Columbia Journalism Review Abandons Neutrality – Adopts Gun-Control Advocacy

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Columbia Journalism Review recently conducted a “summit” to finally resolve problems with news coverage of gun violence, seeking to end what it claims are distorted and misleading stories of this deadly subject. Every advocacy group in America, including Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership [JPFO], wants this to happen. Is gun-control advocacy a proper role for CJR?

CJR invited grand members of the media, including The Washington Post, The New York TimesThe Guardian (U.K.) prestigious reporters and editors, and less well-known outfits such as The Trace. Through some inexplicable oversight, they forgot to include any members of the firearms industry itself. Balance—all sides of an issue—has always been recognized as a requirement of sound journalism by The Society of Professional Journalists [SPJ], CJR and the others involved, including news consumers. What happened?

The attempt to understand gun violence by only involving anti-gun advocates as CJR has done is like trying to understand women by only speaking with men.

That a formerly prestigious media institution like Columbia Journalism Review, in conjunction with the century-old Society of Professional Journalists, would act in such a total vacuum defines in a moment the main problem with the approach taken and the results obtained. Journalists should know better. What did they miss?

There Is No Gun Violence

The term gun violence is a recently created pejorative (c. 1980) that denigrates firearms and displaces focus from crime and murder, where the real issues lie. By using that preferred euphemism they maintain a narrative that hides the real problems of deteriorating social fabric, inner-city dysfunction where more than 90% of all murders occur, and the inconvenient truth about the people conducting the crimes. Demographic and sociological studies identify the perpetrators but it is politically incorrect to name them, or point out their poverty, predominant race, motivations, family structure (or lack thereof), and political forces that perpetuate the situations.

Instead, reporters and editors, often unwittingly, follow a predetermined storyline in lockstep as CJR, SPJ, and the others have done. They see the problems falsely as so-called “gun violence” when in fact it is nothing of the sort. That misleading line of thinking (that guns and violence are linked) advances the notion that guns themselves are evil and must be confiscated by state actors (police), who themselves are heavily armed, a one-to-one connection typically missed by CJR-type journalists. When this leads to unfathomable levels of public resistance reporters and editors are flummoxed. The CJR enclave did nothing to illuminate this and if anything, obscured it along familiar lines. No viable solution effloresced. It could not, with only half the issue examined. The 100 million decent peacefully armed citizens are outraged and lament candidly amongst themselves at shooting ranges, where reporters typically never go.

When reporting starts to examine why 7,000 people of color murder each other annually in what we used to call ghettos, and now whitewash as inner cities, the “gun problem” will begin to unravel. But this is difficult and politically inexpedient. Public defenders know who their endless flow of clients are. Reporters seem to have no clue, or don’t want to know. I suspect it’s the latter, it is such an inconvenient truth. Most murderers do not see a courtroom. They keep their guns.

Bad Language Aids Bad Reporting

The term gunman is sexist. It surprises the firearms community that CJR-type reporters, who generally consider themselves woke, are not awake to that fact. Murderer, or killer are better terms, more accurate. Try criminal, villain, psychopath, homicidal maniac, even suspect, and they take the focus (and self-evident prejudice) off the hated object, placing it instead of the evil perpetrator, where blame belongs. “But he’s not convicted yet!” they cry. Neither is the supposed gunman.

The term shooter actually describes the 100 million gun owners who practice. Practice is good. The term murderer describes the tiny number of people who crack and go psychotic in public, randomly shooting innocent people, or targets of their hatred. A review of recent news coverage shows reporters conflate these terms in misleading ways, constantly. Mass murderer is the correct term for such actors, not mass shooters though this proper use of language was not brought out at the summit. It did not make it into the final report, which JPFO has analyzed.*

Though CJR, SPJ, and the unwoke believe The New York Times and The Washington Post consider themselves purveyors of news without bias, they rarely if ever cover the shooting sports, a term with which they are essentially unfamiliar. Yet it is the number two participant sport in the nation, bigger than golf at number three, based on retail sales. Compare coverage of the shooting sports at number two, to golf in third place, for a glimmer of the imbalance. At least golf is a sport of enormous privilege—so there is no cause for concern, right?

