The CDC’s Guidelines for Back-to-School Under COVID Sound Traumatizing

Parents may prefer to continue homeschooling and distance learning.


When schools reopen in the US amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they will be even more restrictive than they already were. Schools have long controlled students’ movements and imposed constraints on where they can go, when, and with whom. With virus concerns, those controls will increase in quantity and intensity.

NPR recently proclaimed that “disruption from the pandemic constitutes an ‘adverse childhood experience’ for every American child.” While many children are sad to be away from their friends and activities, being home with their family members for a prolonged period of time is hardly an “adverse childhood experience” for most American children. Returning to schools with extreme virus control and social distancing measures, however, could very well be traumatic for many kids.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its recommendations for school reopening, including encouraging daily temperature checks and/or symptom checking, face coverings for all staff and children over two, desks spaced six feet apart, staggered schedules, no cafeteria or playground use, installed partitions and physical barriers, no field trips, no toy sharing, and restrictions on outside visitors, including parents.

As images emerge from countries around the world that have reopened schools, US parents are getting a glimpse of what extreme social distancing measures could look like here, including the latest from Chinese schools in which social distancing “wings” are strapped onto children’s backs to ensure that they stay far apart from each other. It’s no wonder that a new RealClear opinion poll found that 40 percent of parents intend to choose homeschooling or virtual schooling for their children when the lockdowns end. And many European parents are refusing to send their children back to school.

These strict social distancing efforts at schools arise as more evidence suggests that children are largely spared from the dangers of COVID-19 infection. Even as concerns have risen recently over a Kawasaki-like inflammatory disease related to COVID-19 that has impacted some children, the risk appears miniscule. According to The Wall Street Journal:

A study in the journal Lancet last week reported 10 children with the inflammatory syndrome in Bergamo, Italy—the city with the highest rate of fatalities and infections—about 30 times higher than the normal incidence. Most were older and suffered more severe cardiac symptoms than those typically found with Kawasaki. But the authors also estimated that probably no more than 0.1% of children who had been exposed to the virus were affected. All hospitalized patients had been discharged, and the authors recommend treating patients with steroids to calm their immune system.

The Journal article goes on to state:

During these times parents and doctors need to be especially vigilant. But as a society we also need to keep in mind that the risks to children from the coronavirus are small, especially relative to others. The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity projects that children under 15 are 6.83 to 20.07 times more likely to die of the flu or pneumonia than coronavirus—assuming 150,000 COVID-19 fatalities in the U.S. this year—and 128 times more likely to die of an accident.

We should care deeply about children’s health and safety, but like much about this pandemic, it’s important to make sure that the response isn’t more damaging than the virus itself. Many parents and educators are rightfully concerned about children’s mental health during these lockdowns, but when lockdowns end and schools reopen, children’s mental health could be worsened with extreme social distancing measures that remove any of the potentially enjoyable pieces of schooling, such as playground time, extracurriculars, and gathering with friends.

Stripped of these accessories that can often compensate for the more oppressive parts of conventional schooling, it’s not surprising that some parents and students would choose to continue with homeschooling or virtual learning until the pandemic ends.

COLUMN BY

Education in Kosovo

Primary education is provided for students here. It consists of schooling from grade one through five. This is a requirement by law for all children and students enroll at the age of six. The second component of education is the lower secondary educational system, which is usually for teens around 12 to 15 years of age. It provides education through grade nine. This is publicly funded and free of charge.

From here, students move on to secondary education. This is either professional education or general education. Most students spend three to four years at this level. This level of education is not a requirement under law, though. Most students who enroll in it do so to learn trades and skills that they will use to build their careers and lives with. These schools have a goal to prepare students for vocational work directly out of school or to prepare them to enter university.

Higher Education in Kosovo

Much of the country is rebuilding and reorganizing. This includes the educational system in the country. Universities and educational institutions provide higher education in Kosovo. Both private and public schools are available here at this level. Students are able to earn an associate’s degree, which generally takes under two years to complete in a specialized area of study, a bachelor’s degree, which takes between three and four years to complete, or a masters degree, which can add an additional two to three years of education on. Post graduate education to earn a PhD is also available. Many students enroll in these programs part time, though full time education is still widely available as well.

It is important to note that many of the schools, under the guidance of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology is being altered. The goal is to align the educational system along the lines of other European countries.

The Best Universities in Kosovo:

  • University of Pristina, located in the city of Pristina as a public university
  • AAB University, located in the city of Pristina as a non-public university

Each of these schools set the requirements for enrollment both at the domestic and the international level. Students generally will need to apply directly to the school to learn about qualifications and costs for tuition. These can range significantly with private schools tending to be more expensive than public universities. International students are welcoming, though, at both.

Travel Visa Requirements

Once you decide to obtain your education in Kosovo, you can apply to enroll in one of the universities. Once you do that, you can obtain the required student travel visa. An application with the Kosovo government, though a consulate or embassy can help students to do so, is required. A fee is paid at this time. The individual must also submit a letter from the school indicating their acceptance into the program of student, as well as information about the student’s living arrangements.

Students will need to show they have financial stability enough to live in the country and support themselves while doing so. The country does not provide health insurance to international students. Purchasing a policy from a third party is often a good idea, though a student who enrolls in a travel package may already obtain this.

Universities in Kosovo are trying their best to try to encourage overseas students to study in Kosovo, in their capacities. There much to be done in this regard, but the interest from international students is there.

For example, at AAB University, there are many interested students from abroad who want to study there. The two main faculties, in which they enroll, are: Computer Science Faculty and English language and Literature Faculty.

Local students are very much interested to study abroad, to experience the European dream. This is done by different exchange programs, such as: Erasmus+. Their interest and willing to study abroad is to gain knowledge, come back and implement and serve that knowledge to their country.

©All rights reserved.

Scottsdale Community College Censors Islamic Terror Course Material

Scottsdale Community College (SCC) failed to serve as scholars in an academic institution when the college buckled to local Muslim pressure surrounding three quiz questions.

Teaching a course on Islamic terrorism, Dr. Nicholas Damask, who wrote his doctoral thesis on the subject and has taught at Scottsdale Community College for 24 years, asked the following questions in a class quiz:

  1. Who do terrorists strive to emulate? (Answer: Mohammed)
  2. Where is terrorism encouraged in Islamic doctrine and law? (Answer: The Medina verses [i.e., the portion of the Qur’an traditionally understood as having been revealed later in Muhammad’s prophetic career])
  3. Terrorism is _______ in Islam. (Answer: Justified within the context of jihad.)

A Muslim student raised offense with the professor over the questions and, after a couple of private emails back and forth, the student initiated a social media campaign against Damask.

Forty-eight hours later, the death threats got so bad that the professor and his wife, along with their eight-year-old grandson and 85-year-old parents went into hiding.

Instead of upholding the right to academic freedom, Scottsdale Community College threw the professor under the bus.

In a online statement (see below), the college’s president, Christina Haines, not only apologized for the quiz questions, she said the questions would be removed from future tests and the student would receive full credit for the quiz:

“SCC deeply apologizes to the student and to anyone in the broader community who was offended by the material. SCC Administration has addressed with the instructor the offensive nature of the quiz questions and their contradiction to the college’s values. The instructor will be apologizing to the student shortly, and the student will receive credit for the three questions. The questions will be permanently removed from any future tests.”

As he made clear to the college from even before the statement was issued, Damask has no intention of apologizing. In his own statement, Damask said, “All quiz questions on each of my quizzes, including the ones in question here, are carefully sourced to the reading material. On this quiz, questions were sourced to the Qur’an, the hadiths, and the sira (biography) of Mohammed, and other reputable source material.”

Commenting on the quiz questions and the case in general, Muslim reformer and Clarion’s National Correspondent Shireen Qudosi, writes:

As I shared in my 2016 Congressional Testimony on Radical Islam, the answers to these questions depends on who you ask. It depends on which groups are in question, which version of Islam is being practiced, and how terrorism is defined by the group in question and whether they feel the practice is validated by faith.”

“And as my colleague Dr. Zuhdi Jasser and I discussed in a University of Minnesota Town Hall last year along with Asra Nomani, there are many difficult questions [about Islam] and they deserve an honest conversation.

“In an event themed “Honoring Islam by Asking ‘Appalling Questions,‘” we took on some of the toughest questions from the audience, and when necessary, we listened.

“These questions don’t deserve to be shut down. If the question is felt to be incorrectly stated or misleading, then it’s an opportunity for us as Muslims to reshape the question or ask more questions around it.

“Islam has a rich history of dialogue and debates that have shaped the evolution of faith. Only in the last few generations have those debates been shut down in part due to the growth of an Islamist influence and in part due to their unwittingly Western liberal accomplices.

“As a Muslim Reformer, I say it’s an act of faith to have the most difficult conversations possible. Those conversations are my heritage as a Muslim. They’re also what have kept me tethered to my faith, strengthening my resolve that the problem isn’t Islam — it’s Muslims, including those who like shutting down questions.

