Wisconsin Lawmakers Look at Opt-out Option for Parents on Gender and Sex Classes

Girl student standing and holding books in hand in a classroom

Wisconsin lawmakers are wrestling with the question of who should talk to their kids about sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Assembly Committee on Education on Thursday held a marathon hearing on a plan that would allow parents to opt their kids out of classes on both.

“This is merely just a way to give parents a choice,” Rep Bob Whitke, R-Racine, said. “Because there are a lot of concepts now that are coming out in school … it’s being done in a way that parents don’t understand, and parents aren’t notified.

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Merit System Is Unjust Because It Rewards Productive Individuals, Professors Argue

Woman on laptop working outside

Professors from the University of Arizona and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs are arguing that “success and merit” are “barriers” to the equity agenda. 

“Admitting that the normative definitions of success and merit are in and of themselves barriers to achieving the goals of justice, diversity, equity and inclusion is necessary but not sufficient to create change,” professors Beth Mitchneck and Jessi L. Smith recently wrote for Inside Higher Education.

Mitchneck and Smith attributed those definitions to a “narrow definition of merit limited to a neoliberal view of the university.” Specifically, they express concern that universities receive funding and recognition based on the individual performances of professors’ own work such as peer reviewed journals and studies. 

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Students Think 9/11 Lessons Should Omit ‘Gruesome’ Details, ‘Avoid Placing Blame’

The Virginia Department of Education recently posted a video on their YouTube Channel telling teachers to avoid talking about American exceptionalism while teaching about September 11, 2001.

Campus Reform reporter Ophelie Jacobson talked with University of Florida students about this video to see how students think 9/11 should be taught in the classroom.

Suggestions for lesson plans included keeping “gruesome” facts out of lesson plans  avoiding discussion of who was responsible for the attacks.

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Virginia Universities Start Kicking Out Unvaccinated Students

Some Virginia universities have started kicking out students who refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and other institutions may start following suit.

Virginia Tech disenrolled 134 students this week who did not receive the vaccine. Before that, the University of Virginia disenrolled 288 students, and William & Mary withdrew 42 students for the same reason. All three universities require students be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they receive a medical or religious exemption.

“Of the approximately 37,000 students enrolled at Virginia Tech, 134 students were not in compliance with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, meaning that they did not submit vaccination documentation or receive a medical or religious exemption,” a statement on Virginia Tech’s website read. “These students have been disenrolled. The university does not know whether any of these students were not planning to return for reasons unrelated to the COVID-19 vaccine requirement.”

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Calls to Fire Glen Ellyn School District 41 Teacher in Illinois After She ‘Shows Off Book Collection She Uses to Indoctrinate 3rd Grade Students’

D41 Kids Foundation, person reading

Calls to fire Glen Ellyn teacher Lauren Crowe were spreading across social media Thursday night after the D41 educator shared a video on Tik Tok promoting books highlighting LGBTQ+  activism to her grammar school students.

Crowe, who teaches third grade at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School,  posted the video on Tik Tok. It was then shared on Twitter by a user who goes by the name “Libs of Tik Tok.” 

“Activist teacher shows off book collection she uses to indoctrinate 3rd grade students,” the user posted.

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Commentary: Christian Schools Vastly Outperforming Public Schools During COVID-19, According to New Survey of Parents

Among last year’s other lessons, none may be more important than this: Our taxpayer-funded education establishment cares more about adults than children.

Consider the evidence: public school union bosses pressured officials to close schools and keep them shuttered beyond what medical authorities recommended. In spite of the obvious harm to children of school closures, unions throughout the country lobbed threats and issued demands. In Chicago, the union went so far as to sue the Mayor to keep schools closed; in San Francisco, the city had to sue its school board.

A public education system that failed to do right by our children has kept union bosses empowered and politicians cowed. Thankfully, our country offers an alternative—one that proved its mettle this past year. In a recent survey of public school and Christian school parents, the Herzog Foundation found that parents of children who attended a Christian school were vastly more satisfied with their school experience.

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University of California Freezes Safety Officer Hiring until Campuses Submit ‘Holistic, Inclusive’ Plan

University of California Berkeley Campus

University of California’s new Community Safety Plan shifts major responsibilities and funding away from UC Police Departments.

The plan, based on an 80-page report released this summer by the Department of Public Safety Community Advisory Board, was announced by UC President Michael Drake last week and will be implemented across all 10 campuses. It reflects UC’s “commitment to equity and social justice.”

“Under this new model, a multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals, campus police, social service providers, police accountability boards and other personnel will work together to prioritize the well-being of the entire UC community,” Drake said in a message to the university. “This reimagined structure will ensure that the m,ost appropriate responders are deployed to meet our community’s specific needs with tailored care resources and services.”