I’ve personally asked many reporters, “Do you ever cover the good that guns do?” They do not. They don’t know what that is. They routinely respond with a blank stare, raised eyebrows, and a query, “What do you mean, the good that guns do?” They don’t realize guns have social utility. Guns save lives. Guns stop crime. Guns are good. Guns protect you. Guns are why America is still free. Guns are important. If guns magically ceased to exist we would have to reinvent them to protect ourselves. There would still be hoards at the gates. Clubs and blades don’t evaporate. Communists remain a threat.

If we somehow managed to totally ban firearms here the communist Chinese (plus Brazil, Italy, Russia and the other makers of fine firearms) would flood the market with an iron river making the cocaine trade look like banana imports. Did the CJR and SPJ seminar make these points clear for future “gun-violence” coverage? How could they—they are steeped in the narrative, with other views excluded, for neo-balance. CJR unwittingly humiliated itself.

How can the press learn and inform themselves and the public about the true nature of firearms, when such large portions of the picture are obscured or missing entirely? That of course is rhetorical, it cannot. Will enclave participants be responsive to this assessment? If past is prologue, confidence is not high. “Gun violence” (crime) will continue to plague society, people of color will continue to die on streets where you do not live or go, and journalism will skip out on SPJ’s guideline to “… resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage,” and completely fail to provide an “open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.” It is stunning that so many reporters find the glorious Second Amendment repugnant.

Guns Are Not Medicine

One final point. CJR-type journalists have this wrong: People of color indiscriminately murdering each other in tiny isolated areas is not a public health crisis in the sense of a pandemic. Crime is not a disease. Guns are not pathogens. You should not have to be told this—you’ve contracted it from brainwash detergent. The enclave’s conclusion that guns are bad medicine does not make them thus. Hospital emergency rooms overflowing with crime victims is a problem, caused by social unrest, and the root causes clearly are not retail businesses or federal licenses. Imagining that’s so is perverse and delays us from getting to the real issues. COVID, STDs, heart disease, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, maybe even vaccine hesitancy, these are health-care crises.  Ballistics, no.

If there is a medical side to this it is hoplophobia, the untreated morbid fear of weapons, especially guns. The Fifth Edition of the DSM refused to include hoplophobia as a recognized and diagnosable condition, despite evidence and serious appeals to do so. This further delayed much needed treatment, especially for members of the medical community where it is running rampant. A lot of what we treat as a political or journalism problem is really a medical condition, and until we get down to that, a lot of these problems will fester, not begin to abate or find a cure.

The next CJR and SPJ summit must include Doctors for Responsible Gun Policy, JPFO, and similarly situated experts.

* JPFO’s former Executive Director Charles Heller has written a brief on the CJR conclusions.

Alan Korwin, an-award-winning author of 14 books, is writing his 15th book, Why Science May Be Wrong, and is the publisher at Bloomfield Press. Click here to visit gunlaws.com.

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This article was published in the Daily Caller on May 26, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the author.

 

Can a Teacher Object to a Proposed School District Policy? Not in Loudoun County

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Editor’s Note:   On June 9, a Virginia court ordered that Tanner Cross be reinstated.  It was a big win for First Amendment/free speech by the Scottsdale-based Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

Thankfully, Tanner’s stand in court did ultimately pay off. Today, the court ruled that Tanner’s constitutional rights were likely violated and ordered the school to reinstate Tanner while the lawsuit continues:

Upholding constitutional rights serves the public interest. Affirming the unconstitutional action taken against [Tanner] which has silenced others from speaking publicly on this issue, serves the public interest. The public’s knowledge that [Tanner’s] speech was permissible, is encouraged and is free from governmental oppression serves the public interest. Governmental bodies being held in check for violating a citizen’s constitutional rights, serves the public interest.

With this ruling, the court sent a clear message to the school board: “You are not above the law.”

Teachers have First Amendment rights to express their views along with everyone else, and Loudoun County Public Schools must respect that. In fact, as public officials, those on the school board have a duty to respect that.

“I expected more from a public school here in the United States, where our right to speak freely is protected under the First Amendment,” Tanner said at the rally.

As he should. We should all expect more of our elected government officials. Thankfully, the court held them to the standard the law requires.

*****

Imagine you’re at a school board meeting discussing changes to school district policy, and one of the teachers speaks up. He thoughtfully voices some concerns.

