Hillary’s Imam

In Front Page today, I reveal the Democratic nominee’s close ties to “the Turkish Khomeini.”

The Daily Caller on Wednesday revealed numerous ties between Hillary Clinton and members of the shadowy network surrounding Fethullah Gulen, the controversial Muslim cleric who has been called “the Turkish Khomeini,” and whom the Erdogan regime is accusing of instigating the coup that nearly toppled it on Friday.

According to the Caller, the Gulen camp has been one of Hillary’s numerous sources of cash, in exchange for which she gave access to the President: “a Gulen follower named Gokhan Ozkok asked Clinton deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin for help in connecting one of his allies to President Obama….Ozkok served as national finance co-chair of the pro-Clinton Ready PAC. He gave $10,000 to the committee in 2014 and $2,700 to Clinton’s campaign last year. He is also listed on the Turkish Cultural Center’s website as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, one of the non-profit arms of the Clinton Foundation. He’s given between $25,000 and $50,000 to the Clinton charity.”

Ozkok wrote to Huma Abedin in 2009: “Please tell Madam Secretary that it would be great if President Obama can include a 15 minutes [sic] meeting with Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the Organization of of [sic] the Islamic Conference (OIC), in his trip to Turkey.”

Obama did meet with Ihsanoglu, and later invited him to the White House. Ihsanoglu is a longtime foe of the freedom of speech; he once went so far as to liken the Danish cartoons of Muhammad to 9/11: “The Islamic world took the satirical drawings as a different version of the September 11 attacks against them.” He claimed that Muslims were “being targeted by a campaign of defamation, denigration, stereotyping, intolerance and discrimination,” and urged European legislators to criminalize “Islamophobia.”

In March 2011, Ihsanoglu gave a speech to the UN Council on Human Rights, calling upon it to set up “an Observatory at the Office of the High Commissioner to monitor acts of defamation of all religions . . . as a first step toward concerted action at the international level.” Then on April 12, 2011, the UN Council on Human Rights passedResolution 16/18, with full support from the Obama Administration. This resolution calls upon member states to impose laws against “discriminatory” speech, or speech involving “defamation of religion.” In June 2011, Ihsanoglu said that such laws were “a matter of extreme priority” for the OIC.

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton affirmed the Obama Administration’s support for this campaign on July 15, 2011, when she gave an address on the freedom of speech at an OIC conference on Combating Religious Intolerance. “Together,” she said, “we have begun to overcome the false divide that pits religious sensitivities against freedom of expression and we are pursuing a new approach.”

But how could both be protected? Ihsanoglu offered the answer: criminalizing what he considered to be hatred and incitement to violence. “We cannot and must not ignore the implications of hate speech and incitement of discrimination and violence.” But in restricting the freedom of speech, Clinton had a First Amendment to deal with, and so in place of legal restrictions on criticizing Islam, she suggested “old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.” She held a lengthy closed-door meeting with Ihsanoglu in December 2011 to facilitate the adoption of measures that would advance the OIC’s anti-free speech agenda, which amounted to an attempt to impose Sharia blasphemy laws upon the West. But what agreements she and Ihsanoglu made, if any, have never been disclosed. Hillary’s contact with Ihsanoglu was initiated by Gulen’s associate Ozkok.

That’s bad enough, but there is much more. According to the Daily Caller, “a Gulen-aligned group called the Alliance for Shared Values hired the Clinton-connected Podesta Group to lobby Congress on its behalf.” The executive director of the Alliance for Shared Values was also a Clinton donor. In fact, “numerous Gulen followers have donated to Clinton’s various political campaigns and to her family charity. One Gulen movement leader, Recep Ozkan, donated between $500,000 and $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.”

The Caller states that Gulen’s teachings are “relatively moderate and pro-Western,” but there are numerous reasons to approach such claims with skepticism. Turkey’s National Security Council condemned Gulen in 1998 for “trying to undermine the country’s secular institutions, concealing his methods behind a democratic and moderate image.”

Asia News reported in 2009 that Gulen had been “criticised by a large number of secularists who believe that underneath a veneer of humanist philosophy, Gulen plans to turn Turkey’s secular state into a theocracy. Secular Kemalists have compared him to Khomeini and fear that his return to Turkey might turn Ankara into another Tehran. The governments of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are also weary [sic] and suspicious of his ‘Turkish schools promoted by Islamic missionaries.’ At the basis of Gulen’s teachings is the notion that state and religion should be reconnected as they were in Ottoman times.”

Gulen and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are former associates who are now bitter enemies, after Gulen backed a 2013 corruption probe targeting Erdogan’s regime. And so even though Erdogan has frequently been accused of wanting to destroy Turkish secularism and restore Islamic rule, his regime has leveled the same charge against Gulen, who now lives in a secluded compound in Pennsylvania. Referring to that corruption probe, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ last January echoed the “Turkish Khomeini” charge and said that it ended up exposing Gulen’s sinister agenda:

“If there had been no Dec. 17 [corruption probe], or if it had been delayed and the Turkish people had failed to realize the power of this structure within Turkey, then Fethullah Gülen would have returned from Pennsylvania to Turkey just like Khomeini returned to Iran. Looking from this perspective, Dec. 17 was the day when Turkey said ‘no’ to such a transformation. The state and all its institutions have taken positions accordingly as they realized the danger.”

Gulen’s response to the Khomeini comparison was oddly pedantic and revealed more in what it did not say than in what it did. He noted that he was not a Shi’ite and that Turkey was not Iran, but never addressed the question of whether he, like Khomeini, would like to return to his home country and establish the rule of Islamic law (Sharia) there.

Erdogan is now accusing Gulen of fomenting the coup attempt against him. This is, however, unlikely, as the coup was apparently an attempt to stop Erdogan’s efforts to restore Islamic rule in Turkey, and much as Gulen and Erdogan hate each other, they both apparently share the view that “state and religion should be reconnected as they were in Ottoman times.”

Should Hillary Clinton ever have accepted money from organizations connected with Gulen – much less exchanged influence for it? If she becomes our next President, she is unlikely to end such unsavory associations. Those who are contemplating voting for her should consider carefully the likelihood that a vote for Hillary is a vote for…Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish Khomeini.


Obama Eid Celebration Again Empowers Islamists Over Reformers

Secret document lifts Iran nuke constraints, halving time it will take for Iran to build a bomb

Major jihadist terror attack averted in downtown Jerusalem

Does the Miami-Dade Teacher of the Year Represent the Education Profession Well?

Precious Symonette, a Creative Writing teacher at Miami Norland Senior High School, has been chosen as the 2017 Miami-Dade Teacher of the Year and was a finalist for Florida Teacher of the Year, which was ultimately awarded to Jessica Solano of Polk County.

Upon further review of her past actions, and past events at Norland, this award appears to be suspect.

Since the departure of Trevor Colestock in October 2013 due to Adobegate, and the resulting permanent closure of the Library Media Center, Norland’s school grade has steadily declined from an “A” to a “C” over the past three years; another casualty has been the school’s English Language Arts (ELA) performance over the past three years.

Per last week’s release of the school grades per the FLDOE, Norland barely remained a “C,” and the school’s ELA performance decreased from 29% to 25%.

More disturbing, Ms. Symonette signed a petition (filed on October 2, 2015, in Miami-Dade Civil Court; pages 325-28 of Notice of Filing Deposition) on September 11, 2013, to remove Mr. Colestock as UTD steward for his actions in uncovering cheating at Norland. She was one of thirty Norland employees (out of 180+) and one of twenty teachers (out of 100) to sign this petition, which was clearly retaliatory in nature.

Mr. Colestock heard about this cowardly action secondhand, and some teachers told him they refused to sign as they felt it was racially motivated. The breakdown of the signers on the last page seems to suggest so.

Out of five reasons given for these thirty errant employee’s reasoning was “Conflict of interest. Working with OIG and AG while also being a Steward.

Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart visited Norland on May 3, 2016, and congratulated Ms. Symonette for this award.

Commissioner Stewart said,

Ms. Symonette represents the education profession well, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to recognize her for her commitment to our state’s students.

Commissioner Stewart and the FLDOE knows about Adobegate, Mr. Colestock’s situation, and the fact Norland’s academic levels have been on the decline the past three years.

