Tag Archive for: Critical Race Theory

Biden, Democrats ‘Intent on Destroying Our Military’ through DEI, CRT: Congressman

President Joe Biden’s insistence that the military indoctrinate soldiers in left-wing orthodoxy by demanding a record-setting budget for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) proves he is “intent on destroying our military by dividing us further,” a congressman says.

The Biden administration’s Department of Defense has requested $114.7 million to teach “diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility” (DEIA) to the U.S. armed forces and deeply embed “DEIA values, objectives, and considerations in how we do business and execute our missions.” The budget request in the pending National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) shows the budget dedicated to teaching the race-based ideology in the U.S. military increasing from $68 million in 2022 to $86.5 million in the last fiscal year.

Democrats, who have often been accused of transforming the military from an elite fighting force into an experiment for social engineering, seem to want to transform the U.S. military into a safe space, according to the Biden administration’s official Fiscal Year 2024 budget request. “The Department is committed to building a safe environment to serve. This includes fully embracing a diversity of backgrounds, experience, and thought to build unity within the DoD,” says the document, released in March.

It notes the Biden administration “continues its efforts to eliminate” alleged “extremism, and discrimination” in the military. “Furthering DEI” will allow the administration to create a purported “climate of inclusion that supports diversity … free from problematic behaviors.”

DEI teaches “principles that are critical … They are not simply about building a workforce; they are the cornerstone of the human element of warfighting and national security.”

The document mentions the term “diversity” 18 times.

The Defense Department’s more recent Strategic Management Plan (SMP) for Fiscal Years 2022 – 2026 mentions “diversity” 27 times.

The Democrats’ plan to foist DEI and other left-wing orthodoxies on the armed services is “doing nothing but divide us in the military, dividing our nation,” said Rep. Mark Alford (R-Mo.) on Tuesday’s “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins.”

“This administration and the Obama administration before them are intent on destroying our military by dividing us further,” Alford told Perkins. The refusal of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to consider House amendments stripping left-wing ideological funding from the NDAA is “part of this master plan to keep this DEI and the CRT [critical race theory] going in the military after we have offered successfully amendment after amendment to get rid of these programs.”

House Republicans’ version of the NDAA, which funds U.S. military priorities for the coming year, would “take out the critical race theory and DEI stuff” in order “to limit the abuses and the Woke” agenda the Biden administration wants to push on the military, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) told Perkins on Wednesday.

Both congressmen emphasized the fact that divisive left-wing ideology that reduces all transactions to “power” based on race, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity corrodes military unit cohesion and retards readiness. “There is a reason that they wear uniforms in the military, that is to make people uniform and to concentrate on skin color or what gender they use,” said Alford. “The Communist Chinese simply don’t care” about these concepts, as they prepare for a potential showdown with the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific in a potential clash over Taiwan.

Roy agreed that Biden’s single-minded focus on promoting DEI and “abortion tourism” represents a distraction” from the military’s purpose.

The budget request drew sharp backlash from Republican House members this week. “The Biden admin’s focus on progressivism over warfighting continues to exacerbate the military recruiting crisis and calls into question our level of military preparedness,” said Republicans on the House Oversight Committee. “Does Joe Biden want the military to be a lethal fighting force or a clown show?” asked Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on X.

The Biden administration has long signaled its commitment to DEI and critical race theory, an ideology created by professed Marxists in the 1970s that has become the dominant organizing principle of U.S. institutions after the 2020 death of George Floyd. In June 2021, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told Congress he read CRT books, because “I want to understand white rage.”

But critics say the Biden administration’s focus on DEI/CRT, the use of preferred pronouns, the deadly U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the continued threat of intervening in wars of choice such as Ukraine have led to a military recruitment emergency. Milley’s branch of the armed services, the U.S. Army, fell 10,000 soldiers short of its 65,000 soldier recruitment goal in the past year.

“I would imagine we’ll settle on something lower than 65,000 for 2024,” admitted Christine Wormuth, Biden’s secretary of the Army.

“We need our military laser-focused on defending the nation, not on woke training seminars,” said Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.). “Congress can’t continue to rubber-stamp this superfluous spending.”

AUTHOR

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

RELATED ARTICLE: U.S. Police Face Hiring Crisis: ‘I’m Drowning in This Politically-Charged Atmosphere’

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

‘White Rage’: General Mark Milley Leaves Behind A Checkered Legacy

  • Gen. Mark Milley retired Friday after serving four years as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
  • Some view Milley as an upstanding adviser and protector of democracy, but many conservative leaders deride him as a political actor too willing to make his views on controversial progressive policies known.
  • “It’s his nature to pitch into a fight if he sees one going on,” retired Lt. Col. Thomas Spoehr, who served with Milley in the Pentagon, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Gen. Mark Milley retired Friday after serving four years as the top military adviser to the president and the secretary of defense. He is perhaps the most well-known individual to ever serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a development that seems likely to color his legacy for years to come.

Milley’s term was punctuated with crises: the Afghanistan withdrawal, nuclear tensions with Iran and North Korea, defense of Taiwan and Ukraine against would-be conquerors, and domestic turmoil. While some venerate Milley as an American hero who shepherded democracy through a chaotic administration turnover, many conservatives deride him as a political actor who obediently went along with the Biden administration’s progressive agenda.

“General Milley destroyed the U.S military’s 250-year tradition of staying above partisan politics. That’s his legacy,” Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, a Navy reserve veteran who serves on the Armed Services Committee and leads the House Anti-Woke Caucus, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Milley was a brash, combative former special operations officer with strong opinions informed by his four decades of experience in the Army and his deep affinity for history and literature, retired Lt. Col. Thomas Spoehr, who served with Milley in the Pentagon, told the DCNF.

Former President Donald Trump, who appointed Milley as chairman, is thought to have appreciated Milley’s machismo and appearance as the general’s general.

“​​He kind of really seemed to have a warrior’s mentality. He was clearly an officer who wasn’t afraid to say what he thought. Or so it seemed,” retired Maj. Chase Spears, a former Army public affairs officer, told the DCNF.

The DCNF spoke to multiple current and former officials who served alongside Milley as well as several military experts to form a fuller picture of the former chairman’s tenure. Milley, through a spokesperson, did not respond to questions.

As chairman, Milley’s job was to advise the president and the secretary of defense on national-security threats and operations abroad and maintain military communication channels with friends and adversaries.

“Sometimes, that advice would be misinterpreted or purposely used by others for political purposes despite trying very hard to avoid politics,” Col. Dave Butler, Milley’s spokesman, told the DCNF.

Yet, Milley has shown willingness to delve into political fights and mud sling when it suits him, experts told the DCNF. In his farewell speech, Milley said the military does not answer to a “wannabe dictator,” which many interpreted as a jab at former President Trump.

In a June 2021 House Armed Services Committee hearing, Milley gave a full-throated defense of the Biden administration’s budget request for funding to purge “domestic extremists” from its ranks.

“There is no room in uniform for anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the values of the United States of America,” Milley said during the hearing.

Milley himself seemed to be aware of how he was being perceived. Speaking in November 2021 before the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, Milley lamented that he had “become a lightning rod for the politicization of the military,” targeted by both Republicans and Democrats, the transcript shows.

“It’s his nature to pitch into a fight if he sees one going on,” Spoehr told the DCNF.

Some congressional Democrats criticized Milley for defending the strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Suleimani, leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force in January 2020, according to CNN.

Then, Milley was blasted by Republicans when he apologized for having joined Trump in a march across Lafayette Square after the square had been cleared of people protesting the killing of George Floyd in 2020. Milley said he did not mean to give the impression the military had taken sides in a political fight.

Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, called Milley’s apology video “self-serving.”

The apology proved the first major incident in a trend lasting for the next four years of his career through two politically opposed administrations. Milley would often project disdain for interfering in politics, but then make exceptions in crisis situations or to defend core military values.

Milley “tried his hardest to actively stay out of politics,” but if extraordinary events demanded he step in, “so be it,” an unnamed official told CNN in July 2021.

Perhaps Milley’s most politically perilous moment came after he admitted holding two calls with his Chinese counterpart in October 2020 and January 2021 during the tumultuous administration handover. Lawmakers hammered Milley for his actions months later during a September 2021 hearing. Milley defended his actions as apolitical and in the interest of national security.

“I firmly believe in civilian control of the military as a bedrock principle essential to the health of this republic, and I am committed to ensuring the military stays clear of domestic politics,” he told Congress.