How would you react? Even if you disagree, would you appreciate the fact that he is thinking deeply about issues that impact your student? I know I would.

Unfortunately, that’s not what happened when Tanner Cross, an elementary school teacher in Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia, respectfully voiced his objections to two proposed school policies during the public comment period of a school board meeting. He also shared his belief—and the scientific fact—that there are two biological sexes, which can’t be changed.
Less than 48 hours later, Tanner was suspended. Far from appreciating Tanner’s input as an educator, school officials punished him for speaking up.

But it is Tanner’s right—and every American’s right, for that matter—to speak their opinion at a public meeting. And it’s unconstitutional for the school district to punish Tanner for exercising that right.

That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to Loudoun County Public Schools last week on Tanner’s behalf.

In response, the school doubled down, stating that it intends to stand by its decision.

And today ADF filed a lawsuit against school district officials to hold them accountable for their unconstitutional actions.

So, what is so troublesome about these proposed policies?

The policies would force teachers to violate their beliefs by requiring them to address “gender-expansive or transgender students” with their chosen pronouns rather than the ones consistent with their biological sex. In other words, these policies would force teachers to lie to students and embrace an ideology that ultimately could harm them.

And as Dr. Stephen B. Levine, a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, wrote in an expert declaration to the court in a separate ADF case:

Putting a child or adolescent on a pathway towards life as a transgender person puts that individual at risk of a wide range of long-term or even life-long harms, including: sterilization (whether chemical or surgical) and associated regret and sense of loss… physical health risks associated with exposure to elevated levels of cross-sex hormones; surgical complications and life-long after-care; alienation of family relationships; inability to form healthy romantic relationships and attract a desirable mate; elevated mental health risks.

That’s what Loudoun County Public Schools is asking of its teachers: to encourage children to walk down a likely dangerous path of gender confusion.

So, you can understand why Tanner doesn’t feel comfortable with that.

At the school board meeting, Tanner respectfully explained his concern for students who struggle with gender dysphoria but also his concern about being forced to violate his beliefs. As a Christian, he believes that God created two sexes—male and female—and that this biological reality can’t be changed. Tanner also believes it would be harmful to his students to promote an ideology that says otherwise.

The bottom line is that the school district can’t use teachers as a mouthpiece to promote a political agenda that violates their beliefs. But that is exactly what it is trying to do. And when Tanner used his constitutional right to speak up against the policy, officials punished him, propping him up as an example and sending the message that teachers must toe the ideological line or face the consequences.

It must stop.

The debate over the school’s policy is about much more than pronouns. It’s about scientific truth. It’s whether the government can force an individual to endorse an ideology that conflicts with his beliefs.

And Tanner’s case is about something even more important: it’s about whether we have the right to voice dissenting opinions to our elected officials at all. Not everyone will agree with Tanner about what the school’s policy should be. But, in a free society, everyone must have the right to make their case to their elected officials about what the policy should be.

There’s a lot at stake.

*****
This article was published on June 1, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the Alliance Defending Freedom, based in Scottsdale, Arizona

A Conversation on Scientific Censorship in Canada

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Editor’s Note:  We urge readers to view the video posted under Must See to accompany this article.

The AIER Authors Corner Podcast  has seen many exciting guests since its first episode back in September of 2020. Without exaggeration, some of the most profound intellectuals on the planet have spoken on the show, from the great economist Deirdre McCloskey to the legal giant Richard Epstein. The following episode is one that does not bring me feelings of excitement and honor, but tragedy and concern.

This episode should serve as real-time news of the horrific situation unfolding in Canada. Dr. Patrick Phillips joins us as the spokesperson for the group behind the Declaration of Canadian Physicians for Science and Truth, a petition signed by thousands of practicing medical professionals and concerned citizens in Canada. The petition itself is in opposition to what is now the outright censorship of licensed physicians that speak contrary to the Canadian government’s policies and positions. The breath of censorship is vast, covering everything from fringe conspiracy theories to genuine arguments that contradict the state’s narrative on masks, vaccines, and lockdowns. 

