Commentary: Battles We Can Win Are on Family, Morality, and Education

Family

In “Burke on Our Crisis of Character,” which appeared in the December 2023 issue of Chronicles, Bruce Frohnen notes, “The American Way was real, rooted in families whose rights trumped the demands of the state because families were more natural and fundamental than the state.” The following month in the same magazine, Stephen Baskerville reviews a collection of essays, Up from Conservatism, in which he briefly addresses the pernicious effects of government welfare on family life and fatherhood.

As is the case in nearly everything that the federal government touches, be it education, health care, or anything else, its policies in the last 50 years have severely damaged the American family. Given the additional harms done by government in the first quarter of the 21st century—trillions of dollars in wasted expenses, woefully ignorant public school graduates, divisions along the lines of race, politics, and gender, a diminished pride in our past, the attacks on our liberties—some people I know despair about the future. Others of us want to restore the good that has been lost but feel frustrated and even defeated by the immensity of the task. We vote, we grouse (as I am doing here), yet each day brings some new assault on the culture, some new governmental dictate or intrusion, and we just want to hunker down in the trenches hoping that this bombardment will end of its own accord.

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Wisconsin Congressman Scott Fitzgerald Introduces Bill Taking on National Education Association’s Political Clout

U.S. Representative Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI-05) introduced a bill that would check the power of the National Education Association (NEA).

The Stopping Teachers Unions from Damaging Education Needs Today (STUDENT) Act aims to reform the NEA’s federal charter and “rededicate the organization to the pursuit of increased student learning and quality education in schools across America,” according to the congressman.

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WMC Survey of Businesses Finds Alarming Number of Wisconsin K-12 Graduates Aren’t Prepared for the Workforce

As Wisconsin businesses struggle through a worker shortage crisis, it appears Wisconsin’s public schools are failing to prepare students for the workforce.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce’s latest employer survey finds 73 percent of responding businesses said ‘no’ when asked if students graduating from the Badger State’s K-12 education system are prepared for the workforce.

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Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos Calls Governor Tony Evers a ‘Liar’, Expects Evers’ Partial Vetoes to be Challenged in Court

Democrat Governor Tony Evers’ “creative” partial veto that boosts public education spending for the next four centuries “proves he’s a liar,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said during a Sunday morning interview. 

The Rochester Republican said the governor’s “unprecedented” veto trick leaves Republicans — and taxpayers who would be on the hook for 400-plus years of spending increases —  with “little option” but to take the governor to court. 

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Wisconsin ‘Moms for Liberty’ Activist Talks About Radical Left Hatred and Vitriol in the City of Brotherly Love

Scarlett Johnson says she has never seen anything like it.

The parental rights activist has gotten used to nasty language and overheated rhetoric from the left. But she said the hatred she experienced last week in the City of Brotherly Love was “insane.” 

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Wisconsin’s Budget-Writing Committee Passes Budget with ‘Historic’ $4.3 Billion Tax Cut

After a season of spending, the Wisconsin Legislature is finally getting around to talking tax cuts. Perhaps Republicans have saved the best for last.

The Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee put the finishing touches on a complete rewrite of Democrat Governor Tony Evers’ 2023-25 state budget proposal, passing a tax reform package that promises to deliver $3.5 billion in income tax cuts and nearly $800 million in property tax relief. 

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Commentary: Let Parents Opt-Out of Low-Performing Schools

Single mom Shinara Morrison discovered homeschooling by accident. When public schools closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, she found herself taking the lead on her child’s education to fill the gap.

Morrison never withdrew her son, who was 7, from the public school system. But she supplemented his online instruction with custom coursework that blended academics and life skills. Morrison had no formal training as an educator, but she had special insight as a mother.

“I had a little cheat sheet in my head,” she says. “I knew his learning style.”

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Evers Unveils Record $104 Billion Budget Plan, Republicans Get Ready to Rewrite

Billing it a “breakthrough budget,” Governor Tony Evers rolled out a massive two-year spending plan on Wednesday that would dump billions more taxpayer dollars into a host of new programs, raise taxes by $1 billion-plus on businesses, deliver a sweetheart deal to the Milwaukee Brewers, and gobble up much of the state’s historic $7.1 billion surplus.

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Evers Looks to Freeze Wisconsin’s Popular School Choice Program in Latest Budget

Governor Tony Evers is getting pushback again for his latest plan to freeze out Wisconsin’s popular parental school choice program. 