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University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media Dean Resigns Post after Nikole Hannah-Jones Controversy

Susan King of UNC

Susan King is stepping down as dean of the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media. 

The university announced the decision yesterday. 

The Hussman School faced backlash from progressives after it apparently backed off from a plan to give Hannah-Jones tenure for her work as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism. 

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Biden Administration Plans to Cancel $5.8 Billion More in Student Loan Debt

Man on macbook working

The Department of Education announced Thursday that it will cancel student loan debt for over 300,000 borrowers with severe disabilities.

The program, set to erase over $5.8 billion in total debt, will begin in September and apply to over 323,000 borrowers classified as having a “total and permanent disability” by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Education Department announced. Borrowers will now receive automatic discharges of their debt, whereas previously needed to fill out applications.

“Today’s action removes a major barrier that prevented far too many borrowers with disabilities from receiving the total and permanent disability discharges they are entitled to under the law,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in the announcement.

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Biden’s Education Secretary Voices Support for Schools That Force Mask Mandates

Miguel Cardona

Joe Biden’s Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, admitted to having spoken directly with faculty members from school districts that are defying the law and forcing mask mandates on their students, even if their states have banned such mandates, ABC News reports.

Cardona said that some such schools fear repercussions from the state governments if they continue defying the bans, including in Texas and Florida. “I have had the conversations with superintendents,” Cardona said in an interview on Tuesday. “And they have asked, if this goes in that direction, how do we get support? My message is, open the schools safely; we got your back.”

Cardona had previously sent a letter to several school districts in Florida promising that the federal government would fund the schools directly in the event that Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) follows through on his promise to suspend the salaries of all superintendents who force such mandates onto their students in defiance of state law.

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School Board Recall Attempts Spike Amid Concerns About COVID Closures, Critical Race Theory

Group of young students at table, reading and wearing masks

School board recall efforts are sweeping the country, with many driven by parents claiming Critical Race Theory (CRT) is infecting schools, demanding schools reopen in person, and arguing that boards are consumed by virtue signaling.

According to Ballotpedia, 58 such efforts against 144 board members have taken place in 2021. Those are both all-time highs since it started tracking school board recall efforts in 2006, and far above the next highest year, 2010.

Only one school board member has been removed in 2021, however, while three resigned and seven were retained in elections. One is scheduled for a November recall vote in Kansas for upholding a mask mandate.

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Professor Calls America Failed Experiment: ‘Only for White People … Didn’t Work for Black People’

Chanelle Wilson

A Bryn Mawr College professor argues that America is “only for white people.”

Speaking on the “Refuse Facism” podcast, Chanelle Wilson, assistant professor of education and director of Africana Studies at the women’s liberal arts college, said the country “didn’t work for black people.”

“Damn sure it didn’t work for indigenous people,” she continued. “It did not work for people of Mexican ancestry. It didn’t work for Asians, it didn’t work for Jewish people, it didn’t work for Japanese people. It didn’t work for Chinese people.”

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Number of Homeschooled Students Has Doubled Since Pandemic, Continues to Rise

Student working on school work at home.

As a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, the total number of students being homeschooled in the United States has more than doubled from pre-pandemic levels, and continues to rise even as schools begin to slowly reopen, according to Fox News.

By March of 2021, the total number of homeschooled students in America stands at over 5 million, in comparison to just 2.6 million in 2020. Christopher Chin, president of Homeschool Louisiana, said that “interest has exploded,” and that although some students may ultimately return to regular schools after the pandemic, “many parents [are] finding this is a better way of life for them and their children.”

Additionally, Chin says the homeschooling model has proven successful even for households where both parents work, due to the rise in remote work at many companies and places of business.

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Memo Reveals University of North Carolina Plan to Sideline ‘Diversity of Thought’ Ahead of Nikole Hannah-Jones Appointment

Nikole Hannah Jones

A memo obtained by Campus Reform reveals that the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media considered “diversity of thought” to be in conflict with its efforts to achieve social justice objectives.

Hussman Dean Susan King wrote the August 1, 2020 memo to university Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz. She stated, “There is a fundamental conflict between efforts to promote racial equity and understandings of structural racism, and efforts to promote diversity of thought. These two things cannot sit side by side without coming into conflict.”

King wrote the memo in anticipation of Nikole Hannah-Jones joining the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faculty and teaching a class based on the “1619 Project.” 

