Jen Psaki tells Chris Wallace that kindergarten teachers should be able to talk sex with children

Watch. This is so sick.

Jen Psaki tells Chris Wallace that kindergarten teachers should be able to talk with children about whether they believe they are a ‘girl or a boy’

By The Blaze, April 22, 2022

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told CNN’s Chris Wallace that she believes teachers should have the right to discuss gender identity with their pupils in grades as early as kindergarten.

According to The Hill, Psaki sat with Wallace for his CNN+ show to offer commentary on “her time behind the briefing room podium” as well as “the current state of politics.”

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A SARASOTA, FLORIDA CASE STUDY: The Evolution of the ‘Political Grooming’ of Children by the State

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

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A SARASOTA, FLORIDA CASE STUDY: The Evolution of the ‘Political Grooming’ of Children by the State

“If you can get a child when he is 7 and you’ll have him forever.” – Adolf Hitler

“Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” – Vladimir Lenin

“Parents claim they have the right to shape their kids’ school curriculum. They don’t.” – October 21, 2021 headline written by Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire in the Washington Post


There is a growing movement in America by some educators, professors and governors to give control back to the parents of children in public schools.

The concern is that public schools are teaching children what to think, not how to think.

Ida Gazzola the concerned mother of 6 girls and one boy who lives in British Columbia, Canada wrote this:

In recent weeks, the following incidents took place, all involving people I know personally who live near me.

  • A middle-schooler was unable to focus at school where a female student who identifies as a boy identifying as a dog kept barking in class. The teacher refused to say anything about it.
  • A girl refused to use the school washroom all day because she didn’t want to use the gender-neutral washroom with boys. Using the girls-only washroom, which is out of the way, would single her out among her peers.
  • A mother was baffled when her teen started spouting words like “colonialism” and “patriarchy” while dressing down her father for not clearing his plate from the table.
  • A grad-year student looking into post-secondary options found the first required course for the local college’s fine arts program is “Intro to Critical and Cultural Theory,” a Marxist-based philosophy that subtly encourages aggression and division.
  • An elementary student borrowed a library graphic novel of Little Women in which Jo comes out as a lesbian and shares a kiss with another girl.
  • A Catholic high school teacher asked students to introduce themselves using their preferred pronouns.

History tells us that as government takes more and more control of a child’s education the family is left helpless to stop it.

Teaching children what to think is not new

Recently Florida rejected 41% of math books containing “Critical Race Theory” and other indoctrinating propaganda that were used to “politically groom” children.

Today, the Marxist/Leninist ideals of diversity, inclusion, equity (DIE) propaganda materials are not only in public school classrooms, but are also in text books and even in reference materials and novels available to children K-12 in public school libraries.

The grooming of children has been taken to a level where the next generation of Americans will not only be unable to read, write and cypher, but will be indoctrinated to hate America and all that it stands for.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are all on life support.

The Political Grooming of Children by the State

We wanted to take a look at the history of grooming children by the state and we found that a powerful way to take control of a child is via membership in youth groups or clubs.

Some of these youth groups are like the Nazis’ Hitler Youth and the former Soviet Union’s Young Pioneers.

Today, public schools have a number of organizations that are pushing Marxist/Leninist ideals of diversity, inclusion, equity (DIE) and the radical environmentalist’s agendas. One, it appears, is in Sarasota, Florida.

Sarasota High School – An Analysis

We decided to look at Sarasota High School (SHS) in Sarasota, Florida and the clubs that the principal and staff have approved. We went to the SHS website and pulled up the list of SHS Clubs and Sponsors for 2020-2021. While many of the clubs and sponsors were innocuous (e.g. ROTC, National Honor Society, The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, etc.),  we found, however, others that were potentially troubling.

Here are SHS Clubs and Sponsors that we found are “potentially politically grooming” SHS students:

  • ACLU – American Civil Liberties Union. Profile: A bi-partisan group concerned with educating students about their individual rights and responsibilities as established in the Constitution and the Bill of rights. Comment: The ACLU is not civil nor does it protect liberties as outlined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. One notable example was discovered by The New Tolerance Campaign that reported, “The New York Times recently published a scathing critique of an alleged racism incident at Smith College that turned out to be nothing of the sort. The ACLU championed the false claim and has yet to retract its statements or apologize for its misleading campaign that seriously harmed an accused janitor and cafeteria worker…In 2018, Smith student Oumou Kanoute claimed that white workers called school security on her while she was minding her own business and eating lunch on Smith College’s campus, where she was working over the summer. She claimed that it was a clear case of racial profiling, and the ACLU, Smith College, and many news outlets took her at her word. The ACLU created the ‘eating while black’ campaign, holding the incident up as proof of everyday racism. Three months later, a law firm hired by Smith College found out what really happened that day. A summer camp rented space from Smith College and thus for the sake of child safety, some areas became off-limits to everyone else. A cafeteria worker told Kantoute that the area was off-limits, but didn’t press the issue. A janitor saw that there was an unauthorized person in the area and followed protocol by calling security. A security guard showed up and politely asked her to leave.” So much for protecting the innocent.
  • Coexistence Club. Profile: Club members provide tours to K-8 student visitors to the Embracing Differences exhibit. While working within their respective schools and local community, these dynamic high school students promote EOD vision of creating a world that embraces diversity, respects differences and actively rejects hatred and prejudice, by helping to make their schools a safer and more inclusive environment for everyone. Comment: This club is designed to push the LGBTQ+ agendas of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. This club has the potential of grooming children from K-12 into the homosexual lifestyle and making underaged children available to pedophiles and pederasts. We have written about a similar club named the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) which promotes their Day of Silence in schools across America.
  • GSA – Genders & Sexualities Alliance. Profile: Purpose is to…crate a safe environment in schools to support students who have suffered homophobia, transphobia and other forms of aggression. Create a more educated environment about LGBTQ+ issues. To advocate for protection against discrimination, harassment and violence in schools. Comment: This group is clearly more into the “activist” role than is the Coexistence Club. They use the word “advocate” which is code for grooming children to become non-binary, gender queer, cis-gender, gay, lesbian and bi-sexual is telling. Protecting sodomy in public schools is their goal. GSA uses trigger words like “homophobia and transphobia” to show their full and unequivocal support for the dangerous LGBTQ+ agenda.
  • National Green School Society. Profile: To raise environmental awareness at Sarasota High School and in the community through service projects and educational opportunities. Comment: This Society appears to be dedicated to the Green New Deal and all that it entails. In November, 2021 the wrote this about Democrat Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, which is part of the Biden Build Back Better Agenda, “Happy to announce creation of a US Civilian Climate Corps is now in the Build Back Better Act,” the far-left congresswoman recently tweeted. Referencing the public works ‘job creation’ scheme first proposed as part of the Green New Deal, Ocasio-Cortez claimed the initiative will create 300,000 jobs while combating the ‘climate crisis’ and environmental injustice’…Simply put, a dollar spent paying a 19-year-old to plant flowers is a dollar not spent by a private company paying them to deliver food, and so on. So, there’s no reason at all to believe a Civilian Climate Corps would create jobs on net. Perhaps most damning, the Civilian Climate Corps would make a statistically negligible difference in reducing US carbon emissions, the stated goal of the Biden administration’s plans. Even halting all US vehicle emissions would barely make a dent in global emission levels, and make-work schemes like this would have no noticeable impact, simply as a matter of scale. Even many supporters of the idea acknowledge this.” Question: SHS’s National Green School Society a part of the Civilian Climate Corps?

NOTE: We did not add two groups that discuss political issues, one all male Junto and the other all female One-Nine. We were unable to determine if all political positions were discussed in an open forum and free speech environment.

The Bottom Line

In an April 22nd, 2022 Federalist article titled “Amid Public Concern About Grooming Kids, American Library Association Picks ‘Marxist Lesbian’ As PresidentJoy Pullmann wrote:

A large organization that drives the training of U.S. librarians and their use of public funds has chosen a self-described “Marxist lesbian” as its next president amid growing concern about libraries actively connecting children to sexually explicit activities and materials.

Emily Drabinski was elected president of the American Library Association last week by the organization’s members. She will take office in July 2023.

