“Without Logos, the West is lost”

Western society is crumbling as it loses the vital link between faith and reason.

This book provides a wonderfully accessible overview of the evolution of a concept which has been the key to the development of Western civilisation, or we might better say is the hallmark of Western civilisation: the mutual interplay of faith and reason. Gregg shows how this key was sought by the Greeks, found by Judeo-Christianity, and progressively lost during the Enlightenment. He examines the kinds of pathologies which are produced by both faith and reason respectively when they are decoupled from one another.

Gregg starts out with “The Speech That Shook the World” — the Regensburg Address of Pope Benedict XVI in 2006, in which Ratzinger warned of the danger of the uncoupling of faith and reason. The fact that Ratzinger hit the nail on the head with his words here were — sadly — borne out by the violent (and sadly in some cases fatal) reaction of fundamentalists across the Islamic world. But Ratzinger’s words were for the West as much as for anyone else, for the integration of faith and reason which had been the hallmark of the West has been in crisis for a long time now, and the disasters of recent Western history are the bitter fruit of that crisis.

Ancient Greeks

Western civilisation begins with a Greek word and concept: logos, which refers to rational order — one we embody in words. This is in a way the Greek discovery, and it unleashed their philosophical speculations. The irrationality of the gods of Greek religion always seriously trammelled philosophical speculation. Vastly different was the religion of the Jews with its supremely rational God, and the advent of Christianity revealed fully the hidden depths of this rationality (the logos was made flesh) and on the rationality of God is founded the rationality (and freedom) of man.

In the thought of St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), this synthesis of faith and reason is brought to a supreme realisation. At the very same time, however, significant fissures between faith and reason began to appear in the incipient rationalism of the Latin Averroists as well as the incipient fideism of elements within the Franciscan order.

Various developments

Gregg prefaces his discussion of the great disjunction between faith and reason which takes place in the Enlightenment with an important proviso. He cautions the reader against an overly simplistic dismissal of all of Enlightenment thought tout court as anti-ChristianHe is at pains to point out that much of the Enlightenment movement was quite compatible with Christianity, citing the historian Ulrich L. Lehner as saying “only a small fraction of Enlighteners were anti-religious; the overwhelming majority were interested in finding a balanced relation between reason and faith.” He points out the critical engagement of many Catholic intellectuals with the Enlightenment.

Gregg also reminds us that there was not just one Enlightenment, but several, and they differed in their attitude to the faith. The Scottish Enlightenment for instance involved a number of particularly religious men, such as the Presbyterian minister Thomas Reid (1710–1796). The leaders of the American Enlightenment similarly, despite their declarations of separation of Church and State, were mostly very well disposed towards religion in general, and Christianity in particular.

This was, however, not the case in the French Enlightenment. Gregg quotes Joseph Ratzinger’s distinction between “the Anglo-Saxon trend [in Enlightenment thought], which is more inclined to natural law and tends towards constitutional democracy,” from that associated with Jean-Jacques Rousseau, which “ultimately aims at complete freedom from any rule.”

New religions

And even though the work of such Englishmen as Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton and John Locke never shares in the French animus against Christianity, they mark a decided shift away from metaphysical speculation in favour of utility and the empirical and so pave the way to scientism and the two great secularist ideologies of the nineteenth century: Marxism and liberalism. Ironically, although these two systems are prefaced on a rejection of religion (though in a much more virulent manner in Marxism), Gregg points out the quasi-religious character of both:

Like Judaism and Christianity, Marxism has its own canon of sacred books — the works of Marx, Engels, and Lenin, among others — which its adherents study as Jews and Christians study the scriptures. Marxists join a church-like organisation — the Party — with its own faithful (party members), clerical hierarchy (the Central Committee, the Politburo, the general secretary), theologians (Marxist theoreticians), saints (Che Guevara or Lenin, whose embalmed body is venerated in a shrine), and doctrines from which party members may not stray without compromising their orthodoxy.

Even the intellectuals that John Stuart Mill envisages overseeing the implementation of liberalism function as a kind of “clerisy”. It took Nietzsche of course to bring things to their logical conclusion: with the disappearance of God also goes any claim to objective truth (a delusion for the herd), and all we are left with is the will, and in particular the will to power.

Faith alone

In a sense, Nietzsche marks the culmination of the rationalist pathology stemming from the decoupling of faith and reason. The faith side of this binomial has a pathology of its own: fideism. In chapter five, Gregg discusses the origins and implications of the fideism which has come to dominate (as Ratzinger warns in this Regensburg address) the world’s greatest bastion of fideism, which is Islam.

He describes the fateful showdown which took place in Islam between the ninth and twelfth centuries, in which the pro-reason school — the Mutazilites — were defeated by the fideistic, voluntaristic school of the Ash’arites. The implications of this defeat went far beyond Islamic theology, into every aspect of the Islamic worldview, and in a dramatic way into political thought: the perceived mode of divine rule sets the standard for political rule, and so if God’s power is envisaged as tyrannical and mankind’s correct attitude is one of submission (“Islam” means submission) then similarly, political power is conceived of as despotic over a submissive population.

Gregg does not despair for Western civilisation. Decline, he thinks “ is not inescapable”. He considers that those who conceive of a reason as closed to faith must acknowledge that this view created Marx and scientism — with all the destruction they have wrought on the world. On the other hand, those more sympathetic to faith must acknowledge that the Enlightenment has been part of a bulwark against the kind of fideism which has come to dominate the Islamic world. But above all, there will be no recovery without the rediscovery of what made Western civilisation in the first place: the interplay of faith and reason. “Without Logos, the West is lost.”


Fr Gavan Jennings

Rev. Gavan Jennings studied philosophy at University College Dublin, Ireland and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome. He is co-editor of the monthly journal Position Papers. He teaches occasional… More by Fr Gavan Jennings

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$30K a year, and my kid can’t tell the difference between a boy and a girl

Parents must hold their local school systems accountable for what is taught to their children.

Everything has a price.

Like every American family, our family runs a constant cost/benefit analysis on our lives. There are the small decisions: is it worth the time to drive to Target for the cheaper diapers? Or should I just get the pricier ones at the grocery store? And there are the bigger ones: like, should I live in the suburbs and pay lower taxes but more for car expenses and gas? Or flip that decision?

