DeSantis Signs Universal School Choice Program Into Law

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a piece of legislation into law on Monday creating a universal school choice program.

House Bill 1, sponsored by the Education Quality Subcommittee, establishes an Education Savings Accounts (ESA) program under which every family is eligible to receive up to $8,000 to cover education expenses outside of the public school system. The vouchers will be distributed on a “priority” basis, with families of four making less than $51,000 annually receiving the funds first.

“The state of Florida is number one when it comes to education freedom and education choice,” DeSantis said at a Monday press conference. “Today’s bill signing cements us in that number one position because we will be signing legislation which will represent the largest expansion of education choice not just in the history of this state, but in the history of these United States.”

Under the law, students who are “residents of the state” or “eligible to enroll in kindergarten through grade 12” are eligible for the tax-payer funded voucher.

Florida’s previous school choice program was limited to low-income families and students with disabilities, which 1.3 million students utilized. Students were on a waitlist for the previous program, according to the Florida Voice. 

With DeSantis’ signature, Florida became the sixth state in the last two years to move to universal school choice; Arizona first enacted universal school choice making all K-12 students eligible for state funded vouchers. On March 8, Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders signed a piece of legislation into law creating a universal school choice program by the 2025-2026 school year.

“With the governor’s support and signature today, Florida delivers the largest expansion of education freedom in our nation’s history and that is something we should all be proud about,” Florida Republican House Speaker Paul Renner said at the press conference.





The School Choice Movement Is Picking Up Steam Across The Country

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How Lori Kuykendall Is Combatting Cultural Lies in Sex Education

This week, at Family Policy Alliance’s SoConCon Social Conservative Policy Conference, I sat down with Lori Kuykendall, president of Beacon Health Education Resources. In this conversation, we explore how her organization is fighting back against exploitative progressive sexual education curricula — and teaching kids about the beauty of God’s creation.

JOY STOCKBAUER: Why don’t we start off with a little information about your organization and how it came to be?

LORI KUYKENDALL: I have worked in the field of health education and sex education since 1985. My first job out of college with my health education degree, ready to change the world, landed me at a women’s pregnancy center in the Houston, Texas area. I didn’t know about pregnancy centers, I probably would not have considered myself pro-life at the time, but I was interested in serving where the needs were in health education. I remember going home with a little purple brochure that night when I first met the ladies, and it was called “What does the Bible say about abortion?” That night, my heart was turned when I saw there in black and white what the truths are about life and who ordains life.

STOCKBAUER: So at this point were you already a Christian?

KUYKENDALL: Yes, I was — and I would have said I would not have had an abortion myself, but I wouldn’t have told you that you couldn’t. I wasn’t convicted and didn’t understand what abortion was and why it would or would not have been right in God’s eyes, especially. That pregnancy center said to me, “We want to reach the girls before they need us.” They asked me to start a prevention program out in the community there. That was sort of where I started in abstinence education. I’ve worked since then almost 30 years, which makes me old — but the experience of partnering with the pregnancy center movement and also with the sexual risk avoidance movement, or SRA education and optimal health — those are the words that we use when advancing what really is God’s good, best plan for young people and family and marriage.

I work now in consulting and supporting those programs from a public policy side, and a curriculum development side. I do medical accuracy reviews for those programs that are now the direct service providers. I think there’s a number of ways that we get to reach kids in schools, and that is coming through the required standards and health education curriculum requirements for their states and fulfilling those needs on these important topics. I think also pregnancy centers build strong service relationships and partnerships with the organizations in their community. I always say we want to unite home, family, and church and school to counter the culture’s lies in these areas of what the culture’s wanting for our kids.

STOCKBAUER: What does the opposition look like — what are you up against in the sex education realm? I know Planned Parenthood has their own sex education curriculum — are they the biggest competitor or is there someone else?

KUYKENDALL: They are. Planned Parenthood is the biggest sex educator in the nation and in the world. They’re not afraid to say what their values are for comprehensive sex education, as it’s called. We want to oppose comprehensive sex education, we want to oppose the national sex education standards — a lot of concerning content and misleading content that drives kids to think they’re making safe decisions when they’re not. They’re a rights-based or pleasure-based approach, and we’re gonna be science-based and health-based for what’s truly best for kids. Some would say we are political or religious or moral in our work, but we’re not. We really can focus objectively on what’s best for the health of kids.

STOCKBAUER: What is the reception to your curriculum usually like from young women? Do you get a lot of resistance or is there a movement of young women saying, “Wow, this really is what’s best for me”?

KUYKENDALL: Young people find hope in a message that says, “You have the choice to choose not to give into this pressure and misinformation.” Young people respond well when we uphold their current and future health and we do it with dignity and respect and love and guidance and support — that helps them know we believe they can make the best decision, because inherent in the other message is “You’re gonna fail, and we’re gonna help you fail,” at some level. And kids know that, they know what’s best and it resonates in their soul that this isn’t what they want to do, but the pressure seems overwhelming and there doesn’t seem to be another option. So, we come in and say, “No, there is an option. You can choose to wait — in fact, most kids are.” We show some of the statistics that the media has portrayed incorrectly.

STOCKBAUER: Right now, the conversation about “grooming” is such a hot topic. We’re fighting back against the Left and progressives who want to see drag shows for children and oversexualizing children. How do you walk the line of approaching sex education for kids in that elementary age and having safe boundaries of introducing them to these topics without sexualizing them?

KUYKENDALL: Well, I think you become aware of their cognitive development — what are they doing intellectually, where their brains are, tied together with where their bodies are. There are developmental stages of puberty, pre-puberty, and adolescence that make it important, life-giving information for them to understand their changing bodies and the design of their bodies. Then, they’re able to understand how life begins and fetal development and pregnancy — all of that is around fifth or sixth grade. Prior to that, there’s important information to be shared about character and healthy relationships that set up the foundation to add in these more sensitive topics at age-appropriate times.

With regards to grooming, a lot of my work is against consent education. There are a lot of people saying, “We have to teach consent,” and it’s in some of the laws to prevent sexual abuse. But consent is a moving towards, it’s an agreeing to and a negotiating for sexual activity. Comprehensive sex ed says that sex is fine as long as there’s consent — well, take the grooming piece of this. Groomers work to get consent, so now it’s okay because they got consent. So, children who have been abused and groomed hear “consent” and think, “Well, I guess I consented and it was okay.” Consent can’t be the standard. Instead, we promote refusal skills, resistance skills, boundary setting, communication — all of those things that are part of respecting self and others.

STOCKBAUER: For homeschooling parents who are approaching sex education outside of the modern format of having someone else teach their kids, what’s your advice to parents having this conversation in their own home?

KUYKENDALL: Have the conversation and have it a lot. Be prepared to take on the messages of the world as they come to your kids. It could be through a friend or could come through social media — a number of sources. Be there as your kids are seeing the lies, but make sure you’re ahead of those lies with the truth. They will hear the truth from you, it will resonate in their hearts and minds louder and stronger than the lies of the culture.


Joy Stockbauer

Joy Stockbauer is a correspondent for The Washington Stand.

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The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Professor Suspended After Writing That Killing ‘Right-Wing’ Speakers Is ‘Admirable’

A Wayne State University (WSU) professor was suspended with pay after writing on Facebook that it is more “admirable” to kill a right-wing speaker than it is to shout them down on a college campus, The New Guard reported.

Steven Shaviro, a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences professor, wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday that while he does not “advocating violating federal and state criminal codes,” it is “far more admirable to kill a racist, homophobic, or transphobic speaker than it is to shout them down,” according to the New Guard. The professor was reportedly placed on leave and the incident was reported to law enforcement agencies for review.

“When right-wing groups invite such speakers to campus, it is precisely because they want to provoke an incident that discredits the left, and gives more publicity and validation to these reprehensible views than they could otherwise attain,” Shaviro wrote, according to a screenshot of the new deleted post. “These protesters get blamed instead of the bigoted speaker; the university administration finds a perfect excuse to side publicly with the racist or phobes; the national and international press has a field day saying that bigots are the ones being oppressed, rather than the people those bigots actually hate being the victims of oppression.”

He cited the assassination of Ukrainian People’s Republic Simon Petlirua, who was assassinated in 1926 by Scholem Schwarzbard out of revenge for the deaths of thousands of Jewish people, according to Open Democracy.

“Remember that Schwarzbard was acquitted by a jury, which found his actions justified,” Shaviro wrote, according to the screenshot.

WSU President Roy Wilson responded to the post in a Monday email to the campus community condemning Shaviro’s language, according to a screenshot obtained by the New Guard.

“The post stated that rather than ‘shouting down’ those with whom we disagree, one would be justified to commit murder to silence them,” he wrote. “We have on many occasions defended the right of free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but we feel this post far exceeds the bounds of reasonable or protected speech. It is, at best, morally reprehensible and, at worst, criminal.”