ALA’s approximately 54,000 members include librarians, libraries, library graduate schools, members of library boards and associations, and library students. The vast majority of its membership fees, therefore, are provided by taxpayer funds.

Sarasota High School is hosting a number of clubs, groups and societies that are eerily like those used in the past to further government political agendas.

QUESTION: Is this something that public schools should be doing?

We think not.

QUESTION: Are public schools working against the best interests of parents and our nation?

We believe so.

NOTE: We did not see any clubs dedicated to reading the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence or U.S. Constitution, and there are no groups that study religions or read the Old and New Testament nor did we find any group that was specifically focused on Conservationism.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

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Boston College Psychology Professor: “School Has Become a Toxic Place for Children”

Self-directed education, grounded in play, is most beneficial for youth learning and development.


More families may be flocking to homeschooling and other schooling alternatives over the past two years, but Peter Gray has been urging families to flee coercive schooling since long before the pandemic began. The Boston College psychology professor wrote in his 2013 book Free To Learn: “The more oppressive the school system becomes, the more it is driving people away, and that is good.”

Gray joins me on this week’s episode of the LiberatED Podcast to talk about the harms of forced schooling and why self-directed education, grounded in play, is most beneficial for youth learning and development.

In our conversation, Gray explains that standard schooling today is a key factor in the continuous rise in rates of childhood and adolescent anxiety, depression, and suicide. Its imposed, one-size-fits all curriculum, reliance on reward and punishment as external motivators, and dismissal of natural childhood curiosity and creativity erode learners’ powerful drives for learning and discovery. Stripped of these drives, and increasingly deprived of opportunities to play, explore, and pursue individual interests outside of school without the constant hovering of adults, children and adolescents become more melancholic and morose.

“We adults are constraining children’s lives, in school and out of school,” says Gray in our podcast discussion. “School has become a toxic place for children, and we refuse to say that publicly. The research can show it but it almost never gets picked up in the popular press,” he adds.

Our discussion digs deeper into Gray’s research on the link between standard schooling and skyrocketing rates of diagnoses of ADHD, which Gray asserts is essentially “a failure to adapt to the conditions of standard schooling.” He talks about the disappearance of childhood play and the corresponding rise in childhood mental health disorders, as well as why parents shouldn’t be too concerned about their children’s screen time use.

Gray believes that parents should remove their children from standard schooling and embrace schooling alternatives that are centered on self-directed education. “I’m cheered by the ever-growing stream of people who are leaving coercive schooling for relaxed homeschooling, unschooling, Sudbury schooling, and other forms of education that allow children to control their own learning,” he wrote in Free To Learn.

The current exodus of families away from standard schooling and toward other, often freer, learning models, may have positive, long-term effects on young people’s intellectual development and emotional well-being.

Listen to the weekly LiberatED Podcast on AppleSpotifyGoogle, and Stitcher, and sign up for Kerry’s weekly LiberatED email newsletter to stay up-to-date on educational news and trends from a free-market perspective.

AUTHOR

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald is a Senior Education Fellow at FEE and host of the weekly LiberatED podcast. She is also the author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (Chicago Review Press, 2019), an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and a regular Forbes contributor.

RELATED VIDEO: Atlanta students call out dangerous school conditions

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column and podcast are republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

FLORIDA: Jane Goodwin, Sarasota County School Board Chair, Orders Police to Forcibly Remove Parent and Mother of Four from Meeting

Goodwin had the mother of four children forcibly removed by police because she was, “about to say something horrible…[about a School Board Member].”


School Board Member Bridget Zeigler in an email stated:

This week, Sarasota County School Board Chairman, Jane Goodwin, ordered three law enforcement officers to escort a parent out of the public meeting for something Goodwin predicted the mom was “about to say” concerning a sitting School Board Member. Yes… “about to say”…

Today, Fox News has published a national story covering the outrageous incident- and yes it is outrageous. Watching this unfold in person made me sad, frustrated, embarrassed and angry. I am positive most citizens agree.

This is not how government works. Taxpayers pay for our school district and parents are our customers. They ALL have a right to have their voices heard. And elected officials should know that hearing feedback – both positive and negative – is a requirement of the job. If they don’t like it, they shouldn’t have run for office and should consider resigning.

Lastly, I hope you’ll help me get our School Board back to working with – not against – parents by making sure to vote on August 23rd.

Statement from Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman on the ejection of a mother of four, exercising her First Amendment rights, by Jane Goodwin:

Parent speaks after Sarasota School Board tosses her for what she was ‘about to say’

By Jessica Chasmar | Fox News

A Sarasota County, Florida, parent who was kicked out of a school board meeting this week for what she was “about to say” said Thursday that the board’s liberal majority is “destroying our school district, targeting parents and eliminating dissent.”

Melissa Bakondy, a mother of four, was surrounded by police officers and ejected from a Sarasota County School Board meeting Tuesday after calling out a board member by name over comments she allegedly made during a previous meeting.

“At the last meeting, Shirley Brown was caught on the microphone –” Bakondy said during the meeting before being cut off.

“Stop talking about school board members,” board Chairwoman Jane Goodwin interrupted. “You cannot go and expound on school board members. I’ve warned you several times.”

When Bakondy asked why, Goodwin responded, “You were about to say something horrible about Shirley Brown. … You’ve said things about me that were untrue. Leave, please.”

Goodwin then asked Bakondy, “Do you have children in our school district?”

The question prompted an audible gasp from conservative board member Bridget Ziegler, who fired back, “That is not appropriate. … You don’t get to ask people who come to a public meeting whether they have children or not. Period. You are way out of line.”

[ … ]

Speaking to Fox News Digital in an interview, Bakondy slammed Goodwin as “the queen of no public input.”

Read the full article.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

Wokeness is stalking your kids. Here’s how to protect them

Parents need Courage, Clarity, Compassion, and Communication to dialogue effectively with their children.


In recent weeks, the following incidents took place, all involving people I know personally who live near me.

  • A middle-schooler was unable to focus at school where a female student who identifies as a boy identifying as a dog kept barking in class. The teacher refused to say anything about it.
  • A girl refused to use the school washroom all day because she didn’t want to use the gender-neutral washroom with boys. Using the girls-only washroom, which is out of the way, would single her out among her peers.
  • A mother was baffled when her teen started spouting words like “colonialism” and “patriarchy” while dressing down her father for not clearing his plate from the table.
  • A grad-year student looking into post-secondary options found the first required course for the local college’s fine arts program is “Intro to Critical and Cultural Theory,” a Marxist-based philosophy that subtly encourages aggression and division.
  • An elementary student borrowed a library graphic novel of Little Women in which Jo comes out as a lesbian and shares a kiss with another girl.
  • A Catholic high school teacher asked students to introduce themselves using their preferred pronouns.

Examples of wokeism are also taking place in the workforce:

  • A new employee taking diversity/inclusivity training was required to answer Yes to the question, “Does refusing to use a person’s preferred pronouns constitute harassment?”
  • A hairdresser had two customers an hour apart tell her how they “can’t say anything” in the face of woke ideology such as these scenarios. They feel as if their opinions have been nullified.

Then there was an employee who decided to speak out after being required to attend a training session to make the organization more LGBT2SQ-friendly. She wrote a direct and charitable letter to her employer explaining her beliefs. The employer decided to make the training optional.

How radically different my childhood was compared to today’s, when words like colonialism, patriarchy, transgenderism, critical (race) theory, intersectionality, white privilege, and social justice are seeping into my home and into society’s everyday vocabulary. Along with these ideas comes a climate of anger and division. Ironically, all facets of woke ideology instil a victim mentality which ultimately disempowers its adherents.

Hence the anger.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that many woke “values” piggyback on Christian virtues. As Christians, we also want to put an end to racism and injustice. The difference is that in the woke framework there is no mercy, no forgiveness, and no hope.

It has taken me a while to understand the movement.

I started meeting monthly online with a group of moms to discuss the origins and issues facing our children. We studied Noelle Mering, a podcaster and the author of a new book Awake, Not Woke: A Christian Response to the Cult of Progressive Ideology. We examined Catholic Voices resources and invited Peter Nation to present several talks. Having a clear picture of the historical facts behind the movement has helped us in our discussions with family and friends.

