President Donald J. Trump’s Historic State of the Union Address — February 4th, 2020

President Donald J. Trump gave his third and most uplifting and visionary State of the Union address to the American people on February 4th, 2020. He had many special guests in the gallery and made note of each of their hopes, dreams, lives and sacrifices for America.

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TRANSCRIPT

Madam Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, the First Lady of the United States, and my fellow citizens:

Three years ago, we launched the great American comeback. Tonight, I stand before you to share the incredible results. Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again! America’s enemies are on the run, America’s fortunes are on the rise, and America’s future is blazing bright.

The years of economic decay are over. The days of our country being used, taken advantage of, and even scorned by other nations are long behind us. Gone too are the broken promises, jobless recoveries, tired platitudes, and constant excuses for the depletion of American wealth, power, and prestige.

In just 3 short years, we have shattered the mentality of American decline, and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny. We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never going back!

I am thrilled to report to you tonight that our economy is the best it has ever been. Our military is completely rebuilt, with its power being unmatched anywhere in the world — and it is not even close. Our borders are secure. Our families are flourishing. Our values are renewed. Our pride is restored. And for all these reasons, I say to the people of our great country, and to the Members of Congress before me: The State of our Union is stronger than ever before!

The vision I will lay out this evening demonstrates how we are building the world’s most prosperous and inclusive society — one where every citizen can join in America’s unparalleled success, and where every community can take part in America’s extraordinary rise.

From the instant I took office, I moved rapidly to revive the United States economy — slashing a record number of job-killing regulations, enacting historic and record-setting tax cuts, and fighting for fair and reciprocal trade agreements. Our agenda is relentlessly pro-worker, pro-family, pro-growth, and, most of all, pro-American. We are advancing with unbridled optimism and lifting high our citizens of every race, color, religion, and creed.

Since my election, we have created 7 million new jobs — 5 million more than Government experts projected during the previous administration.

The unemployment rate is the lowest in over half a century.

Incredibly, the average unemployment rate under my Administration is lower than any administration in the history of our country. If we had not reversed the failed economic policies of the previous administration, the world would not now be witness to America’s great economic success.

The unemployment rates for African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Asian-Americans have reached the lowest levels in history. African-American youth unemployment has reached an all-time low.

African-American poverty has declined to the lowest rate ever recorded.

The unemployment rate for women reached the lowest level in almost 70 years — and last year, women filled 72 percent of all new jobs added.

The veterans’ unemployment rate dropped to a record low.

The unemployment rate for disabled Americans has reached an all-time low.

Workers without a high school diploma have achieved the lowest unemployment rate recorded in United States history.

A record number of young Americans are now employed.

Under the last administration, more than 10 million people were added to the food stamp rolls. Under my Administration, 7 million Americans have come off of food stamps, and 10 million people have been lifted off of welfare.

In 8 years under the last administration, over 300,000 working-age people dropped out of the workforce. In just 3 years of my Administration, 3.5 million working-age people have joined the workforce.

Since my election, the net worth of the bottom half of wage-earners has increased by 47 percent — 3 times faster than the increase for the top 1 percent. After decades of flat and falling incomes, wages are rising fast — and, wonderfully, they are rising fastest for low-income workers, who have seen a 16 percent pay-increase since my election. This is a blue collar boom.

Real median household income is now at the highest level ever recorded!

Since my election, United States stock markets have soared 70 percent, adding more than $12 trillion to our Nation’s wealth, transcending anything anyone believed was possible — this, as other countries are not doing well. Consumer confidence has reached amazing new heights.

All of those millions of people with 401(k)s and pensions are doing far better than they have ever done before with increases of 60, 70, 80, 90, and even 100 percent.

Jobs and investment are pouring into 9,000 previously-neglected neighborhoods thanks to Opportunity Zones, a plan spearheaded by Senator Tim Scott as part of our great Republican tax cuts. In other words, wealthy people and companies are pouring money into poor neighborhoods or areas that have not seen investment in many decades, creating jobs, energy, and excitement. This is the first time that these deserving communities have seen anything like this. It is all working!

Opportunity Zones are helping Americans like Army Veteran Tony Rankins from Cincinnati, Ohio. After struggling with drug addiction, Tony lost his job, his house, and his family — he was homeless. But then Tony found a construction company that invests in Opportunity Zones. He is now a top tradesman, drug-free, reunited with his family, and he is here tonight. Tony: Keep up the great work.

Our roaring economy has, for the first time ever, given many former prisoners the ability to get a great job and a fresh start. This second chance at life is made possible because we passed landmark Criminal Justice Reform into law. Everybody said that Criminal Justice Reform could not be done, but I got it done, and the people in this room got it done.

Thanks to our bold regulatory reduction campaign, the United States has become the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world, by far. With the tremendous progress we have made over the past 3 years, America is now energy independent, and energy jobs, like so many elements of our country, are at a record high. We are doing numbers that no one would have thought possible just 3 years ago.

Likewise, we are restoring our Nation’s manufacturing might, even though predictions were that this could never be done. After losing 60,000 factories under the previous two administrations, America has now gained 12,000 new factories under my Administration with thousands upon thousands of plants and factories being planned or built. We have created over half a million new manufacturing jobs. Companies are not leaving; they are coming back. Everybody wants to be where the action is, and the United States of America is, indeed, where the action is.

One of the single biggest promises I made to the American people was to replace the disastrous NAFTA trade deal. In fact, unfair trade is perhaps the single biggest reason that I decided to run for President. Following NAFTA’s adoption, our Nation lost one in four manufacturing jobs. Many politicians came and went, pledging to change or replace NAFTA — only to do absolutely nothing. But unlike so many who came before me, I keep my promises. Six days ago, I replaced NAFTA and signed the brand new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) into law.

The USMCA will create nearly 100,000 new high-paying American auto jobs, and massively boost exports for our farmers, ranchers, and factory workers. It will also bring trade with Mexico and Canada to a much higher degree, but also to a much greater level of fairness and reciprocity. This is the first major trade deal in many years to earn the strong backing of America’s labor unions.

I also promised our citizens that I would impose tariffs to confront China’s massive theft of American jobs. Our strategy worked. Days ago, we signed the groundbreaking new agreement with China that will defend our workers, protect our intellectual property, bring billions of dollars into our treasury, and open vast new markets for products made and grown right here in the United States of America. For decades, China has taken advantage of the United States, now we have changed that but, at the same time, we have perhaps the best relationship we have ever had with China, including with President Xi. They respect what we have done because, quite frankly, they could never believe what they were able to get away with year after year, decade after decade, without someone in our country stepping up and saying: Enough. Now, we want to rebuild our country, and that is what we are doing.

As we restore American leadership throughout the world, we are once again standing up for freedom in our hemisphere. That is why my Administration reversed the failing policies of the previous administration on Cuba. We are supporting the hopes of Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans to restore democracy. The United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro. Maduro is an illegitimate ruler, a tyrant who brutalizes his people. But Maduro’s grip of tyranny will be smashed and broken. Here this evening is a man who carries with him the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of all Venezuelans. Joining us in the gallery is the true and legitimate President of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó. Mr. President, please take this message back to your homeland. All Americans are united with the Venezuelan people in their righteous struggle for freedom! Socialism destroys nations. But always remember, freedom unifies the soul.

To safeguard American Liberty, we have invested a record-breaking $2.2 trillion in the United States Military. We have purchased the finest planes, missiles, rockets, ships, and every other form of military equipment — all made in the United States of America. We are also finally getting our allies to help pay their fair share. I have raised contributions from the other NATO members by more than $400 billion, and the number of allies meeting their minimum obligations has more than doubled.

And just weeks ago, for the first time since President Truman established the Air Force more than 70 years earlier, we created a new branch of the United States Armed Forces, the Space Force.

In the gallery tonight, we have one of the Space Force’s youngest potential recruits: 13-year-old Iain Lanphier, an eighth grader from Arizona. Iain has always dreamed of going to space. He was first in his class and among the youngest at an aviation academy. He aspires to go to the Air Force Academy, and then, he has his eye on the Space Force. As Iain says, “most people look up at space, I want to look down on the world.”

Sitting beside Iain tonight is his great hero. Charles McGee was born in Cleveland, Ohio, one century ago. Charles is one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen — the first black fighter pilots — and he also happens to be Iain’s great-grandfather. After more than 130 combat missions in World War II, he came back to a country still struggling for Civil Rights and went on to serve America in Korea and Vietnam. On December 7th, Charles celebrated his 100th birthday. A few weeks ago, I signed a bill promoting Charles McGee to Brigadier General. And earlier today, I pinned the stars on his shoulders in the Oval Office. General McGee: Our Nation salutes you.

From the pilgrims to our Founders, from the soldiers at Valley Forge to the marchers at Selma, and from President Lincoln to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Americans have always rejected limits on our children’s future.

Members of Congress, we must never forget that the only victories that matter in Washington are victories that deliver for the American people. The people are the heart of our country, their dreams are the soul of our country, and their love is what powers and sustains our country. We must always remember that our job is to put America first!

The next step forward in building an inclusive society is making sure that every young American gets a great education and the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. Yet, for too long, countless American children have been trapped in failing government schools. To rescue these students, 18 States have created school choice in the form of Opportunity Scholarships. The programs are so popular, that tens of thousands of students remain on waiting lists. One of those students is Janiyah Davis, a fourth grader from Philadelphia. Janiyah’s mom Stephanie is a single parent. She would do anything to give her daughter a better future. But last year, that future was put further out of reach when Pennsylvania’s Governor vetoed legislation to expand school choice for 50,000 children.

Janiyah and Stephanie are in the gallery this evening. But there is more to their story. Janiyah, I am pleased to inform you that your long wait is over. I can proudly announce tonight that an Opportunity Scholarship has become available, it is going to you, and you will soon be heading to the school of your choice!

Now, I call on the Congress to give 1 million American children the same opportunity Janiyah has just received. Pass the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act — because no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing government school.

Every young person should have a safe and secure environment in which to learn and grow. For this reason, our magnificent First Lady has launched the “Be Best” initiative — to advance a safe, healthy, supportive, and drug-free life for the next generation, online, in school, and in our communities. Thank you, Melania, for your extraordinary love and profound care for America’s children.

My Administration is determined to give our citizens the opportunities they need regardless of age or background. Through our Pledge to American Workers, over 400 companies will also provide new jobs and education opportunities to almost 15 million Americans.

My Budget also contains an exciting vision for our Nation’s high schools. Tonight, I ask the Congress to support our students and back my plan to offer vocational and technical education in every single high school in America.

To expand equal opportunity, I am also proud that we achieved record and permanent funding for our Nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

A good life for American families also requires the most affordable, innovative, and high-quality healthcare system on Earth. Before I took office, health insurance premiums had more than doubled in just 5 years. I moved quickly to provide affordable alternatives. Our new plans are up to 60 percent less expensive. I have also made an ironclad pledge to American families: We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions — that is a guarantee. And we will always protect your Medicare and your Social Security.

The American patient should never be blindsided by medical bills. That is why I signed an Executive Order requiring price transparency. Many experts believe that transparency, which will go into full effect at the beginning of next year, will be even bigger than healthcare reform. It will save families massive amounts of money for substantially better care.

But as we work to improve Americans’ healthcare, there are those who want to take away your healthcare, take away your doctor, and abolish private insurance entirely. One hundred thirty-two lawmakers in this room have endorsed legislation to impose a socialist takeover of our healthcare system, wiping out the private health insurance plans of 180 million Americans. To those watching at home tonight, I want you to know: We will never let socialism destroy American healthcare!

Over 130 legislators in this chamber have endorsed legislation that would bankrupt our Nation by providing free taxpayer-funded healthcare to millions of illegal aliens, forcing taxpayers to subsidize free care for anyone in the world who unlawfully crosses our borders. These proposals would raid the Medicare benefits our seniors depend on, while acting as a powerful lure for illegal immigration. This is what is happening in California and other States — their systems are totally out of control, costing taxpayers vast and unaffordable amounts of money. If forcing American taxpayers to provide unlimited free healthcare to illegal aliens sounds fair to you, then stand with the radical left. But if you believe that we should defend American patients and American seniors, then stand with me and pass legislation to prohibit free Government healthcare for illegal aliens!

This will be a tremendous boon to our already very-strongly guarded southern border where, as we speak, a long, tall, and very powerful wall is being built. We have now completed over 100 miles and will have over 500 miles fully completed by early next year.

My Administration is also taking on the big pharmaceutical companies. We have approved a record number of affordable generic drugs, and medicines are being approved by the FDA at a faster clip than ever before. I was pleased to announce last year that, for the first time in 51 years, the cost of prescription drugs actually went down.

And working together, the Congress can reduce drug prices substantially from current levels. I have been speaking to Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa and others in the Congress in order to get something on drug pricing done, and done properly. I am calling for bipartisan legislation that achieves the goal of dramatically lowering prescription drug prices. Get a bill to my desk, and I will sign it into law without delay.

