College Campuses: America’s Biggest Speech Impediment?

The most dangerous threat to Americans may be the colleges teaching them. In a country where a majority of students are afraid to voice their views, here’s the irony: most campuses don’t allow it anyway. That’s the bottom line of a new report on U.S. colleges, where a whopping nine in 10 are the First Amendment’s worst enemy.The survey, “Spotlight on Speech Codes 2019: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses,” combed through the policies of almost 500 American schools to see how well they protect free speech. Of the 466, a whopping 89.7 percent have rules that “restrict — or too easily could restrict — student and faculty expression.” To most people — especially parents with kids in college — it’s probably not a surprise that campuses are hostile to debate. What is a surprise is how widespread that hostility has become.

Laura Beltz, lead author of the report at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), was also taken aback by the depth of the censorship. “Colleges should be a place for open debate and intellectual inquiry, but today, almost all colleges silence expression through policies that are often illiberal and, at public institutions, unconstitutional.” Almost a quarter of the 466 universities got a red-light rating, the worst on FIRE’s scale. It’s important to point out, she explains, that this isn’t just a problem on public college campuses. Private schools are just as likely to crackdown on speech as the rest of them.

Amazingly, 11 states and the District of Columbia make up the bulk of the red-light campuses: Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming. Some even have “free-speech zones,” which have either been struck down by the courts or negotiated away in settlements.

In a country that already has a First Amendment problem, the idea that colleges are creating even more antagonism for free speech is a scary prospect. There’s nothing more dangerous to a republic than the rise of totalitarians shutting down debate. Americans are already paying the price for years of political correctness. And now, even the supposed guardians of the free flow of ideas are nowhere to be found. “When was the last time you saw the American Civil Liberties Union stand up for free speech on college campuses?” Harvard Law Professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz asks.

“We can no longer count on the ACLU. We can no longer count on all college administrators. We have to count on people of good sense on college campuses to try to restore a situation where we can hear conservative points of views as well as liberal points of view.” The real heroes, he says, “are the students — the conservative students, the pro-Israel students, the students who stand up for free speech rather than the administrators, and the faculty who are prepared to go along with this censorship…” It only takes a few students to make a difference. Raise yours to have the courage to be one of them!


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

How School Districts Weaponize Child Protection Services Against Uncooperative Parents

Parents are increasingly required to obey, to conform to a school’s demands even if they believe such orders may not be appropriate for their child.


Schooling is adept at rooting out individuality and enforcing compliance. In his book, Understanding Power, Noam Chomsky writes:

“In fact, the whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on—because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions.”

This filtering process begins very early in a child’s schooling as conformity is rewarded and divergence is punished.

Most of us played this game as schoolchildren. We know the rules. The kids who raise their hands, color in the lines, and obey succeed; the kids who challenge the rules struggle. The problem now is that the rules are extending beyond the classroom. Parents are increasingly required to obey, to conform to a school’s demands even if they believe such orders may not be appropriate for their child.

In my advocacy work with homeschooling families across the country, I frequently hear stories from parents who decided to homeschool their kids because schools were pressuring them to comply with various special education plans, push medications onto their children, or submit to other restrictive procedures they felt were not in their child’s best interest. Even more heartbreaking is the growing trend of school officials to unleash child protective services (CPS) on parents, homeschooling or not, who refuse to give in to a district’s demands.

An investigative report by The Hechinger Report and HuffPost released last month revealed that schools are increasingly using child protective services as a “weapon” against parents. It said:

Fed up with what they see as obstinate parents who don’t agree to special education services for their child, or disruptive kids who make learning difficult, schools sometimes use the threat of a child-protection investigation to strong-arm parents into complying with the school’s wishes or transferring their children to a new school. That approach is not only improper, but it can be devastating for families, even if the allegations are ultimately determined to be unfounded.

More troubling, these threats disproportionately target low-income and minority parents. According to the report:

Such families also have fewer resources to fight back. When a family in a wealthy Brooklyn neighborhood learned roughly two years ago that their child’s school had initiated an ACS [New York’s Administration for Children’s Services] investigation against them, they sued the city education department. Parents from lower-income, majority-black and Latino neighborhoods, few of whom can afford that option, say such investigations can be a regular, even expected, part of parenting.

For parents who are unhappy with their child’s school and decide to withdraw their child for homeschooling, threats of child welfare investigations can sometimes turn to actions. In Massachusetts, a mother is reportedly suing the Worcester Public Schools after school officials called the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) on her for alleged “educational neglect,” even though the mother contends that she dutifully filed her homeschooling paperwork for her eight-year-old son mid-year.

Brian Huskie, a public high school teacher and homeschooling father in New York, noted a similar case last year with one of his students. Dissatisfied with the school, the parents decided to remove their daughter from the district, filed the necessary homeschooling paperwork, and were soon visited by child protective services investigating “educational neglect.” Huskie detailed the incident on his blog, writing that the school made a “decision to weaponize CPS against a district family.”

