Tag Archive for: Department of Education

Progressive Public High School Offers Race-Segregated Classes

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policies have grown so diverse that they now include policies reminiscent of the Jim Crow era. A Chicago-area school district is attempting to boost academic achievement among black and Latino students by offering blacks-only and Latino-only classes. The segregated classes are called “affinity” classes, and they aim to reduce the so-called “academic achievement gap” by making black and Latino students feel more comfortable in class.

As Evanston, Ill. School Board Vice President Monique Parsons described the problem this month, “Our black students are, for lack of a better word … at the bottom, consistently still. And they are being outperformed consistently.” Evanston could have offered extra tutoring, parent engagement programs, or similar interventions. Instead, they offered special black-only classes taught by black teachers, on the theory that black students would learn better without white peers around.

Evanston is not the only community to offer race-segregated classrooms. Woke strongholds such as Minneapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, and Oakland have been offering race-specific high school electives focusing on subjects like African-American history since at least 2015. Evanston’s innovation was to expand the concept of race-segregated classrooms to math and English classes, such as Algebra 2 and AP Calculus.

Of course, federal non-discrimination laws forbid school districts from separating students on the basis of race, but the Evanston school district attempts to sidestep these laws by making the classes voluntary. Is that acceptable? To answer that question, consider what would have happened if Arkansas high schools in the 1950s had offered voluntary, whites-only classes to make white students feel more comfortable.

“In this example, the school system is failing to educate a portion of students. Rather than blame themselves for failing to prepare students to advance academically, this school system asks students to segregate themselves based on race,” Meg Kilgannon, Family Research Council’s senior fellow for Education Studies, told The Washington Stand. “The students must do it themselves so the school doesn’t violate civil rights laws that protect them from racial segregation.”

Fortunately, Evanston’s racial segregation scheme has not encountered universal participation. Approximately 200 of the high school’s 3,600 students (a little more than 5%) are attending race-segregated classes. About 25% of the student population is black, and about 20% is Latino, which comes out to about one in nine black students and one in seven Latino students attending the segregated classes. While not universal, these numbers still represent a sizable percentage of the school’s minority populations.

Regardless, the problem lies in the principle, not the implementation.

“We would all agree that it would be wrong if white people were looking to create spaces where everyone was white, but somehow the calculation is supposed to be different if black or brown people want to create spaces where no one is white,” Family Research Council’s Senior Fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement Joseph Backholm told TWS.

In August 2023, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) informed educators in a “Dear Colleague” letter, “OCR generally will open an investigation under Title VI [a civil rights non-discrimination law] where there are allegations that the use of a curriculum or program separates students or otherwise treats them differently based on their race” (emphasis added). That is precisely what Evanston’s program does, even if it is voluntary.

“This is a great example of how wokeness changes our moral evaluations,” Backholm explained. “In wokelandia, a person labeled an oppressor can do exactly the same thing as one of the oppressed, but it is wrong for one and right for the other. It’s very bad moral reasoning.”

Evanston has distinguished itself in recent years for its zeal to address past discrimination through present discrimination. The city became the first in America to approve reparations payments for black Americans in 2021. In 2019, the city council passed a resolution declaring Evanston “an anti-racist city” and “acknowledg[ing] that the trauma inflicted on people of color by persistent white supremacist ideology results in psychological harm affecting educational, economic, and social outcomes; and conjures painful memories of our City’s past …”

Such self-abasement might be understandable if the city had been the site of some notorious lynching or a KKK hotbed. Instead, Evanston was founded by Methodists — the backbone of the abolition movement — and incorporated in 1863 — the year of the Emancipation Proclamation. The city’s zeal to apologize for racism seems to outpace its actual record of racial discrimination.

Countering racism infuses Evanston’s current policy of racially-segregated classes, too. “Equity guides many of the district’s decisions,” reported The Wall Street Journal, “embodied in a stated board goal: ‘Recognizing that racism is the most devastating factor contributing to the diminished achievement of students, ETHS will strive to eliminate the predictability of academic achievement based upon race.’”