This was a refrain he would reiterate time and time again.

“He’s been saying those things for as long as I’ve known him. And I do think he’s true to those words,” said Spoehr.

‘A Tight Rope To Walk’

Others have pointed to Milley’s willingness to defend social policies in the military and to comment on broader trends in society as undermining the very norm of the apolitical military he claims to embrace.

Milley showed himself “willing to wade into topics that many including myself would argue are beyond the scope of the Joint Chiefs,” said Spears, the former Army public affairs officer.

In the days following the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, Milley took it upon himself to “land the plane” as he and other leading national security officials worried the former president was displaying increasingly erratic behavior, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa reported in their book “Peril.”

Woodward and Costa portray Milley’s acts — including convening a “secret” meeting of senior military officials involved in nuclear command and control on Jan. 8 to review the procedures for launching nuclear weapons — as orchestrating the peaceful transfer of power and restraining a rogue president from triggering an international crisis.

In November 2021, Milley told House lawmakers about a January 8 phone call he had with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who he described as “quite animated.” During this call, Milley sought to “assure her” of the security of the nation’s nuclear weapons systems.

“It’s clearly recognized that the President and only the President can authorize the launch,” Milley said, “so he, alone, can authorize the launch, but he doesn’t launch alone.”

“Best practice suggests that ‘regular order is your friend,’” Peter Feaver, an expert in civil-military relations who previously taught Milley, told the DCNF. But the military has no role in the democratic transfer of power from one administration to the next, Feaver said.

Many in the media framed Milley’s actions in the latter days of the Trump administration as heroic measures taken to safeguard democracy. Milley “saved the constitution” from Trump, The Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in a glowing Nov. 2023 profile.

But, the savior of American democracy is not how Milley wants to be remembered.

“He would prefer not to be portrayed in that light,” a senior military official close to Milley told the DCNF.

While the chairman does not have command authority, he does serve at the top of the “chain of communication.” Some experts have argued this can give the chairman undue influence on policymaking.

“There’s a tightrope to walk here,” Bret Devereaux, a military historian who teaches at North Carolina State University, told the DCNF. “He’s expected to speak for the military as an institution and while, as an institution, the military does not have politics, it does have policies. In his capacity as an advisor, he advocates for certain policies.”

Milley repeatedly considered resigning during the Trump administration, according to reports. He felt Trump was “doing great and irreparable harm” to America and “ruining the international order,” according to a copy of the resignation letter included in Susan Glasser and Peter Baker’s “The Divider.” But resigning in protest of a legal policy with which he disagreed would be the “consummate political act,” Milley said, and he never submitted the letter.

“Milley concluded that difficult times do not release him from a duty to uphold those norms and traditions,” said Devereaux. “Milley was put in a situation where those two parts of the oath might conflict. He might have to say that the president himself was the constitutional danger.”

In the end, Milley testified to Congress that he never received an illegal order. Milley also admitted to speaking with reporters, including Woodward, who were working on books about the Trump administration. The former joint chief also said he spoke to Leonning and Rucker, for their book, and to Michael Bender, for his.

Milley’s expansive media presence “comes with some clear downsides since it means he becomes part of many stories that he probably could have stayed out of, or at least minimized,” Feaver explained.

“I don’t think that served him well. I don’t think it served the country well, for him to be talking to those guys,” Spoehr added.

‘White Rage’

Milley may also not have been served well by his outspoken defense of “woke” Biden administration defense policies and his willingness to wade into the culture wars.

“I want to understand white rage, and I’m white, and I want to understand it,” Milley said, deflecting criticism of Critical Race Theory being taught at West Point, during the June 2021 hearing. “What is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out.”

Republicans in Congress who see CRT as antithetical to American values derided Milley.

“That was a partisan political question, framed in a particularly partisan way, and so he could have and should have deferred to the political figure on his side of the hearing table,” Feaver said.

In a CNN interview on Sept. 17, just weeks before his retirement, Milley pushed back against assertions the military had gone “woke.”

“The military is a lot of things, but woke, it’s not,” Milley said. “So I take exception to that. I think that people say those things for reasons that are their own reasons, but it’s not true. It’s not accurate. It’s not a broad-brush description of the U.S. military as it exists today.”

When Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville held up military promotions in opposition to a new Pentagon policy facilitating abortion access, Milley elaborated on the detrimental impact it could have on military readiness. But he declined to comment on the policy itself.

“I don’t want to enter into the whole discussion of abortion and the culture war. I’m staying out of all that,” he told the Washington Post.

The accusation of wokeness “certainly wasn’t something that we expected to have to deal with,” Butler, Milley’s spokesman, told the DCNF. “We did not expect that to be a new issue brought up by Congress or anybody else.”

Nor does the chairman have time to spend focusing or advising on internal personnel policies when he has global crises to attend to, Butler said. Butler estimated Milley spent 13 hours each day on external threats and operations, and maybe one on other issues.

‘Some Very Difficult Dives’

Just two months after the “white rage” comment, Milley would be dealing with a catastrophe abroad.

Afghanistan collapsed amid the U.S. military withdrawal much faster than administration analysts expected. Both Trump and Biden sought to wipe out the military’s footprint in Afghanistan and end the war. But they planned for the Afghan army to resist the Taliban. It didn’t.

At the September 2021 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Milley echoed Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina in calling the Afghanistan evacuation “a logistical success, but a strategic failure.”

Milley did not explicitly describe conversations with the presidents, but he made it easy to deduce both Biden and Trump had resisted his “best military advice” to maintain a contingent of American troops in Afghanistan. Military leaders’ advice to Biden in the lead-up to the withdrawal had not changed from the previous fall, and that his opinion was to keep 2,500 troops in country. He had also pushed back on a signed order directing a full withdrawal by January, according to his testimony. Trump rescinded the order.

“Based on my advice and the advice of the commanders, then-Secretary of Defense Esper submitted a memorandum on 9 November, recommending to maintain U.S. forces at a level between about 2,500 and 4,500 in Afghanistan until conditions were met for further reductions,” Milley said in his testimony.

A national security official close to the situation told the DCNF that Milley repeatedly warned Biden “of the risks of a poorly-timed withdrawal by recounting details from the chaotic 1975 Saigon evacuation.” in the hours before the president announced his decision in April 2021.

Likewise, Milley saw Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine coming, The New York Times reported.  He is blunt and level-headed in his assessment of Russia’s capabilities and Ukraine’s challenges — and he has often proven correct, according to Spoehr.

“He’s been a very good chairman,” Spoehr told the DCNF.

As Milley closed out his career, high-level military communication between the U.S. and China, America’s greatest competitor, had been stalled for more than a year. The war between Russia and Ukraine shows no signs of abating. And his successor, Air Force Gen. C.Q. Brown, faces the same culture war pressures.

Military leaders should be judged like Olympic divers, “taking into account the difficulty of the dive they have to do,” Feaver told DCNF. “Circumstances have conspired to force General Milley to do some very difficult dives. Even though he has kicked up some splash that does not necessarily mean he has under-performed.”

AUTHOR

MICAELA BURROW

Investigative reporter, defense.

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Florida Law Defunds DEI in Higher Ed

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) on Monday signed three bills to excise woke ideology from state higher education institutions and promote productive education goals.

SB 266 will “prohibit institutions from spending federal or state dollars on discriminatory initiatives, such as so called ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)’ programs,” the governor’s office summarized in a press release. HB 931 will “prohibit Florida’s public institutions from requiring students, faculty, or staff to take political loyalty tests,” and SB 240 will “expand workforce education programs and increase access to career and technical education (CTE) programs.”

The first of these laws doubles down on Florida Republicans’ efforts last year to crack down on woke ideology in institutions of higher education. SB 266 forbids “a Florida College System institution” to “expend any state or federal funds” on “any programs or campus activities that: (a) Violate s. 1000.05; or (b) Advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion [DEI], or promote or engage in political or social activism.”

The first prohibited category (violations of s. 1000.05) refers to a section of Florida law dealing with discrimination in K-20 public education, which the Individual Freedom Act (a.k.a. Stop Woke Act) modified last year. The Stop Woke Act added paragraphs stating that “it shall constitute discrimination … to subject any student or employee to training or instruction that espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels such student or employee to believe any of the following concepts.” The list that followed included foundational tenets of critical race theory (CRT) and other leftist ideologies, such as “A person’s moral character or status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, national origin, or sex.”