The Democrat, as he did in his last budget plan, is proposing to freeze enrollment in schools participating in private school choice program beginning in the 2024-25 school year at 2023-24 levels.

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Wisconsin Has a Lot of Federal COVID Money on the Table, Much of It Not Properly Documented

As Gov. Tony Evers prepares to introduce his next biennial budget proposal, his administration can’t say how they have allocated a significant portion of the federal COVID aid Evers has nearly complete control over.

And as the governor calls for billions more in education spending, a new report shows there’s a massive amount of federal education aid the state has yet to approve for spending.

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Gov. Tony Evers Signals Big Spending Plans for Wisconsin in State of the State Address

In his fifth State of the State address Tuesday evening, Gov. Tony Evers began laying out how he plans to use Wisconsin’s $6.6 billion surplus, pitching a spending bender of big government initiatives already with a price tag to date of around $1.3 billion.

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Conservatives Scored Massive Victories in the Battle over Education in 2022

In 2022, conservatives flipped dozens of school boards across the county, enacting conservative priorities and amending school policies to increase transparency in the classroom.

Moms for Liberty, an organization of conservative parents and school board candidates working towards parental rights in education, and the 1776 Project PAC, a political group that helps school board members against Critical Race Theory (CRT) get elected, endorsed candidates that won many of their races to flip school boards in 2022. School boards throughout the country also banned CRT, adopted new gender identity policies to involve parents and ousted administration in favor of mask mandates.

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Commentary: A Republic if You Can Teach It

President Biden has a civics lesson that he is fond of and regularly repeats. It is about how the United States is unique in the world because of the founding ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.

“Unlike every other nation on Earth, we were founded based on an idea,” he notes before adding that “while we’ve never fully lived up” to those principles, “we have never given up on them.”

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Researchers Say Better Data Is Needed to Verify Claims, Extent of Teacher Shortages

New research on the demand for teachers highlights the lack of information about teacher shortages at all levels of government.

A working paper from Brown University found that “teacher shortages are still poorly understood, and it remains unclear whether there is a shortfall of teachers on the national scale or if shortages are localized – a key component of the current debate around teacher shortages.”

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Commentary: Undermining U.S. Citizenship at K-12 Schools on American Military Bases

Schools on American military bases, educating almost 70,000 children of service personnel, push the same anti-racism curriculum found in America’s most liberal school districts, with the goal of preparing these students for lives dedicated to a global citizenship meant to displace American citizenship and the American way of life.

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Commentary: Accreditation Is a Means of Government Control in Education

Accreditation pervades American education from kindergarten through graduate school. It has become a means through which the government enforces subpar educational outcomes and increases its power.

Of course, it didn’t start out that way.

Primary and secondary accreditation began in the 1880s as a voluntary method to improve quality among schools and establish standards for students preparing for college.

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Biden Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Blames Abysmal U.S. Student National Test Scores on Trump

The Biden education department announced Thursday that U.S. students’ plummeting scores in reading and math during the COVID-19 pandemic is all due to former President Donald Trump.

“Today’s data confirm the significant impact the prior Administration’s mismanagement of the pandemic has had on our children’s progress and academic wellbeing,” said Biden Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Thursday, following the report that U.S. students showed their steepest decline in decades in math and reading scores during the COVID school shutdowns.

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Connecticut Elementary Assistant Principal on Leave After Project Veritas Video Revealed He Ensures Rejecting Catholics and Conservatives as Hires

Assistant Principal Jeremy Boland of Cos Cob Elementary School is on leave in the wake of a Project Veritas (PV) undercover video that recorded his claims of how he ensures his school does not hire Catholics or conservatives in order to guarantee “subtle” leftwing indoctrination of children.

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Commentary: The Master of Politicizing Schools Says Education Is Too Politicized

Last week, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten tweeted the results of a poll of teachers showing “nearly 9 out of 10 respondents say schools have become too politicized.” As she put it, “AFT members were on the frontlines of the first wave of the pandemic, but in many ways the last year was even harder” due to “mask wars, culture wars, the war on truth, or the devastation in Uvalde.” 

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Commentary: The Rainbow Fish Generation

Perhaps the most risible, widely acclaimed children’s book in the history of children’s books is The Rainbow Fish. This book, featuring a beautiful fish with shiny scales on the cover, made it into home libraries of children everywhere. It tells the story of a fish who is special because his scales are shiny and brightly colored. Every other boring, no-talent, plainly scaled fish envies the lovely and gifted Rainbow Fish and harasses him. The solution? The Rainbow Fish gives away all that made him special in order to earn their friendship and now these little commie crappies each have one scale but remain ugly, envious redistributionists.