For our family, one of the toughest decisions was where to send our kids to school. We could send them across the street to the poorly performing public school for free. They’d meet a wide variety of kids and learn some valuable self-advocacy skills, but they would not be academically challenged. For $30k, I could send them to the nearby private school, where they’d benefit from engaged teachers, kids, and families. We’d have to drop the music lessons and fancy trips, but hey — I don’t like Disneyland anyway.

So, with some scholarships, sacrifices, and family assistance, we made the choice to send our kids to a fancy private school. The benefits have been great: warm, caring, patient teachers; outstanding academics; beautiful buildings; even a pretty good lunch. But there’s been a hidden cost, beyond the incredibly painful tuition bills: my kids can’t tell the difference between a boy and a girl.

This seems shocking, I know. How can a concept so obvious, so instinctual that nearly every 2-year-old on the planet can master it, be an idea that my very expensively-educated children don’t understand?

Simple-minded educators

Because some teachers don’t understand it. Because some administrators don’t understand it. And this is where I have to remind myself of something true: half the world is dumber than average.

I know this sounds incredibly snobby. I know this sounds judgmental and awful, but this is true. And this fact helps me take a breath, find some compassion, and slow down.

These teachers are good people. They are kind. They like kids, and want the best for children. They believe that education can make the world a better place. And additionally, they were hired for their people skills: they are empathetic, good communicators, patient, and open-minded. Those are exactly the skills my tuition dollars are paying for.

But these teachers are not well-trained critical thinkers. They were not hired for their ability to analyse complex research studies, nor to follow the various paths of different complex scenarios. They are not philosophers, ethicists, or religious scholars. They are not lawyers or developmental psychologists. They are not endocrinologists or pediatricians. They are experts at connecting to kids and explaining the types of K-12 content that kids should learn. Thank god for teachers and their talents and skills. Our society needs them. But they are not the experts here. They are just trying to do their jobs.

So when faced with the concept of “gender identity” — the idea that “people have an innate feeling of being female or male,” the typical teacher will say “Sure — that makes sense. I’m female, I know it. That’s not a controversial idea.”

When faced with the diagnostic definition of “gender dysphoria”, the idea that “some people have great distress with their biological sex, and wish they were the opposite sex,” these teachers say, “Sure — I know about Jazz Jennings and Caitlyn Jenner. That’s a real thing.”

When faced with the fact of “Disorders of Sexual Development” (formerly known as Intersex conditions), the scientifically observed and natural phenomena of various biological sexual characteristics and markers, teachers say, “Yep — I learned about that once.”

And when urged to consider the negative impacts of the difficulty of being an outlier, and the impacts of social isolation and/or ostracism, the teachers say, “Not on my watch. My cousin was gay and poorly treated. I won’t let any of my kids be bullied or left out.”

So when teachers combine all these ideas and impressions and blend them into their natural “be nice” personalities and “open-minded” natures, they are primed to become believers and advocates of transgender ideology. If Johnny likes skirts and thinks he’s really a girl inside, who are we to judge? We really can’t blame the teachers. They were born this way.

So our society has laid yet another burden of expectation on teachers. They must educate kids, they must socialise kids, they must address and resolve the emotional and behavioural dysfunctions of these kids. And now they must be responsible for nurturing, protecting, and advocating for the “internal feeling of being female or male” for a kid, otherwise they’ll be held responsible for the kid’s ostracism.

This is nuts. These teachers don’t stand a chance.

To the top

So we can’t fight the teachers. We’ve got to get the administrators and school boards to stop, listen, and think. These people were hired to be critical thinkers, to balance different opinions, to consider the different consequences of different choices. They still aren’t likely to read the studies or think through the ethical or philosophical consequences of different complex scenarios, but they are primed to consider one thing above all: legal threats.

Right now, principals and school boards are hiding behind the guidelines that WPATH (an activist-led organisation), the American Psychological Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals have created. These organisations have good intentions, but they are also human and flawed (and remember — half their members are below average). Even the ACLU seems to have lost its mind on this topic.

I suggest American parents adopt the “Maya Forstater Approach.” This strategy, based on the case in England, relies on fundamental and constitutional American legal rights: free speech and free religion. I don’t care if you haven’t been to church ever. This is what you say to your school board:

“For scientific, religious, and social reasons, I do not believe that you can change your sex, and I do not want my children to be taught “gender identity”, the belief that you have a gendered soul, and that your gender soul feelings trump your biology. How is your school protecting my family’s religious beliefs and our right to be free from compelled speech?”

Ask your school’s principal this question every Fall. Send it as a statement to your kids’ teachers every fall. Tell them to inform you of any lesson on gender identity before it happens so that your children can have a substitute lesson. Ask them what their policy on requesting pronouns is, so that your child does not feel compelled to use certain speech. Ask them how they balance different opinions on this topic in the community.

I can guarantee you they do not see this as a religious issue, but as a social justice issue. Say the magic words “freedom of religion/freedom from religion” and “freedom of speech” and see if that works. We’ve got a long history of protecting underdogs in this country, and right now the culture glorifies the status of victim. Use this knowledge wisely.

And here’s the thing: this is going to cost you. Be ready. Do the cost/benefit analysis. Whether your kids are getting a free public education or an expensive private one, when you ruffle the feathers of the principal, the winds blow. Then again, if you remain silent, your kid may not understand that sex never changes. Be prepared. Everything has a cost.

This article has been republished from Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans (PITT).


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Unschooler, Entrepreneur, Prodigy: The Story of Cole Summers

“Don’t Tell Me I Can’t” by Kevin Cooper (aka Cole Summers) deserves a place in the alternative education canon.

Kevin Cooper, known to the internet as Cole Summers, was taken from this world far too soon—he tragically died on June 11 in a kayaking accident. But in his 14 years of life, he accomplished more than most of us do in a lifetime.

At age 6, his parents handed him the reins to his own education, giving him the freedom to choose what to study. (He chose Warren Buffet videos on YouTube, because he wanted to learn how to get rich).

At age 7, he started his own business, breeding meat rabbits and selling them to restaurants. He set up a corporation and became the majority shareholder, just like a Silicon Valley startup.