With unyielding commitment, we are curbing the opioid epidemic — drug overdose deaths declined for the first time in nearly 30 years. Among the States hardest hit, Ohio is down 22 percent, Pennsylvania is down 18 percent, Wisconsin is down 10 percent — and we will not quit until we have beaten the opioid epidemic once and for all.

Protecting Americans’ health also means fighting infectious diseases. We are coordinating with the Chinese government and working closely together on the Coronavirus outbreak in China. My Administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat.

We have launched ambitious new initiatives to substantially improve care for Americans with kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, and those struggling with mental health challenges. And because the Congress funded my request, we are pursuing new cures for childhood cancer, and we will eradicate the AIDS epidemic in America by the end of the decade.

Almost every American family knows the pain when a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness. Here tonight is a special man, someone beloved by millions of Americans who just received a Stage 4 advanced cancer diagnosis. This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet. Rush Limbaugh: Thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country. Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our Nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I will now ask the First Lady of the United States to please stand and present you with the honor. Rush, Kathryn, congratulations!

As we pray for all who are sick, we know that America is constantly achieving new medical breakthroughs. In 2017, doctors at St. Luke’s hospital in Kansas City delivered one of the earliest premature babies ever to survive. Born at just 21 weeks and 6 days, and weighing less than a pound, Ellie Schneider was born a fighter. Through the skill of her doctors — and the prayers of her parents — little Ellie kept on winning the battle for life. Today, Ellie is a strong, healthy 2-year-old girl sitting with her amazing mother Robin in the gallery. Ellie and Robin: We are so glad you are here.

Ellie reminds us that every child is a miracle of life. Thanks to modern medical wonders, 50 percent of very premature babies delivered at the hospital where Ellie was born now survive. Our goal should be to ensure that every baby has the best chance to thrive and grow just like Ellie. That is why I am asking the Congress to provide an additional $50 million to fund neo-natal research for America’s youngest patients. That is also why I am calling upon the Members of Congress here tonight to pass legislation finally banning the late-term abortion of babies.

Whether we are Republican, Democrat, or Independent, surely we must all agree that every human life is a sacred gift from God!

As we support America’s moms and dads, I was recently proud to sign the law providing new parents in the Federal workforce paid family leave, serving as a model for the rest of the country. Now, I call on the Congress to pass the bipartisan Advancing Support for Working Families Act, extending family leave to mothers and fathers all across the Nation.

Forty million American families have an average $2,200 extra thanks to our child tax credit. I have also overseen historic funding increases for high-quality child care, enabling 17 States to serve more children, many of which have reduced or eliminated their waitlists altogether. And I sent the Congress a plan with a vision to further expand access to high-quality childcare and urge you to act immediately.

To protect the environment, days ago, I announced that the United States will join the One Trillion Trees Initiative, an ambitious effort to bring together Government and the private sector to plant new trees in America and around the world.

We must also rebuild America’s infrastructure. I ask you to pass Senator Barrasso’s highway bill — to invest in new roads, bridges, and tunnels across our land.

I am also committed to ensuring that every citizen can have access to high-speed internet, including rural America.

A better tomorrow for all Americans also requires us to keep America safe. That means supporting the men and women of law enforcement at every level, including our Nation’s heroic ICE officers.

Last year, our brave ICE officers arrested more than 120,000 criminal aliens charged with nearly 10,000 burglaries, 5,000 sexual assaults, 45,000 violent assaults, and 2,000 murders.

Tragically, there are many cities in America where radical politicians have chosen to provide sanctuary for these criminal illegal aliens. In Sanctuary Cities, local officials order police to release dangerous criminal aliens to prey upon the public, instead of handing them over to ICE to be safely removed.

Just 29 days ago, a criminal alien freed by the Sanctuary City of New York was charged with the brutal rape and murder of a 92-year-old woman. The killer had been previously arrested for assault, but under New York’s sanctuary policies, he was set free. If the city had honored ICE’s detainer request, his victim would be alive today.

The State of California passed an outrageous law declaring their whole State to be a sanctuary for criminal illegal immigrants — with catastrophic results.

Here is just one tragic example. In December 2018, California police detained an illegal alien with five prior arrests, including convictions for robbery and assault. But as required by California’s Sanctuary Law, local authorities released him.

Days later, the criminal alien went on a gruesome spree of deadly violence. He viciously shot one man going about his daily work; he approached a woman sitting in her car and shot her in the arm and the chest. He walked into a convenience store and wildly fired his weapon. He hijacked a truck and smashed into vehicles, critically injuring innocent victims. One of the victims of his bloody rampage was a 51-year-old American named Rocky Jones. Rocky was at a gas station when this vile criminal fired eight bullets at him from close range, murdering him in cold blood. Rocky left behind a devoted family, including his brothers who loved him more than anything. One of his grieving brothers is here with us tonight. Jody, would you please stand? Jody, our hearts weep for your loss — and we will not rest until you have justice.

Senator Thom Tillis has introduced legislation to allow Americans like Jody to sue Sanctuary Cities and States when a loved one is hurt or killed as a result of these deadly policies. I ask the Congress to pass the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act immediately. The United States of America should be a sanctuary for law-abiding Americans — not criminal aliens!

In the last 3 years, ICE has arrested over 5,000 wicked human traffickers — and I have signed 9 pieces of legislation to stamp out the menace of human trafficking, domestically and around the globe.

My Administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to secure the southern border of the United States.

Before I came into office, if you showed up illegally on our southern border and were arrested, you were simply released and allowed into our country, never to be seen again. My Administration has ended Catch-and-Release. If you come illegally, you will now be promptly removed. We entered into historic cooperation agreements with the Governments of Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. As a result of our unprecedented efforts, illegal crossings are down 75 percent since May — dropping 8 straight months in a row. And as the wall goes up, drug seizures rise, and border crossings go down.

Last year, I traveled to the border in Texas and met Chief Patrol Agent Raul Ortiz. Over the last 24 months, Agent Ortiz and his team have seized more than 200,000 pounds of poisonous narcotics, arrested more than 3,000 human smugglers, and rescued more than 2,000 migrants. Days ago, Agent Ortiz was promoted to Deputy Chief of Border Patrol — and he joins us tonight. Chief Ortiz: Please stand — a grateful Nation thanks you and all the heroes of Border Patrol.

To build on these historic gains, we are working on legislation to replace our outdated and randomized immigration system with one based on merit, welcoming those who follow the rules, contribute to our economy, support themselves financially, and uphold our values.

With every action, my Administration is restoring the rule of law and re-asserting the culture of American freedom. Working with Senate Majority Leader McConnell and his colleagues in the Senate, we have confirmed a record number of 187 new Federal judges to uphold our Constitution as written. This includes two brilliant new Supreme Court Justices, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh.

My Administration is also defending religious liberty, and that includes the Constitutional right to pray in public schools. In America, we do not punish prayer. We do not tear down crosses. We do not ban symbols of faith. We do not muzzle preachers and pastors. In America, we celebrate faith. We cherish religion. We lift our voices in prayer, and we raise our sights to the Glory of God!

Just as we believe in the First Amendment, we also believe in another Constitutional right that is under siege all across our country. So long as I am President I will always protect your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

In reaffirming our heritage as a free Nation, we must remember that America has always been a frontier nation. Now we must embrace the next frontier, America’s manifest destiny in the stars. I am asking the Congress to fully fund the Artemis program to ensure that the next man and the first woman on the moon will be American astronauts — using this as a launching pad to ensure that America is the first nation to plant its flag on Mars.

My Administration is also strongly defending our national security and combating radical Islamic terrorism. Last week, I announced a groundbreaking plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Recognizing that all past attempts have failed, we must be determined and creative in order to stabilize the region and give millions of young people the change to realize a better future.

Three years ago, the barbarians of ISIS held over 20,000 square miles of territory in Iraq and Syria. Today, the ISIS territorial caliphate has been 100 percent destroyed, and the founder and leader of ISIS — the bloodthirsty killer Al‑Baghdadi — is dead!

We are joined this evening by Carl and Marsha Mueller. After graduating from college, their beautiful daughter Kayla became a humanitarian aid worker. Kayla once wrote, “Some people find God in church. Some people find God in nature. Some people find God in love; I find God in suffering. I’ve known for some time what my life’s work is, using my hands as tools to relieve suffering.” In 2013, while caring for suffering civilians in Syria, Kayla was kidnapped, tortured, and enslaved by ISIS, and kept as a prisoner of Al-Baghdadi himself. After more than 500 horrifying days of captivity, Al-Baghdadi murdered young Kayla. She was just 26 years old.

On the night that United States Special Forces Operators ended Al‑Baghdadi’s miserable life, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, received a call in the Situation Room. He was told that the brave men of the elite Special Forces team, that so perfectly carried out the operation, had given their mission a name — “Task Force 8-14.” It was a reference to a special day: August 14th — Kayla’s birthday. Carl and Marsha, America’s warriors never forgot Kayla — and neither will we.

Every day, America’s men and women in uniform demonstrate the infinite depths of love that dwells in the human heart.

One of these American heroes was Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Hake. On his second deployment to Iraq in 2008, Sergeant Hake wrote a letter to his 1-year-old son, Gage: “I will be with you again,” he wrote to Gage. “I will teach you to ride your first bike, build your first sand box, watch you play sports and see you have kids also. I love you son, take care of your mother. I am always with you. Dad.” On Easter Sunday of 2008, Chris was out on patrol in Baghdad when his Bradley Fighting Vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. That night, he made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Sergeant Hake now rests in eternal glory in Arlington, and his wife Kelli is in the gallery tonight, joined by their son, who is now 13 years old. To Kelli and Gage: Chris will live in our hearts forever.

The terrorist responsible for killing Sergeant Hake was Qasem Soleimani, who provided the deadly roadside bomb that took Chris’s life. Soleimani was the Iranian Regime’s most ruthless butcher, a monster who murdered or wounded thousands of American service members in Iraq. As the world’s top terrorist, Soleimani orchestrated the deaths of countless men, women, and children. He directed the December assault on United States Forces in Iraq, and was actively planning new attacks. That is why, last month, at my direction, the United States Military executed a flawless precision strike that killed Soleimani and terminated his evil reign of terror forever.

Our message to the terrorists is clear: You will never escape American justice. If you attack our citizens, you forfeit your life!

In recent months, we have seen proud Iranians raise their voices against their oppressive rulers. The Iranian regime must abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons, stop spreading terror, death, and destruction, and start working for the good of its own people. Because of our powerful sanctions, the Iranian economy is doing very poorly. We can help them make it very good in a short period of time, but perhaps they are too proud or too foolish to ask for that help. We are here. Let’s see which road they choose. It is totally up to them.

As we defend American lives, we are working to end America’s wars in the Middle East.

In Afghanistan, the determination and valor of our warfighters has allowed us to make tremendous progress, and peace talks are underway. I am not looking to kill hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan, many of them innocent. It is also not our function to serve other nations as a law enforcement agency. These are warfighters, the best in the world, and they either want to fight to win or not fight at all. We are working to finally end America’s longest war and bring our troops back home!

War places a heavy burden on our Nation’s extraordinary military families, especially spouses like Amy Williams from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and her 2 children — 6-year-old Elliana and 3-year-old Rowan. Amy works full time, and volunteers countless hours helping other military families. For the past 7 months, she has done it all while her husband, Sergeant First Class Townsend Williams, is in Afghanistan on his fourth deployment to the Middle East. Amy’s kids have not seen their father’s face in many months. Amy, your family’s sacrifice makes it possible for all of our families to live in safety and peace — we thank you.

As the world bears witness tonight, America is a land of heroes. This is the place where greatness is born, where destinies are forged, and where legends come to life. This is the home of Thomas Edison and Teddy Roosevelt, of many great Generals, including Washington, Pershing, Patton, and MacArthur. This is the home of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman, the Wright Brothers, Neil Armstrong, and so many more. This is the country where children learn names like Wyatt Earp, Davy Crockett, and Annie Oakley. This is the place where the pilgrims landed at Plymouth and where Texas patriots made their last stand at the Alamo.

The American Nation was carved out of the vast frontier by the toughest, strongest, fiercest, and most determined men and women ever to walk the face of the Earth. Our ancestors braved the unknown; tamed the wilderness; settled the Wild West; lifted millions from poverty, disease, and hunger; vanquished tyranny and fascism; ushered the world to new heights of science and medicine; laid down the railroads, dug out canals, raised up the skyscrapers — and, ladies and gentlemen, our ancestors built the most exceptional Republic ever to exist in all of human history. And we are making it greater than ever before!

This is our glorious and magnificent inheritance.

We are Americans. We are the pioneers. We are the pathfinders. We settled the new world, we built the modern world, and we changed history forever by embracing the eternal truth that everyone is made equal by the hand of Almighty God.

America is the place where anything can happen! America is the place where anyone can rise. And here, on this land, on this soil, on this continent, the most incredible dreams come true!