WSU and Shaviro did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.




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How Entrepreneurs Are Expanding Education Options For Families in Texas

“Parents are the best advocates of their children and ultimately know what type of schooling is best from an academic, social and moral perspective,” said Braveheart founder Chrystal Bernard.

In early 2020, Chrystal and Joshua Bernard decided that they would begin homeschooling their four young children at the start of the following school year. Their two oldest children were completing first grade and pre-kindergarten, respectively, at a traditional private school in the greater Fort Worth, Texas area, but the Bernards were drawn to homeschooling’s more personalized, family-centered educational approach.

The school shutdowns later that year accelerated their homeschooling plans, and the Bernards became increasingly convinced that more learner-centered education was the path forward—both for their own children as well as for others in their local community. “Homeschooling enabled us to connect more as a family and helped our two eldest children skyrocket in their academics, drawing other people to our method of schooling,” said Chrystal, who taught high school mathematics in Texas public schools before launching her own CPA firm.

During the 2020/2021 school year, the Bernards heard from a growing number of parents who wanted a more personalized, accessible, faith-based educational option. “As pastors of our local church, we saw the desires of people in our community who wanted a Christian education with low student-teacher ratios without the hefty tuition prices of the local private schools,” said Chrystal. “Additionally, with the rise of virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw how some students were falling through the cracks.”

In the fall of 2021, the couple founded Braveheart Christian Academy, a pre-kindergarten to 7th grade microschool in Arlington, Texas that emphasizes individualized, mastery-based learning with a focus on character development. Some of Braveheart’s teachers taught in the local public schools but were attracted to the new school’s smaller, more holistic learning environment. “Instead of placing students in a box, education is brought to their level,” said Chrystal, who uses assessment tests to evaluate each child’s skill level upon enrollment and then adapts the curriculum accordingly. “We had one child who entered school as a fourth grader by age but who performed at a first grade level. Now, after a school-year-and-a-half with us, that student has nearly caught up academically to his fifth grade peers,” she told me during my recent visit to Braveheart.

With an annual tuition of about $7,000, Braveheart is significantly lower in cost than most traditional private schools in the area, but it is still financially out of reach for many families. “Cost is the major barrier,” said Chrystal, who hears often from parents who wish to enroll their children but can’t afford it.

The Bernards do what they can to lower the tuition burden. They received a microgrant from the VELA Education Fund, a national philanthropic non-profit that provides small amounts of funding to education entrepreneurs who are creating individualized, out-of-system learning models. One local VELA partner, The Miles Foundation, recently dedicated $1 million to support the rising number of founders in Tarrant County. “By investing in everyday education entrepreneurs, we can create real change in the education system,” said Grant Coates, president of The Miles Foundation.

In addition to philanthropy, the Bernards also rely on personal fundraising efforts to reduce costs to parents, but Braveheart is still financially inaccessible to many who want it. “One parent was actually weighing whether she should pay her rent or the school tuition,” said Chrystal, acknowledging that providing a quality education for their children is a top priority for many families.

Last week, Texas became the latest in a string of states to introduce school choice legislation that would enable education funding to follow students to whichever school their parents choose. The bill would provide an annual education savings account up to $8,000 for each Texas student to use toward tuition, books and supplies. This amount would more than cover the cost of Braveheart and similar schools across the state, including the new ones that have been quickly emerging over the past three years of education disruption.

Chrystal is a strong supporter of these school choice initiatives. “Every Texas family should be afforded the opportunity to attend their school of choice, including private schools,” she said. “For many families, the sole barrier is the financial requirement needed to do so. Parents are the best advocates of their children and ultimately know what type of schooling is best from an academic, social and moral perspective.”

The Bernards will continue their efforts to make Braveheart more accessible to the families that want it, but Chrystal believes that statewide education choice policies will be most empowering. “The Texas school choice bill would give more freedom and leverage to parents to make the best schooling decision for their children,” she said.

This article was originally published at It has been reprinted with permission.


Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald is a Senior Education Fellow at FEE and host of the weekly LiberatED podcast. She is also the author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (Chicago Review Press, 2019), an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, education policy fellow at State Policy Network, and a regular Forbes contributor. Kerry has a B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College and an M.Ed. in education policy from Harvard University. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and four children. You can sign up for her weekly email newsletter here.


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House Passes Legislation To Give Parents More Say In Their Kids’ Education

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a piece of legislation on Friday aimed at giving parents more of a say in school curriculum and more control over their children’s education.

In a 213 – 208 vote, the House approved the Parents Bill of Rights, which would require school districts to annually post their curriculum online, allowing parents to review the materials. The bill, considered the “Politics over Parents Act” by Democratic politicians, moves to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it is unlikely to pass.

“My colleagues and I are committed to ensuring that parents always have a seat at the table when it comes to their child’s upbringing and education,” Republican Michigan Rep. Tim Walberg said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Today, we kept a key promise made in the Commitment to America by passing the Parents Bill of Rights. This is a crucial step in fighting to increase transparency and defend the rights of parents.”

Under the legislation, school districts must notify parents of any violence that occurs on campus. School districts are also required to provide parents with a list of materials students can access at the library, the bill stated.

The bill mandates that school districts take parents’ input into consideration when drafting policies, requiring that school boards respect the First Amendment rights of those who voice their concerns at meetings. Teachers must host two in person teacher-parent meetings per year, under the legislation.

An approved amendment to the bill, sponsored by Republican Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, requires school districts to alert parents if their child is sharing a bathroom, locker room or sports team with a student of the opposite biological sex.

Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the bill “facist” and said the legislation would out members of the LGBT community “before they were ready,” the New York Post reported.

“When we talk about progressive values, I can say what my progressive value is, and that is freedom over fascism,” Ocasio-Cortez said according to the New York Post.

“The administration does not support H.R. 5 in its current form because the bill does not actually help parents support their children at school,” the White House said in a statement to NBC News. “Moreover, instead of making LGBTQI+ students feel included in their school community, it puts them at higher risk. The administration strongly supports actions that empower parents to engage with their children’s teachers and schools, like enabling parents to take time off to attend school meetings. Legislation should not politicize our children’s education.”

Around the country, parents are pushing back against school boards to have a say in what materials are available in schools; a group of Maine parents created a database of 82 sexually explicit books found in the school district’s libraries. In California, several parents compiled a database of age-inappropriate content in the district libraries.

“As a mom of two and a former educator, I believe for children to succeed, they need families and schools to work together as partners throughout the learning process,” Republican Louisiana Rep. Julia Letlow, the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement to the DCNF. “After spending nearly a year and a half working to pass this bill, I’m grateful that we’re finally able to advance this critical legislation.”




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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact

‘Extensive Collusion’: House Committee Report Confirms DOJ Targeting of Parents

The Department of Justice “extensively colluded” with a special interest group to “manufacture” a supposedly sweeping threat against school personnel posed by parents, a House Subcommittee interim staff report has found. Experts say the findings further confirm what DOJ officials have denied — that the government worked behind the scenes to undermine a grassroots movement of outspoken parents concerned about their children being exposed to controversial racial and gender theories and mask mandates at school.

On Tuesday, the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government released its findings regarding the controversial memo issued by Attorney General Merrick Garland in October 2021 to “federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement,” in which he ordered the FBI to coordinate investigations of parents due to an alleged “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”

The subcommittee report reveals that the National School Boards Association (NSBA) “collaborated with the Biden White House to develop the language of the NSBA’s September 29, 2021 letter to President Biden urging the use of federal law enforcement and counterterrorism tools, including the Patriot Act, against parents.” The NSBA letter suggested that parents should be investigated for “domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” which it later apologized for.

Five days after the NSBA letter was sent to Biden, Garland issued the contentious memo. Two weeks later, the FBI’s Counterterrorism and Criminal Divisions announced the creation of a new threat tag for the investigation — “EDUOFFICIALS.” One related investigation by an FBI field office targeted “a dad opposed to mask mandates” who “fit the profile of an insurrectionist.” When the FBI interviewed the complainant who reported the dad, they admitted they had “no specific information or observations of . . . any crimes or threats.”

As a direct result of Garland’s memo, the report found that federal law enforcement used “counterterrorism resources to investigate protected First Amendment activity.” The FBI later revealed that it had “opened 25 ‘Guardian assessments’ with the EDUOFFICIALS threat tag.” Of these 25 investigations, “the FBI determined that only one warranted opening a ‘Full Investigation,’ and referred the majority of the remaining cases to state and local authorities. There have still been no federal prosecutions.”

