroots pro-Israel advocacy.” 

Five days later, however, the outlet reported that the DSG president, Christina Wang, vetoed the body’s approval of SSI over a now deleted social media interaction reportedly between the group and an individual that did not conform to expected conduct for a student organization.

Read More

Students Meet to Move Campus ‘Beyond Policing’ After Shooting Near Campus

University of Texas at Austin hosts their "#NationalNightOut "

After a shooting involving two non-university individuals occurred near the University of Texas at Austin over Halloween weekend, a segment of the student body is working to realize a vision of campus safety “beyond policing.”

Following the incident, The UT Senate of College Councils hosted an event titled “Campus Safety Beyond Policing” during which students discussed various ways to pursue a supposedly safer campus without needing UTPD. 

The event was led by the Equity and Inclusion Team of the Senate of College Councils, which opened up the meeting by stating that the purpose of the meeting was to “gain insight into what safety means to you beyond policing and how to best advocate for your needs.”

Read More

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.

Read More

Commentary: Parent and School Board Tensions Could Be Eased by School Choice

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

Public education has been under the microscope lately, especially since many states shut down in-person learning last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. With children learning from home via technology, many parents had the chance to hear what their children’s teachers were saying—and they didn’t always like it. In fact, many were downright disturbed by what public schools were teaching their children.

Parents should not be forced to sit by and watch as their children get indoctrinated with progressive ideas they don’t agree with. Assuming it is legitimate for the government—that is, the taxpayers—to fund education, the government should distribute those funds directly to parents in the form of vouchers and allow them to choose where to educate their children. Not only would this allow for more choice in schools, but it would also reduce much of the conflict we are seeing today between parents and school boards across the country.

A common response to voucher proposals is that they would allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to send their children to private religious schools, thus violating separation of church and state. In other words, atheists and progressives argue that they should not have to financially support schools that teach students religious worldviews.

Read More

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.

Read More

Commentary: Thinking Critically About ‘Critical Thinking’

“We must never,” Bismarck is said to have warned, “look into the origins of laws or sausages.” Sage advice, I’ve always thought (and no pun intended with that “sage”)—but how much at odds it is with the dominant current of modern thought, which is to say Enlightenment thought.

Immanuel Kant, a great hero of the Enlightenment, summed up the alternative to Bismarck’s counsel when, in an essay called “What is Enlightenment?,” he offered Sapere Aude, Dare to know!, as a motto for the movement. Enlightened man, Kant thought, was the first real adult: the first to realize his potential as an autonomous being—a being, as the etymology of the word implies, who “gives the law to himself.” As Kant stressed, this was a moral as well as an intellectual achievement, since it involved courage as much as insight: courage to put aside convention, tradition, and superstition (how the three tended to coalesce for Enlightened thinkers!) in order to rely for guidance on the dictates of reason alone.

Read More

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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

‘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.

Read More

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.”

Read More

Commentary: America’s Students Deserve a History and Civics Education Free of Political Agendas

Across the political spectrum, Americans are recognizing the importance not just of school choice but of what students actually learn in schools. Elected representatives have finally taken notice as well. In Michigan, the state legislature has proposed two bills that seek to address how American history and civics are taught.

Unfortunately, some want teachers to tell students that they should understand American history primarily by looking for racism, injustice, and oppression. The phrase “critical race theory” (CRT) has been used mainly in academia to describe this filter on history and civic instruction.

Read More

Parents Announce ‘Not Domestic Terrorists’ Rally in Front of the Justice Department

Parents protesting certain library books in children's schools

Northern Virginia parents plan to protest in front of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Sunday, according to a flyer posted online.

A flyer reveals plans for a “Parents Are Not ‘Domestic Terrorists’ Rally Oct. 17. “Stand up, speak up, fight back!” the memo reads. “Bring friends, be heard … you can make a difference!”