At age 8, he got his first truck through trade with a neighbor—and discovered that an 8-year-old can in fact get a vehicle titled in their name.

At age 9, he bought a 350-acre ranch for $130 per acre to expand his business into breeding meat goats.

At age 10, he bought a house, which he then renovated and sold for a profit. He learned flooring, roofing, cabinet making, painting, and electrical work – again, from YouTube.

At age 14, he wrote an autobiography about his education called Don’t Tell Me I Can’t, a fitting title for what is essentially an ode to kids pushing the limits of what adults think is possible.

Kevin Cooper was the most ambitious and inspiring unschooler I have ever met.

I found Kevin on Twitter this past spring, and I knew immediately he was an unschooling legend in the making. He was successfully running a holding company controlling multiple LLCs, including one for his rabbitry and one for his properties. He was helping support his disabled parents and brother. And he was working on a plan to tackle the environmental problems of industrial hay farming and aquifer depletion, which were threatening to make the valley where he grew up uninhabitable.

He was an unschooling success story, an alternative education inspiration, a shining example of what is possible for kids to accomplish. At 14, he had already done more for education than many education professionals do in their whole lives, just by being living proof of how far someone can go when they let their interests drive their education.

That’s what Kevin’s book is all about.

I started reading Don’t Tell Me I Can’t while I was waiting for a takeout order. I imagined I would read the introduction while I waited for my food and then go home. Instead, I ended up sitting at the restaurant counter reading the entire book cover-to-cover while my food grew cold (much to the amusement of the wait staff, I imagine). I was captivated. Kevin’s book was the most compelling story of homeschool possibility I had ever read.

Kevin wrote in his introduction:

“Like every other kid, I’ve had people tell me I can’t do something because I’m ‘just a kid.’ This silly, adult idea that being young makes us incapable and incompetent has discouraged so many kids from learning what they’re capable of and pursuing their dreams. But one of the biggest blessings in my life has been that every time I’ve heard that nonsense said to me, I can be sure of two things. First, it’s never my parents that said it. Second, my parents will not only allow me to work to prove whoever said it wrong, but they encourage me to do so.”

Kevin’s book is an argument for letting kids drive their own education and for letting them tackle life head-on in any arena they find interesting. His own story is proof that it works.

From first grade on, Kevin’s education was built around what he was interested in. First he wanted to know how people make money. After he and his dad started listening to Warren Buffet videos, they pivoted into mental models and learning how to think.

When he wanted to try making money for himself, he convinced his parents to let him start his rabbit farm, and he learned about business and math through bookkeeping and setting up his business’s legal entity.

After paying taxes for the first time, Kevin heard about Amazon’s $0 tax bill, and decided he wanted to learn about corporate tax law for 5th grade math so he could learn how to pay no taxes too. That was the first time he realized he was different:

“On the ride to Cub Scouts one time, my friends started talking about what they were doing in school. They were all joking around about having to memorize the names of all the planets in order. [My friend] Michael said “it’s stupid. Like, when will I ever need to know that?”

Then they asked me what I was studying. I started talking about how companies can pay certain expenses, like payroll, in stock, creating paper losses that reduce their taxes and maybe even create net loss carry forward. Wow, the looks I got from everyone. They told me they had no clue what I was talking about. I just shrugged it off and said “yeah, I’m weird,” but I was confused. I still thought back then that they did all the same stuff I did.”

This stark difference in Kevin’s education is what led to his extraordinary life. Because he was free to chase the things he cared about, he was able to achieve outcomes far beyond what most people think is possible for somebody who’s “just a kid.”

Kevin’s book was released in May of 2022. Less than a month later, the world lost more than we’ll likely ever know. Kevin was a giant in the making. He would have accomplished feats on a geographic scale, like reversing the disappearance of the Great Basin Desert’s supplying aquifer. He had ambitions to spearhead environmental change and advocate for unschooling, so more kids could be set free to chase their passions like he was – an endeavor his parents plan to carry on, as they shared when they broke the news of Kevin’s heart-breaking, untimely death.

Kevin’s book deserves a place in the unschooling and alternative education canon: an honest and beautiful case study of what’s possible when parents trust their kids, and when kids let their passions become the driving force of their education.

If you want to support Kevin’s family, a GoFundMe was set up in his memory. Kevin’s book is available for purchase on Amazon.


Hannah Frankman

Hannah is a career development coach and a course instructor. She works as an advisor at Praxis and an instructor at The Objective Standard Institute. You can find her work at hannahfrankman.com.

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

The Failure of Public Schooling in One Chart

Public school spending has become a costly failure.

While I have great fondness for some of the visuals I’ve created over the years (especially “two wagons” and “apple harvesting“), I confess that none of my creations have ever been as clear and convincing as the iconic graph on education spending and education outcomes created by the late Andrew Coulson.

I can’t imagine anyone looking at his chart and not immediately realizing that you don’t get better results by pouring more money into the government’s education monopoly.

But the edu-crat lobby acts as if evidence doesn’t matter. At the national level, the state level, and the local level, the drumbeat is the same: Give us more money if you care about kids.

So let’s build on Coulson’s chart to show why teachers’ unions and other special interests are wrong.

Gerard Robinson of the American Enterprise Institute and Professor Benjamin Scafidi from Kennesaw State University take a close look at this issue.

…education is important to the economic and social well-being of our nation, which is why it is the No. 1 line item in 41 state budgets. …Schools need extra money to help struggling students, or so goes the long-standing thinking of traditional education reformers who believe a lack of resources – teachers, counselors, social workers, technology, books, school supplies – is the problem. …a look back at the progress we’ve made under reformers’ traditional response to fixing low-performing schools – simply showering them with more money – makes it clear that this approach has been a costly failure.

And when the authors say it’s been a “costly failure,” they’re not exaggerating.