Parents who push back against a district’s recommendations or withdraw their child from school for homeschooling are often trying to ensure their child’s well-being. Questioning various educational interventions and examining alternatives is part of a parent’s job. They should be praised for looking out for their child’s best interest, while schools should be sure that they use social services agencies to investigate serious claims of abuse and neglect—not just district snubs or paperwork quarrels.

If, as Chomsky suggests, many of us have grown acquiescent to power due to our successful schooling, it can be hard to challenge authority. It can be even harder when that authority is strengthened by government force and when we may not have the resources to fight it.

Supporting parents, broadening their education choices, and respecting their decisions are crucial steps in liberating families and curbing government coercion.

COLUMN BY

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald (@kerry_edu) has a B.A. in Economics from Bowdoin and an M.Ed. in education policy from Harvard. She lives in Cambridge, Mass. with her husband and four never-been-schooled children. Kerry is the author of the forthcoming book, Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (Chicago Review Press). Follow her writing at Whole Family Learning.

RELATED VIDEO: Child protection services “Legally Kidnapped.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

Why Most Academics Tilt Left

There’s no denying that an overwhelming majority of academics in universities across the country are liberal, progressive, socialist, or otherwise Left-wing.


There’s little disputing the fact that an overwhelming majority of university professors in America are on the political Left. A common response from leftists circulating to this reality is that “academics are liberal because that is the way intelligent people think.”

It’s easy to dismiss such a response, as it reflects nothing more than an “all smart people think like me” assumption held by people who insulate themselves in an ideological bubble.

It does, however, make one to ponder why such a disproportionate share of academics are Left-wing.

In his 1949 essay “The Intellectuals and Socialism,” Friedrich Hayek explored this topic with observations still very much alive today.

The Problem with Intellectuals

Intellectuals, according to Hayek, are drawn to utopian visions. First and foremost among those visions is the creation of a new social order, specifically one designed by “experts.” They also have the hubris to anoint themselves as the experts to design this new order. Hayek wrote:

The intellectual, by his whole disposition, is uninterested in technical details or practical difficulties. What appeal to him are broad visions, the spacious comprehension of the social order as a whole which a planned system promises.

Socialist intellectuals often misapply observations from the hard sciences as inspiration for designing a new society. Hayek noted that such intellectuals observed engineering techniques that enabled man to organize the forces of nature (natural resources) and convert them into useful technology. These observations have “contributed a great deal toward the creation of the belief that a similar control of the forces of society would bring comparable improvements in human conditions.”

In short, progressive intellectuals fancy themselves as radicals, desiring to overturn capitalism and traditional Western culture, with themselves at the helm. But what are the best means for them to achieve their goals? For the ambitious among them, an academic career provides a rosy opportunity. For those radicals, “an intellectual career is the most promising path to both influence and the power to contribute to the achievement of his ideals,” Hayek explained.

Like most humans, Leftist intellectuals desire to exert influence and, in turn, feel important. Their desires to re-make society can only realistically be brought about through the existence of a massive government; a government in which these academics will be able to influence, under the guise of academic “expertise.” There is an inherent liberal bias favoring greater social control by the state among academics in part because it’s the only avenue academics have to become the social reformists they desire to be.

Hayek also pointed out that the young are especially receptive to idealist theories aimed at transforming the world. He explained:

(S)ocialist thought owes its appeal to the young largely to its visionary character; the very courage to indulge in utopian thought is in this respect a source of strength to the socialists which traditional liberalism sadly lacks.

The allure of advancing a utopian vision combined with classrooms full of highly amendable students proves to be a powerful magnet attracting Leftist intellectuals to academic positions. And once a majority of academics are progressives, then confirmation bias connects the dots for some to conclude that is the case because “that is how intelligent people think.”

As Hayek put it, “The socialist will, of course, see in this merely a proof that the more intelligent person is today bound to become a socialist.”

Arrogance and Selfishness

Meanwhile, those wishing to largely preserve traditional systems find other avenues to pursue personal success. Even those who fight for freedom and to roll back government are perceived, as Hayek described, as being merely “those who aim at a piecemeal improvement of the existing order.” Such an approach does not excite the imagination of many young intellectuals.

Finally, there is the role played by naked self-interest. Government subsidies and student financial aid make up a significant share of revenue for universities. Furthermore, government grants dominate funding for academic research. Academics reap financial benefits from government largesse. What a tidy coincidence that most academics favor big government.

There’s no denying that an overwhelming majority of academics in universities across the country are liberal, progressive, socialist, or otherwise Left-wing. To dismiss this fact with the thoughtless trope that “this is the way intelligent people think” displays a lack of genuine intellectual curiosity.

Academic research and intellectuals continue to exert influence on public policy and public opinion. We at least owe it to ourselves to have a serious discussion about why there is such a lack of intellectual diversity on our college campuses.