This Nation is our canvas, and this country is our masterpiece. We look at tomorrow and see unlimited frontiers just waiting to be explored. Our brightest discoveries are not yet known. Our most thrilling stories are not yet told. Our grandest journeys are not yet made. The American Age, the American Epic, the American Adventure, has only just begun!

Our spirit is still young; the sun is still rising; God’s grace is still shining; and my fellow Americans, the best is yet to come!

Thank you. God Bless You. God Bless America.

© All rights reserved.

Free to Succeed: A Brief History of School Choice

Perhaps it’s the title, but at first glance, Milton Friedman’s 1955 essay, “The Role of Government in Education,” seems unassuming. To many Americans, the role of government in education is self-evident and impregnable. So, given public schools are run by the government, an essay on the government’s role in education seems like it would be both obvious (and boring).

In reality, Friedman’s argument was neither obvious nor boring. In “The Role of Government in Education,” Friedman argued that basic free-market principles—such as competition and consumer freedom—should be reintroduced into the education marketplace.

Friedman’s argument was not necessarily new or radical. For the first eight decades after the American Revolution, parents were the primary drivers of what and how their children learned. According to Market Education, written by the late Andrew Coulson, this “unofficial school choice” later dissolved amidst burgeoning anti-Catholic immigrant sentiment and a massive push for mandatory, state-funded, public education.

By the time Friedman wrote “The Role of Government in Education,” state governments essentially had developed monopolies on education, with children assigned to public schools within the district boundaries where they lived. This iron triangle of public schooling—government administration, compulsion and financing of education—had weakened important market forces and limited parents’ power to control their children’s education. Private schools offered an alternative to public school system, but many low- and middle-income families could not afford to pay both the taxes that support public schools and the tuition required of private schools.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


So although the history of American education reflects aspects of school choice, education freedom had nearly disappeared by 1955. Children attended their neighborhood public schools even if those schools were a poor fit.

Friedman’s essay argued that parents, not the state, should makes the decisions when it came to their children’s education. Instead of government officials mandating students attend given schools, competition between schools would encourage greater innovation, efficiency, and effectiveness. Parents, untethered from arbitrary school district boundaries, then could vote with their feet. As Friedman put it: “Parents could express their views about schools directly, by withdrawing their children from one school and sending them to another, to a much greater extent than is now possible.”

Friedman’s essay also proposed a voucher program, where the state would take the money that would have been spent to educate students at public schools and give it to parents to cover tuition at a private school of their choice. Fundamentally, he argued to separate the financing of education from the delivery of services.

Friedman’s ideas were first implemented in Wisconsin in 1989 when state Assemblywoman Polly Williams authored the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, —the first modern-day private school choice legislation. The bipartisan legislation enabled low-income minority families to use vouchers to pay for tuition at the city’s private schools.

Later, 18 states and the District of Columbia launched similar voucher programs. The same number of states now offer tax-credit scholarships, which enable individuals and businesses to receive tax credits for donating to nonprofits that fund private school scholarships.

In 2011—dubbed “the year of school choice” because 12 states passed legislation that either created new school choice programs or expanded programs that already existed—Arizona implemented the county’s first education savings account option.

Education savings accounts allow parents to use taxpayer funds to pay for tuition, tutors, textbooks, and other education expenses. Friedman had suggested this as well during a 2003 interview in which he spoke of issuing “partial vouchers.”

Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, and North Carolina have since followed Arizona’s lead and implemented their own Education Savings Account options.

Around the same time Milwaukee passed the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, public charter schools—another key player in the fight for school choice—started to take off. Public charter schools operate with greater autonomy and at less cost than their traditional public school counterparts. Because they are independent from traditional public school curriculum requirements, charter schools can tailor their environments and curricula to their students’ needs.

Despite these gains, pushback continues. Just last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case that dealt with tax-credit scholarship programs. The case’s ruling, which is expected this summer, could shape the future of the school choice discussion in the United States.

But Friedman’s legacy endures, and this year’s National School Choice Week is a reminder that progress continues, but by no means is the fight for authentic education freedom over yet.

COMMENTARY BY

Jack Rosenwinkel is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

Lindsey M. Burke researches and writes on federal and state education issues as the Will Skillman fellow in education policy at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research. Twitter: .

Jude Schwalbach is a research assistant in education policy at The Heritage Foundation.

RELATED ARTICLES:

The Path Forward for Historically Black Colleges and Universities

2 Gay Students Are Suing a Seminary. Here’s Why It Matters.

Study Reveals the Absurd Conformity of Higher Education


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

How Drag Queen Story Hour Expanded Across America

Drag Queen Story Hours started out as niche events on the West Coast, but these events—aimed at children as young as age 3—have spread to libraries and schools across the United States, dividing local communities.

These story hours are “just what they sound like,” Drag Queen Story Hour’s official website states: drag queens reading to children. The events are designed to be about 45 minutes long for children aged 3 to 8 years old, intended to capture children’s imagination and help children explore their gender fluidity through “glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models.”

Books used during Drag Queen Story Hours focus on gender identity and same-sex relationships. At a Jan. 22 Drag Queen Story Hour in Ithaca, New York, drag queens Coraline Chardonnay and Tilia Cordata read the books “Prince and Knight” and “Maiden and Princess,” books created to explore gender through fantasy.

“In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real,” the Drag Queen Story Hour’s website states.

The New York City-based organization did not respond to repeated requests for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Queer author Michelle Tea reportedly organized the first Drag Queen Story Hour in San Francisco, California, in 2015. Tea had just given birth to a baby boy and frequently attended library story hours, but said they were “really straight” and did not properly include her queer family.

“There is just a sort of flair with which queers do anything,” she told BuzzFeed News in November 2018. Tea did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation. “It’s just a certain sense of humor, a sense of the fantastic.”

Tea collaborated with RADAR Productions, a queer literary arts organization she founded in 2003, to produce the first Drag Queen Story Hour at a library in the historically LGBTQ San Francisco neighborhood of Castro. At the first Drag Queen Story Hour, a drag queen read a “queer-inclusive book” to children.

It was a huge hit,” Tea said, “and then it just spread.”

San Francisco Public Library spokeswoman Michelle Jeffers confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation that this story hour took place at the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library. Jeffers also said that “Michelle Tea, specifically, was not involved as the presenter or host,” though Radar Productions presented the story hour.

Now that President Donald Trump is in office, leaders like Tea say the story hours are more of an “act of rebellion than it was before.”

“Under Obama, [Drag Queen Story Hour] just seemed like a really fun program to do—it was just fun—and it still is that, especially for the kids, but I think that one of the reasons why it is so popular right now is people are looking for things to support in space of what is happening to our culture, where so much hate is being emboldened,” Tea told BuzzFeed.

Rachel Aimee, the Drag Queen Story Hour coordinator for New York, told The New York Times in 2017 that she noticed a Facebook post about Tea’s event.

“And as soon as I saw it, I said, ‘Oh, this is what I’ve been waiting for,’” Aimee said.

Aimee hosted her first Drag Queen Story Hour at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn in August 2016. That event reportedly caught the eye of several other local librarians and spread Drag Queen Story Hours throughout New York City.

“Children love dressing up and being imaginative in what they wear,” Aimee told The New York Times. “They see drag queens as people who are doing the same thing, expressing themselves creatively and having fun with it. Also, kids have a much more fluid understanding of gender than most adults do.”

Aimee also started a training program for Drag Queen Story Hour for autistic children.

The official Drag Queen Story Hour website boasts 45 independently operated chapters across the United States, in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; and more. The story hour also has two international chapters: one in Tokyo and one in Berlin.

The American Library Association has also backed the movement and offers a plethora of resources on its website “to support libraries facing challenges.” A spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement that the ALA “strongly supports the rights of libraries to host whatever programming they decide fits the needs and interests of their communities.”

“ALA strongly opposes any effort to limit access to information, ideas and programs that patrons wish to explore,” the statement said, adding that outside organizations often produce programs at local libraries because libraries do not restrict these events “based on the organization’s background, beliefs, or content of the program.”

“ALA believes that providing library users with the freedom to explore an array of viewpoints, libraries help them develop into thoughtful members of society,” the statement added.

The story hours are not only hosted at libraries. The organization noted that they are also hosted at “schools, bookstores, museums, summer camps, afterschool programs, and other community spaces.”

Videographer Sean Fitzgerald and the David Horowitz Freedom Center created a 2018 video showing that kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers were bringing drag queens into schools, through the Drag Queen Story Hour organization, to teach gender ideology. The video highlights teachers praising drag queens for coming into public schools and reading books on gender ideology to children.

“Drag Queen Story Hour gave my first-graders a fun and interactive platform to talk and think about social and emotional issues like acceptance, being yourself, and loving who you are,” one teacher said. “During our debrief … [students] were preaching the incredible lessons they had learned, like ‘It’s OK to be different,’ and ‘There’s no such thing as ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ things.’”

The story hours are often met with resistance from local communities, religious groups, and citizens concerned that the events expose children to confusing gender theories and sexual behavior inappropriate for their age.

Pro-family groups like the Family Policy Alliance said they push back against Drag Queen Story Hours out of fear that these highly sexualized events will become “regularly featured events in public libraries and even schools across America,” Family Policy Alliance Executive Director Vince Torres told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“In addition to promoting gender fluidity, there is an underlying effort to undermine parents’ authority in the lives of their children,” Torres said. “As such, parents need to be aware of this and other efforts aimed at sexualizing and indoctrinating their children.”

President Michele Lentz of the Child Protection League said the growth of Drag Queen Story Hours is a “coordinated, well-funded plan” that is “neither organic nor spontaneous in the cities in which it is occurring.”

“If you peel back the layers, so to speak, one first sees the origin in California through corporate-funded and American Library Association (ALA) promoted events,” Lentz told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The ALA has been one of if not the largest promoter of DQSH across the country. Their reputation as social change agents has been well documented over the years.”

Pro-family groups protest the Drag Queen Story Hours in cities such as Los AngelesHoustonSt. PetersburgSpokane, WashingtonLong Beach, California; and others. Protesters tend to show up pretty much everywhere Drag Queen Story Hours go, one Midwest Drag Queen Story Hour organizer told The New York Times in June 2019.

Sometimes these protests end in cancellations of Drag Queen Story Hours and action from lawmakers.

A New Jersey library canceled a scheduled drag queen story hour after two days of nonstop calls after the story hour was announced. In a January response to Drag Queen Story Hours, Republican Missouri state Rep. Ben Baker introduced the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act, a bill that would require all Missouri libraries to establish parental review boards that would have to approve all library events and materials.

The Family Policy Alliance is also working with the Women’s Liberation Front to encourage local officials to adopt similar policies, Torres said.

“We are also encouraging concerned parents and citizens to contact their local governments when these events come to town,” he added, pointing out that many Drag Queen Story Hour events have been canceled due to public outcry and pressure. “Our hope is that libraries across the country will reach the same conclusion we have—drag queen programs are inappropriate for children and libraries should not be hosting or promoting them.”

Lentz said the Child Protection League’s actions will help other groups to stand up against the story hours. “CPL will continue to alert and equip parents to take actions such as confronting their county commissioners, library boards, and other community leaders, demanding they stop DQSH and holding them accountable if they don’t,” she said.

Protesters gathered as recently as Jan. 4 to stand against a city-sponsored Drag Queen Story Hour at the Lafayette Public Library in Louisiana. Almost 200 members of the LGBTQ group “Parasol Patrol” stood around the entrance to the library twirling rainbow umbrellas to shield attendees from the protesters.

The event was met with strong opposition from the Family Policy Alliance, Lafayette City-Parish Council, conservatives, and anti-tax groups. One library board member resigned from his seat over the matter, and hundreds of concerned citizens sent letters to the library board through the Family Policy Alliance. But the event still took place.

“That’s what these stories teach, is that we should love everyone and we are inclusive,” said Lafayette Mayor Jamie Harkins. “Lafayette prides itself on our diversity and support for diversity and that’s why you are seeing such a big crowd today, because they want to take a stand.”

Stuart Sanks, a drag performer who goes by the persona of Shirley Delta Blow, read at the story hour wearing a dress with cartoon unicorns on it, a gigantic pink wig, an oversized pearl necklace, and glittery earrings.

COLUMN BY

Mary Margaret Olohan

Mary Margaret Olohan is a reporter at The Daily Caller News Foundation.

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

VIDEO: DeVos Hails Trump’s ‘Partnership’ With Historic Black Schools

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave a pep talk Thursday to representatives and supporters of historically black colleges and universities gathered to discuss how to ensure they remain competitive in preparing students for a quickly changing job market.

Historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, defined in federal law, “are cultural institutions with storied legacies that are unique and remarkable,” DeVos said at The Heritage Foundation, which organized the forum.

“Today, I encourage you to think about how your institutions will be known decades from now, in addition to being an HBCU,” she said at the event at the think tank’s Capitol Hill headquarters, called the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Forum.