News broke Wednesday that a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) student was allegedly raped in a school bathroom in May by a male student who wore a skirt. The victim’s father, Scott Smith, was arrested at a LCPS school board meeting weeks later for resisting arrest, and the perpetrator – who was charged with two counts of forcible sodomy – allegedly assaulted another girl at the school he transferred to following the initial incident, Daily Wire reported.

Read More

Commentary: Educating Students About the Victims of Communism

Olbram Zoubek Communism Victims Memorial

Many Americans today assume that the threat of Communism subsided with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But “We continue to see Communist and socialist regimes pop up and spread not only in Latin America – for example, in Venezuela and Nicaragua – but around the world,” says Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, president and CEO of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC). “These regimes regularly kill their own citizens and have a devastating effect on human rights and their national economies.” In fact, over 1.5 billion people – including those living in Laos, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, and, of course, China – currently live under oppressive Communist and socialist governments.

Founded in 1993 by a bipartisan, unanimous Act of Congress, VOC is “devoted to commemorating the more than 100 million victims of communism around the world and to pursuing the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes.”

Before coming to VOC, Bremberg served as the Trump administration’s Representative of the United States to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva. During his time there, which he describes as a “profound and life changing experience,” he “became aware of the challenge of China,” which was “far worse” than he had realized. He notes that the U.N. International Human Rights Council made investigating the United States’ record on racism during the summer of 2020 its highest priority – putting it above China’s appalling human rights violations against Uyghurs, among other ethnic groups within its borders.

Read More

Commentary: Leftists Are Waging a War on ‘Gifted’ Children

Public schools across the country are eliminating gifted and talented programs, removing advanced courses and overhauling admissions processes to achieve equity across racial categories.

Removing gifted and advanced courses is a no-cost way to cover up the racial achievement gap while ignoring its root causes, according to Harry Jackson, president of the Thomas Jefferson High School Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA).

“Gifted programs and advanced courses provide a mechanism for low-income households to achieve a stellar education for their children and serve as a ‘great equalizer’ to those families that opt for private education,” Jackson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “By eliminating gifted programs and advanced courses in the name of equity, they will create greater inequities,” he said.

Read More

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.

Read More

Commentary: Critical Race Theory Is Being Taught in Public Schools

Group of young students at table, reading and wearing masks

The National School Boards Association (NSBA), which according to its website serves about 51 million public school students nationwide, made headlines recently when it requested that President Biden use federal terrorism statutes and issue other “extraordinary measures” against those pushing back against school boards that are indoctrinating children in critical race theory (CRT) and gender ideology. Much has already been written about this, and for good reason. In our Constitutional Republic, the federal government has no authority over education. As James Madison famously stated in Federalist 45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” A quick scan of the Constitution reveals that the people and states have delegated no educational power to the federal government. Because all power originates in the people and the states, all powers not delegated to the federal government remain in the states and the people. The Tenth Amendment states this principle explicitly.

Instead of leaving educational policy (and challenges to it) to state and local governments, however, President Biden is using the power of federal law enforcement to quell debate and intimidate parents from exercising their First Amendment rights. Using federal law enforcement to chill debate on what is and should be a truly local issue is totalitarianism at its zenith. All totalitarian states centralize educational control in the federal government for the purpose of indoctrinating children in their preferred ideology.  The Nazis, Soviets, and Communist Chinese all did (or still do) it, and now, following in their footsteps, the Biden administration is giving it a try, albeit in an indirect, more nuanced manner.

But this piece is actually about a second, more subtle point. A key presupposition underlying the NSBA’s request — and the Biden DOJ’s response — is that parental protests against school boards are completely unfounded. As the NSBA letter notes, “many public school officials are [] facing physical threats because of propaganda purporting the false inclusion of critical race theory within classroom instruction and curricula.” The letter then states that “[t]his propaganda continues despite the fact that critical race theory is not taught in public schools and remains a complex law school and graduate school subject well beyond the scope of a K-12 class” (emphasis added).

