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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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Local School Board Members Rejecting Obama’s Transgender Agenda

3 Ways Conservative Lawmakers Could Respond to Obama’s Bathroom Directive

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What will happen when a Muslim girl showers with a male who thinks he’s a girl?

After all, you have to laugh sometimes! Our reader domstudent11 posed this little query which demonstrates so hilariously how the Left will tie itself into knots with its political correctness nonsense!

From domstudent11:

restroom sign

Here’s what baffles me: at the same time that Obama is suing North Carolina for it’s “bathroom” law and trying to bully schools into mingling boys and girls in bathrooms and locker rooms, he is “importing” thousands of Muslims who would find it permissible to attack a non-relative male seen with any of their women.

What does he think will happen when Muslim girls are forced to shower with males who “think” they are female?

What does he think will happen when a Muslim husband sees a man (who “feels” like a woman) following his wife into a public restroom?

The only solution I can see is that public facilities and schools will be expected to provide an additional bathroom/locker room for Muslim girls only. Muslim boys would be free, of course, to share the facilities with infidel girls (if they are feeling like girls on any given day). Fair isn’t it?  Other suggestions?

This post is archived in our ‘Comments worth noting’ category, here.

Afterthought: Where is the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Obama’s bathroom policy?

RELATED CARTOON: 

liberal logis gays mulim islamophobia graphic

EDITORS NOTE: Here are passages from the Qur’an and Hadith on sodomy:

“Do you approach males among the worlds. And leave what your Lord has created for you as mates? But you are a people transgressing.” They said, “If you do not desist, O Lot, you will surely be of those evicted.” He said, “Indeed, I am, toward your deed, of those who detest [it].” — Quran, Sura 26 (Ash-Shu’ara), 165-168

And [mention] Lot, when he said to his people, “Do you commit immorality while you are seeing? Do you indeed approach men with desire instead of women? Rather, you are a people behaving ignorantly.” — Quran, Sura 27 (An-Naml), 54-55

“If you find someone doing the deed of the people of Lot, then execute the doer and the one to whom it was done.” reported by Ibn Abbas, Book of Legal Punishment, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Book 17, Hadith 40 [Number 1456], Hasan.

Those who commit unlawful sexual intercourse of your women – bring against them four [witnesses] from among you. And if they testify, confine the guilty women to houses until death takes them or Allah ordains for them [another] way. And the two who commit it among you, dishonor them both. But if they repent and correct themselves, leave them alone. Indeed, Allah is ever Accepting of repentance and Merciful. — Quran, Sura 4 (An-Nisa), 15-16

Here are passages from the Qur’an on the roles of men and women:

Quran (4:34)“Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them.”

Quran (2:228)“and the men are a degree above them”

Quran (33:59)“Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them…” Men determine how women dress.

Quran (33:33)“And abide quietly in your homes…” Women are confined to their homes except when they have permission to go out.

Quran (2:223)“Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will.” Wives are to be sexually available to their husbands in all ways at all times. They serve their husbands at his command. This verse is believed to refer to anal sex (see Bukhari 60:51), and was “revealed” when women complained to Muhammad about the practice. The phrase “when and how you will” means that they lost their case.

Quran (66:5)“Maybe, his Lord, if he divorce you, will give him in your place wives better than you, submissive, faithful, obedient, penitent, adorers, fasters, widows and virgins” A disobedient wife can be replaced.

VIDEO: The U.S. Military is Shrinking — the Numbers are Alarming

President Obama has fundamentally transformed the United States military from a global fighting force into a social change petri dish incapable of dealing with growing global threats from the nation states Russia, China, Iran and North Korea and even the Islamic State JV team.

The Middle East is exploding because the Obama foreign policy is based upon smart power rather than real power.

The Obama administration now seeks dialogue and engagement with those who wish to do us harm. Negotiation is part of diplomacy. What Americans see is our stature decline in an ever more dangerous world. What are enemies see is an opportunity to advance their national interests at the expense of America.

The below video by Dennis Michael Lynch explains the decline and fall of the U.S. military by the numbers and from a historical perspective.

Today our U.S. Air Force pilots are flying aircraft that are older than they are. Today the sea born U.S. Navy is commanded by officers who are much younger than the ships under their command.

Watch this short NEWSMAX TV analysis of our incredibly shrinking military:

American president Theodore Roosevelt, in a letter to Henry L. Sprague of the N.Y. City Union League Club dated January 26th, 1900, wrote, “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” This proverb advises using the tactic of caution and non-aggression, backed up by the ability to do violence if required. This proverb became Roosevelt’s foreign policy.

The greatest challenge for the next president will be restoring America’s big stick. 

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Why Is the United States Funding a Hamas-Linked Charity — Again?

The U.S. has given $270,000 to Islamic Relief Worldwide, a group which was banned in Israel for funding Hamas and in the UAE for Muslim Brotherhood links.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently gave a grant of $270,000 to a Muslim Brotherhood linked charity, according to The Daily Caller.

Islamic Relief Worldwide, a UK based charity and the largest Islamic Charity in the world, has been banned in Israel and the United Arab Emirates for dispersing funds to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Last month it received the money for its work in Kenya, specifically aimed at promoting “global health security as an international priority” as part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s global health security partner engagement initiative.

While the specific program the U.S. government is funding may be perfectly innocuous, the charity itself is not.

“The IRW is one of the sources of Hamas’s funding and a means for raising funds from various countries in the world” Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said in July 2014. “We do not intend to allow it to function and abet terrorist activity against Israel.”

In 2006 Israel arrested and deported Iyaz Ali, IRW’s Gaza branch project director, for working “to transfer funds and assistance to various Hamas institutions and organizations.”

In 2014 Islamic Relief Worldwide announced they had conducted an independent audit which found no ties to terrorism whatsoever.

“Islamic Relief abhors terrorism in all its forms” the group said in a statement. “We are an impartial, independent, purely humanitarian organization whose sole focus is to alleviate poverty and suffering.” They refused to name the auditor due to “sensitivities in the region.”

Israel and the United Arab Emirates rejected the findings and stood by their designations. Israel charged that Islamic Relief Worldwide “funnels millions of dollars a year to Hamas institutions.”

This is not the first time the U.S. government has funded Islamic Relief Worldwide despite concerns being raised about the group’s links to terrorism.

In December 2015 the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a grant of $100,000, also for the organization’s work in Kenya.

By continuing to fund charities with ties to terrorism, the U.S. government is legitimizing all aspects of their work, not just those areas they are directly supporting.

There are plenty of underfunded and laudable projects around the world with no ties to the Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas.

Why isn’t the U.S. government funding them instead?

RELATED ARTICLE: USAID Gives Muslim Brotherhood Tied Charity $100,000

‘Iran will now have more resources to divert to terrorism’

Can’t argue with that, Bibi.

“John Kerry Says the Middle East Is ‘Safer’ Thanks to Iran Deal Implementation — But That’s Not What Netanyahu Says,” by Sharona Schwartz, The Blaze, January 17, 2016:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran would free up more money for the Islamic Republic to pursue terrorism.

“What is clear is that Iran will now have more resources to divert to terrorism and its aggression in the region and around the world, and Israel is prepared to deal with any threat,” Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting, according to a transcript released by his office.

Netanyahu’s assessment stood in stark contrast with that of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who a day earlier said that both the world and the Middle East were now safer thanks to the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal.

“Today … the United States, our friends and allies in the Middle East, and the entire world are safer because the threat of a nuclear weapon has been reduced,” Kerry said Saturday in Vienna.

The Israeli leader vowed that his government would monitor “all of Iran’s international violations, including regarding the nuclear agreement, the ballistic missile agreement and terrorism.”

He also urged other countries to “enact severe and aggressive sanctions against each violation.”

“Were it not for our efforts to lead sanctions and thwart Iran’s nuclear program, Iran would have had nuclear weapons some time ago. Israel’s policy is exactly as it has been – not to allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapon,” Netanyahu added….

RELATED ARTICLE: Islamic jihadists kidnap three Americans in Baghdad

Florida: Hillsborough County Schools Loses Both Gates Money and Financial Reserves

In November 2009, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the Hillsborough County (Florida) Public Schools a $100 million grant as part of its “Empowering Effective Teachers” effort:

Hillsborough County Public Schools

Date: November 2009
Purpose: to support Hillsborough County as part of a cohort of Intensive Partnership Sites to improve teacher effectiveness to transform outcomes for low-income, minority students
Amount: $100,000,000
Term: 80
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Tampa, Florida
Grantee Website: http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/

The grant was to be paid in 80 installments; if such installments were monthly, then the grant would be paid over roughly seven years, with the final payment made at the end of the 2015-16 school year.

Of course, Gates had some ideas about how this “teacher effectiveness” business should work. The report linked above has as its second sentence, “A teacher’s effectiveness has more impact on student learning than any other factor under the control of school systems, including class size, school size, and the quality of after-school programs.” When pro-corporate-reform organizations toss around such statements, they never seem to follow it with the fact that factors external to the classroom hold far more sway that does the teacher. (In analyzing the proportion of teacher influence captured via value-added modeling– VAM– the American Statistical Association notes that teacher influence accounts for between 1 and 14 percent of variance in student test scores. Thus, between 86 and 99 percent of a student’s test score is out of the teacher’s control.)

Nevertheless, ignoring that the teacher controls so little of student outcomes in the form of market-driven-reform-loving test scores, in its efforts to try to purchase higher student test scores, the Gates Foundation offered ten school districts nationwide the multi-million-dollar-funded opportunity to prove that teachers could indeed be cajoled into producing better “student achievement” (i.e., ever-higher test scores) when such teachers were measured by their students’ test scores and offered more money for “raising” said scores.

As a 2009 winner of an Empowering Effective Teachers grant, Hillsborough was thrilled (“We’ll be a national model!”). A December 21, 2015 archive of Hillsborough schools’ “Empowering Teachers” webpage includes a number of enthusiastic responses regarding the newly-acquired, $100 million Gates grant. Front and center in these celebratory public statements is then-Hillsborough superintendent, MaryEllen Elia (Then-Governor Charlie Crist: “I commend Superintendent MaryEllen Elia and the Hillsborough County School District for their enthusiasm and commitment to working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation during the next seven years to improve student academic performance through rewarding high quality teachers both professionally and monetarily. The foundation’s generous grant award of $100 million will greatly enhance the work the district has already done in this area.”)

However, part of the Hillsborough-Gates agreement involved Hillsborough’s ponying up money of its own– which ended up eating into the Hillsborough schools’ reserves and threatening its bond rating. As reported in the August 04, 2015, Tampa Bay Tribune, the Empowering Effective Teachers initiative is not the only financial stressor affecting the Hillsborough bond rating, but it is nevertheless noteworthy:

In 2013, the school district was heading into the fourth year of a seven-year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help raise the bar among its teaching staff — a major factor, the foundation maintains, in student success.

Under its partnership with the foundation, the district needed a new salary schedule that tied raises more closely to a new system of evaluations — a change adopted statewide soon afterward.

Teachers in their first, second or third year on the job automatically switched to the new scale, which ties raises to evaluations, and those on their fourth year or higher chose whether to move to the new scale or stay on the old one. Because those changes were made mid-year, after the school board receives its yearly budget presentation, the school board never saw the financial effect of moving thousands of teachers to a new pay schedule, [new Superintendent Jeff] Eakins said.

About 10,000 school district employees moved to the new schedule, which meant their paychecks increased from $5,000 to $15,000 that year. The new scale averaged out to a 4 percent raise for each teacher. Last June, the school district used money in the reserve fund to make payroll several times near the end of the school year, Eakins said.

Yes, Hillsborough has a new superintendent. In January 2015, Elia was terminated via a school board vote of 4-3. The drain on Hillsborough’s reserves– down from $360 million to $152 million in about the past five years– happened on Elia’s watch– and allegedly without the knowledge (much less the approval) of the Hillsborough school board:

“The school board had no idea,” chairwoman Susan Valdes said. “We instructed the former superintendent not to touch the fund balance.”

Elia, selected by her peers as one of the top four superintendents in the country, was hired as commissioner of education for the state of New York. Her office said Tuesday she is traveling and could not be reached.

Elia is now in New York, where she runs the risk of jeopardizing her position with parents in New York’s growing opt-out movement. Elia publicly called opting out of standardized testing “unreasonable” and asserted that teacher encouragement of opting out is “unethical.”

But back to Hillsborough and its “Empowering Effective Teachers” Gates grant:

The August 04, 2015, Tampa Tribune article notes, “Next year is the final year of the $100 million Gates Foundation grant, called ‘Empowering Effective Teachers.’” Thus, it appears that Hillsborough believes Gates will follow through on its entire $100 million commitment during the full term of the grant.

Alas, it is not to be.

On September 21, 2015, the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Gates Foundation has only paid $80 million of the $100 million.

The Gates Foundation maintains that it did not agree for certain to fund the entire $100 million:

…Records indicate the relationship between Gates and the district has had some bumps.

Late in the process, the foundation rejected several of the district’s funding requests for Empowering Effective Teachers, which involves evaluating teachers using specially trained peers and bumping their pay with the idea that it would boost student performance.

“Each of the proposals were robustly outlined and presented,” a district report said.

But Gates officials responded by pointing to language in the original agreement saying the foundation had promised “up to” $100 million, not necessarily the whole amount, according to the report.

The district picked up the unpaid costs.

It is not unusual for a nonprofit like the Gates Foundation to require reports of how the grant project is proceeding in order to decide to continue to fund a project. However, a notable issue in this case appears to be “a change in Gates’ philosophy”:

Much of the disagreement [about funding the entire $100 million] amounted to a change in Gates’ philosophy, Brown said. “After a few years of research,” she said, “they believed there was not enough of a connection between performance bonuses and greater student achievement.” …

Gates spokeswoman Mary Beth Lambert said that while the decision on bonus pay is final, the two sides could agree on another funding opportunity later in the year. “It’s an ongoing conversation,” she said. “The door is still open.” [Emphasis added.]

So. The winds have changed. Gates no longer believes in a pay for performance. But there is another notable issue, and it concerns the original terms of the Hillsborough-Gates agreement– terms that Hillsborough schools did not follow through on: Mass firing of teachers, and no pay at all for seniority. As the September 21, 2015, Tampa Bay Times reports:

Since 2009, key components of the Gates program have changed.

The original proposal and a 2010 timeline called for the district to fire 5 percent of its teachers each year for poor performance. That would amount to more than 700 teachers. The thinking was they would be replaced by teachers who earned entry level wages, freeing up money to pay the bonuses for those at the top.

But the mass firings never happened. While an undetermined number of teachers resign out of dissatisfaction or fear that they will be fired, only a handful of terminations happen because of bad evaluations.

Also, while the initial proposal sought to pay teachers based on performance instead of seniority, the actual pay plan does both. Teachers receive pay bumps at three-year intervals and, if they score highly in the ratings system, they get bonus pay.

Evaluators were supposed to serve two-year stints, then cycle back to the classroom. Instead, many stay three and four years.

What strikes me is that Elia and others were so enthusiastic about a grant “opportunity” that would require firing five percent of teachers each year.  (Read Elia’s et al. enthusiastic May and August 2009 letters to all employees here.)

Elia’s cheerleading about a Gates grant requiring constant churn via teacher firings reminds me of something Shirley Jackson would have written in one of her short stories.

As Hillsborough faces the issue of $20 million less from Gates for a grant that initially agreed to fire five percent of teachers per year, Elia is in New York, where the cowering Board of Regents on September 16, 2015, approved Governor Andrew Cuomo’s push to increase teacher evaluation based on test scores to as much as 50 percent— and where numbers of students opting out could well serve as a catalyst for– dare I write it– *empowering* teachers.

However, it is not likely that Gates will take any interest in funding any parent, student, or teacher empowerment that works by defying standardized testing.

Go figure.

Congressional Report: Iran Spends Billions to Foment Global Terror

Responding to a request from Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), the Congressional Research Service prepared a report detailing monies spent by Iran supporting terrorist organizations in the Middle East.

The report, obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, outlined the massive expenditures by the Iranian regime on Hezbollah in Lebanon, Shiite militias Syria and Iraq, the Assad government, the Houthi rebels in Yemen and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, as well as Iran’s own military program.

These expenditures will only increase with the expected release of $150 billion in sanctions relief due to the current nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers.

Iranian Military Spending

Although in May 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama stated Iran’s military budget was “$15 billion compared to $150 billion for the Gulf States,” Press TV, an Iranian-owned media outlet, reported in March the Iranian parliament had approved a $300 billion budget for the military for 2015.

The report names the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force as the main vehicle that carries out terrorism for the regime, citing one study that claims the actual funding for the force is “much greater” than the amount allotted to it in the official budget “as the group’s funds are supplemented by its own economic activities.”

Assad Government

Iran provides an estimated $6-20 billion per year in aid to the Assad regime in Syria. One source estimated in 2013 Iran was giving $600-700 million per month to Syria, while another says that the amount has since doubled. The money funds militias, weapons and military training as well as the purchase of subsidized oil from Iran and other commodities.

Although Iran claims to be cash strapped because of international sanctions, this past July, Iran extended $1 billion in additional financial credit to the Syrian regime.

Shiite Militias in Syria

Iran provides training for Iraqi Shiite militias who are fighting for the Assad regime in Syria. An estimated 5-10,000 Iraqi Shiites are said to comprise these forces that fight alongside Hezbollah and form sniper teams, lead ambushes, establish checkpoints and provide infantry support for Syrian armored corps. Iran also recruits fighters for the Assad regime from Afghanistan and from within Syria itself. Iran pays each fighter an estimated $500-1,000 per month.

Shiite Militias in Iraq

One Iranian cleric cited in the congressional report estimates Iran has spent more than $1 billion in military aid to Iraq since the Islamic State swept through the country and captured large swathes of territory in the north last summer.

The militias Iran funds in Iraq are theose that fought against the United States between 2003 and 2011. Iraqi intelligence officials say just one of these militias, As’aib Ahl Al Haq (League of the Righteous), receives between $1.5 and $2 million per month from Iran.

A report published by Amnnesty International in 2014 titled Absolute Impunity: Militia Rule in Iraq documented the horrific kidnapping and murder of Sunni men by these Shiite paramilitary groups.

Hezbollah

The latest State Department Country Report on Terrorism (2014) states Iran provided Hezbollah with “training, weapons, and explosives, as well as political, diplomatic, monetary, and organizational aid.” The Department of Defense estimates Tehran gives Hezbollah between $100-200 million in aid per year.

Iran-Khamenei-Nasrallah-Kiss-IP_0

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah kisses Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (Photo: © Reuters)

Hamas

In 2006, it was estimated Iran was providing Hamas with $20-25 million per month to cover its governing budget as well as supplying the Gaza-based terror group weapons, technical assistance and military training.

In the years following, it was reported the aid had been cut, while at the same time Iran began sending more assistance to an alternate terror group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Most recent media reports say Iran has resumed its support of Hamas, providing “tens of millions of dollars” to Hamas’ military efforts including the rebuilding of tunnels destroyed the 2014 Israel-Gaza war, the replenishment of rockets and the salaries of fighters.

Houthi Rebels

Over the past number of years, Iran has been increasing its activities in Yemen. The Islamic republic is currently supporting the Houthi rebels who are fighting against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government, providing them with “tens of millions of dollars.”

The infusion of $150 billion dollars in sanctions relief due to the current nuclear agreement with the world’s powers, in addition to monies garnered through vast business dealings with the West, will provide Iran will more fodder as it fans out its terrorist fires across the globe.

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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A Funders’ Guide to the Common Core State Standards

In fall 2012, three philanthropic mega-organizations, Education Funder Strategy GroupGrantmakers for Education, and Growth Philanthropy Network, united to form the Common Core Funders Working Group (CCFWG).

The goal of this mega-mega philanthropic machine is to cement Common Core into American public education.

Here is a description of the purpose of CCFWG as noted in December 2013:

Recognizing the unique possibilities provided by Common Core standards, committed foundations are planning, learning, and acting together in a concerted way over the next two years as the “Common Core Funders Working Group.” A collaborative effort between the Education Funder Strategy Group, Growth Philanthropy Network and Grantmakers for Education, the Working Group seeks to leverage and organize the unique contributions of philanthropy——including resources, leadership, nimbleness, and independence——to support states and schools districts in successfully transitioning to the new Common Core standards.

The Working Group organizes funder interests and leadership on Common Core implementation issues at the national, state, and local levels. To learn more about getting involved——or simply to get added to the Working Group’s regular e-newsletter summarizing reports, research, and development with the standards——contact Grantmakers for Education.

In July 2015, CCFWG published a nine-page report summarizing what it “had learned” in its efforts over three years, from 2012 to 2015– as well as its decision to continue those efforts. Here are excerpts from the beginning of their July 2015 report, including their take on Common Core– and their assumption that they should promote it in schools that their own children are highly unlikely to attend– public schools:

The Common Core State Standards–finalized in 2009 and adopted by 46 states and D.C.—define a 21st century visionfor what young people need for success in college and careers in mathematics and English language arts. As such, their authors and many advocates believe the standards present an unprecedented opportunity to elevate the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning in America’s schools—and to tackle persistent problems in new ways.

With their emphasis on problem-solving, critical thinking and writing, the Common Core standards can usher sweeping changes in schools, districts and states. And the transition to these higher expectations has shone a new light on many problems (such as allocation of resources towards ineffective professional development activities, and lack of scrutiny in the adoption of quality teaching materials) that have hampered effective teaching and world-class education in U.S. schools.Education funders interested in supporting the success of Common Core standards have therefore been pushed to consider solutions to deeper challenges and to consider more powerful ways of exerting influence and encouraging change. [Emphasis added.]

Two notes: First, these CC mega-funders considered Common Core “finalized in 2009,” when Common Core was not officially released until June 02, 2010. Second, they see their role as one of “exerting influence” in “powerful ways.”

And here are the concluding paragraphs of the July 2015 CCFWG report. Of course, the Common Core mega-funding push mustcontinue:

The challenges and needs posed by the Common Core standards remain. Funder support —for better teaching materials and better tests, for communications and advocacy, for teacher development—will still be critical and even decisive in the years ahead.

Working individually and jointly, philanthropy has influenced the adoption and implementation of the new standards. But the need for aggressive and well-organized advocacy and communications; the simultaneous potential and limitations of funder collaboration; the lessons about continuous improvement; and remaining questions about philanthropy’s role in systems change all remain pressing needs for continued support and future undertakings. [Emphasis added.]

CCFWG has plans to pay for “better tests”; it plans to continue to “advocate” for the Common Core “adoption” it has “influenced,” and its goal is to create “systems change”– with the “system” changing to “define the 21st century vision” for publicly educating the economic classes to which these rich folk do not belong.

In December 2013, Grantmakers for Education (GFE) and the Helmsley Trust produced this executive summary of three reports to help would-be Common Core funders. (Find more GFE reports here.) Here is their floral treatment of the glory of Common Core– “according to the project’s leaders”:

Announced in 2009 by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers and voluntarily adopted by most states, the Common Core State Standards offer a new blueprint for what students in virtually every corner of the country will learn in English language arts (ELA) and literacy as well as mathematics. The Common Core are designed to be “robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that young people need for success in college and careers,” according to the project’s leaders. States and local school systems are working overtime to implement and adjust to the higher expectations. Meanwhile, advocates and critics are engaged in spirited discourse over whether the standards can effectively drive improvement in K-12 education.

Note that the “spirited discourse” over the Common Core experiment follows the adoption– and still philanthropy is more than willing to push Common Core.

It must be just fine since “the project’s leaders” say so.

The opening of the executive summary is a more realistic in its portrayal of the 2009 “announcement” of Common Core (though by the time of the announcement, 46 states and three territories had already signed the Common Core memorandum of understanding).

Here are some noteworthy excerpts from the December 2013 funders executive summary:

…Funders should explore whether the Common Core affects their existing grantmaking strategies, and how they might use the standards as a rallying point to help accelerate pre-existing work and goals. …

Reflecting on grantmaking goals and objectives, funders should think about how to acknowledge the Common Core in their education investments. …

In addition to grantmaking, are there other leadership roles we can play to focus attention on the Common Core?

But this excerpt is my favorite, by far:

The new standards have come under political and public attack in multiple states, and the opposition is expected to grow. Despite the states’ collaborative development and voluntary adoption of the standards, opponents on the right argue that the Common Core is a federal mandate. Opponents on the left are concerned about how the standards will affect teachers under new accountability systems, and about a perceived over-emphasis on testing. As a result, anti-Common Core campaigns are emerging in states across the country—some organic, but many highly coordinated and well-funded.

The Common Core—with its focus on raising expectations for how well students write, solve problems, and think critically—represents the culmination of reforms that many grantmakers have been trying to advance individually and in isolated efforts.Now, funders can use their resources and bully pulpit to help protect and advance the new standards.  …

Funders can play a key role in helping build and maintain public will in support of the new standards. Some foundations have chosen to exercise their voice directly,publishing opinion pieces and convening key stakeholders to express support for the Common Core.Others have chosen to fund advocacy groups to support the work. Funders may also leverage their relationships with key stakeholder groups, such as the business community, which can provide powerful local voices in support of reform.

Advocacy shouldn’t stop with the new standards: Funders can play an essential role in helping state education policy leaders understand the value proposition of the new, common assessments most states will likely use. The reality is: Standards, no matter how good, aren’t very helpful if they aren’t well-measured. [Emphasis added.]

Common Core needs public support. So, let’s buy some.

We’ll call it “leveraging our relationships.” This is all the more important since Common Core opposition is “well organized and well funded.”

These are millionaires and billionaires soliciting Common Core pushes who are writing about supposed “well funded” Common Core opposition. Their solution? Manufactured support via the purchasing of pro-CC organizations, fabricating CC support meetings, and writing “I’m rich so my opinion is valuable” op-eds about an education initiative from which rich kids are exempt.

And Common Core needs common assessments; so, let’s “help” education policy leaders “understand” the need for the tests that must accompany Common Core. (The feds, who are supposedly not puppeting state involvement in Common Core, publicly agreed in 2009 to foot the bill for Common Core assessments. So, no need for philanthropy to directly pay for the assessments. However, indirect funding is always, uh, “helpful”….)

If it isn’t tested, it doesn’t count… for the lower- and middle-class kids. After all, that’s who the moneyed, CC-exempt are using their “bully pulpits” to advocate for–

–the Common Core guinea pigs.

Obama’s Foreign Policy Financing Iran’s Terrorist Activities

Aside from the fact that the deal with Iran will leave it in a position to have nuclear weapons within a period of 3 to 12 months at their choice, how can anyone consider lifting sanctions on a country that is engaging in numerous wars and terrorist activities through their proxies in Israel, Syria Lebanon, Gaza, and Yemen?

Iran is at war with Israel via proxies Hamas and Hezbollah. Iran says the destruction of Israel is non-negotiable. Israel is a U.S. ally and Obama aside from giving Iran a path for nuclear weapons is about to lift sanctions on Iran which will allow it to increase its income and upgrade its terrorist activities against Israel and other U.S. allies and throughout the Middle East.

So far Obama has left out an essential element of any deal with Iran. Any final agreement must include Iran’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist. If this is not included in order to survive Israel of necessity must take military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Iran “Is Intensifying Efforts to Support Hamas in Gaza” – Con Coughlin

Iran has sent Hamas tens of millions of dollars to help it rebuild the network of tunnels in Gaza destroyed by Israel’s invasion last summer, intelligence sources have told the Sunday Telegraph. It is also funding new missile supplies to replenish stocks used to bombard residential neighborhoods in Israel during the war. Iran has sponsored Hamas’ military operations for years. (Sunday Telegraph-UK)

Netanyahu: Any Final Agreement Must Include Iranian Recognition of Israel’s Right to Exist (Prime Minister’s Office)

Responding to the Iran nuclear framework agreement announced Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement Friday after a meeting of the Israeli cabinet:

  • The cabinet is united in strongly opposing the proposed deal. This deal would pose a grave danger to the region and to the world and would threaten the very survival of the State of Israel.
  • The deal would not shut down a single nuclear facility in Iran, would not destroy a single centrifuge in Iran and will not stop R&D on Iran’s advanced centrifuges. On the contrary, the deal would legitimize Iran’s illegal nuclear program. It would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure.
  • The deal would lift sanctions almost immediately and this at the very time that Iran is stepping up its aggression and terror in the region. The deal would greatly bolster Iran’s economy. It would thereby give Iran tremendous means to propel its aggression and terrorism throughout the Middle East.
  • Some say that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s not true. There is a third alternative – standing firm, increasing the pressure on Iran until a good deal is achieved.
  • Iran is a regime that openly calls for Israel’s destruction and openly and actively works towards that end. Israel will not accept an agreement which allows a country that vows to annihilate us to develop nuclear weapons, period.
  • In addition, Israel demands that any final agreement with Iran will include a clear and unambiguous Iranian recognition of Israel’s right to exist.

Defense Minister Ya’alon: Iran Deal Will Increase Iran’s Appetite

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Sunday called the framework agreement “a huge achievement for Iran and a historic mistake for the West.” “Iran is a terrorist monster that funds, trains and arms organizations and entities to wreak havoc among the pro-Western regimes in the Middle East and around the world, and it has no intention of stopping this.” He added that the agreement would set the stage for Iran to “increase its appetite to spread disarray.” (Jerusalem Post)

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The Free Syrian Army is on the wrong side. Here’s its bloody track record and disturbing alliances.

In PJ Media I explain why this plan that both Democrats and Republicans is a recipe for disaster:

6. The Free Syrian Army terrorized the Christians of the Syrian village of Oum Sharshouh.

In July 2013, Free Syrian Army fighters entered the Christian village of Oum Sharshouh and began burning down houses and terrorizing the population, forcing 250 Christian families to flee the area.

Terrible things happen in wars, of course, and the FSA’s terrorizing of a Christian village doesn’t necessarily mean that it wouldn’t be effective against the Islamic State. But given this behavior, what kind of a society might the Free Syrian Army establish in Syria, were they to come to power? Apparently not one that would secure the rights of religious minorities, for the terror attack at Oum Sharshouh was not an isolated incident…

5. The Free Syrian Army murdered Christians in the Syrian town of al-Duwayr.

Worthy News reported that just two days after the attack on Oum Sharshouh, Free Syrian Army rebels, targeted the residents of al-Duwayr/Douar, a Christian village close to the city of Homs and near Syria’s border with Lebanon…. Around 350 armed militants forcefully entered the homes of Christian families who were all rounded-up in the main square of the village and then summarily executed.

4. The Free Syrian Army is proud of its attacks on Christians.

In September 2013, a day after Secretary of State John Kerry praised the Free Syrian Army as “a real moderate opposition,” the FSA took to the Internet to post videos of its attack on the ancient Syrian Christian city of Maaloula, one of the few places where Aramaic, the language of Jesus, is still spoken.

3. The Free Syrian Army attacked the Lebanese border town of Arsal in conjunction with the Islamic State and the jihadist Nusra Front.

Investigative journalist Patrick Poole reported in PJ Media that “multiple media reports indicate that the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) is operating openly with ISIS and other designated terrorist groups.”

Indeed. The New York Timesreported in August that, according to Abu Osama, a member of a Nusra Front brigade that participated in the attack, the Arsal assault was “a combined operation involving fighters from the Free Syrian Army, the Nusra Front and ISIS.” The Times was skeptical:

Abu Osama’s remarks could not be immediately verified, and such cooperation between the F.S.A., the Nusra Front and ISIS would be unusual; the groups have clashed in bouts of rebel infighting in Syria.

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2. The Free Syrian Army has admitted that it is working with the Islamic State.

The Times’ skepticism was unwarranted. Bassel Idriss, a Free Syrian Army commander, said in early September: “We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in … Qalamoun.” Perhaps aware his group is supposed to be full of “vetted moderates” who are ready to fight the Islamic State, not work with it, he added: “We have reached a point where we have to collaborate with anyone against unfairness and injustice. Let’s face it: The Nusra Front is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun and we as FSA would collaborate on any mission they launch as long as it coincides with our values.” What mission and what values? “Our battle is with the Assad regime, and it is on Syrian lands only.”

In other words, they have no plans to go to battle against the Islamic State in Iraq, no matter what Barack Obama says.

1. FSA members have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, and handed over its weapons to Islamic State jihadis.

People love the strong horse, said Osama bin Laden, and that applies to at least some members of the Free Syrian Army. Jordan Schachtel reported at Breitbart in July that “several factions within the Syrian opposition force known as the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have pledged services to the Islamic State, the group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Sources and eyewitnesses said that the FSA has handed over its weapons to the Islamic State in large numbers.”

Now the House and the Senate have given Barack Obama the green light to give them even more weapons, and the Senate is certain to agree. Will those, too, end up in the hands of the Islamic State?

Placing hope in and giving weapons to the Free Syrian Army to take down the Islamic State is the pinnacle of Obama’s fantasy-based policymaking. If only we had a viable opposition party in Congress – then this mad scheme might have been averted.

EDITORS NOTE: After this column was written the U.S. Senate passed the funding bill allowing President Obama to support the Free Syrian Army.

United Arab Emirates Secretly Offers Funding for Israel’s Operation Protective Edge to Defeat Hamas

Ilana Freedman of The Freedman Report posted this from The Peninsula alleging the United Arab Emirates  (UAE) had met secretly with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman offering to fund Operation Protective Edge to defeat Hamas.  The Peninsula report notes this about who might have facilitated this development:
clear

Former Fatah Security chief, Mohammad Dahlan circa 2006

Sheikh Abdullah’s Security Adviser, Mohamed Dahlan, was also present. Dahlan, a Palestinian, is a former Fatah member expelled from the party and Gaza and now lives in the UAE.

Former Palestinian Authority Security chief Dahlan had been cited by the Jerusalem Post at the start of Operation Protective Edge denouncing Hamas for “fostering  new terror groups,  threatening Egypt’s security, and laying siege to the Gaza Strip.”  Jonathan Schanzer of the Washington, DC-based Foundation for Defense for Democracies chronicled the acrimonious split between Dahlan and PA President Abbas in his book, State of Failure: Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Unmaking of the Palestinian State.  Read our November 2013 NER review on The Failed State of Palestine  for more details about Dahlan’s split with Abbas.

The secret meeting between the UAE and Israel is in sharp contrast to Qatar that has gone on record yesterday in a The Gulf in the Media  report supporting the Palestinian people and Hamas in Gaza. Both developments in the Gulf come amidst the current Israeli ground incursion directed at destroying Hamas’ rocket inventory, launching facilities and extensive network of tunnels.  That appears to fit the Arab dictum “the enemy of my enemies is my friend”.  Despite supporting Hamas,  Qatar has a friend in the Obama Administration.  This is further evidence of a deep division among the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council  (GCC) regarding the threats from affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood the Islamic State, formerly ISIS.  PA President Abbas was in Ankara yesterday visiting Premier Erdogan, a Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas supporter.  Today, he was in Doha, Qatar seeking support for a cease fire in the current conflict, but without support from Egypt.  Today, 21 Egyptian soldiers were killed in a machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade attack at a Libyan border checkpoint 300 miles West of Cairo, perhaps by Muslim Brotherhood or Salafist terrorists.  That may be a why Egyptian President el-Sisi’s government is blocking the Gaza- Egypt frontier  while blaming Hamas for the current conflict.

Here is the Freedman Report post:

UAE, Israel have secret meeting, UAE ‘offered to fund Israel’s Gaza offensive’

Posted on July 19, 2014 by the Peninsula – 19 July, 2014

The UAE knew in advance of Israel’s plans for an offensive in Gaza and even offered to fund the operation provided the militant Palestinian outfit Hamas was eliminated in the process. Israel’s Channel 2 claimed in a recent report, according to local Arabic daily Al Sharq. The daily says in a report published today that Israel’s leading national TV station (Channel 2 in Hebrew) disclosed details of secret parleys between the UAE’s foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, in Paris at the end of last month.

Both leaders met on the sly in Paris on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers from the GCC states and Jordan with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Israel’s foreign minister was also in the city.

The meeting was to discuss the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian issue.

Al Sharq said the UAE was aware of Israeli’s planned military action in Gaza beforehand and Al Nahyan, at his meeting with Lieberman, expressed his country’s keenness to fund Israeli’s Gaza offensive provided the Hamas movement was annihilated since it had close links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to Al Sharq, Channel 2 reported that just a few days ago there was a meeting between Sheikh Abdullah and an Israeli minister in Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Abdullah’s Security Adviser, Mohamed Dahlan, was also present. Dahlan, a Palestinian, is a former Fatah member expelled from the party and Gaza and now lives in the UAE.

Read the original article here.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the New English Review.