COLUMN BY

Brian Balfour

Brian Balfour

Brian Balfour is Executive Vice President for the Civitas Institute, a free-market advocacy organization in Raleigh, NC. He is the author of the high school economics iBook Economics in Action, creator of the Austrian Economics educational app, and has served as an adjunct economics instructor at Mount Olive University.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

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NRATV’s Cam Edwards joins Dana Loesch to weigh in.

Christian Teacher Fired for Refusing to Use Transgender Student’s New Pronouns

A Virginia high school teacher was sacked Thursday for allegedly misgendering a student, marking the first time in the state that an educator has lost a job for using biological pronouns to refer to a student.

The West Point School Board voted unanimously 5-0 to fire Peter Vlaming who teaches French at the school, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Vlaming, 47, was charged with discrimination after failing to use male pronouns to address a biologically female student. Vlaming did not intentionally misgender the student, but avoided using any pronouns to address or talk about the student in order to accord with his Christian faith, the Times-Dispatch reported.

“I’m totally happy to use the new name,” Vlaming told local NBC affiliate WWBT. “I’m happy to avoid female pronouns not to offend because I’m not here to provoke … but I can’t refer to a female as a male, and a male as a female in good conscience and faith.”

Vlaming has referred to the student as a female, according to the Times-Dispatch. The teacher was placed on paid administrative leave in October.

Misgendering refers to using biological pronouns for a transgender person as opposed to pronouns that accord with the person’s new gender identity. Deadnaming refers to using the “dead name,” the name the person used before transitioning, to describe or address a transgender person.

Vlaming’s avoidance of pronoun use made the transgender student feel singled out, according to the report.

“That discrimination then leads to creating a hostile learning environment. And the student had expressed that. The parent had expressed that,” West Point schools Superintendent Laura Abel said, the newspaper reported. “They felt disrespected.”

Following a complaint about Vlaming’s behavior, school administrators claimed that Vlaming had transgressed school harassment and nondiscrimination policies. “Mr. Vlaming was recommended for termination due to his insubordination and repeated refusal to comply with directives made to him by multiple WPPS administrators,” Abel said in a statement.

West Point High School’s policies include protections for persons who identify as transgender but include no specific language on pronoun use.

“One of those rights that is not curtailed is to be free from being compelled to speak something that violates your conscience,” his lawyer Shawn Voyles said, according to the Virginia newspaper.

Numerous teachers and students have displayed an outflowing of support for Vlaming, according to the Times-Dispatch. Some raised questions about the fairness of Vlaming’s firing for allegedly violating a policy that does not exist or is not clear.

“If there’s no policy in place, how can they just let him go?” West Point High School parent Jennifer Haynes said, the Times-Dispatch reported.

The incident at West Point High School is not the first time a teacher has been fired for misgendering a student.

Math teacher Joshua Sutcliffe allegedly said “well done girls” to two students—one of whom was transgender—at an Oxfordshire secondary school in England. He was suspended for six weeks before being fired over the offense in December 2017. He filed a lawsuit shortly thereafter.

Twitter banned the use of biological pronouns to refer to transgender persons, adding a clause prohibiting the practice to its policy regarding hateful conduct in October. “Targeted harassment or expressing hate towards a person, group, or protected category” is banned, according to Twitter’s hateful conduct policy.

Adolf Hitler: “He alone, who owns the youth gains the future.”

Schools have become the epicenters for pushing propaganda and various political agendas. Schools are not educating children to think critically or to become life long learners. School should be preparing our youth to become productive citizens not activists.

What we must have is more learning in schools and less activism.

The poster child for less learning and more activism in schools is a 15-year old girl named Greta Thunberg. Greta Thunberg is a disabled child. According to Wikipedia Greta has been diagnosed with Asperger syndromeWebMD says this about Asperger syndrome:

Asperger’s syndrome is technically no longer a diagnosis on its own. It is now part of a broader category called autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Those with ASD tend to have “an obsessive focus on one topic or perform the same behaviors again and again.” Greta’s obsessive focus is on climate change.

Greta is being used to push the environmentalist agenda of climate change at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP24) conference in Poland.

Pat Carlson, Environmental Chairman for the Eagle Forum, in an article titled “Controlling The Youth” writes:

Conference of the Parties COP24 reflects 25 years of saturating the world’s youth in the dogma of global warming or, as we now refer to it, climate change. They have been told all their lives that humans (their parents) are killing planet Earth with all of our modern conveniences. Of course, the most advanced economies of the world are the most guilty of this crime with the United States being the worst offender.

One young Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, learned about the crisis of global warming when she was 7. She was so concerned she quit talking or eating and became ill. She is now 15 and acts as though she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders trying to stop climate change. She has been skipping school one day a week or striking, as she calls it, to bring attention to this crisis. This has made her a celebrity in Sweden.