Since World War II, inflation-adjusted spending per student in American public schools has increased by 663 percent. Where did all of that money go? One place it went was to hire more personnel. Between 1950 and 2009, American public schools experienced a 96 percent increase in student population. During that time, public schools increased their staff by 386 percent – four times the increase in students. The number of teachers increased by 252 percent, over 2.5 times the increase in students. The number of administrators and other staff increased by over seven times the increase in students. …This staffing surge still exists today. From 1992 to 2014 – the most recent year of available data – American public schools saw a 19 percent increase in their student population and a staffing increase of 36 percent. This decades-long staffing surge in American public schools has been tremendously expensive for taxpayers, yet it has not led to significant changes in student achievement. For example, public school national math scores have been flat (and national reading scores declined slightly) for 17-year-olds since 1992.

By the way, the failure of government schools doesn’t affect everyone equally.

Parents with economic resources (such as high-profile politicians) can either send their kids to private schools or move to communities where government schools still maintain some standards.

But for lower-income households, their options are very limited.

Minorities disproportionately suffer, as explained by Juan Williams in the Wall Street Journal.

While 40% of white Americans age 25-29 held bachelor’s degrees in 2013, that distinction belonged to only 15% of Hispanics, and 20% of blacks. …The root of this problem: Millions of black and Hispanic students in U.S. schools simply aren’t taught to read well enough to flourish academically.  …according to a March report by Child Trends, based on 2015 data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), only 21% of Hispanic fourth-grade students were deemed “proficient” in reading. This is bad news. A fourth-grader’s reading level is a key indicator of whether he or she will graduate from high school. The situation is worse for African-Americans: A mere 18% were considered “proficient” in reading by fourth grade.

But Juan points out that the problems aren’t confined to minority communities. The United States has a national education problem.

The problem isn’t limited to minority students. Only 46% of white fourth-graders—and 35% of fourth-graders of all races—were judged “proficient” in reading in 2015. In general, American students are outperformed by students abroad. According to the most recent Program for International Student Assessment, a series of math, science and reading tests given to 15-year-olds around the world, the U.S. placed 17th among the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in reading.

This is very grim news, especially when you consider that the United States spends more on education – on a per-pupil basis – than any other country.

Here’s a table confirming Juan’s argument. It lacks the simple clarity of Andrew Coulson’s graph, but if you look at these numbers, it’s difficult to reach any conclusion other than we spend a lot in America and get very mediocre results.

Juan concludes his column with a plea for diversity, innovation, and competition.

For black and Hispanic students falling behind at an early age, their best hope is for every state, no matter its minority-student poverty rate, to take full responsibility for all students who aren’t making the grade—and get those students help now. That means adopting an attitude of urgency when it comes to saving a child’s education. Specifically, it requires cities and states to push past any union rules that protect underperforming schools and bad teachers. Urgency also means increasing options for parents, from magnet to charter schools. Embracing competition among schools is essential to heading off complacency based on a few positive signs. American K-12 education is in trouble, especially for minority children, and its continuing neglect is a scandal.

He’s right, but he should focus his ire on his leftist friends and colleagues. They’re the ones (including the NAACP!) standing in the proverbial schoolhouse door and blocking the right kind of education reform.

P.S. This is a depressing post, so let’s close with a bit of humor showing the evolution of math lessons in government schools.

P.P.S. If you want some unintentional humor, the New York Times thinks that education spending has been reduced.

P.P.P.S. Shifting to a different topic, another great visual (which also happens to be the most popular item I’ve ever shared on International Liberty) is the simple image properly defining the enemies of liberty and progress.

Republished from Dan Mitchell’s blog.


Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a Washington-based economist who specializes in fiscal policy, particularly tax reform, international tax competition, and the economic burden of government spending. He also serves on the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review.

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

Fairfax County School Board Votes To Make It A Potential Crime To Call A Boy A Boy


The ruling class has lost its collective mind and they mean to take us all and every good thing down with them.

Fairfax County School Board Votes To Make It A Potential Crime To Call A Boy A Boy

Dissenting students at school will now be suspended and possibly charged with a crime.

By: Auguste Meyrat, The Federalist, June 21, 2022:

Last Thursday, the school board at Fairfax County School Public Schools (FCPS) voted 8-4 to increase penalties for students who misgender or “dead-name” transgender-identifying students. This will now be classified as “discriminatory harassment,” which means offenders “could face weeks-long suspensions and referrals to local law enforcement,” according to the Washington Examiner.

The most charitable interpretation anyone could make of this move is that the school board is trying to cultivate a kinder environment by removing hateful language and attitudes from campuses. This would allow transgender students and their allies to feel safer and happier while those who oppose transgenderism have an opportunity to reflect on their intolerance and make better choices.

However, like most leftist gimmicks in education, all of this is based on false premises and will only create more dysfunction in an already dysfunctional school system. Specifically, there are three major problems with this new policy, two of them concern the idea behind it while the third has to do with its implementation.

Not an Expression of Hate

The first problem is that the school board conflates the refusal to accommodate a transgender student with an expression of hate. However, the two things are completely different. In the case of accommodating transgender classmates, a student is refusing to betray his own senses and reason to conform to the classmate’s fabricated reality; in the case of expressing hate, a student is actively seeking to harm and demean a classmate with hateful language.

Of course, the usual rebuttal to this is asking what the big deal is. After all, if objective reality (otherwise known as truth) is as relative and meaningless as transgender activists suggest, then why not humor people who live by a different truth? Professor Patrick Grzanka’s defensive interview with Matt Walsh in “What Is a Woman?” reflects this sentiment perfectly, as he asserts, “You keep invoking the word ‘truth,’ which is condescending and rude.”

On the contrary, it’s the exact opposite. Forcing someone to abide by another person’s arbitrary truth is “condescending and rude.” Empowered by the school faculty, trans-identifying students in FCPS can force every other student to lie and go along with the delusion. This isn’t much different from a big kid putting a smaller kid in a headlock and asking him to say “uncle,” and if he doesn’t — in this case, he will face severe consequences from a school administrator.

Is Transgender Identity on Par with Race and Sex?

This brings up another more fundamental problem with FCPS’s new policy: how should one properly view transgenderism? Is it really fair or accurate to say that transgender identity is on par with one’s race or sex? Shouldn’t it matter that race and sex are based on biology while transgenderism is based on feelings?

It most definitely matters because sometimes people’s feelings can be wrong, and if those feelings aren’t corrected by reason, they can become harmful. Researcher Jared Eckert argues this point in The American Conservative with the example from two decades ago of young people suddenly developing Body Identity Integrity Disorder (BIID), the belief that there is something wrong with one’s body.