Mering exhorts us to have Courage, Clarity, and Compassion: courage for effecting change; clarity for understanding issues in order to dialogue; and compassion for everyone regardless of whether they are a woke fellow traveller or a woke ideologue.

For parents, I would add a fourth “C” – communication. This should be at the forefront of our minds at all times. A river can’t flow if it is blocked.

The teen years present a bigger challenge, so parents have to get creative. Even if a teen is intractable, flowers secretly placed on her desk, extra Rosaries prayed, and perseverance in saying, “Good night, honey” to someone who only grunts can soften the heart for eventual conversation. We work on what we can work on today.

Woke ideology particularly disdains three aspects of Christianity: that we need to forgive; that we need to be open to dialogue; and that we are children of God. Focusing on these positives will instil in children a love for the beauty and truth of the Christian faith.

Forgiving others and being forgiven produces a tangible peace that children easily recognize. This can be fostered in daily interactions and, importantly, for Catholics, in regular confession.

Teaching our children to dialogue with others who hold different views fosters self-confidence and contributes to a healthy society. Even our worst enemies have some good points. Similarly, we can relate to someone with woke values in many ways: all people are equal, whether white or black, woman or man. This can be a foundation to start a dialogue.

We can guide our children in learning about opposite viewpoints, figuring out how each perspective is different and which is most consistent with facts and logic.

Additionally, they need to see that regular dialogue with God is necessary to thrive in this life. For a Christian, the core of personal identity is the fact that we are sons and daughters of God. It is not the colour of our skin, our sex, our gender, our ethnic background, or our nationality. Children are amazed when they realize God planned on creating them specifically, with all their quirks and qualities, before the beginning of time.

These approaches, along with Mering’s constant advice to “have fun in the family,” constitute an effective inoculation against many harmful influences.

Parallel to the internal guidance of our children is keeping an eye on external factors.

Pay attention to what goes on in school. Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson recommends that children whose teachers rely upon words like equity, diversity, inclusivity, white privilege leave the classroom. Why should they be indoctrinated with “radical leftist, neo-Marxist ideology”?

Erroneous ideas often come more from peers than teachers, so getting to know your children’s friends is important. Pay attention to their internet habits. Invest in a parental control or filtering device.

Read books and watch shows together that support your values. There’s a wealth of information available in an entertaining form on the internet – on topics ranging from preferred pronouns to same-sex attraction to social justice.

Helping children to remain loyal to noble human and Christian values has always been a challenge for parents. Imagine what it must have been like to be a parent in Nazi Germany when children were being courted by Hitler Youth groups, or in in the Soviet Union, when everyone was expected to join the Young Pioneers. Love your children, educate them, and entrust them to the Lord. He will open their eyes to the truth.

AUTHOR

Ida Gazzola is the mother of 6 girls and one boy and lives in British Columbia, Canada. Before embarking on the adventure of parenting, she studied and worked in the financial industry. Team Baby: Creating… More by Ida Gazzola

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

The New York Times Reported ‘the Mainstreaming of Marxism in US Colleges’ 30 Years Ago. Today, We See the Results

The lesson of 1989 is that today’s culture and ideas are tomorrow’s politics and policies.


In August 1989, Poland’s parliament did the unthinkable. The Soviet satellite state elected an anti-communist as its new prime minister.

The world waited with bated breath to see what would happen next. And then it happened: nothing.

When no Soviet tanks deployed to Poland to crush the rebels, political movements in other nations—first Hungary, followed by East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Romania—soon followed in what became known as the Revolutions of 1989.

The collapse of Communism had begun.

On October 25, 1989, a mere two months after Poland’s pivotal election, the New York Times published an article, headlined “The Mainstreaming of Marxism in US Colleges,” describing a strange and seemingly paradoxical phenomenon. Even as the world’s great experiment in Marxism was collapsing for all to see, Marxist ideas were taking root and becoming mainstream in the halls of American universities.

“As Karl Marx’s ideological heirs in Communist nations struggle to transform his political legacy, his intellectual heirs on American campuses have virtually completed their own transformation from brash, beleaguered outsiders to assimilated academic insiders,” wrote Felicity Barringer.

There were notable differences, however. The stark, unmistakable contrast between the grinding poverty of the Communist nations and the prosperity of Western economies had obliterated socialism’s claim to economic superiority.

As a result, orthodox Marxism, with its emphasis on economics, was no longer in vogue. Traditional Marxism was “retreating” and had become “unfashionable,” the Times reported.

”There are a lot of people who don’t want to call themselves Marxist,” Eugene D. Genovese, an eminent Marxist academic, told the Times. (Genovese, who died in 2012, later abandoned socialism and embraced traditional conservatism after rediscovering Catholicism.)

Marxism wasn’t truly retreating, however. It was simply adapting to survive.

Watching the upheaval in Poland and other Eastern bloc nations had convinced even Marxists that capitalism would not “give way to socialism” anytime soon. But this would cause an evolution of Marxist ideas, not an abandonment of them.

”Marx has become relativized,” Loren Graham, a historian at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told the Times.

Graham was just one of a dozen of the scholars the Times spoke to, a mix of economists, legal scholars, historians, sociologists, and literary critics. Most of them seemed to reach the same conclusion as Graham.

Marxism was not dying, it was mutating.

”Marxism and feminism, Marxism and deconstruction, Marxism and race – this is where the exciting debates are,” Jonathan M. Wiener, a professor of history at the University of California at Irvine, told the paper.

Marxism was still thriving, Barringer concluded, but not in the social sciences, “where there is a possibility of practical application,” but in abstract fields such as literary criticism.

Marxism was not defeated. The Marxists had just staked out new turf.

And it was a highly strategic move. “Practical application” of Marxism had proven disastrous. Communism had been tried as a governing philosophy and had failed catastrophically, leading to mass starvation, impoverishment, persecution, and murder. But, in the ivory tower of the American university system, professors could inculcate Marxist ideas in the minds of their students without risk of being refuted by reality.

Yet, it wasn’t happening in university economics departments, because Marxism’s credentials in that discipline were too tarnished by its “practical” track record. Instead, Marxism was thriving in English departments and other more abstract disciplines.

In these studies, economics was downplayed, and other key aspects of the Marxist worldview came to the fore. The Marxist class war doctrine was still emphasized. But instead of capital versus labor, it was the patriarchy versus women, the racially privileged versus the marginalized, etc. Students were taught to see every social relation through the lens of oppression and conflict.

After absorbing Marxist ideas (even when those ideas weren’t called “Marxist”), generations of university graduates carried those ideas into other important American institutions: the arts, media, government, public schools, even eventually into human resources departments and corporate boardrooms. (This is known as “the long march through the institutions,” a phrase coined by Communist student activist Rudi Dutschke, whose ideas were influenced by early twentieth-century Marxist theoretician Antonio Gramsci.)

Indeed, it was recently revealed that federal agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars on programs training employees to acknowledge their “white privilege.” These training programs are also found in countless schools and corporations, and people who have questioned the appropriateness of these programs have found themselves summarily fired.

A huge part of today’s culture is a consequence of this movement. Widespread “wokeness,” all-pervasive identity politics, victimism, cancel culture, rioters self-righteously destroying people’s livelihoods and menacing passersby: all largely stem from Marxist presumptions (especially Marxism’s distorted fixations on oppression and conflict) that have been incubating in the universities, especially since the late 80s.

As it turned out, what was happening in American universities in 1989 was just as pivotal as what was happening in European parliaments.

Especially in an election year, it can be easy to fixate on the political fray. But the lesson of 1989 is that today’s culture and ideas are tomorrow’s politics and policies.

That is why the fate of freedom rests on education.

To advance the cause of freedom for today and tomorrow, please support the Foundation for Economic Education.

Correction: This article originally stated that Gramsci coined the phrase “the long march through the institutions.”

AUTHORS

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune. Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.

Dan Sanchez

Dan Sanchez is the Director of Content at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and the editor-in chief of FEE.org.

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

Reagan’s Goal to End the Department of Education Is Finally Gaining Momentum

Ending the Department of Education may seem like a radical idea, but it’s not as crazy as it sounds.