In October, a federal judge in the Northern District of Florida temporarily blocked Florida officials from enforcing this section of the law, on the grounds that it ran afoul of First Amendment Freedom of Speech.

Following this legal setback, Florida Republicans devised a different approach to achieve their original objective — eliminating woke programming on academic campuses. It began with Governor DeSantis ordering all state universities and colleges “to provide a comprehensive list of all staff, programs, and campus activities” related to DEI or CRT. Within days, the same parties who had challenged the Stop Woke Act complained that Florida was violating the judge’s preliminary injunction against portions of the Stop Woke Act. However, the judge denied the motion on the grounds that the injunction had not been violated.

Perhaps in an effort to avoid another free speech challenge, SB 266 does provide an exception from its DEI funding ban for “student fees to support student-led organizations” and “use of institution facilities by student-led organizations.”

SB 266 also enacted other DeSantis objectives for higher education. It directed the Board of Governors to review the mission and curriculum of each university, gave university presidents (as opposed to less accountable academic departments) final authority over hiring full-time faculty, and prohibited left-wing loyalty pledges as a condition of employment. These changes are among those DeSantis set forth in his January 31 education agenda “to focus on promoting academic excellence, the pursuit of truth, and to give students the foundation so they can think for themselves.”

In addition to SB 266, DeSantis also signed HB 931, which states that “a public institution of higher education may not … Require or solicit a person to complete a political loyalty test as a condition of employment or admission into, or promotion within, such institution.” It also bars universities and colleges from giving “preferential consideration” for employment, admission, or promotion based on “an opinion or actions in support of: a. A partisan, a political, or an ideological set of beliefs; or b. Another person or group of persons based on the person’s or group’s race or ethnicity or support of an ideology or movement … that promotes the differential treatment of a person or a group of persons based on race or ethnicity.” This prohibition encompasses university diversity statements (not academic diversity but identity diversity), which require university staff to affirm a DEI agenda as a condition of employment.

While DeSantis’ educational initiatives make headlines for countering woke ideology, they reflect a fundamentally positive vision, not one that is negative or contrarian. Rather, the goal is to remove politics from education, thus “empowering students, parents, and educators to focus on creating opportunities for our younger generations,” said DeSantis. This mission, to prepare young people to be productive members of society, is reflected in the third bill DeSantis signed, SB 240, which will “expand workforce education programs and increase access to career and technical education (CTE) programs.”

Unsurprisingly, left-wing activists like the ACLU of Florida dislike Florida’s higher education reforms, which demolish the barriers protecting left-wing academic hegemony. But every significant reform will face opposition. Ray Rodrigues, Chancellor of the State University System of Florida, said the legislature and DeSantis were “re-orienting our distinguished universities to missions that treat people as individuals, that reward merit and achievement, and center on recruiting excellent faculty while creating the talent pipeline necessary to fuel Florida’s future.” Making the right enemies is worth it, for the right reasons.

AUTHOR

Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Critical Race Theory And Gender Ideology Are Ubiquitous In U.S. Schools, New Study Shows

Last month, the Manhattan Institute released a groundbreaking new study, titled “School Choice Is Not Enough: The Impact of Critical Social Justice Ideology in American Education.”

The study presents survey results of a representative sample of over 1,500 Americans aged 18-20. Their primary finding was that “Ninety-three percent of American 18- to 20-year-olds said that they had heard about at least one of eight [Critical Social Justice] concepts from a teacher or other adult at school, including ‘white privilege,’ ‘systemic racism,’ ‘patriarchy,’ or the idea that gender is a choice unrelated to biological sex.'” Also included on the list of Critical Social Justice (CSJ) concepts are the ideas that discrimination is primarily responsible for disparities, that America is built on stolen land, and that there are many genders.

This study is significant because, over the past two years, debates about education policy have occupied an increasingly prominent place in political discourse. In particular, ideas on the proper way to instruct on subjects like race and gender have been hotly disputed. Backlash over perceived indoctrination into extreme theories of race and gender — as well as the exclusion of parents in the educational process — have decided major elections in some states.

However, up to this point, there has been a glaring issue with these debates: they have been largely based on anecdotes. The findings of the Manhattan Institute’s study are important because they represent the first time we have been able to put some real numbers to phenomena that many have only observed anecdotally.

Thus, we should examine the findings in more detail to find out how we ought to move forward.

Ever since journalists such as Christopher Rufo and Bari Weiss began highlighting examples of “institutional capture” of the education system by politically-driven actors, skeptics have often claimed that CSJ concepts are not being taught in schools. This assertion has been promoted by the leaders of teacher unions, cable news hosts, and politicians.

The issue is, and this study confirms, that their claim is simply not accurate. As noted, 93 percent of respondents affirmed that they had heard at least one CSJ concept “from a teacher or other adult at school.”

If these concepts were being introduced as one perspective among many, then there would be no issue with the fact students have been exposed to them. After all, if one wishes to give students an accurate picture of the competing visions of society, then it would be dishonest to exclude all CSJ concepts.

The issue is that the Manhattan Institute study confirms that K-12 schools are effectively indoctrinating students into radical — revolutionary, even — political ideologies. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said that, when taught, “These concepts are introduced as the only respectable approach to race, gender, and sexuality in American society.” This means various perspectives were not weighed against one another, but rather kids are being led to believe that only one view is legitimate. When one considers how impressionable K-12 students are, along with the fact teachers have a fair amount of sway over the way their students think, the issue here becomes apparent.

Click here for Deltapoll Survey results.

This is also concerning because CSJ presents a vision of America that is at best unorthodox and at worst destructive. In Critical Race Theory: An Introduction — which is among the most influential textbooks on the subject — the authors write that “critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law.” In other words, critical race theory opposes the basic tenants of the American founding. Ibram X. Kendi, a leading “anti-racist” author — whose writing has been brought into many schools — has written that “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

There is simply no justification for schools across the country to present this as the only viable perspective.

The study demonstrates that the prevalence of CSJ concepts — and the way they have been introduced — is having real effects on students. Data presented in the report show that the more CSJ concepts kids have been exposed to, the more left-wing they are in their politics — as measured in a variety of ways in the study.

It should be clear that this approach is an improper use of the state — which should be educating, not indoctrinating, students. It not only gives children an incomplete picture of the world around them, but also creates a civil society that is more prone to intolerance of dissenting views. After all, if one was led to believe only one perspective was legitimate, then it is natural to then believe that it is important to shut out all “illegitimate” views — both socially and maybe even legislatively. This is concerning because pluralism and tolerance are indispensable to a healthy and vibrant political culture.

Critics of the educational approach detailed above often assume their enemies are the traditional public school system and public sector teacher unions. One thing that this study demonstrates, though, is that this problem is by no means exclusive to traditional public schools. Rather, this type of instruction on race and gender has made its way into private schools, parochial schools, and even homeschools; indeed, CSJ was shown to be just as prevalent in private schools as it is in public schools.

This observation is why the title of the study is “School Choice Is Not Enough.” The authors recognize that this issue is not relegated to traditional public schools, which means that advancing choice and privatization will not make the problem go away.

This is true, but it does not mean school choice should not still be promoted. After all, studies show that school choice programs are associated with better educational outcomes. Additionally, public sector teacher unions inflict considerable damage on the traditional public school system — and, by extension, the children in those schools. This means that we should recognize school choice as beneficial, but not as a panacea.

The fact that these ideas are being taught everywhere — not just in traditional public schools — suggests a deeper problem than is often assumed. It is not just about the traditional public school structure, but about an ascendant culture that — much like the instruction outlined — assumes that CSJ concepts are the capital-T Truth. Thus, in order to fight against it, and remove indoctrination in schools, it is important to address it on a cultural level. Private and parochial schools will only stop if, culturally, the tide turns decisively away from these ideas and towards those that have traditionally characterized American philosophy — ideas of liberty, virtue, pluralism, and meritocracy.

The significant exception to this “cultural argument” is when it comes to public schools. The reason is simple: the government decides the curriculum. Taking action on this front would therefore be a way of correcting government overreach. In particular, impartiality laws, curriculum transparency laws, and audits of existing instruction and employee training — as the study recommends — are reasonable measures to ensure the government is not being used as a tool of indoctrination for CSJ.

This would hopefully, in turn, help shift the culture towards a more balanced classroom in all schools.

This issue has been brewing for a long time, but only now do we have the data to back up our suspicions and anecdotal understanding. This study represents a comprehensive statement of the problem.

Now it is our job to fight back.