Kilgannon said this “deeply troubling” goal “summarizes quite precisely the problem with ‘equity’ as a worldview-guiding policy.” She explained, “Student achievement has many factors. ‘Centering’ racism as the most devastating factor will not produce better academic outcomes and is likely to produce an even more toxic environment for children of every race.”

Indeed, students who choose to participate in the racially-segregated classes may have already bought into that woke indoctrination. By segregating themselves, they will miss out on the opportunity to learn and grow from interacting with people who are different from them. They will encounter expectations that don’t prepare them for the real world. They will accept the false premise that their skin color arbitrarily limits their potential academic success. Meanwhile, the students — white, black, and Latino — who stay behind in the mixed classes also miss out on interactions with their peers.

“In athletics, all play together. They don’t have a white team, a black team, and a Latino team,” argued Jay Sabatino, a former high school teacher, principal, and superintendent in Illinois public schools, who retired after 30 years in education. “They have one Evanston team. All contribute, and all make mistakes. If a student in class or on the basketball court feels unsafe because he made a mistake, the teacher should address that. A safe environment (physically and emotionally) is the result of an excellent school.”

“What I fear is happening is that these students are being given the impression that their skin color is the most important thing about them,” Backholm agreed, “and that they need protection from people who don’t look like them. If that’s the case, these segregated classrooms will end up giving them a much greater handicap in life than whatever math deficiencies they may have.”

“As long as the program is voluntary, I can accept it more than if it is ‘the way we do things,’” Sabatino told TWS. But he expressed concerns about the process, based upon the WSJ’s reporting that the school district was dodging media inquiries and had not published data on the program’s success over the past four years. “Transparency in these decisions (at a district or school level) should be paramount. That Evanston would not respond to questions should throw up a red flag to the community.” Additionally, “Any district that does not look at the data critically and report out on them is not operating optimally. This isn’t an administrator’s school; it’s the community’s.”

“This example is one of the many reasons we encourage Christians to run for school board, and why we support in prayer Christians serving in schools as teachers and staff,” said Kilgannon. “Only a system devoid of God can produce this kind of situation. Christians are needed now more than ever in education of every kind.”

America’s educational establishment — such as national teachers’ unions and education training programs — are pushing schools to embed godless, toxic ideologies based on Marxism into curriculums, instruction, and every aspect of school life. They instruct students to classify everyone as either oppressor or oppressed, based not upon their individual behavior but upon their belonging to groups. Many of these groups, which determine someone’s moral standing according to woke ideology, are based upon unchangeable physical characteristics, such as a person’s skin color or ethnicity.

Creating special classes for certain “oppressed” groups (blacks and Latinos) to escape from the supposed “oppressors” (whites), as Evanston school district has done, is just another method for subtly advancing this radical indoctrination agenda. But will it actually help students learn better in AP calculus class? The case to make for it is not very persuasive.

Instead of imbibing untested racial ideology, there are time-tested methods for academic improvement which Evanston could try. Based on his 30 years of experience, Sabatino said, “I’ll always endorse this: Hard work and perseverance lead to success.”

AUTHOR

Joshua Arnold

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.

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.

Biden Admin Urges Colleges To Continue To Racially Discriminate Following SCOTUS Ruling On Affirmative Action

The Biden administration urged colleges and universities on Monday to continue to racially discriminate in an effort to make their student body diverse, following the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action.

The Supreme Court ruled in June that Harvard University and the University of North Carolina’s use of race-based admissions policies were unconstitutional, halting the practice across higher education institutions. The U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division released guidance encouraging universities to skirt the decision by weighing “ways a student’s background, including experiences linked to their race, have shaped their lives and the unique contributions they can make to campus.”

“For higher education to be an engine for equal opportunity, upward mobility, and global competitiveness, we need campus communities that reflect the beautiful diversity of our country,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “The resources issued by the Biden-Harris Administration today will provide college leaders with much-needed clarity on how they can lawfully promote and support diversity, and expand access to educational opportunity for all following the Supreme Court’s disappointing ruling on affirmative action.”

The guidance notes that through the admissions process, schools can consider how applicants’ backgrounds, such as their experiences with racial discrimination or the racial composition of their neighborhoods, can “position them to contribute to campus in unique ways.”