AIER has covered this story recently in an article here. In summary, the Declaration was drafted in response to a statement given by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario threatening punishment for any medical professional under its jurisdiction that spoke contrary to the approved viewpoints. The statement reads as follows,

The College is aware and concerned about the increase of misinformation circulating on social media and other platforms regarding physicians who are publicly contradicting public health orders and recommendations. Physicians hold a unique position of trust with the public and have a professional responsibility to not communicate anti-vaccine, anti-masking, anti-distancing and anti-lockdown statements and/or promoting unsupported, unproven treatments for COVID-19. Physicians must not make comments or provide advice that encourages the public to act contrary to public health orders and recommendations. Physicians who put the public at risk may face an investigation by the CPSO and disciplinary action, when warranted. When offering opinions, physicians must be guided by the law, regulatory standards, and the code of ethics and professional conduct. The information shared must not be misleading or deceptive and must be supported by available evidence and science.

This is nothing short of an attack on the very notion of scientific inquiry and a blatant rejection of the principles of the scientific method. It is shocking and horrifying to see such a policy of outright censorship on what are controversial and novel issues being carried out in a country like Canada.

The actions taken by Dr. Phillips and his colleagues to not only speak truth to the government’s lockdown narrative under the threat of sanction but ultimately serve the best interest of their patients are nothing short of heroic.

During the interview, Dr. Phillips spoke on the sequence of events unfolding on the ground in Canada and his commitment to staying true to his oath as a physician to support sound public health. That included talking about the damages and shortcomings of many of the government’s pandemic policies. He spoke out about how as a practicing physician, it was his duty to tell the truth to his patients on whether or not he thought certain government policies were good for their health. In the unprecedented age of lockdowns, he and his colleagues understandably had to disagree with much of what the government was doing, but now they are being coerced into keeping quiet. Such a development signals an ominous shift against the very notion of a free society, modernity, truth, and transparency.

By appearing on the Authors Corner, Dr. Phillips is potentially putting his medical career on the line by doing everything the government says he can’t so that he can get his group’s message out to the world. We should be honored that he has entrusted us with that privilege. 

Perhaps one of the most striking things for me when it came to Dr. Phillips was not his bravery and his insight, to which he certainly has much of, but the reality of his situation. Dr. Phillips, at least to my knowledge, did not strike me as a loudmouth pundit craving publicity, podcast appearances or as a seasoned political agent. Unlike the great scholars that routinely appear on this show, his profession is real work, working with real people, solving real problems, not just talking about them. It seemed to me like the practice of medicine was his passion and his priority. I’m sure that he never would have imagined that in his lifetime he would be appearing on media outlets representing an organization that is fighting back against government-enforced censorship. But that is what lockdowns have done. It is at least reassuring to know that in times of crisis, there are people like Dr. Phillips who are willing to step up when duty calls to make sure that if society is going by the wayside, it won’t happen without a fight.

*****

This article was published on May 30, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from AIER,  American Institute for Economic Research.

How Telling The Truth On Campus Gets You Persecuted

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Canadian free speech activist Lindsay Shepherd’s book, ‘Diversity & Exclusion: Confronting the Campus Free Speech Crisis,’ tells the Orwellian story of how colleges abandoned teaching truth in favor of conformity

“Words are violence.” “Cultural appropriation.” “Cisgender norms.” “Intersectionality.” These are some of the phrases aggressively (and endlessly) foisted upon American society. They are employed to attack and vilify the critics of wokeness. And they are spawned and perpetuated in the bogs of the liberal academy.

Canadian free speech activist Lindsay Shepherd knows something about this pseudo-intellectual claptrap. She suffered through years of it at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada, both before and after her now-famous decision as a teaching assistant of a communications studies course to present a Jordan Peterson clip regarding pronouns.

The fallout from that, which I reported on a 2018 Federalist article, dramatically changed her life, and made her a heroine of those who prize free expression and are concerned about the intellectual decline of university campuses. Her new book, Diversity & Exclusion: Confronting the Campus Free Speech Crisis, exposes how morally and intellectually bankrupt the academy has become.

Yes, It Really Is That Insane

Shepherd’s story proves the risible and ridiculous character of the contemporary university. Much of this falls within what she calls the “oppression Olympics.” One professor discouraged white students from raising their hands during class, alleging they have more opportunities in society than students of color.