AUTHOR

Jack Elbaum

Jack Elbaum was a Hazlitt Writing Fellow at FEE and is a junior at George Washington University. His writing has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The New York Post, and the Washington Examiner. You can contact him at jackelbaum16@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @Jack_Elbaum.

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

Department of Critical Race Theory Neologisms: ‘To Racialize’

In an article on the website of the Canadian Public Health Agency entitled “Inequalities in Health of Racialized Adults in Canada,” one reads that “populations who are racialized in relation to a ‘white’ or non-racialized social group experience stressors including inter-personal and systemic discrimination throughout the life course,” that “racialized adults are less likely to feel that their health is either good or excellent,” and that “racialized Canadians are disproportionately impacted by inequalities in safe and stable housing.”)

As a linguist, I was struck by the repeated use in this article of a new past participle that I was not familiar with — “racialized”. I began to wonder about the implications underlying the use of this verb form, which implies the existence of a verb “to racialize”.

So I looked on the internet to see if I could find other forms of this verb. My search turned up examples such as the following: “Coleman Hughes on how America racializes its citizens”; “Not all racializers do the same thing when they racialize”; “Discourses that are racializing and othering muslim*women [sic] can sustain hegemony, by disguising their particularities”.

The past participle of this verb therefore represents the person or group to which it is applied as having undergone the action of being racialized by some agent who is represented as a racializer. This leads to the question as to who is doing the racializing. A further search on the internet showed that the answer to that question is invariably the same — whites.

Behind that little past participle “racialized”, consequently, there lies a whole worldview which sees the relations between different races in terms of racializer/racialized or, in other terms, oppressor/oppressed. As Robin Diangelo states in White Fragility, “white people raised in Western societies are conditioned into a white supremacist worldview because it is the bedrock of our society and its institutions,” and this worldview “brings into existence whites and nonwhites, full persons and subpersons.”

The name of this worldview is Critical Race Theory, and its underpinnings are essentially Marxist. It divides the world into two opposing power groups: the oppressor (capitalists/whites) and the oppressed (workers/nonwhites). Since everything is governed by power-relations in this system, the only recourse of the oppressed is to use whatever power they have to rise up against the oppressor and throw off his yoke: as one of the foundational thinkers of Critical Race Theory, Ibram X. Kendi, has written in How to be an Antiracist: “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

One doesn’t have to be a linguist in order to see that the division of the world into racializer/racialized is a recipe for conflict and violence, and not for the resolution of unjust discrimination.

As Edward Feser points out in his book All One in Christ. A Catholic Critique of Racism and Critical Race Theory, “if one were to replace expressions like ‘whiteness’ and ‘white supremacy’ with terms such as ‘Jewishness’ and ‘Jewry’, it would be difficult to distinguish Critical Race Theory literature from the ugly propaganda of Nazism. Its claims are comparably extreme, even if it has not (yet?) led to comparable levels of violence.” Feser advocates that the way forward entails “not Critical Race Theory’s cancel culture and hermeneutics of suspicion, but rational discourse and mutual understanding. Not the demonization of any race as inherently oppressive, but solidarity and mutual respect.”

Amen to that.

AUTHOR

Patrick Duffley

Patrick Duffley is Professor of English Linguistics at Université Laval, in Canada. More by Patrick Duffley

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

DeSantis Announces Plan To Squash ‘Equity’ At New College Of Florida And Restore Merit

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his plan to overhaul the ideological education system at New College of Florida (NCF) and restore its original mission.

DeSantis will appoint six new members of NCF’s board of trustees: activist Chris Rufo, Dr. Mark Bauerlein, Dr. Matthew Spalding, Dr. Charles Kesler, lawyer Debra Jenks and educator Jason “Eddie” Speir. The Florida Board of Governors will also appoint a seventh member.

The 13-member board now has enough members to reshape the public college’s ideological courses and campus environment.

“As Governor DeSantis stated in his second inaugural speech: ‘We must ensure that our institutions of higher learning are focused on academic excellence and the pursuit of truth.’ Starting today, the ship is turning around. New College of Florida, under the governor’s new appointees, will be refocused on its founding mission of providing a world-class quality education with an exceptional focus on the classics,” Bryan Griffin, the press secretary for DeSantis, said in a statement.

NCF currently lists among its values “a just, diverse, equitable and inclusive community,” echoing the progressive ideology of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), better known as critical race theory. The school is “actively working toward eliminating outcome disparities for underrepresented and underserved groups,” it says in its values section.

“It is our hope that New College of Florida will become Florida’s classical college, more along the lines of a Hillsdale of the South,” James Uthmeier, Chief of Staff for DeSantis said.

The school provides certain services, like its Office of Inclusive Excellence, a gender studies program and its Gender and Diversity Center. It celebrates “latinx” history month through films, workshops, concerts and lectures, its website says.

NCF’s Office of Inclusive Excellence, the DEI office on campus, documents “outcomes and learnings from Phase I of the Inclusive Campus Climate initiative” and develops “campus-wide DEI key metrics and milestones, and support departmental implementation,” according to its page.

The NCF gender studies program offers courses in queer studies, queer history and feminist philosophy as part of its curriculum. It lists “community relations and organizing” among its potential career paths.

It also provides students with “gender identity affirmation resources” to assist students with legal name changes and updating their pronouns, according to a resource form.

In 2001, the Florida legislature separated NCF from the University of South Florida (USF) system and outlined a mission “combining educational innovation with educational excellence,” and to “provide a quality education to students of high ability who, because of their ability, deserve a program of study that is both demanding and stimulating.”

DeSantis’ promised to challenge ideological education in his inaugural address Tuesday.

“We must ensure school systems are responsive to parents and to students, not partisan interest groups, and we must ensure that our institutions of higher learning are focused on academic excellence and the pursuit of truth, not the imposition of trendy ideology,” DeSantis said

AUTHOR

JAMES LYNCH AND HENRY RODGERS

Contrubutors.

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Nebraska Legislators Prep Investigation Into Education Docs That Claim Conservatives Are ‘Racist’

The Nebraska legislature is calling for an investigation into the state’s Education Department after unearthing documents promoted to educators that claim conservatives are “racist” for opposing Critical Race Theory, the Daily Caller has learned exclusively.

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s Education Department created the “Launch Nebraska” platform to provide schools with reopening guidelines in the post-COVID era. By the 2021-2022 school year, the website evolved into a resource for promoting Critical Race Theory (CRT) and other left-wing tropes such as “anti-racism.”

State Sens. Steve Erdman, Joni Albrecht, Steve Halloran, and Dave Murman told the Daily Caller they are calling for an investigation into the Department of Education’s promotion of Critical Race Theory and potential inappropriate sex education curriculum.

“Parents, not educators, are responsible for the teaching of children,” Erdman said. “Public schools should educate children on the facts of history, not indoctrinate them with Critical Race Theory, which deliberately distorts these facts in order to push an erroneous Left-wing, Woke narrative about our nation’s founding, its history, and its heritage.”

“Due to the recent underhanded tactics of the Department of Education to reform Nebraska’s sex-ed curriculum, I believe an investigation into teaching CRT in Nebraska’s public schools is now warranted,” Erdman continued.

One of the documents that drew the ire of state legislators was a PDF that gave educators talking points on how to push back against “Right Wing Attacks Against Critical Race Theory.” The guide also alleges that the efforts of parents to oppose critical race theory are the work of malign political actors and former Donald Trump staffers.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE PAMPLET “WINNING RACIAL JUSTICE IN OUR SCHOOLS

“This effort has been conceived by former Trump strategists, funded by billionaire donors throwing tens of millions of dollars at the misinformation campaign, and managed by some of the same right-wing organizations driving racist voter suppression laws across the country,” the PDF reads.

Murman told the Daily Caller that such ideas must be “rooted out” from the public education system.

“In our state, we’ve dealt with left-wing activist bureaucrats promoting comprehensive sex education and critical race theory in our public schools,” Murman said. “Any promotion of these reprehensible ideologies by the Nebraska Department of Education must be rooted out.”

Nebraska’s Education Department did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.

AUTHOR

HENRY RODGERS AND CHRISSY CLARK

Contributor.

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

Public Schools Are Spending Money Like Crazy, Despite Sharp Enrollment Declines

This pattern of spending is unsustainable. These schools are bleeding money.


The public education system has been failing students for years. From misappropriating funds to providing inadequate lessons and passing illiterate students; public schools are losing support. Despite this they continue receiving extensive budgets which do not properly represent enrollment rates, attendance numbers, or staffing issues.