“For example, a university could consider an applicant’s explanation about what it means to him to be the first Black violinist in his city’s youth orchestra or an applicant’s account of overcoming prejudice when she transferred to a rural high school where she was the only student of South Asian descent,” the guidance states.

Institutions are encouraged to partner with K-12 schools to create pathway programs, and may give preferential treatment to students in the program during the admissions process if they were admitted to the program based on non-racial criteria, the guidance states.

Colleges and universities are able to target programs and areas in an effort to recruit students to contribute to a diverse student body, the guidance states. The guidance explains that schools can reach out directly to schools that predominately serve students of color and those by limited financial means in an effort to recruit applicants.

“By ensuring that the group of applicants they ultimately consider for admission includes a robust pool of talented students from underrepresented groups, institutions better position themselves to attain the student body diversity and related educational benefits they seek,” the guidance states.

The guidance also encourages universities to create race-affiliated groups, such as clubs or activities, to encourage students to “celebrate their shared identities, interests, and experiences.” If clubs, seminars or activities have a race-related theme, it must be open to all regardless of race, the guidance states.

“We stand ready to support institutions that recognize that such diversity is core to their commitment to excellence, and that pursue lawful steps to promote diversity and full inclusion,” the guidance states.

AUTHOR

REAGAN REESE

Contributor.

RELATED ARTICLE: Biden Official Casts Doubt On Ending Legacy Admissions After SCOTUS Ruling

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


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

GOP Senator Demands Investigation Into California University’s Reported $220 Million China Campus Deal

A Republican senator is calling for an investigation into the University of California, Berkeley’s reported multimillion dollar deal with a Chinese university, according to a letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Indiana Republican Todd Young urged the Department of Education (DOE) to investigate whether any U.S. laws were violated related to Berkeley’s reported $220 million joint venture with China’s “state-owned” Tsinghua University to build a 1.7 million-square-foot research campus in Shenzhen, known as Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute (TBSI), according to the letter sent to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona Friday. According to The Daily Beast, who broke the story in May 2023, Berkeley allegedly failed to report the foreign funding for the TBSI project to the Department of Education in possible violation of the law, which Berkeley disputes.

“The longevity, scope, and origin of the funding is concerning,” Young’s letter states, “but what that funding provided to the Chinese is equally, if not more so, concerning from a national security perspective.”

The Daily Beast reported that, between 2014 and 2018, the TBSI project allegedly received $220 million from the Shenzhen government as well as a $19 million investment from Tsinghua University that was backed by a grant from a Chinese state-owned enterprise.

Furthermore, Berkeley allegedly failed to report any of these foreign funds to the DOE prior to being contacted for comment by The Daily Beast in February 2023, according to the outlet.

Young’s letter asks the DOE to investigate whether or not Berkeley may have violated “existing U.S. law with regards to the disclosure of foreign gifts.”

In May 2023, Dan Mogulof, assistant vice chancellor of Berkeley, told the DCNF that although the university had indeed signed a “Master Affiliation Agreement” with Tsinghua University in 2016 that “arranged” for $22 million in “sponsored research” and “startup operations,” Berkeley has allegedly never received, nor benefitted from, a $220 million investment “made by the Shenzhen government, or any other entity in China.”

“UC Berkeley has no ownership of any of the facilities in Shenzhen and no agreements or plans to receive ownership interest in them,” Mogulof told the DCNF. “Therefore, UC Berkeley is not required to report this funding under Department of Education Section 117 guidelines.”

Young also expressed concern that the Chinese government may have “received other, more tangible, benefits from its arrangement with UC Berkeley,” according to his letter.

Between 2012 and 2021, Berkeley allegedly received over $4 billion in federal research funding from the Department of Defense and other government agencies, according to Young’s letter.

Therefore, TBSI may have allegedly benefited from “competencies, experience and expertise funded by the American taxpayer,” which China could have subsequently exploited, Young’s letter claims.

“Recent reporting calls into question the adequacy of existing guardrails to protect the security and integrity of American institutions of higher education from the malign influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese government,” Young’s letter states.

Berkeley’s Mogulof told the DCNF that the university “takes concerns about national security very seriously” and will review “past agreements and actions involving or connected to the TBSI to reconfirm that all required reporting and compliance has occurred.”