How is such a prestigious award conferred on someone like Ms. Symonette whose ELA department which has declining student achievement and who retaliates against whistle-blowers thereby backing cheating and cheaters?

She represents the education profession well? Probably just as well as Emmanuel Fleurantin and Brenda Muchnick, the known perpetrators of Adobegate.

To top it off, the United Teachers of Dade and the National Educators Association, who abandoned Mr. Colestock, lauded Ms. Symonette as a “superhero educator.” Declining ELA scores and siding with cheaters is what constitutes a superhero educator?

Mr. Colestock, who stood up and did the right thing by coming forward and paid a price by doing so, represents the education profession well and more so that any teacher at Norland can ever hope to do.

Fair-minded people may sharply disagree with Commissioner Stewart and conclude that Ms. Symonette, and the entire faculty and staff at Norland by virtue of not supporting Mr. Colestock, represents the education profession in Florida in the worst light possible and are the worst sort of teachers not worthy of teaching children.

How is it that Commissioner Stewart has not visited or commended Mr. Colestock for his actions, which are those of a superhero educator?

A reasonable person may assume that awarding a local Teacher of the Year award to Precious Symonette is obscene and the fact that the cowardly thirty signers of this petition collect a taxpayer subsidized salary and future retirement benefits is equally profane.

It is fitting that the Florida Teacher of the Year award went to someone worthy who actually had viable student achievement gains and represents their school and District in a positive light.

When Government Schools Weren’t Nearly So Bad by Robert Higgs

I do not speak Spanish fluently. Indeed, I am often at a loss for the right words, not to mention a proper conjugation of the verbs, and I frequently fail to understand what people say to me. Yet all in all, I am astonished that, living in a part of Mexico where few people speak English, I get by as well as I do. And whenever I spend a day in Chetumal, as I did yesterday, dealing successfully with one sort of business or another, I never fail to remember with gratitude my high-school Spanish teacher, Mrs. Tocher, who taught me at least 90 percent of the Spanish I know today. She will always hold a cherished place in my affections.

Nor is she the only one of my high school teachers I revere. Above all, I am indebted to Mrs. Raven, my 9th grade English teacher, whose instruction in English grammar has carried me through a fair degree of success as a writer and editor over a span of fifty-five years or so. She and my other English teachers introduced me to some of the timeless works of English literature, especially several of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, along with books such as Dickens’s Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, among others.

Mrs. Malm, my 12th grade English teacher, began to hone my skills as an essayist. Several math teachers did a creditable job of teaching me algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and elementary calculus, and “Prof.” Silver, an elderly science teacher, gave me a decent grounding in chemistry and physics. Mrs. Hume, in a semester of the 9th grade, taught me how to type and write proper business letters, skills that I have been putting to good use for nearly sixty years. To all of these dedicated and competent teachers I remain deeply indebted.

Now, I ought to mention that these teachers worked for a government school, Dos Palos High School, a rural institution in California’s San Joaquin Valley, about 50 miles west of Fresno, that drew its students from an area of perhaps 40 miles or more in diameter, employing a fleet of buses to carry us to and from school five days each week. I lived in the outer reaches of the school’s service area, and because I remained after school for athletic practice, I normally did not get home until 6 o’clock or so each afternoon. So I spent a lot of time on the bus, reading novels about short boys who against all the odds ended up making the winning shot from the half-court line as time expired in the state championship basketball game—you see, I had dreams of my own in those days.

Old School

How, one might ask, did I manage to acquire such an excellent high school education from a government school, the sort of school that nowadays performs so badly? Several reasons suggest themselves. First, the public schools in those days — I attended high school between 1957 and 1961 — were pretty much local in their management, control, and operation. No doubt they had to adhere to some state guidelines, yet they were largely free to provide the kind of schooling that their local “customers” found to be valuable (including a great deal of vocational as well as academic instruction). Second, teaching was still a respected profession, especially for talented women, who had fewer professional alternatives in those days. Third, because the school teachers and administrators enjoyed a substantial measure of community, respect, and trust, they were able to maintain enough discipline and control of the often-rowdy students to make learning possible for those who wished to learn. My parents would never have dreamed of quarreling with the school authorities. If I had got into trouble there, they would have backed the school all the way. (Fortunately I managed to stay out of serious trouble at school.)

Of course, once the conditions I’ve just described began to change in the latter half of the 1960s, the government schools began to go to hell, and they went there remarkably quickly between 1965 and 1975 or so. They have never recovered, and in some important respects, such as serving as dispensers of trendy, politically correct propaganda and bogus science (especially in regard to “the environment”), they have become much worse. When federal funding and its associated red tape intruded onto the scene from the latter 1960s onward, poor performance was well-nigh guaranteed, and the character of the schools changed irrevocably for the worse insofar as the children’s learning was concerned. Decentralization had been the saving grace of the government schools, and once that had been effectively destroyed, no such grace remained: only a mass — and a mess — of rule-following, with many of the rules being more or less stupid or merely political in their instigation.

Well, that’s progress, they say. But I don’t see it that way. In my view, the developments in public schooling since my days as a student there more than fifty-five years ago have been overwhelmingly regrettable, and I doubt that many students today, even in the better suburban schools, come away with as valuable an education as the one I received in that long-ago time in a “backwoods” (in my case, back desert) high school.

Reprinted with permission from The Beacon. © Copyright 2016, Independent Institute.

Robert Higgs

Robert Higgs

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy for the Independent Institute and Editor at Large of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review.

He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.

Bill Gates Just Pumped $6.4M into California for Common Core

It seemed that Bill Gates’ Common Core push had cooled. As of June 01, 2016, I had seen no grants specific to Common Core listed on Gates’ “awarded grants” website. However, as of June 26, 2016, it seems that the first two Common Core grants for 2016 have indeed appeared on Gates’ site.

The combined amount for the two grants is $6.4 million.

Both are associated with California.

The first is to San Francisco-based WestEd. The Gates goal is to get teachers to buy into Common Core via WestEd’s “establishing local relationships”:


Date: May 2016
Purpose: to support and scale Common Core State Standards implementation and leverage established local relationships and teacher leaders to drive deeper use of high quality, standards-aligned tools and practices
Amount: $4,350,875

The second is to Cal State Fullerton for a one-day, statewide teacher pep rally that is supposed to ignite Common Core buy-in:

CSU Fullerton Auxiliary Services Corporation

Date: May 2016
Purpose: to convene large numbers of teachers on a single day in regions across the state of California to generate momentum around the singular impact of teachers on college and career readiness and directly impact teacher networking and collective practice, exposure to materials, resources and strategies for Common Core implementation
Amount: $2,000,000

So, it appears that Bill is still hanging in with his Common Core love– at least in California.

Meanwhile, his wife Melinda was in Washington, D.C., on Friday, June 24th, 2016, and she apparently worked hard not discussing Gates Foundation involvement in education, which, of course, includes not discussing the Gates role in Common Core.

As for those two May 2016 Common Core grants: It does not seem that Bill Gates and his foundation have learned any lesson about effecting change. They want a grass roots, Common Core buy-in– so they are still trying to purchase it.

Schools Shouldn’t Exercise Students Like Animals

One way to attack Western civilization is to change the learning environment from a quiet, contemplative one to a busy, communal one.

Recently I was horrified to find the latest missive from the U.S. Department of Education in my email inbox. It was the Teachers Edition newsletter, which is usually full of teaching tips, like getting kids interested in “The Old Man and the Sea” by having them reenact a crucifixion during Holy Week.

On April 23, 2016, there was no mention of Shakespeare or Ernest Hemingway. The top item was related to Earth Day: new U.S. Education Secretary John King announced Green Ribbon Schools Districts Sustainability Awards and a blog post by a Minnesota elementary school teacher discussed how teachers integrate “an active, outdoor learning component into existing lessons.”

But what really caught my eye was a photo of children lined up on stationary bikes, reading and pedaling away. It accompanied the article “In This Kinesthetic Classroom, Everyone’s Moving All Day.” It was about the “Active Brains” program at the Charles Pinckney Elementary School in Charleston, South Carolina, where “action-based learning” takes place in a classroom equipped with 15 stations featuring such things as mini basketball and stationary bikes, with each focused on different “academic tasks.”