The debate over the federal role in education has been going on for decades. Some say the feds should have a relatively large role while others say it should be relatively small. But while most people believe there should be at least some federal oversight, some believe there should be none at all.

Rep. Thomas Massie is one of those who believes there should be no federal involvement in education, and he is actively working to make that a reality. In February 2021, he introduced H.R. 899, a bill that perfectly encapsulates his views on this issue. It consists of one sentence:

“This bill terminates the Department of Education on December 31, 2022.”

This position may seem radical, but Massie is not alone. The bill had 8 cosponsors when it was introduced and has been gaining support ever since. On Monday, Massie announced that Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) decided to cosponsor the bill, bringing the total number of cosponsors to 18.

Though it may be tempting to think Massie and his supporters just don’t care about education, this is certainly not the case. If anything, they are pushing to end the federal Department of Education precisely because they care about educational outcomes. In their view, the Department is at best not helping and, at worst, may actually be part of the problem.

“Unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. should not be in charge of our children’s intellectual and moral development,” said Massie when he initially introduced the bill. “States and local communities are best positioned to shape curricula that meet the needs of their students.”

Massie is echoing sentiments expressed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, who advocated dismantling the Department of Education even though it had just begun operating in 1980.

“By eliminating the Department of Education less than 2 years after it was created,” said Reagan, “we cannot only reduce the budget but ensure that local needs and preferences, rather than the wishes of Washington, determine the education of our children.”

Before we rush into a decision like this, however, it’s important to consider the consequences. As G. K. Chesterton famously said, “don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.”

So, why was the federal Department of Education set up in the first place? What do they do with their $68 billion budget? Well, when it was initially established it was given 4 main roles, and these are the same roles it fulfills to this day. They are:

  • Establishing policies on federal financial aid for education, and distributing as well as monitoring those funds (which comprise roughly 8 percent of elementary and secondary education spending).
  • Collecting data on America’s schools and disseminating research.
  • Focusing national attention on key educational issues.
  • Prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education.

Now, some of these functions arguably shouldn’t exist at all. For instance, if you are opposed to federal funding or federal interference in education on principle, then there is no need for the first and fourth roles. As for the middle two roles, it’s clear that we need people collecting data, disseminating research, and pointing out educational issues. But the question here is not whether these initiatives should exist. The question is whether the federal government should pursue them.

On that question, there’s a good case to be made that leaving these tasks to the state and local level is far more appropriate. Education needs vary from student to student, so educational decisions need to be made as close to the individual student as possible. Federal organizations simply can’t account for the diverse array of educational contexts, which means their one-size-fits-all findings and recommendations will be poorly suited for many classrooms.

Teachers don’t need national administrators telling them how to do their job. They need the freedom and flexibility to tailor their approach to meet the needs of students. It is the local teachers, schools, and districts that know their students’ needs best, which is why they are best positioned to gather data, assess their options, and make decisions about how to meet those needs. Imposing top-down national ideas only gets in the way of these adaptive, customized, local processes.

The federal Department of Education has lofty goals when it comes to student success, but it is simply not the right institution for achieving them. If we really want to improve education, it’s going to require a bottom-up, decentralized approach. So rather than continuing to fund yet another federal bureaucracy, perhaps it’s time to let taxpayers keep their money, and let educators and parents pursue a better avenue for change.

This article was adapted from an issue of the FEE Daily email newsletter. Click here to sign up and get free-market news and analysis like this in your inbox every weekday.

AUTHOR

Patrick Carroll

Patrick Carroll has a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo and is an Editorial Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education.

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘Canceling’ Student Debt is Unfair to Graduates Like Me Who Sacrificed to Pay Off Our Loans

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

‘The Dumbest Generation Grows Up’

An English professor Mark Bauerlein, saw what was happening to young people. In 2008, he wrote the The Dumbest Generation, arguing that millennials would become increasingly ignorant, vain, and immature because of their chronic use of digital technology.

Thanks to the Federalist for bringing this read book to the fore.

The Dumbest Generation Wallows In Mediocrity And Self-Pity.

By: Auguste Meyrat, The Federalist, April 18, 2022:

In Mark Bauerlein’s ‘The Dumbest Generation Grows Up,’ the notable English professor offers a bleak but accurate diagnosis of the millennial generation’s problems.

In the early 2000s, when millennials were coming of age, many people were optimistic about their prospects. They were growing up with the internet, entering a brave new world where everyone was connected, engaged, and more affluent than ever. All this awesomeness was compounded when smartphones came out less than a decade later.

During this wonderful time, few people dared to suggest that all these new high-tech amenities and continual indulgence would spoil millennials. Rather, many people really believed they would be the most successful generation in history.

However, there were a few voices in the wilderness, calling for sanity and a sober analysis of these innovations. One such voice was English professor Mark Bauerlein, who saw what was happening to young people. In 2008, he wrote the The Dumbest Generation, arguing that millennials would become increasingly ignorant, vain, and immature because of their chronic use of digital technology.

Thirteen years later, Bauerlein’s predictions have largely become true. As he explains in The Dumbest Generation Grows Up, a sequel to The Dumbest Generation, many of today’s millennials are not thriving as predicted, but instead are “ending up behind a Starbucks counter or doing contract work, living with their parents or in a house with four friends, nonetheless lonely and mistrustful, with no thoughts of marriage and children, no weekly church attendance or civic memberships, more than half of them convinced that their country is racist and sexist.”

And yes, they are still the dumbest generation, reading less than any previous generation and knowing next to nothing about the world they inhabit.

The Most Illiterate Generation

With an obvious desire to tell the world, “I told you so!” Bauerlein begins his book recalling the false predictions of success for millennials. Even though they had every reason to be concerned about the vast amount of idiotic online content young people were consuming, they preferred to see this as a good thing: “Lighten up, we were told, instead of fearing these kids who were passing them by, said the most progressive admirers of this new generation gap, the elders had a better option: ‘What Old People Can Learn from Millennials.’”

Realists like Bauerlein were berated as spiteful curmudgeons who failed to appreciate the many virtues of the internet. Curiously, it wasn’t the software engineers and programmers making this argument (many of them limit their children’s exposure to screens), but the humanities instructors who saw the new technology as a shortcut to developing critical thinking skills and being knowledgable.

Besides struggling with the basics of adulthood, Bauerlein also argues millennials are dangerous to civilized society. They are entranced with the idealized utopias and “can’t understand why that blessed condition shouldn’t materialize here and now.” This has resulted in a noticeable radicalization among young people, who violently protest any views that differ from their own. Although most of these self-styled social justice warriors justify their actions as a noble resistance to true evil, so much of it amounts to collective temper tantrums.

Baffled by these outbursts from otherwise privileged young adults, Bauerlein seeks to understand the underlying motive—assuming there is one. After making a few inquires and observing millennials in their natural habitat, Bauerlein settles on two vapid but nonetheless serious mantras: “Everyone deserves to be happy,” and “It doesn’t matter who you love.”

Even a cursory knowledge of literature would dispel these notions. As though happiness were something you could complain into existence. As though all forms of love always work out for everyone involved.

Keep reading.

RELATED ARTICLE: Exporting American WOKE: Midwives are told not to using proper words for anatomy so trans patients won’t be upset

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

Quick note: We cannot do this without your support. Fact. Our work is made possible by you and only you. We receive no grants, government handouts, or major funding.

Tech giants are shutting us down. You know this. Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Adsense, Pinterest permanently banned us. Facebook, Google search et al have shadow-banned, suspended and deleted us from your news feeds. They are disappearing us. But we are here.

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Starting the Brainwashing Early: New game Called ‘Playing with Pronouns’ is Pitched to Kids Ages 4-9

2+2=5, Winston. If you refuse to accept that, you are an enemy of the state.


EDITORS NOTE: Here’s the promotional video for Playing with Pronouns:


Ready, Set, GROOM! Teachers are Recruiting Our Kids Into the Transgender Life with Books and Games

by Kevin Downey Jr., PJ Media, April 15, 2022:

For a group who “isn’t grooming kids,” the left is grooming lots of kids.