DOE did not respond immediately to the DCNF’s request for comment and The Daily Beast declined to comment.

AUTHOR

PHILIP LENCZYCKI

Daily Caller News Foundation investigative reporter, political journalist, and China watcher. Twitter: @LenczyckiPhilip

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


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan Officially Subpoenas Department Of Education Over School Boards Issue

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan officially subpoenaed the Department of Education on Friday, the Daily Caller has learned exclusively.

According to the subpoena, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is “commanded” to produce documents before the Judiciary Committee on March 1, 2023, at 9 a.m. ET. The subpoena comes as Jordan sent four letters to various officials Friday, calling for information and interviews the committee has been requesting, in a final warning shot before he sent the subpoena their way.

The Daily Caller first obtained the letters, which were sent to Chip Slaven, former Interim Executive Director and CEO of the National School Boards Association; Nina Jankowicz, former leader of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) “Disinformation Governance Board;” Viola Garcia with the National School Boards Association, and Jennifer Moore, the Executive Assistant Director for the Human Resources Branch at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In the letters, Jordan accuses each official of ignoring requests for transcribed interviews, as well as not providing the committee with the documents and information they previously requested. Jordan gives the officials one last chance to come before the committee before sending subpoenas to the officials.

Cardona allegedly solicited a letter from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) likening parents to domestic terrorists, according to emails obtained by Parents Defending Education (PDE). The letter reportedly advocated for federal investigators to monitor and intervene in activities by concerned parents, PDE emails showed. After the letter was publicized, the NBSA sent out a memo to members saying, “We regret and apologize for the letter.”

AUTHOR

HENRY RODGERS

Chief national correspondent. Follow Henry Rodgers On Twitter.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AUTHOR

Patrick Carroll

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

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

Biden Admin Plans To Roll Back Trump-Era Free Speech Protections In Education

‘A guilty until proven innocent standard.’


  • President Joe Biden’s administration is planning to roll back current Title IX regulations, which experts argue will revoke protections for both the accuser and the accused in sexual assault cases and threaten freedom of speech at federally funded schools. 
  • “It ultimately returns Title IX back to a guilty until proven innocent standard,” Sarah Perry, a senior legal fellow for the Heritage Foundation said.
  • “Any changes could put students’ free speech rights at risk and will only exacerbate the problem of self-censorship that has been plaguing our campuses,” Speech First executive director Cherise Trump said. 

President Joe Biden’s Department of Education (DOE) is planning to roll back Title IX due process regulations implemented by former President Donald Trump’s administration, which experts argue will revoke protections for both the accuser and the accused in sexual assault cases and threaten freedom of speech.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is planning to rewrite the rules outlined in Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments that set sexual harassment standards at federally funded schools. The Biden administration’s changes would reverse 2020 due process protections that require federal K-12 and higher education schools to investigate Title IX violations in a fair and unbiased manner, which includes the right to be represented by counsel, the presumption of innocence, the ability to cross examine and to introduce witnesses, experts told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Proponents of the current standards argue they fixed problems created by former President Barack Obama’s Education Department; before the 2020 changes, instances of sexual assault and harassment were only recognized as instances of unlawful sex discrimination through regulations that were not legally binding. However, under the current standards, school districts, colleges and universities have a legal obligation to respond to such cases in a fair and unbiased manner.

Under the Trump administration’s standards, instances of sexual assault at federal schools are handled more like “quasi-judicial proceedings,” Sarah Perry, a senior legal fellow for the Heritage Foundation, told TheDCNF.

“It ultimately returns Title IX back to a guilty until proven innocent standard … as opposed to leaving it to one Title IX investigator to determine who was right and who was wrong, in a ‘he said, she said’ proceeding,” Perry said.

Speech First executive director Cherise Trump told TheDCNF that the rules changes will likely be weaponized against constitutionally protected speech, which could make students subject to “harassment” for their personal or political stances.

The current Title IX regulations that were implemented in 2020 are consistent with a Supreme Court precedent known as the Davis Standard, which concluded that “student-on-student harassment must be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it can be said to deprive its victims of access to a school’s educational programs or activities,” Trump explained.