A linked Washington Post article described another classroom, where 28 fifth-graders “sit at specially outfitted kinesthetic desks” or stand at them swaying, or pedal bikes, or march on climbers, while teacher Stacey Shoecraft delivers instruction from a strider at the front of the room. Shoecraft was keynote speaker at the “Kidsfit’s National Charleston Training” and has written a book, “Teaching Through Movement,” on the cover of which a grinning boy jumps into the air and a smiling girl sits on an exercise ball—like one I used when doing physical therapy for my back.

As if all this activity weren’t enough, an article headlined “Libraries Transforming from Quiet Places to Active Spaces” described the American Library Association’s new campaign to transform libraries from “quiet places of research” into “centers of community.” Instagram photos illustrated the concept with “collaborative work spaces, MakerSpaces, [and] bright displays.” The same day the Washington Post had set ten poems to animation in honor of National Poetry Month.

So When Do We Read Books?

As someone who found refuge in the quiet of the library and the order of the classroom as a child, I am disturbed by all this activity. As someone who taught college English for 20 years and saw students’ attention spans decline, I am saddened. My last year of teaching was in 2013, and by then only a couple students would raise their hands when I asked how many had had the experience of getting “lost in a book.” Only a couple had the patience to read carefully the assigned material by Frederick Douglass and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

I’d been observing the transition in teaching styles away from what I knew in the 1960s, when we sat up straight with both feet planted on the floor at desks in rows. Increasingly, news reports show classrooms with kids sprawled on the carpet, reading or writing, or gathered around tables putting objects together, or gabbling like pip-squeak ambassadors about global politics.

Such active learning has been popularized by teacher-celebrities, like Ron Clark, founder of the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta. At their annual meeting in 2009, I saw social studies teachers applaud him as he jumped onto a chair to describe how his school encouraged “fun!” with a bungee jump and slides instead of staircases (which teachers also use). We were then treated to a demonstration of students’ understanding of civics—through the performance of a rap song about the election.

At the community college where I was then teaching, the annual “faculty development” day featured a session where a popular biology professor rolled her shoulders and stepped side to side to demonstrate how she used dance moves to motivate students. I knew my efforts to adapt this method to discussions about poetic meter or punctuation would get nothing but laughter. It’s not what I signed up for when I earned my PhD and envisioned myself in the female version of the tweed jacket leading thoughtful discussions about John Donne.

At the Core of All This, an Insult to Children

Behind all this emphasis on movement is the effort to close the racial achievement gap, one of the primary objectives of Common Core, evidenced through emphasis on “speaking and listening skills” and “visual literacy.” It’s also evidenced by the U.S. Department of Education’s promotion of educational video games. Such strategies presumably address different learning styles that are said to cause the gap.

This is not a new theory, but one evolved from New Left teachers who founded “urban schools.” By 1988 the theory had gained so much acceptance that the New York State Board of Regents used it in a booklet about high drop-out rates for black students, according to The New York Times. The article explained that proponents argue that “black children require instructions that deal more with people than with symbols or abstractions.”

These educators asserted that black pupils “need more chances for expressive talking rather than writing” and “more freedom to move around the classroom without being rebuked for misbehavior. . . .” Back then the theory was controversial among educators. Today, the U.S. Department of Education promotes this kind of learning for all students.

Thomas Sowell’s recounting of statistics about the superior performance of some black schools against similarly situated white schools during segregation refutes such ultimately racist ideas. He is ignored. That’s because the evidence Sowell presents undermines the stereotypes the Left uses to achieve its ultimate goal: tearing down or significantly altering Western civilization. One way to do that is to change the learning environment from a quiet, contemplative one to a busy, communal one. This assault on “Eurocentrism,” or Western modes of thinking, was deliberate in the 1960s. It is now in the classroom.

Let’s Walk Our Students Like Dogs

Of course, those promoting the new kinesthetic teaching don’t say that. They talk about physical fitness (a problem, to be sure), “motivated” students, and superior test results.

But I wonder: will such strategies backfire? Will making students perform “academic tasks” on treadmills compel them to hate both exercise and learning? I think it might. Such mechanistic exercises, along with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program, remind me of President Kennedy’s “Physical Fitness in Schools” program and having to run around the perimeter of a scruffy fenced-in yard at Carthage School Number 8 in Rochester, New York.

As a first-grader, I thought it was ridiculous and boring—especially after I’d walked the mile to school and would walk home for lunch and then back, and then home. Of course, children don’t just walk. They run, and skip, and chase each other. Changing into our play clothes when we came home marked the transition to play time, full of tag, hopscotch, dodge ball, jumping rope, and riding bikes, and for the boys, the politically incorrect “cowboys and Indians” and “cops and robbers.”

I thought of this when I saw the picture of students on exercise machines. They reminded me of race horses being cooled down on mechanical walkers. “Academic tasks” sounds like dog training.

The decade of the 1960s brought many upheavals: assassinations, demonstrations, riots. My first-grade class was dismissed early on the day of President Kennedy’s assassination. The riots in adjoining neighborhoods brought over vandalism and violence in ensuing years. Children still played in the streets, though. I would become the exception as I assumed the role of caretaker for my younger sisters. Yet I still had the classroom and library as places of refuge. We were not put on machines; the mandatory runs ended.

I could also walk to the library with my cherished yellow library card. That quiet, mote-filled refuge, long disappeared in urban decay, held rows of books beckoning me to get lost in the wonderful stories. It’s sad that children today are deprived of such simple, quiet pleasures.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Federalist. The featured image of students exercising while reading is courtesy of Walnut Valley Unified.

No Retreat from Hillary’s Village: Clinton’s dream of sending federal agents into American homes

A campaign ad that Hillary Clinton used against Barack Obama in 2008 featured images of sleeping children, with a voice asking who would answer the phone ringing in the White House at 3 a.m., “someone who already knows the world leaders . . . the military,” someone “tested and ready to lead”—or (by implication) a first-term U.S. Senator/community organizer?

Hillary Clinton is running for president again, and of course is ignoring her failure as secretary of state to answer the late-night phone call coming from Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Instead, she is advertising how she wants to send federal emissaries into the homes of parents with newborn infants to teach them how to handle 3 a.m. feedings and baby talk. It’s an extension of her agenda as first lady in the Arkansas governor’s mansion and in the White House.  Her political career, after graduating and having written a thesis on friend Saul Alinsky, was launched with the Children’s Defense Fund under the direction of Marian Wright Edelman, agitator for increased welfare “for the children,” including federally funded childcare workers.

As president, Hillary Clinton would implement the Edelman/Alinsky domestic vision she put forward, in more palatable terms, in her 1996 book, It Takes a Village to Raise a Child. Of course, it takes someone like Clinton to see the federal government as a “village.”

In that book Clinton wrote, “government is not something outside us—something irrelevant or even alien to us—but is us.  To acknowledge this is to acknowledge that government has a responsibility not only to provide essential services but to bring individuals and communities together.”  This is the backwards notion of the community organizer.

Recently, in a May 21, 2016, Washington Post op-ed, Clinton revealed her totalizing domestic plans by reiterating her commitment to paid family leave legislation and to the “big idea” of “increasing federal investments and incentivizing states so that no family ever has to pay more than 10 percent of its income for child care.”

She also proposed doubling the investment in programs that she helped develop as first lady: Early Head Start and the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership program. Parroting bureaucrats, Clinton claimed, “These programs bring an evidenced-based curriculum to child care and make sure kids get the best possible start in life. . . . .”

She, however, ignores the studies, including one by the agency administering the program, that show that when Head Start does have a positive impact, it is slight and disappears by third grade.

Even so, Clinton wants to expand federal daycare, and also to send government agents into homes, following her efforts as first lady of Arkansas when she introduced the “Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters,” or “HIPPY.” Her campaign website boasts of a more recent feat, “As a leader at the Clinton Foundation,” when she “started a national public awareness campaign called ‘Too Small to Fail’ or ‘Pequeños y Valiosos’ aimed at closing the ‘word gap.’”

The Clinton Foundation, a purported charity (in reality a campaign slush fund with contributions helping friends’ business pursuits), is using the latest “gap” as the basis for the programs she hopes to enact as  president. The campaign site explains: “This gap refers to the 30 million fewer words heard by lower-income children by the time they are 4 years old, which leads to disparities in language development and school readiness.”  Low-income students already receive free breakfasts and lunches, even in the summer.  Under the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act they can look forward to attending “community schools,” where they will receive homework help, family dinners, and health and dental services.