Before we get started, I just want to remind you that a transgender boy in a skirt anally raped a girl in a school’s ladies’ restroom, and his school district tried to cover it up. No one was sent to jail. The rapist was transferred to another school, where he sexually assaulted another girl.

Even though we have been assured that there is no grooming going on in schools, the video below shows a lot of attention-starved, science-denying leftists brainwashing kids in schools….

There’s a new game for kids age 4-9 called “Playing with Pronouns.” From the seller’s  website:

Read more about our Playing with Pronouns Card Deck. Simple card games to breakdown stereotypes, practice inclusive pronouns & expand everyday understanding beyond the binary for ages 4-9.

Playing with Pronouns is an educational card deck for young children designed to expand gender while learning and playing games. It rose directly from our experience as parents. We needed ways to foster inclusion and respect that were fun and could easily expand into our everyday life.

What is this game based on?

Based on our children’s books, They She He Me: Free to Be, and They, She, He easy as ABC  this revolutionary card deck uses PLAY and PRONOUNS as a familiar way to address gender with young kids.

But I thought the left wasn’t grooming kids? Games and books dedicated to normalizing a mental illness sure seem like grooming to me.

AUTHOR

RELATED ARTICLE: NYC: High school principal fired for fraud, punished with seven years of a cushy desk job

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

PODCAST: School Nurse Suspended for Exposing 11 Students Who Changed Their ‘Gender Identity’

When school nurse Kathleen Cataford wrote on a ‘mom’s page’ that 11 students were identifying as gender non-binary – 9 without parental consent – she was suspended within a week at Richard J Kinsella Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut.

WATCH: ​School nurse gets booted for exposing too much

She did not disclose the names or ages of the children, only the fact the school was keeping this life-changing, dangerous information a secret from their parents.

Throughout the country, schools are coercing children into deciding whether to accept their biological birth or switch to the opposite sex.

The writing is on the wall for parents to clearly see:

Schools will soon begin counseling children how to receive “gender-affirming medical care” – that is, hormone treatments, puberty blockers and actual genital mutilation – without parental knowledge, much less consent.

In this episode of Shout Out Patriots, we examine parents’ options if they discover their school is funneling puberty blockers – or other ‘gender-affirming-medical-care’ – to their child without expressed permission.

Be warned, however. The law is likely on the side of schools rather than the parent.

In an arguably similar case regarding parental rights, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that it was perfectly legal for a school guidance counselor to help a 15-year-old girl obtain a secret abortion.

Now, parents are faced with a new danger as they confront an orchestrated movement to dismiss parents regarding their child’s ‘gender welfare.’

In fact, a school district in Wisconsin made this abundantly clear last month.

Teachers at the Eau Claire School District were told NOT to inform parents if their child no longer identifies with their biological sex.

Parents need to ‘earn’ that right, the school district declared.

Teachers were shown a slide that read:

‘Remember, parents are not entitled to know their kids’ identities. That knowledge must be earned.’

Parents are ‘not entitled’? Parents have to ‘earn’ that right? Schools are positioning themselves as ‘lifeboats’ to protect children from angry, backward-thinking, gender-conforming parents.

So, what would you do upon finding out your school helped coerce your child into their changing gender identity without permission or your knowledge? Or even given puberty blockers?

A better question is, what could you do?

©Shout Out Patriots. All rights reserved.

Florida Rejects 41% Of Math Books Containing ‘Critical Race Theory’ and Other Indoctrinating Propaganda

Math books with CRT?

Florida Rejects Dozens Of Math Books Containing ‘Critical Race Theory’ And Other ‘Indoctrinating Concepts’

By  Tim Meads • Apr 16, 2022  • Daily Wire”

The Florida Department of Education announced on Friday that after a recent review, 41% of proposed K-12 mathematics books intended for use during the 2022-2023 public school year did not meet state academic standards due to their apparent inclusion of Critical Race Theory principles and other controversial approaches to education.

“Reasons for rejecting textbooks included references to Critical Race Theory (CRT), inclusions of Common Core, and the unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in mathematics,” Florida’s Department of Education said in a statement.

“The highest number of books rejected were for grade levels K-5, where an alarming 71 percent were not appropriately aligned with Florida standards or included prohibited topics and unsolicited strategies,” Florida’s D.O.E. added.

“It seems that some publishers attempted to slap a coat of paint on an old house built on the foundation of Common Core, and indoctrinating concepts like race essentialism, especially, bizarrely, for elementary school students,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) said in a statement.

In January 2020, The Daily Wire reported that “DeSantis announced new academic standards for the state, shoving out the Common Core standards that had been implemented in the state in 2010, just one year after he started pushing for jettisoning those standards.”

The new standards were titled, “Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking,” or “B.E.S.T.” According to the press release sent out Friday, Florida’s government had been straightforward in the instructions given to textbook publishers during the 2021 submittal process for the 2022-2023 school year, the first year “B.E.S.T” would be put into place:

In fact, FDOE proactively informed publishers in June 2021 that textbooks must align to the B.E.S.T. Standards, state laws regarding required instruction, and that they should not incorporate unsolicited strategies such as SEL in their instructional materials.

“We’re going to ensure that Florida has the highest-quality instructional materials aligned to our nationally-recognized standards,” Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said in a statement.

“When it comes to education, other states continue to follow Florida’s lead as we continue to reinforce parents’ rights by focusing on providing their children with a world-class education without the fear of indoctrination or exposure to dangerous and divisive concepts in our classrooms,” Corcoran added.

DeSantis has long been an opponent of Critical Race Theory in classes. In June 2021, the governor called it “poison,” while adding that Florida was “happy to have banned it.”

While SEL has been around for decades, in recent years, many believe it has transformed into a vehicle for pushing many of the same principles of Critical Race Theory, such as the concept of equity, privilege, and systemic racism.

According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social Emotional Learning, equity goes hand-in-hand with SEL:

While SEL alone will not solve longstanding and deep-seated inequities in the education system, it can help schools promote understanding, examine biases, reflect on and address the impact of racism, build cross-cultural relationships, and cultivate adult and student practices that close opportunity gaps and create a more inclusive school community. In doing so, schools can promote high-quality educational opportunities and outcomes for all students, irrespective of race, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, and other difference

RELATED VIDEO: Governor Ron DeSantis on Banning Critical Race Theory in Florida

RELATED ARTICLES:

Florida Rejects Publishers’ Attempts to Indoctrinate Students

The state of Florida rejects 41 percent of submitted math textbooks on the grounds that they contain CRT, Common Core, and social emotional learning

Florida’s Anti-Woke Crusade Has a New Target: Math Textbooks

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

Quick note: We cannot do this without your support. Fact. Our work is made possible by you and only you. We receive no grants, government handouts, or major funding.

Tech giants are shutting us down. You know this. Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Adsense, Pinterest permanently banned us. Facebook, Google search et al have shadow-banned, suspended and deleted us from your news feeds. They are disappearing us. But we are here.

Subscribe to Geller Report newsletter here — it’s free and it’s critical NOW when informed decision making and opinion is essential to America’s survival. Share our posts on your social channels and with your email contacts. Fight the great fight.

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Remember, YOU make the work possible. If you can, please contribute to Geller Report.

Schools Are Outdated. It’s Time For Reform

By continuing along with this standardized type of schooling, we are putting millions at a disadvantage.


The public education system we currently know has been around for more than 150 years. However, the basic schooling model remains the same. Roughly 20 to 30 kids of the same age are stuffed into a classroom and taught by one teacher.

Even though the curricula have developed, the essence has stayed the same. Children are still taught in a standardized and industrialized way. As with anything that comes from centralized control, it is highly inefficient, bureaucratic, and wasteful.

Yes, the overall educational system has changed in many regards. However, the way we are taught has not. A teacher at the front and the children seated is the optimal way to learn for some students, but others struggle in this environment.

Children learn best in different ways. Some children are best suited to learn through visual stimulation. Others may learn best through hands-on education. The reality is that the current educational system doesn’t really accommodate any learning style, nor does it aim for anything other than high test scores.