“This is a pretty high threshold that protects students from being accused of harassment for simply voicing their opinions and possibly offending someone with their ideas,” Trump said. In response, universities frequently manipulate Title IX language to fit a more “broad-sweeping definition” such as “severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive…” to “severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive,” she explained.

The small change in wording allows school administrators to restrict and punish speech they believe is “offensive,” “unwanted” or “problematic,” but would not be considered harassment under current Title IX rules, she said.

“Previously, the process for adjudicating serious harassment allegations on campus had been plagued by bias, vagueness, and overreach,” Trump added. “Any changes could put students’ free speech rights at risk and will only exacerbate the problem of self-censorship that has been plaguing our campuses.”

A Republican coalition of 15 state attorneys general have expressed legal concern about the DOE’s plans to roll back the “historic” move that codified sexual harassment regulations under Title IX into law, arguing the previous standards were unworkable and unfair.

“Hundreds of successful lawsuits against schools for denying basic due process and widespread criticism from across the ideological spectrum arose from the Obama-era rules the statement said. “The rules also resulted in a disproportionate number of expulsions and scholarship losses for Black male students.”

The Department of Education did not respond to The DCNF’s request for comment.

AUTHOR

KENDALL TIETZ

Education reporter.

RELATED ARTICLE: Republicans Say They Have Proof FBI Targeted Concerned Parents, Despite Garland Denials

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.

GOP Puts a Lid on Bathroom Crisis

The Family Research Council in an email writes:

Conservatives have wanted to eliminate the Department of Education for decades. And Thursday, President Obama gave them the best reason yet. The agency’s outrageous order that public schools ignore the basic biology of their students in the use of bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers may have finally awakened a sleeping giant.

Parents, governors, House and Senate leaders, religious groups, and superintendents are incensed that the White House would threaten to pull funding for children’s education over something as ridiculous and unpopular as gender-free restrooms.

Within hours of firing off this letter to every public school, college, and university in America, the blowback was fast and fierce. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) and Governor Greg Abbott (R) called on states to resist, insisting that the Lone Star State would give up all of its federal funding before letting the administration bully them on an ideology that the American College of Pediatricians calls “child abuse.” Together with Abbott, Patrick called on schools to ignore the DOE and Justice Department’s guidance. “This will be the end of public education, if this prevails,” he warned. ‘People will pull their kids out, homeschooling will explode, and private schools will increase.”

In local schools, administrators like Rodney Cavness didn’t need convincing. “I got news for President Barack Obama,”the Port-Neches-Groves superintendent told a local news outlet: “That letter is going straight to the paper shredder. I have five daughters myself, and I have 2,500 girls in my protection. Their moms and dads expect me to protect them. And that is what I am going to do. Now I don’t want them bullied… but there are accommodations that can be made short of this. He is destroying the very fiber of this country. He is not a leader. He is a failure.”

Fresh off of his bid for the GOP presidential nomination, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had strong words for the man occupying the office he sought.

“Having spent many years in law enforcement, I’ve handled far too many cases of child molesters, of pedophiles, of people who abused little kids. The threats of predators are serious, and we should not facilitate allowing grown men or boys to be in bathrooms with little girls… I encourage every school superintendent, school board, and parent across this nation to disregard this barely veiled threat from the White House aimed at overturning the utterly reasonable practice of preventing men and boys from entering girls’ restrooms and changing rooms. As a father of young girls, I wouldn’t want my daughters being forced to change in the same room as men and boys. It’s that simple. And parents across this country shouldn’t have to tolerate it either.”

His Texas and Tennessee colleagues, John Cornyn (R) and Lamar Alexander (R), agreed, insisting that the president’s job “is not to intervene in state and local affairs under our constitutional scheme.” “Frankly,” Cornyn went on, “I think his involvement is unwelcome.” From Arkansas to Ground Zero in North Carolina, leaders were irate over the White House’s power grab.

Read more.

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Powerful Video: Future of New York State Education Exposed

On March 31, 2015, the New York State Assembly proved that budgeting well takes a back seat to “budgeting badly but on time.”

rotten apple

Even before the official vote was taken, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie knew that the budget would pass the Democrat-controlled Assembly because “the people of this state want an on-time budget.”