I have learned from my good friend John Casey that: 1.) The climate changes; 2.) these changes follow natural cycles; and 3.) there is nothing mankind can do to change these natural cycles. Casey found that there is a 260 year cycle where the sun has few or no sunspots. This natural cycle causes the earth to cool and can last for decades. Carlson confirms what Casey discovered stating:

The fact is, according to satellite readings, Earth’s temperature has been in a pause for the last 20 years and has had no significant additional warming. Furthermore, Don Easterbrook, Professor Emeritus of Geology at Western University, is one of several scientists who say the Earth is cooling. Prof. Easterbrook predicts Earth’s temperature will cool 3/10th’s of a degree Fahrenheit over the next 20 years and will continue that cooling trend for several decades.

Carlson notes:

The United Nations is not going to miss cashing in on her fame. She is at COP24 and she is being held up as a hero. Her anguish over this is heart-wrenching. In just one interview she referred to the crisis as an “existential threat,” the “biggest crisis humanity has ever faced,” and “we must try to save what we can save.”

She has had an audience with United Nations’ Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, as well as other heads of state telling them “they are behaving like children.” She is being used as a pawn by the U.N. to further their cause. What adult can resist the impassioned plea of a child asking for help?

Hitler also said, “I use emotion for the many and reason for the few.”

President Trump has pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement. He has said that he is “not convinced” about global warming/climate change.

It is clear that Greta is being used. It is clear that the United Nations wants to push it’s climate change agenda and is more than happy to use Greta as their pawn to do so.

The problem is implementing the UN COP24 agenda harms human flourishing and especially children. Just look at Paris burning to understand the social cost of the UN agenda. Macron followed Greta’s advice and now he faces its consequences on his own people.

Carlson concludes:

Climate change is just a smoke screen for the U.N.’s hidden agenda to have a centralized government giving it the ability to globally regulate and redistribute wealth from rich countries to poor countries and of course, itself. The global warming lie has deprived the youth of the world the hope of a prosperous future. That hope has been replaced with fear.

President Trump is showing great courage and true leadership in pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement and questioning the whole human-induced global warming claim.

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EDITORS NOTE: The edited featured image of Greta Thunberg is by Marc Femenia from Wikipedia.

Does Legalization Increase Marijuana Use?

The new 2016-2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health State Estimates is out this week. The below graphs illustrate a few of the findings from this annual survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Numbers in graphs are percentages. The graphs can be downloaded starting Thursday, December 6 here. National Families in Action grants permission to reproduce them for educational purposes.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Grav on Unsplash.

Six Months After Asking – Eye hears from Duval Schools about Sex with Students. Yep it’s happening.

On the day before Thanksgiving, Eye got a gift for which we are thankful.

The public school system answered a question we asked last May. In August, they told us we could have the info for $107.60, which we paid.

As it turns out, they gave us more than we asked for, so it was almost a Black Friday deal.

Our question was, have any local schoolteachers been accused of improper conduct with students?

The answer: yes.

Since two such accusations have been made since we asked, we were fairly confident the answer would be yes.

We expected only statistics but we got the actual reports, with details (some redacted for privacy).

The reason for our inquiry is that this has become a serious problem nationwide in the past 10 years, but we had seen little notice of it here.

A book titled The Corrupt Classroom claims that “sex crimes by teachers have reached shocking levels.” In 2014 there were 781 sex crimes reported, according to author Lance Izumi.

In Florida, a 14-year-old student wrote down his cell phone number on a chalkboard – and got a call from his 32-year-old teacher, who initiated a sexual relationship. A 31-year-old Florida teacher was accused of soliciting sex from at least four students.

There have been at least 50 cases in Florida public schools this year alone, but the liberal media shrugs them off while focusing on a few incidents in private schools.

Earlier this year, USA Today wrote: “schoolchildren across the nation continue to be beaten, raped and harassed by their teachers while government officials at every level stand by and do nothing. The investigation uncovered more than 100 teachers who lost their licenses but are still working with children or young adults today.”

Cases have been uncovered in Florida of a teacher leaving one district under a cloud and being hired in another district, apparently having escaped scrutiny.

Local School Superintendent Diane Greene told Eye on Jacksonville her career has been dedicated to the well-being of children. “…. I will not be tolerant of adults who do them harm,” she said.

That’s refreshing when, in some school districts, more emphasis is on protecting the teachers.

In Jacksonville, it appears that incidents are investigated thoroughly and teachers are cleared when accusations are unfounded. Of the 16 cases we were given, nine were substantiated.

A fifth-grade teacher in an elementary school was accused by students of touching them improperly. Investigators interviewed students and the teacher (who had no previous record) and concluded there was not evidence of improper conduct. There were several other such cases.

In April 2017, school officials were told by one student that a teacher was involved in “sexual conduct’ with a sixth grade student. The report said the matter was turned over to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. No further information was provided.