While it is true that 2020 was an extremely difficult year for these taxpayer-funded institutions, those who blame the Covid-19 pandemic are using it as a scapegoat. Before the extensive government pandemic response, the nation was experiencing a teacher shortage and a political takeover of public schools — the likes of which had never been experienced — which has only increased during the political battle over public health issues.

Since 2013 conflicts between teachers and school boards have been reported. This specifically hindered interest in the teaching profession.

In 2015 student interest in the teaching profession dropped by 5 percent in just a year and has continued to decline. Although arguments over teacher pay have been brought to the forefront of the situation, elementary and secondary school teachers made an average of over $63,000 during the 2019-2020 school year, and since then districts have increased pay and added massive bonuses to attract educators back to the profession, inflating budgets, yet still the teacher shortage remains.

New students entering the teaching profession continues to decline as teachers unions and school boards not only battle themselves, but parents as well. Instead of listening to the communities they serve, these powerful organizations are pushing their own political ideologies in the classroom. Educational focus has shifted from teaching core classes like math, science, and history, to identity-based practices which promote critical race theory (CRT) and gender theory.

The National School Board Association itself has fought to persuade schools to adopt CRT and the 1619 project. These race-focused lessons have yet to produce successful results. Because of this, families have disputed replacing sound lessons with untested classroom theories. When expressing their concerns at school board meetings these parents were silenced, and even publicly smeared as “domestic terrorists.”

In addition, during the pandemic various school boards and teachers unions fought to keep children isolated and masked long after it was deemed safe for them to return to in-person learning. Yet, educators still wished to receive full pay as students suffered from widespread learning loss and achievement gaps. It was even discovered that the American Federation of Teachers influenced CDC reopening guidelines, indicating that their power held sway over school health policies, arguably even more than factual public health data.

Parents quickly recognized the harmful effects of lockdowns and long-term masking. Schools which remained locked down longer saw the sharpest enrollment declines. These are, coincidentally, in highly progressive areas where CRT and other identity based lessons have been adopted by teachers and districts.

In 2019 math was deemed a “racist” subject in the state of Washington. By 2021, 70% of students in the area were failing math and more than half failed English. In nearby Oregon, reading and writing requirements have been removed to offer more “equitable” education experiences, and even test taking was deemed “racist” by the National Education Association.

In addition, the Biden Administration is leading the Department of Education to bring race to the forefront of American education on a national level. Instead of allowing states to choose what is best for their populations, government grants are now being awarded based on the implementation of identity-based education practices.

Public school officials have been quick to blame the pandemic for increasing student failures, but teaching equity over performance has yet to lead students to academic excellenceLearning loss is plaguing students across the nation, and instead of utilizing COVID relief money to ensure that students achievement gaps are filled in before Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSR) expire, progressive states have allocated masses of these taxpayer dollars for identity based lessons.

Taxpayer funded ESSR money was swiftly approved and distributed with little to no oversight during the pandemic. Because of this, less than half of public schools have used COVID relief money to update HVAC units and reduce viral illness transmissions. Instead, districts in New York, California, Illinois, and Minnesota openly spent their pandemic dollars on political endeavors.

The California Department of Education received $15.1 billion in ESSR funding. Instead of focusing all of these taxpayer dollars on public health concerns the state funneled portions of this money into “implicit bias training,” “ethnic studies,” and “LGBTQ+ cultural competency.”

Similarly, New York gained $9 billion in emergency funding. This money was not primarily focused on keeping students healthy or improving classroom air quality but, “anti-racism,” “anti-bias,” “socio-emotional learning,” and “diversity, equity, inclusion,” lessons.

Illinois has also utilized masses of pandemic-relief money to institute equity plans with a specific focus on “anti-racism.” Minnesota took their $1.15 billion in ESSR funds and decided to use a portion of this massive payout for “culturally responsive” training and addressing “gender bias,” with a focus on gender affirmation.

COVID relief funds have been abused and directed to non-pandemic related educational services. All the while, students continue to fail at record rates and leave the public education system entirely.

Public schools are funded by local, state, and federal taxes. Funding is determined by varying factors which usually include student performance, enrollment rates, and attendance. Yet despite experiencing drops in all of these criteria, somehow states are still increasing budgets.

California — which has lost 2.6% of public school students since the start of the pandemic — has approved the largest education budget in the state’s history. This massive increase comes as California’s largest public school district has experienced a 40% chronic absenteeism rate. This reflects a national trend.

A third of Chicago schools are at least half empty, but that didn’t stop the Chicago Board of Education from increasing their 2022 budget from what was approved in 2021. In Washington DC, public school reading and math proficiency has dropped, and enrollment has stagnated, but the mayor proposed a 5.9% budget increase.

PennsylvaniaMinnesota, and other states have all continued spending more despite serving fewer students. These public schools are bleeding money and costing taxpayers billions in debt that will eventually have to be repaid.

Public schools received record amounts of funding during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, school boards and teachers unions have allowed politics to dominate their policies and teaching practices. As a result, student success rates have suffered, and families are walking away from the system while lawmakers are passing budget increases that only further tax communities.

This pattern of spending is unsustainable. These schools are bleeding money. There is currently no end in sight as districts continue this trend into the 2022-2023 school year and beyond.

AUTHOR

Jessica Marie Baumgartner

Jessica is an education news reporter, homeschooling mother of 4, and author of “Homeschooling on a Budget,” whose work has been featured by: “The Epoch Times,” “The Federalist,” “The New American,” “The American Spectator,” “American Thinker,” “St. Louis Post Dispatch,” and many more.

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

Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis Sweeps School Board Elections with 25 Wins!

The endorsement of Ron DeSantis for school board candidates has created a “red wave for parents rights” in the Sunshine State.

The Washington Stand’s Marjorie Jackson reported,

Just as school bells across the country begin ringing for another semester of class time again, Florida conservatives are running another victory lap around the school yard.

Tuesday night’s Florida primaries handed victories to 25 of the 30 school board candidates backed by the state’s Governor Ron DeSantis (R), and 35 of 49 candidates endorsed by school board-challenging 1776 Project PAC, flipping several school boards to have conservative majorities.

“It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work,” Meg Kilgannon, Family Research Council’s senior fellow for Education Studies, told The Washington Stand. “It’s a reflection of Florida citizens’ anger at the school boards in red counties and a red state acting like they live in blue counties and blue states. A lot of these places very publicly and strongly pushed back on implementing the governor’s recommendations on masking for students and following the federal guidelines. This is a big part of why you’re seeing this big turnout right now.”

Read the full article.

Florida Research Council Action’s Matt Carpenter stated,

“The most important government is the government closest to home, so when parents stream to the polls to toss recalcitrant ideologues off their local school board they are sending a clear message: teach our children to read and write, not gender ideology or dividing them by race.”

According to an October 21st article in the Tampa Bay Times reporter wrote,

In October 2021 the National School Boards Association sent a letter to Biden raising concerns about “domestic terrorism” targeting boards. Although the association did not mention parents, and the Justice Department did not call for investigations, DeSantis and others have framed the issue as a federal attempt to curtail parental rights.

[ … ]

DeSantis said Wednesday that federal officials were trying to intimidate parents from speaking their minds on controversial issues at board meetings.

“As we continue to see the use of fear and intimidation to suppress opposition to the regime, we’re going to find new ways to be able to empower parents’ rights to decide what is best for their children,” DeSantis said. “Parents across the state should know that their freedoms are going to be protected here, and that the state of Florida has your back.”

Governor DeSantis kept his word and helped elect candidates to school boards in Florida that are dedicated to empowering parents’ rights to decide what is best for their children.

For example in Sarasota County DeSantis endorsed three pro-parental right to choose candidates for the school board and all three won, giving parents a voice on matters concerning how and what their children are being taught.

Public schools statewide are under the microscope in Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis is leading the charge to make sure the the voices of parents are heard, loud and clearly, by each and every school board.

Parental rights is now the key issue in Florida with Democrats saying parents have no rights and Governor DeSantis clearly supporting the rights of parents in their child’s education. This issue was a factor in the primaries and will be again in the midterm election for Governor of Florida.

©Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

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Teachers Unions Politicized U.S. Schools, Not Parents

Union leaders claim that “extremists” politicized US schools. This is blatant revisionism.


When voters were asked by Pew Research, prior to the 2020 election, what issues were most important to them, education wasn’t even among the top dozen.