Read More

Commentary: Parents Aren’t Domestic Terrorists

It is probably an understatement to say that when one group designates another as a terrorist organization, diplomatic relations between the two become strained.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights.”

Truths. Equal. Creator. Rights. Concerned parents want schools to teach truths, not ideologies; operate under equality, not equity; and respect faith in our Creator and our parental rights. These are the fundamental principles from our Declaration that are at stake in American education today.

Read More

REPORT: Training Urged New Jersey Teachers to Track Conversations with Parents, Students Regarding the COVID-19 Vaccine

Group of adults sitting at a conference room table

New Jersey teachers said they were instructed during a teachers union training to log conversations regarding the COVID-19 vaccine with parents and students, Fox News reported.

The training provided by Made to Save, a vaccine “equity” nonprofit, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) directed instructors to “follow up and track” conversations with parents and teachers regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, Fox News reported. They were told to log their conversations into the Democrat campaign app, “Reach,” and were incentivized with gift cards to be active users.

Campaign operative Jake DeGroot devised Reach, which New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez utilized in her 2018 campaign, Fox News reported.

Read More

Chinese Student Studying in Canada Targeted for Criticizing the Chinese Communist Party, Experts Say Students in America Face the Same Threat

A Chinese student attending a Canadian university is currently facing repercussions from the Chinese government for his criticism of the regime on Twitter.

Experts tell Campus Reform that the same thing has happened in the United States.

Read More

Demand for Gov. Ducey’s School Vouchers to Leave Arizona Schools That Mandate Masks or Require Unvaccinated Students to Quarantine Exceeds Funds

Doug Ducey

Just three weeks after Gov. Doug Ducey announced that school districts issuing mask mandates or requiring vaccinated students to quarantine would be penalized by diverting money to students to use as school vouchers to attend elsewhere, demand has exceeded the $20 million he allotted by twice the amount. Ducey announced on August 17 that money the state received from the federal government through the pandemic-generated American Rescue Plan to boost per-pupil spending would not go to any of those schools.

Ducey made the announcement immediately following a demand on August 11 from Republican state legislators to take action regarding those school districts. They suggested that Ducey could withhold federal funds and offer vouchers, which he did, but he did not go so far as following their recommendation of suing the school districts.

Read More

University of California Freezes Safety Officer Hiring until Campuses Submit ‘Holistic, Inclusive’ Plan

University of California Berkeley Campus

University of California’s new Community Safety Plan shifts major responsibilities and funding away from UC Police Departments.

The plan, based on an 80-page report released this summer by the Department of Public Safety Community Advisory Board, was announced by UC President Michael Drake last week and will be implemented across all 10 campuses. It reflects UC’s “commitment to equity and social justice.”

“Under this new model, a multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals, campus police, social service providers, police accountability boards and other personnel will work together to prioritize the well-being of the entire UC community,” Drake said in a message to the university. “This reimagined structure will ensure that the m,ost appropriate responders are deployed to meet our community’s specific needs with tailored care resources and services.”

Read More

University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media Dean Resigns Post after Nikole Hannah-Jones Controversy

Susan King of UNC

Susan King is stepping down as dean of the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media. 

The university announced the decision yesterday. 

The Hussman School faced backlash from progressives after it apparently backed off from a plan to give Hannah-Jones tenure for her work as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism. 

Read More

Biden Administration Plans to Cancel $5.8 Billion More in Student Loan Debt

Man on macbook working

The Department of Education announced Thursday that it will cancel student loan debt for over 300,000 borrowers with severe disabilities.

The program, set to erase over $5.8 billion in total debt, will begin in September and apply to over 323,000 borrowers classified as having a “total and permanent disability” by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Education Department announced. Borrowers will now receive automatic discharges of their debt, whereas previously needed to fill out applications.

“Today’s action removes a major barrier that prevented far too many borrowers with disabilities from receiving the total and permanent disability discharges they are entitled to under the law,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in the announcement.