Children rarely are allowed to be children. Play is stifled. Students are crammed into a classroom and taught in a standardized way. Creativity is restricted. They aren’t allowed to harness their inquisitive minds. Questioning things is part of the analytic mind and a key to societal development, but this takes a backseat to examinations.

The very nature of tests relies on memorization, repetition, and regurgitation: Tests infrequently harness the analytical mind. They train students to know the answers. However, they don’t train them on how to find the answers.

Faculty aspire to develop students’ thinking skills, but research shows that in practice, we tend to aim at facts and concepts in the disciplines, at the lowest cognitive levels, rather than the development of intellect or values.

Critical thinking is key to creating free and individual minds. It is also increasingly important in today’s age, where the line between information and facts is so fine. In fact, 95 percent of statistics are made up. A critical mind will question where this actually came from. Where did this statistic come from? Is it actually reliable?

The issue we have today is that students are taught to test. Whether the information makes sense or not is irrelevant as long as it is correct. This comes at a cost. Schools teach students what to think as opposed to how to think. There are important critical skills that aren’t taught. Do students truly question whatever they read or accept any claim blindly? Or, perhaps, do they accept it as long as it confirms their biases? The current system is failing because it is offering the wrong type of education. We must develop individual minds, not mindless zombies.

Each child is unique in their own right. Each has a different personality and preferred way of learning. Under the current system, each child is bundled under one standardized umbrella. When considering the different types of learners, it is easy to see why some get left behind.

The four learning styles include: visual learners, auditory learners, reading/writing learners, and kinesthetic learners. However, the idea of learning styles is not definitive. That is to say that you are not exclusively one type of learner or another.

Research from Pashler et al. disputes the evidence of specific learning styles.

Rather, these learning styles are preferences rather than “hard-coded.” This is to say that these preferred learning styles can change over time. When a specific learning style is preferred, it is easier for students to take in that information. For example, some students may prefer visual stimulation to emphasize a point, so graphs and charts may be useful. If this engages the students, they take more in. This inevitably affects educational outcomes.

Kinaesthetic learners are probably the biggest anomaly in the classroom. For students who learn best by being active, the classroom is the last place to be. It is no wonder why there are always a few individuals who are consistently disengaged. These individuals are often sporty and have high levels of energy. The traditional football captain who struggles to maintain his place on course may spring to mind. By continuing along with this standardized type of schooling, we are putting millions at a disadvantage.

Whether you buy into learning styles or not, it is evident that the current classroom system is outdated. Literacy rates have stagnated since 1971, while there has been no progress in math since 1990. So what are the causes of this stagnation?

The New York Times would have you believe the issue is underfunding. Throwing more money at something is a classic proposal used by modern-day liberals.

This problem cannot be solved with money alone, however. Kansas City, Missouri, provides us with a perfect example. It currently spends roughly 63 percent of its entire budget on schooling. Benefiting from the best-funded school facilities in the country, student performance has failed to improve. Furthermore, the US spends more on education than any other OECD country besides Norway.

At the same time, it is receiving little value for the money. Outcomes are average, but mathematic results are particularly poor. Countries such as Vietnam, Hungary, and Slovakia score higher.

So why is testing such a bad thing? It teaches children how to absorb information. Children “learn for a test.” However, once the test is taken, is the information truly absorbed? How long does it stay present in the mind? Research by neurobiologists Blake Richards and Paul Frankland suggests it isn’t very long.

According to the neurobiologists, the brain quickly disregards information that is no longer required. Forgetting is an evolutionary strategy to promote the survival of the species. Richards and Frankland state:

From this perspective, forgetting is not necessarily a failure of memory. Rather, it may represent an investment in a more optimal mnemonic strategy.

It is true that repetition can help with memory retention. However, if that specific memory is not recalled, it is eventually forgotten. Further research from Bacon and Stewart studied individual students for up to two years following course completion. They concluded that most of the knowledge gained during the course was lost within two years.

It is clear that the current system is generally based upon memory—who can memorize the most information to prepare for the test. Is this really arming kids with the tools they need for adulthood?

One potential solution for education would be to start “formal” schooling at age seven. Research from the University of Cambridge concludes that there are benefits of later starts to formal education. This evidence relates to the contribution of playful experiences to children’s development as learners and the consequences of starting formal learning at the age of four to five years of age.

There also needs to be a reduction in the level of testing. We have developed a system whereby teachers have a strong incentive to “teach to test.” It’s about memorizing as much information as possible rather than learning how to think.

Furthermore, the testing culture is putting a strain on both teachers’ and students’ mental health. Test results are the be-all and end-all. It is for that reason that many teachers are already leaving the profession. Reforming this testing culture would not only reduce teacher and student stress but also relieve teacher turnover rates.

Thirdly, school vouchers are a viable option. There are already a number of states that have experimented with this. Mostly, there has been large success across the board. The benefits of school choice are widely documented. The vast majority of existing studies find positive effects. Not only are test scores improved, but graduation rates and civic engagement are also enhanced.

AUTHOR

Paul Boyce

Paul is a Business Economics graduate from the UK and currently an editor at http://boycewire.com.

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

The Left’s War on Childhood


From Greta Thunberg to children put on puberty blockers, the victims of the war on childhood are everywhere. They show up at environmental or gun control rallies holding up giant signs in their little hands, they’re indoctrinated at school to enlist as child soldiers for the latest cause.

Adults tell them that unless they save the world, they won’t even live long enough to grow up.

At the heart of the exchange of political buzzwords of the culture war is a simple question about whether childhood should exist. Leftists believe that no one may evade political commitments, and that therefore the idea that childhood should be a space apart from adult causes and concerns is a privilege that it is the job of teachers and popular culture to shatter into pieces.

And that is the war on childhood that we see all around us waged from Disney to kindergarten.

What this is really about is the leftist conviction that children cannot be allowed to be children, occupying a separate world of imagination and wonder, but must be indoctrinated into the fight as soon as possible with The Anti-Racist Baby Book and Baby Loves Green Energy. The only way to save the world is by politicizing childhood and turning children into little adults worrying about microaggressions, experimenting with sexuality, and fearing that the world will end.

Utopia, the fantasy land of progressive adults who act like children, has no room for children.

It is the job of adults to save the planet, assuming it needs saving, to debate political causes, to explore whatever sexuality needs exploring, and to build or wreck their lives how they please.

And it is their primary job to protect children from living in that threatening adult world.

Play is the business of childhood. From the Victorian era onward, civilized societies worked to create safe spaces for children to grow and learn before that became a term for whiny adults. Reformers and muckrakers took children out of factories. Growing prosperity enabled the rise of a children’s culture in which a multitude of toys and books meant for children filled shops.

Adults protected children, preserving their innocence while they developed into unique people.

Baby Boomers, a generation whose name is of an era of progeny, may have enjoyed the last golden childhood in American history. And many never grew up. The generations that followed came of age during the breaking of the American family and now the very idea of family. The indirect damage done to children is now being eclipsed by the direct assault on childhood.

The radical leftists who demand safe spaces for themselves are taking them away from children. Children are being put to work again, not in factories, which would be kinder by comparison, but in radical causes, they are being told that they are on the verge of death, that their country is evil, and the world is about to be destroyed if they don’t do something at once.

That’s where the traumatized children screaming angrily at rallies come from.

Children, especially young children, implicitly trust adults and their parents. If they’re told that the world is about to end, that they’re racists, or have to experiment with gender, they believe it.

The adults who deprive them of their innocence and their childhood are the monsters.

Instead of growing up feeling safe and protected, leftist children are traumatized at an early age by being forced to think of the world as a dangerous and evil place their parents can’t protect them from, but that they must take on the responsibility to change or else everyone will die.

The “parentification” of children began as Baby Boomer despair in the wake of the end of “Camelot”, the death of leftist culture heroes, and the collapse of the counterculture, followed by the conviction that the next generation had to take over and fix things. Adults who acted like children insisted that children had to become adults. And these days the precocious children and the immature adults are all around us. They’re also two halves of the same tarnished coin.

Adults who lacked a safe childhood assert the privileges of childhood as soon as they’re economically secure enough to supply themselves with one. They surround themselves with toys, exclusively pursue the most direct pleasures, and clamor for safe spaces and trigger warnings, for the emotional security they lacked as children. But they deny that emotional security to actual children and selfishly traumatize them for their own actualization.