But things have changed dramatically since then. Outlets ranging from The Washington Post, to ABC News, have identified education as a potentially significant factor in the 2022 midterms. Additionally, after education emerged as a defining issue in Virginia’s gubernatorial election last year — ranking as a top two or three issue — school choice became a litmus test issue for Republicans.

This is quite the swing in just two years.

Theoretically, education should not really be a political issue; but, as we have seen, it clearly has become one. Therefore, we must ask why exactly this has happened.

There are many possible answers to this question. One of them came from Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers — the second largest teachers union in the country. In a recent tweet, she blamed “extremists” who are “attacking teachers” and focusing on a culture war that is “intended to undermine teaching and learning.”

“The culture wars are intended to undermine teaching and learning,” Weingarten wrote. “Extremists are politicizing schools and attacking teachers. Attacking teachers doesn’t help kids, it undermines everything.”

If that was not clear enough, she also linked to a news article where she gets a bit more specific about the kinds of people she is talking about: “the anti-public schools crowd, the anti-union crowd, the privatizers, the haters.” In other words, she is referring to the conservatives, libertarians, liberals who believe in school choice, and even parents themselves.

But are these groups really the ones politicizing education? Or, alternatively, are they simply responding to the overtly political forces that have controlled education for a long time?

The 2020-2021 school year should be seen as critical when considering the politicization of education. Two events occurred in the months preceding that school year that led to the extreme stances that eventually launched schools into the political limelight: the Covid-19 pandemic and the police murder of George Floyd. The former was taken advantage of by teachers’ unions with backward incentives, while the latter led to a nationwide racial reckoning that some took so far as to actually begin promoting regressive racial ideologies in the name of progress.

First, when the Covid-19 pandemic began, there was understandably a lot of uncertainty. But one of the first things that was known about the virus was that kids were the least vulnerable to severe infection. We also soon found out that schools were not a hotspot of Covid transmission. Yet, many K-12 schools started the 2020-2021 school year online — largely due to cynical activism by teachers’ unions. Prior to the school year, Weingarten threatened a strike, stating that “nothing is off the table” if school districts decided to reopen, and the Chicago Teachers Union tweeted later that the push to reopen school was “rooted in sexism, racism and misogyny.” It is reasonable to point out that this is just rhetoric — not necessarily representative of what actual power the unions have to shape policy — but studies demonstrated that the strength of a district’s union, not the prevalence of Covid-19 in the community, was the best predictor of prolonged school closures.

More recently, the effects of these closures — caused by the exploitation of a crisis by public sector unions — have become clear. A study released by McKinsey & Company found that “by the end of the 2020-21 school year, students were on average five months behind in math and four months behind in reading.” The learning loss was even more severe among low-income students, as well as black and Hispanic students. Numerous studies — including the CDC’s own research — also show that the closures damaged students’ mental health, with rates of anxiety and depression rising.

Second, following our nation’s racial reckoning beginning in the summer of 2020, some schools began to include radical — regressive, even — teachings on race in their curriculum. Activist Chris Rufo has done deep reporting on this issue for City Journal, exposing example after example of racial essentialist messages surrounding race making their way into K-12 classrooms. Moreover, looking to spread this kind of instruction further, the National Education Association, which is the largest teachers union in the country, passed a resolution that explicitly endorsed the teaching of critical race theory in the classroom as a tool to understand America. And the American Federation of Teachers, which is the second largest teachers union in the country, announced a campaign to bring the writings of Ibram X. Kendi — a scholar who has written that “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” — into every single classroom.

In response to perpetual school closures driven by union power, as well as racially divisive curricula making its way into K-12 schools, a coalition of conservatives, libertarians, and liberals mobilized against such policies.

Parents showed up to school board meetings, politicians passed legislation, and heterodox news outlets reported on what was happening. So many people have left the traditional public school system recently that it is being referred to by some as an ”exodus” of sorts. This is the response that Weingarten is blaming for the politicization of schools. However, it should be noted that all of this came after both radical and unprecedented policies were implemented. So, while one may criticize aspects of the response — after all, I do not agree with every law passed or with every speech given by a parent at a school board meeting — it stretches credulity to claim that parents politicized schools when in fact it was the schools themselves, in tandem with the unions, who introduced these radical political elements.

Data show that more and more people are looking for alternatives to the traditional public school system. Earlier this year, PBS published a piece exploring the surge in homeschooling across the country.

“In 18 states that shared data through the current school year, the number of homeschooling students increased by 63% in the 2020-2021 school year, then fell by only 17% in the 2021-2022 school year,” wrote the Associated Press’ Carolyn Thompson.

The article tells the stories of multiple parents who started to homeschool their children over the past year, and they find that a common reason is that they were simply unimpressed by the quality of the instruction during school closures. Apart from homeschooling, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools reported that enrollment went up by seven percent during the pandemic.

The reason is clear: the traditional public school system has been riddled with failures for a long time, but events over the past few years made people more aware of them. And these failures do not just exist in the heads of parents, conservative ideologues or school choice activists, as Weingarten suggests. They are very real. Parents want their kids to attend school in person, and they generally don’t want their kids to be indoctrinated into a particular ideological system by strangers who work for the government. According to the American Federation of Teachers’ own poll, 60 percent of likely voters in battleground states are dissatisfied with the way traditional public schools are teaching about race and 58 percent are dissatisfied with how they are teaching about issues related to gender identity.

People vote with their feet; so, as more and more people leave the traditional public school system, it will become more and more clear that something fundamental needs to change in the way the U.S. handles education policy.

The reason something fundamental must change is that the failures we are seeing do not just happen by chance; rather, they are the natural byproduct of a government monopoly on education coupled with power in the hands of a public sector union. Therefore, any real reform to the education system must address these two things.

First, it is generally understood that monopolies are bad for consumers. They lead to higher prices, along with lower quality and quantity. Figuring out why this happens isn’t difficult: firms have no incentive to innovate, nor provide a high-quality product, when consumers have no other options. The economist Thomas Sowell was correct when he observed that education is truly an outlier when it comes to how it is treated, as traditional public schools — as opposed to a grocery store or a summer camp — do not have to convince anyone that attending them is in their best interest. People are simply forced to attend. However, moving to a model that is characterized by choice will 1) empower families to choose a school that best fits the needs of their individual children and 2) incentivize every school, including traditional public schools, to prioritize the quality of the education they are providing and to continually improve. After all, if they do not, then people will simply decide to attend elsewhere.

Second, the job of a union is to protect, and accrue benefits for, its members. This can clearly be a worthwhile goal; but, when it comes to public sector teachers’ unions, the problems arise when advocating for the interests of teachers means advocating against the interests of students. The truth is that what is best for students is not always best for teachers, and vice versa.

For example, when Covid-19 school closures were being considered, it was clearly in the interest of students to learn in an in-person environment; however, teachers’ unions advocated against opening schools because their job is to look out for the comfort and safety of members. Another example is when a teacher’s job performance is egregiously sub-par. In such a scenario, it is clearly in the interest of students for that teacher to be removed, while it is in the interest of the teacher and the union to retain the teacher’s job. This is why in New York City it takes an average of 830 days and $313,000 to fire a single incompetent teacher.

A successful educational system cannot include cornerstones that, due to their very nature, work to the detriment of children. The good news is that by enacting policies that advance school choice, the power of teachers’ unions to advocate backward policy will weaken for two reasons. First, if that policy is detrimental enough, it may encourage students to leave for a school that puts students’ needs first; this could certainly cause the unions to begin to tread a bit lighter in their advocacy. Second, most charter schools and private schools are not unionized, which means that more students will be learning in schools that are not unionized after there is school choice if unionized schools fail to provide the education consumers want.

Steven Levitt, who co-authored the bestselling book, Freakonomics, explained the current problem with schools aptly. He wrote that “the problem (…) is not too many incentives but too few.” Right now, the schools and the teachers can really just “do whatever they want” in the classroom, regardless of what is best for students, because political forces are protecting the government’s education monopoly and the power of the unions to influence policy. In other words, because there is no competition, there can be no accountability.

This is clearly correct. And so the only solution is greater educational freedom. More people recognize this than ever before, but the work is only just getting started.

AUTHOR

Jack Elbaum

Jack Elbaum was a Hazlitt Writing Fellow at FEE and is a junior at George Washington University. His writing has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The New York Post, and the Washington Examiner. You can contact him at jackelbaum16@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @Jack_Elbaum.