Under Clinton’s plan, the federal government would provide childcare subsidies to families, raise the wages of childcare workers, and provide “home visiting services”—the latter to teach parents to talk to their children.  In It Takes a Village,Clinton celebrated England’s tradition of providing home visits through its national health service.  (She also bragged about her work on Goals 2000, the precursor to Common Core.)

Initiatives, like the one to end the “word gap” may sound head-scratching-ly bizarre to people who have been around babies, and made idiots of themselves by cooing and lapsing into inane talk.

But the studies that show that many low-income (i.e., single and government-dependent) parents do not speak to their young children are borne out by observation.

It is an uncomfortable subject for many leftists.  Anyone who has taken public transportation in cities like Atlanta, where it is mostly used by those who cannot afford cars, knows this–including one of my leftist friends. In traffic-choked Atlanta it made sense for her to commute to her job downtown via the rail line, a straight shot from her apartment.  She would save on time, car wear-and-tear, gas, and parking—not to mention “The Environment.”

But she stopped, explaining in an agonized voice that she couldn’t bear to watch how young mothers treated their children, with slaps and pulls, screaming abuses at them, at the train station.

Of course, no one would dare reprimand such parents.

So my friend retreated.  Leftist parents retreat by sending their children to private schools, while arguing for more funding for public schools.

The reaction is to retreat, to one’s car, and to vote for and advocate more government social programs so that “experts” can deal with such parents.  Leftists refuse to acknowledge that government programs that incentivize family breakdown and interfere with natural communities are the problem.

Conservatives, frustrated by the inability of political representatives to cut back on detrimental government programs and despairing at the takeover of education by radicals, retreat to far-flung suburbs, where they undertake the dual tasks of parenting and teaching.  No one can or should blame them.  In fact, they are to be commended.  When I taught college I could count on homeschooled students to be better educated and more motivated than students from public schools.

But with the retreat of such parents, public schools suffer.  It’s a vicious cycle, but the progressive’s solution (or opportunity) is to use the deterioration as an entrée to more government meddling.

Now, especially in Obama’s final year, we are witnessing the Washington overlords hounding the middle-class citizens into their retreats.  They are forcing “individuals and communities together” under Obama’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation of 2015.  The suburbs are being forced to build housing for the poor, who will bring their dysfunction to everything from the playground to the shopping mall.  As the feds impose their diktats on public spaces and private businesses, the homeschooling family will find fewer and fewer places where they are comfortable.  Under Obama’s Department of Education, they have found themselves forced to adhere to crazy Common Core standards if they want to pass GED tests, college entrance exams, and AP exams.  They find that many colleges now use Common Core test scores for placement in classes.  This overreach inspired many conservatives into activism and made Common Core part of the presidential campaign.

But as the presidential election approaches, many of the same conservatives are retreating–from the voting booth.  Morally repulsed by the profligate past, rhetoric, and impure ideology of presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, they vow to back a third-party candidate, write in a name, or just stay home and pray. They are impervious to arguments that their retreat makes a Hillary Clinton (Obama.2) presidency likely.

Surprisingly, the anti-Trump super PAC, Our Principles, as part of their attacks on Trump’s sexism, has been using statements about fatherhood that he made on the Howard Stern show in 2005.  Like the leftists, these Republicans take umbrage at Trump’s comments about husbands who relent to pressures and “act like the wife.”

Trump expressed traditional sentiments and said he believed in supplying “funds,” but not changing diapers or pushing a stroller through Central Park.  In contrast, I am reminded of one of many absurd helpful hints about fatherhood coming from the Obama administration.  Early on, a Father’s Day campaign that encouraged fathers’ involvement showed a picture of a burly father with his young daughter.  They were both painting their fingernails.

Voters should be asking themselves if they want the Big-Nanny-in-Chief sending government agents into homes.  Or do they want to become breadwinners again?

Why I am endorsing Teresa Mast for the Sarasota County School Board

Children under 17-years old are 23% of America’s population but are 100% of its future. It is critical to elect the right person to be on local school boards for the good of the children and the future of the nation.

I met with one such person. Her name is Teresa Mast. 

Teresa is running for the School Board of Sarasota County Florida. I seldom endorse candidates but Teresa is an exception because she is exceptional. Here are my reasons for endorsing Teresa:

  1. She is not a career politician. Teresa is a small business owner who cares about her family and community. She understands that for children to be successful, like her own two daughters, they must be taught how to think, not what to think.
  2. Teresa and her daughters have personally experienced both public and private schools. Teresa understands the pluses and minuses of each. She understands education as both a consumer and mother.
  3. Teresa unequivocally believes in local control. She rails against any and all federal interference or mandates put upon the children, teachers, administrators and local schools. She does not accept the idea that the federal government can dictate local policy by using the threat of withdrawing funds from schools. This is a matter of power over public education and the power belongs at the local level not in Washington, D.C.
  4. Teresa will operate in the sunshine. Parents, teachers and administrators must know what the school board is doing in what are now secret meetings held behind closed doors. Transparency is Teresa’s middle name.
  5. Teresa is a listener. She understands that for too long the communication in the district has been top down. She wants that changed so that students, parents, teachers and school based administrators are not only welcomed to speak at school board meetings, but are encouraged to do so. Teresa believes that voices from the schools must not be filtered by district staff, but rather heard without fear or retribution.
  6. Teresa will be an independent voice and vote. She is not afraid to disagree on issues that impact the children, be it transparency in spending, to text book adoption, to pro-school house policies and less district control and more power to the students, parents, teachers and school principals.
  7. Teresa is not a go-along to get-along person. She thinks and acts independently on behalf of the children and parents.
  8. Teresa is a people person. The people always come first.
  9. Teresa is a woman of character. After 23-years in the U.S. Army one becomes a judge of character. I know Teresa is an honorable woman who will do the right thing.

Teresa is refreshing in that she is the exact opposite of the person she is running against. 

In Sarasota County the school board is considered a nonpartisan race. It is anything but that.

Teresa is the only candidate with Republican values running in District 2. She is the only Republican running in District 2.

To learn more about Teresa Mast please click here.

EDITORS NOTE: Teresa Mast’s District 2 opponent is a career politician who has a long record of failing to put the children of Sarasota County first, believes in kowtowing to the federal Department of Education, has violated school board policy and Florida state statutes, is a collectivist with her only concern getting re-elected to continue business as usual. Teresa’s opponent is a “Charlie Crist republican”, who has been endorsed by the Democratic Party and holds the same values as President Obama and Hillary Clinton when it comes to public education. To learn more about Teresa’s opponent see the Related Articles below.


Sarasota School Board member Caroline Zucker politically attacks fellow board member during public meeting

School Board member Zucker hates voucher program that saves the district money, helps low income, homeless and minority families

Florida: Waste and Abuse at the Sarasota County School Board

Emailgate: Two Sarasota County School Board members violate Florida Law – will they be removed from office?

Oppose Common Core? You may be on the IRS Hit List!

This week, Dissident Prof had the honor of being among such luminaries as the Wetumpka (Alabama) Tea Party and NorCal Tea Party Patriots, as well as tea parties in such places as Clark Valley, Clinton County, Dallas, Dayton, Dupage, and with the Conservative Roundtable of Texas, and Conservative Women for a Better Future, a total of 426 organizations designated by the IRS as having the wrong “viewpoint” for non-profit status. Our applications for 501(c)(3) status were “flagged” and held up.  We were subjected to extra scrutiny when the IRS did respond.  Dissident Prof is a plaintiff in the class action lawsuit against the IRS.

After being stonewalled for over a year, we at Dissident Prof were asked to jump to and justify our stance on, among other things, but primarily, Common Core.  I had to account for every penny spent since I started with my own funds while working as a college instructor.  The IRS did everything short of scouring the files in my office in the basement of my house where I spent hours and hours writing and setting up the organization.

In the meantime, liberal groups like Better Georgia were inundating my inbox with appeals to turn Georgia “blue.”

Turns out that the list released this week is much longer than the original 298 identified by the IRS inspector general in May 2013.  Lo and behold, Better Georgia is on the list! According to PJ Media, “Lawyer Edward D. Greim said the list may have added some liberal targets as it came to light the agency was being investigated for singling out suspected right-wing groups.”