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Commentary: School Choice Is Not Enough

Young girl wearing black headphones, smiling

If there is a public policy silver lining to this past year, it is the increased support for school choice. Most public schools went online during lockdowns and parents, dissatisfied with the results, sought out other solutions, including private schools, pods, charter schools, online learning, and homeschooling. The last more than doubled with 11.1 percent of households homeschooling, up from 5.4 percent the year before.

Many state legislatures improved school choice options in their states. This is to be celebrated and continued.

School choice by itself, however, will not save students from a failing education if charter and private schools adopt the same curriculum and practices as the most woke schools. Without a focus on the right subjects and lessons, students will be unprepared for personal or professional success. 

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Universities Train Future Teachers to Push Critical Race Theory and Social Justice

School bus with "use your voice" on the windshield

As the controversy over Critical Race Theory rages across the country, several prominent teacher preparation programs are training future teachers to use Critical Race Theory in the classroom.  Several of the nation’s largest teacher preparation programs are training future teachers to use Critical Race Theory in the classroom.

Campus Reform reviewed course descriptions for upcoming classes in college teacher training programs at several major universities. Many intentionally prepare students to use progressive ideology in their own classrooms. Several use Critical Race Theory and social justice as a starting point for learning how to teach.

Among those courses are the University of North Carolina education department’s class, “”Critical Race Theory: History, Research, and Practice.” The course will cover how Critical Race Theory connects to “LatCrit Theory, AsianCrit, QueerCrit, TribalCrit, and Critical Race Feminism,” those terms being more recent areas of study that draw heavily from Critical Race Theory.

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Chicago Teachers Union Plans to Use ‘Delta Variant’ as Excuse to Shut Down Schools Again

Chicago Teachers’ Union protesting

The Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) declared its belief that schools should be shut down again if the India Variant of the coronavirus, also known as the “Delta variant,” continues to spread, as reported by the Daily Caller.

In a letter published on Thursday addressed to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D-Ill.), the union demanded that the mayor “acknowledge the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 virus” and make further bargains with the CTU regarding conditions for possibly returning to school.

“Parents are concerned,” the letter states in part, “and they deserve assurances that our union and the [Chicago Public Schools] team are working…to ensure safety in hundreds of school buildings across the city.” In fact, many parents have been critical of CTU and other teachers’ unions across the country, which have sought to extend school shutdowns for as long as possible for the teachers’ pleasure, often including absurd and unreasonable conditions in their requirements for returning to in-person instruction.

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Virginia County Tells Second-Graders They Should Feel Safe with No Police

It has been revealed that the Fairfax County Public School district (FCPS) is encouraging second-graders to be anti-police, with a “Summer Learning Guide” that includes the phrase “I feel safe when there are no police,” according to an exclusive report by Breitbart.

The stunningly radical content was revealed by a document leaked to the nonprofit group Parents Defending Education (PDE). Fairfax is the most populous school district in the state of Virginia, and has widely been viewed as the epicenter of the battle over “Critical Race Theory” – the notion that all White people are automatically racist, and that America is a fundamentally racist nation – and other far-left ideas with which children are being indoctrinated.

The summer curriculum requires students to watch a far-left YouTube channel called “Woke Kindergarten,” and one video in particular called “Safe by Ki.” The video says, in part: “I feel safe when there are no police. And it’s no one’s job to tell me how I feel. But it’s everyone’s job to make sure that people who are being treated unfairly…feel safe too.” The “lesson” ends with several loaded questions, including “Why do some people feel safe with police and others don’t,” as well as “What can you do to make sure other people feel safe?”

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State Attorneys General Split on Reinstating Obama’s Race-Based School Discipline Guidance

Attorneys general in more than half the states are starkly divided on how to view alleged racial disparities in school discipline, filing competing briefs in a Department of Education proceeding that drew nearly 2,700 comments.

Arizona led a coalition of 15 states to oppose the reinstatement of the Obama administration’s “disparate impact” guidance, which said statistical differences between the races in school discipline could serve as the basis for a federal civil rights investigation.

Michigan led an opposing coalition of 15 states to argue that the 2014 guidance should not only be reinstated, but expanded to include disparities in discipline by sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.

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Commentary: School Board Elections and the Impact on Critical Race Theory in America

Protestor with megaphone, talking

Over the last few months, the U.S. has engaged in intense discussion over “critical race theory.” As Americans have debated the impact of CRT, several states have banned CRT from the public school curriculum, while other states are using it as part of that curriculum. The debate over CRT’s merits or dangers has prompted ideological battles in school board elections. This article looks at the increased activism around school board elections and its broader ramifications.