Read More

Biden’s Education Secretary Voices Support for Schools That Force Mask Mandates

Miguel Cardona

Joe Biden’s Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, admitted to having spoken directly with faculty members from school districts that are defying the law and forcing mask mandates on their students, even if their states have banned such mandates, ABC News reports.

Cardona said that some such schools fear repercussions from the state governments if they continue defying the bans, including in Texas and Florida. “I have had the conversations with superintendents,” Cardona said in an interview on Tuesday. “And they have asked, if this goes in that direction, how do we get support? My message is, open the schools safely; we got your back.”

Cardona had previously sent a letter to several school districts in Florida promising that the federal government would fund the schools directly in the event that Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) follows through on his promise to suspend the salaries of all superintendents who force such mandates onto their students in defiance of state law.

Read More

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.

Read More

College Students Giving Up on Their Degrees in Significant Numbers: Report

Tennessee Star

American colleges continue to face the consequences of COVID, as data show they experienced a significant decrease in returning students this past school year.

Many post-secondary education plans to take classes were canceled in 2020. In August of last year, the US Census Bureau conducted a survey which showed 29.4 percent of households with at least one prospective student had canceled their plans to take classes in the fall of 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic.

Read More

Arizona Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Calls for Executive Order Against School Mask Mandates

Republican gubernatorial candidate Steven Gaynor wants Gov. Doug Ducey to issue an executive order in response to local school mask mandates. 

Gaynor is a Republican businessman from Paradise Valley who announced his run to replace Ducey in 2022. He narrowly lost to Katie Hobbs in the 2018 race for secretary of state. 

In an Aug. 9 press release, Gaynor asked for an executive order to provide Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) to parents of students in school districts that enforce mask and vaccine mandates. 

Read More

Professor Calls America Failed Experiment: ‘Only for White People … Didn’t Work for Black People’

Chanelle Wilson

A Bryn Mawr College professor argues that America is “only for white people.”

Speaking on the “Refuse Facism” podcast, Chanelle Wilson, assistant professor of education and director of Africana Studies at the women’s liberal arts college, said the country “didn’t work for black people.”

“Damn sure it didn’t work for indigenous people,” she continued. “It did not work for people of Mexican ancestry. It didn’t work for Asians, it didn’t work for Jewish people, it didn’t work for Japanese people. It didn’t work for Chinese people.”

Read More

Arizona Supreme Court: Schools Not Responsible for Students Off-Campus

Arizona Supreme Court

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that schools cannot be held accountable for off-campus incidents of violence between students. 

Diannah Dinsmoor, the mother of high school student Ana G., who was shot and killed by her classmate in 2014, brought claims for wrongful death, negligence, and gross negligence against the Deer Valley Unified School District and the City of Phoenix in Dinsmoor v. City of Phoenix. Dinsmoor argued that school officials knew that Ana and her classmate, identified by court records as Matthew B., were dating and that Matthew had a history of violence with an ex-girlfriend, known on court records as Raven. Ana met Matthew at a friend’s house after school where he shot and killed her and then himself.

The superior court ruled on Friday that the defendant did not owe Ana or Dinsmoor a duty as necessary to support Dinsmoor’s claims.

Read More

Commentary: School Choice Is Not Enough

Young girl wearing black headphones, smiling

If there is a public policy silver lining to this past year, it is the increased support for school choice. Most public schools went online during lockdowns and parents, dissatisfied with the results, sought out other solutions, including private schools, pods, charter schools, online learning, and homeschooling. The last more than doubled with 11.1 percent of households homeschooling, up from 5.4 percent the year before.

Many state legislatures improved school choice options in their states. This is to be celebrated and continued.

School choice by itself, however, will not save students from a failing education if charter and private schools adopt the same curriculum and practices as the most woke schools. Without a focus on the right subjects and lessons, students will be unprepared for personal or professional success. 

Read More

Universities Train Future Teachers to Push Critical Race Theory and Social Justice

School bus with "use your voice" on the windshield

As the controversy over Critical Race Theory rages across the country, several prominent teacher preparation programs are training future teachers to use Critical Race Theory in the classroom.  Several of the nation’s largest teacher preparation programs are training future teachers to use Critical Race Theory in the classroom.