A high school teacher was accused of improper language, flirting and groping girls in 2016. Investigators interviewed numerous students and found the charges were substantiated. The teacher resigned.

One high school teacher was found to have had students in her home using marijuana and alcohol, and sleeping over. She was not rehired the following year.

In 2016 a homosexual high school band teacher was found to have made improper remarks and advances toward students, and he resigned.

This year a teacher at Fletcher High School was found to have had sex with two students under the age of 18, at times in a classroom, after his wife found out and notified school officials. He resigned and was arrested.

Another high school teacher resigned after reports from students and another teacher that he was having sex with a student in a classroom, even though the students said they didn’t actually “do it” because they were afraid of being seen.

In another incident this year, a teacher was tutoring an underage student and allowed him to live in her home with him. They had moonlight walks on the beach and professed love for each other, but both said they did not have sex, although she told him that as soon as he was 18 she would show him how a teacher “took care” of a student. The report said the teacher violated professional conduct but did not indicate whether the teacher was punished.

In another case this year, a teacher who already had been reprimanded for remarks to young girls was accused of using his cell phone to take a picture of a girl in a short dress sitting with her legs crossed. He was not re-hired.

Another teacher who sent text messages and photos to young girls resigned in April after they reported his actions to school officials.

The dean of a middle school resigned after investigators concluded he had received intimate photos of students on his phone and talked of having sex with one “after she graduated.”

Clearly, the investigative reports from just two years indicate there are problems with interactions between some teachers and students. What is remarkable is the extent that some teachers use their phones for such conduct, an indication of how technology can facilitate bad behavior as well as benefit users. Fortunately, it can also provide evidence for investigators.

COLUMN BY

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

Podcast: The Importance of Civics Education

On today’s show, we’re talking about civics. At a time when students across the country lack a basic understanding of government and economics, one university is doing something about it. We’ll feature an interview with Paul Carrese, founding director of the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University.

We’ll also hear from Manhattan Institute fellow Heather Mac Donald about what’s wrong with college campuses today. Listen to the full interview below.

Also on today’s show:

  • Your letters to the editor. Don’t forget, your letter could be featured on our show; write us at letters@dailysignal.com or call 202-608-6205.
  • A heartwarming good news story out of California following the deadly wildfires.

The Daily Signal podcast is available on the Ricochet Audio Network. You also can listen on iTunesSoundCloudStitcher, or your favorite podcast app. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts.

If you like what you hear, please leave a review or give us feedback. Enjoy the show!


The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now


PODCAST BY

Portrait of Rob Bluey

Rob Bluey

Rob Bluey is editor-in-chief of The Daily Signal, the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation. Send an email to Rob. Twitter: @RobertBluey.

Portrait of Ginny Montalbano

Ginny Montalbano

Ginny Montalbano is a contributor to The Daily Signal. Send an email to Ginny. Twitter: @GinnyMontalbano.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by NASA on Unsplash.

Podcast: A Homeschooling Mom Shares Why, and How

Where do you begin if you’re thinking about homeschooling? Can you do it if you’re not a teacher? And how can you make sure your kids get enough socialization? We’re joined by a special guest, Colleen Trinko—yes, Kate’s mom! Colleen, who is a teacher, homeschooled her five children for many years, and now works with other homeschool families to advise. Plus: A feminist is kicked off Twitter, seemingly for saying “Men aren’t women.”


We also cover these stories:

  • President Donald Trump is now threatening additional tariffs on cars in response to General Motors Co.’s announcement of layoffs and plant closings.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says there’s no “direct reporting” linking the Saudi crown prince to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
  • In an interview, Ivanka Trump made the case for why her use of a personal email was not at all the same as what Hillary Clinton had done.

The Daily Signal podcast is available on Ricochet, iTunesSoundCloudGoogle Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at letters@dailysignal.com. Enjoy the show!

PODCAST BY

Portrait of Katrina Trinko

Katrina Trinko

Katrina Trinko is managing editor of The Daily Signal and co-host of The Daily Signal podcast. She is also a member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors. Send an email to Katrina. Twitter: @KatrinaTrinko.

Portrait of Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis is the commentary editor of The Daily Signal and co-host of The Daily Signal podcastSend an email to Daniel. Twitter: @JDaniel_Davis.


The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now


EDITORS NOTE: This column with images and podcast is republished with permission. Photo: Ingram Publishing/Newscom.

How Liberal Policy Keeps Black Kids From Succeeding

What do you think of the proposition that no black youngsters should be saved from educational rot until all can be saved?

Black people cannot afford to accept such a proposition. Actions by the education establishment, black and white liberal politicians, and some civil rights organizations appear to support the proposition.

Let’s look at it with the help of some data developed by my friend and colleague Thomas Sowell.

The Nation’s Report Card for 2017 showed the following reading scores for fourth-graders in New York state’s public schools: Thirty-two percent scored below basic, with 32 percent scoring basic, 27 percent scoring proficient, and 9 percent scoring advanced. When it came to black fourth-graders in the state, 19 percent scored proficient, and 3 percent scored advanced.