“Whether that kill switch is activated through exile or death (during the most violent periods in history) or it’s done through the psychological violence of censorship, the result is the same:

  • Death of inquiry
  • Death of free will
  • Death of opportunity to grow closer to God by using the intellect commanded of us in scripture.

“Furthermore, as Dr. Jasser points out in a statement, Dr. Damask is a respected scholar who earned a PhD in political science and a master’s in international relations from American University. Dr. Damask’s dissertation was on terrorism and its funding in the mid-90s.

“Dr. Jasser’s statement also breaks down the timeline of this incident, which he describes as ‘social media instigated cultural terrorism.’

“That cultural terrorism was initiated by what I would called ignorant belligerence when the unnamed student responded to the quiz questions with an email saying,

“‘You have insulted my religion … I’m sick to my stomach.’

“Dr. Jasser’s statement describes the exchange between Dr. Damask as he attempts to engage the student with respect to no avail.

“As a Muslim who comes from a culture of violence against free speech ignited by toxic behavior — which results in everything from psychological abuse to violent murder over interpreted offense of religion — hearing a phrase like “you have insulted my religion,” absolutely terrifies me, because I know exactly the frame of mind of that person:

  1. They have shut down all rational faculties.
  2. They’re operating from the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with primitive animal instincts such as fear and anger (again confirming that this is no longer a rational actor).
  3. This is not someone who has studied Islam. This is someone with immense personal insecurities who has clutched onto religion as a protective identity marker. When that identity is threatened, they become threatening.
  4. This is someone who, based on behavior patterns of others that have said similar phrases before erupting in violence, would feel comfortable being a bystander to violence, or initiating and partaking in it to protect their world view and interpretation of reality.
  5. This is someone dangerous. This is not someone who needs college; they need a deradicalization program.

In his statement, Jasser not only pointed out the “unprofessional and incompetent conduct of the school’s top administration” in handling the complaint but how the school’s response only added “fuel to the fire,” especially in light of the fact that within 48 hours of the story going public, the professor and his family were forced to flee their home.

Jasser also noted the negative impact this case will have on future academic freedom at Scottsdale Community College and other institutions. Most tellingly, Jasser asked:

Should the Muslim community be treated like adults or infantilized and coddled after every one of their tantrums? What’s the impact of that bigotry of low expectations upon general radicalization? 

Jasser interviewed Damask on his podcast “Reform This!” You can listen to the podcast titled “Snowflake College” by clicking here.

RELATED STORIES:

Muslim Reformers in Minnesota Town Hall

Is Muslim Reform Even Possible?

UAE Doubles Down on CAIR as Terrorists

VIDEO: China College Funding Scandal — It Gets Worse

The China college funding scandal just got worse. New information shows that the Communist government’s influence op extends to at least 500 elementary school classrooms in the U.S.

A little background: The Chinese Communist government donates hundreds of millions of dollars to U.S colleges and universities every year to buy (in their own words) “soft power and international influence.” Most of this money goes unreported to the U.S. government as required by law.

A number of high-profile universities are currently under investigation for the failure to report these “donations.”

The Chinese government is even funding over 500 “Confucius classrooms” in elementary schools across America.

Clarion Project uncovered a billion dollars in foreign funding that went unreported just between 2013 and 2018 alone.

See our report Exclusive: Foreign Funding of Universities Reveals $1 Billion ‘Black Hole’

You can also see a list of all the universities and their undisclosed funds between these years that Clarion uncovered by clicking here 

RELATED STORIES:

Prominent US Universities Failed to Disclose $1.3 Billion in Foreign Funding

Clarion EXCLUSIVE Report: Foreign Influence Ops on US Universities

US at ‘Tip of the Iceberg’ in Uncovering China College Funding Scandal

EDITORS NOTE: This Clarion Project column and video are republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

ARIZONA: Muslim Students Threaten to Kill Prof for Suggesting Islam is Violent

My latest at PJ Media:

This will teach those Islamophobes that Islam is a religion of peace: a professor is facing death threats for suggesting otherwise. Nicholas Damask, Ph.D., has taught political science at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona for 24 years. But now he is facing a barrage of threats, and his family, including his 9-year-old grandson and 85-year-old parents, is in hiding, while College officials are demanding that he apologize – all for the crime of speaking the truth about the motivating ideology behind the threat of Islamic jihad worldwide.

Damask, who has an MA in International Relations from American University in Washington, DC, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Cincinnati, says he is “to my knowledge, the only tenured political science faculty currently teaching in Arizona to write a doctoral dissertation on terrorism.” He has taught Scottsdale Community College’s World Politics for each of the 24 years he has worked at the school.

Professor Damask’s troubles began during the current Spring semester, when a student took exception to three quiz questions. The questions were:

  • Who do terrorists strive to emulate? A. Mohammed
  • Where is terrorism encouraged in Islamic doctrine and law? A. The Medina verses [i.e., the portion of the Qur’an traditionally understood as having been revealed later in Muhammad’s prophetic career]
  • Terrorism is _______ in Islam. A. justified within the context of jihad.

Damask explained: “All quiz questions on each of my quizzes, including the ones in question here, are carefully sourced to the reading material. On this quiz, questions were sourced to the Qur’an, the hadiths, and the sira (biography) of Mohammed, and other reputable source material.” And indeed, the three questions reflect basic facts that are readily established by reference to Islamic texts and teachings and numerous statements of terrorists themselves.

Despite this, the student emailed Damask to complain that he was “offended” by these questions, as they were “in distaste of Islam.” Damask recounted: “Until this point, notably, the student had expressed no reservations about the course material and indeed he said he enjoyed the course.”

Damask sent two lengthy emails to the student responding to his complaints, but to no avail. A social media campaign began against Damask on the College’s Instagram account. Damask notes: “An unrelated school post about a school contest was hijacked, with supporters of the student posting angry, threatening, inflammatory and derogatory messages about the quiz, the school, and myself.”

At this point, College officials should have defended Professor Damask and the principle of free inquiry, but that would require a sane academic environment. Scottsdale Community College officials, Damask said, “stepped in to assert on a new Instagram post that the student was correct and that I was wrong – with no due process and actually no complaint even being filed – and that he would receive full credit for all the quiz questions related to Islam and terrorism.”

There is much more. Read the rest here.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Grateful “refugees” threaten the German boat crew that “rescued” them in the Mediterranean

France: Muslim migrant screaming “Allahu akbar” goes on stabbing spree, injures four people

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, celebrates Ramadan at home

European Union official says EU may fund “Palestinian” supporters of jihad terror groups

Pakistan Human Rights Commission: Hindus and Christians “have been complaining of forced conversions”

Iran launches cyber attack against Israel’s water authority, through American servers

The Islamic Republic of Iran is Pulling Out of Syria

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

The Nation’s Report Card Shows a Sorry State for Eighth-Graders

The Department of Education just released results of the quadrennial National Assessment of Educational Progress tests in U.S. history, civics, and geography given in 2018 to thousands of American eighth-graders: “Grade 8 Students’ NAEP Scores Decline in Geography and U.S. History; Results in Civics Unchanged Since 2014.”

The tests were administered from January to March 2018 to a nationally representative sample of 42,700 eighth-graders from about 780 schools. The news is not very good.

Only 24% of students performed at or above the “proficient” level in civics. Worse yet, only 15% scored proficient or above in American history and 25% were proficient in geography. At least 25% of America’s eighth-graders are what NAEP defines as “below basic” in U.S. history, civics, and geography.

That means they have no understanding of historical and civic issues and cannot point out basic locations on a map.


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 >>


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos referred to the recent national report card as “stark and inexcusable.” She blamed “antiquated” education methods for low test scores among the nation’s eighth-graders. That’s nonsense.

I’d bet the rent money that eighth-grade students of earlier periods, say during the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s who were burdened with “antiquated” education methods such as having to learn algebra and geometry, identifying parts of speech, and memorizing poems like “Old Ironsides” could run circles around today’s eighth-graders, high school graduates, and perhaps some college graduates. I think we need to bring back these authentically antiquated education methods.

Part of the solution to our education problem is given by Jeffrey Sikkenga, professor of political science and executive director of the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University. He said:

Students need to go back to America’s past and ask it questions, starting with our founding. They need to study great documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Abraham Lincoln’s ‘Gettysburg Address,’ and Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. Not just read about them in boring textbooks, but read the documents themselves, for themselves. Have great conversations with those great minds—discover for themselves the story of America in the words of those who lived it.

The school climate, seldom discussed, plays a very important role in education. During the 2017-18 school year, there were an estimated 962,300 violent incidents and 476,100 nonviolent incidents in U.S. public schools nationwide. Seventy-one percent of schools reported having at least one violent incident, and 65% reported having at least one nonviolent incident.

Schools with 1,000 or more students had at least one sworn law enforcement officer. About 90% of those law enforcement officers carry firearms.

I bet that decades ago, one would be hard put to find either armed or unarmed police officers patrolling the building. For example, between 1950 and 1954, I attended Benjamin Franklin High School in Philadelphia. The only time we saw a police officer in the building was during an assembly where we had to listen to a boring lecture on safety. Today, police patrol the hallways.