DeVos cited Johnathan Holifield, executive director of President Donald Trump’s HBCU initiative and a forum participant, saying that Holifield likes to ask how each of the roughly 100 designated schools will stay competitive.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


“A strong heritage, coupled with a strong vision for the future, can foster a competitive edge,” she said. “And I know that the question you are asking yourself every day is ‘How are we going to be relevant and distinctive five, 10, 20 years from now?’”

DeVos went on to say:

I know some HBCUs have opened public charter schools on their campuses, and others have forged partnerships elsewhere to improve the K-12 pipeline. Your competitiveness ultimately depends on your most valuable assets, your students. Helping them be better prepared before they walk your halls serves to strengthen their futures and your institutions. …

Educators, business leaders, community leaders, and, yes, even politicians must work in concert to put the success of students above everything else. After all, they are 100% of our future.

DeVos said the Trump administration’s work with historically black schools is a “valued partnership” and outlined what she called “a strong record of action for HBCUs and their students,” including:

—Trump’s signing of legislation, called the Future Act, designed to ensure consistent funding for HBCUs. Part of the new law simplifies the form for federal student aid, DeVos said, “making applying easier and reducing the compliance burden.”

“While others tried half measures or short-term fixes, we took the bold steps necessary to help students succeed in the long term,” she said.

—Resurrecting the HBCU Capital Financing Advisory Board and increasing spending for programs at black colleges, including those at faith-based schools that she said had been “unconstitutionally excluded.”

—Expanding Pell Grant eligibility so students may attend class year-round, as well as increasing the maximum a student may be awarded.

—“Reviewing, rewriting, or removing onerous regulations that are impediments to HBCUs and their missions.”

Among those scrapped was the Obama administration’s “gainful employment” rule, which DeVos said had given bureaucrats the “power to punish or even close colleges and programs that didn’t match the prior administration’s policies and preferences.”

—Modernizing student aid through initiatives such as the myStudentAid app, or software application, which she encouraged participants to download and try out.

—Updating the department’s College Scorecard so that information about higher education options is “way more useful for students to make informed decisions.”

DeVos took the opportunity to tout legislation to create Education Freedom Scholarships through a federal tax credit to support state-led efforts to expand choices for students and parents outside traditional K-12 public schools.

“We are very excited for the prospects of how this will provide rocket fuel to efforts that states already have engaged in and that some are on the verge of engaging in,” she said.

“Thank you for your commitment,” DeVos told her audience in closing. “President Trump and I value our continued collaboration.

COLUMN BY

Ken McIntyre

Ken McIntyre, a 30-year veteran of national and local newspapers, serves as senior editor at The Daily Signal and The Heritage Foundation’s Marilyn and Fred Guardabassi Fellow in Media and Public Policy Studies. Send an email to Ken. Twitter: @KenMac55.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Forum on Historic Black Schools Opens With a Personal Story

What the Trump Administration Is Doing to Boost Historically Black Colleges


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

5 Key Exchanges From the Supreme Court in Religious School Case

The Supreme Court heard oral argument Wednesday in an important case involving a Montana tax credit scholarship program that provided scholarships for underprivileged kids to use at private schools.

Initially, families could use scholarship funds at qualified religious schools, but the Montana Department of Revenue later implemented an administrative rule excluding religious schools, citing a provision in the state Constitution that bars state funds from aiding religious organizations.

Parents who relied on the scholarship funds to send their kids to religious schools challenged the administrative rule for violating the religion clauses of the U.S. Constitution as well as the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

The state’s highest court struck down the program in its entirety for violating the “no aid” provision in the state Constitution. Almost 40 states have similar provisions (sometimes called Blaine Amendments) that prohibit money from supporting “sectarian” schools.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


As Justice Clarence Thomas explained in Mitchell v. Helms (2000), “[I]t was an open secret that ‘sectarian’ was code for ‘Catholic.’”

Now, the Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue.

Dick Komer of the Institute for Justice argued on behalf of the parents, and Jeffrey Wall of the Solicitor General’s Office represented the United States, which shared argument time with the parents. Adam Unikowsky, an experienced Supreme Court litigator, argued on behalf of Montana.

Here are five key exchanges from the argument.

1. Do the parents have standing to bring this challenge?

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked the first question, and she wanted to know why the parents have standing to bring this lawsuit in the first place.

In order to bring a lawsuit, the complaining party must have an actual injury, and Ginsburg asked if the case should have been brought by the religious schools or taxpayers who donate to the scholarship program and then receive a modest tax credit, instead of the parents.

Komer explained that the parents were the beneficiaries of the scholarship program.

Then, Justice Elena Kagan jumped in, asking, “[W]here is the harm in this case at this point?” She pointed out that no one will be allowed to use the scholarship funds (whether at secular or religious private schools), so where is the discrimination?

Komer replied that the discrimination occurred when the Montana Supreme Court invalidated the program in its entirety. He said, “[Y]ou can’t let the remedy shield the discriminatory judgment,” which was “mistakenly believing that this Blaine Amendment and the application of it did not violate the federal Constitution.”

Chief Justice John Roberts—back at the court after presiding over President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial until the early hours of the morning—returned to the issue when Wall stepped up to the lectern.

Wall explained that taking away the scholarship funds is a clear injury, and the parents have been penalized for their free exercise rights—not the schools’ right.

Wall said, “Everybody concedes that if all the parents in this program had wanted to choose secular schools, there’d be no basis for the state court’s ruling. The scholarship program would still exist.”

2. Are states required to give money to religious schools?

Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked if the parents believe the Constitution requires states to give money to secular and religious private schools.

Komer explained that states can choose whether or not they want to set up voucher programs, tax credit scholarships, or other school choice initiatives, but once they do, they can’t discriminate between parents who want to use those funds at secular and religious private schools.

He noted that states are not required to create these types of initiatives in the first place, but “if they give to one, they must give to the other.”

3. Will the court strike down all Blaine Amendments?

Sotomayor asked Wall if all state Blaine Amendments are unconstitutional. She went on for some time about “the long history of people [going back to the founding] who for non-discriminatory reasons … have taken the position that the state should not give money to religious institutions.”

Roberts politely interjected, “Perhaps you could comment, counsel?”

Wall replied that what the founding era evidence actually shows is that forced support of churches was prohibited, and that’s different from denying a “generally available benefit … to an institution [or individual] based on its religious character.”

4. Does eliminating the program eliminate the constitutional violation?

Justice Brett Kavanaugh asked Unikowsky if it would be constitutional to allow scholarship funds to be used at secular and Protestant schools but not Jewish, Catholic, or any other religious schools.

Unikowsky said the “right lens to look at … is the establishment clause, which prohibits the state … from distinguishing between one religion versus a different religion.”

Kavanaugh followed up, asking why giving scholarships to use at secular schools but not at religious schools is not discrimination. Unikowsky said there’s a “principled objection to funding of religious institutions,” but also that “coercing people [to use funds at secular schools] is a penalty on religion” and to balance the interests, the Montana court “simply level[ed] down” and eliminated the scholarship program.

He reiterated that the Montana Blaine Amendment is not based on “religious bigotry,” but Kavanaugh replied that these amendments were “certainly rooted in grotesque religious bigotry against Catholics. … That was the clear motivation for [Montana’s amendment.]”

5. How does this compare to other types of discrimination?

Justice Samuel Alito posed a hypothetical about a scholarship program where most of the recipients ended up being black. Would it be discrimination to strike the whole program down for that reason?

Unikowsky agreed that would be discrimination, but responded that race and religion are not “identical for all constitutional reasons.”

Alito pointedly remarked, “Basically what you’re saying is, the difference between this and race is, it’s permissible to discriminate on the basis of religion. It’s not permissible, ever, to discriminate on the basis of race.”

Wall addressed this issue in his opening, saying, “If the Montana Supreme Court had invalidated this program because it included historically African American schools or all-girls schools, that would be a straightforward equal protection violation. Nothing about it would be cured by the fact that other parents had been denied funding as well.”

After an hour of argument, several justices, including Kavanaugh, Alito, and Roberts, appeared to be troubled by Montana’s arguments while Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Kagan seemed unsure about whether the parents had standing to bring the lawsuit in the first place.

The justices should issue their ruling in this case by the end of June when the 2019-2020 term wraps up.

Looking Ahead

This term is shaping up to be a significant one, and the court has already heard cases involving the Second Amendment, Obamacare, and whether federal law covers claims of discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Later in the spring, the justices will take up cases looking at the president’s ability to fire the head of an “independent” agency, regulation of abortion providers, a dispute over a subpoena for Trump’s financial records, and the Little Sisters of the Poor, who are still seeking relief from the Obama-era contraceptive mandate.

COMMENTARY BY

Elizabeth Slattery writes about the proper role of the courts, judicial nominations, and the Constitution as a legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research. She hosts SCOTUS101, a podcast about everything that’s happening at the Supreme Court. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: Listen to “SCOTUS 101,” a podcast with Elizabeth Slattery and friends bringing you up to speed on what’s happening at the Supreme Court.


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

100 Reasons to Homeschool Your Kids

From fostering creativity and freedom to providing impressive educational outcomes, homeschooling is an increasingly appealing option.


This is my 100th article at FEE.org, so here are 100 reasons to homeschool your kids!