So nice to add Better Georgia and a sprinkling of Occupy groups.  Doesn’t look as bad.

As a Dissident Prof who had taught college English for nearly 20 years and had been researching and writing about Common Core from almost the time since the “standards” were dangled to the states in competition for stimulus money, I testified about its detrimental effects.  I also wrote about the disadvantage posed to volunteers, citizens, and tea party groups as public employees and Chamber of Commerce-funded pro-Common Core groups were allowed to speak and offer workshops at publicly funded “parental engagement” conferences on the wonders of Common Core.

At a state board of education meeting, after spending three minutes testifying as a giant clock ticked down the seconds, I listened incredulously as one board of education member congratulated herself and colleagues for allowing me and parents and volunteers three minutes to present our case without being “thrown in jail.”  It was a display of the wonder of “democracy” she declared, after allowing a state employee to wax on for 20 minutes about the upcoming “parental engagement” conference where Dana Rickman, of the Chamber of Commerce funded nonprofit floundered about, bamboozling parents about the wonders of Common Core.

IRS concern?IRS concern? For the privilege of addressing the state school board in the state in which I lived about how I thought Common Core would not prepare students for freshman composition and for daring to express my opinion in writing, I was presented by the IRS, 18 months after my application had been submitted and my $850 application check cashed, with the first information request (to be completed in about 2 weeks pronto!). Item 5 from Carly Young in the notorious Cincinnati office demanded:

It appears that a substantial portion of your website is devoted to your opposition to Common Core, including discussions of its negative impact and legislation intended to withdraw states from Common Core.  You also provided a direct link to a website that engages in legislative and/or political activities.  (See attached pages from your website.)

This activity appears to influence legislation, however [sic] you checked no to Part VIII, line 2a on your Form 1023.  Provide the following information.

a. Describe these activities in greater detail, including the percentage of your total expenditures and total time you intend to spend on these activities in the future.  For purposes of calculating the percentage of expenditures, allocate salaries, administrative, overhead, and other general expenditures to these activities using a reasonable method.  For purposes of calculating the percentage of time, include volunteer as well as employee hours.

b. Submit representative copies of the materials you prepare or distribute in furtherance of these activities.

Hmm, okay, let’s see.  I took the train to the state capitol and board of education headquarters in downtown Atlanta ($5.00 round trip).  I did not have at my disposal the school buses that were parked around the Georgia state capitol during a hearing on an anti-Common Core bill and that had been ordered by a school superintendent.  Nor did I have job-fearing public school teachers testifying for my viewpoint.

As I described in several articles, I and parents, teachers, and tea party members were told we should be glad for the privilege of having our freedom after being allowed to address our representatives in increments of one to three minutes.  Of course, after the self-congratulations on the “democratic process” and after being ignored, all anti-Common Core legislation was defeated.

In contrast, pro-Common Core lawmakers gave due deference to principals of non-profit groups like the Chamber of Commerce-supported Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE).

As I described in another article, GPEE then sent Dana Rickman to bamboozle parents selected by school districts about Common Core. This was done in a public facility with public support, ultimately.

The federal Common Core standards themselves were developed by well-connected non-profits with the support primarily of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which then funded Chambers of Commerce, which then funded groups like GPEE, which then lobbied against citzens’ wishes and left them with the final bill for Common Core.  I dared to testify against Common Core and thought that those who contributed to help me do my work should enjoy the same tax exemptions as Bill and Melinda Gates.

We did win 501(c)(3) status as I announced before–but not before undergoing costly delays and harassment.

To read more about the latest developments on the IRS case, go here

To read the list of names, go here.

Here are some of my Dissident Prof posts about Common Core:

Contraries, May 20, 2016

Contraries, Dec. 22, 2015

October 3, 2014 as well as professors of philosophy who specialize in “white privilege,” “teacher ambassadors” and the terrible outcomes of this administration’s policies, and on.

Founder of ‘Mayors Against Antisemitism’ fails to support Family Victimized by Antisemitic Retaliation

Newton, MA – The parent of a student subject to illegal, antisemitic retaliation by the Newton (MA) Public Schools (“NPS”) is speaking out about the rejection of her pleas to city officials and Jewish agencies to take action to keep her family safe.

According to state officials, the NPS and School Committee Chair Matthew Hills illegally retaliated against the student giving by a confidential letter from her student record to a newspaper and blog, which published confidential information from the letter as well as false and defamatory claims against the child’s parent.

The retaliation took place after biased material was removed at the parent’s instigation and two days after full-page advertisements criticizing the NPS, Superintendent David Fleishman, and Hills for allowing anti-Israel texts were published in Boston newspapers.

Mayors Against Antisemitism Setti Warren


The newspaper Newton Tab and blog village14 both published the confidential information. Village14 also published student’s name and address. Both falsely claimed that the parent belonged to the organization that published the advertisements, Americans for Peace and Tolerance (“APT”), which has been described as “incredibly racist and unfair” by U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, and as ‘anti-Islam’.

Both the parent and the organization that published the ads say she was not involved with either the organization or the ads. The parent has asked that her name be kept confidential.

The student’s family had been threatened by an anti-Israel activist and told by police not to allow their personal information to be published. The publication of their child’s name and address directly countered police advice and placed their children at risk.

Both the Tab and village14 refused to remove the confidential information even after the ruling that it was illegally obtained. Newton officials refused to help, even though the city was responsible for illegally transmitting the confidential letter for publication.

Neither Hills nor anyone else has been sanctioned for the illegal acts.

Retaliation by school officials has been an ongoing concern in Newton. Parents have spoken at School Committee meetings and read a statement about the fear of retaliation at a ‘community discussion’ about racism in city schools.

The Anti-Defamation League (“ADL”) rejected requests for assistance, including a request that the agency acknowledge that retaliating against a Jewish child for her parent’s objection to anti-Israel material constitutes antisemitism.

The ADL’s advice to the family was to ‘find a lawyer’. The family says that filing suit against the media and/or the city to remove the confidential information could cost up to $100,000.00 or more, which they do not have.

They would like the ADL or another agency to help them find an attorney who will take the matter on a contingency fee, deferred payment, or reduced fee basis.

The family has applied for assistance to over twenty Jewish and civil rights organizations and contacted over fifty attorneys without success.

The ADL and other Boston area Jewish agencies have consistently denied that any anti-Israel material exists in Newton schools, even though reputable organizations including the Committee on Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (“CAMERA”) and Verity Educate have issued reports showing that such material is assigned to students as ‘fact’.

Other Boston area Jewish communal agencies have followed suit.

Neither the School Committee nor Newton Mayor Setti Warren have responded to the family’s concerns.

Warren has been lauded by the American Jewish Committee (“AJC”) for his participation in their “Mayors Against Antisemitism” campaign. An AJC press release states that Warren “conceived the initiative”.

“The U.S. Jewish community is the wealthiest in the world”, said the parent. “Why is it turning its back on a Jewish child harmed by illegal and dangerous retaliation from people who are supposed to be keeping her safe?”

EDITORS NOTE: For more information, contact Evan Jacobi at NewtonExcellence@gmail.com

The Most Schooled Generation in History Is Miserable by Zachary Slayback

It’s said that sadness isn’t the opposite of happiness — boredom is.

A fully schooled generation has created a generation of bored adult children.With this in mind, is it any surprise that children, adolescents, and young adults today are so unhappy? Is it any surprise that so many turn to extending their schooled lives into structured activities as long as possible? Is it any surprise that when people don’t know what to do, they simply go to graduate school?

To understand this mass unhappiness and boredom with life — and the sudden uptick in quarter-life crises — look at where these young people have spent most of their lives.

What we see today in Millennials and younger is something henceforth unseen in the United States: a fully-schooled generation. Every young person, save the occasional homeschooler, today has been through schools. This means rich and poor, established and unestablished, and developed and undeveloped young adults have all been put through roughly the same exact system with the same general experiences for the last two decades of their lives.

School teaches them that life is broken into discernible chunks and that learning and personal development are to be seen as drudgery. Rather than teaching them how to foster a love of learning, a constantly-centralizing school regime in the US today teaches them to look for standards to be measured against.