Another school in north Philadelphia, Strawberry Mansion High School, once had 94 security cameras, six school police officers, and two metal detectors. Students had to walk through the metal detectors to enter the building and were often searched by police officers. It was on the list of those most persistently dangerous schools in Pennsylvania.

Aside from violence, there are many instances of outright disrespect for teachers. First- and second-graders telling teachers to “Shut the f— up” and calling teachers “bitch.” To note the attitude of some school administrators, a New Jersey teacher was seriously assaulted by a student. When she asked her principal to permanently remove the student from her classroom, the principal told her to “put on her big girl panties and deal with it.”

Years ago, the behavior of young people that we see today would have never been tolerated. There was the vice principal’s office where corporal punishment would be administered for gross infractions. If the kid was unwise enough to tell his parents what happened, he might get more punishment at home.

Today, unfortunately, we’ve replaced practices that work with practices that sound good and caring, and we’re witnessing the results.

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:

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.

The Left’s Long War on Parents Over Schooling Their Kids

An Ivy League professor says we need to end homeschooling, because parents who homeschool their children are “authoritarian.”

In an article in Harvard Magazine‘s latest issue, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Bartholet, faculty director of the Law School’s Child Advocacy Program, blasts homeschooling as “dangerous” and appealing to those who seek “authoritarian control over their kids.”

The article by Erin O’Donnell is part of the lead-up to a Harvard summit on homeschooling scheduled for June.

O’Donnell’s article and interview with Bartholet have garnered a good deal of attention, some say unduly. It is an important window into a mindset perhaps more common at our nation’s elite institutions than many would like to believe.


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 >>


In the interview, Bartholet says that parents of homeschooled children tend to be “extreme religious ideologues” who don’t believe in science, keep women subservient, and believe in white supremacy.

Bartholet is doing little more than perpetuating a malicious and lazy stereotype.

As Mike McShane, the director of national research at the nonprofit EdChoice, writes:

In 2019, the National Center for Education Statistics published results from a survey of homeschoolers who found that the number one reason for homeschooling was not ‘a desire to provide religious instruction’ (that came in third) or even ‘a desire to provide moral instruction’ (that came in seventh), but rather ‘a concern about school environment, such as safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure.’ Number two was ‘dissatisfaction with the academic instruction at other schools.’

It’s true that many homeschooling families tend to be religious, but this absurd and, frankly, bigoted view of who they are reveals exactly what Bartholet wants when she calls for ending homeschooling.

What Bartholet clearly worries about is that homeschooling undermines Tolerance, with a capital “T.”

Her mindset is that public schools are a vital component of the state to carry out vast, progressive social engineering. If even a small minority of young people don’t accept the left’s views on say, sexuality, transgenderism, religion, or American history, according to this way of thinking, then they need to be indoctrinated to embrace these views.

The public schools, at least in the way Bartholet portrays them, are simply a tool to “veto” any potentially troubling beliefs of parents.

For an example of a homeschool family, she points to the 2018 memoir Educated” by Tara Westover, who wrote about how she was raised and abused by Idaho survivalists who never sent her to school.

Extrapolating this single experience to indict homeschooling is ridiculous, especially given the ample evidence of abuse and other terrible things taking place in public schools.

And given the ridiculous caricature by which Bartholet defines the majority of homeschool families, that means she finds a whole lot of Americans in need of a reeducation.

In the interview, Bartholet says that children should “grow up exposed to … democratic values, ideas about nondiscrimination, and tolerance of other people’s viewpoints.”

If that’s the case, then children are better off being homeschooled or in private schools.

According to research by Albert Cheng of the University of Arkansas Department of Education Reform, “members of the very group for which public schooling is believed to be most essential for inculcating political tolerance (i.e., those who are more strongly committed to a particular worldview and value system) actually exhibit at least as much or more tolerance when they are exposed to less public schooling.”

Cheng defines tolerance as “the willingness to extend civil liberties to people who hold views with which one disagrees.”

Of course, this doesn’t seem to be what Bartholet would define as tolerance.

It’s ironic that she labels homeschooling families as “authoritarian,” since her mindset is far closer to what is common in authoritarian regimes that treat citizens like wards to be indoctrinated and aggressively stamp out all dissent.

This is a corruption of what education should look like in a free society.

Society has an interest in the education of young people. After all, as Thomas Jefferson and many other Founders insisted, an educated citizenry is essential to maintaining a republic.

If a government of the people, by the people, and for the people is to make informed decisions, widespread knowledge and instruction in basic civics—among many other things—is essential. An education in the moral and practical components of citizenship is essential to maintaining and perpetuating our free institutions.

As an aside on that count, our vast system of public schooling—still the primary way by which young Americans get a K-12 education—clearly is not fulfilling this need.

A 2018 study by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation found that only 1 in 3 Americans actually can pass the U.S. citizenship test, which asks only basic questions about our history and how our government works. The study found that young people do particularly poorly in civics knowledge.

We certainly have a great need, as Americans, to reverse this worrying trend of declining civics knowledge.

However, believing that the community has a role in creating its next generation of citizens does not necessarily include thinking that parents and families should be cut out of decision-making in that equation, or that children “belong” to the community and the state.

What Harvard’s Bartholet argues in the interview is that the state, backed by progressive college faculty such as herself, of course, has an exclusive right to educate young Americans.

Perhaps this is why so many parents look to homeschooling, private schooling, and various school choice programs as a way to escape a public K-12 system that some left-wing social engineers clearly see as their personal fiefdom.

COMMENTARY BY

Jarrett Stepman is a contributor to The Daily Signal and co-host of The Right Side of History podcast. Send an email to Jarrett. He is also the author of the new book, “The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past.”Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: Do Liberal Elites Fear Homeschooling? Here’s What A Homeschooling Platform President Says


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.

Harvard Smears Homeschooling Parents and Their Children

In what has to be one of the most outrageous, misguided—frankly, garbage—pieces of elitist propaganda this year, Harvard Magazine and Harvard Law School have teamed up to attack homeschooling, of all things, in a clearly coordinated one-two punch.

Both attacks are baseless, stereotypical, and fundamentally flawed because they are rooted in the dangerous belief that the state has more authority over a mother’s child than she does.

In the May issue of Harvard Magazine is a piece by Erin O’Donnell headlined “The Risks of Homeschooling.” Sure, on its face, that sounds benign enough. I homeschooled my four children for six years, and I’d grant there are a few risks to that education model, just as there are to public and private schools.

Turns out, the article doesn’t weigh pros and cons to homeschooling, which now is being tried by countless Americans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the article lacks any nuance whatsoever and instead acts as a vehicle for a biased onslaught of secular statism against parental rights.


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 >>


O’Donnell launches her hit piece on homeschooling with the premise that children have rights equal to or greater than their parents, and the state actually has more rights than the homeschooled child’s parents do. She begins by quoting Elizabeth Bartholet, an authoritarian, radical professor of public interest law who says she “recommends a presumptive ban” on homeschooling.

Bartholet, also faculty director of  Harvard Law School’s Child Advocacy Program, says that “homeschooling violates children’s right to a meaningful education and their right to be protected from potential child abuse,” and that parents have “authoritarian control over their children.”

Bartholet observes, wrongly, that since there are so few regulations, parents may not teach their children anything, or in fact may be abusive.

Bartholet was one of several professors who organized an anti-homeschooling conference at Harvard Law School scheduled to take place in June. A description of the conference, which is invitation-only, says: “The focus will be on problems of educational deprivation and child maltreatment that too often occur under the guise of homeschooling.”

One solution offered on the conference site for the problems created by homeschooling is, again, simply to ban it altogether.

The problems with this Harvard Magazine piece and the scheduled conference at Harvard Law School are multifaceted.

O’Donnell’s article peddles stereotypes about parents using homeschooling as a guise for abuse, which is incredibly rare, and paints homeschool parents as incompetent and stupid, which is also incredibly flawed. Statistics show parents who homeschool actually tend to be more educated and wealthier than parents who don’t.

The magazine cover is my favorite part: The illustration shows a boy imprisoned in a “house” made of books as his public and private school friends frolic happily outside. The books are, of course, titled Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and—my personal favorite—the Bible.

Not only did the fantastic illustrators at Harvard Magazine spell “arithmetic” wrong (as “artithmetic”) and later correct it, but the insinuations are obvious: Homeschooled children are imprisoned by religious zealots who educate their kids at home because they fear the outside world, with all its secularization and happy children.

Again, few things could be further from the truth. Statistics show parents who homeschool actually do it so they can provide a more academically rigorous education than the one their kids would receive elsewhere. They don’t do it solely for religious reasons.

And as far as play and exercise: My 13-year-old, who was homeschooled until sixth grade, looked at it the illustration and laughed. He misses the days when he could get school done in four or five hours and play outside the rest of the day.