  1. Homeschoolers perform well academically.
  2. Your kids may be happier.
  3. Issues like ADHD might disappear or become less problematic.
  4. It doesn’t matter if they fidget.
  5. YOU may be happier! All that time spent on your kids’ homework can now be used more productively for family learning and living.
  6. You can still work and homeschool.
  7. And even grow a successful business while homeschooling your kids.
  8. Your kids can also build successful businesses, as many grown unschoolers become entrepreneurs.
  9. You can be a single parent and homeschool your kids.
  10. Your kids can be little for longer. Early school enrollment has been linked by Harvard researchers with troubling rates of ADHD diagnosis. A year can make a big difference in early childhood development.
  11. Some of us are just late bloomers. We don’t all need to be on “America’s early-blooming conveyor belt.”
  12. Then again, homeschooling can help those kids who might be early bloomers and graduate from college at 16.
  13. Whether early, late, or somewhere in the middle, homeschooling allows all children to move at their own pace.
  14. You can choose from a panoply of curriculum options based on your children’s needs and your family’s educational philosophy.
  15. Or you can focus on unschooling, a self-directed education approach tied to a child’s interests.
  16. Homeschooling gives your kids plenty of time to play! In a culture where childhood free play is disappearing, preserving play is crucial to a child’s health and well-being.
  17. They can have more recess and less homework.
  18. You can take advantage of weekly homeschool park days, field trips, classes, and other gatherings offered through a homeschooling group near you.
  19. Homeschooling co-ops are growing, so you can find support and resources.
  20. Homeschooling learning centers are sprouting worldwide, prioritizing self-directed education and allowing more flexibility to more families who want to homeschool.
  21. Parks, beaches, libraries, and museums are often less crowded during school hours, and many offer programming specifically for homeschoolers.
  22. You’re not alone. Nearly two million US children are homeschooled, and the homeschooling population is increasingly reflective of America’s diversity. In fact, the number of black homeschoolers doubled between 2007 and 2011.
  23. One-quarter of today’s homeschoolers are Hispanic-Americans who want to preserve bilingualism and family culture.
  24. Some families of color are choosing homeschooling to escape what they see as poor academic outcomes in schools, a curriculum that ignores their cultural heritage, institutional racism, and disciplinary approaches that disproportionately target children of color.
  25. More military families are choosing homeschooling to provide stability and consistency through frequent relocations and deployments.
  26. While the majority of homeschoolers are Christians, many Muslim families are choosing to homeschool, as are atheists.
  27. Homeschooling has wide bipartisan appeal.
  28. More urban parents are choosing to homeschool, prioritizing family and individualized learning.
  29. Religious freedom may be important to many homeschooling families, but it is not the primary reason they choose to homeschool. “Concern about the school environment, such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure” is the top motivator according to federal data.
  30. Fear of school shootings and widespread bullying are other concerns that are prompting more families to consider the homeschooling option.
  31. Some parents choose homeschooling because they are frustrated by Common Core curriculum frameworks and frequent testing in public schools.
  32. Adolescent anxiety, depression, and suicide decline during the summer, but Vanderbilt University researchers found that suicidal tendencies spike at back-to-school time. (This is a pattern opposite to that of adults, who experience more suicidal thoughts and acts in the summertime.) Homeschooling your kids may reduce these school-induced mental health issues.
  33. It will also prevent schools from surreptitiously collecting and tracking data on your child’s mental health.
  34. Your kids’ summertime can be fully self-directed, as can the rest of their year.
  35. That’s because kids thrive under self-directed education.
  36. Some kids are asking to be homeschooled.
  37. And they may even thank you for it.
  38. Today’s teens aren’t working in part-time or summer jobs like they used to. Homeschooling can offer time for valuable teen work experience.
  39. It can also provide the opportunity to cultivate teen entrepreneurial skills.
  40. Your kids don’t have to wait for adulthood to pursue their passions.
  41. By forming authentic connections with community members, homeschoolers can take advantage of teen apprenticeship programs.
  42. Some apprenticeship programs have a great track record on helping homeschoolers build important career skills and get great jobs.
  43. Self-directed learning centers for teen homeschoolers can provide a launchpad for community college classes and jobs while offering peer connection and adult mentoring.
  44. With homeschooling, you can inspire your kids to love reading.
  45. Maybe that’s because they will actually read books, something one-quarter of Americans reported not doing in 2014.
  46. Your kids might even choose to voluntarily read financial statements or do worksheets.
  47. You can preserve their natural childhood creativity.
  48. Schools kill creativity, as Sir Ken Robinson proclaims in his TED Talk, the most-watched one ever.
  49. Homeschooling might even help your kids use their creativity in remarkable ways, as other well-known homeschoolers have done.
  50. With homeschooling, learning happens all the time, all year round. There are no arbitrary starts and stops.
  51. You can take vacations at any time of the year without needing permission from the principal.
  52. Or you can go world-schooling, spending extended periods of time traveling the world together as a family or letting your teens travel the world without you.
  53. Your kids can have healthier lunches than they would at school.
  54. And you can actually enjoy lunch with them rather than being banned from the school cafeteria.
  55. Your kids don’t have to walk through metal detectors, past armed police officers, and into locked classrooms in order to learn.
  56. You can avoid bathroom wars and let your kids go to the bathroom wherever and whenever they want—without raising their hand to ask for permission.
  57. Research shows that teen homeschoolers get more sleep than their schooled peers.
  58. Technological innovations make self-education through homeschooling not only possible but also preferable.
  59. Free, online learning programs like Khan AcademyDuolingoScratchProdigy Math, and MIT OpenCourseWare complement learning in an array of topics, while others, like Lynda.com and Mango, may be available for free through your local public library.
  60. Schooling was for the Industrial Age, but unschooling is for the future.
  61. With robots doing more of our work, we need to rely more on our distinctly human qualities, like curiosity and ingenuity, to thrive in the Innovation Era.
  62. Homeschooling could be the “smartest way to teach kids in the 21st century,” according to Business Insider.
  63. Teen homeschoolers can enroll in an online high school program to earn a high school diploma if they choose.
  64. But young people don’t need a high school diploma in order to go to college.
  65. Many teen homeschoolers take community college classes and transfer into four-year universities with significant credits and cost-savings. Research suggests that community college transfers also do better than their non-transfer peers.
  66. Homeschooling may be the new path to Harvard.
  67. Many colleges openly recruit and welcome homeschoolers because they tend to be “innovative thinkers.”
  68. But college doesn’t need to be the only pathway to a meaningful adult life and livelihood. Many lucrative jobs don’t require a college degree, and companies like Google and Apple have dropped their degree requirements.
  69. In fact, more homeschooling families from the tech community in Silicon Valley and elsewhere are choosing to homeschool their kids.
  70. Hybrid homeschooling models are popping up everywhere, allowing more families access to this educational option.
  71. Some of these hybrid homeschool programs are public charter schools that are free to attend and actually give families access to funds for homeschooling.
  72. Other education choice mechanisms, like Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) and tax-credit scholarship programs, are expanding to include homeschoolers, offering financial assistance to those families who need and want it.
  73. Some states allow homeschoolers to fully participate in their local school sports teams and extracurricular activities.
  74. Homeschooling may be particularly helpful for children with disabilities, like dyslexia, as the personalized learning model allows for more flexibility and customization.
  75. Homeschooling is growing in popularity worldwide, especially in IndiaAustralia, the United KingdomIsrael, and even in China, where it’s illegal.
  76. Homeschooling grants children remarkable freedom and autonomy, particularly self-directed approaches like unschooling, but it’s definitely not the Lord of the Flies.
  77. Homeschooling allows for much more authentic, purposeful learning tied to interests and everyday interactions in the community rather than contrived assignments at school.
  78. Throughout the American colonial and revolutionary eras, homeschooling was the norm, educating leaders like George Washington and Abigail Adams.
  79. In fact, many famous people were homeschooled.
  80. And many famous people homeschool their own kids.
  81. Your homeschooled kids will probably be able to name at least one right protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, something 37 percent of adults who participated in a recent University of Pennsylvania survey couldn’t do.
  82. Homeschooling can be preferable to school because it’s a totally different learning environment. As homeschooling pioneer John Holt wrote in Teach Your Own: “What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children’s growth in the world is not that it is a better school than the schools but that it isn’t a school at all.”
  83. Immersed in their larger community and engaged in genuine, multi-generational activities, homeschoolers tend to be better socialized than their schooled peers. Newer studies suggest the same.
  84. Homeschoolers interact daily with an assortment of people in their community in pursuit of common interests, not in an age-segregated classroom with a handful of teachers.
  85. Research suggests that homeschoolers are more politically tolerant than others.
  86. They can dig deeper into emerging passions, becoming highly proficient.
  87. They also have the freedom to quit.
  88. They can spend abundant time outside and in nature.
  89. Homeschooling can create strong sibling relationships and tight family bonds.
  90. Homeschooling is legal in all 50 US states and has been since 1993, but regulations vary widely by state.
  91. In spite of ongoing efforts to regulate homeschoolers, US homeschooling is becoming less regulated.
  92. That’s because homeschooling parents are powerful defenders of education freedom.
  93. Parents can focus family learning around their own values, not someone else’s.
  94. Homeschooling is one way to get around regressive compulsory schooling laws and put parents back in charge of their child’s education.
  95. It can free children from coercive, test-driven schooling.
  96. It is one education option among many to consider as more parents opt-out of mass schooling.
  97. Homeschooling is the ultimate school choice.
  98. It is inspiring education entrepreneurship to disrupt the schooling status quo.
  99. And it’s encouraging frustrated educators to leave the classroom and launch their own alternatives to school.
  100. Homeschooling is all about having the liberty to learn.

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COLUMN BY

State of Ignorance: California Pushes False Information to School Kids on the Second Amendment

As an incorporated provision of the United States Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is the supreme law of the land, applying to all U.S. jurisdictions and to the actions of federal, state, and local officials. The U.S. Supreme Court provides the final and authoritative interpretation of that provision, as well as other provisions of the U.S. Constitution. All of this is elementary civics.

But the State of California believes it knows better, requiring publisher McGraw-Hill to annotate a discussion of the Bill of Rights in a popular social studies textbook with the state’s own peculiar view of the Second Amendment’s meaning.

According to pictures from the California edition in the New York Times, the annotation states:

Right to Bear Arms This amendment is often debated. Originally it was intended to prevent the national government from repeating the actions of the British, who tried to take weapons away from the colonial militia, or armed forces of the citizens. This amendment seems to support the right of citizens to own firearms, but the Supreme Court has ruled it does not prevent Congress from regulating the interstate sale of weapons.

The Times article goes on to state that the publisher “said it had created the additional wording on the Second Amendment and gun control for the California textbook.” The same language, however, does not appear in a national version of the same section, according to the Times report.

The point of the New York Times article is to suggest that different states emphasize different aspects of U.S. history in otherwise similar textbooks, depending on the prevailing political outlook among the state’s education officials.

Whatever might be said of that approach, the problem with California’s account of the Second Amendment isn’t just one of emphasis but of accuracy. California, which prides itself on being one of the most anti-gun states in the nation, simply gets it wrong, using language that falsely portrays the Second Amendment as a “debated” provision that has changed meaning over time and that only “seems” to protect an individual right.

Any “debate” about the Second Amendment’s protection of an individual right have been authoritatively settled by the U.S. Supreme Court: The Second Amendment protects “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation,” independent of service in an organized militia. That fact was unambiguously articulated in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008.

That decision, moreover, was based on the public understanding of the Second Amendment at the time it was ratified. In other words, not only was the Second Amendment an individual right as of 2008, it has always been an individual right. As the Supreme Court noted, “virtually all interpreters of the Second Amendment in the century after its enactment interpreted the Amendment as we do.” It is false to suggest, as the California textbook does, that it originally meant something different and then somehow changed meaning in 2008.

Regarding the prefatory militia clause, the Supreme Court took pains to explain the difference between the justification for including the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights and the scope and substance of that right.

“The debate with respect to the right to keep and bear arms, as with other guarantees in the Bill of Rights, was not over whether it was desirable (all agreed that it was) but over whether it needed to be codified in the Constitution,” the court wrote. What justified its codification was “the threat that the new Federal Government would destroy the citizens’ militia by taking away their arms … .” But, the court noted, the prefatory militia clause announcing the reason for the right’s codification “does not limit or expand the scope of the operative clause.”

That scope, meanwhile, included using arms for “self-defense and hunting,” with self-defense being “the central component of the right itself,” according to the Supreme Court.

The California textbook also misconstrues what the term “militia” meant to the founding generation at the time of the Second Amendment’s enactment. It wasn’t just a discrete, organized military force, the court explained, but members of the population “physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense,” whether they were mustered in that capacity or not. Thus, the terms “militia” and “the people” are not at odds with each other in the Second Amendment. The people, with their own arms, are the basis of the militia. To protect the peoples’ private right to arms is therefore to protect the militia’s ability to muster with arms and to preserve its viability.

As for Congress’ ability to regulate the interstate sale of weapons, the Supreme Court indicated in Heller that “laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms” are part of the “longstanding” history and tradition of the Second Amendment, and are thus “presumptively lawful.” That does not mean, however, that every such law trumps the amendment’s protections, especially if there is no longstanding precedent for it.

In any event, the Supreme Court has yet to hear a case that pits the Second Amendment against the Commerce Clause, and it explicitly reserved that and other questions for later consideration. “[S]ince this case represents this Court’s first in-depth examination of the Second Amendment, one should not expect it to clarify the entire field,” the court wrote. “[T]here will be time enough to expound upon the historical justifications for the exceptions we have mentioned if and when those exceptions come before us.”

California likes to emphasize how it sees things differently than the rest of the United States. That’s why common consumer products come with warnings that they include substances “known to the State of California” to pose various hazards, including cancer or birth defects. So numerous are these warnings that people at this point are most likely to ignore them as sensational and unreliable.

The state’s students would be wise to take the same approach to official state pronouncements about firearms and the Second Amendment.

California, as the saying goes, is entitled to its opinions. But it’s not entitled to its own facts.

And when it comes to the Second Amendment, the facts are different than the opinions expressed in the California-specific version of McGraw-Hill’s social studies textbook.

Activist Wilma Mankiller is quoted as saying, “Whoever controls the education of our children controls our future.”

Year after year California chips away at the Second Amendment with its ever-expanding gun control regime.

If this continues unabated, the right to keep and bear arms will effectively be nullified for future generations of Californians.

What’s worse – if California’s educational bureaucrats have their way – is that those generations will be too ignorant of their liberties to even understand what has been taken from them.

Our advice to these students is to exercise their First Amendment rights to learn and speak the truth, and as soon as they are able, exercise the right to vote in favor of those who respect their fundamental liberties, rather than those who try to write them out of history.

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EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Supreme Court to Hear ‘Bridgegate’ and School Choice Cases

The Supreme Court returned Monday for oral arguments after a lengthy holiday break. During the court’s January sitting, the justices will hear arguments in eight cases, including ones dealing with school choice and the “Bridgegate” scandal.

The justices already have heard arguments in cases involving the Second Amendment, Obamacare, and whether federal law covers claims of discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Later in the term, the court will take up cases involving the president’s ability to fire the head of an “independent” agency, regulation of abortion providers, and the dispute over a subpoena for President Donald Trump’s financial records.

Here are two key cases coming up in January.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


Kelly v. United States

The first case, Kelly v. United States, is set for oral argument Tuesday.

In September 2013, the George Washington Bridge—called the busiest bridge in the world, connecting Fort Lee, New Jersey, and Manhattan—faced major traffic delays.

In a scandal later known as “Bridgegate,” a four-day traffic jam turned out to be a plan concocted by aides to then-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to punish Fort Lee’s mayor for refusing to endorse Christie’s reelection bid.

Pursuant to a deal struck by the state and city decades ago, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey designated three of the 12 inbound lanes as “special access lanes” for traffic coming from Fort Lee into Manhattan during the morning rush hour.

Beginning Sept. 9, 2013, the first day of the new school year, Port Authority police reduced the special access lanes to one. The resulting traffic jam created gridlock throughout Fort Lee for the next three days. Pleas from the mayor to the Port Authority went unanswered.

During a subsequent investigation into Bridgegate, the governor’s aides claimed the lane changes were part of a traffic study. But an email from deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly made the plan clear: It was “[t]ime for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

Kelly and Bill Baroni, deputy executive director of the Port Authority, were both fired and later convicted of seven federal crimes.

On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit affirmed their convictions for wire fraud and defrauding a federally funded program, finding that Kelly and Baroni deprived the Port Authority of its property by concealing their real reason (political retribution) for an otherwise permissible act.

The issue before the Supreme Court is whether Kelly and Baroni defrauded the government of property by claiming a public policy reason supported an official decision when that was not the real reason for the decision.