So, according to Heastie,  it’s “the people” who “want” politicians to tell New York schools how to evaluate teachers– just so long as the screwy budget that also relieves New York’s wealthiest from sales tax on yachts is Approved. On. Time.

Due to that Democrat-induced, “on time” approval, New York now has a similar teacher evaluation stupidity that passed in Louisiana in 2012 (with student test scores counting for 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation unless the teacher is rated “ineffective,” in which case the test scores override all else). Moreover, New York has an extra layer of idiocy, even outdoing Louisiana: the “independent evaluator” nonsense that promises to introduce unprecedented disruption in the running of already-pressured schools as their administrators could be required to travel to other schools to evaluate teachers in unfamiliar contexts.

Did I mention that all of this “admin swap” means nothing in the face of the “ineffective test scores” trump card?

And “ineffective,” well, that is To Be Determined by the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

Ahh, yes. The bottom line is that all New York career teachers are now at the mercy of whatever test score “growth” NYSED concocts in its effort to please a governor who is decidedly and openly hostile to the “public school monopoly” he vowed to “bust” upon reelection.

There you have it, People of New York: A casualty of the “budgeting on time” that Heastie says you demand.

Therefore, don’t blame the “heavy-hearted” Democrats captured in short order in the brief, powerful video below. And certainly don’t blame those clueless legislators who voted for a budget without fully comprehending its ramifications.

The politicians are innocent… right?

Future of NYS Education, by Stronger Together (ST) Caucus

Call to abolish Florida Department of Education

Sandra Stotsky, Professor Emerita, University of Alabama.

Sandra Stotsky, Ed.D., former Senior Associate Commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Education and Professor Emerita at the University of Alabama, released a statement concerning the upcoming summit called for by Governor Rick Scott on Common Core State Standards.

Dr. Stotsky is known nationwide for her in-depth analyses of the problems in Common Core’s English language arts standards. Her current research ranges from the deficiencies in teacher preparation programs and teacher licensure tests to the deficiencies in the K-12 reading curriculum and the question of gender bias in the curriculum. She is regularly invited to testify or submit testimony to state boards of education and state legislators on bills addressing licensure tests, licensure standards, and Common Core’s standards (e.g., Utah, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Florida and Texas).

The following is the full text of Dr. Stotsky’s statement:

I have been invited by parent groups in Florida to comment on Common Core’s English language arts standards using the format that Interim Commissioner Pamela Stewart chose to give them.  Although Governor Scott requested meetings at which parents could express their concerns, she deliberately chose a method that in effect prevents discussion and an open forum.  By telling parents that they can comment only one by one, and only on the particular standards in Common Core, in a 3-hour period of time, she is in effect spitting in their faces. Parents can also send in their individual comments by computer, a method that also prevents discussion. If this is how a Department of Education treats the parents of the children whose education this Department is supposed to improve, then there is no reason for Florida parents to support the existence of such a Department. It should be abolished by referendum.

I was a senior associate commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1999 to 2003.  At no time were critics of the Department’s draft documents treated as shabbily as Florida parents are now being treated.   Public comment was regularly allowed at Board of Education meetings, and the Department held many meetings around the state when it was developing the Bay State’s own standards. And when criticism was received on drafts of standards documents, the Department staff courteously and publicly answered these criticisms. They acted as public servants, not as bureaucrats trying to foist their own untested ideas on other people’s children.

The Massachusetts Department of Education also held a large public meeting on Common Core’s standards to which the standards writers were invited. It was informative for the audience to hear Jason Zimba, the mathematics standards writer, indicate that Common Core’s math standards would not prepare high school students for STEM. I recommend that the Florida Department of Education hold a similar meeting and invite parents and teaching faculty at its own higher education institutions to attend and question Common Core’s standards writers.

WDW – FL contributor Diane Kepus wrote, “Governor Scott recently tossed the parents and taxpayers of Florida a bone regarding implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) leading many to believe he was going to “shut down” implementation of CCSS via his Executive Order Number 13-276. However some are questioning if the EO has any teeth.”

“Governor Scott issues an Executive Order and uninformed citizens believe he is stopping CCSS in Florida. What he did was withdraw Florida from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) only. He stated he was going to hold three hearings for public comments, look into finding someone else for testing and acknowledged concerns regarding the Federal overreach and the data collection of psychological attitudes and beliefs,” noted Kepus.

Kepus concluded the bottom line is: The Florida implementation of Common Core State Standards is untouched, unaffected and on track. It appears former Commissioner Stotsky has come to the same conclusion.

Educators Set Student Goals By Race?

The Florida Board of Education has a history of lowering educational standards and has now come under-fire for doing so based upon a student’s race. CBS Tampa reports, “The Florida State Board of Education passed a plan that sets goals for students in math and reading based upon their race.”

“On Tuesday [October 9, 2012], the board passed a revised strategic plan that says that by 2018, it wants 90 percent of Asian students, 88 percent of white students, 81 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of black students to be reading at or above grade level. For math, the goals are 92 percent of Asian kids to be proficient, whites at 86 percent, Hispanics at 80 percent and blacks at 74 percent. It also measures by other groupings, such as poverty and disabilities, reported the Palm Beach Post,” states CBS Tampa.

This decision has raised eyebrows, some calling it racist. But is it racism or reality? Is lowering goals the right way to deal with student achievement in reading and math?

This issue is not new, rather it has been swept under the rug since 1994. Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray in their seminal book on cognitive ability The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life state, “The question is how to redistribute in ways that increase the chances for people at the bottom of society to take control of their lives, to be engaged meaningfully in their communities, and to find valued places for themselves.”

Herrnstein and Murray found, “Ethnic differences in higher education, occupations, and wages are strikingly diminished after controlling for IQ. Often they vanish. In this sense, America has equalized these central indicators of social success.”

Herrnstein and Murray asked, “What are the odds that a black or Latino with an IQ of 103 – the average IQ of all high school graduates – completed high school? The answer is that a youngster from either minority group had a higher probability of graduating from high school than a white, if all of them had IQs of 103: The odds were 93 percent and 91 percent for blacks and Latinos respectively, compared to 89 percent for whites.”

The key factor in setting goals is IQ. Is it time for Florida to lead the way and reintroduce IQ testing for all students?

Herrnstein and Murray concluded:

  • We have tried to point out that a small segment of the population accounts for such a large proportion of those [social] problems. To the extent that the [social] problems of this small segment are susceptible to social-engineering solutions at all, should be highly targeted.
  • The vast majority of Americans can run their own lives just fine, and [public] policy should above all be constructed so that it permits them to do so.
  • Much of the policy toward the disadvantaged starts from the premise that interventions can make up for genetic or environmental disadvantages, and that premise is overly optimistic.
  • Cognitive ability, so desperately denied for so long, can best be handled – can only be handled – by a return to individualism.
  • Cognitive partitioning will continue. It cannot be stopped, because the forces driving it cannot be stopped.
  • Americans can choose to preserve a society in which every citizen has access to the central satisfactions of life. Its people can, through an interweaving of choice and responsibility, create valued places for themselves in their worlds.

Herrnstein and Murray found, “Inequality of endowments, including intelligence, is a reality.”

“Trying to pretend that inequality does not really exist has led to disaster. Trying to eradicate inequality with artificially manufactured outcomes has led to disaster. It is time for America once again to try living with inequality, as life is lived: understanding that each human being has strengths and weaknesses, qualities to admire and qualities we do not admire, competencies and in-competencies,  assets and debits; that the success of each human life is not measured externally but internally; that of all the rewards we can confer on each other, the most precious is a place as a valued fellow citizen,” found Herrnstein and Murray.

Finally, Herrnstein and Murray wrote, “Of all the uncomfortable topics we have explored, a pair of the most uncomfortable ones are that a society with a higher mean IQ is also likely to be a society with fewer social ills and brighter economic prospects, and that the most effective way to raise the IQ of a society is for smarter women to have higher birth rates than duller women.” Shocking words in 1994 and indeed even more so today. Is it time to have a national public debate on cognitive abilities?

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