O’Donnell’s article also insinuates children who are homeschooled graduate dumber, which, again, statistics refute. Homeschooled kids end up with higher grade point averages, score higher on standardized tests, and get accepted into top schools—like Harvard.

In fact, parents homeschool for precisely the reason the article presents: They want to keep their children from progressive indoctrination that’s as biased as it is flawed.

Beyond all of this nonsense is the article’s single largest flaw, which is so obvious it’s hard to believe the thesis passed the inspection of a decent editor: These Harvard elitists don’t bother to hide their disdain for traditional family, parental rights, or the topic of homeschool education, which has increased in popularity in the United States over the past decade.

Despite this increase, by the way, fewer than 5% of children are homeschooled in the United States. From reading this article, though, you’d think homeschooling was the predominant model of education because it’s painted as such a pervasive threat.

Children do not belong to the state, at least not in America. Parents have the right, an inherent gift from God, to care for their little people until they are old enough to care for themselves.

It is the parents’ responsibility, nay, privilege, to teach their children everything from how to use the bathroom to how to do long division to how to process emotions and how to drive a car.

Parents can and should do everything they can to instill their values and pass down their beliefs, whether they choose to send their kids to school, educate them at home, or a mix depending on the year and season of life.

Typically, I’m not surprised by leftist propaganda. But when it comes to Harvard University, I am surprised and disappointed. Harvard should know better. After all, the university accepts homeschool students and expects them to thrive.

It’s humanist garbage to peddle an article and a conference that presume children are the property of the state and that homeschooling is dangerous and must be banned. And the garbage is where this belongs.

COMMENTARY BY

Nicole Russell is a contributor to The Daily Signal. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, National Review, Politico, The Washington Times, The American Spectator, and Parents Magazine. Twitter: .


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.

The Destruction of America Through the Education of Our Children

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. – Abraham Lincoln. January 27, 1838.


Today Americans are living the results of a deliberately dumbed down education.  Our founders had IQ of 120+. The traditional American education was fact based providing the students with the skills to navigate their life’s plan.  By learning reading, writing and math students excelled beyond expectations.  The products they created set the stage to advance human life beyond expectations. Rather than continue this plan focused on American exceptionalism, greed set in.  Those in power Communist/Socialist/Progressive (aka Communists) realized that to keep their power they must destroy competition. “Educated people require more from their government.  Poor people depend on their government to exist.”  Communists learned quickly that the best way to destroy a country was to destroy the culture starting in school. Dumb the population and the nation will crumble.

In the late 1800’s till today education changed from a fact based curricula to an outcome based value driven hatred filled curricula.  Parents trusted schools to provide excellent students and instead they got hate filled victims incapable of thinking on their own. Today we are living the results of those failed plans.

There are many reasons for implementing this plan to turn our children into “robots” but first there were things that had to be accomplished like:

  • the destruction of America’s morals, values, beliefs and independence
  • promote a global unity in thinking by giving up values
  • lack of economic understanding
  • removal of our constitutional rights and personal freedoms.

Students are divided into identity groups and those groups were turned against each other creating chaos. Collectivism not exceptionalism was/is the goal.

It is also very clear to me that for years we have been led to believe that more and more money was needed to educate our children properly. We are continually told that more money will give our children the best education possible. I find in my research the ones most benefiting from this are the “fat cat college professors” , the superintendents and their administrations (top heavy). The money goes to the unelected bureaucrats in salaries and benefits, not to the children or teachers. Did you ever stop to ask yourself why it is we can send a child to a private school for less money than what it costs to educate in a public school?

In my opinion the Federal Department of Education was formed for no other reasons than to (1) satisfy the Unions and (2) shape our children into “robots”. You and I know that almost every program the Federal government touches fails.  Why in the world would we think they would do a good job educating our most precious resource – our children?

Many things have changed over the years since the Federal government got their hands on the education of our children.  Today they are working hard to remove “parental control” and replace the family with the school family. The goal is still the same – New World Order! One World Government!  Results in the first quarter of the 20th century IQ slipped to 110, in the late 20th century the national IQ was around 100.  Today after 10 years of Common Core the national IQ is below 100. Shall we give the Education Department more money to fix the problem?

The purpose of this timeline is to show you not only what has been happening for over 100 years, but to also show it is a non-partisan action by both parties. Acceptance of Government control of all aspects of our lives is a communist ideology that gets watered down and called new names but the underlying goal is still the same ‘POWER, CONTROL AND MONEY” led by their “EGOS”. These modern day communists are using our children advance their agenda.

As you read the timeline it is important to remember:

  • Everything is connected
  • Nothing is random
  • There are no coincidences
  • Everything has a plan
  • All plans are based on lies.

The true Communist/Socialist/Progressive/Liberal/Globalist goal:  MONEY, POWER, CONTROL

This time line is a summary of the highlights of programs inflicted on our educational system. It includes the devastating effects of “Modern” fact-less education in the first half of the 20th century. More to follow:

1896 – John Dewey, socialist, father of Progressive Education, entered the scene in America to work on establishing a force to change education in America. He gathered the college Education teachers into liberal groups teaching then the Marxist theory of education. His focus was from reading, writing and arithmetic to a socialization progress which would be concerned with attitudes, relationships and feelings.

1905 – The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (CFAT) was founded. Together with other Carnegie Foundations, they have been a major promoter and funder of socialistic, global ventures.

1918 – Rockefeller & Carnegie Foundation planned the demise of Traditional Academic Education – Rockefeller to be in charge of US – Carnegie too charge of International Education.

1919 – The Institute of International Education (IIE) was established with a grant from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Edward R. Morrow became IIE’s Assistant Director and John Dewey served on the National Advisory Council.

1934 – National Education Association (NEA) Former Executive Secretary Willard Givens warned that “…all of us, including the ‘owners’, must be subjected to a large degree of social control… An equitable distribution of income will be sought… the major function of the school is the social orientation of the individual. It must seek to give him understanding of the transition to a new social order.”

1934 – The Carnegie Corporation funded the American Historical Association’s Report of the Commission on the Social Studies. Like most of today’s social studies curricula, the report called for a shift from free enterprise to collectivism:

“…the age of individualism and laissez faire in economy and government is closing and… a new age of collectivism is emerging… It may involve the limiting or supplanting of private property by public property or it may entail the preservation of private property, extended and distributed among the masses… Almost certainly it will involve a larger measure of compulsory as well as voluntary cooperation of citizens in the context of the complex national economy, a corresponding enlargement of the functions of government, and an increasing state intervention in fundamental branches of economy previously left to individual discretion and initiative.

1942 – The editor of the NEA Journal, J. Elmer Morgan, wrote an editorial titled “The United Peoples of the World.” In it, he explained a world government’s need for an educational branch, a world system of money and credit, a world police force, and a world bill of rights and duties.”

1945 – Creation of the United Nations and playing a very large role in that was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with cooperation from the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace and the Rockefeller Foundation. Large banks and trusts could see future profits for themselves if they cooperated with the Chamber.

1946 – J. Elmer Morgan wrote in his editorial, “The Teacher and World Government” in the struggle to establish an adequate world government, the teacher can do much to prepare the hearts and minds of children. At the very top of all the agencies which will assure the coming of world government must stand the school, the teacher, and the organized profession”.

1946 – Canadian psychiatrist and World War II General Brock Chisholm, M.D. head of the World Health Organization (WHO), promoted the behavior modification processes now mandated through the educational program called Goals 2000. Compare his vision with today’s Mastery Learning and planned control of the family.

1951 – In a report entitled, The Greatest Subversive Plot In History, Rep.John T. Wood of Idaho, stated in the Congressional Record on Thursday, October 18th 1951, “Just how careless and unthinking can we be that we permit this band of spies and traitors to exist another day in this land we all love. Are there no limits to our callousness and neglect of palpable and evident treason stalking rampant through our land, warping the minds and imaginations of even our little children, to the lying propaganda and palpable untruths we allow to be fed to them through this monstrous poison? UNESCO’s scheme to pervert public education appears in a series of nine volumes, titled “Toward World Understanding” which presumes to instruct kindergarten and elementary grade teachers in the fine art of preparing our youngsters for the day when their first loyalty will be to a world government.”

The record continues, “The program is quite specific. The teacher is to begin by eliminating any and all words, phrases, descriptions, pictures, maps, classroom material or teaching methods of a sort causing his pupils to feel or express a particular love for, or loyalty to, the United States of America. Children exhibiting such prejudice as a result of prior home influence,“of which “UNESCO calls “the outgrowth of the narrow family spirit” are to be dealt an abundant measure of counter propaganda at the earliest possible age. Booklet V, on page 9, advises the teacher that: The kindergarten or infant school has a significant part to play in the child’s education. Not only can it correct many of the errors of home training, but it can also prepare the child for membership in the world society.”

1953 – Rowan Gaither, president of the Ford Foundation explains to Norman Dodd the plan in the works for a House-directed plan to merge the United States and the Soviet Union

1958 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the first agreement with the Soviet Union including an education agreement—something that would not come as a surprise to those familiar with the White House directed plan to merge the United States and the Soviet Union.