Other professors put “land acknowledgments” — recognitions of the indigenous peoples who earlier inhabited a certain piece of land — in their email signatures. At one campus demonstration, a speaker claimed that adding yogurt to hummus is cultural appropriation.

It’s not just the asininity of the academy, but its pettiness. When Shepherd tweeted part of a syllabus from a professor regarding land acknowledgments, the professor threatened to silence her with intellectual property violations.

Another time, a grad student who engaged in online sparring matches with Shepherd demanded she leave the communications study lounge, where she was printing some documents. When she refused and called him “petty and pathetic,” he lodged a formal complaint with the university. Shepherd was eventually cleared of the charge.

During the tribunal with three Wilfrid Laurier employees to discuss Shepherd’s provocative video clip, professor Nathan Rambukkana referred to Shepherd’s “positionality.” He further chastised her for making her students feel “uncomfortable” and fostering an “unsafe learning environment” by allegedly promoting “gendered violence” and “transphobia.”

Diversity & Exclusion also exposes how universities have become places not to inculcate portions of the Western tradition, train young people how to think, and prepare them for professional life, but centers of intellectually incurious indoctrination.

“I had been under the impression graduate school attracted the most open, inquisitive, and curious minds, but instead I was finding rigid ideological conformity and disavowal of those who deviate ever so slightly,” writes Shepherd. Her readings had titles like “Dialectics of Colonial Sovereignty” and “The Future Birth of the Affective Fact: The Political Ontology of Threat.”

According to Shepherd, the currently popular “biopolitical theory” is a study in nothingness. She explains:

The biopolitics acolytes deployed a specialized, obscure language that made it seem like they were doing something so distinguished that a layperson just could simply not understand it, when really there was nothing substantive about what they were saying. The nothingness of their endeavor was cloaked with fancy terms like ‘necropolitics,” ‘subjectivity,’ and ‘governmentality.’

The perverse effect of this indoctrination is visible in how students responded to Shepherd’s battle with the university over free speech, which originated in her simply raising for discussion the use of pronouns (which faculty described as “violent speech” and “gendered violence”). The university’s “Rainbow Centre,” for example, declared: “Debates about gender neutral pronouns or the validity of trans identities are not only discussions about (dis)allowable speech but, also, affronts on the reality of trans experience.” Such debates, it claimed, even “constitute a form of epistemic violence that dehumanizes trans people by denying the validity of trans experience.”

What Shepherd experienced first-hand are the tactics employed by tyrannical ideologues to defame and delegitimize opponents. In an irony student activists seemed unable to appreciate, they characterized a free-speech rally as “actually silencing trans and non-binary students” and engaging in “transphobia.” As R.R. Reno has noted at First Things, by accusing one’s intellectual opponents as suffering from some sort of “phobia,” the activist ideologue leverages the supposedly clinical and scientific against the allegedly backward and bigoted.

This uneducates students in logic, rhetoric, and debate, teaching them instead to vilify their opponents via name-calling, caricature, and “guilt by association.” Peterson, according to one student petition, engages in “gendered white supremacist ideology.” Shepherd, one Canadian professor claimed, is an “alt-right provocateur” who deploys “White Lady Tears.”

Shepherd, they declared, was supposedly alt-right because she showed a video of Peterson, a bestselling mainstream author some alt-right people support. This is utter nonsense.

We Need More Lindsay Shepherds

For most of her life, Shepherd by default considered herself a leftist. She was not religious (and enjoyed listening to prominent atheist intellectuals); she favored pro-choice, environmental-conscious policies; she was concerned about wealth inequality; she harbored no opposition to gay marriage. Yet she, unlike many of her classmates, was intellectually curious and uninterested in simply regurgitating Michel Foucault and other postmodernists. In other words, she was willing to have her intellectual premises tested.

For that, Shepherd was attacked and maligned, not only by the academy, but by much of Canadian media. No longer at home among the liberal intelligentsia, she joined the Conservative Party of Canada. She now has had trouble finding employment because of her reputation.

Her $3.6 million lawsuit against the professors and administrators at Wilfrid Laurier, as well as the university, for harassment, intentional infliction of nervous shock, negligence, and constructive dismissal, is still pending. I hope she gets every penny.

What’s to be done? Shepherd calls for the closure of campus diversity offices, which she believes undermine the pursuit of knowledge by elevating identity politics over uncomfortable truths.