Past politicization of school board elections

Though school board elections may not seem as exciting as a presidential or even congressional race, they have taken on greater importance in recent years. In 2005, the city of Dover, Pennsylvania faced a contentious court case known as Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, which ruled that the school district’s teaching of intelligent design violated the separation of church and state. Shortly after the trial concluded, the district held its school board elections, and all the school board members who favored the teaching of intelligent design lost their reelection bids, at least in part due to their position on the issue. The election generated much discussion.

In the early 2010s, school board races saw partisan involvement through the Tea Party movement. Generally, candidates affiliated with the Tea Party ran on platforms of greater political accountability and lower property taxes. Carl Paladino, a former Republican nominee for governor in New York, won a race for the Buffalo school board on a Tea Party-type platform. The school board later ousted Paladino for making offensive comments about former First Lady Michelle Obama.

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Law Professor with Naturally Acquired COVID Immunity Battles George Mason University’s Strict Vaccine Mandate

A George Mason University law professor with naturally acquired immunity from COVID is fighting against his employer’s strict COVID vaccine mandate.

Antonin Scalia Law School Professor Todd Zywicki, who recovered from a bout with COVID and has blood tests showing antibodies to the virus, said he will not agree to the university’s policy that employees get the vaccine or face numerous sanctions.

“George Mason is forcing me to choose between serving my students on one hand and undergoing an unnecessary and potentially risky medical procedure on the other,” Zywicki said in a statement.

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University Refuses to Rehire Math Professor Who Criticized Slavery Reparations

Saint Joseph’s University will not renew its contract with math Professor Gregory Manco despite the fact that a three-month investigation into his Twitter history found he had not violated any campus policies.

Manco has been a non-tenured assistant professor of math at Saint Joseph’s since 2005 and also a volunteer assistant baseball coach, but tweets in February criticizing slavery reparations and racial bias training had prompted the probe even though he used an anonymous account.

He was put on administrative leave during the probe. Its outcome, announced in May, determined Manco could not be found guilty of violating any policies, citing “insufficient evidence.”

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Columbia Medical School Will Teach Students How to ‘Disrupt Racism’ and Confront Microaggressions

Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health entrance

Columbia University has developed new programming to help black and Hispanic medical students “disrupt racism” and confront microaggressions they could face.

A medical school professor, who is also the diversity director, said that the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota has made the situation worse at the New York institution.

Professor Jean Alves-Bradford said in a news release that “it’s been very difficult for students in general, but especially for students underrepresented in medicine.”

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Los Angeles Students Will be Forced to Undergo Weekly Testing Even If They’re Vaccinated

The Los Angeles Unified School District this week announced that students and employees returning to in-person instruction in the fall would be forced to undergo weekly testing even if they’ve been vaccinated against SARS-Cov-2.

“All students and employees, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, returning for in-person instruction must participate in baseline and ongoing weekly COVID testing,” Interim Superintendent Megan K. Reilly told media this week. “This is in accordance with the most recent guidance from the Los Angeles County.”

Though the district policy is making no distinction between unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals, Reilly herself stressed the importance of getting vaccinated anyway.

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Commentary: Critical Race Theory and the Threat to the American Family

Barack Obama and family

In a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper that aired in June, Barack Obama weighed in on perceived GOP anxieties. Instead of worrying about the economy and climate change, worries he thought appropriate for Republicans, “Lo and behold,” he told Cooper, “the single most important issue to them apparently right now is critical race theory. Who knew that that was the threat to our republic?”

I would argue that critical race theory, CRT for short, is not only a threat to the republic but also a threat to our families. Obama has already shown the damage that race can inflict on family, starting with this own. In March 2008, with his campaign floundering after the toxic Rev. Wright tapes surfaced, Obama played the CRT card to salvage his candidacy.

During a critical speech in Philadelphia, Obama reminded his audience that “so many of the disparities that exist between the African-American community and the larger American community today can be traced directly to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.” This was pure CRT. The fact that none of Obama’s relatives descended from slaves went unmentioned.

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Conservative Sorority Student Banned over TikTok Video Says Louisiana State University Ignored Her Bias Complaint

Emily Hines of Louisiana State University

After her sorority at Louisiana State University kicked her out, Emily Hines says the school ignored her request for the incident to be investigated for possible bias.

Alpha Phi, a Greek Life organization independent of LSU, revoked Hines’ membership in April over her TikTok video that criticized Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine for her transgender identity. The seven-second video featured the Bee Gees’ song “More Than a Woman.”

Despite being told that the organization does not side with political views,” Hines told The College Fix she believes the decision was politically motivated.

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REPORT: Biden’s Education Department Has Closer Ties to Critical Race Theory Group Than They Admit

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

The Biden administration called it an “error” to promote a critical race theory (CRT) activist group’s guide in a Department of Education (DOE) handbook meant for use in over 13,000 public school districts on reopening recommendations and policies, Fox News reported.