Is America Worth Saving?

What will you do?

Will you review texts?

Ask your family what they are learning?

Speak the truth.

Correct the lies.

Vet the candidates.

Run for office.

Call your Legislator.

I will not comply. Will you?  Doing nothing is complying.

©  All rights reserved.

Teachers Unions Try to Thwart Education Access at a Most Inopportune Time

With millions of students at home as the result of coronavirus district closures, and families finding themselves thrown into “unexpected homeschooling,” Americans rightly expect that teachers, administrators, and principals at all types of schools would be embracing an “all hands on deck” approach to this challenging situation.

But while instances of cooperation between public and private schools, charters, and virtual academies abound, unfortunately, so does the continuation of education politics as usual.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, “under pressure from the unions,” the Oregon Department of Education is now preventing students from transferring to the state’s virtual public charter schools.

Many families in Oregon sought to enroll their children in virtual charter schools when the brick-and-mortar public schools closed their doors on March 16.


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 >>


But the Oregon Education Association convinced the state to halt any further transfers to virtual charter school, blocking enrollment of 1,600 students at Oregon Connections Academy alone.

There’s more hopeful news out of Alaska. Students there could soon be the beneficiaries of a partnership between their state and the Florida Virtual School. The online provider has signed a contract to offer courses to Alaskan students who cannot access their now shuttered public schools, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

As Alaska Education Commissioner Michael Johnson put it, “While the world around us is scrambling with uncertainty, I believe our students and teachers can and will re-imagine teaching and learning.”

Johnson’s right. Yet the teachers union in Alaska is also trying to put the deep freeze on education access. It stands firmly opposed to the partnership, in part because it hasn’t been vetted by “Alaska education professionals.”

The union apparently believes nothing is better than something that hasn’t been blessed by their professional “experts.”

What is really at the heart of the special interest groups’ opposition? We find a blunt answer in Alaska: the union is afraid the online learning option will remain a permanent feature of the Alaskan education landscape. And it isn’t alone.

The Los Angeles teachers union is resisting efforts by the Los Angeles Unified School District to have teachers move instruction online during the pandemic.

The Pennsylvania Legislature, acting under pressure from unions, has cut off tuition for any additional enrollees at the states’ cyber charter networks, which are now scrambling to serve the surge of students for free.

The political obstacle course is all the more disappointing because this could be a time of great cooperation and cross-pollination of best practices between traditional public schools and those that, by the nature of their model, are better prepared for this disruptive crisis.

Some virtual schools have offered free distance learning instruction to districts, and dozens of educational technology companies are offering their products heavily discounted or entirely gratis, but few have taken them up on the offer.

Turf wars are not the only political barrier impacting instruction during the coronavirus crisis. In states as diverse as California, Kentucky, and Washington, districts are choosing not to offer instruction online at all because not every student will be able to access the lessons.

Instead of finding creative ways to deliver internet services to disadvantaged families as some New York charter networks are doing, these districts are ceasing instruction for the majority of students who would otherwise be able to continue learning, ensuring that everyone falls behind.

Just as the nation faces dark weeks and months ahead, the coming year will be difficult and turbulent for students, families, teachers, and schools.

For the education sector, the problems will continue long after the virus is largely defeated, as school systems face large budgetary shortfalls due to reduced tax revenue. In facing these challenges, our priority should be to keep students learning as much as is possible.

Delivering continued education and support to students and families during this time will take cooperation, creativity, and a heavy dose of pragmatism, not retreads of pre-crisis political debates.

Originally published by Tucson.com

COMMENTARY BY

Lindsey Burke

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: .

Inez Feltscher Stepman

Inez Feltscher Stepman is a senior policy analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum. Twitter: .


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.

Idaho Becomes First State to Protect Women’s Sports From Transgender Agenda

Idaho Gov. Brad Little has given women athletes renewed hope. Faced with a politically correct culture that is denying women the right to a fair playing field in sports, the Republican governor signed into law new protections for them.

Recognizing “inherent differences between men and women,” Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act provides that “athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex.”

The measure, which Little signed into law Monday, applies to all of the state’s interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, and club teams at the high school and college levels.

Idaho is the first state to prevail against forces working to stop similar bills across the country that seek to right the wrong girls face when state policies force them to compete in women’s sports against athletes who are biological males.


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 >>


Getting this bill across the finish line wasn’t easy.

Proponents led by state Rep. Barbara Ehardt, a former Division 1 athlete and coach, bucked powerful activists in the business community, including Chobani, Clif Bar & Co., HP Inc., and Micron Technology Inc. But legislators overwhelmingly sided with female athletes and all who support them—moms, dads, coaches, fans, and Idaho citizens, including my parents and extended family.

Little and state legislators rejected the threats of corporate activists who, in the name of “diversity and inclusion,” claim without proof that laws recognizing birth sex as a biological fact will cost the state business.

What big business ignores is the opportunities lost in sports for women and girls. Its social justice agenda drowns out the voices of women who should be protected under sex discrimination laws, not exploited by them.

To their enormous credit, Idaho leaders withstood the pressure and have paved the way for other states to follow.

Proponents should be emboldened by U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who recently intervened in a related federal court case to state emphatically that Title IX prohibits the injustice in women’s sports condoned by corporate activists.

On March 24, the Justice Department filed a Statement of Interest in a Connecticut lawsuit challenging that state’s participation rules in sports.

High school athletes Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell, and Alanna Smith have faced the sting of defeat and been denied state titles in girls track because they had to compete with biological males. The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference requires schools to allow athletes to participate in sports according to the “gender” with which they publicly identify.

For the past several seasons, Connecticut has allowed male runners to compete and win as transgender athletes in girls track. In fact, female athletes in every state in the Northeast region have been forced to compete under the same circumstances and under similar rules. Many also have lost their rightful place across the finish line and on the podium.

Congress passed Title IX in 1972 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, in large part to ensure equal opportunities in athletics and education for female students. It extends to programs operated or sponsored by schools receiving federal funding, which includes every K-12 public school and virtually all colleges and universities in the country.

In evaluating the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference’s policy, the Justice Department concluded:

CIAC’s construction of Title IX as requiring the participation of students on athletic teams that reflect their gender identity would turn the statute on its head. One of Title IX’s core purposes is to ensure that women have an ‘equal athletic opportunity’ to participate in school athletic programs. … Reading Title IX to compel schools to require biological males to compete against biological females in athletic competitions is precisely the type of interpretation that this Court should reject.

The Justice Department’s instruction to the Connecticut federal court carries a warning for all states to heed. Inherent, physiological differences between the sexes still matter. Title IX expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and is being violated by schools and state policies that allow male athletes to compete in women’s sports.

The Justice Department’s action has dignified Little’s bold action to enact the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which will protect equal opportunity in sports for female athletes in Idaho.

Other states have the opportunity, and responsibility, to get on track.

COMMENTARY BY

Doreen Denny is vice president of government relations for the Legislative Action Committee of Concerned Women for America.


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.

PODCAST: How to Do Homeschooling — Practical Advice From an Expert

Choosing to homeschool your child is a big decision, but many Americans just had the choice made for them. Schools all over the country have closed their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic—with some states, such as Virginia, announcing that schools will remain closed through the end of the academic year.

Leigh Bortins, founder of Classical Conversations, a homeschooling curriculum focused on classical education, joins The Daily Signal Podcast to offer practical advice and resources to parents who suddenly find themselves overseeing their child’s education. Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript.

We also cover these stories:

  • President Donald Trump says he’d like to “reopen” the economy by Easter, despite the spread of COVID-19.
  • Vice President Mike Pence says the White House isn’t considering a nationwide lockdown.
  • The International Olympic Committee and Japan agree to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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


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 >>


Virginia Allen: I am joined by Leigh Bortins, founder of the homeschool curriculum Classical Conversations. Leigh, thank you so much for being here.

Leigh Bortins: Thank you for having me. It’s very nice to get to speak with you, Virginia.

Allen: Yes, we’re all speaking from a distance right now, maintaining that social distancing. But right now, because of social distancing and the Coronavirus, so many parents are finding themselves homeschooling their children and they’re looking for support, they’re looking for resources. I want to pick your brain a little bit and find out what some of those resources are. But first, let’s just talk a little bit about why you chose to homeschool.

Bortins: I chose to homeschool … How much time do we have, you want the whole story or the short version?

Allen: A shorter version maybe for the sake of time.

Bortins: My husband’s 10 years older than I am and when we got married and then I got pregnant with my first born I saw a TV show about homeschooling and those folks struck me as quite weird and I knew I wanted to join them. We didn’t have a TV, I was walking through the mall and saw it on TV at “The Phil Donahue Show,” if anybody remembers that.

And then when I got home I told my husband about it and him being 10 years older, he had been very discouraged by students in our college program or at the University of Michigan getting our aerospace engineering degrees.

He just said, “I’m so happy to hear there’s this way to do this because there’s no way our kids were going to go to school if they’re going to be as unintelligent as you freshmen seem to be to me.”