They would go online and read blog posts about others seeking to amputate healthy limbs because they felt like they didn’t belong — and then these young people started feeling it too. The same thing happened with young people developing eating disorders because they felt like they were overweight.

Fortunately, as Eckert explains, social media platforms censored material that promoted these disorders because of the harm it was doing to young people. Unfortunately, in the case of transgenderism, censorship goes the other way — anyone who dares to question the idea that feeling like a woman makes one a woman will be censored. It’s the equivalent of punishing people who tell an anorexic woman she’s not fat, or an able-bodied man that he shouldn’t dismember himself.

Read the rest…..


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

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

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

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

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

The collapse of Communism had begun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marxism was not dying, it was mutating.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is why the fate of freedom rests on education.


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

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

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

Oregon School District Books Contain Pornographic Imagery Of Sex Acts [Warning Graphic Images]

Horrifying. Look at what depraved degenerate authoritarians are exposing your children to.

Yet another unequivocal mandate for homeschooling. Any parent that keeps their child in government schools is unfit. Truly.

Oregon school district books contain pornographic imagery of sex acts, according to portal

An Oregon mom pulled her children out of school over what she called ‘indoctrination’

By Hannah Grossman | Fox News June 14, 2022:

Oregon nurse speaks out against public schools’ indoctrination

Kristen Stevens told Fox News Digital that she took her children out of Oregon public schools in order to avoid them getting indoctrinated.

Oregon schools in the North Clackamas District contain books with pornographic imagery, including imagery of sex acts, according to an online portal schools use to track books available for children to take out at their libraries.

Schools around the country use the program Destiny to track books taken in and out of its library. Fox News Digital obtained screenshots of inappropriate titles and books on gender ideology at most of the district’s schools.

Destiny listed books in at least three high schools, Milwaukie, Adrienne C. Nelson, and Clackamas high schools that actually contain depictions of sexual activities, including oral sex. Some images are so graphic that they are being withheld from this story.

A mother in Oregon pulled her children out of the schools as a result of what she believed was indoctrination in Oregon schools.

“It’s not about how I feel. It’s about that the laws are being broken,” Kristen Stevens told Fox News Digital. “Children are being exposed to sexual content at an age that they’re not developmentally ready to be exposed to this. It actually can cause PTSD in a lot of these children.”

She warned that parents should pull their children out of public schools, else their children become indoctrinated and owned by the government.

“Pull your children out of school, it will not change. Starting next year, it will get worse,” she said. “It’s not worth handing your child over to the government to let them teach them sexually explicit content or to teach them the indoctrination… The next thing you know, you look at your child, and you no longer recognize them because they’re not your child anymore.”
Fun Home – High School

“Fun Home,” written by Alison Bechdel, follows the journey of a lesbian girl getting to know her sexuality. It contains images of lesbian sex as well as masturbation.

The book has made controversy in other verticals as well. When it was assigned for freshman reading at Duke University – a Christian student wrote in The Washington Post that he refused to read it because there is an “important distinction between images and written words… But viewing pictures of sexual acts, regardless of the genders of the people involved, conflict with the inherent sacredness of sex.”

The book was present at Milwaukie High School, according to Destiny.


Fun Home – High School

“Fun Home,” written by Alison Bechdel, follows the journey of a lesbian girl getting to know her sexuality. It contains images of lesbian sex as well as masturbation.

The book has made controversy in other verticals as well. When it was assigned for freshman reading at Duke University – a Christian student wrote in The Washington Post that he refused to read it because there is an “important distinction between images and written words… But viewing pictures of sexual acts, regardless of the genders of the people involved, conflict with the inherent sacredness of sex.”

The book was present at Milwaukie High School, according to Destiny.

Gender Queer – High School

“Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe depicts sexual acts and contains discussions on masturbation. “The more I had to interact with my genitals the less likely I was to reach a point of any satisfaction,” the book said.

In a scene illustrating sex, the caption states, “This would evolve into hip-thrusting while thinking of my latest gay ship.”

This book was present at Adrienne C. Nelson High School and Milwaukie High School, according to Destiny.




How middle schools use aggressive surveys to indoctrinate teachers and coerce them to push the LGBT agenda on students.

JUDENRAT: New Ben & Jerry’s Employees Forced To Watch Anti-Israel Videos: Report

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

DESANTIS TARGETS WOKE UNIVERSITIES: Replacing indoctrination with education

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (ChurchMilitant.com) – Leaked documents suggest Florida’s governor is taking aim at indoctrination and liberal bias present in the state’s universities.

A recently publicized 70-page proposal drafted by lawmakers at the behest of Gov. Ron DeSantis shows faculty hiring at universities could become the responsibility of a board of trustees, many of whom are DeSantis allies or appointees.

The bill, obtained earlier this week by Seeking Rents, intends to take away substantial amounts of power and independence from public universities and colleges.

During a press conference June 5, DeSantis harpooned the current state of education: “We believe that when parents send their kids to school, it’s for education, not for indoctrination.”

According to the proposal, Florida’s Board of Governors, which currently oversees universities in the state, along with the Board of Education would have much more influence on the way these public schools are operated.

The Board of Governors would have the ability to veto budgets, investigate university presidents and even fire employees. Fourteen of the 17 members on this board are directly appointed by DeSantis. In addition, all seven members of the Board of Education are appointed by DeSantis.

The board of trustees at state universities also typically supports DeSantis. These boards are generally set to have 13 members, six of whom are appointed by DeSantis and five of whom are picked by the Florida Board of Governors.

If the bill as written becomes law, the trustees and DeSantis would have much more power in the way state education systems are operated.

Cutting Funding

The DeSantis-backed measure vows to cut some state funding for universities and colleges that do not follow state laws or regulations.

For example, the governor encouraged universities to send out voluntary “intellectual surveys” in April of this year. These surveys ask a series of questions to employees and students to help gauge the political bias or temperature present in Florida’s higher education system.

While these surveys are currently voluntary, the leaked legislation would make fundraising cuts to institutions that refuse to send out the surveys.

Banning Racial Politics

The bill would also effectively ban any teaching related to “identity politics, such as critical race theory,” or that “defines American history as contrary to the creation of a new nation based on the universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.”