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

Biden Regime Unleashes ‘Total Transformation [Destruction] of the [Federal] Government’ With ‘Equity Action Plans’

This. Is. Happening. Our universities, colleges, public schools, intel agencies (all government agencies, for that matter) – every sphere is being subsumed by this 21st century quasi-Nazism.

Woke Pentagon rolls out ‘equity’ plan | Fox News

The Department of Defense issued an equity report, aiming to equalize outcomes of employees and partners across racial, sexual and gender lines.

Biden Admin Unleashes ‘Total Transformation Of Government’ With ‘Equity Action Plans’

By Tim Meads • Daily Wire • Apr 20, 2022 •

On April 14, the Biden administration unleashed a “total transformation of government” — as described by the Department of Energy — arguably based on principles of Critical Race Theory.

Toward that end, more than 90 federal agencies announced “equity action plans” to supposedly address inequality in American society — but critics say that the plans will create a coercive bureaucracy intent on punishing certain Americans based on racial marxism and other progressive ideas that champion victimhood.

The White House recently noted that on his first day in office, President Joe Biden “signed Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government” which “directed the whole of the federal government to advance an ambitious equity and racial justice agenda” focused on creating “prosperity, dignity, and equality” for underserved communities.

Ryan Girdusky, founder of 1776 Project PAC, a non-profit focused on electing school board members opposed to Critical Race Theory-inspired curriculum, told The Daily Wire that Biden administration’s “plan towards equity is race-based Marxism with a different word.”

“The entire program is set to lower standards, dilute meritocracy, and have the first large-scale government-supported laws that discriminate against people based on their race since before Eisenhower was President,” Girdusky added.

Indeed, the Department of Energy explained in its equity action plan released last week that it has already started considering factors other than technical merit when doling out financial assistance via a pilot program through its Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) office.

Starting back in March 2021, applicants seeking research and development funding from EERE have had to issue diversity, equity, and inclusion statements for their projects on their applications.

The purpose of such statements are to explain how their project would help and include “underserved communities” — which is taken to mean minority, non-white, non-heterosexual, non-male groups — in order to be considered for the taxpayer-funded grants……

Keep reading.

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Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Favorite Critical Race Theory Book Rejects the Constitution

A judge who does not believe in the Constitution, but believes in critical race theory, is unfit.

The existence of a speech by Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, praising Derrick Bell, the godfather of critical race theory, and citing his book, “Faces At the Bottom of a Well”, as an influence has been widely reported. Conservatives have covered Bell’s racist views, his praise for Farrakhan, his antisemitism, and attacks on America. Much of this was already hashed out during the exposure of the relationship between Barack Obama and Derrick Bell.

But it’s important to specifically focus on Jackson’s interest in “Faces At the Bottom of the Well.”

In her speech, Jackson mentions that Bell, whom along with his wife she praises throughout her speech, “wrote a book in the early 1990s about the persistence of racism in American life”.

The subtitle of the book, which few people have mentioned, is, “The Permanence Of Racism”.

Persistence and permanence are not the same thing. But this is another example of Jackson subtly distorting Bell and his book in order to make their extremism seem more moderate.

Jackson goes on to say that, “My parents had this book on their coffee table for many years, and I remember staring at the image on the cover when I was growing up; I found it difficult to reconcile the image of the person, who seemed to be smiling, with the depressing message that the title and subtitle conveyed. I thought about this book cover again for the first time in forty years when I started preparing for this speech.” That would have made her ten years old.

As others have pointed out, “Faces At the Bottom of the Well” was published when Jackson was in her early twenties during Bell’s tantrum against Harvard University. It’s unlikely that Biden’s Supreme Court nominee grew up with the hateful text, but it’s entirely plausible that she was influenced by the book which came out when she was at Harvard and then Harvard Law.

Since Bell began his racial strike against Harvard Law before she had completed her undergraduate degree, it’s unlikely that she had taken any of his classes, but the former member of the faculty was clearly an influence on her. Perhaps Jackson’s memory is faulty or she’s deliberately backdating the book’s influence to her childhood to make it seem more innocent. Surely no one could blame a ten year old for being attracted to a racialist text.

“Faces At the Bottom of the Well” is the sort of racist book that could conceivably appeal to a bright ten year old. Bell, despite his position, was never much of a legal or constitutional scholar, and Faces, like the preceding “And We Are Not Saved”, conveys its message that the constitution is just a facade for a white racist agenda through science fiction short stories.

Where “And We Are Not Saved” transports the protagonist back to the Constitutional Convention to denounce the Constitution, “Faces At the Bottom of the Well” indulges in more hyperbolic science fiction scenarios including the rise of a new continent of Afroatlantis and space aliens offering Americans profits in exchange for selling black people into space slavery.

While the scenarios are absurd, they’re there to illustrate Bell’s argument that the Constitution is nothing more than what benefits white people at any given time. This is the same argument that the godfather of critical race theory had repeatedly made throughout his career, contending, for example, that the ban on segregation was not a rejection of racism, only a ploy by white people to defeat the Soviet Union and Communism by showing that they weren’t racist.

(Likewise, Faces, along with a defense of Farrakhan and condemnation of Jews for opposing black antisemitism, portrays Jews as protesting against the plan to sell black people into slavery only because in the absence of blacks, “Jews could become the scapegoats”.)

Such racial conspiracy theories, ubiquitous in the work and thought of black nationalists and supremacists, who always begin and end with the premise of white evil, pervade Bell’s work.

“Faces At the Bottom of the Well” was a way to popularize and communicate this central idea at a level that even a child or a not particularly bright Harvard student, already nursing resentments, would be able to understand by depicting scenarios in which the white society and white people would cheerfully revamp the Constitution to bring back black slavery.

Thus near the end of the “Space Traders” story, Bell has the Supreme Court unanimously rule that, “if inducted in accordance with a constitutionally approved conscription provision, blacks would have no issues of individual rights for review” and tells us that, “By 70 percent to 30 percent, American citizens voted to ratify the constitutional amendment that provided a legal basis for acceptance of the Space Traders’ offer”. Behind the SciFi is the message that the majority of Americans, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution would allow black people to be enslaved again and that therefore black people should not rely on whites or the Constitution.

The Constitution, according to Bell, is merely the whim of a white agenda that serves its purposes. To the extent that the law has outlawed segregation and slavery, it did so only because it temporarily served white purposes and the moment that it would serve white purposes to enslave black people again, it would be done within the Constitution.

That is the message of “Faces At the Bottom of the Well”: the book that influenced Jackson.

Does Jackson believe that the Supreme Court would rule that black people could be sold into slavery? Like everything about her record, we know we can’t expect an honest answer.

And yet her speech, which touches not only on the racist rants of Bell and his wife, but on the 1619 Project, introduces the idea that our founding documents are racially untrustworthy.

Praising the racial revisionist history of the 1619 Project, Jackson touts Nikole Hannah-Jones’ “provocative thesis that the America that was born in 1776 was not the perfect union that it purported to be” and that only black civil rights activism made America “the free nation that the Framers initially touted.”

Much like the 1619 Project, this description is rife with historical anachronisms and fundamental inaccuracies that is even less befitting a Supreme Court justice than a New York Times hack, but also implicitly echoes the critical race theory understanding that the civil rights struggle was not about upholding the Constitution, but overcoming it, that America’s founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were racist and remain the enemy.

In the process of her lecture, Jackson invokes critical race theory, the pernicious concept of “white privilege”, and intersectionality.

The radicalism oozes around the edges of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s talk.

The Supreme Court nominee praises Gloria Richardson who, in Jackson’s words, “took part in several protests that ended in violent clashes with white residents” and “indirectly challenged SNCC’s non-violent ideology.” She quotes Richardson as saying, “[w]hen we were attacked at demonstrations, [we women] were the ones throwing stones back at the whites.”

Gloria Richardson was a wealthy leftist organizer with political connections during the Cambridge Riots who had contemptuously dismissed Martin Luther King and asserted, “We weren’t going to stop until we got it, and if violence occurred, then we would have to accept that.”

Black nationalists hail her because she’s seen as breaking the embargo on local nonviolence in protests. And Richardson had emphasized that to the extent to which she used nonviolence was as a “tactical device”. To Jackson, most of the law seems to likewise be a tactical device.

And that’s the problem.

Absorbing the paranoid racism of the godfather of critical race theory during her formative years at Harvard makes for a bad judge and a worse justice. Bell’s approach to the Constitution, like that of black nationalists, was that it was a trick to lure black people into lowering their guard.