So he was just relieved for the academic side of it and then eventually we both became Christians and, of course, we stopped wanting to emphasize having our children in college and instead said, “Let’s make sure that they’re in Christ.”

So now I would say we homeschool for the best of reasons so that we can constantly model our love for the Lord and hope that our children will do the same.

Allen: Yeah, I love that. That’s beautiful. But it’s one thing to say, “I want to homeschool my child.” It’s an entirely different thing to decide that you’re going to create a homeschool curriculum. Tell me a little bit about the reasoning behind Classical Conversations and what really drove you to create it.

Bortins: When our eldest, Robert, who’s now the CEO of Classical Conversations, was in middle school, … like so many other homeschooling parents, I thought, “Oh no, can I do high school?”

So I started reading more books on higher level academics and looking around for programs, speaking with our friends, and a lot of them were very nervous also about it.

Just after doing a lot of research, and again, working with my husband, we really came to the conclusion that we were still the best solution for our children. But one thing we really wanted to have was a classical education for them, which very much requires a community.

So my husband and I decided that we would once a week have people into the house, adults and children, and we would work together on rigorous academics that were hard to do on your own, not just because they were rigorous, but sometimes you want other people to do a Shakespeare play with or discuss a chemistry lab or you need debate partners.

So we came up with a curriculum where the families could do the majority of their work at home and then just get together once a week and polish it off and finish in community.

It’s kind of like a weekly PTA meeting for the parents, a weekly training for them to do better in classical Christian education. And, of course, the socialization, which has nothing to do with the children, it’s the mothers who all want to have friends, the kids will naturally.

So it just came out of a lot of different needs and within doing it in the first three years, we had 300 people on the waiting list to get into the program. So my husband quit his job and we worked with some of our friends and that’s kind of how the story all began.

Twenty years later, we’re in 20-some countries and in the United States alone we have over 120,000 children enrolled in our curriculum.

The greatest joy I have is to see how many homeschooling parents just dig in and really want to learn and are so glad for weekly support as well as recommendations and curating of the actual academics.

Allen: Obviously, right now, you all aren’t able to get together and do those larger group meetings. So is a lot of that taking place online or how are you continuing to maintain that connection that you mentioned being so vitally important?

Bortins: Right. A couple of ways, some of our communities are online temporarily for this end of year. But because we always homeschool within the parameters of safety, it’s not a big issue for us because we have a less than 12-to-1 … tutor to family ratio or to student ratio and so we’re in small groups anyways, most of the time.

Now, we do have programs that are in churches and much larger and so those have disband to personal homes, and if they can’t do that, then they do it online right now.

So we’re making do, as all homeschoolers do all the time, we just get the resources the Lord gives you and you just gratefully move forward and so that’s how we’re doing it.

Allen: Yeah, yeah. All right. Well, let’s get practical and talk about what were some of those challenges that you had when you first started homeschooling and how did you overcome them?

Bortins: I would say the one that we all have is, I have never had this day before with the children I have at the ages they are before. His mercies are new every morning for a reason because you don’t know what the day’s going to ever hold for you, and so you can react in fear or you can react in wonder.

During those middle school years where I was talking about where we were trying to explore what would we do with our high school students, we continued through in fear and trembling with the confidence the Lord would help us day by day. And, of course, after getting through your first child, and then your second, and then your third, and so on, you end up realizing that there really was nothing to be afraid of.

Most people I think quit homeschooling in the high school years because of the lack of confidence, not lack of ability. Because, remember, they’re still children and there’s so many good resources out there, parents are quite capable of homeschooling through the high school years.

So we just had to learn that because being the first generation of homeschoolers, I didn’t get to see that. So it’s hard to believe what you don’t see, but then, of course, as Christians, that’s what we’re called to do, is walk in faith and so our faith was strengthened through that. So, practically, it really is trusting the Lord even though that might sound like a platitude at this point.

Allen: Yeah. Let’s talk a little bit more about that because I know so many of our parents out there listening, they do have kids in [high school] that are now at home or even in middle school and they’re looking at the math assignments that they’re supposed to be doing or the science assignments and they’re thinking, “I do not remember this.” So, practically, how can they be helping their kids right now in subjects that they honestly don’t even remember how to do?

Bortins: You have a couple of different ways. If somebody is homeschooling right now because of a short-term reason with the virus, and most homeschoolers actually only homeschool for a short amount of time. They do it because they’re military, or a job loss, or they moved, or a child’s sick for the year, or something sets the majority of folks who homeschool.

So if people are listening to this thinking that all of us have this lifetime commitment like I do, that would not be true. Most homeschoolers are going to do it to get through … a bad situation or maybe a really delightful, great situation. They’ve been traveling, or dad’s home for the year working from home and they want more time with them.

A lot of people homeschool not because of academic reasons but just because of family reasons and here we are one more time having a lot of different family issues to deal with.

So there’s two groups, there’s the folks that are trying to get through this temporary situation and they tend to rely a lot on resources like we have at Classical Conversations. A lot of new people will begin with Classical Conversations also. And as people get more confident in what they’re doing, they start to be able to branch out and figure out a myriad of resources that are … available for homeschoolers.

For those that are just kind of jumping in, a resource I would turn you to for now to finish off this school year is one that we’ve put together called homeschoolingjourney.com. It’s a site where people can download what we call our survival kit and find all kinds of resources from our partners and more.

We’ve put together … a lot of things that are commercially viable that are now free for a short amount of time or highly discounted as well as YouTube videos. Then we have games and we have some of our own products that are for free.

We have one thing that a lot of people don’t know about is this service called Right Now Media, it’s like the Netflix for Christians and that’s free on our website, homeschoolingjourney.com as well as science activities.

There’s even a fitness program. … [If you] can’t get outside, which, it is spring, I would think you’d go outside, but if you want to stay inside and get your kids moving, we even have a fitness program on there.

So there’s a lot of things that we’re doing and I know other homeschooling resources are doing the same. Just trying to pull together things people can do to help their children and stay active for the next three to eight weeks or maybe even finish off the school year.

Of course, what we’re hoping for is people will see those resources and maybe consider homeschooling permanently or for at least another year and then, of course, we would ask them to look at classicalconversations.com.

Allen: That’s so great. That’s such a practical resource to have, That kind of emergency kit package that parents can literally go to right now and start utilizing.

Bortins: Yeah. Because we’re not the only one, right? A lot of people don’t know that there’s thousands of homeschoolers who have curriculum and materials that are for people, they can use it any time and, of course, there’s YouTube. They’ve had a lot of ads lately about how you can go on YouTube and learn anything, so people aren’t without resources.

But all of these I’m talking about right now are online resources, they really are our weakest resources because when you’re working with children, your best resource is a pat on the back and a smile or a word of encouragement. Looking them in the eye and helping them consider why they’re struggling or what they’re interested in or … what kind of homework help they might need.

So we really believe that the idea of social distancing is probably not the best word to describe what’s going on now, we are all social creatures who need a hug. So in this time when we’re trying to not hug our neighbor because we’re worried about passing on various viruses, really a better word is physical distancing because you and I right now are being social together, aren’t we?

Allen: Correct. Yeah, absolutely.

Bortins: Yes. One of the things that we just love about homeschooling is five or six of us can flop on a couch and just read a book together. In fact, we have a new series called “New World Echoes” and it’s a collection of stories that are very short read alouds that are appropriate for the entire family, whether you have a 17 year old or a 7-year-old, they’ll just lay on the couch or flop on the floor and read together.

If you’re able to throw a blanket outside and have a picnic, it would be appropriate to bring them too because they’re small books you can hold in your hand. I really would encourage parents to use as little online resources as possible right now and to just spend time with their children talking face to face and getting to know them in a different way than they had before.

Allen: But what about the parents who are listening and thinking, “Oh, I would love to do that, but I have a full-time job that I’m trying to do online right now”? About how much time should parents who do have full-time jobs and are working online be building into their schedules in order to keep educating their children and making sure that they’re still continuing to learn and get the attention that they need?

Bortins: Yeah. I know one time a grandfather told me he wished his daughter would homeschool, but since she had four children and they’re six subjects, he didn’t see how she could homeschool 24 hours a day. I just kind of looked at him and said, “Nobody does that.”

In general, I think homeschoolers through about eighth grade might spend three hours, five days a week at the most where it’s kind of a sit-down academic situation.

And then once your children are in high school, if you include those three hours, plus, they have, of course, a much more extensive reading time—which a lot of times they’ll do before they get out of bed in the morning and as they’re going to sleep at night. I mean, it’s really rare to have a six-hour day of academics, no matter how many children you have.

One thing homeschooling teaches you to do is to be efficient and picking the best things to do and not being robbed by somebody else’s lists, but being able to look at your children and say, “These are the things that we want to do together.” And make them your priority.

So when it comes to time, this is a quick schedule just to give someone who maybe has to work and still has the kids at home, get up in the morning and do your reading or a Bible study and devotion together and have breakfast and then go off to do what you need to do for the day.