They admit their actions were “petty, insensitive, and ill-advised,” but argue that “political abuses of power are addressed politically.” They contend that hiding the political motives for an otherwise permissible act did not deprive the Port Authority of its property.

Kelly and Baroni encourage the Supreme Court not to criminalize political “spin” and instead follow the line of past cases in which the justices have “rebuffed efforts to use criminal fraud laws to police the ethical duty of public officials.”

Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue

In 2015, the Montana Legislature created a tax credit scholarship program that would provide scholarships for income-eligible students to use at qualified private schools.

Initially, recipients could use scholarship funds at qualified religiously affiliated schools. However, the Montana Department of Revenue implemented an administrative rule excluding religious schools, citing a provision in the state constitution that bars state funds from aiding religious organizations.

Parents who relied on the scholarship funds to send their kids to religious schools filed a lawsuit in state court challenging the administrative rule. They argued that the rule violates the Religion Clauses of the U.S. Constitution as well as the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

The parents maintain that the tax credit program did not violate the state constitution’s “no aid” provision since the tax credit merely incentivized private donations. The district court ruled in favor of the parents, but the Montana Supreme Court reversed and invalidated the scholarship program in its entirety.

Now the parents have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to extend the logic of Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, a 2017 ruling, to the school choice area.

In Trinity Lutheran, the Supreme Court ruled that Missouri violated the Free Exercise Clause when it barred a church-run day care center from receiving a public grant to resurface its playground. The justices reasoned that Missouri had improperly singled out the day care center for unfavorable treatment and denied it a public benefit solely because of its religious affiliation.

The parents also point out that the Supreme Court has drawn a distinction between government directly providing aid to religious schools and providing aid to individuals who then have the choice to use those funds at religious schools.

Montana, on the other hand, points to Locke v. Davey (2004), in which the Supreme Court held that, consistent with the Establishment Clause, states could prohibit the use of public scholarship funds for college students studying to become ministers.

The Montana case offers the Supreme Court the chance to harmonize these two prior rulings and provide guidance to the many states that have tax credit scholarships.

The court will hear oral argument Jan. 22.

Expect the high court’s decisions in these two important cases, and many others, by the end of June.

COMMENTARY BY

Elizabeth Slattery writes about the proper role of the courts, judicial nominations, and the Constitution as a legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research. She hosts SCOTUS101, a podcast about everything that’s happening at the Supreme Court. Twitter: .

Abigail Klose is a graduate of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

Listen to “SCOTUS 101,” a podcast with Elizabeth Slattery and friends that brings you up to speed on what’s happening at the Supreme Court.

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A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

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

“We” Should Not Regulate Homeschooling

Modern homeschooling encompasses an array of different educational philosophies and practices, from school-at-home methods to unschooling to hybrid homeschooling.


The desire to control other people’s ideas and behaviors, particularly when they challenge widely-held beliefs and customs, is one of human nature’s most nefarious tendencies. Socrates was sentenced to death for stepping out of line; Galileo almost was. But such extreme examples are outnumbered by the many more common, pernicious acts of trying to control people by limiting their individual freedom and autonomy. Sometimes these acts target individuals who dare to be different, but often they target entire groups who simply live differently. On both the political right and left, efforts to control others emerge in different flavors of limiting freedom—often with “safety” as the rationale. Whether it’s calls for Muslim registries or homeschool registries, fear of freedom is the common denominator.

A recent example of this was an NPR story that aired last week with the headline, “How Should We Regulate Homeschooling?” Short answer: “We” shouldn’t.

The episode recycled common claims in favor of increased government control of homeschooling, citing rare instances in which a child could be abused or neglected through homeschooling because of a lack of government oversight. Of course, this concern ignores the rampant abuse children experience by school teachers and staff people in government schools across the country.

Just last month, for example, two public school teachers in California pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a student, a public school teacher in New Mexico was convicted of sexually assaulting a second grader after already being convicted of sexually assaulting two fourth graders, two public school employees in Virginia were charged with abusing six, nonverbal special needs students, and the San Diego Unified School District in California is being sued because one of its teachers pleaded guilty to repeated sexual abuse and intimidation of a student.

Child abuse is horrific, regardless of where it takes place; but the idea that government officials, who can’t prevent widespread abuse from occurring in public schools, should regulate homeschooling is misguided. Many parents choose to homeschool because they believe that learning outside of schooling provides a safer, more nurturing, and more academically rigorous educational environment for their children. The top motivator of homeschooling families, according to the most recent data from the US Department of Education, is “concern about the environment of other schools.” Being regulated by the flawed government institution you are fleeing is statism at its worst.


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Brian Ray, Ph.D., director of the National Home Education Research Institute, offered strong counterpoints in the otherwise lopsided NPR interview, reminding listeners that homeschooling is a form of private education that should be exempt from government control and offering favorable data on the wellbeing, achievement, and outcomes of homeschooled students.

Homeschooling continues to be a popular option for an increasingly diverse group of families. As its numbers swell to nearly two million US children, the homeschooling population is growing demographically, geographically, socioeconomically, and ideologically heterogeneous. Homeschooling families often reject the standardized, one-size-fits-all curriculum frameworks and pedagogy of public schools and instead customize an educational approach that works best for their child and family.

With its expansion from the margins to the mainstream over the past several decades, and the abundance of homeschooling resources and tools now available, modern homeschooling encompasses an array of different educational philosophies and practices, from school-at-home methods to unschooling to hybrid homeschooling. This diversity of philosophy and practice is a feature to be celebrated, not a failing to be regulated.

The collective “we” should not exert control over individual freedom or try to dominate difference. “We” should just leave everyone alone.

COLUMN BY

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald is a Senior Education Fellow at FEE and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (Chicago Review Press, 2019). She is also an adjunct scholar at The Cato Institute 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 newsletter on parenting and education here.

RELATED ARTICLE: Harvard Study Shows the Dangers of Early School Enrollment

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

What is online porn teaching our children? Decades of research document the untold harm of pornography.

Last year groups like Protect Young Eyes testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee in an effort to seek better and more objective rating systems for phone apps that often appeal to children but may play host to pornographic content. Numerous states, meanwhile, recently followed Utah’s lead in passing resolutions declaring pornography “a public health crisis.”

Reacting to such efforts, some have voiced personal scepticism, citing an “absence of any credible research” on the negative effects of pornography. Is there really no credible research regarding societal harms of sexually explicit material? Is a shrug of the shoulders the appropriate response to the modern proliferation of pornography and the ease with which it is now accessed by minors?

Decades of research document myriad harms of pornography, hardly justifying a laissez faire attitude toward adolescent exposure to sexually explicit material. There are strong correlations, for example, between early encounters with pornography and potentially unhealthy sexual pathologies and behaviors.

As just one of many examples, with respect to the impact of early porn exposure on attitudes toward women, Alyssa Bischmann, a researcher at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has found “that the younger a man was when he first viewed pornography, the more likely he was to want power over women.”

A recent German study, meanwhile, has further found that adult women who viewed pornography were much more likely to engage in “submissive” sexual behavior. The authors suggest that pornography was providing “scripts” that were then acted out by viewers. Others contend, of course, that correlation does not prove causation, and it’s possible that pre-existing sexual interests lead to porn consumption and not the other way around.

A more circular relationship seems likely. A person has a particular interest and goes online to find out more. Interest in sex is biologically normal, but porn provides harmful scripts shaping sexual interest. As daily crime report headlines attest, what sexual media promotes, children, teens, and adults may ‘buy into’ or be attracted to when it comes to sex.

What are the scripts porn invites its users to ‘buy into’? Is there reason for concern?

As a society, it’s perfectly reasonable to voice concerns regarding the kinds of sexual “scripts” and socialization children, teens, and adults may encounter online. Indeed, society’s collective well-being depends, in large measure, on the life scripts we all learn and choose to adopt. This is not to say that any of us are merely the products of our environment, but there’s little disagreement that careful attention to child nurturing and caution concerning socialization, sexual or otherwise, provides a healthy pathway from adolescence to adulthood.

In studying religious teenagers, for example, scholar Kenda Creasy Dean found that those who were less likely to engage in “high-risk behavior” and who were “the most positive, healthy, hopeful, and self-aware” were heavily influenced by “religiously articulate adults.” The life scripts learned from “the rich relational soil of families, congregations, and mentor relationships” provided models for young people to “see what faithful lives look like, and encounter the people who love them enacting a larger story of divine care and hope.”

By contrast, what relationship models and sexual scripts do children discover when confronted by gratuitous forms of pornography?

Studying the effects of prolonged consumption of pornography on family values, Zillman and Bryant found that, in contrast to a control group, young adults exposed to pornography were less likely to consider marriage an essential institution and had less desire to have children; they were more likely to view male and female promiscuity as natural and to accept “male dominance and female servitude.”

Far from “rich relational soil,” porn’s sexually explicit scripts train viewers to focus solely (even obsess) on the physical gratification of sexual experience, altogether ignoring relational regard, respect, or ethics, as well as the emotional, psychological, and yes, spiritual elements of human sexuality. Porn scripts its users for eroticism, objectification, promiscuity, and misogyny, altogether denying the humanity of sexual intimacy.

Pornography presents and caters to a one-dimensional, me-focused sexual experience. In these scripts, the rich, fully realized view of others and of the self is too often lost completely. Porn is myopic about personal gratification, obsessed with it, without regard to enriching and bonding relationships through sexual caring and commitment.

Porn doesn’t regard or script for relationship attachment, genuine connection, or committed caring for each other. Instead of fidelity, users often encounter scripts of promiscuity. Such scripts don’t inconvenience physical gratification with relational boundaries, constraints, or consequences—absent is the inter-personal accountability so central to sustainable real-life relationships.

In place of true intimacy, pornography scripts for objectification and sexualization of others—viewing the other (and oneself) not as a person but as a series of sexual parts and triggers. Along the way, as some porn users dehumanize one another and real-life relationships inevitably suffer, misogyny—a dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women—can creep in.

When it comes to our children’s education, eroticism, objectification, promiscuity, and misogyny are unlikely on any parent’s list of ideal lessons for sexual wholeness and well-being. These scripts are no better for adults’ sexual wholeness and well-being, either. Stable marriages depend in part on the biological, emotional, relationship, and spiritual bonding experience that sexual union can contribute to. The very biological dimensions of sex include what scholars call our “cuddle chemicals,” released following sexual experiences, that promote couple bonding. Pornographic material works hard to turn attention away from such attachment bonding and commitment.

From this flows another, indirect harm to children. Stable marriages support stable families, and children need families. Human children, unlike other offspring, need upwards of twenty years or more to grow, develop, and reach maturity. So a durable, reliable parental support system and family training ground, there for the long-haul of family life, is vital.

Sexuality focused on the couple relationship and secure attachment supports the couple bond, and the couple bond in turn helps sustain family life. Sexuality is biologically designed to support couple attachment, yet pornography is more often all-in on diverting attention away from and dangerously undercutting the connection of sexuality to attachment bonding. Porn’s scripts neither educate or socialize us toward bonding and commitment.

Because we care about marriage and family—the very fabric of society and a fulfilling life rich with meaningful connection—we must also care about the kind of sexual education children receive. To the degree porn threatens sexual wholeness and well-being and weakens the relationship fabric of our lives and society, it’s not irrational to see the ease and frequency with which children now access online pornography as a serious public health issue.

We ignore at our peril the kind of anti-relationship sexual education that porn promotes to children, teens, and adults. In addition to the deeply concerning social science regarding exposure to pornography—by children, teens, or adults—common-sense suggests that we can and should seek greater enforcement and retooling of laws already on the books designed to keep porn away from children in an age of cellphones and easy online access.

When the relationship education of our children suffers, and when porn’s scripts erode vital human connections, commitments, and ethics, our social fabric starts to fray. Sound, research-based policies, coupled with vigilant parenting and other social safeguards, and combined with positive relationship socialization can hopefully help to foster healthy sexual ideals, improving the well-being of youths and mending the tapestry of our shared future.

COLUMN BY

Daniel Hilton Hal Boyd , Jacob Gossner Julie Haupt and Mark Butler

Mark ButlerHal Boyd, and Julie Haupt are professors in Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life. Jacob Gossner is an undergraduate student at BYU and Daniel Hilton is a graduate student at Indiana Wesleyan University.

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

The Demise of the Private Colleges

Private colleges are in financial straits, induced by their own progressive policies.


Private colleges are in serious financial trouble.  According to Bloomberg, they may have to merge with others or close their doors.  The seeds planted by the “homeless, tempest-tossed” academics from Frankfurt, Germany, 84 years ago, are now bearing fruit.

The private colleges are yet another casualty of the plot against American values and exceptionalism initiated by those outcasts from the Frankfurt School of Social Theory who arrived in New York, in 1935.  The theorists began their long march through the Institutions,” including higher education, changing the system that was among the best in the world, and poisoning the wells as they advanced.  Whether fools or rogues, they soon realized that the Judeo-Christian West’s superiority could only be destroyed from within, by having their operatives join the machinery of the old institutions, and by collaborating with Third World liberation movements and other dissident minority.  It would take some generations, but the prize of the most envied capitalist country in the world – America and the Free West — was worth their patience.