Teachers on TikTok freely assert that their feelings matter more than the safety of children.

The aggressive push to embed sexual politics into elementary schools is how dysfunctional adults, including some teachers, prioritize their own sexual identity over the welfare of children.

It’s also on a par with pushing politics in general on children at the youngest possible age.

The transgender war on children is only the latest in a series of assaults on childhood by politicising everything. When African warlords enlist 8-year-olds to fight for their causes, we think that’s monstrous, but when leftists turn Greta Thunberg, an unstable teenage girl, into a heroine and encourage even preschoolers to protest over global warming, that’s activism.

Activism is how the educational war on childhood began. Now the war is not just about how children see the world, but against their bodies. Child soldiers are expected to be willing to die. The sexual identity political movement expects children to have their minds damaged and their bodies mutilated, taking away their ability to have their own children, as a political commitment.

Even African warlords would find that unfathomably barbaric.

The ancients sacrificed children to the fires of Moloch while progressives sacrifice them to their passion for wokeness. Either one is a symbolic assertion that the obsessions of the adult are more important than the safety of the child. Civilized adults don’t act this way. Barbarians, which is another way of saying children who inhabit the bodies of adults without the disciplined ethics of adulthood, do things like this because they live in a Lord of the Flies world of emotional turmoil, fearful insecurity, and angry selfishness. They see every encounter as a threat to their fragile identities, their insecurities surround them with humiliating microaggressions, and they retreat from their conviction that the world is a threatening place by escaping into fantasies.

Fantasies are supposed to be the business of children, but in the post-modern age, fantasies, supernatural, conspiratorial, political, and utopian, are all around us. And adults sacrifice children to utopian ideologies that promise that a better world is just around the corner.

All it will take is destroying childhood and then children.

AUTHOR

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

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

New Harvard Study: Homeschoolers Turn Out Happy, Well-Adjusted, and Engaged

Homeschooled children fared better than children who attended public schools in many categories.


Researchers at Harvard University just released findings from their new study showing positive outcomes for homeschooled students. Writing in The Wall Street Journal last week, Brendan Case and Ying Chen of the Harvard Human Flourishing Program concluded that public school students “were less forgiving and less apt to volunteer or attend religious services than their home-schooled peers.”

The scholars analyzed data of over 12,000 children of nurses who participated in surveys between 1999 and 2010 and found that homeschooled children were about one-third more likely to engage in volunteerism and have higher levels of forgiveness in early adulthood than those children who attended public schools. Homeschooled children were also more likely to attend religious services in adulthood than children educated in public schools, which the researchers noted is correlated with “lower risks of alcohol and drug abuse, depression and suicide.”

The new findings offer a stark contrast to the portrayal of homeschoolers by Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Bartholet, who notoriously called for a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling last year—just before the US homeschool population ballooned to more than 11 percent of the overall school-age population, or more than five million students, in the wake of the coronavirus response.

In their Journal Op-Ed, Case and Chen challenged their colleague.

“The picture of the home-schooled student that emerges from the data doesn’t resemble the socially awkward and ignorant stereotype to which Ms. Bartholet and others appeal. Rather, home-schooled children generally develop into well-adjusted, responsible and socially engaged young adults,” they wrote.

The Harvard researchers also discovered that homeschooled students were less likely to attend college than their public school peers. Some media outlets latched onto this finding in their headlines, while ignoring the Harvard scholars’ speculation that this could be due to a variety of factors. Homeschoolers could be choosing alternatives to college as a pathway to adulthood, and college admissions practices may create barriers for homeschooled students.

I reached out to Case and Chen for additional comments on their study’s findings, including how they think the homeschooling data and outcomes might have changed since 2010, when their data set ended.

“We are also glad to see that some colleges, including some top-tier colleges, have become more flexible in their admission policies for homeschoolers over the past years,” Chen responded.

Indeed, more colleges and universities have implemented clearer guidelines and policies for homeschooled students in recent years, and many are now eager to attract homeschooled applicants. In 2015, Business Insider noted that homeschooling is the “new path to Harvard,” and in 2018 the university profiled several of its homeschooled students.

The researchers also suspect that the well-being gap between homeschoolers and public school students has widened over the past decade, with homeschoolers faring even better.

“For instance, social media apps have come to smartphones over the past few years, leading to their widespread adoption by teenagers and even younger children,” Chen told me this week. “Some prior studies suggested that such increasing smartphone use may have contributed to the recent huge spikes in adolescent depression, anxiety, and school loneliness. Cyberbullying, sexting and ‘phubbing’ have also become more common in children’s daily lives, especially in school settings. We might expect that these issues may be less common among homeschoolers than their public school peers.”

As more families experimented with homeschooling last year, and many of them decided to continue this fall, the new Harvard data should help them to feel confident about their education choice. In terms of human flourishing, homeschoolers are doing well—perhaps even better than their schooled peers.

“Many parents opted to try homeschooling during the COVID pandemic,” said Chen. “Hopefully, the public awareness about homeschooling and the related practices and support for homeschoolers will be improved in the long run.”

AUTHOR

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald is a Senior Education Fellow at FEE and host of the weekly LiberatED podcast. She is also the author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (Chicago Review Press, 2019), an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, 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.

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

How we are being diversified into uniformity

Russell Jacoby’s book is a fascinating account of how people across the world have come to conform to a particular mode of behaviour and thought, despite claims to the contrary.


On Diversity: The Eclipse of the Individual in a Global Era by Russell Jacoby, Seven Stories Press, 2020, 152 pp

In a recent article for the online magazine UnHerd, Irish commentator Conor Fitzgerald uncovered some uncomfortable truths about Ireland’s non-profit industrial complex. This small island nation, population roughly five million, boasts no fewer than 33,000 NGOs. And the Irish taxpayer funds them to the tune of €5 billion every year.

Admittedly some of the these NGOs pursue worthy and practical causes, supplying essential health and social services that the Irish government has not taken responsibility for managing itself. However, many others merit further questioning.

Dampening democracy

Fitzgerald focuses on the National Women’s Council, whose latest annual report for 2020 reveals that it received over €800,000 in funding from various government agencies. This contrasts strongly with the mere €40,000 it received in private donations.

Holding strongly partisan views on contemporary social issues, the National Women’s Council was very vocal during the 2018 abortion referendum and in the campaigns leading up to it.

An NGO is meant to be a non-governmental organisation — that’s what the letters stand for. But is an NGO still worthy of the name when the funding it receives from government is twenty times greater than its private income?

This is about more than one NGO, though. The issue raises troubling questions about the health of public discourse in Ireland which our commentariat have been reluctant to explore.

In February, an editorial in The Irish Times weakly pondered whether such NGOs “can… be regarded as truly independent if the Government they lobby happens to provide the bulk of their funding.” Unfortunately it probed no further, uncritically concluding that organisations such the National Women’s Council “contribute to a vibrant civil society and help bring about positive change.”

The possibility that Ireland’s parliamentary democracy and associated web of NGOs are a mere tax-funded social construct has produced no further probing or introspection from our intelligentsia. The editorial’s cowardly attempt to lift the veil on a troubling matter for the nation’s intellectual, political, and cultural life saw it submissively return it to its place once more.

Yet the fine weave of messaging and action produced by this parasitic symbiosis of government, media, and tax-funded NGOs on significant political, social, and cultural issues in recent years should make one think twice about the existence of a genuinely diverse “vibrant civil society” in Ireland in 2022.

Global conformity

Although based on American cultural life, Russell Jacoby’s On Diversity: The Eclipse of the Individual in a Global Era offers fertile material for observers of Ireland’s monochrome official social, cultural, and intellectual landscape.

Jacoby problematises our contemporary self-concept as “diverse” when the penetrative effects of globalisation in capital and culture are actually leading to greater homogeneity in how many people around the world dress, speak, consume, and think. Positing the “diversity idea” as mere “rhetoric or jargon”, Jacoby argues that “the world is not becoming more but less diverse.”