At lunchtime, break and do a math or science lesson, go outside and look at the plants and maybe do a little bit of journaling and writing. Then when you go to bed in the evening, I suggest that you, again, you have like what they used to call the children’s hour and just spend an hour playing board games and doing read alouds, and if you want, watch a movie … something that’s for the whole family.

But break it up into segments that fit into your day and don’t feel like it’s something where you just sit down and work for three hours straight or six hours straight, whatever you think you would need to do.

I can’t say that I’ve ever been in a room doing more than probably two hours straight of academics with my four children. But that doesn’t mean that in their high school years there weren’t days where we did spend five or six hours, but it wasn’t every day by any means.

One of the things that we’ve become accustomed to with the public school system and institutional schools is just having 50 minutes with five or six different people each day. That’s just not how homeschooling works. Mom or dad, whoever’s doing the educating, just spends time with the whole family.

Studies have shown that the average child only gets about 30 minutes of academic instruction in a classroom situation that’s personal. So you really can do it and I suggested everyone find a friend who homeschools and just learn more about what it’s really like rather than probably what you imagine it’s like.

There’s no reason to bring school home, you actually can just have a family life together. And just think about it, if you love your children and there was no such thing as any school, wouldn’t you still teach them basic skills and how to read and do math … how to serve their community and how to take care of their home?

The things that you just do in your average life and then like now helping with homework after school take up about the same amount of time we homeschoolers devote to academics.

The better part of our day is spent with our children doing things we just all enjoy doing. So we travel more, and we have field trips more, and we get together with friends more, and we can work at the community centers and service with seniors and things like that because service is a big part of homeschooling with children.

A lot of people are so worried about the math and science where there’s so much help like we offer and YouTube offers, when really what we’re trying to do is teach our children to be good citizens and have a constant civics lesson of how to behave appropriately in any situation you find yourself in. There’s a lot more to it than I think people think of and it’s a lot easier than they think.

Allen: Yeah. No, that’s really interesting to hear. Because I’m sort of thinking, all right, if you’re a parent who has maybe four kids, they’re all different ages, you’re saying you don’t have to kind of have these individual specific full days worth of work for each child. You maybe have like a little bit of time for each of giving them their own assignments, but then you’re able to actually do a lot together and have more group activities even despite the age differences.

Bortins: If you think about it, they said, “Reading, writing, and arithmetic forever” for really good reasons. You need a child on your lap when you’re teaching them phonics, they need some individual time then, you need your middle schoolers sitting next to you while they’re struggling with difficult material, which is the same as taking them through phonics when they were younger.

So there’s some personal time that’s needed and then there’s quiet time that’s needed. Each of your children should be able to go off and on their own, whether it’s playing Legos or writing an essay, they shouldn’t have to have mom or dad next to them all the time.

On the other hand, some of my favorite things to do was write papers with my children or build Lego castles with them, right? As a parent, it was just my job to assess their needs and our family’s needs and each day do my best to work it out because, again, His mercies are new every morning and who knows if the dishwasher’s going to leak that day or someone’s going to come down with the flu, whatever it is, you just have to learn to roll with the punches.

For those of us who’ve been regulated our whole lives, we’d go to school from day care through college and then we’re at work, … sometimes it’s really difficult to retrench and just say, “Hey, I’m in charge for a little bit. What is it we want to do as a family?”

Allen: Oh, this is so good, I feel like it’s just kind of taking the pressure off, this is great. But are there maybe some do’s and don’ts of homeschooling that you can offer us? Just things that you’ve learned over the year through trial and error.

Bortins: The biggest don’t is to not worry that you’re not doing enough. Because here’s the thing, none of us are doing enough and all of us are doing too much and it depends on what field or area you’re talking about. Not one of us is perfect, so we’re going to have our strengths and our weaknesses.

On those days where you just feel like you are so weak in a certain area, just stop and don’t say, “I failed” or “I quit” or “I’m a bad mom.” Stop and say, “You know what? I might not have done this so well, but I did do this other thing really well and the children are going to get a lot of different experiences from me as an adult and all of them have some sort of value.”

So to not make light of the things that maybe seem unschoolish, they may be where the best teachable moments occur or where your kids are really listening.

So the one thing that I shared a little bit about … earlier was to learn to not be afraid and to just be really joyful and grateful. And then when you just want to kick the kids out of the house or put your husband’s face in the mud, whatever it is, you just have to say to yourself, “OK, this too shall pass and we’re going to start over tomorrow and we’ll have a great day.”

I used to, at the end of the day when I had all four of them home, if I knew I’d opened up with Bible reading with them, did a math lesson, and then read to them at night, my kids were well-educated, that was enough.

Allen: Let’s go back and talk a little bit more about Classical Conversations. You all have come a long way since you first started in the early 2000s, what do you think really led to that success? What was kind of that switch that just people were so hungry and really wanted to learn more and find out more about Classical Conversations that has allowed it to do so well?

Bortins: It surprised me, the answer to that question. About six, seven years into it, I realized that a high percentage of our families were military and that’s what was making us grow because once the families were bought into homeschooling and classical education and saw how easy and approachable our program was—they, of course, get deployed every three years somewhere else—then their attitude was like, “Well, there’s not a CCD here, so I’ll start one and I’ll get together with my military friends there.”

So, of course, that’s why we’re in bases all across the world. And then, of course, the families who’ve started the bases across the world have started to find natural citizens in those countries to take over for them. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if … a third of our families are in the military.

So think what we do for them, and what we do for them they recognize is important. But people need to remember one-third of children move year-round, no matter what situation their families are in, we don’t really have community schools anymore because of all the moving that occurs.

So by being in Classical Conversations, the military families had two things. They had, one, they knew exactly what the curriculum was that they were going to be doing in the following week, no matter how far away they moved. So that was a strain off the parent trying to decide what to do about curriculum.

Then the second one was that they instantly had friends for their children when they moved because of our small communities that we needed.

Again, the moms want the friends as much as the children do. So that’s why they kept starting everywhere because they wanted to have [the] academic community as well as the military community that they were in and enjoying the travel opportunities they had being military families. That was really quite a surprise to me, and now I’m super grateful to all of them.

Allen: Yeah. Well, it’s just incredible to see the success that you have had. I mean, you’ve been in this movement for such a long time. How do you think that it’s changing as we’re hitting a second generation? For instance, there’s now homeschool kids, they homeschooled themselves, their parents homeschooled them, and now they’re turning around and homeschooling their own children. So how has the movement really changed over the years?

Bortins: Yeah, probably my happiest stories are how many grandmothers, mothers, and their children are in Classical Conversations. In other words, I got three generations all working on the material.

So think of the connectivity that we have in the sense of not just laterally with other families, the legacy with the families that stay generation after generation. That’s been really neat to see happen.

For those of you that aren’t aware, we’ve been around for 20-some years now and so if folks came in, you don’t have to start at kindergarten, right? People might have started at high school and been with us for four years and then got married a few years later. So that’s why we’re able to do that in a single generation. That’s just been fun to see.

The thing that I would say would be different is, it’s almost a whole ‘nother conversation. My eldest two children who are in their 30s had a more similar education to my grandmother than … compared to their two brothers.

What I mean is this, they didn’t have technology, the internet was not something in our house, we didn’t have computers when they were going through school. So they learned [with] pencils and paper and books and then going outside and playing and the various things that my grandma and my mom and myself all did.

Versus the second two, we have a 10-year gap between our two sets of kids. The second two were very computer literate and expected a lot of things to be done quickly and didn’t have necessarily the same level of patience as the older two because things were pretty snappy once you’re in the computer age.

So helping them deal with the fact that they don’t always get to have electricity and technology and the things they see in front of them, that it’s important to be outside and to be playing, and writing your own stories and reading books with something hard in your hand that’s not a Kindle was a battle for us, just like it is for all parents—trying to get the Nintendo off and determining whether you’re going to have a TV in your household or not.

I got sort of both worlds there, one where it was kind of easy to homeschool because all families were used to playing together and working together to the place where now everybody can be in their own little silo and not even know what their siblings doing. So it’s something to overcome.

Allen: We want to make sure that all of our parents listening know how they can find out more about Classical Conversations and start utilizing those resources today, so where can they go?

Bortins: Go, again, if you’re a short-term homeschooler who’s just looking into all this, go to homeschoolingjourney.com, and that’s where we have our survival kit. And if those kinds of items interest you, go on to classicalconversations.com and you’ll see the whole universe of what we offer for kindergarten through 12th grade.

We sell books and curriculum as well as information on the communities and the philosophy.

We are a Christian company and so you’ll see things like what we believe in, our statement of faith, and anybody’s welcome to participate in our curriculum, so we encourage everyone to look at it.

I wanted to let you know that we are looking to make a really big announcement on March 28th. We are going to be offering some new services and I’m not allowed to tell you what they are, but I want our listeners to go [on] our website on that day, I’m pretty excited.

Classical Conversations is about to change the face of homeschooling again, and it’s not what any of you would think of. So please go look at it.