College and university curricula would be required to “promote the philosophical underpinnings of Western civilization and include studies of this nation’s historical documents, such as the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments and the Federalist Papers.”

Limiting Teacher Tenure

DeSantis’ fight against colleges and universities began back in April when he signed a bill that limits tenure in Florida’s education system. The bill, SB7044, requires “each tenured state university faculty member to undergo a comprehensive post-tenure review every five years.”

This review includes examination of tenured employees’ “accomplishments and productivity; assigned duties in research, teaching and service; performance metrics, evaluations and ratings; and recognition and compensation considerations, as well as improvement plans and consequences for underperformance.”


Paul Aubert

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

Over 200K Taxpayer Dollars Spent On Drag Queen Shows at NYC Schools

Kids are made to choose their pronouns and invent drag names.

Our kids can barely read and this is what the Democrats are subjecting our children to….

New York is showering taxpayer funds on a group that sends drag queens into city schools — often without parental knowledge or consent — even as parents in other states protest increasingly aggressive efforts to expose kids to gender-bending performers.

Last month alone, Drag Story Hour NYC — a nonprofit whose outrageously cross-dressed performers interact with kids as young as 3 — earned $46,000 from city contracts for appearances at public schools, street festivals, and libraries, city records show.

Since January, the group has organized 49 drag programs in 34 public elementary, middle, and high schools, it boasted on its website, with appearances in all five boroughs.

“I can’t believe this. I am shocked,” said public school mom and state Assembly candidate Helen Qiu, whose 11-year-old son attends a Manhattan middle school. “I would be furious if he was exposed without my consent. This is not part of the curriculum.”

Since 2018, the group — previously known as Drag Queen Story Hour NYC, before changing its name early this year — has received a total of $207,000 in taxpayer cash.

The tally includes $50,000 from New York State through its Council on the Arts, along with $157,000 from the city’s Departments of Education, Cultural Affairs, Youth and Community Development, and even the Department of Transportation, city data shows.

“I am considering pulling funding to any school in my district that is implementing Drag Queen Story Hour,” said City Council member Vickie Paladino (R-Queens). “We are taking hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the pockets of hardworking New York taxpayers … to fund a program teaching little children about their gender fluidity? Not. On. My. Watch.”

Most of the money was allocated by city council members from their discretionary budgets, who set aside $80,000 for the group in the current fiscal year — more than tripling the $25,000 earmarked in 2020.

Drag queen story hours for children have been featured at public library branches throughout the city since 2017, with upcoming events scheduled at Manhattan’s Epiphany Library and the Woodside Public Library in Queens, among others.

Cross-dressed performers typically read aloud from a list of books that teach acceptance and inclusion, including children’s classics like “Where the Wild Things Are” and “The Rainbow Fish” — and some that overtly celebrate gender fluidity, like “The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish.”

But the expansion into city schools has brought new features to the program, its social media posts reveal.

In April, the elaborately coiffed Harmonica Sunbeam wore a slinky gown to meet with kindergarteners at STAR Academy in Manhattan and color pages from “The Dragtivity Book,” which encourages kids to choose their pronouns and invent drag names.



Michigan’s first gay attorney general says there should be a ‘drag queen for every school’

Look What The Democrats Are Doing To Our Children

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

FLORIDA: Sarasota County Sheriff implements ‘Single Officer Response Model’ to Protect Schools

We received the following video and comments from Sarasota County School Board Member Bridget Ziegler:

Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman recently shared a video with the community explaining the “Single Officer Response Model” he has put in place in Sarasota County.

This is important information and I encourage you to watch the video below to become more educated about how the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department would respond to an active shooting situation.

School Safety is a top issue in our community. While I am proud of the steps we have taken to secure our schools and the measures I have successfully helped implement, as a mother of school-aged children, I know the work is never done to keep our children safe. We must continue to work together and remain vigilant to ensure the safety of our children.

Bridget Ziegler

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.


“TOTALLY OFF HIS ROCKER!” DeSantis Torches Biden For Holding School Lunches Hostage Over Gender Ideology In Schools

States should stop sending their money to the Feds. We are under siege by these evil lunatics.

Totally Off His Rocker!’: DeSantis Torches Biden For Holding School Lunches Hostage Over Gender Ideology In Schools

By Virginia Kruta • Jun 5, 2022 DailyWire.com •

MIAMI, FLORIDA – MAY 17: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference at the University of Miami Health System Don Soffer Clinical Research Center on May 17, 2022 in Miami, Florida. The governor held the press conference to announce that the state of Florida would be providing $100 million for Florida’s cancer research centers, after he signs the state budget into law.

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has vowed to fight back in the wake of reports that President Joe Biden and his administration planned to tie school lunch program funding to policies that adhered to radical gender ideology.

Touting his state’s 2022-2023 “Freedom First Budget,” DeSantis said that he would make sure Florida was prepared to fight back if the Biden administration stripped funding for public school lunch programs over his state’s move to bar teachers from presenting classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual identity to children in kindergarten through third grade.

“In Florida, we are fighting against Biden’s intentionally destructive policies like denying school lunches for states that refuse to implement woke gender ideology in the schools,” DeSantis tweeted on Sunday.


“We’re prepared for what Biden throws our way,” DeSantis said. “And, you know, yes, part of it’s the inflation and the gas — part of it are intentionally destructive policies like trying to deny school lunch programs for states that don’t do transgender ideology in the schools, I mean, give me a break!”

“Totally off his rocker to be doing that,” DeSantis continued. “We’re fighting on that, don’t worry. So we’re just prepared to be able to defend the taxpayers and the hard-working people in the state of Florida, and I couldn’t be prouder for doing that.”

DeSantis was responding to reports that Biden planned to link programs that provide free or low-cost lunches to students to school and state policies, demanding that they adhere to transgender non-discrimination policies. According to the USDA, the move comes as a result of the Biden administration’s expansion — by executive order — of Title IX to include discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

“Schools awarded money from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency within USDA, must specify in their policies that discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation is prohibited, the department announced in May. It also said allegations of such discrimination must be investigated,” Fox News reported.