Rather than helping give them the cognitive and philosophical tools necessary to lead fulfilled lives in the context of the world in which they live, schools remove them from this world and force them to develop these skills only after 18–25 years of being alive. Rather than allowing them to integrate themselves into the broader scheme of life and learn what they get fulfillment from achieving and what they don’t, school leaves fulfillment to five letter grades and a few minutes of recess.

“We destroy the love of learning in children, which is so strong when they are small, by encouraging and compelling them to work for petty and contemptible rewards, gold stars, or papers marked 100 and tacked to the wall, or A’s on report cards, or honor rolls, or dean’s lists, or Phi Beta Kappa keys, in short, for the ignoble satisfaction of feeling that they are better than someone else.” ~ John Holt

In short, school teaches apathy towards education and detachment from the world. School removes people from being forced to learn how to get fulfillment from a variety of activities and subjects and instead foists a handful of clunky subjects onto them hoping they meet state standards for “reading,”“mathematics,” “writing,” and “science.”

Extended Childhood

Not only this, but they’ve had childhood extended further into adulthood than any other generation before them. A young person today is considered a “child” much longer than a young person was 20 or 40 years ago. To treat a 16 year-old as a child in the 1960s would have been insulting. Today, it is commonplace.

Adult children wander the hallways of universities and workplaces today, less-equipped to find purpose and meaning than their predecessors. They can’t be entirely blamed for their anxiety and depression — their parents, teachers, and leaders put them through an institution and created a cultural norm that created the world they live in today.

“Once you understand the logic behind modern schooling, its tricks and traps are fairly easy to avoid. School trains children to be employees and consumers; teach your own to be leaders and adventurers. School trains children to obey reflexively; teach your own to think critically and independently. Well-schooled kids have a low threshold for boredom; help your own to develop an inner life so that they’ll never be bored.” ~ John Taylor Gatto

This is the perfect formula for creating a group of constantly bored people. They’ve been deprived of a chance to find meaning for themselves in subjects by engaging with them on a deep level and internalizing the responsibility necessary to live in the world. They’ve been cut off from opportunities to make real connections with people based on more than a lottery of ZIP codes for a decade. They’ve been taught that achievement is getting to the next level set by people outside of themselves.

Sadness isn’t the opposite of happiness — boredom is. A fully schooled generation has created a generation of bored adult children. It’s no wonder young people today seem so unhappy.

Originally appeared at zakslayback.com.

Zachary Slayback

Zachary Slayback

Zachary Slayback is the Business Development Director for Praxis, a one year program that trains future entrepreneurs. He writes regularly at ZakSlayback.com and can be contacted at zak@slayback.xyz.

‘Forgiving’ Government Employees’ Student Debt Is a Bad Idea by Jesse Saffron

Bills filed in the North Carolina General Assembly would provide student loan debt relief to “public interest” attorneys and to K-12 teachers. Both proposals are ill-advised.

Rather than erase debt for those in politically connected groups, lawmakers should work to address the root causes of skyrocketing college costs, which are borne by all North Carolina students through the tuition and fees they pay each semester. Of course, state taxpayers also cover those costs, with roughly $2.6 billion allotted annually to the University of North Carolina System.

One of the bills, H.B. 1015, would allocate $500,000 each year to the North Carolina Legal Education Assistance Fund—NC LEAF—to restore a loan repayment assistance program for public interest attorneys. (From 2002-03 through 2010-11, the program received more than $3 million from the state.)

In a Pope Center interview, the bill’s sponsor, Representative Sarah Stevens (R), said the funds would “entice attorneys to stay in the public defender’s office or District Attorney’s office” by helping to pay loans of staffers who earn less than $50,000. Stevens said she filed the bill at the behest of the N.C. Courts Commission, which is comprised of politicians (including Stevens), judges, district attorneys, and bar representatives.

Such loan forgiveness, however, is already offered at the federal level and is therefore duplicative. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, created in 2007, wipes out debt of qualified employees after ten years. In addition, income-based federal loan repayment programs created under the Obama Administration allow recent graduates to significantly reduce their monthly payments.

Because of such federal programs, even individuals with six-figure debt (the NC Legal Education Assistance Foundation—which would distribute LEAF funds—says the average debt of recent law school graduates is $110,000) can pay affordable monthly installments, and after twenty years have their outstanding balance erased.

Besides program duplication, publicly funded loan forgiveness presents an ethical problem. As my colleague George Leef argued last November, it is “extremely wasteful to lure students into high-cost degree programs with easy-to-get government loans, then saddle the taxpayers with the unpaid balance when the student later defaults or manages to qualify for loan forgiveness. That artificially inflates the demand for college credentials and helps to accelerate the constant increase in the cost of higher education.”

Since 1991 the state’s Legal Education Assistance Foundation has provided more than $5.8 million to more than 500 public interest attorneys. Almost half of that money came from donations from private law firms and various state attorney associations. Instead of shifting the majority of the costs of this program to taxpayers, it is better to let charity and attorney associations pick up the tab.

Another dubious proposal, House Bill 1031, would create the North Carolina Help Educators with Loan Payment Fund (HELP Fund) and dedicate $38.5 million of state lottery profits to reduce teachers’ debt burdens. The idea is that doing so would help to keep more educators in the state and address teacher shortages. The State Education Assistance Authority would operate the new government program, to pay up to $10,000 per year, for up to four years, of a teacher’s debt. Disbursements would depend on an individual’s ability to pay, as well as on whether he or she is assigned to a school in a low-income neighborhood or a rural part of the state. Teachers would have to stay in North Carolina for four years to receive loan forgiveness.

Defending the proposal in an interview with the Winston-Salem Journal, bill co-sponsor Representative Ed Hanes (D-Forsyth) said, “Our public school teachers are being financially squeezed at every turn. While we are working on raises, they simply aren’t coming fast enough. Our teachers and their families need relief.”

But Rep. Hanes is mistaken. According to the National Education Association, since 2013 North Carolina has topped the nation in terms of teacher pay increases. And as John Hood noted in Raleigh’s News & Observer, when factors such as cost of living and teacher age/experience are accounted for, it’s clear that state leaders have—contrary to criticism from left-leaning interest groups and teacher unions—treated educator salaries as a top priority.

Perhaps the biggest problem with Hanes’s proposal is that it is not tied to teacher quality. That was the argument made by Dr. Terry Stoops, the John Locke Foundation’s Director of Education Studies, in a recent Pope Center interview.

“The program would be more palatable if it guaranteed that only exceptional teachers would receive loan repayment,” he said. “I worry, however, that the program would benefit mediocre teachers, rather than those with a strong track record of raising student achievement.”

Aside from teacher quality, would the HELP Fund increase teacher retention?

“There is a limited body of research on the use of loan repayment as a teacher recruitment and retention tool, particularly for math, science, and special education teachers and/or those who teach in a low-performing school,” Stoops said. “It might make more sense to transfer the funds to the North Carolina Education Endowment Fund—Lt. Governor Dan Forest’s performance pay initiative—than to establish a new program and agency to run it.”

State policymakers are right to focus on student debt, which is a problem for many of North Carolina’s college graduates, not just those in teaching and legal professions. But a focus on the front-end of the problem, rising college costs, makes more sense.

Across the UNC System’s 16 schools, cost drivers include a rapidly swelling higher education bureaucracy; high instruction expenses resulting from low faculty teaching loads; and the continuation of low-enrollment degree programs. By addressing those issues, state policymakers would help reduce costs and student debt loads in the long run.

Providing special interest groups with a debt bailout would not.

This article appeared at the Pope Center.

Jesse Saffron

Jesse Saffron

Jesse Saffron is a writer and editor at the Pope Center.

Undoing the Damage of the Obama Regime: Disproportionate Discipline in Education

Certain students see themselves as “untouchable.” Oklahoma City Schools and other school districts forced to adopt the Department of Education’s “steps of action” can expect similar outcomes. As others have pointed out, all students, including minority students, are harmed when criminals and criminals-in-the-making are allowed to control our schools. One civics lesson students need to learn is that under our system of justice, the punishment fits the crime, not the race. That should be the policy of the next administration. The next attorney general should lift the diktats and restore justice in our schools.

On April 20, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it had reached an agreement with the Oklahoma City Public Schools to “address disproportionate discipline of black students.”  In chilling language, the press release stated, “Before the Department’s Office for Civil Rights had completed its probe, the district expressed an interest in resolving the case voluntarily.”