Allen: All right, great. That’s Saturday. We’ll mark the calendar. Leigh, thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it.

Bortins: Thank you, Virginia. I hope that I was helpful and I pray blessings on everybody and that they will just be healthier and wiser than they ever knew possible when we come up the other side of this.

Allen: Yes, I agree and I echo that. Thank you.

Bortins: You’re so welcome.

COLUMN BY

Virginia Allen

Virginia Allen is a news producer for The Daily Signal. She is the co-host of The Daily Signal Podcast and Problematic Women. Send an email to Virginia. Twitter: @Virginia_Allen5.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Conservative, Not Liberal, Cities Are Ending the White-Black Achievement Gap in Education

25 screen-free educational activities for kids

My children finished their schoolwork.  Now what?


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.

School Closures—and Accidental Homeschooling—Continue. Here Are More Resources for Families

As of today, 91,000 public and private schools in 39 states with more than 41 million students collectively, have closed because of the coronavirus, according to Education Week

As parents continue to navigate their new role as homeschool instructors, resources are being made available online to meet the needs of families.

Some schools have begun live-streaming PE classes. Others are delivering virtual content to students, and at some—such as Success Academy in New York—teachers begin the day with phone calls to each of their students and hold virtual office hours later in the day. Families, schools, and free markets are rising to the challenge of schooling during a worldwide pandemic.

Here are 10 resources to check out for your own family:

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 >>

  1. Project Gutenberg is an online library of more than 60,000 free eBooks of the world’s great literature. These great works are available in full online for free because they are older works for which U.S. copyright has expired.
  2. The Ashbrook Center’s Teaching American History Project is a treasure trove of history resources that “explore themes in American history and self-government through the study of original historical documents.”
  3. Mike McShane of EdChoice recommends Brain Pop, which offers online resources, interactive activities, quizzes, and lessons in everything from science and social studies to art and engineering.  He also recommends the Cincinnati Zoo’s page, which offers a Facebook Live safari every day at 3 p.m. Eastern.
  4. The entire Core Knowledge Foundation curriculum is now online for free.
  5. Get a crash course in homeschooling through the Home School Legal Defense Association’s homeschooling through high school page.
  6. The Space Foundation partnered with Peanuts to create 10 free lesson plans, in its “ongoing quest to catalyze the next generation of space explorers, innovators, and entrepreneurs.”
  7. Beginning next Wednesday, Code Break will offer a live, weekly webcast to teach students computer science at home, even offering learning options for students without computers.
  8. The Bill of Rights Institute has a wealth of history curriculum resources.
  9. More advanced students can check-out the University of Dallas’ Arts in Liberty courses in LogicRhetoricGeometry and Arithmetic, and Astronomy.
  10. Open Culture provides access to free online courses from universities worldwide as well as audiobooks and documentaries, and EdX offers free online courses from universities on topics such as language, business management, and engineering.

COMMENTARY BY

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: .


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.

We’re All Homeschoolers Now

In the fight against coronavirus, 33 states have closed some 64,000 schools, affecting more than 32.5 million students, Education Week reports.

Texas is waiving state testing requirements for school districts, New York is relaxing state requirements for how many days a year schools have to be open, and, in California, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced a partnership with PBS to put school lessons on television for students at home.

The District of Columbia and Puerto Rico also have closed schools to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus disease, which health experts call COVID-19.

Like other institutions, schools should implement social-distancing policies. Keeping that policy in mind while trying to help needy students, some schools—including those in OhioMichigan, and New York—have begun providing pick-up breakfasts and lunches at designated places for eligible students.


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 rapidly flourishing market of online resources is beginning to meet the content needs of millions of students across the country.

Numerous companies such as Zearn and STMath are providing their materials online for free during the coronavirus outbreak. Existing options such as Khan Academy offer a wealth of educational resources for families navigating homeschooling for perhaps the first time. Prenda microschool is offering its coursework to families for just $100 for the remainder of the year.

Here is a fantastic list of online learning resources that every family should bookmark on their computers during this pandemic.

National School Choice Week has online resources categorized by content area. You can find online tools such as communications platforms, mathsocial studies, English language arts, and foreign language education.

Be sure to check out “Daddy School” while you’re at it.

Also available are virtual visits to museums, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and 2,500 other museums that have partnered with Google to make their art and virtual tours available online.

The Met will offer opera performances online for free beginning at 7:30 every evening through March 22. When you have a chance, check out some 450 online courses available for free from Ivy League universities.

Many of these online learning providers have been doing this for a long time, and traditional school districts should look to either imitate them or work with them—so that districts don’t try to create something from scratch and then realize it doesn’t work.

The list of online resources for families and teachers is growing as social distancing becomes the necessary, new normal. But policy actions by officials in school districts and state governments, as well as at the federal level, can maximize health and safety and provide learning opportunities for students.

District and State Level Policies

  • States and school districts should put online learning resources on their websites. They could include links such as those above to existing private resources and tools, along with links to virtual platforms (such as Blackboard) enabling families to contact teachers directly, access lessons, and stay in touch virtually with classmates.
  • State restrictions on teacher certification should be lifted temporarily to free up the supply of online tutors, allowing anyone with a bachelor’s degree to provide instruction online.
  • States should restructure per-pupil K-12 education funding in the form of emergency or temporary education savings accounts for families of children with special needs, so that they may continue to receive the therapy they need. Five states currently have ESA options in place. (Parents receive a portion of their child’s per-pupil public school funding in a restricted-use account that they then can use to pay for any education-related service, product, or provider of choice.)

Federal Policies

  • At the federal level, Congress should immediately but temporarily make funding authorized under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act both student-centered and portable, allowing children with special needs to access learning services to which they’re entitled under federal law. These IDEA funds could be used to pay for in-home tutors and behavioral therapies, among numerous other allowable uses, to help children with special needs continue to have access to service providers that are so critical in their lives.
  • The Elementary and Secondary Education Act requires every state to administer reading, mathematics, and science assessments annually to all students in tested grades, the outcomes of which are used in state accountability plans. Although the U.S. Department of Education currently is providing targeted waivers to federal testing provisions under ESEA, it temporarily should provide a blanket waiver to all states, enabling them to postpone testing until this pandemic has subsided.

The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented health challenges, which have affected schools from the earliest grades through college. These temporary measures can provide some relief and flexibility, helping schools to better meet the needs of families during this challenging time.

And the growing body of online learning resources can help parents as they navigate this new normal.

COMMENTARY BY

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: .

RELATED ARTICLE: More Than 6.1 Million CA Students Might Not Be Going Back to School Before Summer


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.

Professor, Punished for Not Using Preferred Pronouns, Appeals After Judge Dismisses Case

A professor at an Ohio university is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that he contends compels him to say something he doesn’t agree with.

“Professors don’t give up their First Amendment freedoms simply by choosing to teach,” said Travis Barham, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal aid group that represents the professor.

Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy professor at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, says he was “illegally disciplined” by his employer because he chose not to adhere to a male student’s insistence on being referred to with female titles and pronouns.

“Dr. Meriwether received a written warning … threatening him with ‘further corrective actions’ if he does not start expressing the University’s desired message,” Barham said in an email to The Daily Signal, adding:


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 >>


These further corrective actions could include suspension without pay or termination. He is still employed at Shawnee State University, though he has this black cloud hanging over his head all the time. This punishment is illegal because it violates his First Amendment rights.

On Nov. 5, 2018, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on Meriwether’s behalf, maintaining that he should not be forced to use feminine pronouns and titles for a male student.

“Public universities have no business trying to force people to express ideological beliefs that they do not hold,” Barham told The Daily Signal. “Dr. Meriwether remains committed to serving all students with respect, but he cannot express all messages or endorse all ideologies.

“When the university tried to force him to do this and then punished him for exercising his rights, it violated the First Amendment,” Barham said.

U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott threw out the lawsuit Feb. 12, and Alliance Defending Freedom announced Thursday that it is appealing her decision.

Dlott, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1995, is senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

Emilie Kao, director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that Meriwether is being robbed of his constitutional rights.

“Compelling a university professor to utter scientific falsehoods in the name of a political ideology is un-American,” Kao said. “The Constitution protects the freedom to speak according to one’s conscience. It must be protected on controversial issues like transgender ideology if diversity of thought and intellectual integrity are to be preserved.”

Jonathan Butcher, a senior policy analyst in Heritage’s Center for Education Policy, said in a written statement provided to The Daily Signal that “students and professors should be allowed to speak freely on public policy issues of the day and not fear reprisal from the university based on positions the school has decided to take on such topics.”

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.

COLUMN BY

Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice is a congressional reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel. Twitter: @LRacheldG.

RELATED ARTICLE: Boomer, Meet Millennial: Examining the News Through a Multigenerational Lens


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.

Copyright © 2020 DrRichSwier.com LLC. A Florida Cooperation. All rights reserved. The DrRichSwier.com is a not-for-profit news forum for intelligent Conservative commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own. Republishing of columns on this website requires the permission of both the author and editor. For more information contact: drswier@gmail.com.