The learned academics within the private colleges readily complied with the new Common Core curricula, textbooks, teaching films and scripts, recognizing the Frankfurt stamp of approval.  They introduced identity politics, which now requires a six-figure professional to help the children cope with the resultant tribalism and victimhood – sorely needed funds down the drain.

They welcomed new professors who spew antisemitism and anti-Americanism and stood mutely by while guest speakers with opposing opinions were jeered out of the lecture halls.  The students are emerging as leftists, socialists, communists, and Islamists, decidedly ignorant in every discipline, but eagerly engaged in social justice courses, community organizing, political protests, and deadly violence to destroy the spirit of freedom and the soul of our nation.  Critical Theory has taught the younger generation to break down fences before they understand why they were erected.

These are the rebels with a thousand empty causes, the socialists who will not support their universities, but who will expect compassion.  Unsurprisingly, this is affecting the coffers of Academe; the alarms have been sounded.

The business of destroying American education from within is gathering momentum.  As  Walter E. Williams explained in Fraud in Higher  Education, only 37% of white college students test as college-ready, but 70% are admitted, and  only 17% of black high school graduates test as college-ready, but 58% are admitted, with most unable to read, write, and do math at 12th grade level.  Forty percent of college students require developmental math and English classes at an annual cost of ~$7 billion.  Only 25 percent of students who took the ACT in 2012 met the readiness benchmarks in English, reading, math and science.  Students are advanced by their racenot by achievement, showing no significant improvement in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing by the end of their sophomore year.  Education Secretary Betsy deVos just confirmed, “The country is in a student achievement crisis.”

Ronald Reagan famously said, ”Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” Every generation must uphold the legacy of freedom and to do so, it must understand the origins of democracy, our government structure, rights and responsibilities, and methods of public engagement.  But the work of the so-called Progressives (ultra Regressives) has brought the knowledge of civics and government to an all-time low.  Some young people are even learning tolerance and social justice from books supplied by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an FBI-recognized global and domestic terrorism-inspiring hate group, a perfect example of the bedfellows recommended by the Frankfurt outcasts.

National pride and patriotism are slated for destruction, corroborated by history classes that use Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States,” which focuses on the communist’s views of America’s historic injustice, with its dubious evidence and conclusions.  America is shown as colonialist oppressor of the poor and disenfranchised, with no reference to our 13th amendment to the Constitution that abolished slavery here.  The students are intentionally dumbed down about America’s history, and taught to accept a whitewashed Islam and Communism.  Their violence against the monuments is denial of our history and extends to disrespect and breakdown of our laws and law enforcement.

Progressives vilify our national pride and corrupt public trust so as to destroy our society and reconstruct it into another – hideous – image, with the morale or soul of the generation siphoned out.  Therefore, the bulk of high-quality fiction, poetry, theater and other imaginative and inspiring texts are replaced by informational prose, newspaper and social media stories – dry topics of social studies designed to enervate the individual and discourage reading.  Instead of topics that encourage and inspire, young teens read of emotional difficulties and social justice issues – topics such as teen angst, bullying and sexual harassment, underage drinking, sexual molestation, complex relationships in dysfunctional families, and suicide.  These depressing social issues, irrespective of the students’ emotional maturity, may well have a direct correlation to their increased suicide ratedoubled for boys and tripled for girls.  Our thirty million illiterate adults are a step toward the illiteracy of despotic regimes.

The intellectual depletion shows our 15-year-olds to be lagging behind in math at 39th of their peers in 69 other countries.  These are not “cultural differences,” as math is the most concrete and easiest way to judge across cultures.  Common Core math offers a “one size fits all” approach that holds the children back and thwarts autonomy.  DeVos reported that eighth graders failed to meet the low standard of the ‘90s, sinking below their predecessors from two years earlier.

In an unexpected twist, Progressives have found some inspiration in Islam and the two are now cooperating to destroy and restructure the society that has nourished them.  Common Core includes the study of LGBTQ history for a full year, with transgender organizations, activists, and websites abetting gender confusion, encouraging life-altering “treatments” that damage their bodies and mental health.  This is sold as “inclusivity,” but is a step toward fully accepting and imitating the Islamic family unit of one man with four wives as young as age 7, and the approval of pedophilia.  The Islamic family unit is a hotbed of dysfunction, complete with rivalry, tension, childhood rape, stealth homosexuality, blame, shame, and extreme violence.

The closer we come to emulating Islam, the further we fall from grace, from the morality of Judaism and Christianity, until we become no better than lower species.  Quotes from Islam’s most famous spokesman, Ayatollah Kohomeini, provided only partially here, may be found on the Internet: Sex and Islam.

Pedophilia and Bestiality in Islam, by Jennifer King, stipulates that all Muslims are ordered to imitate Muhammad’s perfect example in thought, word and deed.  The Prophet engaged in bestiality; it is not forbidden, but bathing instructions must be followed.

The traditional family, based on fidelity, is the surest bastion against the collective-hive society that is being planned for us.  For this reason, schools are increasing sexualization even in Kindergarten, encouraging masturbation, sexual intimacy and intercourse. The comparison with Islamic practice is inescapable: the man has no need to develop self-control and the woman is responsible only to him, invisible, covered from head to toe and obedient under the threat of rape or death.  The Progressive is coalescing with the Islamic mindset to shape the future agenda.  The schools have replaced our Judeo-Christian values with a shared commitment to social causes – racism, supremacism, climate change, America’s evils, boycotting Israel, gun control, unlimited abortion, and more.

David Coleman was the architect of the Common Core standards.  It was developed by a leftist-Washington-based think tank, Achieve, and funded with millions of dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for American Progress, and others, allies of the left and George Soros groups.  Coleman’s vision was profoundly flawed, and parents were not consulted.

Secretary of Education Betsy deVos admitted, “The results are, frankly, devastating.”  Literacy and civics must be made a national priority and it is time to denounce what socialism is doing to our children. This is America’s wake-up call.

How Colleges Dupe Parents and Taxpayers

Colleges have been around for centuries. College students have also been around for centuries. Yet, college administrators assume that today’s students have needs that were unknown to their predecessors. Those needs include diversity and equity personnel, with massive budgets to accommodate.

According to Minding the Campus, Penn State University’s Office of Vice Provost for Educational Equity employs 66 staff members. The University of Michigan currently employs a diversity staff of 93 full-time diversity administrators, officers, directors, vice provosts, deans, consultants, specialists, investigators, managers, executive assistants, administrative assistants, analysts, and coordinators. Amherst College, with a student body of 1,800 students employs 19 diversity people.

Top college diversity bureaucrats earn six-figure salaries, in some cases approaching $500,000 per year. In the case of the University of Michigan, a quarter (26) of their diversity officers earn annual salaries of more than $100,000. If you add generous fringe benefits and other expenses, you could easily be talking about $13 million a year in diversity costs. The Economist reports that University of California at Berkeley has 175 diversity bureaucrats.

Diversity officials are a growing part of a college bureaucracy structure that outnumbers faculty by 2 to 2.5, depending on the college. According to “The Campus Diversity Swarm,” an article from Mark Pulliam, a contributing editor at Law and Liberty, which appeared in the City Journal, diversity people assist in the cultivation of imaginary grievances of an ever-growing number of “oppressed” groups.


Next year, absolutely everything is on the line. Defend your principles before it is too late. Find out more now >>


Pulliam writes:

The mission of campus diversity officers is self-perpetuating. Affirmative action (i.e., racial and ethnic preferences in admissions) leads to grievance studies. Increased recognition of LGBTQ rights requires ever-greater accommodation by the rest of the student body.

Protecting “vulnerable” groups from “hate speech” and “microaggressions” requires speech codes and bias-response teams (staffed by diversocrats). Complaints must be investigated and adjudicated (by diversocrats). Fighting “toxic masculinity” and combating an imaginary epidemic of campus sexual assault necessitate consent protocols, training, and hearing procedures—more work for an always-growing diversocrat cadre. Each newly recognized problem leads to a call for more programs and staffing.

Campus diversity people have developed their own professional organization, the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. They hold annual conferences, the last one in Philadelphia. The NADOHE has developed standards for professional practice and a political agenda, plus a Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, which is published by the American Psychological Association.

One wonders just how far spineless college administrators will go when it comes to caving in to the demands of campus snowflakes who have been taught that they must be protected against words, events, and deeds that do not fully conform to their extremely limited, narrow-minded beliefs built on sheer delusion.

Generosity demands that we forgive these precious snowflakes and hope that they eventually grow up. The real problem is with people assumed to be grown-ups—college professors and administrators—who serve their self-interest by tolerating and giving aid and comfort to our aberrant youth.

Unless the cycle of promoting and nursing imaginary grievances is ended, diversity bureaucracies will take over our colleges and universities, supplanting altogether the goal of higher education.

“Diversity” is the highest goal of students and professors who openly detest those with whom they disagree. These people support the very antithesis of higher education with their withering attacks on free speech.

Both in and out of academia, the content of a man’s character is no longer as important as the color of his skin, his sex, his sexual preferences, or his political loyalties. That’s a vision that spells tragedy for our nation.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

COMMENTARY BY

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


A Note for our Readers:

As progressives on the far Left continue to push for greater government control under the disguise of “free stuff,” our lawmakers need conservative research and solutions to guide them towards promoting your principles instead.

That is why we’re asking conservatives to unite around the key values of limited government, individual liberty, traditional American values, and a strong national defense by making a special year-end gift to The Heritage Foundation before December 31.

Next year, absolutely everything is on the line. The Left won’t pull any punches. They stand ready to trade the principles of the American founding for the toxic European socialism that has failed so many times before.

That is why finishing this year strong is so critical. The Heritage Foundation is challenging you to rise up and claim more victories for conservative values as we battle socialism in 2020.

LEARN MORE NOW >>


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

VIDEO: 8th Place — A High School Girl’s Life After Transgender Students Join Her Sport

When two high school athletes who were born male but identify as female took first and second place at Connecticut’s girls indoor track championship this year, it wasn’t just a local news story.

To some, it was a story of triumph and courage. The winner, a junior from Bloomfield High School, set a girls state indoor record of 6.95 seconds in the 55-meter dash, and went on to win the New England titles in both the 55-meter dash and the 300-meter dash.

To others, it was a story of shock and disappointment: Is this the end of women’s sports?

To Selina Soule, a 16-year-old runner from Glastonbury, it was personal.


Next year, absolutely everything is on the line. Defend your principles before it is too late. Find out more now >>


A junior, Selina missed qualifying for the 55-meter in the New England regionals by two spots. Two spots, she said, that were taken by biological boys.

Had the boys who identify as girls not been allowed to compete, Selina would have placed sixth, qualifying to run the 55 in front of college coaches at the New England regionals.

Instead, she placed eighth, watching the 55 from the sidelines after qualifying in only the long jump, an event in which the transgender athletes didn’t compete.

“It’s very frustrating and heartbreaking when us girls are at the start of the race and we already know that these athletes are going to come out and win no matter how hard you try,” Selina told The Daily Signal. “They took away the spots of deserving girls, athletes … me being included.”F

While the debate over transgender athletes and fairness is complex, the situation in Connecticut has brought forth another complicating layer: Plenty of parents and high school girls appear to object to the participation of biological boys in girls sports, but fearing public bullying and backlash, they’re not speaking out.

Publicly, at least.

The stakes of remaining silent are high: Policies are being formed in real time at the local, state, and federal levels regarding transgender individuals, student athletes, and sports.

Most prominently, on March 13, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced HR 5, the Equality Act, a bill that would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes under federal civil rights law.

The legislation would create a civil right for male athletes to self-identify as females at any time, critics say, without any evidence of physical changes to their bodies.

A Voice for the Voiceless

When the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, or CIAC, said biological boys who identify as girls can compete as girls in sports, most track athletes remained mum.

Connecticut is one of 17 states that allow transgender high school athletes to compete without restrictions, according to Transathlete.com, a website that tracks state policies in high school sports across the country.

Encouraged by her mother, Bianca Stanescu, who has been in the forefront in challenging the state policy, Selina is one of the few students, if not the only one, giving a voice to countless others who appear to feel the same way.

“Everyone is afraid of retaliation from the media, from the kids around their school, from other athletes, coaches, schools, administrators,” Selina explained. “They don’t want to drag attention to themselves, and they don’t want to be seen as a target for potential bullying and threats.”

In a visit to the Nutmeg State, The Daily Signal spoke with four other track athletes from two high schools in Connecticut. Echoing Selina’s sentiments, they asked to remain anonymous.

“I think it’s a very important thing for people to really understand where we’re coming from, instead of just immediately going to, ‘We’re transphobic,’” one said. “Just the way that our society is built, it snaps on people so quickly.”

“We live in such a cruel world, and society is just so hard to figure out sometimes,” another girl told The Daily Signal. “You never know what the reaction is going to be. It’s so hard because you want your voice to be heard … but, how can you know what to say that will affect things positively, instead of people twisting what you’re saying and turning it against you?”