The school district was “voluntarily” resolving the case after feds charged that “black students were considerably overrepresented in all of the district’s disciplinary actions.”  They found that in the 2014/2015 school year black students accounted for 42 percent of in-school suspensions even though they represented only 26 percent of the population. Patterns of discrimination were also alleged for 2011/2012.

An early signal of this backwards thinking came on February 25, 2012, when Eric Holder, then Attorney General, gave a speech advancing the “school-to-prison pipeline” theory that claims that higher rates of punishment, which are due to racism, lead to higher drop-out and imprisonment rates. In January 2014 he put school districts on notice with a memo that stated that it is a violation of federal law to punish certain races more than others.  A particularly Orwellian section read, “Schools also violate Federal law when they evenhandedly implement facially neutral policies and practices that, although not adopted with the intent to discriminate, nonetheless have an unjustified effect of discriminating against students on the basis of race.”  In other words, in defiance of logic, the “effect,” the statistical outcome, can determine whether policies were neutral or just “facially neutral.”

Such an argument would be a hard sell with obvious and serious crimes, such as assault.  So the Department focuses on violations that are minor and open to interpretation.  The memo asked school officials to give a second look to such offenses as “being tardy to class, being in possession of a cellular phone, being found insubordinate, acting out, or not wearing the proper school uniform.”

The Department also charged Oklahoma City Schools with lack of clarity on “parameters of certain disciplinary actions . . . such as ‘defiance of authority’ and ‘disrespect.’”

Such infractions can fall under the category of “willful defiance,” which a number of school districts in California are eliminating as a category for punishment. The Daily Caller reported in May 2015 that Oakland schools were joining a number of other California districts in lessening or eliminating punishment for such behavior as ignoring or swearing at teachers, sleeping, or texting.

As part of its “voluntary” compliance agreement, the Oklahoma City school district has agreed to take “twelve steps of action,” including hiring a “discipline supervisor” and expert advisors; training staff, students, and parents; and making other efforts to change school “climate.”  “Resources” for “positive discipline” are offered at the Office of Civil Rights’ “Rethink Discipline” website.  It, however, only provides links to videos and left-wing groups.  One, Teachers Unite, promotes “restorative justice,” a practice that often involves a lot of talking and “apologies.”

The Link to Black Lives Matter

The basis for such harmful policies—the idea that black students are punished disproportionately because of their race—is not borne out by the evidence.  A 2014 study in the Journal of Criminal Justice showed that suspensions were given on the basis of students’ behavior.

It is radical groups, like the Black Lives Matter movement, that are providing the charges, according to A.P.Dillon, a North Carolina blogger, researcher, and writer.  She exposes the agents promoting the “school-to-prison” pipeline theory, a term coined by radical sociology professor Nancy Heitzag in 2009.

Dillon has been writing about a case in Wake County.  In January 2014, the North Carolina NAACP, the ACLU, and several “school to prison” groups filed suit against Wake County Schools and the Wake County Sheriffs alleging a “pattern of discrimination and unlawful criminalization.”

In an April 15, 2016, blog post on a public hearing on school discipline, Dillon provided additional information on the left-wing groups that provide the “statistics” behind the complaints.  These include Youth Organizing Institute, NC HEAT, Education Justice Alliance, Dignity in Schools, and Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African-American Children. The students who make the complaints have been indoctrinated and radicalized by such student groups as NC Student Power Union, remnants of Occupy Chapel Hill, the Southern Vision Alliance, NC HEAT, and Youth Organizing Institute.

I wanted to know who brought charges in Oklahoma City and how many schools are being investigated, but received no reply to multiple telephone calls and emails to the Department of Education.

The Outcomes?

What will the outcomes be?

We can get a foretaste from Minneapolis schools, whose superintendant, Valeria Silva, led the way.  Silva sees “defiance, disrespect, and disruption” as “subjective behaviors.”  In 2011, the district adopted a “Strong Schools, Strong Communities” plan that replaced suspension for “continual willful disobedience” with “restorative justice.” For $2 million, “diversity” consultant Pacific Educational Group taught teachers that their “white privilege” distorted their judgment.

The result, as Katherine Kersten reports, is that certain students see themselves as “untouchable.”  High school students, who come to school only for the free breakfasts, lunches, and WiFi, roam uncontrolled through hallways.  They invade classrooms, riot, and body-slam teachers.  In elementary schools, students spew obscenities, knock over chairs and trash cans, and attack each other, as teachers stand by helplessly.

Oklahoma City Schools and other school districts forced to adopt the Department’s “steps of action” can expect similar outcomes.  As others have pointed out, all students, including minority students, are harmed when criminals and criminals-in-the-making are allowed to control our schools.

One civics lesson students need to learn is that under our system of justice, the punishment fits the crime, not the race.

That should be the policy of the next administration.  The next attorney general should lift these diktats and restore justice in our schools.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research website.

Florida Atlantic University Professor Defends Horrific 7th Century Islamic punishment

People who attended a recent Islamophobia conference on the campus of Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton, Florida, may have thought themselves teleported to Saudi Arabia when listening to one of the expert panelists advocate for the chopping off of hands as a perfectly acceptable way to discourage theft.

The conference called, Islamophobia, Voices from the Muslim Community, was in the form of a panel discussion, and put on by the Muslim Student Association (MSA). Three of the five panelists, incidentally, are linked to terrorism themselves. According to Joe Kaufman with FrontPage Mag, they are,

“They are Maulana Shafayat Mohamed, the imam of the Darul Uloom mosque, located in Pembroke Pines, Florida; Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, the legal counsel for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); and Bassem Abdo Alhalabi (al-Halabi), an Associate Professor at FAU.”

It happened to be the Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering Associate Professor, Bassem al-Halabi, who made the incredible statement in front of the Florida crowd. It was Tom Trento and his group from The United West, an organization that is dedicated to defending and advancing Western Civilization against the kinetic and cultural onslaught of Shariah Islam, who captured the professor advocating for Shariah. See video on Brietbart.

Al-Halabi said,

“Shariah is being practiced in the United States. We at the Islamic Center of Boca Raton practice Shariah, if someone doesn’t know. When there’s no Shariah, Islamic Shariah, they die in dozens and hundreds every day because of organized crime. People kill people, other people for steal pizza for ten dollars and so.

So when Islamic Shariah is saying about capital punishment, so even though it sounds very severe, but if that is the solution to prevent any crimes then it still has a lot of rule and regulations. I will just mention one and stop here which is. Let’s say cutting the hand off a person if they steal. It sounds very severe, it sounds very barbaric I know, but if it takes one or two people to have their hands cut off and then there is no more stealing in the whole nation that’s a much better resolution than having hundreds of people die every day.”

Several thoughts come to mind after realizing what he said.

  1. Rather cynically, I wonder what other crime besides theft al-Halabi’s Shariah could “fix” by chopping off body parts. Because, it seems like sexual assaults by Muslim immigrant males all over the world is something that is totally out of control. It has been grossly under-reported in Europe because of the negative publicity to those countries. I’m sure tourism to Sweden, France, Norway, and Austria must be in decline because of it. If Sweden is the rape capital of the West, I can’t imagine too many people who would want to venture into that atmosphere. Maybe al-Halabi could propose that practice here in America along with the cutting off of hands for theft. Of course this is highly unlikely because, according to Bill Warner’s book, Sharia Law for Non-Muslims, the Shariah allows for: men to beat their wives, take the testimony of a woman to be worth only half of a man’s, encourages Female Genital Mutilation, and stoning for adultery. Therefore, I don’t think the males would be punished in the extreme for harming females in a sexual way.
  2. The Muslim Student Association (MSA), of which Professor al-Halabi is an advisor, is a Muslim Brotherhood related front organization that has been in service to spread Islam in America since 1963 when the first chapter was formed at the University of Illinois. With that simple fact, it seems way past time to ban the MSA from all college and university campuses. They are seditious in that they practice and pay allegiance to the Shariah, and seek to overthrow our Constitution.
  3. The Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas, according to Shariah, the Threat to America, says this about its numerous front groups, “In order to be considered by the Muslim Brotherhood to be one of ‘our organizations’…all these entities had to have embraced the aforementioned Ikhwan (the brothers) creed: ‘Allah is our goal; the Messenger is our guide; the Koran is our law; Jihad is our means; and martyrdom in the way of Allah is our inspiration.”
  4. How ironic for the panelists to whine about being victims and experiencing hardships in our country from others because they are Muslim. Maybe they need to look at footage of gang rapes, beheadings, crucifixions, terrorist attacks, and burnings of non-Muslims around the world and in our country simply because they aren’t Muslim.
  5. Maybe if our Congress would have the spine to stand up and actually make good on their oath of office to defend the country from enemies both foreign and domestic, they would vote for HR3892, a bill in the House to request the State Department to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Maybe then we could deport those associated with Muslim Brotherhood to an Islamic state, starting with the ones on the panel. After all, it would be better for them to practice the Shariah in another country, instead of trying to ruin ours.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood here in America, like this professor, are in positions of influence throughout our country whether it be in government, institutes of higher learning, doctors, lawyers and the like, or are active in the numerous front groups like the MSA, CAIR, or Muslim American Society. What is in their heart is the Shariah, as al-Halabi apparently let slip out of his mouth the other day. They are indeed terrorists in sheep’s clothing.