The report went on to note that “[t]he overwhelming majority of judicial districts reported not having heard of any instances of threats or violence being levied at school board officials. One U.S. Attorney reported that threats against school officials was ‘described by some as a manufactured issue.’” It also observed that local law enforcement officials around the country “warned of ‘misapplied’ federal law-enforcement priorities, and local officials generally opposed federal intervention at local school board meetings.”

The subcommittee report concluded that the DOJ failed to perform “any due diligence prior to the issuance of the Attorney General’s memorandum.” If the department had done this, the report asserts, “it would have understood clearly and forcefully that federal intervention was unwarranted.” As a result, the report noted, “parents around the country had FBI ‘assessments’ opened into them.”

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill like Congressman Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) are conveying relief at the prospect Garland’s potential exit in 2025.

“I think this demonstrates to people across our country how fortunate we are that Merrick Garland is not sitting on the Supreme Court bench right now, because that was what was proposed under the Obama administration,” he observed on “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” Wednesday. “And then he would be making these decisions for life right now. As problematic as this is, at least we can assume that as soon as the Biden administration term has ended, that Merrick Garland’s term also will end.”

Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, expressed alarm at the report’s findings while also encouraging resolve on the part of parents.

“This report confirms all our worst suspicions,” she told The Washington Stand. “The degree to which the government has been used to attack parents at the behest of education bureaucrats who are supposed to serve children and families cannot be overstated. Parents knew this by instinct — that the powerful were working together to advance their own interests instead of working for the good of children and families. And they have no problem exercising Gestapo-like tactics on parents, while advancing progressive policies inside schools that amount to lawless chaos for children and teachers.”

“Christians must engage — we must not allow ourselves to be intimidated by these tactics,” Kilgannon concluded.


Dan Hart

Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Elon Musk Tweets Stanford University Law Students’ Protest Represents ‘Soviet Levels of Indoctrination’

With 15,750 administrators for 16, 973 students Stanford has devolved into a public works program for well-paid charlatans supervising intellectual hooligans whose long journey up the Everest of comprehension is now supervised by the spawn of the spawn of the 1960s Marxist professoriate. Parents should demand a refund and all federal funding should be withdrawn.

Read on:

What Happened to Stanford?

The list of serial embarrassments at Stanford reads like the suicides of Greek tragedy, where divine nemesis follows hubris.

Stanford was once one of the world’s great universities. It birthed Silicon Valley in its prime. And along with its nearby twin and rival, UC Berkeley, its brilliant researchers, and teachers helped fuel the mid-20th-century California miracle.

That was then. But like the descent of California, now something has gone terribly wrong with the university.

Students at Stanford Law School recently shouted down visiting Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Kyle Duncan. He had been invited to give a lecture by the school’s Federalist Society.

The judge never even got the chance. The law school students drowned him out. They flashed obscene placards. They screamed that he was “scum.” One yelled he hoped the judge’s own daughters would be raped.

Others bellowed, “You’re not welcome here, we hate you!” “Leave and never come back!” “We hate FedSoc [Federal Society] students, f–k them, they don’t belong here either!” and “We do not respect you and you have no right to speak here! This is our jurisdiction!”

When the judge tried to reply, they drowned him out with “liar” and “scumbag.” Then, mission accomplished, they smugly stomped out.

Note these were ostensibly not teenaged undergraduates. Instead, they were wannabe adult professionals, in law school to learn jurisprudence and to enter the elite American legal system that is supposed to have protocols separating it from the mobocracies prevailing abroad

One of those foundational principles is to honor the Constitution’s protection of free speech and expression—not to mention the ancient idea of respecting an invited guest, or the custom to treat with deference a federal judge, to say nothing of the duty to honor the codes and laws of the institution that they have chosen to join which prohibit disruption of lectures and any effort to drive out public speakers.

When an exasperated Justice Duncan called out for a university administrator to restore calm, his podium was instead hijacked by Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tirien Steinbach. She then gave her own preplanned, scripted lecture that sided with the disruptive protesters! Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

The diversity dean then turned on the speaker. She asked the startled judge whether it was even worth supporting his free speech rights, given he and his views were deemed abhorrent to the new absolutist Stanford.

Note well: DEI Deans normally do not attend law school lectures. She showed up because she apparently knew in advance that the law students would violate their own university’s codes of conduct and disrupt a speaker.

So she had planned, again in advance, to do nothing to stop them. Instead, she would prepare a performance-art speech for such a certainty, to chastise the speaker and defend the disrupters. She assumed correctly that none of the other administrators, who also strangely attended, would admonish her or the students for violating the laws of their own university. She apparently assumed, once more rightly, that her own leftist fides on campus would be enhanced.

So far neither the diversity dean nor the students have been disciplined by the university. When the dean of the law school, Jenny Martinez, offered an apology (but did not punish the students), most of her own class walked out on her. And dozens of Stanford’s law school students lined the corridor in attempts to intimidate her as if she was some sort of toxic pariah.

In a Soviet-style finale, the Acting Associate Dean of Students Jeanne Merino advised the Federalist Society students who were targeted by fellow law students that there were “resources that you can use right now to support your safety and mental health.” Then Merino directed them, inter alia, to none other than Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dean Tirien Steinbach herself, the very dean who had taken over the podium to lecture Judge Duncan!

The debacle revealed four disturbing characteristics about the Stanford law students: One, they acted as if they were bullies and cowards. Videos of the mess showed how they turned mob-like in their chanting, flashing creepy placards, and, like Maoists, walking out on cue. Yet, when the judge fired back at their rudeness, like wounded fawns they took offense and pouted. And later, when there was mention that the names or photos of the protestors might be published, tit-for-tat, in the manner they themselves had put up posters of the Federalist Society members, they screamed that such exposure was unfair.

Two, they seem incompetent. To the degree there were any questions and answers, few knew how or even attempted to engage the judge on matters of the law and judicial theory. In other words, any grammar-school students could have matched their performance since it required no knowledge of the law, just an ability to chant and—in groupthink style—cry, scream, and mimic the majority.

Three, they were arrogant. One protestor blurted out that Justice Duncan probably could not have gotten into Stanford, as if their own puerile performance was proof of the school’s high standards of admission. That was obnoxious in addition to the fact that, as of recently, it may have become not so true. In July 2022, Stanford Law School announced that an uncharacteristic 14 percent of its graduates had flunked the California bar exam on their first attempt, a radical increase from past years. Four other California law schools—UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Irvine, and USC—had a higher bar pass rate.

After watching the sad performance, one wonders who taught such rude and unimpressive people.

Ethics complaints were lodged last year against Stanford Law Professor Michele Dauber for tweeting a series of gross attacks on Camille Vasquez (“some Pick Me Girl lawyer”), the widely regarded attorney of Johnny Depp. Law professor Dauber also tweeted sick fantasies about Depp’s death—and imagined the actor’s corpse would “end up in a trash can eaten by rats.” Was she the sort of model that the law students had emulated?

Then there was Professor Pamela Karla’s 2019 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the impeachment of President Trump. Off-topic and gratuitously, Karla weirdly attacked the name of the president’s youngest son, Barron Trump: “While the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron.” Was that the sort of puerility that the law students sought to embrace?

In 2021, a graduating Stanford law student sent the law school student body a bogus call to violence as if it was authored by the school’s small conservative Federalist Society. The fake call to arms read in part: “The Stanford Federalist Society presents: The Originalist Case for Inciting Insurrection . . . Riot information will be emailed the morning of the event . . . ” Was that the sort of smear that the law students learned?

Sam Bankman-Fried, the architect of the $26 billion FTX cryptocurrency meltdown that destroyed the livelihoods of thousands, is the son of two other Stanford Law School professors. Somehow they were involved in the Bankman-Fried family’s acquisition of a $16.4 million vacation home gifted to them from FTX shortly before it imploded.

According to the New York Times, both parent professors were intimately involved in their son’s multibillion-dollar business, either directly or through gifts to one parent’s political donor network:

He [Professor Bankman] and his wife, the Stanford Law professor Barbara Fried, were more than just supportive parents backing their child’s business. Mr. Bankman was a paid FTX employee who traveled frequently to the Bahamas, where the exchange was based. Ms. Fried did not work for the company, but her son was among the donors in a political advocacy network that she orchestrated.

Were these the ethical models that had influenced the law students?

Bankman-Fried is currently out on a $250 million bond and living under bond on the Stanford campus. He is out, in part, because two Stanfordites, former law school dean Larry Kramer and Andreas Paepcke, a Stanford senior research scientist, put up a $500,000 guarantee. Former Stanford student Caroline Ellison, a partner with Sam Bankman-Fried in his various financial collapses, has pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, and is now working with prosecutors.

Perhaps the law school should not be singled out since it simply reflects what appears to be symptomatic of a once-great university’s freefall.