The result? Equity. Everyone felt better because no one was great. A bunch of mediocre fishes swim around with pink hair or a nose ring and a big chip on their no-talent shoulders.

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Sen. Kapenga Presses State Superintendent for CRT Webinar for Wisconsin Teachers

There are new questions for Wisconsin’s state superintendent of schools about critical race theory, politics, and a webinar for teachers in the state.

Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, on Monday released an open letter to State Superintendent Jill Underly that asks her a series of questions about a February webinar featuring activist and author Charlene Carruthers.

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Commentary: Racially Sensitive ‘Restorative’ School Discipline Isn’t Behaving Very Well

Students in shop class at school with safety goggles on

The fight outside North High School in Denver was about to turn more violent as one girl wrapped a bike chain around her fist to strike the other. Just before the attacker used the weapon, school staff arrived and restrained her, ending the fight but not the story.

Most high schools would have referred the chain-wielding girl to the police. But North High brought the two girls together to resolve the conflict through conversation. They discovered that a boy was playing them off each other. Feeling less hostile after figuring out the backstory, the girls did not fight again.

This alternative method of discipline, called “restorative practices,” is spreading across the country – and being put to the test. Many schools are enduring sharp increases in violence following the return of students from COVID lockdowns, making this softer approach a higher-stakes experiment in student safety.

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Conservative Candidates Win Big in Wisconsin School Board Races

Eric Bott

A lot of Wisconsin parents are not happy with their local school boards. Conservative and Republicans candidates for school boards did well in their races Tuesday, many of them new challengers who unseated longtime incumbents.

“Last night was a great night for parents looking to take back control of their children’s education and for liberty-oriented candidates generally,” Eric Bott with Americans for Prosperity in Wisconsin told the Center Square.

The Wisconsin Republican Party said party-backed and conservative candidates won two-thirds of the races where they were active.

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Commentary: Parents Can Fight and Defeat Critical Race Theory

Critical Race Theory sign with a table of books

Five years ago, hardly anyone knew what Critical Race Theory (CRT) was, but now the phrase is a common one in American households. The Marxist-based theory advocating a race-essentialist approach to education, law, public policy, and even health care, seeks to deconstruct the foundations of society and rebuild it as “antiracist,” while discriminating against whites along the way. Many people are overwhelmed with both the pervasiveness of the doctrine and the large task of fighting it.

Parents in Loudon County, VA, have tackled the issue head on, making national news by loudly criticizing CRT and electing school board members opposed to it. Such efforts, however, have been piecemeal nationwide.  

Momentum in fighting this hate-doctrine is growing, though, and many parents want to know how they can protect their children and eradicate such teaching from their local schools. Catrin Wigfall, a Policy Fellow with the Center of the American Experiment, offers some practical ways parents can fight CRT.

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Iowa House Passes Bill Requiring Schools to Post Curriculums, Materials Online for Parent Review

The Iowa House voted 60-30 in favor of passing a bill that would require Iowa public and charter schools to post their curriculum and books online for parents to review.

Some educators have argued that the bill (HF2577) will limit their ability to “adapt and meet the individualized needs of their students.”

The bill will give parents the ability to review instructional materials and request that their children opt out of certain reading materials. If the schools materials do end up changing, teachers will be required to update the information online by week’s end or be subject to a fine between $500-$5,000.

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Commentary: Hybrid Schools Are Reshaping Education

They’re not exactly schools, but they’re not homeschools either. They have elements of structured curriculum and institutional learning, while offering maximum educational freedom and flexibility. They provide a consistent, off-site community of teachers and learners, and prioritize abundant time at home with family. They are not cheap but they are also not exorbitant, with annual tuition costs typically half that of traditional private schools.

Hybrid schools are, in the words of Kennesaw State University Professor Eric Wearne, the “best of both worlds,” drawing out the top elements of both schooling and homeschooling while not being tied too tightly to either learning model.

Wearne studies hybrid schools and is the director of the National Hybrid Schools Project which seeks to better understand this educational approach and why it’s been gaining popularity in recent years. Wearne joined me on this week’s episode of the LiberatED Podcast to talk more about hybrid schools and how they are reshaping American education.

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Wisconsin Gov. Evers Vetoes Riot Penalties, School Choice Enrollment Boost, PFC Changes

Tony Evers

A lawsuit contends negligence on the part of Grand Ledge Public Schools caused the death of a Michigan fourth grader.