Sowell compared 2016-17 scores on the New York state ELA test. Thirty percent of Brooklyn’s William Floyd elementary school third-graders scored well below proficient in English and language arts, but at a Success Academy charter school in the same building, only one did.

At William Floyd, 36 percent were below proficient, with 24 percent being proficient and none being above proficient. By contrast, at Success Academy, only 17 percent of third-graders were below proficient, with 70 percent being proficient and 11 percent being above proficient.

Among Success Academy’s fourth-graders, 51 percent and 43 percent, respectively, scored proficient and above proficient, while their William Floyd counterparts scored 23 percent and 6 percent, respectively, proficient and above proficient. It’s worthwhile stressing that William Floyd and this Success Academy location have the same address.

Similar high performance can be found in the Manhattan charter school KIPP Infinity Middle School among its sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders when compared with that of students at New Design Middle School, a public school at the same location.

Liberals believe integration is a necessary condition for black academic excellence. Public charter schools such as those mentioned above belie that vision.

Sowell points out that only 39 percent of students in all New York state schools who were recently tested scored at the “proficient” level in math, but 100 percent of the students at the Crown Heights Success Academy tested proficient. Blacks and Hispanics constitute 90 percent of the students in that Success Academy.

There’s little question that charter schools provide superior educational opportunities for black youngsters. In a story The New York Times ran about charter schools earlier this month, “With Democratic Wins, Charter Schools Face a Backlash in N.Y. and Other States,” John Liu, an incoming Democratic state senator from Queens, said New York City should “get rid of” large charter school networks. State Sen.-elect Julia Salazar, D-Brooklyn, said, “I’m not interested in privatizing our public schools.”

The New York Times went on to say, “Over 100,000 students in hundreds of the city’s charter schools are doing well on state tests, and tens of thousands of children are on waiting lists for spots.”

One would think that black politicians and civil rights organizations would support charter schools. To the contrary, they want to saddle charter schools with procedures that make so many public schools a failure.

For example, the NAACP demands that charter schools “cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate.” It wants charter schools to “cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.” Most importantly, it wants charter schools to come under the control of teachers unions.

Charter schools have an advantage that some call “selection bias.” Because charter schools require parents to apply or enter lotteries for their children’s admission, they attract more students who have engaged parents and students who are higher-achieving and better behaved.

Many in the teaching establishment who are against parental alternatives want alternatives for themselves.

In Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, 25 percent of public school teachers send their children to private schools. In Philadelphia, 44 percent of teachers do so. In Cincinnati, it’s 41 percent. In Chicago, 39 percent do, and in Rochester, New York, it’s 38 percent.

This demonstrates the dishonesty, hypocrisy, and arrogance of the elite. Their position is, “One thing for thee and another for me.”

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams is a columnist for The Daily Signal and a professor of economics at George Mason University. Twitter: .


The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now


EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash.

As Mississippi runoff approaches, could colleges sway results?

UPDATE: Republican Hyde-Smith wins Mississippi Senate runoff

  • With the Mississippi Senate runoff election just days away, young voter turnout is expected to hold a lot of weight.
  • How are young voters, particularly those in college, likely to vote? The political donations of college employees could offer some insight.

With the Mississippi runoff election just days away, the young voter turnout is expected to hold a lot of weight. Senate candidates Cindy Hyde-Smith and Mark Epsy will likely need the young vote to secure the election on Tuesday.

College faculty and administrators’ influence on voting students may very well sway the election. Campus Reform analyses of several Mississippi colleges show that students are exposed to far more politically active, Democrat-supporting faculty and administrators than Republican supporting ones.

Ole Miss

At the University of Mississippi, locally known as Ole Miss, 7.8 percent of donations were given by employees to Republican politicians or political organizations, while 92.2 percent donated to Democrats.

While Republicans received higher value donations, only 15 Ole Miss employees donated, compared to the 177 employees who gave to Democrats.

Seven Ole Miss faculty members donated $60,064 to Republican causes between Jan. 1, 2017 and Oct. 22, 2018, while 107 faculty members donated $48,799.77 to Democrat organizations and politicians.

Only eleven Ole Miss administrators made political donations. No administrators donated to Republicans, but rather to Democrat organizations like Randy Wadkins’ congressional campaign, which Wadkins lost.

University of Southern Mississippi

Republican Senatorial candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith attended the small public research university in the late 1970s before her time in politics. However, the current disparity amongst politically active university employees shows a strong lean against Republicanism. Only 0.8 percent of university faculty donated to Republican organizations while 99.2 percent of faculty gave to Democrats.

In total, 94.4 percent of University of Southern Mississippi employee donations were given to Democrats or Democrat organizations, while just 5.6 percent of employees donated to Republicans.