A former Stanford student Elizabeth Holmes was recently sentenced to a long prison term for defrauding investors in connection with her company Theranos. She had fraudulently claimed to have invented a “revolutionary” miniaturized blood testing device. Many of her corporation’s oversight board members were drawn from the Stanford community.

The Wall Street Journal recently ridiculed a Stanford university group’s publication of a taboo vocabulary list (“Elimination of Harmful Language Initiative”). “Harmful” words supposedly unwelcome at Stanford included inflammatory expressions such as “American” and “immigrant.”

The Journal also noted that perhaps the cause of such Orwellianism was too many idle administrators chasing too few students: “For 16,937 students, Stanford lists 2,288 faculty and 15,750 administrative staff.”

More disturbing was the revelation of a “snitch list.” The harmful language initiative apparently is tangential to another new idea of rewarding Stanford snitches who feel offended by hurtful expression. Or, as the so-called “The Protected Identity Harm (PIH) Reporting” system put it, software will monitor campus speech and even offer “financial rewards for finding/reporting” any who supposedly violate approved language usage.

Was this the sort of campus experience that the parents of Stanford students pay for at about $90,000 per year?

Stanford was also plagued by a recent admissions scandal when a former head sailing coach accepted donations to his Stanford sailing program in exchange for trying to help two students’ admission applications.

Then there were campus attacks on a pair of eminent Stanford public health experts, Drs. Scott Atlas and Jay Bhattacharya. Both were pilloried mercilessly by some of the Stanford faculty and administration for daring to doubt the efficacy of what has proved to be disastrous government-enforced COVID quarantines and school shutdowns.

Yet the arguments of Atlas and Bhattacharya—the science does not support the mandatory use of masks to halt the pandemic, natural immunity was as efficacious as or superior to vaccine-induced immunity, the vaccinations would not offer lasting protection against either being infected or infecting someone else, and the quarantine lockdowns would cause more damage and death (familial abuse, suicides, substance abuse, mental depression, uneducated children, economic catastrophe, millions of missed surgeries, screenings, tests, and doctor’s appointments) than the virus itself—were all eventually substantiated.

Neither doctor received apologies from the administrators, faculty, or students who attacked them.

Currently Stanford’s long-serving president Marc Tessier-Lavigne—an accomplished neuroscientist—has been attacked serially by the Stanford Daily campus newspaper, which has called for his resignation. It alleges the president was culpable of scholarly misconduct concerning the publication of a joint research paper decades ago. The charges are not proven and remain under investigation. But they make it difficult for a president to weigh in on the above controversies when some faculty and the student newspaper are serially calling for him to step down for ethics violations

In July 2020, a Stanford visiting neurology researcher, Chen Song, was arrested for not disclosing that she had apparently been an agent of China’s People’s Liberation Army. Stanford had also been investigated by the Department of Education for some $64 million in alleged Chinese-affiliated donations over a decade, all from previously unnamed, unidentified, and anonymous Chinese donors, most of them believed to be government associated.

The list of serial embarrassments reads like the suicides of Greek tragedy, where divine nemesis follows hubris. In this case, overweening intolerant ideology has sabotaged disinterested inquiry and meritocracy. Arrogance and sanctimoniousness lead Stanford to continue down this spiral—rather than pause, reflect, and redirect—and thereby only compound the public ridicule.

Stanford’s once-justified reputation for civility, transparency, tolerance, and professional ethics has been shredded before a global audience.

Given its hallowed history, and the university’s vital global role in cutting-edge research, medicine, and professional training, something has to change—before it is too late.

The university requires an array of compulsory workshops that faculty and many students must undergo. But given these recent debacles, perhaps two additional new training sessions are needed: required ethics instruction and a mandatory anger-management seminar.

Read more.



RELATED ARTICLE: LA Public Schools Go on Strike Abandoning 400,000 Students, Teachers Dance In The Streets

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

MICHIGAN: Guess Who is Detroit’s Bloomfield Hills High School Diversity Expert?

The diversity expert is Huwaida Arraf 47 year-old Democrat born in Detroit to Palestinian Christian parents. She is US citizen but caries also an Israeli passport. As a Palestinian American activist and lawyer co-founded the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), “a Radical Palestinian-led organization suggests using non-violent protests and international pressure to support Palestinians.”

Yet on March 16, 2023 (Arutz Shiva) in a column titled Palestinian American activist goes on hateful rant at Michigan school diversity event reported:

Bloomfield Hills High School issues apology after speaker refuses to stick to agreed upon topic, goes on offensive rant against Israel.

A Michigan high school has apologized after a Palestinian American anti-Israel activist was invited to a student-led diversity event where she went on a hateful tirade against Israel.

Huwaida Arraf, the co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and a failed Democratic Congressional candidate, had promised Bloomfield Hills High School she would stick to topics vetted beforehand but did not do so, according to the StopAntisemitism advocacy organziation.

“Outrage by students, staff, & parents at Bloomfield Hills High School in Michigan as a Palestinian activist – Huwaida Arraf – was brought into to speak at a 10th grade diversity event,” StopAntisemitism tweeted. “Arraf refused to stick to agreed upon speaking points and started spreading lies about Israel.”

They pointed out that Bloomfield Hills has one of the largest Jewish populations in Michigan.

Bloomfield Hills High School Principal Lawrence Stroughter sent an apology to students, parents and staff on Tuesday night after the incident occurred.

The statement described the event as a “diversity assembly” that was led by students.

“Today, a BHHS student-led diversity assembly was held for all BHHS students. In preparation for this assembly, our student organizers and administrators met with each speaker to discuss the intent of the assembly and the prompts,” Stroughter said.

Read more.

From the ISM Mission Statement:

“As enshrined in international law and UN resolutions, we recognize the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle. However, we believe that nonviolence can be a powerful weapon in fighting oppression and we are committed to the principles of nonviolent resistance”.

Arraf is a radical anti Semitic and anti Israel propagandist who advocated violence to advance Palestinian causes.

She was never concerned about the plight of Palestinian Christians. Their population dramatically declined in Palestinian territories from 84% to 22% due to killing, kidnapping, confiscation of property and destruction of churches. Huwaida and her husband Adam Shapiro (not a Jew) advocate destruction of Israel with all means even violent. As supporter of Boycott Divest Sanction she is well financed.

International Solidarity Movement (ISM) which Huwaida Arraf created was popular in high schools and colleges and Arraf diversity effort is a recruitment effort of students to ISM. This organization sent naïve ignorant students to a war zone without training which resulted in 10 death of students.

While rampant antisemitism is spreading in this country and beyond the diversity program at Bloomfield Hills Schools makes the situation worse, making hate an option justified by false narrative. Media, TV and radio, take antisemitism seriously, colleges and schools lag far behind.

Will they learn?

©W.O. Williams. All rights reserved.

RELATED PODCAST: Christian Action Network releases video exposing After School Satan Clubs


MICHIGAN: Teacher Courses Promoting Critical Race Theory Were Funded By Pandemic Relief

Republican House attempts to restore schools as parent led instead of communist-government directed

Woke Universities Sacrificing Science on the Altar of Ideology and Profit

Three case studies from Canada and Australia about suppression of heterodox opinions in universities.

Two thousand five hundred years ago the Greek playwright Aeschylus is reputed to have said “the first victim of war is truth.” Recent events in the academic world have demonstrated that truth is also a casualty when ideology and commercial interests are at stake.

The most recent case occurred last month at Laval University in Canada, when professor and RNA expert Patrick Provost was suspended without pay for anti-mRNA vaccine comments. Patrick Provost has run an RNA lab for 20 years and has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed studies. In 2003, Provost’s work on the role of microRNA in gene expression was named one of the 10 discoveries of the year by the Quebec Science Magazine.

Based on the government’s own hospitalization and mortality statistics for children, which are both very low, Provost said he believed the risks of Covid-19 vaccination in children could outweigh the benefits because of the potential side-effects from mRNA vaccines, which have only gone through two of the usual four stages of testing required before vaccines are approved for general use.

“I was just doing what I was hired to do,” he said in an interview. “I had some concerns about something, I searched the literature and I prepared a talk and I delivered it to the public. Being censored for doing what I’ve been trained to do — and hired to do — well, it’s hard to believe.”

“As soon as you raise some concerns about vaccines, or side-effects, or complications related to vaccines, then it’s worse than the N-word,” he continued. “You’re condemned by the media, by the government and you’re chased and put down …. We should be able to discuss any ideas — any opinions — and because I expressed opinions that went against the government narrative, I was suspended.”

Regarding the University’s reaction, one might well wonder about the fact that the top 20 pharmaceutical companies spent C$139 billion on Research & Development in 2022, a portion of which went to university researchers. Faculties of medicine are particularly favoured beneficiaries of such funding. And Patrick Provost is a professor at the Faculty of Medicine.