The Face of Evil: Surveying the ISIS Killing Fields in Northern Iraq

1 Year After Steinle Death, San Francisco Unveils Immigration Policy Keeping ‘Sanctuary’ Protections

Georgia: Muslim woman in burqa attacks family with American flag

EDITORS NOTE: Readers may click here to send an email to urge Florida Atlantic University officials to terminate the employment of Professor Bassem Alhalabi for praising Sharia backed punishment of cutting off hands and his ties to Islamist extremism.

Kindergartner Suspended for Princess Bubble Gun

Early last week, school officials at Southeast Elementary in Brighton, Colo. suspended a 5-year-old kindergartner for bringing a “fake weapon” to school. Illustrating the fanatical manner in which school weapons policies are enforced throughout the country, the “weapon” in question was a battery-powered clear plastic gun that blows bubbles when the trigger is pulled. The item’s clear plastic construction may not have been enough for the administrators to distinguish it from an actual weapon, but if the zealots had been in less of a fervor to punish the young student they might have noticed the portrait of two Disney princesses on the toy.

In an interview with Denver’s KDVR, the young girl’s mother made clear that she was upset with how her daughter had been treated, telling a reporter, “If they had contacted me and said can you make sure this doesn’t happen again, we just want you to be aware, I think that would have been a more appropriate way to handle the situation. Could we have a warning? It blows bubbles.”

Princess Bubble Gun

Princess Bubble Gun

Despite attention from the local media, Southeast Elementary officials issued the following statement defending their actions:

While we hear and understand the parents of this student being concerned about this discipline in light of the student’s age and type of item, this suspension is consistent with our district policy as well as how Southeast has handled similar situations throughout this school year. This has involved similar situations where students have brought items such as Nerf guns to school and also received one-day suspensions. The bringing of weapons, real or facsimile, to our schools by students can not only create a potential safety concern but also cause a distraction for our students in the learning process. Our schools, particularly Southeast because of past instances with students bringing fake weapons to school, make a point of asking parents to be partners in making sure students are not bringing these items to school. This includes asking parents to check backpacks.

Note the word “facsimile.” The Southeast Elementary Student Code of Conduct cites a school district weapons policy that states:

Carrying, using, actively displaying or threatening with the use of a firearm facsimile that could reasonably be mistaken for an actual firearm on district property, when being transported in vehicles dispatched by the district or one of its schools, during a school sponsored or district-sponsored activity or event, and off school property when such conduct has a reasonable connection to school or any district curricular or non-curricular event without the authorization of the school or school district is prohibited. Students who violate this policy provision may be subject to disciplinary action including but not limited to suspension and/or expulsion.

Facsimile typically connotes an exact copy, however, the policy does broaden the definition to allow for punishment if a student brings an item that “could reasonably be mistaken for a firearm.” It is hard to imagine how any reasonable person could mistake a clear, Disney-branded bubble toy for an actual firearm. But, here lies the problem, this kindergartner was clearly not interacting with reasonable individuals. Worse, the school’s response reveals that this type of unreasonable behavior is standard procedure for the school’s administrators.

Incidents like this are why NRA has supported legislation in some states to protect children and parents from the abuse of weapons policies by overzealous school officials. In Florida, NRA helped enact the “Right to be a Kid” Act, also known as the “Pop Tart” bill – referring to a well-publicized incident where a student was disciplined for chewing a breakfast pastry into the shape of a firearm. This law targets some of the worst abuses, by making clear that “Simulating a firearm or weapon while playing or wearing clothing or accessories that depict a firearm or weapon or express an opinion regarding a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is not grounds for disciplinary action or referral to the criminal justice or juvenile justice system.”

Given an apparent pattern of weapons policy abuse by Southeast Elementary school administrators, Colorado lawmakers would be wise to better define how school officials deal with innocuous toys and other harmless items and behavior. Such harmful encounters with school officials can have a lasting negative effect on students. As the mother in this this case explained to a reporter, “What bugs me is this is going to be something they can refer to if we have any issues in the future which I don’t foresee, but it’s always going to be lingering there in her school file.”

Syrians instead of Americans are receiving life-changing scholarships

According to at least 60 colleges around the country who are involved in tagging Syrians to receive the millions of dollars in free education and boarding, it was pressure from the students that made them do it.

When one thinks of most college students these days, you don’t envision many with a grasp on world affairs, rather what comes to mind are the “people on the street” interviews which reveal this group to have a lack of understanding of simple things like, “Who is our vice-president, or What war did we fight for our independence?”

But, supposedly graduate students, student governments, and regular run-of-the-mill students are reported to have pushed for the colleges and universities to give scholarships to Syrian refugees. I’m not buying that.

What makes more sense is the involvement of a non-profit group called the IIE Syria Consortium for Higher Education in Crisis who is pushing a campaign called the “No Lost Generation.”

According to their website the Syrian project was started in 2012 at the Clinton Global Initiative. Its original partners are,

“Institute for International Education (IIE), Jusoor, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), and the U.S. Department of State joined by the Global Platform for Syrian Students, Kaplan Test Prep International, and the University of California, Davis.”

It goes on further,

“The Consortium provides emergency support to Syrian university students and professors, as they will be so urgently needed to help rebuild Syria.”

It is highly unlikely these students will return to their country of Syria after receiving post-graduate, masters and doctorate degrees from our most prestigious universities. Instead they will inhabit the few high-paying jobs that are available in Obama’s economy and will have essentially killed the aspirations of some other truly deserving American who has studied all of his/her life in order to attempt to live the ever dwindling American dream.

According to Elizabeth Graddy who is the vice provost of academic and faculty affairs at The University of Southern California,

“A university with the stature and profile of USC must ensure that students and scholars of all backgrounds are afforded the opportunity to be part of a culture of academic excellence,”

She continued,

“Our participation in the IIE Syria Consortium speaks to our commitment to the public good and to our status as a global university by assisting those whose educations have been hindered by turmoil and warfare.”

Since when do American Universities carry the responsibility to educate students “globally”? I wonder if the parents of the American USC students even consider the fact they fork out the big bucks for their children to go to this school, only to turn around and have it award scholarships to non-Americans who will take careers right out from under their kids in the future.

I guess this kind of multicultural, open-borders talk isn’t surprising coming from someone in a leading academic role of one of our higher institutions for learning, but is there any possibility these schools could actually help Americans achieve their dreams?

Not all colleges are bending to the pressure from their students. According to The Spokesman Review,

“At least one college, though, questions whether it’s legal to earmark financial aid for Syrian students. The University of Colorado Boulder rejected a petition asking to create scholarships for Syrian students, saying it would violate a federal law banning discrimination based on national origin. The school says it already offers other financial aid to help international students, including Syrians.”

The article goes on further to explain how the colleges who are offering the scholarships are being more lax on their English language requirements and are moving from a standardized test to an online interview, often allowing the foreign student to scan copies of their transcripts when the original can’t be found.

This seems to expedite the means of getting the Syrian student onto American soil, and sounds very much like our Department of Homeland Security’s vetting system, a simple interview.

If its one thing Obama has definitely done in his tenure, it would be making sure Americans are the last in line. This includes our veterans, tax-paying citizens, our needy and impoverished, and now college students. Maybe the parents who are funding these institutions should start demanding things of their own and start putting pressure on the academic leaders to supply Americans with opportunities first.