Attorney Steve Kallman filed the suit Tuesday on behalf of the family of Malachi Williams. The suit alleges the school district is at fault for the death of the 9-year-old student.

Williams died after he was struck by a GLPS school bus while riding his bicycle in a crosswalk in front of the school at 3:17 p.m. on May 17, 2021.

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Commentary: Schools’ COVID-Aid Joy Ride Could Send New Hires off a Fiscal Cliff – Again

As school districts across the country grapple with declining enrollments induced by the pandemic, many are engaged in spending sprees like those of the past leading to widespread layoffs and budget cuts when federal money ran out.

Bolstered by $190 billion in pandemic relief funding from Washington, the nation’s public schools are hiring new teachers and staff, raising salaries, and sweetening benefit packages. Some are buying new vehicles. Others are building theaters and sports facilities.

Using such temporary support for new staff and projects with long-term costs is setting the table for perilous “fiscal cliffs” after COVID funding expires in 2024, some education budget analysts say. And that’s on top of doubts about whether money to battle the pandemic is being properly spent in the first place.

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Commentary: Civics Education Is More Important Than Ever

At its founding, American K-12 public education was meant to prepare young people to be active participants in our democratic republic. That should still be its highest purpose, especially when it comes to teaching civics.

Historically, public schools held fast to the principle that effective education must be non-partisan. Knowing they had great power to influence young minds, teachers used to be careful to choose content and pedagogies that restricted their ability to impose their personal political views on schoolchildren.

Today, maintaining non-partisanship is more important than ever in classrooms. Sadly, it’s increasingly dishonored. Civics has become a hot-button issue of late, particularly after remote learning allowed more parents to see what their children were actually being taught. Many were not happy with what they saw, and the debate over civics education is symptomatic of the larger divide that has become such a looming threat to American society.

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Commentary: Even with ‘Defund the Police’ Discredited, Some Schools May Still Shun the Police

Des Moines Police standing at a crime scene

Des Moines this week suffered its first fatal school shooting – reigniting a controversy in the city after the district removed police officers from its schools last year.

Police say a group of teenagers in vehicles outside Des Moines’ East High School fired multiple rounds onto school property on Monday, killing a 15-year-old boy and critically wounding two female students who were bystanders. Six teenagers, some of them current Des Moines students, have been charged with first-degree murder.

The deadly drive-by shooting now hovers over the decision by Des Moines officials, along with about 30 districts across the country, to exile cops from schools. These moves were part of the “defund the police” movement that erupted after the murder of George Floyd in 2020. It’s a movement now reeling in the face of violent crime surging nationwide, punctuated by President Biden’s State of the Union vow last week to “fund the police.”

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Texas Lt. Governor Proposes Eliminating Tenure to Rid CRT from Public Universities

Dan Patrick of Texas

The Texas Lieutenant Governor has stated his priority to eliminate tenure in an attempt to stop Critical Race Theory (CRT) from “poisoning the minds of the next generation.”

During a Feb. 18 press conference, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick argued that academia has been infiltrated by “tenured, leftist professors” and called for additional oversight methods to crack down on the controversial curriculum. 

Patrick defined CRT as “an offshoot of critical legal studies, which is an offshoot of a socialist program (which says) that everything that happened in life is based on racism.”

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Commentary: Revitalizing K-12 Education with 10,000 New Charter Schools

The American K-12 education system has been failing too many students for too long. And the problem has only gotten worse amid pandemic-era school closures and remote learning.

Increasingly, parents are venting their frustration at local government bureaucracies and teachers’ unions that they believe have too often failed to put the interests of kids first — and some are voting with their feet.

Throughout Covid-19, traditional public school enrollment has dropped by 3.3% (1.45 million students) while charter school enrollment has increased by 7.1% year over year (237,000 students). Families are increasingly taking advantage of other non-traditional schooling options as well: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of homeschooling nationwide increased by 5.6 percentage points between April and October 2020.

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Over 70 Percent of Americans Support School Choice: Poll

Over 70% of Americans support funding students’ education rather than public education systems, according to a new poll conducted by RealClear Opinion Research.

Among a majority of respondents, 72% support school choice, according to a poll conducted by RealClear Opinion Research, which surveyed over 2,000 registered voters from Feb. 5 – 9, 2022.