In an entirely different field, geophysicist Peter Ridd was sacked in 2018 by James Cook University, in Australia, for criticizing the work of a colleague studying the Great Barrier Reef. In an email to a journalist, he said the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority “is grossly misusing some scientific ‘data’ to make the case that the Great Barrier Reef is greatly damaged.” Ridd maintained that scientific organisations were “quite happy to spin a story for their own purposes, in this case to demonstrate that there is massive damage to the Great Barrier Reef.”

In a report published last year based, like Provost’s talk, on publicly available data, from the Australian Institute of Marine Science, aka the AIMS, Ridd notes that “the average coral cover as of 2022 is (…) the highest level on record. Figure 2 makes it clear that AIMS has effectively hidden the very good news about the reef between 2016 and 2022 by not publishing the Great Barrier Reef average data since 2017.”

Since 2014, the Australian government has committed A$4 billion to saving the Reef. The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, based at James Cook University, has been a major recipient of this funding. It should be no surprise that Ridd’s colleagues did not take kindly to someone undermining the claims on which their research, and the government funding that subsidizes it, is based.

Back in Canada, Frances Widdowson, a professor of economics, policy, and justice at Mount Royal University in Alberta was fired last year after colleagues and activists called for her termination because she dared to challenge groupthink on indigenous issues. Widdowson had made the self-evident claim that residential schools provided access to education that otherwise might not have been available, which was not an endorsement of the residential school system, but a mere statement of fact. A large percentage of Indian parents willingly opted for residential schools as they were the only way for their children to get an education. Despite the factuality of the claim, she was vilified and called a “denialist.”

Widdowson observes that no one dare question indigenous leaders in Canada these days, which makes it difficult to check their claims about buried remains of children. Widdowson has remarked that while lurid talk of buried indigenous children has circulated for more than 25 years and is “now firmly ensconced within the Canadian consciousness,” there is still no hard evidence to support it. Not a single body has been found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School where 215 bodies were allegedly detected by ground-penetrating radar.

Widdowson’s words in her last hearing at the disciplinary committee just before being fired are worth quoting as a moral to these stories:

“My final thought is that I don’t think it’s understood, not just at Mount Royal but in universities generally, that there is a fundamental conflict between academic universities, academic values and these ideological types of intrusions which are put forward under a number of different names, whether it be diversity, inclusion or equity policies. (…). I’m being pushed out because I can’t accept things that I believe to be untrue. I can’t say that I think something is true when I don’t think it’s true and I think it would be a violation of my academic position to do that. And unfortunately there are people who are either opportunistic or just afraid who won’t stand behind the academic foundation of the university.”

The university is now a house without foundations. We all know what eventually happens to such houses.


Patrick Duffley

Patrick Duffley is Professor of English Linguistics at Université Laval, in Canada. More by Patrick Duffley.

RELATED ARTICLE: Mr. President, Fire Your Woke Minions And Appoint Some Competent People

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Thousands of Schools Won’t Tell Parents About Kids’ Gender Transition: Report

More than 5,000 schools across the nation allow teachers to hide a child’s decision to identify as a member of the opposite sex from the child’s parents. The parental exclusion policy — which is heavily advocated by LGBT lobbying groups and applies to more than 3.2 million children nationally — has already resulted in the sexual trafficking of at least one young girl.

A total of 5,904 schools in 168 school districts nationwide allow, or require, teachers to conceal children’s transgender “social transition” — in which children change their name or preferred pronouns, or begin using the locker rooms of the opposite sex — from their parents. School districts keeping legal guardians ignorant about their children’s life-altering decisions stretch from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, and from Alaska to Arizona.

“This investigation shows that parental exclusion policies are a problem from coast-to-coast — and that living in a red state doesn’t mean that families are automatically shielded from this issue,” said Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education (PDE), which compiled the list. PDE discovered four districts in deep-red Kansas that have adopted the policy, crafted by LGBT activists. For example, Wichita Public Schools’ teacher training claims, “The lack of using [a child’s preferred] pronouns could lead to death.”

In all, PDE reports, such policies affect 3,268,752 students — and their parents — in 28 states and the District of Columbia.

“This list is not comprehensive,” the report notes.

A Virginia high school’s decision to conceal a teenage girl’s gender transition ended with the teen being drugged, gang-raped and, on two separate occasions, sexually trafficked. In August 2021, 14-year-old Sage began attending Appomattox County High School. Her biological grandmother, Michele, who legally adopted her, said Sage told her “all the girls there were bi, trans, lesbian, emo,” and Sage soon decided she “wanted to wear boys’ clothes.” But Michele added, Sage told school officials “she was now a boy named Draco with male pronouns. Sage asked the school not to tell me, and they did not tell me.”

After a group of boys accosted and threatened to rape her in the boys’ restroom, Michele took Sage home and found a pass made out to “Draco.” Michele said Sage was too afraid to return to school, so she ran away to meet an online “friend,” who sexually trafficked her through Washington, D.C. and Maryland. By the time the FBI found her locked inside a room in Baltimore nine days later, Michele recalled, Sage had been “locked in a room, drugged, gang-raped, and brutalized by countless men.”

“One of the expert witnesses in the hearing [on January 30] confirms that online predators do target social media accounts of children who list themselves as ‘ftm’ or ‘female to male,’” Delegate David LaRock (R-Berryville) told The Daily Signal.

But Sage’s nightmare had only begun. A judge accused Michele and her husband of inflicting “emotional and physical abuse” by “misgendering” their granddaughter. The judge had Sage committed to the male section of a children’s home, where she was “repeatedly beaten” and “given street drugs,” Michele said. Sage ran away from the home, but the FBI found her in the grips of a sexual trafficking in Texas. Sage had again “been drugged, raped, beaten, and exploited.”

“Sage isn’t unique,” LaRock told “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” on February 9, although “the degree to which she’s been violated is, hopefully, rare.”

Reports of schools allowing or encouraging minors to “socially transition” to another gender have trickled out, as outraged parents have taken legal action against the districts on PDE’s list. A coalition of parents sued Iowa’s Linn-Mar Community School District last summer. Last month, Amber Lavigne filed a lawsuit against the Great Salt Bay Community School in the coastal Maine village of Damariscotta — population 2,300 — after she found a chest binder in her 13-year-old daughter’s belongings. A social worker facilitated the child’s decision to identify as another gender, and the school withheld all information from her mother, according to her legal counsel. “The school never stopped trying to keep me in the dark at every turn, repeatedly stonewalling me when I tried to find out what was going on,” said an exasperated Lavigne, who is represented by the Goldwater Institute. “My parental rights aren’t up for debate: I deserve to know what’s happening to my child in school.”

“Counselors and teachers didn’t tell Sage’s family about the fact that she was transgender. And she got caught up in some horrific human trafficking issues, and they almost lost her,” Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) told a CNN townhall last Wednesday. “There’s a basic rule here, which is that children belong to parents — not to the state, not to schools, not to bureaucrats, but to parents.”

Last September, Youngkin enacted model school guidelines that affirm, “School personnel shall keep parents fully informed about all matters that may be reasonably expected to be important to a parent.” Parents may “determine (a) what names, nicknames, and/or pronouns, if any, shall be used for their child by teachers and school staff while their child is at school, (b) whether their child engages in any counseling or social transition at school that encourages a gender that differs from their child’s sex, or (c) whether their child expresses a gender that differs with their child’s sex while at school,” the guidelines add.

Despite Youngkin’s actions, the report lists seven school districts in Virginia that continue to hide social transition from parents.

To remedy the situation, LaRock introduced “Sage’s Law” (H.B. 2432), which requires school officials to contact parents if a child begins using names or pronouns not consistent with his or her sex. The bill passed the House of Delegates on February 6 by a narrow 50-48, party-line vote. (Democratic Delegate Cliff Hayes also intended to vote no.) It is currently under Senate consideration.

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives is taking steps to assure no American parent is frozen out of his or her child’s life decisions. Last week, House Republicans advanced a measure barring any federally funded elementary or middle school from changing a “minor child’s gender markers, pronouns, or preferred name” on any school form, or allowing students to use the restrooms and changing facilities of the opposite sex. The House Education and the Workforce Committee adopted the measure — originally introduced as a separate bill, the Parental Rights Over the Education and Care of Their (PROTECT) Kids Act, by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) — as an amendment to the Parents Bill of Rights (H.R. 5). Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate (S. 200).

Walberg, an ordained pastor who once worked for the Moody Bible Institute, found it “unconscionable that some believe that parents should be kept in the dark regarding gender transitions of their own children. He urged Congress to “ensure that schools do not hide important information about children from their own parents,” “increase transparency, and defend the God-given authority and rights of parents.”