Fight for Schools Executive Director Ian Prior told Fox News, “What you’re seeing here is really the Biden administration saying, ‘You’re going to do what I want or I’m going to take your lunch money.’ For the federal government to come in and really tie school nutrition and school lunch programs to this radical ideology is terrifying, and it’s appalling.”


RELATED ARTICLE: Behind the scenes: How your public schools are becoming immersed in radical LGBT ideology and pornography.


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

Video of School Board Dictator Completely Silenced

Damn that last guy with the Aussie accent was great! He wouldn’t be silenced.

This angry father is one of the most enthusiastic critics among a host of furious parents across the country being filmed challenging school boards instituting Critical Race Theory teachings. WATCH: Black Parent Gives Epic Speech On Critical Race Theory:

I remember when Glynnda was speaking to our Polk County Florida Legislative Delegation a few years ago and criticizing judges for not enforcing our Constitutional rights and was interrupted by Keli Stargel saying that she had no right to speak ill of elected Judges – what a bunch of BS.

I have to wonder if little Miss Sara Beth Wyatt as Chair of our School Board would order one of the four Sheriff Deputies present at all of our Polk County School Board meetings to remove us if we spoke to them like this.

We definitely need to try especially if the left in audience keep yelling at us using Sal Alinsky’s 5th Rule for Radicals which is to ridicule your opponents.

©Royal A. Brown. All rights reserved.

EXCLUSIVE: Immigrants Travel To Schools With Warning: Socialism Is Deadly

Immigrants who have fled socialist countries are travelling to schools across the U.S. for free under a new program to teach students about the dangers of socialism.

The Dissident Project launched Monday with speakers set to “travel to high schools across the U.S. to speak to students about authoritarian socialism” at no cost to the schools, Dissident Project founder and Venezuelan-born economist Daniel Di Martino told the Daily Caller.

The speakers include activists from Venezuela, Cuba, Hong Kong and North Korea who have immigrated to the U.S. and are dedicated to speaking about how socialism has destroyed their countries.

Grace Jo, a speaker from North Korea, came to the U.S. after almost starving “to death as a child” under the country’s socialist regime. Two of her brothers and her father died from starvation, according to the Dissident Project’s website.

“All of us Dissident Project speakers came to America for freedom, and it is our duty to preserve that love for freedom among the youngest generation. That’s why we’re stepping up and doing our part so Americans never forget that this is an exceptional nation, that free enterprise and the rule of law made it great and that socialism can destroy it all like it did in our native countries,” Di Martino said.

The project was inspired by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ legislation recognizing a statewide “Victims of Communism Day” annually on Nov. 7 and requiring Florida schools to teach students about “the evils of communism.”

“Honoring the people that have fallen victim to communist regimes and teaching our students about those atrocities is the best way to ensure that history does not repeat itself,” DeSantis said in a statement about the bill in May.

Starting in the 2023-2024 school year, students in Florida will be mandated to receive at least 45 minutes of instruction in their required U.S. Government class about the evils of communism. Potential topics to cover include “Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution, Joseph Stalin and the Soviet System, Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Revolution, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, and Nicolás Maduro and the Chavismo movement,” according to the bill.

Di Martino began the Dissident Project “after learning about Florida’s new curriculum.”

“I thought we needed a unified platform where schools could find immigrants from socialist countries to speak there at no cost to them so we could reach every single American,” he said.

The Dissident Project will focus its efforts in speaking to school districts in Florida, given DeSantis’ legislation, but will also advertise the opportunity to teachers across the country, Di Martino concluded. Teachers who wish to host a speaker can do so for free by filling out a form.



Associate editor. 


Immigrants From Communist And Socialist Countries Spell Out Why The GOP Is The Party Of Freedom

Communism is Treason!

Americanism vs. Communism

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

NORTH CARILINA: Preschool Shows Kids LGBT Flashcards Featuring A Pregnant Man

As the insanity of American society today gallops forward, it came to light Sunday that Ballentine Elementary School in Wake County Park, North Carolina has been using LGBTQ-themed flashcards featuring a pregnant man to teach young children colors.

In the first place, it is important to note that a “pregnant man” is actually a woman. She may have pumped her body full of male hormones and have undergone surgery such that she sports a beard and resembles a man in other ways, but she is still functionally a woman, as her pregnancy itself attests. The idea of a “pregnant man” is a fiction and fantasy of our present age, which wants to pretend that men can become women and women men, and that when they do so, this is something to celebrate.

And yes, forcing this nonsense on preschoolers is child abuse, and worse. Republican State Rep. Erin Paré called for a return to sanity, sayingSchools should only be using age-appropriate materials, and these flashcards clearly do not meet that standard for a pre-school classroom.” The cards seem to have been brought in by one teacher alone, as school administrators acted quickly to remove them when Paré alerted them to their use. Paré said: “I hope schools across Wake County and the State of North Carolina will follow the example of Ballentine and respond swiftly when a parent expresses concern and ensure that materials like this are not being used to teach young students.”

So do I, but there are larger issues at play here. What was the agenda of the teacher who brought these cards to the school in the first place? Clearly he or she wanted to teach the youngest children that changing one’s sex is both possible and normal, and that those who do so are as ordinary and wholesome as apple pie. The child will then grow up free from what is of course being dubbed “transphobia,” and the world will become that much more tolerant, diverse, and peaceful.

What could possibly be wrong with that? Plenty. One may change how one looks cosmetically, but one’s sex is embedded within every cell of one’s body. To try to change that is to set oneself at war with oneself forever. A person who changes sex, or thinks he or she has done so, becomes dependent upon pharmaceuticals for the rest of his or her life, which is great for Big Pharma and no doubt one reason why the medical and pharmaceutical establishment has suddenly decided that this obvious mental derangement is something entirely normal and to be encouraged and celebrated.

The transgender movement is also repeatedly targeting the youngest of children, as in this case, and working for statutes that enable children to change their sex, or think they have done so, even without their parents’ knowledge or consent. This is part of a larger effort to loosen the bond between parents and children and to make children more attached to and dependent upon the state and its officials than upon their parents. When you want to set up an authoritarian regime, say, one with a Disinformation Governance Board and a Justice Department that targets parents who dissent from the Leftist agenda at school board meetings, the weakening of the parental bond dovetails nicely with your plans.