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American Bar Association Requires Law Schools to Educate Students on ‘Bias, Cross-Cultural Competency, and Racism’

Man in a suit writing on paperwork at a table

The American Bar Association House of Delegates has approved new law school accreditation standards at the 2022 ABA Midyear Meeting, of which two amendments were focused on “diversity.”

In order to eliminate bias and enhance diversity, the ABA’s amended Standard 303(c) requires that “a law school shall provide education on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism: (1) at the start of the program of legal education, and (2) at least once again before graduation.”

To fulfill this requirement, “Law schools must demonstrate that all law students are required to participate in a substantial activity designed to reinforce the skill of cultural competency and their obligation as future lawyers to work to eliminate racism in the legal profession.”

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Wisconsin Assembly Approves Multiple Education-Focused Bills

The Wisconsin Assembly approved multiple pieces of legislation focused on education-related issues, sending the bills to the Wisconsin Senate for full legislative approval.

One of the bills is a “parental bill of rights” that would establish certain legal rights for parents throughout the state, like maintaining a voice surrounding education curriculum taught to their child or choice in medical decisions. 

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Commentary: Shutting Down Parents Does Not Help Public Education

As school districts start dropping the mask mandates, removing pornographic books from their libraries, and explicitly prohibiting critical race theory, it’s clear that the parent protests are working. School boards, even in progressive bastions like San Francisco, are currently being cleaned out and replaced by more pro-parent members. Moreover, politicians like the governor of Oklahoma are openly instituting a school choice model that would allow for different schooling models and have education dollars follow the student, not automatically go to the school.

Naturally, these developments invite more pushback (sometimes literally so) from those who believe they’re supporting public education. It was fine in the past to let various kooky parents carry on about the evils of teaching Harry Potter or sex ed; school boards and district leaders could simply yawn and carry on as before. However, now that it actually threatens their authority and influence, they can no longer ignore parents’ concerns..  

In general, opponents of protesting parents make the same points over and over. They deny that public schools have problems, play semantic games with critical race theory (“it’s just an abstract legal theory taught in law school,” etc.), and accuse angry parents of being misguided racists. In their view, parents who demand a more wholesome and academic experience for their children are actually demanding an exclusively white and privileged experience. And for good measure, they will add an anecdote about a heroic public school teacher changing lives, proving beyond any doubt that public schools are still doing noble work and are essential for a healthy, diverse society.  

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Sandy Hook Families Reach Settlement with Gun Maker Remington: Reports

Nine families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting have reached a settlement in their case against the firearms maker Remington, according to several news reports Tuesday.

The settlement comes roughly seven years after the suit was filed, according to a court document filed Tuesday and reviewed by CNN.

Remington was the maker of the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used in the massacre in which the lone shooter killed 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut.

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National School Boards Association Executive Reportedly Knew About Attorney General’s Memorandum Targeting Parents Before It Was Published

A National School Boards Association (NSBA) executive reportedly knew about Attorney General Merrick Garland’s memorandum targeting concerned parents before it was published, according to new information obtained by Parents Defending Education.

Chip Slaven, then-interim executive director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) knew about Garland’s memorandum that called on the FBI to “use its authority” against parents who threaten or use violence against public school officials, according to an email obtained by Parents Defending Education (PDE) through a public records request.

“I understand Chip knew about the U.S. AG Directives before they were published,” Alabama NSBA member Pam Doyle told Florida NSBA member Beverly Slough in an Oct. 5, 2021 internal email exchange. “So much for communicating with the BOD,” she added.

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Commentary: The Outcome if Government Unions Get Control of an Entire State

Chicago Teachers’ Union protesting

Chaos. Disruption. Uncertainty.

The Chicago Teachers Union provides a real-world example of what happens when a government union has too much power.

CTU has gone on strike three times in three school years. In the latest work stoppage, over 330,000 schoolchildren missed five days of school. Parents were notified of the walkout after 11 p.m. on a school night, leaving them just hours to develop a back-up plan after the union decided not to show up.

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Wisconsin Democratic Lawmaker Deletes Tweet Claiming Parents Should Not ‘Have a Say’ in Public Education

Wisconsin State Representative Lee Snodgrass (D-Appleton) on Thursday echoed claims expressed by many Democrats that parents should not “have a say” in their child’s public education.

“If parents want to ‘have a say’ in their child’s education, they should home school or pay for private school tuition out of their pocket,” she wrote in a tweet that she later deleted.

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University ‘Sex Week’ Encourages Students to ‘Thank Abortion Providers’

Baby hand in adult hand

Ohio State University encouraged students to “thank abortion providers” as part of its organized “Sex Week,” Fox News reported.