President Joe Biden is all but certain to veto such a bill. The president’s now-inactive nonprofit, the Biden Foundation, partnered with Gender Spectrum, a group whose “Gender Support Plan” tells schools to have “contingencies in place” if parents find out their child is “being supported” against their will. Since taking office, Biden has said transgenderism reflects “the image of God.”

You may see PDE’s incomplete list of the school districts that have adopted anti-parental rights transgender policies here. The group asks citizens to report such policies to PDE.

“Frighteningly, this only begins to scratch the surface of what is taking place behind closed doors in America’s schools,” said Neily. “Without a doubt, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of others with similar policies on the books.”


Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.


West Virginia Bill Offers Path forward on Higher Ed Free Speech Reform

New Kentucky Bill Would Expand Religious Freedom in Schools

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

THANK YOU DEMOCRATS: America’s Average IQ Declines for First Time in Nearly 100 Years

Biden finally leading the way in—DECLINE.

The Democrats will solve this by designating IQ as “racist” and ban the tests altogether.

Is It Any Wonder? America’s Average IQ Declines for First Time in Nearly 100 Years

By: RedState, March 13, 2023;

And there it is. A new study has found that the intelligence quotient (IQ) of the average American citizen is now on the decline for the first time in nearly 100 years. Again, is it any wonder?

Of course, there’s no wonder. We can start with the left’s insidious drive to dumb down public school education, curricula standards, and elimination of minimum graduation requirements, all in the name of promoting so-called equity and inclusion.

Or, as it was called in saner times, the soft bigotry of low expectations.

As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, the study, published in the psychology journal Intelligence, Analyzed the time period between 2006 and 2018. Unsurprisingly, the study’s authors noted that the greatest decline in IQ occurred among Americans between the ages of 18 and 22, and “may” be due to poor quality education. I know — try to control your shock and amazement.

Look, when you “teach” (indoctrinate) students to believe that getting the right answers in math is “racist” — rather than the process used to get to the wrong answer — it’s just a matter of time.

According to the report, the findings could indicate “that either the caliber of education has decreased across this study’s sample and/or that there has been a shift in the perceived value of certain cognitive skills,” according to the report.

Why not both?

So we must ask ourselves, what’s changed? Did teenagers and young adults simply just get dumber for no apparent reason, or can we point with specificity to the dumbing down of public education — and the declining educational quality of teachers who first believed that mixing their personal politics into their classroom “instruction” was reasonable and that finally full-blown woke was a “moral” requirement.

I’ve written previously about the decline in honors programs across America. In one recent example, the Culver City School District in Los Angeles eliminated honors curricula from high schools in the name of racial equity. The district rightly faced a backlash from parents of honor students who lost opportunities to enroll in accelerated programs. One parent observed:

It’s not working and we’ve thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

The hateful parent is obviously a racist. [sarc]

In August 2021, then-Oregon Gov. Kate Brown eliminated statewide math, reading, and writing proficiency standards for high school graduates. A Brown spokesman at the time offered this lame excuse: “SB 744 gives us an opportunity to review our graduation requirements and make sure our assessments can truly assess all students’ learning.”

Keep reading.



EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Biden Proposes Federally Regulated ‘Universal Pre-K’ for Children as Young as 3

President Joe Biden’s $6.9 trillion proposed budget would have the hand of the government rock the cradle by creating a federally regulated, universal pre-K program for children as young as three.

Altogether, President Biden would spend more than half-a-trillion dollars over the next 10 years to allow all American preschoolers to spend their formative years in a taxpayer-funded day care program. The president’s proposed 2024 budget includes billions of dollars to create “high-quality, universal, free preschool” for “all of the approximately four million four-year-old children in” the United States. Each of the 50 states may then “expand preschool to three-year-olds after preschool is available to all four-year-olds.”

The eventual program, which would see children raised anywhere “from public schools to child care providers to Head Start,” would be administered by the Department of Education in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“The estimated cost of these child care and preschool investments is $600 billion over 10 years,” the budget proposal states.

Parents have already expressed concerns about the curriculum that might be taught in government-administered preschool programs.

“While the creation of universal pre-K may seem benevolent, the fact that so many schools now teach age-inappropriate lessons on race and sex raises red flags that such a program would simply allow administrators access to children at even younger and more vulnerable ages,” said Nicki Neily, the president of the education watchdog group Parents Defending Education. “It’s time to stop obsessing over ‘equity’ and ‘diversity’ in education and instead return to teaching students a solid core curriculum that will give them the skills they need to thrive later in life.”

These worries are amplified by the tender age of the children targeted by the Biden administration, which threatened to withhold federal funding from schools that do not allow males who identify as transgender to have access to female restrooms, bathrooms, and intimate areas.

“Between 15 to 18 months of age is when most children start forming their worldview,” explained George Barna, describing his research at Arizona Christian University’s Cultural Research Center, on “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” in 2022. “By the age of 13, it’s almost completely in place.”

“A child needs a worldview, so if we don’t help them develop it,” said Barna, “somebody else will.”

Government agencies have quietly begun normalizing the notion of federal bureaucracies overseeing the childrearing of infants by changing the educational nomenclature from “k-12” (kindergarten through high school) to “p-12.”

The administration says it funds government-run childrearing programs so parents can “go to work or pursue training with the peace of mind that their children are being set up for a lifetime of success.” Yet decades of social science conclusively shows children raised by their own parents have the best life outcomes, while children raised in preschools suffer a variety of physical and emotional harms.

“In August 2013, Vanderbilt University released an evaluation demonstrating that children who went through Tennessee’s Voluntary Pre-K (TN-VPK) Program actually performed worse on cognitive tasks at the end of first grade than did the control group,” noted Lindsay Burke, an expert on the topic at the Heritage Foundation. Children who attended Quebec’s government-funded universal pre-K program were 4.6% more likely to be convicted of a crime, and 17% more likely to be convicted of a drug crime. Overall, these Canadian children experienced “worse health, lower life satisfaction and higher crime rates later in life.”

Nearly two-thirds of children who attended day care had higher cortisol levels than children at home. “For girls, the cortisol rise was associated with anxious, vigilant behavior, while for boys the rise was associated with angry, aggressive behavior,” researchers noted.

Biden’s proposed budget offers universal pre-K with the hope that children who take them will “enter kindergarten ready to succeed.” But a 2003 study found, “The more time children spent in any of a variety of nonmaternal care arrangements across the first 4.5 years of life, the more externalizing problems and conflict with adults they manifested at 54 months of age and in kindergarten, as reported by mothers, caregivers, and teachers.”

It is unclear there is burning desire for such programs. Over decades of conducing public polls, Gallup reports that it has “consistently found that the majority of working mothers would prefer to stay at home and take care of their house and family.” They work out of financial considerations, pollsters say.

Women are far more likely than men to say they want to work remotely from a home office. Women consistently say they place their highest value on flexible working conditions, which allow them to be home when their children are toddlers, or when they arrive home from school.

Nonetheless, Biden’s budget would boost Head Start funding by $1.1 billion to $13.1 billion. It also includes $500 million for the Education Department “to create or expand free, high-quality preschool in school or community-based settings” for children eligible to attend low-income schools.

Universal pre-K has remained a goal of the Democratic Party for at least a decade. President Barack Obama in his 2013 State of the Union address demanded Congress “do what works” by “working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America.” Obama referred to universal pre-K in the nation’s first-ever report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2010, noting that he used stimulus funds to “promote high-quality early childhood education.” His Department of Education would “provide low-income students and students of color with increased access to early learning and education,” the report added.

However, a previous federal program known as Head Start, which was designed to improve the readiness of low-income children for kindergarten, was found to be a failure. A report from Obama’s own HHS noted that the program “had little to no positive effects for children who were granted access.”

More than a decade into the new millennium, Democratic bureaucrats still see value in having the government oversee the raising of young children. Universal pre-K will “pay dividends for generations to come,” said Cecilia Rouse, chair of the Biden’s White House Council of Economic Advisers this week.

The budget proposal stands little chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where all spending bills must originate under the Constitution.

“President Biden’s newly unveiled budget would waste hard-earned taxpayer dollars on a radical leftist agenda, drive us deeper into debt, and raise taxes on a fragile economy,” said Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.). “Right now, when Americans desperately need a return to economic stability, Biden’s budget proposal fails to recognize the nation’s fiscal crisis.”


Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.


EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Republican Governors Are Taking The Culture War To Campus

  • Republican governors are leading the charge to reform higher education as part of the ongoing culture war on college campuses.
  • Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas are both focused on countering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs on college campuses, while Gov. Glenn Youngkin prioritized fostering free speech.
  • “I think increasingly we see state lawmakers saying what we’ve known for some time, that the research on DEI offices … do not produce improved levels of tolerance,” Jonathan Butcher, Will Skillman fellow in education at The Heritage Foundation, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Republican governors are pushing several higher education reform efforts to counter culture wars on college campuses.

Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Greg Abbott of Texas and Glenn Youngkin of Virginia have made education policy a staple of their governing platforms. Higher education reform efforts include calls to defund diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs, crack down on Critical Race Theory (CRT) mandated in classrooms, reverse the surge of gender ideology and walk back tenure — a controversial stance from professors on both sides of the political aisle.

DeSantis made higher education reform a focal point of his 2023 legislative agenda, announcing on Jan. 31 that his proposed legislation would “bring more accountability to the higher education system” by prioritizing “education not indoctrination” and strengthening civics curriculum. His agenda includes a call to defund DEI initiatives and favor education “rooted in the values of liberty and western tradition,” tighten tenure policies by requiring post-tenure review at any time and pouring $15 million into New College of Florida — where he recently appointed six conservative board members who have already begun stripping the school of its DEI programs.

The administration also requested public colleges and universities submit reports detailing how much money was spent to fund DEI programs and the number of transgender patients treated at university-affiliated health centers.

Like DeSantis, Youngkin also appointed conservative trustees to several university boards including the Virginia Military Institute and the University of Virginia, according to Inside Higher Ed. He is also focused on protecting free speech on college campuses and keeping tuition rates low for students, Macaulay Porter, Youngkin’s spokeswoman, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The governor called on all colleges and universities to adopt free speech measures and keep tuition flat for Virginia’s students; all Virginia colleges and universities have complied with his requests,” she said. “The governor has continually led on education and has developed an education roadmap by removing divisive concepts from our schools, restoring excellence in education, and fostering free speech and diversity of thought on our campuses.”

Jonathan Butcher, a Will Skillman fellow in education at the Heritage Foundation, told the DCNF that freezing tuition costs and making “more effective use of resources so that students are not having to pay sky-high tuition costs that increase every year” should be an important focus for state governors across the country.

Abbott’s Chief of Staff Gardner Pate sent a letter to Texas university leaders on Feb. 6 warning that using taxpayer money to support DEI programs is illegal and that they cannot require applicants to submit a statement detailing commitments to advancing DEI during the hiring or admission process. Several university systems, including the University of TexasTexas A&M University and University of Houston systems, have since stopped mandating diversity statements to comply with the order.

“As Texans, we celebrate the diversity of our State and the presence of a workforce that represents our rich culture,” Pate wrote. “In recent years, however, the innocuous-sounding notion of [DEI] has been manipulated to push policies that expressly favor some demographic groups to the detriment of others.”

Other Republican states have responded to the heightened attention being cast on the prevalence of DEI on campus. West Virginia and Utah filed bills that would ban using diversity statements as an application factor for university hiring while South Carolina and Oklahoma followed Florida’s lead in requesting the total amount dedicated to funding DEI programs.

“I think increasingly we see state lawmakers saying what we’ve known for some time, that the research on DEI offices … do not produce improved levels of tolerance,” Butcher said. “They don’t change behaviors of people who go through DEI training programs.”

The Abbott administration has also targeted tenure policies. Republican Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick responded in February 2022 to a University of Texas at Austin Faculty Council vote supporting CRT by promising to eliminate tenure from all public universities, and reinforced this idea ahead of the 2023 legislative session by marking tenure elimination as a top priority.

“Tenured professors must not be able to hide behind the phrase ‘academic freedom,’ and then proceed to poison the minds of our next generation,” he said in 2022.

But while calls for tenure reform are popular among Republican lawmakers, professors previously warned the DCNF that restricting tenure could backfire for conservative faculty.

Rob Jenkins, an associate professor of English at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College and author of “The Conservative Case for Tenure,” told the DCNF that he may have been fired “a long time ago” if he did not have tenure protection and explained that tenured professors can still be fired if they aren’t adequately doing their job.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, told Inside Higher Ed that 2024 candidates won’t focus on higher education issues such as student debt, but will gravitate toward the culture wars.

“That doesn’t sell, or it doesn’t sell to very many people,” he explained. “But you start talking about cultural issues—‘they’re destroying our culture, they don’t believe in God,’ blah, blah, blah—and pretty soon you’ve got a lot of people showing up at your rallies, screaming bloody murder.”

DeSantis and Abbott’s offices did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.





College Enrollment Decline Tied To Pandemic-Era Mandates, Population Decrease, Expert Says

How American Colleges Have Failed Their Students

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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How American Colleges Have Failed Their Students

‘Western civ’ has become a term of reproach at many famous universities.

The dust jacket of John Agresto’s new book, The Death of Learning: How American Education Has Failed Our Students and What to Do about It, depicts Gore Hall at Harvard in the 1870s. Perhaps this is a subtle indication of what lies within: Gore Hall, Harvard’s first proper library, was demolished in 1913. To be sure, it was replaced by the grand Widener Library, which is a treasure. But will it remain a treasure?

In September 2020, the university announced in a press release that “Harvard Library has begun building an Anti-Racism team,” appointing its “first Anti-Black Racism Librarian/Archivist,” who “will work with colleagues across Harvard Library on objectives relating to centering anti-racism and diversity in our collections lifecycle.” Imagine being paid to string words together like this about a “collections lifecycle”—at Harvard.

But you don’t have to imagine: this is what has become of education in this country, not only at Harvard but pretty much everywhere. The situation, summed up in a sentence by Agresto: “There’s no way to view this as other than a tragedy.” Particularly insidious is that, unlike most examples of political attacks on education in the past, the recent “dismantling of the liberal arts comes from . . . within”:

It comes from radicalized departments of history, literature, classics, American studies, and all the myriad of other studies connected to ethnopolitical interest groups. It comes from virtually every school and college of education. This is why I have no hesitation in saying that liberal education in America is dying not by murder but by suicide.

Describing the self-destruction with grace, care, and regular doses of humor, Agresto does his best to imagine a better future. A superb writer who largely avoids inflammatory rhetoric, he is the rare gifted administrator who appears to have lost none of his humanity or sense of wonder when he entered the upper echelons of academic bureaucracy: as acting chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities in the mid-1980s, then as president of St. John’s College in Santa Fe from 1989 to 2000, and more recently as a founding trustee of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani.

What are the liberal arts? This is Agresto’s pithy explanation, which he provides in highlighting italics: “a way of understanding the most important questions of human concern through reason and reflection.” He writes that “the liberal arts hold out the promise of freeing each of us from the captivity of prejudice, of platitudes and superstition, or of whatever it is that ‘everyone’ believes” and “aim at once to be truly radical and truly conservative,” demanding that individuals acquire a foundation in the wisdom of the past so that they can truly think for themselves.

Endangered education

Unfortunately, he laments, “a rich and thoroughgoing liberal arts education [now] seems to me as endangered as the Sumatran orangutan.” As he goes on to note, when he first began to think about the book, nearly three decades ago, he drafted such sentences as “It’s clear that in the realm of education the words ‘liberal arts’ have always been words of high praise” and commented on how very rare it was to find a “faculty of liberal arts that does not think of itself as the crown jewel of the whole educational enterprise.” How things change.

Yet even in the 1980s, the bonfire of the humanities was well underway. Agresto knows this, of course. Indeed, he spends a good number of pages on the dismantling of Stanford’s Western Culture curriculum, which was last taught in 1987–88. Some five hundred protesters, including Jesse Jackson, initiated this fight by marching on campus chanting, “Hey ho, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go!” The march took place in January 1987; in February, Agresto’s teacher Allan Bloom published The Closing of the American Mind; and at the end of March 1988, the game was finally up when the Faculty Senate voted 39 to 4 to revamp the course to make it more global and, supposedly, less racist and sexist.

The fact is that the humanities—historically a subsection of the liberal arts: literature, music, history, etc.—have been in deep trouble for a long time. It is difficult to find a basic course on Shakespeare at most of the better-known colleges and universities; the rise of STEM, for all its wonders, has led in recent months to the Pandora’s box known as ChatGPT; and, worst of all, today’s would-be defenders of the humanities often don’t seem to have any idea what they’re defending or how to do it.

Part of the challenge is that defending the liberal arts involves clusters of questions and debates rather than a clearly articulated set of principles. Life’s biggest questions are almost never resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, and if we don’t study the differences between the Epicureans and the Stoics, between Locke and Rousseau, and between legal originalists and non-originalists, we are missing out on our own music: sometimes a battle of the bands, sometimes cacophony, always fascinating.

The diverse nature of the liberal arts means that to be educated means knowing not only the proverbial “best that has been thought and said in the world” but also the also-rans. “[W]e understand better the Founders’ Constitution,” Agresto writes, “by reading the writings of various Anti-Federalists alongside The Federalist Papers.” And beyond this: a liberal education should also “com[e] to grips with the very worst that has been said and done and understanding why.”