Campus Reform reviewed course descriptions for upcoming classes in college teacher training programs at several major universities. Many intentionally prepare students to use progressive ideology in their own classrooms. Several use Critical Race Theory and social justice as a starting point for learning how to teach.

Among those courses are the University of North Carolina education department’s class, “”Critical Race Theory: History, Research, and Practice.” The course will cover how Critical Race Theory connects to “LatCrit Theory, AsianCrit, QueerCrit, TribalCrit, and Critical Race Feminism,” those terms being more recent areas of study that draw heavily from Critical Race Theory.

Read More

Commentary: School Board Elections and the Impact on Critical Race Theory in America

Protestor with megaphone, talking

Over the last few months, the U.S. has engaged in intense discussion over “critical race theory.” As Americans have debated the impact of CRT, several states have banned CRT from the public school curriculum, while other states are using it as part of that curriculum. The debate over CRT’s merits or dangers has prompted ideological battles in school board elections. This article looks at the increased activism around school board elections and its broader ramifications.

Past politicization of school board elections

Though school board elections may not seem as exciting as a presidential or even congressional race, they have taken on greater importance in recent years. In 2005, the city of Dover, Pennsylvania faced a contentious court case known as Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, which ruled that the school district’s teaching of intelligent design violated the separation of church and state. Shortly after the trial concluded, the district held its school board elections, and all the school board members who favored the teaching of intelligent design lost their reelection bids, at least in part due to their position on the issue. The election generated much discussion.

In the early 2010s, school board races saw partisan involvement through the Tea Party movement. Generally, candidates affiliated with the Tea Party ran on platforms of greater political accountability and lower property taxes. Carl Paladino, a former Republican nominee for governor in New York, won a race for the Buffalo school board on a Tea Party-type platform. The school board later ousted Paladino for making offensive comments about former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Read More

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.

Read More

Los Angeles Students Will be Forced to Undergo Weekly Testing Even If They’re Vaccinated

The Los Angeles Unified School District this week announced that students and employees returning to in-person instruction in the fall would be forced to undergo weekly testing even if they’ve been vaccinated against SARS-Cov-2.

“All students and employees, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, returning for in-person instruction must participate in baseline and ongoing weekly COVID testing,” Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly told media this week. “This is in accordance with the most recent guidance from the Los Angeles County.”

Though the district policy is making no distinction between unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals, Reilly herself stressed the importance of getting vaccinated anyway.

Read More

Commentary: Hillsdale College’s 1776 Curriculum

Hand underneath American flag

On July 19, Hillsdale College released the 1776 Curriculum, a package of American history and civics materials for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The curriculum offers students and teachers a more traditional and patriotic approach to American history than the critical alternatives now prevalent in the nation’s primary and secondary schools.

At nearly 2,500 pages, the 1776 Curriculum is a mammoth collection of teaching materials, offering grade-specific guidance for teachers, assignments and exams for students, and a trove of primary sources from the American founding and beyond. In a press release, Hillsdale’s assistant provost for K-12 education Dr. Katherine O’Toole contrasted what she described as Hillsdale’s “truly American” curriculum with its “partisan” competitors.

“Our curriculum was created by teachers and professors – not activists, not journalists, not bureaucrats,” O’Toole said. “It comes from years of studying America, its history, and its founding principles, not some slap-dash journalistic scheme to achieve a partisan political end through students. It is a truly American education.”

Read More

Commentary: Critical Race Enthusiasts Should Learn the Lesson of ‘Defund the Police’

Crowd of people in the streets, protesting and Black Lives Matter movement

A year ago, “defund the police” activists were having quite a time. Outlets like CNN and Vox were publishing fawning profiles. Social media sensations like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar were leading the parade. Cities like Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Austin even approved partial defundings. It was a juggernaut.