Student Advocates for Sexual Health Awareness is hosting a “Sex Week” funded by the Ohio State University Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and the College of Social Work, Fox News reported. The event is funded through student activity fees from the Council on Student Affairs, according to the “Sex Week” website.

On Feb. 16, an event called “Valentine’s for Abortion Providers” is described as an opportunity “to help thank abortion providers in Ohio and Texas for the valuable work they do for reproductive rights!” according to the Sex Week at the Ohio State University website.

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Group ‘White Coats 4 Black Lives’ Aims to Dismantle Racism in Medicine and Dentistry, Issues ‘Racial Justice Report Card’

woman with microphone speaking to a crowd

On Jan. 26, the group “White Coats 4 Black Lives,” an organization with a mission to “dismantle racism in medicine and fight for the health of Black people,” gave the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine & Dentistry its “Racial Justice Report Card.” 

The result was nine “F” grades based on campus activity and administration policies during the 2020-2021 academic year. 

Founded in 2014, White Coats 4 Black Lives has 75 chapters at universities across the nation and pushes the Black Lives Matter agenda within medical schools. 

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Teachers Unions ‘Hold the Education of Kids Hostage,’ Worker Rights Group Says

A worker rights group is calling out two powerful teachers unions, claiming that they “hold the education of kids hostage” in a press release.

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation (NRTWLDF), told the Daily Caller News Foundation that teachers unions like the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) are taking advantage of a labor law provision passed in the 1930s for the private sector.

“In several states across the country, union officials, specifically teachers’ union officials, have been granted a really unique privilege called exclusive monopoly bargaining,” Mix said, adding that former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt opposed granting such privileges to public-sector unions while in office.

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Commentary: The End of America Is Not That Hard to Imagine

Black Lives Matter Protest in DC

Lately, we keep hearing about this or that “threat to the republic,” ironically mostly involving something Republicans are doing or purporting to do, but I’m starting to think maybe (stop me if you’ve heard this before) the real threat is a cabal of powerful people who don’t want to give up power.

My recent column about the parallels between a science fiction novel and the Biden White House raised a couple of key questions: How much of what we know “for certain” is just a reflection of dubious assertions we have been told so often that we take them for granted? Assertions that, if not lies, are untested allegations and assumptions that fit a narrative we have been programmed to accept at face value?

In other words, how much of what we know for sure is just wishful thinking (ours, or someone else’s)? Are we living in some kind of mass psychosis that lets us forget about real and present dangers to our nation and our future while we focus on boogeymen?

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Sen. Darling: Break Up Milwaukee Schools, Allow for Choice

Senator Alberta Darling

The latest school choice plan in Wisconsin would break up Milwaukee’s public schools.

Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, introduced the plan.

“Wisconsin was the first state to give parents more say in their children’s education and future. We have an opportunity to build on our reputation and reclaim our status as a national model for reforming K-12 education,” Darling said in a statement.

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Missouri Considers Pension Changes to Solve Teacher Shortage

Man standing in front of a room, giving a lecture with a presentation

Legislators are considering changes to Missouri’s teacher and non-certified school employee pension plans to alleviate pandemic-related teacher and staff shortages.

HB2114, sponsored by Rep. Rusty Black, R-Chillicothe, will reduce restrictions on pensions if a retired public school teacher returns to the classroom or to a non-teaching position in a public school. The legislation also increases from two to four years the length of time a retired teacher or retired non-certified public school employee can work while still receiving their pension.

During testimony before the House pensions committee, Rep. Black, the committee vice chairman, said similar legislation was passed by the House and died in the Senate last year as the legislative session ended in May. He said the legislation simplifies and improves the amount retirees can earn before their pensions are restricted.

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Iowa Schools Must Require Masking to Accommodate Students with Disabilities

 Iowa schools must require masking when necessary as a reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at St. Louis ruled Tuesday.

The court cited the Rehabilitation Act Section 504 in its determination.

What’s more, Iowa statute currently allows masking when federal law requires it, the court ruled, American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said in an explainer of the ruling.

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Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers Proposes Payments to Wisconsin Residents Via Surplus Funds

Tony Evers

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Thursday released his plan to spend the 2.9 billion surplus the state has due to increased tax revenue and federal coronavirus relief funds.

The Democrat takes $1.7 billion to distribute directly to residents of the state through $150 payments. Furthermore, $131.8 million will grant tax breaks to certain caregivers and families.

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