The activist group, Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN) has connections to at least two high-ranking officials in the Biden administration’s DOE, Fox News reported. It is unclear why ATN was mentioned in the April 2021 handbook and who added the link.

The Biden administration DOE backtracked on the promotion and its link to the group in a statement to Fox News Wednesday which said, “The Department does not endorse the recommendations of this group, nor do they reflect our policy positions. It was an error in a lengthy document to include this citation.”

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Commentary: Taxpayers End up Paying off the Insane Tuition Costs of Grad Programs at Elite Colleges

A see of college graduates at the commencement ceremony.

“Columbia and other wealthy universities steer master’s students to federal loans that can exceed $250,000. After graduation, many learn the debt is well beyond their means,” notes the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reports on Columbia University’s Master of Fine Arts Film program, one of the worst examples, in an article titled “Financially Hobbled for Life: The Elite Master’s Degrees That Don’t Pay Off”:

Recent film program graduates of Columbia University who took out federal student loans had a median debt of $181,000.

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Commentary: Critical Race Enthusiasts Should Learn the Lesson of ‘Defund the Police’

Crowd of people in the streets, protesting and Black Lives Matter movement

A year ago, “defund the police” activists were having quite a time. Outlets like CNN and Vox were publishing fawning profiles. Social media sensations like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar were leading the parade. Cities like Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Austin even approved partial defundings. It was a juggernaut.

Now? A tough-on-crime former cop just won the Democratic mayoral nomination in Bill de Blasio’s New York. Former President Barack Obama is warning fellow Democrats, “You lost a big audience the minute you say [‘defund the police’].” Sen. Bernie Sanders has rejected calls for “no more policing.” And White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, a few weeks ago, bizarrely claimed that it was not Democrats but Republicans who wanted to defund the police (because they opposed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill).

What happened? Intoxicated by a few policy wins in deep blue cities, enthusiasm in the left-leaning Twitter echo chamber, and their viselike grip on the national media, “defund” activists overlooked one important detail: Their agenda was deeply unpopular with most Americans. A summer 2020 YouGov poll found that just 16 percent of adults wanted to cut police funding — much less “defund” the police. Indeed, 81 percent of black Americans wanted police to spend as much or more time in their communities. During a year when major American cities saw an unnerving increase in homicides, after years of declines, that reaction was not just understandable, it was wholly predictable.  

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College President Derides ‘Critical Race Theory’ Criticisms, Lauds Its ‘Widely Acclaimed Scholarship,’ Asserts ‘Critical Race Theory Is the New Communism’

Dr. Elliot Stern

Dr. Elliot Stern, president of Saddleback College, a public community college in California, issued an open letter commemorating Juneteenth that also voiced support for Critical Race Theory.  

Amid thoughtful comments on the historical significance of Juneteenth and the importance of commemorating Emancipation, Stern equated the ongoing backlash against Critical Race Theory to the “Red Scare” of the 1950s: 

“Politicians create bogeymen of scholars of race study and are passing laws to prevent schools from teaching widely acclaimed scholarship,” he wrote. “Critical Race Theory is the new Communism.”

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1776 Commission Urges States: Oppose Biden Funding for ‘Teaching of Racial Discrimination’ in K-12

Girl at school desk with bow in hair, writing

A Trump administration commission tasked with promoting “patriotic education” is calling on the Biden administration to withdraw a proposal to fund history and civics programs informed by critical race theory (CRT).

The 1776 Commission met in D.C. Monday despite being disbanded by President Biden on his first day in office. It published its final report just two days before the presidential transfer of power.

The proposed federal rule would prioritize funding for history and civics curricula that consider “systemic marginalization, biases, inequities, and discriminatory policy and practice in American history” and incorporate “racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives.” It favorably cites Boston University professor Ibram Kendi, the foremost popularizer of “anti-racism,” and the New York Times’ 1619 Project.

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Commentary: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is the Poster Child for School Choice Hypocrisy

Last week, Kentucky was the first state legislature to pass a new program to fund students instead of systems this year. The proposal, House Bill 563, would allow eligible students to access scholarships to use at approved private education providers of their families’ choosing. But the Bluegrass State’s Democratic governor, Andy Beshear, blocked educational opportunities for thousands of children by vetoing the bill on Wednesday.

Kentucky requires a constitutional majority in both the House and Senate to override Beshear’s veto, and that vote is expected to happen Monday.

During his press conference announcing the decision, Beshear said that the bill “would greatly harm public education in Kentucky by taking money away from public schools and sending it to unaccountable private organizations with little oversight.”

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