Campus student group, Southern Miss Common Cause, has recently condemned Hyde-Smith for several comments made on the campaign trail over the past several months. The group has called for Hyde-Smith’s resignation and informally banned her from campus, according to WDAM-TV.

Hyde-Smith was reported to have made comments in favor of voter suppression by making it more difficult for college students to vote as they tend to be more liberal. Hyde-Smith’s campaign has since claimed the comment was a joke, according to Politico.

Hyde-Smith also made a joke about being “on the first row” at a “public hanging” if a supporter invited her, The Hill reported. The comment has received criticism from both sides of the political aisle.

Mississippi State

Of the faculty at Mississippi State, 98.1 percent donated to Democrat organizations, like Act Blue and Swing Left, while only 1.9 percent of those who donated gave to Republican organizations.

In total, 92.05 percent of Mississippi State employees, who donated politically, gave to Democrats while 7.95 gave to Republicans.

For the purposes of this data, Campus Reform defined “faculty” as employees of the college that have direct instructional contact with students, such as professors, teachers, and instructors. “Administrators” were defined as employees who manage programming or are responsible for students and faculty, such as department chairs, deans, presidents, and provosts.

Campus Reform sorted individual donors using their stated position at the college. For example, if the individual donor noted that they were a “professor of literary theory,” they were designated as a faculty member. If an individual noted that they were employed as an “executive director,” they were designated as an administrator. In the event an employee’s title was ambiguous and could not be confirmed, they were marked as general employees, but not sorted into faculty or administration categories. Campus Reform used a variation of keyword searches to cull data specific to the University of Mississippi, University of Southern Mississippi, and Mississippi State University employees.

Campus Reform used the most recent FEC donor records from Jan. 1, 2017 to Oct. 22, 2018.

COLUMN BY

Grace Gottschling

GRACE GOTTSCHLING

Investigative Reporter

Grace Gottschling is the Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. She is a recent graduate of The College of New Jersey and has experience traveling across the country to engage and train others in pro-life apologetics. Grace manages research and Freedom of Information Act records requests for Campus Reform.

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Prof: Nobody in GOP ‘more than three handshakes away from a Nazi’

  • Hostos Community College professor Angus Johnston said that “there’s nobody in the contemporary GOP who’s more than three handshakes away from a Nazi.”
  • The professor previously expressed joy when Democrats did not provide financial aid when vandals threw bricks through windows of a Nebraska GOP office.

A New York professor asserted on Monday that there is “nobody” in the current Republican party who is “more than three handshakes away from a Nazi.”

Angus Johnston, a professor at Hostos Community College, part of the City University of New York, made the statement in a response to recent reports that Republican Kris Kobach, who President Donald Trump endorsed for Kansas governor accepted donations from white nationalists.

“There’s nobody in the contemporary GOP who’s more than three handshakes away from a Nazi.”    

“There’s nobody in the contemporary GOP who’s more than three handshakes away from a Nazi,” Johnston said, who describes himself as an “advocate of American student activism.”

The professor referenced Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, whose recent campaign ad was widely criticized as racist.

“I’m convinced that this is the biggest reason the Republican Party has been so reluctant to repudiate Steve King, even as the costs of embracing him have risen,” Johnston said. “They’re scared to death of the precedent.”

But the professor did not substantiate his claim beyond Kobach and King.

Johnston expressed delight earlier in 2018 when neighboring Democrats did not offer financial help to the Lincoln, Nebr. GOP office after vandals threw bricks through the office windows, The Daily Caller News Foundation reported. He called this lack of action “the most hopeful sign [he’d] seen in months.”

In addition to teaching college courses, Johnston supports left-wing “student activism.”  On his website studentactivism.net, students can find door-knocking and campaign tips, as well as order forms for stickers that read “Fight Fascism.” Johnston says he has had thousands of stickers made in order to fill the demand. Although he bills the stickers as “free,” the fine print indicates that he expects to be compensated for his efforts.

“Well, there’s no set charge per sticker, but don’t make me a chump,” Johnston’s website reads. “I’m going to put the first chunk of cash I receive directly into buying more stickers, and I’m hoping this works out well enough to be a model that I can use again in the future without draining my bank account. In other words, if you send me a dollar and ask for five hundred stickers, that’s not going to be sustainable.”

Campus Reform reached out to Johnston for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

COLUMN BY

Celine Ryan

CELINE RYAN

California Senior Campus Correspondent

Celine Ryan is a California Senior Campus Correspondent, and reports on liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. Celine is a sophomore at Cuesta College, where she serves as president of Young Americans for Liberty.