Disdain for the ordinary lives

Agresto firmly rejects the idea that people who study the humanities are more humane, perhaps even more human, than those who do not. Obviously he is correct about this. “Are we humanists and liberal artists actually more moral than . . . owners of delicatessens?” Agresto asks. I am the grandson of owners of a delicatessen who did not attend college, and I have no hesitation in saying that they were more moral than both I and most people I have known in decades in academia.

It is one thing to extol the extraordinary, as we should all do. But it is deeply wrong to disdain or condemn the ordinary. Yet this is how the American elite is now acting. “[O]rdinary family life, heterosexuality, simple love of country, traditional virtues, traditional religious habits and outlooks”—all are under regular attack at institutions of higher learning, which at the same time present students with such gotcha questions as “Have you ever been to a gay or lesbian bar, social club, or march? If not, why not?” (courtesy of North Dakota State). It is good to remember Cardinal Newman, as Agresto of course does: “a University training is the great ordinary means to a great but ordinary end.”

For Social Justice Warriors, however, there is a horrifying new “ordinary.” Here’s how Agresto puts it, after reminding us that Social Justice was the name of Father Coughlin’s virulently anti-Semitic journal:

The last thirty years have seen the vandalizing of ever so much of higher education. The supposed reformers have entered the storehouse of centuries of accumulated knowledge, torn down its walls, thrown out its books, and toppled its monuments. For all their brave talk of justice, they have carried out what has to be seen as one of the most intellectually criminal acts of the ages, the modern equivalent of burning the libraries of antiquity. Today, acts that were unthinkable, unimaginable, just years ago now seem so very ordinary.

Agresto’s book is liberal, largely moderate, and explicitly American: liberal not as opposed to “conservative,” but in the sense of being about freedom (Latin libertas, the source of our “liberty”); moderate because moderation is “the virtue a liberal education cultivates best, as well as the virtue for which it is often criticized most”; and American for the reason that “[b]ecause we are diverse, for each of us ‘our own’ means not only what we hold in common but also what we hold separately.” This defense of liberal education will especially resonate with readers like me who at least used to consider themselves liberal, who try when possible to occupy the middle ground, and who find themselves increasingly aggressive about promoting American ideals and institutions.

Underestimating outrage

Though it is at times repetitive, you can pick up The Death of Learning and read almost any chapter on its own and be edified. But the greatest flaw, in my view, is that Agresto does a better job of explaining “how American education has failed our students” than “what to do about it.” Not that he doesn’t say the right things: about the desirability of investing large sums in small liberal arts colleges; the importance of winning over the young and those who teach them (for which reason he ends the book with two heartfelt exhortations: “A Message to High School Teachers and Principals” and “A Message to High School Seniors”); and the possibilities that new universities offer—from Austin, Texas (disclosure: I am on the advisory board of the University of Austin) to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. But, as I have already hinted, I found in the second half of the book more wishful thinking than original policy suggestions.

There are also a few spots where Agresto gets things wrong. Sometimes he should know better. Most egregious is his valorization of Anthony Fauci, who majored in classics at Holy Cross. Agresto links him with Martin Luther King Jr. as “discerning men of public presence, insight, persuasiveness, and judgment—and thus capable of doing great things,” but I for one would not use him as an exemplar of why a “liberal arts education [is] something peculiarly important and estimable” (italics in original).

On other occasions, however, Agresto overestimates goodwill and overlooks the extent of academic outrage about certain topics. He may be at his strongest when he explains how a liberal education can be not merely of value to us as individuals but of genuine use—Agresto does not shy away from this word—to our collective well-being as a country. He highlights the education and sense of civic responsibility of three of America’s Founding Fathers and its nineteenth-century “refounder,” but fails to note that in the past three years, prominent statues of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln have been taken down or that James Madison’s estate, Montpelier, has become aggressively woke.

Fair enough, perhaps. But would he have predicted that a statue of John Witherspoon that an elite university erected as recently as 2001 would now be under serious threat? As I write, the Princeton administration is debating what to do about a prominently placed representation of the only clergyman and only college president to sign the Declaration of Independence: a citizen of the world after whom the organization that publishes Public Discourse is named. (Disclosure: Princeton fired me last year, but I remain a Senior Fellow at the Witherspoon Institute.) The controversy has made national news, including in these pages. To those who would take down the statue, I offer Witherspoon’s admonition to Princetonians of long ago: “Do not live useless and die contemptible.”

Let me end on a positive note. In his salutary reflections on an “alliance” between the liberal arts and vocational education, Agresto quotes Booker T. Washington, who was assuredly neither useless nor contemptible. Of a student who made use of grammar, chemistry, and other bookish subjects in the raising of an acre of splendid cabbages, Washington wrote, “[T]here is just as much that is interesting, strange, mysterious, and wonderful; just as much to be learned that is edifying, broadening, and refining in a cabbage as there is in a page of Latin.” He was right, and I’ll add to the discussion Pliny the Elder’s statement in the first century AD, Brassicae laudes longum est exsequi (“it would be a lengthy business to enumerate the glories of the cabbage”).

Learning in all its forms can and must be saved. We do not live in the best of all possible worlds, and it is time for everyone to stop the destructive nonsense and return to cultivating our precious gardens, both agricultural and academic.

This article has been republished from Public Discourse with permission.


Joshua Katz

Joshua T. Katz is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he focuses on higher education, language and culture, the classical tradition, and the humanities broadly defined. A linguist… More by Joshua Katz


EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

DeSantis Admin Releases ‘Graphic’ Video Detailing ‘Pornographic’ Books Found In Public Schools

Governor Ron DeSantis called a press conference titled, “Exposing the Book Ban Hoax,” at the 13th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office in Tampa, Florida on March 8, 2023.


Republican Florida Gov. Ron Desantis’ office released an explicit video on Wednesday detailing pornographic books that have been found within the state’s public schools.

In the “Exposing the Book Ban Hoax” press conference, the DeSantis administration presented a five-minute video to debunk several “myths,” including that “Florida has banned books from the classroom.” The books within the classroom reported by Florida parents include “Gender Queer,” a book that shows a girl masturbating and performing oral sex on another girl, and “Flamer,” a story about a gay boy that describes several sexually explicit interactions, the video showed.

“This is porn,” the video stated. “These books violate Florida standards and curriculum. The hoax from the left is that these books were never in Florida schools.”

Let’s Talk About It,” a book detailing sex and teenage relationships, contains images and descriptions explaining masturbation for men and women as well as instructions on anal sex, according to the video. The book includes detailed illustrations of female and male genitals and a guide on how to send sexually explicit texts and images to others.

Several books by poet Rupi Kaur, such as “Homebody,” “Milk and Honey” and “The Sun and Her Flowers” include lines such as “masturbation is meditation” and “look me in the eyes, when you’re down there, eating for your life,” the video showed. The poetry books were allegedly found in 15 Florida schools.

“Gender Queer” equates the scars from “top surgery,” a surgery that cuts off a woman’s breasts, to having tattoos, the video showed.

“If these materials are not appropriate to show on the news, are they appropriate for children to be reading?” Bryan Griffin, DeSantis’ press secretary, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Today, Governor DeSantis disabused the media’s false narratives surrounding Florida’s educational standards. Florida doesn’t ‘ban books’, but pornography is prohibited in schools and CRT [Critical Race Theory] will not be utilized as educational material.”

The presentation shows a video of empty bookshelves taken by a Jacksonville substitute teacher who attempted to show the “consequences” of Florida law, which requires books within school districts to be reviewed for indecent material. The teacher was fired after posting the video to Twitter because he violated the school’s cell phone and social media policy, according to News 4 Jax.

In January, the Florida Department of Education mandated that K-12 librarians take an annual training on pornographic and Critical Race Theory (CRT) books within schools. The training requires that materials allowed in schools should not contain “unsolicited theories that may lead to student indoctrination.”

The video also addresses the “myth” that “Florida banned teaching about slavery,” saying that the state rejected an Advanced Placement African American Studies course that “lacked educational value” and taught “queer theory, intersectionality and indoctrinating content.”

Another myth addressed that the state is “banning children’s books on Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente,” the video stated. Florida did not ban these books; rather, parents reported other pieces of literature for containing “indoctrinating content.”

“Every minute you spend focusing on some of this pornographic stuff, that’s less time you’re spending on doing the things that really matter to our kids, in terms of them getting the education they need in math and reading and all of these other things,” DeSantis said at the press conference. “The only way you make that decision, in my judgment, is if you’re putting your own agenda before the well-being of the students. And that’s something we’re seeing all too often.”





Governor Ron DeSantis Debunks Book Ban Hoax

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact