America’s Systemic Racism Problem Is Mostly In Woke, Anti-Asian Education Bureaucracies thumbnail

America’s Systemic Racism Problem Is Mostly In Woke, Anti-Asian Education Bureaucracies

By Helen Raleigh

Public school officials caused harm to Asian students’ college applications by not notifying them of important academic achievements.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin began 2023 by asking the state’s Attorney General Jason Miyares to investigate the allegation that officials at Thomas Jefferson High School (TJ) intentionally withheld notifications of National Merit awards from the school’s students and families (most of them are Asians) in the name of “equity” and “inclusion.”

Asra Q. Nomani, a human rights activist and a proud mom of a TJ graduate, broke the latest scandal at the school right before Christmas. According to Nomani, the scandal was initially uncovered by another TJ mom, Shawna Yashar, whose son took the PSAT test. He was recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation “as a Commended Student in the top 3 percent nationwide — one of about 50,000 students earning that distinction.” It was the kind of honor that would have helped his applications for colleges and scholarships last fall had the TJ officials not withheld his award announcement. When the TJ officials eventually notified him of his award, the deadline for his college applications had already passed, which rendered the award useless.

Nomani learned that her son, a graduate of TJ’s class of 2021, was never told by school officials that he was a “Commended Student” in 2020. Even more infuriating is that these two young men’s experiences were not the result of some honest one-time mistake.

Nomani discovered that “the principal, Ann Bonitatibus, and the director of student services, Brandon Kosatka, have been withholding this information from families and the public for years, affecting the lives of at least 1,200 students over the principal’s tenure of five years.” These officials’ actions (or inactions) disproportionally hurt Asian students because the majority of the school’s student body is Asian. By intentionally withholding awards and eventually delivering them late and in a low-key way, these officials robbed the students and their families of chances to celebrate hard-earned achievements.

In addition, these officials caused undue harm to these students’ college applications and scholarships. For some first-generation immigrants with no other financial resources to fall back on, the damage caused by these school officials’ actions could have a lifetime effect, with some students having to settle for less prestigious colleges or be forced to take out more student loans.

After Nomani broke the story, TJ’s director of student services, Brandon Kosatka, justified her action by insisting, “We want to recognize students for who they are as individuals, not focus on their achievements.” Does she understand that celebrating someone’s achievement and acknowledging someone’s effort is an important part of recognizing students as individuals?

Meanwhile, Bonitatibus “still hasn’t publicly recognized the students or told parents from earlier years that their students won the awards. And she hasn’t yet delivered the missing certificates.”

TJ is a prime example of the woke left’s systemic racism against Asian Americans in our education system. Besides withholding awards, TJ’s woke officials and liberals of the Fairfax County School Board also canceled the school’s merit-based and race-blind admission exam to increase the student body’s “diversity,” which has become a code word for “purging qualified Asians.” The result speaks for itself: Asian students make up 54 percent of the class of 2025, a dramatic decrease from 73 percent of the class of 2021.

Another elite high school that followed TJ’s lead and canceled its merit-based admission in 2021 has experienced disastrous results. San Francisco’s Lowell High School, once the best high school in the city, dropped out of the top 100 ranking of high schools nationwide for the first time in the school’s history after woke officials canceled the school’s merit-based admission and replaced it with a lottery system. After Asian American residents in the city successfully recalled three leftist members of the school board, the new members reinstated merit-based admission at Lowell last year.

At TJ, a group of concerned parents organized a group called the “Coalition for Thomas Jefferson High School,” and they sued Fairfax County Public School District for the school’s “unconstitutional” and discriminatory new admission policy. A federal judge ruled in favor of the coalition last year, but an appeals court stayed the decision.

The coalition filed an emergency petition with the Supreme Court last year, but the high court declined to block TJ’s new anti-Asian admission policy. The high court decided before it heard two cases challenging affirmative action-based admissions policies at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University. The oral arguments of the two cases have given much hope that the Supreme Court will uphold America’s principle of equality under the law by ruling in June this year that affirmative action-based admission policies are unconstitutional.

But Asian Americans cannot rest our hope in one court’s ruling alone. A lot more should be done at the state level. That is why Youngkin’s announcement of launching a civil rights investigation of TJ officials who withheld awards from students is welcome news. Youngkin said, “Parents and students deserve answers. … I believe this failure may have caused material harm to those students and their parents and that this failure may have violated the Virginia Human Rights Act.” Youngkin was spot on.

What these school officials did was a violation of students’ civil rights. Youngkin’s consistent focus on education and the clarity in his messaging explains why many Asian voters supported him during his gubernatorial race.

I sincerely hope Youngkin’s investigation will not only right the wrongs for affected Asian American students and their families at TJ but also become a rallying cry for all patriotic Americans. The most pervasive form of institutional racism widely practiced today in the United States is the anti-Asian hate in our education system. From eliminating gifted and talented programs in K-12, to canceling merit-based entrance exams to elite high schools, to dropping standard tests from college admissions, the objective is to reduce Asian American representation regardless of our qualification and effort because we are the “wrong” kind of minority.

The woke left’s war on merit in our education system hurts more than Asian Americans. The war on merit is a war on fundamental American values and America’s future. No society can advance or even maintain its current standard of living if its education system discourages the pursuit of excellence, celebrates mediocrity, and treats people differently based on the color of their skin. Therefore, the pushback of the woke left’s war on merit in education should not be just Asian Americans’ fight. We need all concerned Americans to join us.

Hopefully, 2023 will be the year we stop the war on merit.

*****
This article was published by The Federalist and is reproduced with permission.

Assistant Principal Asked School Staff To Help Pay Immigrant Student’s ‘Coyote’ Fees, Email Shows thumbnail

Assistant Principal Asked School Staff To Help Pay Immigrant Student’s ‘Coyote’ Fees, Email Shows

By The Daily Caller

A Rhode Island high school assistant principal sent an email to solicit donations from staff to pay a student’s “coyote” fees for coming to America, according to a copy of the email obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Providence’s Mount Pleasant High School Assistant Principal Stefani Harvey sent an email Thursday night soliciting donations for “a student who came to America with ‘Coyote,’ which is a group that helps people,” according to the message. The email described the coyote as a group that “gives you a time frame to make a payment of $5000 dollars to those, who bring them into the states.”

Harvey didn’t respond to a request for comment. However, a spokesperson for the school denied the validity of the email in a phone conversation with the DCNF.

“That is a fake email. We are on top of that. We are trying to figure out who generated that and why. We do not have a student that is being human trafficked,” the school official, who did not identify themselves, told the DCNF.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW AP HARVEY’S EMAIL

Providence Teachers Union President Maribeth Calabro told local radio host Matt Allen Friday that the email, which she first heard about from the radio anchor and then confirmed with teachers at Mount Pleasant High School, was real and that the school was conducting an internal investigation.

“I was a little taken aback by the content,” Calabro said, “I engaged the district, I called leadership in the district and I said ‘hi folks, what’s going on here’ and they were aware and they said that when they were made aware they went into immediate investigatory mode and that once the investigation was concluded that there would be correspondence.”

“Some folks, and that’s why some folks didn’t reach out to me last night when they got it, or earlier this morning when they got it was because they thought it was one of those, like, ‘you have won $5,000, all you have to do is text us your Social Security number’ kind of things. But in conversations with each other and during the school morning, you know, in arrival time, they realized quite quickly that it was not in fact a hack or a misrepresentation or a joke and so that’s when folks started to become concerned,” Calabro said, adding that she “reached out to some folks at the school and they confirmed that it was in fact an email sent by the assistant principal.”

Coyotes are smugglers who take advantage of migrants trying to cross the border into the U.S., according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“Smugglers use lies to lure the vulnerable into a dangerous journey that often ends in removal or death,” then U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Chris Magnus said of an agency effort to counter coyotes in May.

The school’s principal, Tiffany Delaney, sent a subsequent email Friday to staff clarifying the school’s position on the earlier request.

“I appreciate the faculty and staff contributing to a cause that supports a student, but the nature of the request is not appropriate. All funds contributed will be returned and we will seek more appropriate methods to support our students,” Delaney said in the email.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRINCIPLE DELANEY’S EMAIL

AUTHOR

JENNIE TAER

Investigative reporter.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Over 50 Unaccompanied Migrant Kids Discovered In Truck

Rep. Jim Jordan Sends Final Warning Shot To Various Officials Before Subpoenas Fly

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.

Weekend Read: Soul Dysphoria [A Trans and GenZ Disaster] thumbnail

Weekend Read: Soul Dysphoria [A Trans and GenZ Disaster]

By Spencer Klavan

Understanding the “trans” phenomenon means recognizing it’s about more than gender.

In 2013 the DSM-V, an authoritative diagnostic manual for therapists and clinicians published by the American Psychiatric Association, defined gender dysphoria as “the distress that may accompany the incongruence between one’s experienced or expressed gender and one’s assigned gender,” where “gender” refers not to one’s biology but to “the public (and usually legally recognized) lived role as boy or girl, man or woman.”

The psychologist John Money popularized this way of speaking in the mid-20th century—it is the lasting legacy of his highly disreputable career. The word “gender” draws a stark—some might say Platonic—dividing line between “sex,” meaning one’s biological characteristics as male or female, and “gender,” meaning the ways in which one behaves, feels, and is perceived. The runaway success of the philosopher Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble in 1990 helped sunder these two ideas more starkly among the leftist intellectual class. Butler was wrestling with French poststructuralists like Michel de Foucault and post-Freudian feminists like Simone de Beauvoir, who had famously written that “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” Pushing Beauvoir’s idea further, Butler suggested that “sex does not cause gender, and gender cannot be understood to reflect or express sex.”

But then, still more radically, Butler proposed that sex too is an invented idea applied to the body, so that even the most basic facts of our physical selves are subject to transformation and reinterpretation: “gender is not to culture as sex is to nature; gender is also the discursive/cultural means by which ‘sexed nature’ or a ‘natural sex’ is produced.” Gender is a performance; binary sex is a social construct; our bodies are objects of hostile interpretations fabricated by the powerful. At the time these were explosive statements. Today, they are practically commonplace.

With this new vocabulary came new awareness of a painful split between body and soul. By all accounts, dysphoria is agony—a jagged perceived mismatch between flesh and spirit. In 2016, Buzzfeed asked gender dysphoric people to depict what it was like to feel as they did. Women drew their breasts as balls and chains shackled to their legs; men imagined unzipping their own skin and emerging, newly female, from their old unwanted exoskeleton. In children with gender dysphoria, puberty can be a time of acute distress when the maleness or femaleness of the body suddenly asserts itself in a dramatic way. The thoughts of gender dysphoric adolescents often turn to suicide, which is why many parents are willing to do anything—including irreversible surgery and hormonal intervention—to help alleviate the discomfort.

But it is telling to read in the DSM-V that gender dysphoria occurs in just 0.005 percent to 0.014 percent of natal males, and 0.002 percent to 0.003 percent of natal females. In 2013, those numbers were current. They are already wildly out of date. Girls, especially, are developing gender dysphoria at an alarming pace: between 2006 and 2016, the number of referrals to London’s Charing Cross “Gender Identity Clinic” nearly quadrupled. Between 2008 and 2015, another such clinic in Nottingham saw its referral numbers jump from 30 to 850. A Gallup report in 2020 found that 1.8 percent of Gen-Z kids in the United States (born between 1997 and 2002) identified as transgender. By 2021, it was up to 2.1 percent. A shocking uptick in gender dysphoria, especially among girls, has blown the DSM-V’s figures out of the water. We are simply more uncomfortable in our bodies than we were before.

Perhaps some of this is because gender dysphoric people are more comfortable sharing their feelings as it becomes commonplace, not to say required, to accept and validate transgender people in American culture and society. But it is just as likely, if not more so, that causation goes the other way: maybe boys and girls feel more uncomfortable about their bodies as they are increasingly taught by adults and peers to view their physical sex as something detachable from their gender. Brown University health researcher Lisa Littman caused enormous controversy when she surveyed 250 families with dysphoric children and observed that 80 percent of the kids were female. What Littman called “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” is a new phenomenon, a sudden self-identification as trans in girls who never showed signs of bodily discomfort before. Littman was attacked because her results suggested that our massive dysphoria epidemic might not be entirely spontaneous.

More and more public schools have adopted the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s “gender snowperson,” or other similar infographics✎ EditSign, to teach that sex, sexuality, and gender are unmoored from one another. But this kind of messaging goes beyond classrooms. One 2020 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found evidence that in areas where kids are exposed to more media coverage of transgender-related issues, gender therapy clinics receive more referrals. Kids increasingly shape their political beliefs and values (including their sense of gender identity) in conversation with one another in online forums. “Online engagement is not just isolated,” said Tumblr’s director of outreach Liba Rubenstein, “it really is attached to people’s offline identities.”

Typically, this kind of peer-to-peer discussion is represented as a victory for liberation and inclusion. But online life is not just allowing kids to vent their discomfort with their bodies: it’s also creating that discomfort where previously there was none. In this broader context the rise in transgender identification and gender dysphoria seems less like an authentic phenomenon in and of itself, and more like one symptom of an ancient conflict between body and soul, kicked into hyperdrive by the experience of internet life.

Abigail Shrier, a journalist who documents the rise of gender dysphoria in young girls in her book Irreversible Damage, interviewed one teenager whose anorexia morphed naturally into gender dysphoria as if the two sprang from the same source: “My goal went from diet pills to testosterone…. From fantasies about slicing off my thigh fat to slicing off my breasts. I bound them with duct tape. I couldn’t breathe. It made me panic, but I felt brave.” Buck Angel, a transsexual internet celebrity, speculated to Shrier about the association between widespread gender dysphoria and a disgust at the body more generally among teens, who are having less sex than previous generations and seem more comfortable in virtual than physical space. Shrier concludes that adolescent transgenderism “very often seems to be a sad cult of asexuality, like the hand-painted sign in an antique shop reading ‘Please Do Not Touch.’”

Persona Creata

Given the explosion of gender dysphoria among adolescent girls, this phase of the body crisis suggests a particular horror at the idea of womanhood. “Perhaps forever,” writes Shrier, “but at least since Shakespeare’s Viola arrived shipwrecked in Illyria and decided to pass herself off as a man, it has occurred to young women: it’s so much easier to be a boy.” The feminist injunction for women to “lean in”—to hunt out positions of power and dominance in traditionally male industries and pursuits—comes freighted with the implication that traditionally female pursuits are weak, contemptible, and dull. “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession,” sniffed Hillary Clinton, in a classic summation of this idea, during her husband Bill’s first presidential campaign.

Both implicitly and explicitly, our ruling classes express contempt for homemaking and motherhood. But this closes off the most primal path to resolving the body crisis. Women, by creating new life, bear witness to the possibility that body and soul can in fact be reconciled: in childbirth, human flesh becomes the medium of the divine. Poets have expressed this as the “eternal feminine,” the strangely luminous power of women like Dante’s Beatrice or Faust’s Margarete to act as physical conduits for the life-giving power of God. “Woman, eternal, beckons us on,” wrote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the closing lines of his Faust. This is the meaning of the Virgin Mary’s consent to bring God into the world: her body will become the medium to deliver divine life, God made flesh.

Not that pregnancy and labor are some sort of cakewalk that we should regard with misty-eyed sentiment. Ever since Adam and Eve left Eden, creating life has also meant facing pain. The delicate challenge of growing from girl to woman involves coming to terms with the blood and the sorrow of what it means to have a body in a fallen world. Now, though, that hard task is made harder by the constant social implication that to be a mother is to be brainwashed and oppressed. Small wonder girls are fleeing womanhood, and small wonder this has intensified our sense that the human body is nothing more than a dead weight. Childbirth is not the only way to be fulfilled, nor the only way out of the body crisis. But if our bodies are not at least potentially a source of life as well as death, of blessing as well as discomfort, then they are simply a burden. Shucking off that burden means turning women into mere body parts that can be removed, reconfigured, or appropriated at will, reducing the female body to its functions and recasting women themselves as “menstruaters,” “chest feeders,” and “birthing people.”

Thus trans activism increasingly comes along with the implication that the body has no inherent integrity; that its meaning is entirely at the whim of its inhabitant. “Here’s the thing about chest surgery,” said Dr. Joanna Olson-Kennedy, a trans youth specialist and director of the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles: “If you want breasts at a later point in your life you can go and get them.” Reacting with alarm to Olson-Kennedy’s statement, British journalist Douglas Murray, asked: “Are people like blocks of Lego onto which new pieces can be stuck, taken off and replaced again at will?”

Not yet, but perhaps that is the longing upon which trans extremism plays. Increasingly the objective is to abolish the boundaries of the body altogether, to liberate the human spirit and let it mold the flesh as it chooses. This is what critic Mary Harrington calls “biolibertarianism”: the aspiration to remove bodily constraints, to turn our physical form into a set of customizable parts that can be interchanged or reshaped. Harrington notes an anonymous 2018 paper, Gender Acceleration, which argues that surgical transition from male to female “breaks [a] lucky few free from the horrid curse of being human.” A woman who goes by the handle “whorecress” expressed a very similar attitude in a video that went viral on TikTok: “I’m not body-positive,” she declared, “I’m not body-neutral. I’m body-negative. I wanna be vapor. Or like, a plume of blue smoke. Or mist. Or a rumor—I’d be a rumor… ’cause like, gender? Humiliating. An ache, a pain? Needing to sit down? Spatial awareness? The vulgarity…. Every day I wake up and I’m subject to the burden of embodiment. How dare I be a shape? Disgusting.”

Obviously this monologue was delivered with a certain irony. But like all successful humor, it articulated a real sentiment that the online audience connected with. Whorecress’s cri de coeur against embodiment featured on a Reddit discussion thread called r/voidpunk, which “is a subculture for those who often feel rejected or disconnected from humanity” and prefer to associate themselves with a more spectral or robotic form of life. r/voidpunk has 21,600 subscribers as of this writing, but the trend is much bigger than that: “transhumanism” is a growing movement among technologists, many of whom imagine a future where gene editing, virtual reality, and bionic enhancement render us free from the limitations of physical existence. This is the modern culmination of our extreme body crisis.

The connection between transgenderism and transhumanism is made explicit by transgender activist and scientist Martine Rothblatt. Rothblatt’s book, From Transgender to Transhuman: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Form, argues expressly that gender transition is just the beginning:

I am convinced that laws classifying people as either male or female, and laws prohibiting people’s freedom based on their genitals, will become as obsolete in the twenty-first century as the religious edicts of the Middle Ages seem absurd in America today…. Over the next few decades we will witness the uploading of human minds into software and computer systems, and the birth of brand new human minds as information technology. As we see our selves and our loved ones in these transhuman beings, and they make us laugh and cry, we will not hesitate long to recognize their humanity with citizenship and their common cause with us in a new common species, Persona creatus (the “created person”).

And so the most cutting-edge current expression of the body crisis is not the hormone injection but the digital avatar: pick and choose how you will move through imagined digital space. The movement that began with “gender neutral” pronouns has now produced an enormous constellation of totally invented identities, going far beyond ze and zer to include neologisms like “pupself” and “demonself,” for those who identify spiritually as animals or demons. What’s going on here is bigger than gender: we are dreaming not simply of making men into women, and vice versa, but making ourselves into anything, at a whim.

Desire and Happiness

“Gender? Humiliating.” Whorecress was on to something. “How dare I be a shape? Disgusting.” There is the body crisis in a nutshell.

And yet we can’t escape the body except at a great and terrible cost. Much like virtual reality and online life, transhumanism holds out glittering promises on which it is singularly ill-equipped to deliver. It’s not just that sex-change technology currently comes with gruesome risks and lifelong complications. Even if we imagine that rearranging or reconstructing body parts becomes painlessly easy, will it make us happy? What will “happy” even mean? Already Andrea Long Chu, a major transgender writer, has emphasized that happiness is not the point: “My new vagina won’t make me happy,” Chu wrote in the New York Times, “and it shouldn’t have to.” This is because “desire and happiness are independent agents.” Really? If our desires have no governing aim, such as happiness or virtue, what is the use of them—or us—at all? Surely we follow our desires because they point us toward something desirable—if not, we are just aimless hunks of flesh pulled randomly in all directions by wants that have no connection to goodness or joy. This total dissolution of purpose would be one of the real wages of transhumanism, were it ever to become reality.

If we become fully free from the constraints of physical form, if we even develop the technology to “feel” whatever we want, then we really will become nothing more than the chemistry sets that the crudest materialists imagine us to be: joy will be an electro-chemical occurrence, unrelated to any objective excellence or achievement. In our effort to liberate our spirits from our bodies, we will make our spirits and our very consciousness into the mere mechanical illusion that machinists already imagine it to be. Dissolve the boundaries of your body and you dissolve the boundaries of yourself. If you feel an instinctive disgust at this dystopian futuristic prospect, it is because you have a felt intuition of what we really are.

We can have compassion for gender dysphoric people without making them the central ideal of all our aspirations. Without a trace of malice toward them, we may observe that the measures they take to transform their bodies are not steps in a direction we find particularly attractive or healthy. Treating the body like an endlessly permeable and cumbersome appendage is just as degrading as ignoring it in favor of constant online entertainment, and for the same reasons. Both are means of seeking escape from our physical forms, and both promise liberation while actually leaving us sick, remorseful, and listless. We have indulged for too long in the vague fantasy that if these kinds of life are pushed to the extreme, they will suddenly become fulfilling—that if we just proceed down this path that is currently making us sick and miserable, we will eventually be happy and free. This, as always, is a dubious proposition.

*****
This article was published by The American Mind and is reproduced with permission.

Unfit for Liberty thumbnail

Unfit for Liberty

By The Daily Skirmish – Liberato.US

I read recently that a surprising number of Americans cannot name the three branches of government, but I had no idea nominees to the federal bench were among them.  A Biden nominee – Charnelle Marie Bjelkengren – embarrassed herself in a Senate hearing when she could not answer, when asked, what Article II of the Constitution is about.  In case you don’t know, the first three articles of the Constitution are about the three branches of government – the legislative branch in Article I, the executive branch in Article II, and the judicial branch in Article III.

Actually, I should not be surprised.  Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, when she was dean of Harvard Law School, removed the study of the Constitution from required courses and replaced it with international law.  This was part of the Left’s program to erase the American Idea and replace it with their hell-on-earth idea of utopia.  The Left’s program has been so successful that, now, even judicial nominees can’t answer basic questions about the Constitution.

She was also asked about Article V that sets out the process for amending the Constitution.  She couldn’t answer that, either.  Shame on her and the Biden administration for nominating her.

She’s not the only one deserving to be named and shamed, recently.   “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” – remember that one?  Well, Kamala Harris left out “life” when quoting from the Declaration of Independence last Sunday.  Stands to reason since she’s a rabid baby killer and she was speaking to a pro-abortion crowd in support of abortion rights.  Shame on her for wrapping herself in the flag by quoting the Declaration, but leaving off the Stars & Stripes.

Here are some others who deserve to be named and shamed:

Stanford University for claiming the term “American” is harmful and should not be used.

California Governor Gavin Newsom for saying “the Second Amendment is a suicide pact,” while surrounding himself with armed security.  ‘Security for Me, but Not for Thee’ – that should be his campaign slogan when he runs for president.

Joe Biden for watering down the U.S. citizenship test.

Democrat Congressman Jaime Raskin for saying the Electoral College, which is part of the Constitution, is a danger to democracy.  There are reasons we have the Electoral College and what it produces, representative government, instead of direct democracy.  So here we have a member of representative government arguing to get rid of representative government.  What sense does that make?

Former CIA analyst Bob Baer for saying on national television “this freedom of speech is just nonsense.”  You don’t like being able to use the First Amendment to trash the First Amendment?  OK, we’ll start with you:  shut up.

And the student recently shown standing on the American flag in a classroom.  I don’t know who you are, but shame on you!  This country’s been very good to you.  You better get a grip before you lose it.

And that goes for the rest of you. America is the best country, ever. Stop trashing it. It’s that old saying: You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

John Stuart Mill wrote: “A people may prefer a free government; but if from indolence, or carelessness, or cowardice, or want of public spirit, they are unequal to the exertions necessary for preserving it; if they will not fight for it when directly attacked; …they are more or less unfit for liberty.”

The people I mentioned today are unfit for liberty.  But I guarantee you, you will not drag me down with you.

Christopher Wright. All rights reserved.

Visit The Daily Skirmish and Watch Eagle Headline News – 7:30am ET Weekdays

A Little More Poison thumbnail

A Little More Poison

By David Lewis Schaefer

Taking “the hair of the dog that bit you” means curing a hangover with another drink in the morning. Nobody follows that principle as public policy, but current government practice regarding gambling and drug use subscribes to the same logic.

For instance, there haven’t been too many Puritans around in a long time who objected to horse racing or social, Friday-night poker games. And though the “numbers racket” was often under the control of organized crime, the fact that many, mostly poor, people played a number each week, knowing the odds were against them but just wanting to indulge a dream of riches, didn’t bother most of us. When casino gambling was first legalized early in the Depression, creating the potential for much larger losses, it was limited to a remote, underpopulated, and largely resource-free state, Nevada.

All this began to change in the sixties. First, New York State introduced off-track betting, which enabled people to gamble on the ponies from offices scattered around urban areas, without having to go to the track. It became far easier to blow large sums on the races. Next came the 1964 introduction in New Hampshire of a state lottery in order to generate revenue on a “voluntary” basis; other states got in on the lottery game, too, and today only Alabama and Utah lack legalized gambling. Nevada doesn’t offer a lottery, either, but only because the powerful gaming industry doesn’t want competition.

Here is where the “hair of the dog” principle began to make its appearance. Television ads urged people to play the lottery regularly, while also counseling bettors to “bet responsibly,” and even giving toll-free phone numbers for new gambling addicts to turn for help. In fact, a small portion of the proceeds of state gambling receipts were set aside for such counseling programs. It was as if in their pursuit of revenues, the governments had begun to promote cigarette smoking, coupled with an exhortation not to overdo it, and an 800 number to connect lung-cancer patients with medical treatment.

In the next stage, revenue-hungry governments around much of the country legalized casinos. Slot-machine casinos were especially popular since they require no experience and give no advantage to those with skill. The latest generation of slot machines, electronic rather than mechanical, has been designed to turn players into addicts, with fancy gimmicks designed to give them the feeling they are winning even as they keep losing, as MIT Professor Natasha Dow Schull showed in her thoroughly researched 2014 book Addiction by Design. Again, players are offered ineffectual counsel against overdoing it.

Aside from raising hopes of a personal bonanza, the gamblers, and the public at large, were told that the revenues generated by taxes on the casinos would help finance public goods. Indeed, in New York State, former governor Andrew Cuomo, while refusing to allow fracking in the Marcellus Shale (from which people in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania have gained a considerable boost in employment), authorized several casinos to be opened in the impoverished western part of the state as a substitute. (The casinos have not so far delivered any portion of the promised wealth, any more than they brought prosperity to Atlantic City, where they opened decades earlier). Now, New York City is preparing to open casinos in Manhattan to share the good fortune of being able to try your luck. To listen to its advocates, gambling is almost a public duty. Don’t you want your state to prosper?

The most dangerous iteration of the legalized-gambling craze is the spread of sports gambling, advertised on every major televised sports event and accessed through smartphones. Bettors can wager not only on which team will win, or beat the “spread,” but on all sorts of mini-bets within the game, like whether a particular player will hit a home run. Minors are technically banned from betting, but sports journalism and commentary has now become so saturated by the culture of sports gambling that sports fans cannot avoid the message that the real thrill of sports is in the supposed financial gains from gambling on the outcome. Of course, in the long run it’s always the “house”—including the state—that wins. And every ad comes with a mandated warning to gamble “responsibly” and a number to call if you need help in curing your addiction.

The legalization—or at least the effective decriminalization—of drugs, an undoubted vice that has the potential to cause severe physical as well as psychological harm, is either being downplayed (in the case of marijuana) or “decarcerated” (in the case even of the often-fatal drug fentanyl), for the sake of enhancing public revenues (through taxes on pot); supposedly assisting the past “victims” of the now-regretted War on Drugs, or supposedly mitigating the dangers of an overdose in the form of “safe” injection centers, which are taking root in major cities.

In 2018 (following a popular referendum legalizing marijuana), Massachusetts’s newly established Cannabis Control Commission adopted a “social equity program” in the name of compensating individuals and communities that had been “disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs.” Under the program, state authorities prioritize giving “professional training, technical services, mentoring,” and “access to capital” to individuals who had previously been convicted of drug crimes (most of whom will have been found guilty of selling drugs considerably more harmful than marijuana), are married to or the offspring of such persons, or inhabit an area where the War on Drugs (not drugs themselves!) had “disproportionate impact.”

Leave aside the fact that to the extent the War on Drugs—including manifestly life-threatening and life-ruining substances like heroin and fentanyl—has succeeded in mitigating the rate at which such drugs are used, it has particularly benefited, not harmed, the areas where such use was most widespread. How can anyone seriously maintain that the way to combat poverty, family instability, and crime in low-income or minority neighborhoods where drug sales and use are most widespread is to train residents of those neighborhoods to more effectively manufacture, market, and profit from a mind-weakening and potentially addictive drug that also serves as a “gateway” to harder drugs?

As reported in the New York Times at the time Massachusetts initiated its program (since imitated in New York and elsewhere), a scholarly analyst of the problems associated with marijuana, Professor Jonathan Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon University, observed that beyond the drug’s correlation with a wide variety of negative outcomes in terms of physical and mental health, “the real issue is that more than half of marijuana is consumed by people who are high more than half of all their waking hours,” while “Americans with a household income of less than $20,000 accounted for close to 30 percent of all marijuana use, even though they make up less than 20 percent of the population.” Do poor people really need to be encouraged by state-trained drug pushers to consume even more marijuana? And to think of drug-pushing as a respectable career choice?

Promoting the sale and use of marijuana in poor and minority communities is just one more instance of misguided social policies in which public officials, ostensibly aiming to serve the public good, in fact threaten to do the greatest harm to those who can least afford to endure it. Our poor and minority communities stand in need of improved public schools (including more charter schools and expanded programs of vocational training), effective law enforcement, and opportunities to succeed in legitimate, pro-social occupations. They also need encouragement to marry before becoming parents; to work their hardest both on their jobs and as parents so as to benefit both themselves and their offspring; and to become sober, thoughtful, and public-spirited citizens—not people who aim to spend their lives in a drug-filled haze.

But in perhaps the ultimate expression of the “hair of the dog” principle, the New York Post reported on December 4 that three major nonprofit agencies that provide services designed to assist addicts to recovery from drug and alcohol addiction had just won licenses from the state to sell marijuana. The CEO of one of the organizations, Housing Works, told Politico that he aimed to employ “justice-involved” individuals (that is, people with previous criminal records) and create a “vocational training” program that would enable them to open their own “weed businesses.”

In 1714 the Anglo-Dutch political theorist Bernard Mandeville famously argued in The Fable of the Bees that private vices (may) lead to public benefits. He had chiefly in mind such vices of character, condemned by both classical and Judeo-Christian morality, as vanity and avarice. (Both of those vices, unattractive in themselves, benefit others, for instance, by providing employment to others who serve their material desires.) Modified (less shocking) versions of Mandeville’s thesis were subsequently taken up by such liberal political thinkers as Montesquieu, Adam Smith, and Friedrich Hayek. But none of these thinkers can have meant that it would be beneficial to encourage poor people to gamble their earnings away, let alone blow their minds, damage their bodies, and waste their lives using addictive drugs—or even worse, to provide capital and training to assist them in purveying such drugs to others. This dog will just keep biting you, your family members, and your country.

*****
This article was published by The American Mind and is reproduced with permission.

Shadows on the Wall [A Start to Defeat Woke Tyranny] thumbnail

Shadows on the Wall [A Start to Defeat Woke Tyranny]

By Auguste Meyrat

With each new batch of the “Twitter Files,” it’s becoming increasingly apparent that Twitter censors were not only duplicitous scoundrels aiming to advance an agenda but also incompetents who failed to see the consequences of their actions. Whether it was suppressing the Hunter Biden story, shadow banning and de-amplifying popular conservative figures and certain medical professionals, and removing a sitting president of the United States from the platform, they convinced themselves that they were making the world a better place.

At no point did they seriously question themselves beyond violating their own rules. It never dawned on them that their constant gaslighting jeopardizes the freedom, health, and safety of all Americans. It seemed to matter little that they oversaw a platform that promised open public discourse but degenerated into a leftist propaganda outlet infested with bots and child pornography.

Not only did these censors do real damage at the bidding of a corrupt FBI but they ruined a potentially successful business. Before Elon Musk bought Twitter, there were few real conversations happening on the platform, and Twitter was relatively small compared to other social media platforms. For the great majority of users, scrolling through one’s Twitter feed was never an enlightening, connective, or even fun experience but more a mindless habit to pass the time.

Seeing that this is the case, it’s fair to ask what really drove the moderators to do what they did. They could have easily let the First Amendment be their standard for content moderation and sipped their lattes while attending useless meetings. Why did they feel the need to risk their cushy careers by setting into motion a hostile takeover by Elon Musk and an incoming onslaught of lawsuits from users?

From any angle, this seems utterly foolish—that is, except from the woke angle. While rational actors would have understood the sheer destructiveness of censoring users without cause, facilitating the rigging of elections, and endangering the public by denying them important information on a pandemic, woke actors lack this capacity. They operate on feelings and self-regard, not evidence and logic.

Elon Musk famously called wokeness a “mind virus.” It infects people’s mental faculties and drives them to act and express themselves irrationally. Gad Saad expounds upon this in his book The Parasitic Mind. He bemoans the decline of academic scholarship and intellectual debate at today’s universities all in the name of establishing social justice. Of course, rather than create a more equitable and just world, the woke swarm only achieves the opposite—a world of unforgiving hierarchy and hypocrisy. But instead of learning from their failure, they double down and become ever more unreasonable.

For Saad, this is less an ideology and more an “idea pathogen.” In his scientific opinion, victims of wokeness specifically suffer from “Ostrich Parasitic Syndrome (OPS),” substituting for reality a fiction in which “science, reason, rules of causality, evidentiary thresholds, a near-infinite amount of data, data analytic procedures, inferential statistics, the epistemological rules inherent to the scientific method, rules of logic, historical patterns, daily patterns, and common sense are all rejected.”

Unfortunately it’s still an open question of how to “defeat wokeness,” as Elon Musk recently declared. Anyone who has experienced an encounter with the woke infected knows that exposing their falsehoods and contradictions (“sunlight is the best disinfectant,” or, in the new favored expression, “democracy dies in darkness”) only makes them sicker and more dangerous. This is why the “Twitter Files” have mostly elicited silence from the corporate media. Maybe a few of them are pleading the Fifth and hoping the story goes away, but it’s more likely that most don’t understand what these revelations mean, nor do they really care.

So does that mean that releasing and discussing the “Twitter Files” is worthless? Not at all. Even if it doesn’t cure the woke censors or their woke supporters, it fortifies the intellectual immune system of everyone else. Americans now know that they are not crazy; in truth, they are living through a new kind of totalitarianism where Big Tech platforms control speech, impose a social credit system, and fabricate overarching narratives out of thin air.

While this is not exactly a consoling thought, it’s at least the beginning of a solution. The problem has now been identified, and there are now enough informed members of society to have a constructive conversation about the issue. This in turn could lead to finding a cure to the woke pandemic. If these problems continue going ignored and unchecked, the civilized world will surely crumble into ruin, adopting the same chaos, stupidity, and hypocrisy inherent in today’s woke culture.

*****
This article was published by FEE, Foundation for Economic Education and is reproduced with permission.

Red State Governors Push For School Choice Legislation Across The Country thumbnail

Red State Governors Push For School Choice Legislation Across The Country

By The Daily Caller

  • Red state governors are voicing their support for school choice programs as legislation moves through their states. 
  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin are supporting Education Savings Account (ESA) programs in their state to provide families who withdraw their students from public and charter schools with taxpayer funds.
  • “We have to set aside this us-versus-them mentality. If you want to pretend that this is a war between two different school systems, then you’re not focused on our children,” Reynolds said in her Jan. 10 Condition of the State speech.

Red state governors across the country are pushing for expansive school choice legislation in their state to fund students outside of the public school system.

Several governors have made school choice bills a top priority for state legislatures in 2023. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin are on the forefront of pushing for Education Savings Account (ESA) programs which provide families who withdraw their students from public and charter schools with taxpayer funds.

In Iowa, Reynolds announced the proposal of House Study Bill 1, which would allocate $7,598, the average cost the state spends on a public school student, for any family in the state to cover private school costs. With approval from the Senate Appropriations Committee, the bill, supported by Reynolds, is expected to pass in January, according to KCCI News.

“We have to set aside this us-versus-them mentality,” Reynolds said in her Jan. 10 Condition of the State speech. “If you want to pretend that this is a war between two different school systems, then you’re not focused on our children.”

For 2023, Stitt has made school choice legislation a priority in Oklahoma; five pieces of school choice legislation have been filed, including a bill that would make every student eligible for the state’s Education Savings Account program.

As a part of his school choice push, Stitt is visiting with Oklahoma charter school parents and families to listen and answer questions about the program, Stitt’s office told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“I’m looking forward to getting to work this year to talk with and listen to parents, students and teachers to come together and ensure every kid in the state receives the best education possible, regardless of economic status or zip code,” Stitt told the DCNF. “Oklahoma ranks near the bottom in education and as leaders, we need to put politics aside, ask the tough questions and have the tough conversations to address what’s working and what’s not. The future of our state depends on it.”

Youngkin issued a proclamation declaring the week of Jan. 22 “Virginia School Choice Week” in order to “raise awareness of the need for effective educational options” for students of the state. HB 1396, which has support from Youngkin, would allow all Virginians, regardless of income or previous schooling, to be eligible for the ESA program.

“Since day one, Governor Youngkin has worked to empower parents and provide every child across the Commonwealth with access to an excellent education, regardless of background or zip code,” Macaulay Porter, Youngkin’s spokeswoman, told the DCNF. “The governor has secured $100 million for lab schools, proposed an additional $50 million to expand this program, provided $30 million for parent-directed K-12 learning recovery grants and is working to grow Virginia’s tax credit scholarship program to help those families most in need.”

In South Carolina, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster’s budget recommendation takes into account $25 million for a ESA program that is set to be debated in January. The proposed legislation titled the “Put Parents in Charge Act” would give 5,000 students $6,000 for a private school education and increase it to 10,000 students the following year.

A recently proposed piece of Florida legislation HB 1, named “School Choice,” would expand on Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ school choice plan and make all students, regardless of income or education history, eligible for vouchers up to $7,000 as a part of the ESA program.

“Since taking office, Governor DeSantis has been a vocal advocate for school choice,” Bryan Griffin, DeSantis’ press secretary told the DCNF. “As a result, Florida is ranked #1 for Education Freedom by the Heritage Foundation and #1 for parent empowerment according to the Center for Education Reform’s ‘Parent Power!’ index.”

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott backed school choice legislation moving through the state such as SB176, a bill that would create a program similar to Arizona’s, which is considered the country’s most expansive school choice system in the country.

“Our schools are for education and not indoctrination,” Abbott said in his Jan. 17 inaugural address. “Schools should not be putting forth social agendas. We must reform the curriculum and to get kids back to learning the basics and empower parents with the tools to challenge the curriculum when it falls short of expectations.”

Reynolds’ office, Abbott’s office and McMaster’s office did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

AUTHOR

REAGAN REESE

Contributor.

RELATED TWEET:

🚨Sarah Huckabee Sanders has officially signed an Executive Order banning Critical Race Theory.

Do you support this? Yes or No?https://t.co/Y5saumhALw

— Lib Fails 🇺🇸 (@LibFails) January 23, 2023

RELATED ARTICLE:

EXCLUSIVE: Conservative Student Group Mobilizes Thousands Of Activists To Push For School Choice

Maher Says Biden Admin ‘All In On’ Pushing Trans Ideology Onto Children

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.

DeSantis Goes to War thumbnail

DeSantis Goes to War

By Thomas D. Klingenstein

On election night, I was half-watching Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s victory remarks when something quite extraordinary and encouraging caught my attention. DeSantis evoked Churchill’s “fighting on the beaches” speech, in which Churchill stirred the resolve and patriotism of the British people in anticipation of the invasion of their homeland by the Nazis. DeSantis, of course, was not warning against Nazism: he was warning against wokeism, which he was implicitly equating with Nazism. I had never heard a national political figure treat wokeism with such (deserved) gravity.

Before rephrasing Churchill, DeSantis said:

States and cities governed by leftist politicians have seen crime skyrocket. They’ve seen their taxpayers abused, they’ve seen medical authoritarianism imposed, and they’ve seen American principles discarded. The woke agenda has caused millions of Americans to leave these jurisdictions for greener pastures.

People do not uproot themselves and leave the rhythms of home “for light and transient causes.” These people are not coming to Florida just for the weather. They are fleeing the woke regime of blue America—an abusive, lawless, totalitarian regime which is waging war against American principles and the American way of life.

DeSantis continued:

Now, this great exodus of Americans, for those folks, Florida, for so many of them, has served as the promised land. We have embraced freedom. We have maintained law and order. We have protected the rights of parents. We have respected our taxpayers, and we reject woke ideology. We fight the woke in the legislature. We fight the woke in the schools. We fight the woke in the corporations. We will never, ever surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die.

In evoking Churchill’s speech, DeSantis lets us know that the woke regime is bearing down on America. In the urgent cadences of war, DeSantis tells us that America will not survive unless she defeats the woke regime. He believes this regime is so evil and powerful that he can, without bathos, compare it to the Nazi regime.

Some Unsolicited Advice

DeSantis has made a good start. He has told us that we are at war with a deadly regime, the woke regime. You cannot win a war unless you know you are in one.

But at some point soon, he must go further. He must show a voting majority of Americans that wokeism is the challenge of our generation, as Nazism was the challenge of the WWII generation and Communism for two generations thereafter.

And he must back up his claim. He has given us at least one piece of substantial evidence: in large numbers, people are fleeing their homes. Still, we need more. We shall not address the problem with the right strategies and people or the necessary resolve until we believe the country’s life truly is at stake. DeSantis needs to put America on a war footing.

In today’s environment, where there is a keen and deepening generalized awareness of danger, I think there is a hunger for a reasoned account of that danger. DeSantis’s most important role—the role of any statesman who is to rise to the historic challenge of this crisis—is to give such an account, one that calls a morally indifferent nation back to the principles of the founding.

So far as I can tell, there is no national Republican elected official who fully understands the threat except for Trump and DeSantis. The national figure not in politics who best gets it probably is Tucker Carlson. Night after night, in artful, insightful monologues, Carlson flays some aspect of the woke regime. He is the best we have, but he is not going to lead a major political movement. For that we need a statesman. That could well be DeSantis. And so I presume to offer him advice he hasn’t asked for:

He should make defeating wokeism his central purpose, with the goal of making it the central purpose of the Republican Party (which currently has no central purpose). Presumably DeSantis will run for the presidency. But even if he doesn’t, his first goal should be the mobilization of America. He should make anti-wokeism (and its opposite, pro-Americanism) the theme of the next Republican administration, whether it is his administration or not.

To develop an anti-woke (pro-American) agenda, DeSantis must first help us understand the woke regime, the woke way of life. He must explain that this way of life cannot possibly coexist with the American way of life. The two regimes have utterly irreconcilable understandings of a just society.

For the American regime, a just society is one in which free men and women pursue happiness according to their abilities and according to nature. Such a society is one where merit rules. For the woke regime, on the other hand, a just society is one where the regime imposes identity group quotas based on victimhood rankings. Such a regime makes war on merit.

It’s one regime or the other. You can’t offer admission to college (or anything else) according to group quotas and, at the same time, offer admission according to merit. I suggest DeSantis frame the debate accordingly: the merit regime vs. the group quota regime (or simply, merit vs. group quotas).

DeSantis should be very clear: woke revolutionaries attempt not to improve our culture, or remake aspects of it, but to destroy it or lead us to destroy it ourselves—not partially but completely. Like (crazed) revolutionaries everywhere, they believe the world must be purified, no matter the cost.

But DeSantis should not overestimate the threat either. The woke regime is a totalitarian regime in the making. Our side is outgunned almost everywhere, but there is still room to maneuver. America is not yet a one-party state; we still have some open communication channels; our intelligence agencies can (conceivably) be reformed; wokeness in the military can probably be reversed by a strong president, and businesses (one must hope!) will come around if they see America gaining the upper hand on woke tyranny. Even in education, where the woke revolutionaries have us tied to a chair, our hands are still free.

In addition to a framing, we need a simple theory or model of the woke regime: its composition, its goals, and the means for achieving those goals. Without a model we cannot anticipate where the woke revolutionaries are going next, and so we are always playing whack-a-mole, each new woke initiative catching us by surprise.

DeSantis might use the 2020 riots as an example of the woke regime in action. Radicals, intellectuals, media, businesses, Democratic politicians, and the criminal justice system conspired to create mayhem. They ignited, justified, hid, funded, fanned the flames of, and freed the rioters. There is no overarching organization. There is some informal coordination among players, but mostly the regime is a revolutionary cabal of the anti-American elite, who want us to believe they are liberating innocent victims.

The objective of the woke regime—group quotas—requires the woke revolutionaries to make Americans deeply ashamed of their past, thereby making them inclined to trade in the merit regime for the group quota regime. This requires a big lie. Every totalitarian regime has one. The woke regime’s big lie is that America is systemically racist and about to be overrun by racists, a.k.a. Trump voters. (That Trump voters are racist is, regrettably, a view also held by many neoconservatives.)

DeSantis should call this the “Big Lie” and, like Trump, dismiss it without apology or qualification. DeSantis should explain that the phony white guilt of the elite is killing the rest of us, black and white, that racism is low on the list of problems confronting black citizens, and, as Frederick Douglass counseled, the way to help blacks is to encourage them to help themselves.

DeSantis must tell Republicans they should forget about defending themselves against charges of “racism” (it cannot be done). Instead Republicans need to explain that the central problem facing the nation is not racism, but the trumped-up charges of racism that hound us from morning to night. The goal of conservatives should be, as David Azerrad has pointed out, “not to solve the race problem but to prevent the race problem from crushing the country.”

DeSantis needs to explain that the doctrinaire egalitarianism of wokesism denies the natural differences in abilities among people and so is evil. DeSantis should say just that: “evil.” Although the elite will cringe, as it did when Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union “evil,” most Americans will find it both bracing and reassuring.

In addition to telling lies, the woke revolutionaries must, as most everyone knows by now, censor anyone who challenges the lies. In a totalitarian regime there can be no space for dissent. This requires, among many other things, erasing from memory totalitarian regimes and their evil. DeSantis gets it. To his great credit, he signed a bill last year that requires the teaching of “communism and totalitarianism.”

Republicans recognize the Big Lie, censorship, and the corruption of education, but like many pieces of the woke regime, these are not usually seen as part of the larger woke strategy. We see the pieces but not always the picture. That’s DeSantis’s role: to put the pieces together.

DeSantis should make us understand all the woke regime’s actions through this totalitarian lens. Take, for example, Biden’s decision to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. The woke revolutionaries tell us this has to do with climate change, but it is difficult to see how destroying American energy independence can be other than part of an attempt to destroy America. Whether done with conscious intent or simply allowed to happen, the result is the same.

Or take open borders. We usher in millions of illegal immigrants, distribute them around the country, encourage them not to assimilate, and sometimes even allow them to vote. This too is an attempt to destroy our country with the additional benefit for the woke revolutionaries of swelling Democratic voting rolls. Another example is the breaking of the country into identity groups (tribes), each competing for the highest ranking in the victimhood sweepstakes. This will almost certainly lead to tribal warfare. When has it not?

Yes, Republican politicians usually object to such policies. But they don’t generally identify and denounce them as parts of the woke strategy for destroying our country. Unless they do, we will lose our country without even a fight.

A Time for Statesmanship

DeSantis should help us follow the logic of wokeism. For example, if we know group quotas for innocent victims is the goal of the woke regime, then we know that the woke revolutionaries need to bring the black prison population (currently about 33 percent of the total prison population) more in line with blacks’ percentage of the overall population (13 percent). That is the purpose of defunding the police and failing to prosecute certain crimes and other criminal justice “reforms.” For the most part, people with common sense—in particular black Americans who must endure the consequences in their own neighborhoods—see these things simply as very stupid ideas. But DeSantis should keep reminding us that wokeism is not a jumble of stupid ideas but a coherent set of stupid ideas in the service of the group quota regime, one that is completely at odds with the merit regime.

And DeSantis should help us anticipate the woke revolutionaries’ next steps. In the case of prison population, the next step might be disparate sentencing, where blacks get lighter sentences than whites for the same offense, or perhaps the elimination of prison altogether. As loopy as these ideas sound, they are logical extensions of woke theory. Moreover, each has been talked about by leading woke revolutionary intellectuals like Ibram X. Kendi. Sometimes all we have to do is listen.

Very importantly, DeSantis must keep reminding us that war requires different strategies than peace time. War is not a time for trying to persuade the independents, reach across the aisle, or even reach out to the Republican accommodationists. DeSantis knows the best way to get these groups on board is not to woo them but to win the war. He knows as well that any concessions made to the woke revolutionaries will be pocketed, not reciprocated—something even Trump may have failed to fully appreciate.

War also requires different personnel. Trump, an almost unthinkable option at any other time in American history, was the right man for these times, and may still be the right man. Trump was a great war time president. DeSantis must help us understand that Trump’s flaws were not—perhaps are still not—disqualifying.

The easy way out for Republicans, and the temptation for DeSantis, will be to say Trump’s policies were good, but not the rest of him. I think this assessment of Trump is wrong. As I have written elsewhere, Trump advanced many important policies, but the “rest of him” is where one finds the virtues that have inspired a movement. His willingness to fight, his abundant courage, strength, independence, optimism, confidence in America, and absence of white guilt are examples of virtues that made him both effective and dear to patriotic Americans. DeSantis should resist his advisors who tell him he should not speak well of Trump. Now is the time for statesmanship.

And when the Republican establishment dismisses the Trump movement as “populist,” DeSantis should demur and explain to that establishment that when the elite undermines the American way of life, and the voices of ordinary people cannot be heard, populism is not only healthy but vital. Trump’s populist base has just what the Republican Party lacks: purpose, the passion that can match the ideological zeal of the woke revolutionaries, optimism, and confidence in itself and the country. And the base doesn’t have what the party has altogether too much of: white guilt. Trump’s base is a fighting force we cannot afford to lose.

In his election night victory speech DeSantis imagined that he, like Churchill, was a great leader fighting the forces of evil. If DeSantis is to actually follow Churchill (and Lincoln), he must be magnanimous, as they were. Voters will rally to magnanimity coupled with courage and resolution.

DeSantis’s immediate goal is to make America vs. the woke regime (merit vs. group quotas) the central theme of American political discourse. Perhaps that begins with a speech. Like Churchill and Lincoln, DeSantis should appeal to our patriotism in order to stir our resolve. We are still a patriotic people. Where patriotism has waned, I suspect its embers would burst into flames. DeSantis must remind us we are part of a noble and honorable tradition. He must call attention to the great successes of our past. In doing so he reminds us that we are still capable of greatness. As in times before, the future of freedom everywhere rests on our shoulders, a fateful burden we carry as the “almost” chosen people. DeSantis must give us hope but not let us forget the possibility of darkness. As a peroration, he cannot improve on Lincoln who faced a crisis not so dissimilar to the one we face today:

LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT.

*****
This article was published by The American Mind and is reproduced with permission.

Arizona Senate Panel Debates Parental Rights’ School ‘Pronouns’ Bill thumbnail

Arizona Senate Panel Debates Parental Rights’ School ‘Pronouns’ Bill

By Tony Kinnett

The Arizona state Senate Education Committee met Wednesday [1/18/23] to consider SB 1001, The Given Name Act, a one-page, 21-line bill that states that any individual involved in the Arizona public education system would be required to use the pronoun associated with a student’s biological sex unless the student’s public school or charter school received other instructions from the student’s parent or parents.

No public or charter school staff member, full time or contractor, would be able to use alternative pronouns for a student without the written permission of the student’s parents.

The legislation would reinforce parents’ ultimate authority in deciding what names their children should and should not be called by staff members, providing a stopgap via parental approval before public districts attempt to treat or affirm gender dysphoria with only the minor’s limited understanding of what they are going through.

State Sen. John Kavanagh, Scottsdale Republican, the sponsor of SB 1001, said that if a child had serious psychological distress as a result of the gender dysphoria he or she was dealing with, then parents need to be alerted immediately so that the child can be given immediate medical and psychological care parents deem necessary.

Kavanagh disputed the common counterargument that many parents would be unsupportive and would therefore be a danger to their “transgender child.”

“The vast majority of parents will want to help their child,” he said, “What a horrible condemnation of the average American parent” to suggest otherwise. He added that Child Protective Services was still obligated, as always, to investigate any concerns of child abuse.

At no time during the committee hearing was Kavanagh’s concern for the high rate of student-suicide correlation addressed by Democratic members.

State Sen. Sally Ann Gonzales, Tucson Democrat, said, “For lots of indigenous children, their names were changed without parental permission—Maria got changed to Mary, Roberto got changed to Robert. I think that’s wrong for that to be happening. I’m not sure what the intent is for allowing … contractors and employers also not to say their names.”

Kavanagh responded that the bill would allow students to go by nicknames.

State Sen. Christine Marsh, Phoenix Democrat, suggested that the bill would go against the rights of parents who might agree with a child wanting different pronouns. “What if the parent agrees to a child having alternative pronouns?” she asked.

Kavanagh countered by citing the first sentence of his bill, which states that parental permission would allow a child to go by whatever pronouns the parent wishes.

Marsh took issue with the second portion of the bill, which states that a teacher or contractor could not be required to use a student’s pronouns, protecting their religious and moral liberties. She said that as a teacher for 33 years, she never had to fall back on “religious beliefs” as a standard for how she would respond to a student. “Are there other examples or situations in which a teacher’s religious beliefs override the parent’s?” she asked.

Kavanagh responded with an example of a Jewish or Muslim cafeteria worker being exempt from having to serve pork to students at school lunches. He also cited dress code considerations for students of different religions. After providing those examples, Kavanagh asked whether Marsh would agree with him that parents should be notified of potential mental health issues associated with gender dysphoria.

“No, I don’t agree, I just want the hypocrisy of the bill to be pointed out,” Marsh replied.

Several testimonials were offered by concerned parents, students, and activists, both for and against the bill.

One educator from Scottsdale praised the bill, claiming that as a Jew, she has religious objections to using pronouns or names that conflict with a student’s biological sex.

One activist claimed that parents should be involved and be aware of what their kids are going through, but suggested that students should be allowed to decide when their parents are ready to find out about it.

One critical point ignored by those opposing the bill is the inability of a minor under severe mental distress to safely self-treat gender dysphoria or any severe mental health issue or trauma. Encouraging minors to decide how best to treat themselves sets a dangerous precedent—and risks a very real threat of suicide or self-harm without the parent having an opportunity to aid his or her child.

One transgender advocate claimed that “no one commits suicide because they are gender dysphoric,” but implied that bullying was the cause.

While 20.2% of students claim to have been bullied, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 8.9% have admitted attempting suicide. In contrast, while 51% of transgender individuals have claimed to be victims of bullying, 40% of transgender individuals admitted attempting suicide.

One opponent of the bill called Kavanagh “Senator Coward,” during his testimony, to which Kavanagh quipped, “You’re free to call me that [under this bill], as long as you get written permission from my parents.”

With only a one-seat advantage on the Senate Education Committee, Republicans will likely revise The Given Name Act and clarify a few points of language via amendments over the next several weeks.

*****
This article was published by The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

Newsom Twosome: Siebel Newsom’s Films – Shown In Middle Schools – Feature Porn, Radical Gender Materials, And Her Husband Gavin thumbnail

Newsom Twosome: Siebel Newsom’s Films – Shown In Middle Schools – Feature Porn, Radical Gender Materials, And Her Husband Gavin

By Open The Books

California Governor Gavin Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, are the dream team. He runs the state and she’s a nonprofit founder, entrepreneur, and filmmaker.

While her husband attends to state business, Siebel Newsom engages in her passion: advancing “gender justice” through her charitable nonprofit The Representation Project. According to tax documents the organization is “committed to building a thriving and inclusive society through films, education, and social activism.”

We previously reported that while the governor engaged in the highly unethical practice of soliciting 1,000 state vendors for $10.6 million in campaign cash, the first partner, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, solicited state vendors and the governor’s campaign donors for large gifts to her charity, The Representation Project.

However, Newsom’s charity shouldn’t have been soliciting anyone for donations throughout most of 2022.

Last week, our investigation broke the story that The Representation Project was not in compliance with the California Charitable Solicitation Act. Now, it’s clear that the charity spent last year engaged in big-money fundraising events with corporate executives and philanthropists – while its charitable filings were delinquent with the state.

Then, the Newsom nonprofit scrambled to submit their proper registration. Working with the California Attorney General, a process that normally takes days or weeks was completed in hours.

So, just what does Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s charity do – with the full support of her husband, the governor, and underwritten by the wealthy California establishment?

THE FILMS

Siebel Newsom, through her non-profit The Representation Project, has released four films advocating gender justice. The films are leased for screenings to individuals, corporations, and schools, and come with their own lesson plans. Schools spend between $49-$599 to screen these movies to children.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom is credited as a writer and director on each of these films. Two of the movies feature Gavin Newsom himself, and many of the lesson plan activities are oriented toward engaging children in social and political activism.

Because of Gavin Newsom’s role in these films and because licenses are sold to schools which the governor is responsible for funding with tax dollars, auditors at OpenTheBooks.com felt the organization deserved further scrutiny.

Who’s Watching? 2.6 million students in 5,000 schools

According to The Representation Project’s Impact Report (2011-2021), the organization’s film curricula are being used in over 5,000 schools in all fifty states. The Representation Project claims over 11,200 copies of the curricula have been distributed, reaching more than 2.6 million students.

Tax records show that since 2012 the nonprofit has generated $1,483,001 in film screening revenue, although it is unclear how much money came from schools versus other sources. We asked The Representation Project for the number of California schools that purchased a screening license and received no response.

Auditors at OpenTheBooks.com watched Newsom’s movies and read the lesson plans. What we found was, at times, shocking: sexually explicit images, political boosterism, and something called “The Genderbread Person.”

SEXUALLY EXPLICIT IMAGES

Screenshot from “age-appropriate” middle school curriculum video for Miss Representation; see full video here.

Miss Representation’s curriculum links to “age-appropriate” video clips in its K-12 lesson plans and says that the full film is rated PG-14. (Certainly, parents may still object to clips from the “age-appropriate” film like the animated, upside down stripper shown above).

The film features strong language and women dressed provocatively:

  • Caroline Heldman, who is now executive director of Newsom’s non-profit, described women’s role in action movies as “the fighting fuck toy.”
  • Actress Daphne Zuniga, famous for Melrose Place and film parody Spaceballs, suggested women should “tell those fuckers to get penis implants,” in response to being told to get plastic surgery.
  • Middle school children are served images of upside-down strippers with little left to the imagination (see above).

Then, it gets worse.

Newsom’s film The Mask You Live In features the website addresses of porn sites including Porn Hub, MassiveCams, BDSM.XXX, and Brazzers.com. The pornographic images displayed in the film are tagged with descriptions such as “domination,” “face fuck,” “kinky couples,” and “…dirty brunettes.”

Newsom included images of naked or mostly naked women being slapped, handcuffed, and brutalized in pornographic videos. The pictures are graphic even when blurred. Screenshots of those scenes can be found HERE (VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED).

These jarring pictures are displayed with their corresponding porn website addresses – providing a roadmap for future exploration. The film seems to justify their harmful content by saying that “34% of youth online receive UNWANTED PORNOGRAPHIC EXPOSURE.”

However, 100% of the youth (or anyone else) receive unwanted or unwarranted pornographic exposure by watching Newsom’s movies.

In 2019, one parent filed a complaint about a screening of The Mask You Live In for his 12-year-old daughter’s class at Creekside Middle School in California. In an interview with The Sacramento Bee the father said,

“Some of the images when slowed down were not blurred, and even when they are blurred, it is obvious what is going on. It is absolutely profane and disgusting.”

An investigation found a substitute teacher accidentally screened the full version of the film rather than an “age-appropriate” version. However, The Representation Project recommends the full version for ages 15+.

Siebel Newsom’s idea is to protect children from highly exploitative and disturbing sexual media content seems to involve showing it to them personally.

BOOSTING GAVIN NEWSOM – THE COMPASSIONATE POLITICIAN

Screenshot of then-Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom in Siebel Newsom’s film, Miss Representation.

Gavin Newsom himself provides interview commentary for Miss Representation and The Great American Lie. 

Newsom speaks three times in Miss Representation and is portrayed as a champion of women’s rights—see this example from the middle school curriculum video (18:37):

“One of the first things I did when I came to San Francisco (as mayor) is I appointed a female police chief and appointed a female fire chief.”

Getting paid by schools to portray your politician husband as a standup guy to captive children in the classroom was such a winning idea, Siebel Newsom deployed it again in The Great American Lie.

Here, Newsom makes five appearances to deliver political talking points, including:

At the end of the day a budget is a set of values, budget reflects your values.”

“This notion of interdependence—that we’re all in this together, that we all rise and fall together—is absolutely true.”

“We’re not bystanders in this world, we have the ability to step up and solve big problems, we have done that in the past, it’s just a question of prioritization, of political will.”

Siebel Newsom’s provided companion curriculum require student discussion of Gavin Newsom’s points and are told to vote, and help others vote, for politicians “who show empathy through their support care [sic] policies.”

IMAGE 1

IMAGE 2

Activity from The Great American Lie curriculum for high school and college students. Students are asked to watch and discuss a clip of Gavin Newsom.

Call to action from The Great American Lie curriculum for high school and college students. Students are told to vote and help others vote for candidates “who show empathy through their support care [sic] policies”

Overview: Jennifer Siebel Newsom makes a movie portraying Gavin Newsom as a politician that supports certain policies, and then in the movie’s curriculum advises students to vote and campaign for politicians that support those policies.

Schools, which receive funding from the state, pay The Representation Project to show this movie, and use taxpayer-funded class time to facilitate these lessons.

In July 2022 Gavin Newsom signed a budget of $128 billion for state schools and community colleges.

THE GENDERBREAD PERSON

ACTIVITY: WHAT IS GENDER

Source: Genderbread Person activities from The Mask You Live In curriculum for middle and high school students.

Multiple lesson plans from The Representation Project promote radical notions of gender and sexuality.

One such lesson for middle and high schoolers includes the “genderbread person,” who aims to show children how biological sex, “gender expression,” “sexual attraction,” and “gender identity” exist on a spectrum, which can be mixed and matched.

While kindergarteners are spared the genderbread person in their curriculum, they are offered similar lessons on “gender identity,” introducing genders other than “boy” and “girl.”

A. GENDER IDENTITY AND EXPRESSION.

Gender identity and expression activity from The Mask You Live In curriculum for elementary school students, grades K-5.

LEFT-WING POLITICAL ACTIVISM – THE “PRIVILEGE WALK

Kids forced to watch The Representation Project films in schools aren’t just subjected to gender ideology, sexually explicit images, and Gavin Newsom’s one-liners. They’re being given a left-wing framework through which to see the world, and then prompted to conduct social and political activism.

In The Great American Lie curriculum, students are asked to do a “privilege walk,” divulging personal information in order to compare themselves to peers inside and outside the classroom. “Privileges” include being “a cisgendered man,” “white,” “born in the United States,” “straight,” and speaking English as a first language.

THE PRIVILEGE WALK ACTIVITY

Activity from The Great American Lie curriculum for high school and college students.

Speakers in The Great American Lie are clear about what “privilege” means—something you hurt other people with, something you should feel bad about, and something you should work to change.

Video Catches School Officials Plotting to ‘Trick’ Ohio Parents, Teach Critical Race Theory Even if Banned thumbnail

Video Catches School Officials Plotting to ‘Trick’ Ohio Parents, Teach Critical Race Theory Even if Banned

By Discover The Networks

Fox News reports that shocking video has surfaced of Ohio school officials discussing how they can push Critical Race Theory (CRT) covertly, working around school policies already in place and “tricking” parents.

“It should be a parent and school partnership, and it’s really not,” said Protect Ohio Children Coalition co-chair Cathy Pultz, a former teacher herself, on Fox & Friends First Thursday. “In our district in Upper Arlington, the transparency has been a problem for years. They have their agenda. They get caught doing something. They get caught reading books without telling the parents. And they turn around and say, we’re going to do an investigation, but then nothing happens.”

“There have been no consequences for any of our teachers or staff when they’re breaking board policy, and it is really frustrating,” she continued. “And this is just another example of parents losing control of what’s being taught to their children.”

The video, showing Ohio school officials discussing how they can secretly advocate the controversial content even if the state banned it, was released by a conservative media watchdog, Accuracy in Media.

“There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” Matthew Boaz, the executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion of Upper Arlington Schools, said. “You can pass a bill that you can’t teach CRT in a classroom, but if you didn’t cover programming, or you didn’t cover extracurricular activities or something like that, that message might still get out. Oops.”

“If we have a certain content that we want to share with students, and they see one in word the language, it’s like, oh, no, we can’t do that,” Hillary Staten, an administrative assistant for Groveport Madison schools, said in the video. “We have some parents… they don’t fully understand. So… it’s when we trick them, you know?”

Upper Arlington interim Superintendent Kathy Jenney wrote Wednesday, “While we remain committed to DEI, critical race theory is not part of the district’s academic program,” it continued. “The district follows the state learning standards and all laws in effect related to public education.”

This is the lie the Left always pushes: “We’re not teaching CRT in schools, you right-wing conspiracy theorists!” The truth is that CRT is being taught everywhere from pre-K through grad school, only it’s rarely actually called CRT.


Critical Race Theory

16 Known Connections

Founded by the late Derrick Bell, critical race theory is an academic discipline which maintains that society is divided along racial lines into (white) oppressors and (black) victims, similar to the way Marxism frames the oppressor/victim dichotomy along class lines. Critical race theory contends that America is permanently racist to its core, and that consequently the nation’s legal structures are, by definition, racist and invalid. As Emory University professor Dorothy Brown puts it, critical race theory “seeks to highlight the ways in which the law is not neutral and objective but designed to support white supremacy and the subordination of people of color.”

A logical derivative of this premise, according to critical race theory, is that the members of “oppressed” racial groups are entitled—in fact obligated—to determine for themselves which laws and traditions have merit and are worth observing…

To learn more about Critical Race Theory, click here.

RELATED ARTICLE: MSNBC’s Joy Reid: Rep. Greene on Committees is Putting Confederates in Charge

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

The Rise of the Single Woke (and Young, Democratic) Female thumbnail

The Rise of the Single Woke (and Young, Democratic) Female

By Joel Kotkin and Samuel J. Abrams

Soccer Moms are giving way to Single Woke Females – the new “SWFs” – as one of the most potent voting blocs in American politics.

Unmarried women without children have been moving toward the Democratic Party for several years, but the 2022 midterms may have been their electoral coming-out party as they proved the chief break on the predicted Republican wave. While married men and women as well as unmarried men broke for the GOP, CNN exit polls found that 68% of unmarried women voted for Democrats.

The Supreme Court’s August decision overturning Roe v. Wade was certainly a special factor in the midterms, but longer-term trends show that single, childless women are joining African Americans as the Democrats’ most reliable supporters.

Their power is growing thanks to the demographic winds. The number of never married women has grown from about 20% in 1950 to over 30% in 2022, while the percentage of married women has declined from almost 70% in 1950 to under 50% today. Overall, the percentage of married households with children has declined from 37% in 1976 to 21% today.

The Single Wave
A new Institute for Family Studies analysis  of 2020 Census data found that one in six women do not have children by the time they reach the end of their childbearing years, up from one in ten in 1990. Single adult women now total some 42 million, comparable to the key African American voting bloc (46 million), while vastly larger than key groups like labor union members (14 million) or college students (20 million).

The Pew Research Center notes that since 1960, single-person households in the United States have grown from 13% to 27% (2019). Many, particularly women, are not all that keen on finding a partner. Pew recently found that “men are far more likely than women to be on the dating market: 61% of single men say they are currently looking for a relationship or dates, compared with 38% of single women.”

There’s clearly far less stigma attached to being single and unpartnered. Single women today have many impressive role models of unattached, childless women who have succeeded on their own – like Taylor Swift and much of the U.S. women’s soccer team. This phenomenon is not confined to the United States. Marriage and birthrates have fallen in much of the world, including Europe and Japan. Writing in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, columnist Emma John observed that, “Singleness is no longer to be sneered at. Never marrying or taking a long-term partner is increasingly seen as a valid choice.”

Rise of Identity Politics
The rise of SWFs – a twist on the personal ad abbreviation for single white female – is one of the great untold stories of American politics. Distinct from divorced women or widows, these largely Gen Z and Millennial voters share a sense of collective identity and progressive ideology that sets them apart from older women. More likely to live in urban centers and to support progressive policies, they are a driving force in the Democratic party’s and the nation’s shift to the left. One paradox, however: Democrats depend ever more on women defined in the strict biological sense while much of the party’s progressive wing embraces the blurred and flexible gender boundaries of its identity politics.

Attitudes are what most distinguish single women from other voters. An American Enterprise Institute survey shows that married men and women are far more likely than unmarried females to think women are well-treated or equally treated. As they grow in numbers, these discontented younger single women are developing something of a group consciousness. Nearly two-thirds of women under 30, for example, see what happens to other women as critical to their own lives; among women over 50, this mindset shrinks to less than half.

This perception of linked fate stands in contrast to survey results regarding single men, who report that they are increasingly disconnected from each other while women bond more closely. This is not a temporary phenomenon, and it is much bigger than the bohemian movements of the past. There is even a sense in which women are redefining families, and themselves, by choosing to neither get married nor have offspring. And social observers such as Bella DePaulo, a University of California, Santa Barbara professor and singles advocate, are all in favor…..

*****

Continue reading at Real Clear Investigations.

The School Board Queen: How a Florida Mom Is Shaking Up U.S. Education thumbnail

The School Board Queen: How a Florida Mom Is Shaking Up U.S. Education

By Christian Ziegler

My wife – Bridget Ziegler – is a Rockstar.

Anyone who has gotten to know her, already knows that, but for those that haven’t yet… Bloomberg headed down to Sarasota to spend a couple days diving into her story and how she became one of the leading Conservative School Board Members in the country.

As you listen to her story and her impact on Education, it’s important to keep in mind that her recent successes – flipping our School Board from 3-2 Liberal to 4-1 Conservative – are a culmination of almost a decade of non-stop efforts battling The Left & The Establishment.

And during that time, my wife was the target of press smears, some very nasty personal attacks and even vile and dangerous attacks on our children. Yet, she persevered and our School District, local Community and the next generation of children will be better off because of it.

Then reply back and share what you think of the discussion and what your thoughts are about your local School Board & public education.

The School Board Queen: How a Florida Mom Is Shaking Up US Education

Bridget Ziegler is a leader in the parental rights movement focused on US school board elections. The final episodes of the “Bedrock, USA” podcast examine her conservative agenda.

By  and 

After all the talk of a “red wave” in 2022’s US midterm elections, the anticipated Republican sweep failed to materialize. Or did it?

At the school board level, candidates who opposed mask mandates and how gender and race are addressed in schools won about 30% of board seats, according to Ballotpedia, a nonprofit that tracks elections. Faced with new challengers, school board incumbents lost their elections at higher rates in 2021 and 2022 than in the previous three years,  Ballotpedia’s analysis shows.

Up until 2021, “people really weren’t paying a lot of attention to what was going on in these elections,” says Doug Kronaizl, a senior staff writer with Ballotpedia. “And now all of a sudden people are paying very close attention to what’s going on.”

At the forefront of this trend is Bridget Ziegler, a school board member in Sarasota, Florida, and a mother of three. She is a founding member of Moms for Liberty, the right-wing activist group, and she has the support of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis; she says she was influential in helping pass the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, and is now supporting the governor’s Stop W.O.K.E. Act. Last year, she was put in charge of training people on how to run for school boards for the Leadership Institute, a conservative nonprofit that’s been helping politicians all over the country since the 1970s, including with big wins during the 2022 midterms.

Over three chapters, “The School Board Queen” podcast explores who Bridget Ziegler is, what she stands for, and how she plans to help reshape and influence American education. The miniseries is part of “ Bedrock, USA” — a podcast from Bloomberg CityLab and iHeart Media that examines how the far right is making inroads into local government.

Listen to Chapter 1 here

The first episode looks at why Ziegler ran for school board — it was actually her husband’s idea. (Christian Ziegler is vice chair of the Florida GOP and currently running for chair.) Her goal was to help shape the schools her children would some day attend. Once she got on the school board she encountered members she called “mean” and unprofessional. She didn’t buy into how school boards were being run — too much control was given to the superintendent, she says. We also talk to Caroline Zucker, a school board member who worked alongside Ziegler and switched from Republican to Democrat because she “couldn’t take the shenanigans going on anymore.”

Listen to Chapter 2 here

By submitting my information, I agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and to receive offers and promotions from Bloomberg.

In the second episode, we journey back in time to the 1950s and 1960s and discover the origins of the conservative movement in education. We speak to two historians, Michelle Nickerson and Natalia Mehlman Petrzela. Nickerson describes how conservative activists in the 1950s and 1960s pushed back against progressive measures for that era. And Mehlman Petrzela discusses how sex education took center stage in the culture wars of the 1960s and 1970s. We draw a throughline from back then to today, and the big common denominator: the overreaching arm of government in children’s lives.

Listen to Chapter 3 here

The last episode digs in with Ziegler about why she has been called racist and homophobic. She has criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and how it was taught in schools, and she has promoted unscientific ideas around trends in trans youth. She explains her beliefs and why she is supporting Governor DeSantis in his education agenda. We also spend time with an eleventh grade trans teenager who talks about what it’s like to be a student in Florida after the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act was passed.

©Christian Ziegler. All rights reserved.

‘Cripple Children’: Parents Protest Against Gov. Katie Hobbs’ Move To Scrap Key School Choice Program thumbnail

‘Cripple Children’: Parents Protest Against Gov. Katie Hobbs’ Move To Scrap Key School Choice Program

By Reagan Reese

With signs reading “education for all” and “support for all students,” a coalition of about 150 parents protested Tuesday over newly-elected Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs’ plan to dismantle the nation’s largest school choice program, parents told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Hobbs’ executive budget released Jan. 13 called on state legislators to roll back the state’s expansion of its school choice program which currently makes Arizona K-12 students eligible to receive taxpayer-funded scholarships if they choose to leave or are already outside of the public education system. Education for All, a group of parents backing the state’s current school choice program, rallied against Hobbs’ announcement at the state capitol, voicing their concern that ending the program would strip their children of opportunities, parents told the DCNF.

“It would rip away essentially thousands of dollars that we as taxpayers already pay into the system, that is for our children already,” Stacey Brown, the organizer of the rally, told the DCNF. “It would mean that it would cripple some homeschoolers, it would cripple children who wouldn’t have had the opportunity otherwise to possibly go to a private school and to receive extra aid in areas that they need aid. It really, really, really, really would hinder Arizona as a whole and the leg up that we have compared to other states to provide and to produce excellent educated children. We truly want education for every child in Arizona, whatever that might be to fit their needs.”

Former Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey created the nation’s largest school choice program in July, making more than 1.1 million Arizona students in public and charter schools eligible to receive up to $7,000 in order to transfer schools.

Hobbs’ plan includes returning to the state’s previous school choice program which only provided taxpayer-funded vouchers to disabled children, students living on American Indian reservations and students attending low-performing public schools, Fox 10 reported. Under the previous program, just one-third of Arizona students were eligible, with about 11,800 students utilizing the vouchers, according to the AZ Mirror.

Since expanding the school choice program more than 45,000 students are currently enrolled, according to the Arizona Department of Education.

Bella Viner, an organizer of the rally and Arizona parent, has worked with Latino, African American and Hispanic students within the state’s school choice program to place them at the school that will best benefit them, she told the DCNF.

“Through this program, they are able to choose a better education and school that will concentrate on their needs, especially special-needs children,” Viner told the DCNF. “So they take away this program, they are going to take away the opportunity to have a better education in the future, to have a professional job and to be able to fulfill the dream that their family has come to this country for. Because we come to the United States for the American dream and we can not get out of poverty without a proper education.”

Due to a “high volume” of applications when the program opened, users received error messages, the Arizona Free News reported.

Save Our Schools Arizona, an organization that advocates for public schools, petitioned to put Ducey’s expansion of the school choice program on the general election ballot. The effort against the school choice program failed in September after the organization failed to collect enough signatures.

“For decades, Arizona’s public schools have gone chronically underfunded by our state leaders,” Save Our Schools Arizona said in a statement. “We applaud Hobbs for sweeping universal voucher funds and harmful results-based funding to add $198 million in addition base-level support. School districts will be able to use these desperately-needed funds to raise teacher pay and provide critical resources and extracurriculars for all 1.1 million Arizona students.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kevin Gemeroy, an Arizona parent and member of Education for All, was able to take his son out of a remote learning environment and enter him into an education that best addressed his dyslexia, Gemeroy told the DCNF. Since, Gemeroy has advocated for the school choice movement to help students who did not have the same opportunities his son had.

“I’m so grateful for what happened to us but I’m so sad for the families that don’t have the ability to buy their way out of it,” Gemeroy told the DCNF. “And ever since I’ve been advocating for school choice. There’s too much at stake for the kids.”

Hobbs’ office did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

*****
This article was published by The Daily Caller and is reproduced with permission.

Florida College Presidents Pledge To Not Fund Critical Race Theory, Diversity Initiatives On Campus thumbnail

Florida College Presidents Pledge To Not Fund Critical Race Theory, Diversity Initiatives On Campus

By The Daily Caller

The Florida College System (FCS) presidents said on Wednesday that no state funds will be used to support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) or critical race theory (CRT) initiatives on campus, according to Florida’s Voice.

The presidents confirmed in a collective letter that none of the system’s 28 institutions would use state money to “fund or support any institutional practice, policy, or academic requirement that compels belief in critical race theory or related concepts such as intersectionality, or the idea that systems of oppression should be the primary lens through which teaching and learning are analyzed and/or improved upon,” the letter, obtained by Florida’s Voice, read. The announcement came after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration requested information about how colleges and universities used state funding to support DEI or CRT initiatives on campus.

“Historically, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives served to increase diversity of thought as well as the enrollment and the success of underrepresented populations and promote the open access mission of our state college system,” the letter reportedly reads. “The presidents of the Florida College System (FCS) also understand that some initiatives and instruction in higher education under the same title have come to mean and accomplish the very opposite and seek to push ideologies such as critical race theory and its related tenets.”

BREAKING: Florida College System presidents declare their schools will not use funds to compel CRT beliefs on students pic.twitter.com/44RGuPrSzr

— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) January 18, 2023

The presidents clarified that any initiative to limit CRT in the classroom will not infringe on academic freedom, but instructors will be required to teach the material in a “objective manner.”

“In the development of knowledge, research endeavors, and creative activities, a college faculty and student body must be free to cultivate a spirit of inquiry and scholarly criticism, and to examine ideas in an atmosphere of freedom and confidence, free from shielding and in a nondiscriminatory manner,” the letter continues. “The FCS presidents remain committed to developing campus environments that uphold objectivity in teaching and learning and in professional development and that welcome all voices- environments in which students, faculty, and staff can pursue their academic interests without fear of reprisal or being ‘canceled.’”

FCS presidents will review and remove any “any institutional instruction, training, and policies” by Feb. 1 considered to be discriminatory, according to the letter.

“I would like to commend our presidents for ensuring our state colleges are environments where all students can embrace educational freedom and acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for a thriving career,” Manny Diaz Jr., Florida’s education commissioner, told Florida’s Voice.

Diaz and DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

AUTHOR

ALEXA SCHWERHA

Contributor.

RELATED TWEET:

Who thinks these flags are new-age religious symbols being unconstitutionally hung in a public classroom setting? pic.twitter.com/SSuUxczAid

— DC_Draino (@DC_Draino) January 18, 2023

RELATED ARTICLES:

Florida House Speaker Demands Information On Diversity, Equity And Inclusion ‘Prevalence’ On College Campuses

Florida Universities Spend Millions On Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

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.

Why Only 16% of Gen Z Are Proud to Be an American, and What We Should Do About It thumbnail

Why Only 16% of Gen Z Are Proud to Be an American, and What We Should Do About It

By Jarrett Stepman

Only 16% of Gen Zers are “proud” to live in the United States.

That finding comes from a recent Morning Consult poll, which assessed generational attitudes about the United States. The poll shows that there has been roughly a 20-percentage-point drop of pride in country every generation since the Baby Boomers, 73% of whom express pride in the country.

Many on social media noted with exasperation that those who say they have no pride in country are in no hurry to move somewhere else.

It’s true, our success as a nation has apparently led to a great deal of ingratitude and navel-gazing. However, the poll points to a deeper problem.

Even if the poll is off or exaggerated, it’s hard to ignore the reality and the trend. With each passing generation, there’s less connection to country and less patriotism. With this comes enormous—and likely terrible—implications.

First, for those insistent on upholding the “liberal international order,” as some call it, that’s going to be hard to do when so few people are willing to support or defend even their own nation. It also should come as no surprise that the military is having a recruitment crisis. Could you imagine what would happen if we had to reinstate the draft?

Second, with less attachment to country, there will be fewer things to bind people together in a society that is now ruthlessly sorting out ideologically.

In earlier times, we could argue about issues and policies, but accept that our neighbor was still fundamentally American. But as the philosophical gaps among us widen, and political victories and defeats become a zero-sum game, there is less incentive to maintain and defend the rights of the other “tribe.”

President Donald Trump said in his inaugural address that “when you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.” In a society devoid of patriotism, there will be a whole lot of room to hate.

So, the question is, why is this happening? To me, the answer seems clear.

We’ve failed to reinstitutionalize “informed patriotism” in this country. That’s what President Ronald Reagan called for in his farewell address in January 1989, and what was clearly most important to him. In the 1980s, the U.S. was riding high, the economy was booming, patriotism was returning, the Soviet Union—an evil empire, if there ever was one—was just a few years away from collapse. It was morning again in America.

However, Reagan warned that while the policy victories he achieved during his presidency were good, it wasn’t nearly enough.

Reagan said that “younger parents aren’t sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children.” But it wasn’t just parents. For those who created popular culture, “well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style.”

He warned that while our “spirit” was back, we hadn’t “reinstitutionalized it.”

Reagan was right. Worse—as it’s now become quite clear—we have institutionalized something quite different from “informed patriotism” and love of country. We have institutionalized the ethos of the new left, of the woke, of the purveyors of “diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Concepts such as critical race theory and radical gender theory are quite real, but they aren’t new. They’ve been floating around academia for more than half a century. What’s new is that these ideas have reached a critical mass, and they have pushed traditional American ideas out of every institution they’ve taken hold of.

Many Americans have no idea what the details of these concepts are, but they absorb and internalize them because they are continuously reinforced. The modern elite university is the temple of this new, dominant ideology, but its tentacles reach into everything, from colleges to K-12 schools (both public and private) to media and entertainment, to the corporate world, and certainly to government.

At one time, the managerial class merely promoted its interests; now, it promotes this quasi-religion, too.

To remain a member of the elite in good standing, you must acknowledge your faith in the new creed or risk losing your career, being canceled, and personally attacked.

Most comply. Those who don’t believe do so quietly, secretly for fear of risking their status and livelihood.

Is that freedom?

Reagan also said that every generation had to reaffirm our American principles, or we would someday have to tell our children what it was like when men were free. Have we not reached that point?

And if you tell your children about a time when Americans were freer in the past, can you do so without being called a racist?

Victory in the Cold War, a moment of triumph for the United States and the West worthy of celebration, nevertheless concealed the rot within.

In 2020, when mobs hit the streets and statues fell, the institutions of our country showed their true colors. They joined the mob and pulled down what the rabble missed. Jacobins in the street joined Jacobins in government agencies and air-conditioned boardrooms. The pride flag and the BLM flag replaced the American flag as the symbols of the new regime.

As Jeremy Carl wrote at The American Conservative, “the transgressive has become not just mainstream, but the establishment itself.”

So, for those who didn’t join the revolution, who may be dazed by, and disbelieving of, the transformation that’s taken place, we must acknowledge that our cause is currently one of dissenters. It’s the people versus the institutions, and many people now side with the institutions.

But if the Left can transform America from the inside out through a long march, so can the rest of us. It begins with informing ourselves and our children. It gets serious when we organize and use real political power to shape and change the institutions that have become corrupted.

When we look to Florida, we see a model of how to fight back and how to hit the radical left where it hurts the most. From going after woke indoctrination in K-12 schools to reintroducing instruction in American principles in those schools to changing school boards to getting DEI out of colleges and changing their boards of trustees, these are the kinds of institutional changes other Republican governors and other political leaders need to emulate.

The woke think they have the right to be the gatekeepers of all debate, speech, and pedagogy in this country. Let’s show them otherwise.

Mobs and unelected bureaucrats don’t have a right to rule; you do. If we go on the offensive, we will likely find that there is a whole lot more common sense in this country, even at this late hour, than one would think, given the slide of the past several decades.

To win this battle, to restore pride in country, and prevent the United States from slipping into a dark age of decline and possible dissolution, we must make a sustained effort to retake institutions now.

We must do this while there are still Americans left who know what it was like to live in freedom and who wish to hand that down to posterity.

*****
This article was published by The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

Team Biden Joins the School Library Wars, Launching Federal Investigation thumbnail

Team Biden Joins the School Library Wars, Launching Federal Investigation

By Family Research Council

“Whoever succeeds in telling the stories to the children gets to control the future.” That was Kirk Cameron’s answer to people wondering why he’s joined the debate over America’s libraries. As parents everywhere fight to keep graphic content out of their children’s hands, Texas officials are warning the battle is taking an ominous turn. It’s not just the forces of the Left that communities will have to contend with. It’s the federal government, whose new investigation into a local school district could upend every grassroots effort to protect kids.

For leaders in Texas’s Granbury School District, the bomb dropped shortly before Christmas. Officials in the Civil Rights Division of Biden’s Department of Education (DOE) said they’d received a formal complaint from the ACLU that the small community outside Fort Worth was somehow violating the government’s definition of “sex” by pulling books from school library shelves.

The ACLU’s beef dates back to November 2021 when Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) urged the state’s association of school boards to “ensure no child is exposed to pornography or other inappropriate content in a Texas public school.” His letter, which keyed off parents’ growing outrage about the material on school shelves, insisted on greater transparency about the content students can access. Abbott said his office had been contacted by a number of moms and dads who were “rightfully angry” about the “pornographic and obscene” content.

Granbury officials took the governor’s directive to heart, ordering a review of the district’s book titles. But what ultimately landed the district in hot water was a candid conversation Superintendent Jeremy Glenn had with the schools’ librarians — which was eventually leaked to the press. He talked about the conservative make-up of the community and insisted that they would act accordingly. “We do have a very conservative board,” Glenn said in a reference to the two new school board members. “They are elected, and recently more conservative. And so that’s what our community is. That’s what our job is.”

At the end of the day, Glenn insisted, “I don’t want a kid picking up a book, whether it’s about homosexuality or heterosexuality, and reading about how to hook up sexually in our libraries. … And I’m going to take it a step further with you,” the superintendent went on. “There are two genders. There’s male, and there’s female. And I acknowledge that there are men that think they’re women. And there are women that think they’re men. And again, I don’t have any issues with what people want to believe, but there’s no place for it in our libraries. … I’m cutting to the chase on a lot of this,” Glenn insisted. “It’s the transgender, LGBTQ, and the sex — sexuality — in books. That’s what the governor has said that he will prosecute people for, and that’s what we’re pulling out.”

Over the next two weeks, Granbury embarked on what the Texas Tribune called “one of the largest book removals in the country, pulling about 130 titles from library shelves for review.” Two months later, the volunteer review committee inexplicably voted to return all but three books that they’d permanently banned.

By then, the audio of Glenn’s meeting had made its way to the media, and liberal news outlets like the Texas Tribune, ProPublica, and NBC News pounced, accusing Glenn of anti-LGBT bias. That’s when the local chapter of the ACLU got involved, demanding an apology and calling for every book to be reinstated.

Glenn didn’t oblige, conveying through district spokesman Jeff Meador that all the titles they’d pulled from shelves are “sexually explicit and not age-appropriate.” That said, the libraries “continue to house a socially and culturally diverse collection of books for students to read, including,” he pointed out, “books that analyze and explore LGBTQ+ issues.”

Naturally, that didn’t satisfy the ACLU, whose lawyers decided to involve the federal government in a local dispute that could have a chilling effect nationwide. “If the government finds in the ACLU’s favor,” The Washington Post cautioned, “the determination could have implications for schools nationwide, experts said, forcing libraries to stock more books about LGBTQ individuals and requiring administrators — amid a rising tide of book challenges and bans — to develop procedures ensuring student access to books that some Americans, especially right-leaning parents, deem unacceptable.”

Of course, the heart of the ACLU’s allegation — that Granbury (and Glenn, especially) is violating the Left’s new definition of “sex” — is a stretch by almost every legal standard. The Biden administration may have twisted the word “sex” to mean “gender identity” and “sexual orientation,” but that interpretation has never been passed into federal Title IX law.

And yet, the ACLU’s Chloe Kempf maintains (unconvincingly) that the “book removals and also the comments create this pervasively hostile environment.” “Both send a message to the entire community that LGBTQ identities are inherently obscene, worthy of stigmatization — and the book removals uniquely deprive LGBTQ students of the opportunity to read books that reflect their own experiences.”

Conservatives pushed back, insisting that this isn’t about LGBT hostility but age-appropriate content. Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, insisted that this whole controversy amounts to a leftist intimidation campaign. “The ACLU is bullying school districts who have responded to parental concerns about pornographic library books offered to children. Access to pornography at school is not a civil right.” Even if the law had been changed to include “sexual orientation and gender identity” in Title IX, “children still do not have a right to sexually explicit or violent content in public school library books. And school systems are under no obligation to support a publishing industry who can’t sell these books to parents and so sells them to librarians instead.”

Frankly, Kilgannon argued, “This is federal overreach into the education system, which is supposed to be a state issue.” Not to mention that “Biden is weaponizing another government agency: the DOE.”

If the president does intervene, dictating how school libraries handle certain book titles, the issue will almost certainly end up in court. “This isn’t the sort of civil rights issue that requires federal intervention,” Will Flanders of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty argued. “It’s a question about books in schools, not about individual rights being violated.”

Either way, it does show one thing: the potency of the parents’ movement. Cameron, who’s in his own fight to host story hours in the same libraries that allow drag queens, is witnessing the momentum firsthand. As many as 1,000 people turned out in Placentia, Calif. to hear the “Growing Pains” actor read his new book, “As You Grow.”

“I know why parents and grandparents are coming out of the woodwork,” Cameron told The Federalist. “They understand there is a war on children — and nobody’s going to stop it but us.” So if there’s one thing Americans can do, he told the crowd, it’s this: “Don’t just talk about what’s going on. Change what’s going on.”

AUTHOR

Suzanne Bowdey

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

RELATED TWEET:

This video of Joe Biden inappropriately touching little kids was RT’d over 30,000x

I posted on my Instagram and it just got fact-checked by Politifact

ARE WE NOT ALLOWED TO CRITICIZE OUR GOVERNMENT?!

Especially when all I did was post *videos* of him

This is insane censorship https://t.co/FI736HBf7H pic.twitter.com/jOhossCXEn

— DC_Draino (@DC_Draino) January 17, 2023

EDITORS NOTE: This The Washington Stand column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved. 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.

Arizona Governor’s Plan To Undo Nation’s Largest School Choice Program Will Harm Students, Advocates Say thumbnail

Arizona Governor’s Plan To Undo Nation’s Largest School Choice Program Will Harm Students, Advocates Say

By Reagan Reese

Newly-elected Democratic Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs’ plan to undo the nation’s most expansive school choice program could affect thousands of students and families who are already utilizing the state’s voucher program, school choice advocates told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Hobbs’ executive budget released Jan. 13 asked state legislators to reverse the state’s expansion of its school choice program which currently allows all Arizona students in grades K-12 to receive taxpayer-funded vouchers if they choose to leave or are already outside of the public education system. The proposal would have a severe negative impact on Arizona families already utilizing the school voucher program to pursue other educational opportunities, school choice advocates told the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: The School Choice Movement Is Picking Up Steam Across The Country)

“It’s an assault on the families and the parents,” Steve Smith, Arizona State Director of American Federation for Children (AFC), a group working toward school choice, told the DCNF. “Especially now when education options are needed more than ever in the wake of COVID-19. You must let these these families flourish. These programs have been a lifesaver to so many and to take that away or even threaten to take it away, it’s just flat out wrong.”

In July, former Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a law creating the largest school voucher program in the country, making more than 1.1 million Arizona students in public and charter schools eligible to receive up to $7,000 in order to transfer schools. Under the previous program, disabled children, students living on American Indian reservations and students attending low-performing public schools were eligible for the taxpayer-funded vouchers.

As of Jan 9., more than 45,000 students have enrolled in the state’s school choice program, according to to Faith Prep Arizona, a group that advises families using the school choice program. Originally just one-third of Arizona students were eligible for the program, with about 11,800 students enrolled, according to the AZ Mirror.

Through the program, students can receive up to $7,000, enough to potentially cover a private school education, according to AZ Free News. Upon the opening of the program application, the state’s Department of Education reported that due to a “high volume” of applications, users may receive an error message when applying.

Reversing the school choice program could affect thousands across the state who are already utilizing the voucher program, Amy Carney, Scottsdale Unified governing board member and deputy director of Building Education for Students Together, a group focused on parental rights in education, told the DCNF.

“It’s unfortunate that Governor Hobbs is so ideologically blinded that she doesn’t understand or care why over 45,000 children are already benefiting from Arizona’s newly expanded Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program,” Carney told the DCNF. “Instead of threatening to tear apart a program helping children across our state, our governor should try to listen and learn why this is needed and use the information to strengthen our local public schools to better serve the children in our local communities.”

Save Our Schools Arizona, an organization that advocates for public schools, tried to halt Ducey’s expansion of the program in September but failed to collect enough signatures to place the issue on the general election ballot. The state’s current school choice program is estimated to cost Arizona tax-payers more than $140 million in the 2024 fiscal year, according to Hobbs’ executive budget.

*****

This article was published at Daily Caller and is reproduced with permission.

The Graves of Academe: USC School of Social Work Bans ‘Field’ thumbnail

The Graves of Academe: USC School of Social Work Bans ‘Field’

By Jihad Watch

“Shall Paper live, or Ink/Since Brass and Marble Can’t Withstand/This Iron Age’s Violating Hand?” — Johannes de Bosco


The University of Southern California (that’s USC to you and me) has been thrust into the limelight yet again. In 2019, and for several years following, it was in the news as a major participant in the “Varsity Blues” scandal; rich parents were inveigled into paying bribes to the university’s water polo coach, so that their children might be admitted, as potential varsity players of the sport, to USC. It’s a university that as part of its online advertisement for itself says that “USC has conferred honorary degrees on 29 billionaires.” I’m not exactly sure why that should impress anyone, but some people at USC think it should; no doubt USC has its reasons that reason does not know. Some eyebrows were raised when USC agreed to pay its new football coach $10 million a year; not everyone on the faculty – you know, those old fogies who teach such frivolities as literature, history, and philosophy — were pleased by this demonstration of USC’s priorities. But what do those people know? Have they ever had to meet a payroll? A winning football team pays their salaries. They had better stop complaining.

And now the University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work (USCSDPSSW for short) has put USC the news again. The school has just announced that it has decided to ban the word “field” from its curriculum. No longer will anyone at the University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, whether faculty members, or staff, or students, be permitted to use the word “field.” From here on out, it’s strictly forbidden. The story of this remarkably thoughtful act of anti-racism can be found here: “Elite University Department Bans Use of Word ‘Field,’ Claiming It’s Too Racist,” by Alexa Schwerha, Daily Signal

The University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work will no longer use the word “field” in its curriculum or its practices as part of its anti-racist framework, according to an email reportedly sent Monday.

The school reportedly stripped the word from use due to alleged ties to “anti-Black” and “anti-immigrant” rhetoric, according to the email sent by the Practicum Education Department to the campus community, faculty, staff, and students. The school informed [sic] that the word “practicum” would be used instead to “ensure [its] use of inclusive language and practice.”

This change supports anti-racist social work practice by replacing language that could be considered anti-Black or anti-immigrant in favor of inclusive language,” the email reportedly reads. “Language can be powerful, and phrases such as ‘going into the field’ or ‘field work’ may have connotations for descendants of slavery and immigrant workers that are not benign.”

The revised language aligns with several anti-racist initiatives the school abides by, including the Council on Social Work Education’s Advancing Antiracism in Social Work Education and the Eliminate Racism Grand Challenge for Social Work, according to the email.

“In solidarity with universities across the nation, our goal is not just to change language but to honor and acknowledge incline [sic] and reject white supremacy, anti-immigrant and anti-blackness ideologies,” the email continues. “Words are powerful, but even more so is action. We are committing to further align our actions, behaviors, and practices with anti-racism and anti-oppression, which requires taking a close and critical look at our profession—our history, our biases, and our complicity in past and current injustices.”

The email then claimed the school would “train social work students” to “understand and embody social and racial justice” and told the campus community to “hold each other accountable.”

USC, the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, and the Practicum Education Department did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

Don’t forgive them, Lord, at the USCSDPSSW they know exactly what they do. They are beyond all appeals to common sense. They will not engage – because they don’t know how to do so – in discussions about the right use of words. Delicacy, tact, intelligence – don’t even ask. Their every comical word-banning – don’t think they will stop with “field” — should be held up for ridicule, every jot and tittle of idiocy exposed, while those who refuse to get with the program should move unobserved from campus to campus, quietly distributing copies of Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language” and even more important, Ian Robinson’s The Survival of English.

Shouldn’t we do away entirely with the word “field”? If it summons up, as we are being asked to believe, images of black slaves in fields of tall cotton (but it was Johnny Cash, a white man, who sang about “them old cotton fields back home”), and Mexican workers in the bean fields and orange groves of sunny California, then it shouldn’t be banned just from the USCSDPSSW. It should be banned everywhere. Anti-racism demands it.

Think of all the possibilities. In sports, the USC Trojans run out onto the football practicum. Everyone experiences the collective thrill of anti-racism as they hear the announcer shout “they’re on the Prac-Ti-Cum and ready to go.” Baseball – same thing. The practicum of dreams will now have players catching balls at center, right, and left practicums.

In USC art classes, students will study such works of Van Gogh as “Wheat-practicum with a lark,” “The green wheat-practicum behind the Asylum painting,” and “Wheat-practicum with crows.” It takes a little getting used to, but just keep at it, and you’ll soon get the hang of it. And each time you refrain from saying the word “field,” you will have won a little victory for anti-racism. Rosa Parks would be pleased.

In the Department of Physics at USC, that last lonely professor who refuses to get on board with string theory, that is still all the rage, should announce that he is still working on trying to come up with a Unified Practicum Theory. You’re unfamiliar with that? Here’s what it is: in particle physics, it’s an attempt to describe all fundamental forces and the relationships between elementary particles in terms of a single theoretical framework. In physics, forces can be described by practicums that mediate interactions between separate objects.” There. That shouldn’t be hard to understand. A special house blend of quantum mechanics and general — or is it special? — relativity.

And let’s not stop with banning only the word “field” from our collective vocabularies and consciousnesses. There are so many other words that need to be excised from our scandalously offensive lexicons. Take the word “bend,” as in “the slaves had to bend over as they picked the cotton in their practicums.” Let’s fix it: “the slaves had to ____their torsos as they picked the cotton in their practicums.” Fill in the blank. Anything you come up with will be better than “bend.” Then do the same to transform “a bend in the river” and “South Bend, Indiana” and “bend it like Beckham.” See – you can even have fun as you deracistize your language.

What about the word “cotton” itself? I bought a cotton polo shirt the other day, and when I got home I couldn’t stop thinking about those held in bondage in the antebellum South picking the very same stuff that my shirt was made of, and I felt so…so racist. I should have been more attentive to my language. I should have taught myself to think of my recent purchase as a “shirt made of a soft white fibrous substance that surrounds the seeds of a tropical and subtropical plant and is used as textile fiber and thread for sewing.” And from now on I will. Now, isn’t that better?

I fear there is no end to this. There are so many words — thousands, maybe tens of thousands — that will need to be replaced. Whole departments of language police will spend years to work on the problem. We’ll need to get rid of “master bedroom” and “master class” and “Master and Margarita.” We’ll need to ban “overalls” and “dungarees.” And “back” of course, which makes us think of “back of the bus.” We can’t have “back.” Oh, and “bus.” And “tree.” We can’t have “tree.” Do I have to draw you a diagram? Goodness, what work we have ahead of us. And not a moment too soon. Let’s be grateful to the hyper-vigilant people at the University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work (USCSDPSSW) who led the way. And now we have a solemn duty to take what they’ve begun to another level.

AUTHOR

HUGH FITZGERALD

RELATED TWEET:

Sheila Jackson Lee introduces bill that criminalizes criticism of a “non-White person” by a White

“The bill says any White person who criticizes immigration or vilifies any “non-White person or group” can be charged with committing a federal hate crime.”https://t.co/zAEijeigW9

— Sue Knows Best (@sues86453) January 15, 2023

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

An Intellectual Feast for Contrarians thumbnail

An Intellectual Feast for Contrarians

By Craig J. Cantoni

A new book questions the conventional wisdom about immigration, diversity, assimilation, and the causes of prosperity.

Caution!  Don’t be seen reading the following book in public.

The Culture Transplant:  How Migrants Make the Economies They Move to a Lot like the Ones They Left, by Garett Jones, 2023, Stanford Business Books, 213 pages.

There is not a whiff of racism, nativism, jingoism, or supremacism in the book.  Nor does it downplay the evils of slavery, Jim Crow, colonialism, and imperialism.  But its conclusions are so counter to today’s zeitgeist on immigration, diversity, assimilation, and the causes of prosperity that you’ll risk being canceled if you’re seen reading it.

The book is not a polemic.  Written by an associate professor of economics, It is a distillation of many scholarly studies—studies that I had never heard of, although I had smugly thought I was well-versed in the topics, especially the topic of diversity, given that I had been at the leading edge of the diversity movement going back to when the movement was started in 1990 by R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr., as a result of his landmark Harvard Business Review article, “From Affirmative Action to Affirming Diversity.”

Many of the studies cited in the book came out of academia.  Somehow, they got past campus censors, even though the study findings had to hurt someone’s feelings.

Speaking of feelings, some of my fellow Italians might get their Roman noses out of joint.  The book speaks negatively about Italian anarchists and socialists who had immigrated to Argentina, circa 1900.  They joined with like-minded emigrants from Spain in changing the politics and culture of the nation, so that Argentina went from being one of the richest countries in the world to a middling one beset by political strife and a statist government.

The core premise of the book is that “immigration, to a large degree, creates a culture transplant, making the place that migrants go a lot like the places they left.  And for good and for ill, those culture transplants shape a nation’s future prosperity.”  (The same shaping can happen in states, cities, and neighborhoods.)

The shaping can be negative when migrants come from places with low social trust, with centuries of little technological innovation, and with governments that are too corrupt and confiscatory, or too weak to provide basic services and protect rights and property.  It can take many generations for the descendants of these migrants, as a group, on average, to sever the cultural chains and assimilate and prosper in their new country.

Examples abound in the book.  So do statistics, charts, and graphs.  And so do caveats.  The author cites exceptions to the rule, admits when it’s difficult to distinguish between causation and correlation, and quotes studies that disagree with his conclusions.  Still, in spite of the headache-inducing amount of data, it became clear to this reader that the conclusions are on a sound intellectual footing.

Some of the conclusions match the conclusions of a book on my bookshelf, the New York Times bestseller, Why Nations Fail:  The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson.  Its take on the socioeconomic problems in Latin America is of special interest to me, given that I live close to the southern border in Tucson and had lived for five years in the barrio of San Antonio. The take is that the Spanish Empire’s confiscatory economic system, two-class social system, and closed political system left a legacy in its former colonies of corruption, poverty, social distrust, inexperience with pluralism, and a paucity of technological innovation.

According to The Culture Transplant, people whose ancestors emigrated from China and Western Europe, excluding those from the Spanish Empire, had an edge in achieving prosperity, due to both regions having long histories of governmental and technical innovations. Some might counter that the edge came from colonialism and imperialism, but it’s difficult to make that case with respect to China.

The author of the book clearly favors the cultural traits that Chinese migrants brought to other countries in Southeast Asia, and more recently in history, to America.  Succeeding generations have done exceedingly well, even where they’ve been in the minority and faced discrimination—and in spite of China’s horrible experiment with communism.  Aided by Confucian values, the traits include a high savings rate, a high degree of social trust, high industriousness, a strong emphasis on education and family, and a natural propensity for trade.  The author goes so far as to say that a surefire way of raising a nation out of poverty would be the admission of a large number of Chinese immigrants.

If that’s not controversial enough, let’s now enter the minefield of diversity.

The author makes a distinction between skill diversity and ethnic diversity.  Clearly, having a diversity of skills, especially higher skills, is a positive for nations and industry. Just as clearly, skill diversity is often the result of ethnic diversity.  It’s far less clear, however, that ethnic diversity is always positive, or to quote today’s cliché, “a strength.” That’s because there are many examples in history and around the world of ethnic diversity leading to mistrust, strife, divisiveness, and identity politics.

When Roosevelt Thomas started the diversity movement, his contention was that companies would be able to better relate to their customers and sell more stuff if their workforce mirrored the racial diversity of the nation.  He also contended that as the nation’s workforce became less white, companies would be able to relate better to employees if the staff at all levels mirrored the national workforce.

There is a lot of truth in the first contention about selling more stuff, but there’s also some hyperbole.  The fact is that nearly homogenous Germany has little difficulty in selling cars in America, and almost totally homogenous Japan and S. Korea have little difficulty in selling cars and electronics in America.

Regarding the second contention, a lot depends on how a diverse staff is achieved.  If accomplished through ham-handed reverse discrimination and the negative stereotyping of white employees in so-called racial sensitivity seminars, diversity initiatives are counterproductive and even harmful.

Then there is a practical issue.  Given that there are over one hundred unique ethnocultural groups in the US, it’s virtually impossible to achieve proportional representation of all of them at all levels throughout a company.

What about profitability?  Don’t some studies show that diversity leads to greater profits?  Yes they do, but the studies tend to be done of companies that are big, deep-pocketed, and already profitable. It’s not possible to determine if diversity in such companies is the result of profitability or the cause of profitability.

No doubt, few Americans are familiar with a landmark study of workplace diversity published in 1998 by Kathryn Williams of Columbia University and Charles O’Reilly of Stanford.  They concluded that:

The preponderance of the empirical evidence suggests that diversity is most likely to impede group functioning.  Unless steps are taken to actively counteract these effects, the evidence suggests that, by itself, diversity is more likely to have negative than positive effects on group performance.

I’m not suggesting here that diversity is not a worthwhile endeavor.  After all, I was at the leading edge of the diversity movement.  But if pursued stupidly, diversity is not a strength.

Given that the US is a multiethnic country, it’s important to get it right and not be stupid about it.  To quote Barack Obama:

America is the first real experiment in building a large, multiethnic, multicultural democracy.  And we don’t know yet if that can hold.  There haven’t been enough of them around for long enough to say for certain that it’s going to work.

Anyway, in closing, a few words of advice:  Be careful in accepting my opinion of The Culture Transplant.  As a lifelong contrarian, I have a strong bias in favor of books that question conventional wisdom.