There is another effect of all this as well. Once a generation of children is entirely indoctrinated into the LGBTQ transgender perspective, this generation will have learned to abhor and despise traditional masculinity and femininity. These self-absorbed and deeply confused young people will also have been taught that the founders of this nation were all white male slave owners, racists, colonialists, and imperialists, full of “toxic masculinity.” When the nation faces genuine existential threats, these young people will be called upon to defend it, and they will sneeringly refuse. They won’t want to be part of the aggressive gun culture. They will know that wars never solve anything, and that fighting in them is wrong in all circumstances. They will know that gun-wielding right-wingers are actually terrorists, whom under no circumstances are they willing to emulate. They will know that they should be welcoming to the other, not hostile, and that they should eschew all “bigotry” and “racism.”

Now imagine that the same elites who would like to see a generation hooked on pharmaceuticals and hating masculinity are also socialist internationalists who abhor the very idea of the nation-state. How wonderful it will be for them once a generation has accepted the trans nonsense and all the rest of what children are being taught. The way to the realization of their plans will be ably and smoothly paved.



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

93 Vermont Towns Have No Public Schools, But Great Education. How Do They Do It?

In “tuition towns,” the funds local governments expect to spend per pupil are instead given directly to the parents of school-age children.

In just a couple of weeks, 50 boys with learning disabilities will take to a stage in Vermont, one after the other, to recite the Gettysburg Address from memory. It’s a daring experiment undertaken each February at the Greenwood School and its population of boys who’ve struggled in public schools. Diagnosed with ADD, dyslexia, and executive function impairments, Greenwood’s boys stand before an auditorium full of people (and once even a Ken Burns documentary crew) to recite powerful words many adults would struggle to retain.

Many of these young men are residents of Vermont’s “tuition towns.” Too small and sparsely populated to support a traditional public school, these towns distribute government education funds to parents, who choose the educational experience that is best suited to their family’s needs. If the school doesn’t perform up to parents’ expectations, they can take their children, and the tuition dollars they control, elsewhere.

The Greenwood School is one of more than 100 independent schools in the tiny state of Vermont (population: 626,000). The whole state has just 90,000 students in K-12 schools (the city school districts of Denver and Albuquerque have more students, and some county districts are twice as large). How can Vermont sustain such a rich network of educational options?

Ninety-three Vermont towns (36 percent of its 255 municipalities) have no government-run school at all. If there were enough kids, the pot of public money earmarked for education would be used to buy a building and hire teachers. In these towns, the funds local governments expect to spend per pupil are instead given directly to the parents of school-age children.

This method gives lower- and middle-income parents the same superpower wealthy families have always had: school choice. Kids aren’t assigned to public schools by zip code⁠—instead, parents have the ability to put their kids in school anywhere, to buy the educational experience best suited to each child. If that decision doesn’t work out, they can change it the following year and try a school that might better fit their child’s needs.

So how much money are we talking about? As far as income distribution, Vermont looks a lot like the national average. The per-student expenditure of $18,290 is high by national standards (only New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and DC spent more). But independent, tuition-driven schools spend $5,000 less, on average, than public schools in the area, which is near the national average.

In many other parts of the country, even the most “progressive” ones, government-run schools consume ever-more resources while doing little to address disparities of outcome. The promise of equal opportunity through public education continues to fall short, and lower-income families are the most likely to feel trapped by the lack of choices.

Source: Wikipedia

A variety of schools has arisen to compete for these tuition dollars. A spectrum from centuries-old academies to innovative, adaptive, and experimental programs competes for students from tuition towns, just as for the children of independently wealthy families.

Eligibility for tuition vouchers actually increased home values in towns that closed their public schools. Outsiders were eager to move to these areas, and the closure of public schools actually made at least some people already living nearby significantly wealthier as their home values rose, according to real estate assessments.

Because parents, not bureaucrats or federal formulas, determine how funds are allocated, schools are under high economic pressure to impress parents⁠—that is, to serve students best in their parents’ eyes.

The Compass School, nestled on the New Hampshire border, enrolls 80-100 high school students from three states and a mix of demographics. Forty percent of students qualify for subsidized lunch (the school system’s proxy for poverty), and 30 percent have special learning needs.

Nearly any public school in the country with Compass’ student population (considered mid-poverty) would be aspiring to a 75 percent graduation rate and a 60 percent college-readiness rate. Compass has a virtually 100 percent graduation rate, and 90 percent of graduates are accepted to college. And still, Compass achieves these results with $5,500 less funding-per-pupil than the average Vermont government-run public high school.

Emergent programming for children with physical, intellectual, or behavioral challenges provides a 22-school menu of accountable, adaptive alternatives to public school remediation. Increasingly, “mainstreaming” students with these challenges has become a priority at larger high schools, which compete to serve special-needs students as fiercely as any other.

Having watched these models develop nearby, two more Vermont towns voted in 2013 to close their government-run schools and become “tuition towns” instead. The local public elementary and high schools there closed and reopened as independent competitors in an increasingly rich marketplace of education options. We eagerly wait to see what the innovative combination of private control and public investment can bring to students in those areas.

Can Vermont’s quirky school program work elsewhere? Probably. An independent evaluation by the Ethan Allen Institute, a free-market think tank in Vermont, reported:

…an expansion of Vermont’s publicly funded tuition model can be an effective way to lower costs, improve student outcomes, achieve greater diversity in the classroom, and increase parental satisfaction with and participation in their children’s education.

Wealthy parents will always have school choice. They have the power to choose the best opportunity and the best fit for their individual child. Tuition towns—where all parents direct their child’s share of public education spending—give that power to every family.

Vermont’s empowered parents feed a rich landscape of educational choices, not just one or two. In such fertile soil, smaller, tailored programs pop up and grow to meet children where they are instead of where a one-size-fits-most default curriculum says they should be. If the family’s needs change, their choices can, too.

We pour plenty of public money into educational potential. Only parents’ power of choice can unleash it.

Laura Williams

Dr. Laura Williams  teaches communication strategy to undergraduates and executives. She is a passionate advocate for critical thinking, individual liberties, and the Oxford Comma.

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