An American intellectual historian, Jacoby is Emeritus Professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He has published widely on aspects of intellectual and cultural history, and in recent years has focused his critical gaze on the increasingly monolithic culture of the modern university. The book is not a simplistic tirade against the global ubiquity of jeans and T-shirts, soft drinks and hamburgers, or the English language — although it does explore some of these tokens of cultural hegemony in its early chapters.

Jacoby’s point is more subtle, and the book’s subtitle is important here. His concern is the eclipse of the individual amid global movements toward material, cultural, and intellectual homogeneity. Jacoby argues that as individuals become less diverse, the distinguishing features of groups of individuals will fade:

“But individual, not group, diversity is my concern. Diversity in its multiple incarnations turns hollow if the individuals are becoming not less, but more alike. And this is happening.”

“Diversity” has unequivocally entered the popular lexicon in recent years, with companies, government agencies, and educational institutions promoting events and awareness campaigns under its banner. Jacoby makes a persuasive case that this is essentially superficial. Those who emphasise their diversity are not really seeking to live out this diversity in a materially or culturally distinct way — but to mainstream it. He argues:

“The legitimate demand here — and of most outside groups clamouring for representation — is to join the mainstream and enjoy its benefits.”

In contrast, those who are genuinely diverse would rather live according to their own rules, even if that means living outside the mainstream. Jacoby cites the Amish and Hasidic Jews as examples: “The Amish and Hasids do not want to ‘blend in.’ They incarnate a diversity that gives lie to its current form, whose adherents only desire to be let in, not left out.” Thus when diversity becomes about fitting in and entering the mainstream, the idea begins to ring hollow.

For Jacoby, “as people become less culturally different, they fetishize their differences.” Irish readers may appreciate this in the context of the St Patrick’s Day celebrations of a few weeks ago, when people around the world donned green hats or orange wigs, ostensibly emphasising diversity and difference (their Irishness, however tenuous). By 18 March, however, those external signifiers of difference had been cast aside, and the indistinctness of the masses returned.

Mainstream diversity (as paradoxical as the phrase sounds) can be worn lightly, at little cost, and cast off when its moment passes. Moreover when so many are wearing leprechaun hats and proclaiming their Celtic roots, is diversity really evident here in the first place? For Jacoby, such diversity is no more than superficial when, underneath the external differences, most people think and dress the same. Ultimately today’s corporate and institutional campaigns to promote diversity are “a façade” and in fact monotonously mainstream.

The book comprises two parts. The opening three chapters consider historical manifestations of diversity in material culture. The final two chapters attempt to trace the history of the idea, particularly through the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill, although Jacoby’s evident wide reading draws amply on the writings of lesser known figures, too — revolutionaries, reactionaries, eccentrics, and romantics — from the lively intellectual circles of eighteenth and nineteenth century France, Germany, Switzerland, and Russia.

Crushing childhood

An interesting exploration of diversity’s material dimension occurs in the third chapter, “Playing with Diversity.” Jacoby explores threads of diversity, and its retreat, through the fascinating, entwined histories of childhood play and boredom.

A circumscribed period of time when children can live and engage in activities specific to their age, childhood is largely a modern, post-industrial development. Improved nutrition, sanitation, mandatory schooling, and limits on child labour have “opened a space between infancy and adulthood” which was previously “strangled” by the “realities of poverty and work.” However as childhood has become more formalised and regulated, Jacoby argues, it has also become less diverse.

What does he mean by “diverse” here? Jacoby evaluates modern attitudes to free time and play. Contemporary children’s games, from organised sports to computer games, are designed by adults. Well-meaning though they are, “as adult-run activities, organized sports, and computer games occupy this space [i.e. childhood], the capacity for diversity shrinks,” Jacoby suggests.

The bleak vista of contemporary “dull playgrounds” have seen sandboxes, seesaws, monkey bars, and high-pitched slides disappear in favour of modular, easy to maintain, colourful tubes, low platforms, and shallower slides. A fatal mix of health-and-safety-ism and fears about litigation have deadened the spirit of adventure and risk in playgrounds. Jacoby notes a remark by the author of one study of childhood play that some playgrounds are now “too safe.”

This erosion of diversity and vibrancy in childhood play is contrasted with boredom. This existentially unpleasant condition is sure to leave many a conscientious reader uneasy. Nevertheless, careful to distinguish boredom from melancholy or sloth, Jacoby provocatively argues that this condition ought to be appreciated as a privilege rather than a nuisance.

We ought to cherish our fleeting moments of boredom since it was once “a marginal phenomenon, reserved for monks and the nobility.” Permitting boredom in childhood, opening up a space for limited, temporal and existential lack of structure or organisation, can foster creativity, flexibility, and resilience — conditions necessary for diversity to flourish. Nowadays, Jacoby writes, “we worry if our kids are not occupied — and they have lost the ability to do nothing.”

Philosophical underpinnings

The final two chapters of the book progress from brief histories of everyday manifestations of diversity and plunge us into the history of the idea itself. The writings of Mill and Tocqueville feature prominently here, although they percolate the entire book too. Both men were concerned about “the ability of the individual to stand up against society — against social homogenization and conformity.”

Tocqueville’s influential Democracy in America queried how “the rise of commercial society based on money and equality undermines the individual.” According to Jacoby, “Tocqueville saw the advance of democracy and equality as irreversible, but worried about its consequences — uniformity, greyness, and even a new despotism.”

Tocqueville wrote of his fears for modern democracies whose leadership “inhibits, represses, saps, stifles, and stultifies, and in the end […] reduces each nation to nothing but a flock of timid and industrious animals” — a remarkably durable and prescient assertion even today among the West’s machinery of capital and opaque managerial bureaucracy.

Assessing the new-born United States, Tocqueville found society there both “agitated” and “monotonous.” Tocqueville, according to Jacoby, identified in the burgeoning post-Enlightenment and post-revolutionary democratic nation state the “twin movements of individual emancipation and individual conformity.”

Mill was heavily influenced by Tocqueville, with one caveat — Tocqueville, according to Mill, mistakenly “attributed to democracy the ills of capitalism.” Mill’s philosophical classic On Liberty argues for “the importance, to man and society, of a large variety of types of character” and the importance of “giving full freedom to [society to] expand itself in innumerable and conflicting directions.”

Mill was concerned that the growth of commercial activity entailed “the growing insignificance of individuals.” Genuine diversity requires a tolerance for an individual’s own agency and responsibility. Jacoby points out that “unlike today’s diversity boosters, Mill saw diversity not simply as choices or inherited characteristics, but was something deeper, modes of living.” Jacoby regrets that Mill’s pleas for greater tolerance of variety, even eccentricity, in living and doing, for going against the tide, “barely elicit a nod from current academics who write on him.”

Readers expecting a laboured and predictable critique of current political and cultural movements carried out in the name of diversity will be disappointed. This is not the book for them. Jacoby studiously avoids highly current matters. The book attempts to walk a tightrope — between the progressives who ostensibly promote the concept of diversity yet implicitly demand ideological conformity, on the one hand, and the reactionaries who critique progressive notions of diversity because they work against their own interests and values, yet implicitly demand similar conformity to their own worldviews, on the other. Jacoby considers himself a friend of neither camp. Nevertheless, the target for much of his book is the progressive consensus that prevails from campus to corporation today.

Jacoby is a historian, not a philosopher, and “diversity” is not an abstract ontological peculiarity, but manifests itself in real ways that people think and behave. Occasionally the book’s argument in these final chapters is hard to follow. This is understandable given the ephemeral nature of the concept. However, at times one feels that Jacoby could have slowed down his frantic and exhaustive aggregation of source material in order to remind the reader of how they fit the book’s overarching argument regarding the decay of the dignity of the individual amid totalising narratives of diversity. This pitfall is understandable for someone who has spent their career in academia. The highly distilled and at times opaque train of thought in these final chapters neglects to bear in mind the average reader whom it is presumably trying to convince, and to pace its argument for them. However this criticism is, in another sense, a compliment to Jacoby, whose reading and knowledge is as wide-ranging as it is deep, and whose message grows ever more relevant.

AUTHOR

David Gibney

David Gibney is a school teacher in Dublin. He holds a PhD in English literature. More by David Gibney

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