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Lunch Prayer Ban Dismissed as Baloney

Christianity isn’t a disease — but Texas school was determined to treat it like one. At Honey Grove Middle School, a group of students were “caught” praying at lunch in the cafeteria — and quarantined.”Y’all don’t do that again,” said Principal Lee Frost, who walked over to the group and stopped them. If the students wanted to keep praying, he told them the next day, they’d better move behind a curtain, meet alone outside, or hide out in the gym. In other words, they couldn’t be anywhere where anyone could see them. But the kids weren’t doing anything wrong — and their parents got First Liberty Institute involved to prove it.In a letter to the Honey Grove School District, attorneys pointed out that students shouldn’t have to be “exiled” to pray for one another. “The right to pray is constitutionally protected activity… By mandating that Hannah and the other students hide when they pray, Principal Frost sends a message to Hannah [Allen] and all the other students in the school that prayer is illegitimate, disfavored, and should not occur in public…Even Establishment Clause concerns cannot justify such treatment. Any perceived danger in students seeing their classmates praying is no greater than the danger in students seeing prayer banned from public view.”

Late last week, Honey Grove got the message. “To the school district’s credit,” First Liberty attorney Keisha Russell explained on Friday’s “Washington Watch,” they “respond[ed] immediately.” Although there was some concern that the cafeteria prayer is disruptive, they agreed to let Hannah and her friends continue their lunchtime tradition. From now on, Keisha said, they won’t be “forced to hide or go into isolation to exercise their faith. And I think that’s important for their peers to see — their friends being free to exercise their religion, and also voice whatever speech they feel is necessary. In this case, it was private student speech, and the school really isn’t permitted to ostracize the students because that speech is religious…”

The important point for parents, Keisha made sure to say, is that “student speech is highly protected in the law.” If your son or daughter is being silenced or censored at school, stand up and fight back! The Constitution, Supreme Court, and Department of Education are on your side!


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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EDITORS NOTE: This column is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Ben White on Unsplash.

The Fruits of College Indoctrination

Much of today’s incivility and contempt for personal liberty has its roots on college campuses, and most of the uncivil and contemptuous are people with college backgrounds. Let’s look at a few highly publicized recent examples of incivility and attacks on free speech.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and his wife, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, were accosted and harassed by a deranged left-wing mob as they were leaving a dinner at Georgetown University. McConnell was harassed by protesters at Reagan National Airport, as well as at several venues in Kentucky.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife were harassed at a Washington, D.C., restaurant. Afterward, a group called Smash Racism DC wrote: “No—you can’t eat in peace—your politics are an attack on all of us. You’re [sic] votes are a death wish. Your votes are hate crimes.”

Other members of Congress—such as Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., and Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Rand Paul, R-Ky.—have been physically attacked or harassed by leftists.

Most recent is the case of Fox News political commentator Tucker Carlson. A leftist group showed up at his house at night, damaging his front door and chanting, “Tucker Carlson, we will fight! We know where you sleep at night! Racist scumbag, leave town!”

Mayhem against people with different points of view is excused as just deserts for what is seen as hate speech. American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray discovered this when he was shouted down at Middlebury College; the professor escorting him was sent to the hospital with injuries.

Students at the University of California, Berkeley, shut down a controversial speaker and caused riot damage estimated at $100,000. Protesters at both UCLA and Claremont McKenna College disrupted scheduled lectures by Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has discovered so-called bias response teams on hundreds of American college campuses. Bias response teams report to campus officials—and sometimes to law enforcement officers—speech that may cause “alarm, anger, or fear” or that might otherwise offend. Drawing pictures or cartoons that belittle people because of their beliefs or political affiliation can be reported as hate speech.

Universities expressly set their sights on prohibiting constitutionally protected speech. As FIRE reported in 2017, hundreds of universities nationwide now maintain Orwellian systems that ask students to report—often anonymously—their neighbors, friends, and professors for any instances of supposed biased speech and expression.

A recent Brookings Institution poll found that nearly half of college students believe that hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment. That’s nonsense; it is.

Fifty-one percent of college students think they have a right to shout down a speaker with whom they disagree. Nineteen percent of students think that it’s acceptable to use violence to prevent a speaker from speaking. Over 50 percent agree that colleges should prohibit speech and viewpoints that might offend certain people.

One should not be surprised at all if these visions are taught and held by many of their professors. Colleges once taught and promoted an understanding of Western culture. Today many professors and the college bureaucracy teach students that they are victims of Western culture and values.

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing the Freeness of Speech.”

Much later, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said, “Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.”

From the Nazis to Stalinists to Maoists, tyrants have always started out supporting free speech, just as American leftists did during the 1960s. Their support for free speech is easy to understand. Speech is vital for the realization of their goals of command, control, and confiscation. The right to say what they please is their tool for indoctrination, propagandizing, and proselytization.

Once the leftists gain control, as they have at many universities, free speech becomes a liability and must be suppressed. This is increasingly the case on university campuses.

Much of the off-campus incivility we see today is the fruit of what a college education has done to our youth.

COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Walter E. Williams

Walter E. Williams is a columnist for The Daily Signal and a professor of economics at George Mason University. Twitter: .


The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now


EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters/Newscom.