White people, he believed, could never be trusted and all that mattered was seizing power.

Any laws or documents made by white people would only serve them. Only black people could secure the rights of black people. Like the Nazis, the ultimate truths were race and power.

Everything else was a distraction.

If that is Ketanji Brown Jackson’s worldview, she cannot be expected to come out and say it. But the highest court in the land is the last place for racial paranoia and nationalism. The Supreme  Court is charged with upholding the Constitution. A judge who does not believe in the Constitution, but believes in critical race theory, the 1619 Project, and white privilege is manifestly unfit to decide the fate of a nation and its hundreds of millions of people.

Derrick Bell and his hateful ideology believed that white racism was the only abiding truth.

There’s no room for that kind of thinking on the Supreme Court.

AUTHOR

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

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Governor Ron DeSantis on Opposing Critical Race Theory: We Must Stop Teaching Kids to Hate Our Country

At a roundtable discussion in Miami on the border crisis, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) explained briefly why he adamantly opposes the racist ideological indoctrination of Critical Race Theory (CRT), stating that his goal is to have every child in the state know that they are a “Floridian and an American.”

“One of the reasons we’re opposing CRT in schools: We want all the kids treated as individuals. We want them judged on the content of their character, on their talents,” he explained. “We don’t want them separated into racial groups and pitted against each other. Every single kid is a Floridian and an American. and that’s what we want to make sure.”

“And we’ve got to stop dividing people. We’ve got to stop teaching our kids to hate our country, so that’s our mission, and we’re going to make sure we get that done this legislative session,” he vowed.

DeSantis spoke about Florida’s stance against CRT during his State of the State address earlier this year, touting the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which “provides parental rights relating to a minor child’s education, upbringing, & health care.”

“We reject the notion that parents shouldn’t have a say in what their kids learn in school. Indeed, Florida law should provide parents with the right to review the curriculum used in their children’s schools,” he asserted. “We should provide parents with recourse so that state standards are enforced, such as Florida’s prohibition on infusing subjects with critical race theory in our classrooms… Our tax dollars should not be used to teach our kids to hate our country or to hate each other.”


Critical Race Theory

8 Known Connections

Critical race theory (CRT) holds that because racism is so deeply ingrained in the American character, classical liberal ideals such as meritocracy, equal opportunity, and colorblind justice are essentially nothing more than empty slogans that fail to properly combat—or to even acknowledge the existence of—the immense structural inequities that pervade American society and work against black people. Thus, according to critical race theorists, racial preferences (favoring blacks) in employment and higher education are not only permissible but necessary as a means of countering the permanent bigotry of white people who, as CRT’s founder Derrick Bell put it, seek to “achieve a measure of social stability through their unspoken pact to keep blacks on the bottom.”

To learn more about Critical Race Theory, click here.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Discover the Networks column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Over Half Of Americans Don’t Think Schools Need To Teach About The Ongoing Impact Of Slavery And Racism

This is what’s happening in public schools!


  • Over half of Americans don’t think schools have a responsibility to teach students about the ongoing impact of slavery and racism, according to according to a poll released Monday by the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State University in partnership with APM Research Lab.
  • Two-thirds of Republican respondents and almost half of Independents said educators should only teach the history of slavery, according to the “Mood of the Nation” poll. Only one-fifth of Democratic respondents said exclusively the history of slavery should be taught.
  • Most respondents said they didn’t think governors and state legislators should have a “great deal of influence” over how concepts such as racism, slavery, creationism and sex education are taught in public schools and responded in favor of parents having the greatest influence on those topics.

Over half of Americans don’t think schools have a responsibility to teach students about the ongoing impact of slavery and racism, according to according to a poll released Monday by the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State University in partnership with APM Research Lab.

Two-thirds of Republican respondents and almost half of Independents said educators should only teach the history of slavery, according to the “Mood of the Nation” poll. Only one-fifth of Democratic respondents said exclusively the history of slavery should be taught.

The survey polled 1,200 people over the age of 18 starting in late November 2021, and the results generally varied depending on political affiliation. That said, the poll showed that 90% of respondents believed schools have a responsibility to teach about the history of slavery and scientific evolution.

Most respondents said they didn’t think governors and state legislators should have a “great deal of influence” over how concepts such as racism, slavery, creationism and sex education are taught in public schools and responded in favor of parents having the greatest influence on those topics.

Almost half of respondents said that the biblical stance on creation should be taught alongside scientific evidence of evolution, according to the poll. Respondents with a bachelor’s degree, higher incomes and Democrats were the most likely to take the position that exclusively the scientific evidence of creation should be taught.

Respondents 45 and older were the most supportive of parents having the greatest influence in how evolution is taught.

“It depends on a person’s religious belief,” a 61-year-old Black Democratic woman from Florida who identifies as a born-again Christian said in the survey. “If they believe, as I do, that man was created by God, then I think they should decide what and how their children should be taught concerning evolution.”

Of those polled, 51% of respondents said parents should have “a great deal of influence” over the subject of sex education, the poll showed. Three-fourths of respondents said students should learn about contraception and the dangers of diseases during sex education, while nearly one-fourth said the dangers of diseases and abstinence until marriage should be taught.

Republicans, born-again Christians and respondents 65 and older were the most likely to say parents should have the greatest influence on their children’s sex education, according to the poll results. Additionally, forty percent of respondents said health teachers should also have “a great deal of influence” in sex education.

“Because government departments of education don’t care about students. Parents should be teaching them about safety along with health teachers and professionals,” a 28-year-old Democratic Hispanic man from New York said, according to survey.

Over the course of the pandemic, as school boards have fielded complaints from parents over topics like COVID-19 policies and Critical Race Theory (CRT), multiple state legislatures and governors have proposed legislation and put forth executive orders that would give parents more say and provide more transparency about what their children are taught in public schools. Critics, including many educators and progressives, argue that GOP-proposed legislation censors teachers and restricts how they teach.

The maximum margin of error for the “Mood of the Nation” survey is 3.7 points.

COLUMN BY

KENDALL TIETZ

Education reporter.

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

ARIZONA: Paradise Valley Unified School District Considers Adding Math Textbook That Claims Conservatives Are More Racist Than Liberals

Paradise Valley Unified School District in Arizona is considering adding an algebra textbook that discusses social justice issues as part of the district’s high school math curriculum review.

One of the math textbooks reportedly being considered for high school algebra teaches students about “racial bias,” “ethnic diversity in the United States” and “the widening imbalance between numbers of women and men on college campuses,” according to resources obtained by Parents Defending Education.

The textbook, titled “Precalculus 6th Edition,” by Robert F. Blitzer features a graph labeled “Measuring Racial Prejudice, by Political Identification,” which claims that conservatives are allegedly more racist than liberals.

Paradise Valley Schools is currently reviewing “Grades 9-12 math curriculum resources for high school math classes,” according to the district’s website. Dec. 17 is the final day for curriculum review.

The district is also considering books by Pearson, an educational publishing company. The company claims that education is a means for achieving “social justice,” according to the Pearson website.

“Education is the most powerful force for equity and change in our world. As the leading global education provider for learners and schools, we have a unique responsibility to be proactive in fighting systemic racism and bias. To promote diversity and inclusion. To bring social justice to the classroom. To be anti-racist,” the company’s website reads.

Pearson offers other left-wing social issue resources such as a story about a 9-year-old transgender child and a video that promotes Colin Kaepernick.

Erika Sanzi, the director of outreach for Parents Defending Education, told the Daily Caller that she believes math should be taught “free of politics.”

“It is not the role of a math curriculum — or a school system for that matter — to define political parties for students,” Sanzi said. “Teach [students] how to do math free of politics and send them off with the skills to draw their own conclusions.”

Matt Salmon, a former Congressman for Arizona and current gubernatorial candidate, told the Daily Caller that he believes the graph is a form of “bigotry” and labels conservative families and kids as racist.

Salmon argued that math textbooks with an emphasis on social justice would “not be rubber-stamped” if more “level-headed people” decided to run for school board positions.

Paradise Valley Schools told the Daily Caller that the district’s curriculum review committee is “reviewing a variety of materials from vendors is currently in the process of seeking community input.”

“These materials are not yet approved. Not all materials will be recommended for use in our schools,” a spokesperson for the district said. “Part of the committee review process is designed to identify materials that do not align with the Arizona Department of Education state standards or PVSchools values.”

COLUMN BY

CHRISSY CLARK

Contributor.

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