‘An Equality Issue’

The girls’ parents, too, expressed a high level of concern for protecting their daughters’ identities, not even wanting to identify them by high school.

Connecticut is made up of small towns, the parents explained, and given the relatively small number of athletes affected, people can connect the dots.

“There’s really nothing else you can do except get super frustrated and roll your eyes,” the first girl said, “because it’s really hard to even come out and talk in public just because of the way with the far left, and how just immediately you’ll just be shut down.”

“It’s not like we’re saying that we don’t like transgender people,” she added. “It’s just an equality issue where these girls are trying their absolute hardest to try and get those good things on their college resumes, and then it just gets completely taken away from them because there’s a biological male racing against them.”

The athletes say they don’t fear only being bullied or portrayed as a bigot. They also hope to attend college, and are afraid their politically incorrect views could hurt their prospects.

“I personally want a future in athletics in college,” a third girl told The Daily Signal, “but I feel like if there’s a coach that disagrees with my personal opinion, or a board that disagrees with it, then they’ll already have a predisposition with me and then it’ll affect maybe playing time or my ability to get into that college.”

“We have college down the road—I’m scared that that could get impacted,” a fourth girl said. “Sometimes the coaches will just like look at the lists … and if you’re not No. 1 then they won’t choose you.”

“I have heard opinions where coaches are just going to look at your times, and that they don’t really care where you place,” the first girl added. “But college coaches are going to these bigger meets, and when they don’t see you there, they’re not necessarily focusing on you. They’re focusing on the people that are there.”

“It kept Selina from getting to New Englands, where she had the opportunity to be running in front of college coaches, which is just unfair,” she added.

Uncomfortable Opinions

The athletes’ hesitation to speak out publicly begs the question:

How did society get to the point where high school girls now fear their uncomfortable opinions could prevent them from being admitted to the very institutions where uncomfortable opinions are supposed to be explored?

Whatever the answer, few could blame them, given the vitriol on display in today’s public square.

Business Insider removed a writer’s article defending the casting of Scarlett Johansson to play a transgender man in an upcoming film, for example. The publication said the article violated its “editorial standards,” and the writer later quit.

Authorities in Canada allegedly threatened to arrest a father if he refers to his biological daughter as a female in private or in public because she identifies as a boy.

And in schools, The Daily Signal has documented multiple cases of biological girls being forced to share locker rooms or bathrooms with boys, despite their safety concerns and discomfort.

But again and again, those on the “wrong side” of this conversation are too afraid to speak out.

‘Door Is Open for Any Other Sport’

Selina’s mother, Stanescu, told The Daily Signal that she has done “everything that I thought would be possible to help this and just open a conversation” about what’s happened in Connecticut and what could happen should Congress pass the Equality Act.

“The doors have been shut over and over again,” Stanescu said. “People are afraid to speak.”

In addition to potentially instating a nationwide bathroom requirement, health care mandate, and a “preferred pronoun” law based on gender identity, the Equality Act would enshrine in federal law the right of biological boys to compete as girls in all sports.

If the measure passes, Stanescu warned, “women will be completely eradicated from sports.”

What’s happening in Connecticut, she added, will happen across the country—and not just in track and field.

“Yes, it has been affecting track and field in Connecticut, but the door is open there for any sport, and that is something that could become also a safety issue,” Stanescu said. “It’s taking away the opportunity to win for the girls, but in sports that have physical contact, [it] could become a serious safety issue.”

“It could be potentially very dangerous if you have a transgender female that’s competing in basketball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey because they are so physically superior to females,” her daughter Selina added.

Selina says all this while making clear she supports athletes “being true to themselves.”

“I have friends in school who are transgender and I know when they are struggling to come out or deciding to come out, I was there supporting them,” she said. “And when they were freshly out, I was caring towards them. I was never rude or disrespectful.”

But the situation in sports has “nothing to do with their gender identity and how they feel,” Selina said. “It has to do with what is right and what is fair in athletics.”

Looking forward to her senior year, Selina said she hopes to run track in college. She referred to the long jump event as her “safe haven” where “the results were fair no matter what, because it was girls competing against girls.”

“But now, unfortunately,” she said with a disappointed look on her face, “one of those athletes has started to compete in long jump. So now none of my events are safe.”

COLUMN BY

Kelsey Bolar

Kelsey Bolar is a senior writer and producer at The Daily Signal and co-host of “Problematic Women,” a podcast. Send an email to Kelsey. Twitter: @kelseybolar.

RELATED ARTICLE: I Was America’s First ‘Nonbinary’ Person. It Was All a Sham.


A Note for our Readers:

As progressives on the far Left continue to push for greater government control under the disguise of “free stuff,” our lawmakers need conservative research and solutions to guide them towards promoting your principles instead.

That is why we’re asking conservatives to unite around the key values of limited government, individual liberty, traditional American values, and a strong national defense by making a special year-end gift to The Heritage Foundation before December 31.

Next year, absolutely everything is on the line. The Left won’t pull any punches. They stand ready to trade the principles of the American founding for the toxic European socialism that has failed so many times before.

That is why finishing this year strong is so critical. The Heritage Foundation is challenging you to rise up and claim more victories for conservative values as we battle socialism in 2020.

LEARN MORE NOW >>


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

Muslim public school student takes off hijab, teacher says she will notify her parents “because it’s your culture”

This girl could have been beaten or killed for taking off her hijab, but of course this public school teacher doesn’t know that, as she has been fed a steady diet of fiction and fantasy about Islam being a religion of peace and the hijab being a choice, and she knows that only racist, bigoted “Islamophobes” think otherwise. Women’s rights for Muslim girls and women? Why, what’s the need for that? They don’t suffer any discrimination or harassment!

“My teacher almost outed me for taking off the hijab (Update),” Reddit, December 19, 2019:

So today I was happy. I had completely stopped covering my hair and was talking confidently with other people, I was just so joyful I wanted to go home and dream about it at night.

Then in math class, when the bell rang to switch, a teacher asked me about my hijab. I told her that I just took it off and it was no big deal. She then told me that it was important to uphold culture and asked if my parents knew what I was doing. Being the idiot I am, I said no and asked if she would tell. To my absolute horror, she said yes.

My whole world stopped. I asked her why she would do that and she just said “because it’s your culture! And you were given an advantage to be able to wear the hijab as a uniform, so don’t just take advantage.” I put my head down for a while, holding back tears. Before I knew it, it was time for the last class. In the hallway I just walked mindlessly to my next class. Then the same teacher who wanted to out me had apparently told the science teacher about what I had done. Both of them told me to come over and the science teacher asked what’s wrong. I didn’t say anything, and at that moment she just hugged me and I started sobbing.

She led me to the empty classroom and sat me down along with the other teacher. They gave me a whole lecture about why I shouldn’t have taken it off and my parents are just protecting me, I shouldn’t try to get a boyfriend even though I said I didn’t want one. After the talk I just put my hijab back on and left, it was time to go home now.

At the beginning of the day I was full of hope, and at the end I just felt crushed. I was lucky that they didn’t tell my mom, but they’re watching me from now on so I just can’t do what I have been doing anymore. I don’t know what to do anymore, my double life has ended before I knew it, and I lost a good chunk of the confidence I had earlier.

Edit: this happened in a regular public school in the U.S. on December 18, 2019….

Update #2: I spoke with the principal. He said that it’s my choice how I dress as long as it abides by the dress code. He said if those teachers want to talk to my mother, they can talk to him about it, so I’m free to take off my hijab. I’m going to try to take it off again, I’ll update again if she tries anything.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Muslim public school student takes off hijab, teacher says she will notify her parents “because it’s your culture”

New Jersey: Muslim makes video series boasting of wanting to murder Christians, soldiers, and blacks

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: “No one has upset the Islamophobia cabal more than Robert Spencer. He will not be cowed.”

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

Marijuana vaping nearly triples among 12th graders in 2 years

Marijuana vaping nearly triples in two years among 12th graders

Past-month marijuana vaping among high school seniors nearly tripled (from 5 percent to 14 percent) between 2017 and 2019, the new Monitoring the Future reveals. It nearly doubled in just one year (from 7.5 percent to 14 percent), the largest one-year jump of any drug in the history of the survey.

Seniors’ past-year marijuana vaping more than doubled in two years (from 9.5 percent in 2017 to 20.8 percent in 2019), and their lifetime marijuana vaping nearly doubled (from 11.9 percent to 23.7 percent).

This year – for the first time – the survey monitored near daily marijuana vaping (more than 20 days a month). Some 3.5 percent of 12th graders vape marijuana that often.

Marijuana vaping doubled in two years among 10th and 8th grade students as well:

Among 10th grade students

  • Past-month use rose from 4.3 percent in 2017 to 12.6 percent in 2019
  • Past-year use: 8.1 percent to 19.4 percent
  • Lifetime use: 9.8 percent to 21.8 percent

Among 8th grade students

  • Past-month use rose from 1.6 percent in 2017 to 3.9 percent in 2019
  • Past-year use: 3 percent to 7 percent
  • Lifetime use ; 4 percent to 9 percent

Such dramatic increases in such a short amount of time are worrisome on two counts. Little is known about the impact on the body of vaping anything, including high THC levels or nicotine, into the lungs. The upsurge in severe lung injuries and deaths identified only last August makes the point (see next story). Also, because adolescence is a time of intense brain development, young people are particularly vulnerable to becoming addicted to any drug if they begin using while they are still teenagers.

Nicotine vaping among adolescents presents the same hazard and threatens to undo the significant gains in reducing cigarette smoking among youth. The 2019 survey finds that 35 percent of 12th graders vaped nicotine in the past year, as did 31 percent of 10th graders and 17 percent of 8th graders.

Read NIDA’s release of the 2019 Monitoring the Future here.
Read JAMA research letter here.


Vaping-related lung injury cases from all 50 states continue to be reported to CDC, although they may be slowing down. Thus far, 52 deaths in 26 states have been linked to these injuries. More deaths are being investigated.

All 2,409 patients report a history of vaping. THC is present in most samples FDA has tested, and most patients report a history of THC use.

While Vitamin E acetate is a chemical of interest, patients have used some 152 different THC brands, including Dank Vapes in the Northeast and South, TKO and Smart Carts in the West, and Rove in the Midwest.

There may be more than one cause of the illness.

Read the December 12 CDC Update here.


This week’s podcast: Mahmoud ElSohly – Is marijuana the same as Epidiolex?

Mahmoud A. ElSohly, PhD, is a pharmacologist known for his work on marijuana. He is professor of pharmaceutics in the school of pharmacy at the University of Mississippi where he directs the Marijuana Project which grows pharmaceutical-grade marijuana for research. He is an expert in the processing, testing, and detection of drugs of abuse.

Key Points

  • Epidiolex is a very well-defined pharmaceutical preparation of CBD
  • Difference between it and other CBD is like night and day.
  • Difference between Epidiolex and CBD on the Internet and in stores
  • What is the OTC process?
  • What is biphasic activity?
  • What is low bioavailability?
  • Is there an entourage effect?

Listen to Dr. ElSohly’s podcast here.

Up next week? Marilyn Huestis – How marijuana affects kids


Is marijuana linked to psychosis, schizophrenia? It’s contentious, but doctors, feds say yes

USA Today writes that doctors, federal officials, parents, and young adult marijuana users who have experienced psychosis while using the drug agree that marijuana does indeed cause psychosis, including schizophrenia.

Elinore McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, the US Department of Health and Human Services top mental health official and head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, says hospitalizations for serious mental-health disorders among 18- to 25-year-olds more than doubled between 2012 and 2018. Colorado and Washington State were the first two states to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2012.

She also cites a July study that shows a 77 percent increase in suicide deaths from 2010 to 2015 among Colorado 10- to 19-year-olds with marijuana in their systems.

“Among people who use marijuana, 10 percent to 20 percent will develop a marijuana use disorder and be at risk for these other kinds of mental and physical adverse events,” Dr. McCance-Katz adds.

Sally Schindel tells the story of her son, who was diagnosed with severe cannabis use disorder, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder with auditory hallucinations, paranoia and anxiety. He committed suicide, leaving his mother a note explaining why: “I want to die. My soul is already dead. Marijuana killed my soul + ruined my brain.”

Read USA Today article here.

Visit The Marijuana Report’s Facebook page

In addition to current issues of The Marijuana Report, we post several more marijuana messages each month on our Facebook page. Search Facebook for nationalfamilies to access it.


Looking for a past issue of The Marijuana Report?

  Find it here.

Did you know

that in addition to The Marijuana Report e-newsletter, National Families in Action also publishes The Marijuana Report website? There you can find summaries of (and access to) scientific marijuana studies, the growth of the commercial marijuana industry, and what families and communities are doing to restrain it. Begin at our Welcome Page to access all the resources The Marijuana Report website offers.


The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter published by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).

Visit National Families in Action’s website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.

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