Now? A tough-on-crime former cop just won the Democratic mayoral nomination in Bill de Blasio’s New York. Former President Barack Obama is warning fellow Democrats, “You lost a big audience the minute you say [‘defund the police’].” Sen. Bernie Sanders has rejected calls for “no more policing.” And White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, a few weeks ago, bizarrely claimed that it was not Democrats but Republicans who wanted to defund the police (because they opposed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill).

What happened? Intoxicated by a few policy wins in deep blue cities, enthusiasm in the left-leaning Twitter echo chamber, and their viselike grip on the national media, “defund” activists overlooked one important detail: Their agenda was deeply unpopular with most Americans. A summer 2020 YouGov poll found that just 16 percent of adults wanted to cut police funding — much less “defund” the police. Indeed, 81 percent of black Americans wanted police to spend as much or more time in their communities. During a year when major American cities saw an unnerving increase in homicides, after years of declines, that reaction was not just understandable, it was wholly predictable.  

Read More

Education Department Civil Rights Nominee Rejects Presumption of Innocence for Accused Students

Catherine Lhamon

The Biden administration’s nominee to lead the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights told a Senate committee Tuesday that a year-old Title IX regulation does not require the presumption of innocence for students accused of sexual misconduct.

The claim drew bafflement from critics of Catherine Lhamon, who held the same job in the Obama administration’s second term.

In response to threats from Lhamon to pull their federal funding, colleges lowered evidentiary standards and enacted policies that treat accusers more favorably than accused students. Courts have been steadily reining in those practices, sometimes citing the pressure from Lhamon’s office as evidence of bias.

Read More

Commentary: Leading the Charge Against Critical Race Theory

Young boy reading a book

Critical Race Theory continues to permeate our classrooms and infect our children’s minds with outrageous ideas about their nation’s history. But a growing number of Americans are standing up to fight back against its false tenets and demand its removal from K-12 education. At the forefront of this patriotic effort is 1776 Action, an advocacy group committed to the vital work of restoring honest and unifying education in public schools throughout the nation.

The group’s Candidate Pledge has garnered national attention in recent weeks for its emphasis on America’s values and its vow to eradicate divisive race- and gender-based ideologies such as CRT from America’s schools. Political candidates who sign the pledge commit to restoring “honest, patriotic education that cultivates in our children a profound love for our country” and to promoting a curriculum that “teaches that all children are created equal, have equal moral value under God, our Constitution, and the law, and are members of a national community united by our founding principles.” The pledge also seeks to prohibit any curriculum that divides students by race and sex – or sets out to infuse harmful ideologies into course material.

In May, Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) became the first candidate to sign the pledge, declaring that CRT and similarly divisive theories are “shameful [and] must be stopped.” Other high-profile conservatives running for office, such as Republican nominee for Governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin, also vowed to replace CRT with “a high-quality civics curriculum.” The two Republican candidates for Governor of Kansas, former Gov. Dr. Jeff Colyer and Kansas Atty. Gen. Derek Schmidt, have also signed the pledge. As more candidates sign this pledge, it will put pressure on teachers, principals, and school boards to declare their stances on CRT and other key educational matters. It will also hold them accountable for the materials they teach and ensure our children are not indoctrinated with malicious theories that seek to denigrate our country and reduce students to their sex or skin color.

Read More

White House Backs Teachers Unions, Critical Race Theory Curricula

Jen Psaki

The Biden administration signaled its support for the teaching of “anti-racism” curriculum in public schools Friday, wading into an ongoing culture war over critical race theory playing out on cable news and in school board meetings across the nation.

Asked about a recent decision by the National Education Association to throw its weight behind controversial progressive teachings about race, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told RealClearPolitics that President Biden believes “kids should learn about our history” including the view that “there is systemic racism that is still impacting society today.”

Psaki continued that the president and the First Lady, who is also a life-long educator, believe that “there are many dark moments, and there is not just slavery and racism in our history.”

Read More