That’s just a start. The purpose of the academy in the Western tradition is to transfer to students a conception of objective truth. The very name “university” derives from the idea that a diversity of subjects (mathematics, science, history, language) are all unified as part of a broader, coherent human understanding of reality.

Now the academy peddles in postmodern deconstructionism that questions whether objective knowledge is even possible. Even math and logic are now said to be “racist” and “colonialist.”

Yet if the deconstructionists, postmodernists, and adherents of critical theory are correct that our intellectual and cultural traditions are inaccurate, immoral, and incoherent, what’s the point of even having a university? They have, in effect, argued themselves out of their jobs.

State governments, which possess the power to influence public academic institutions, need to take more interest in what is happening in state universities and apply the necessary pressure to stop these worrying trends, which evince not only an intellectual suicide but a socio-cultural one. Our leaders must demonstrate the courage to curb what is killing us. What we need are politicians who demonstrate the kind of courage displayed by Lindsay Shepherd.

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This article was published on May 28,2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Federalist.

 

 

 

1776 Commission Calls On Parents To Fight Critical Race Theory In Education

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Former President Donald Trump’s 1776 Commission, formed to establish patriotic education, met on Monday to discuss how the group’s 1776 report could be used to shape curriculum across the country. They also discussed the Biden administration’s proposed critical race theory education rule, as well as decide the future of the Commission.

“History is complete and cannot be changed,” said host Chair Larry P. Arnn, president of Hillsdale College. “These controversies about history can only be resolved by looking at the facts. To help the young know this history is the work of the commission, and its importance has not diminished since inauguration day.” 

During the meeting also hosted by Vice-Chair Carol Swain, retired professor of law at Vanderbilt University; and Executive Director Matthew Spalding, vice president for Hillsdale College’s Washington, D.C. operations and dean of the Van Andel Graduate School of Government, the Commission concluded that “the restoration of American education can only be grounded in a history of America and its principles that is accurate, honest, unifying, inspiring, and ennobling” and that parents must be agents of change. 

This decades-long restoration will only succeed through the great efforts of the millions of good-willed, intelligent, and patriotic Americans, who long, as all human beings long, to know the truth,” the Commission said in a statement. There is no more powerful force than parents’ love for their children, and this restoration will depend on mothers and fathers demanding that their children are no longer taught false narratives or fed hateful lies about our country. We affirm, as a bulwark for the protection of American principles, the core constitutional principle that parents have the natural right to direct the education of their children.”

In addition to encouraging parental involvement, the Commission urged those“concerned about education in America” to participate in local and school elections. 

“Through that and other means they can restore the natural sovereignty in education of the school, the place where students, parents, and teachers are united in the sublime work of helping children to grow,” the statement continued. “Parents and local school boards will be strengthened in this effort by greater choice and variety in curriculum at the state and local levels.”

Lastly, the Commission expressed concern over the Biden administration’s proposed rule pushing “Critical Race Theory or under the misleading name of ‘anti-racism’” as gospel-truth instead of calling it what it is.

“[It] actually encourages and seeks to direct federal funds to the teaching of racial discrimination in America’s elementary and secondary school systems. This Proposed Rule should be withdrawn, and individual states should oppose any such race-based pedagogy as part of their curricula, especially if that curricula is imposed by the federal government,” the statement claimed. 

The Commission believes the federal government does not have the constitutional “authority to impose national curriculum standards.” They continued: 

The federal government should not circumvent this obstacle by using federal funding to entice states and localities to adopt what it wants taught in the nation’s schools. We learned from the failed Common Core experiment that one-size-fits-all national models are a blueprint for trivializing and mechanizing learning. Instead, we encourage a genuine civics education that will rebuild our common bonds,  our mutual friendship, and our civic devotion and eagerly look forward to the forthcoming release of curricula designed in the true spirit of 1776.

Just last week the Commission spoke out against the Biden administration’s proposed rule to incorporate anti-American and hatemongering curriculum into schools by offering up part of its own report as a public comment for review.

In a letter sent to the Department of Education on Monday, 1776 Commission’s Executive Director Matthew Spalding explained that the Biden administration’s proposed rule not only hides behind the “misleading” term “anti-racism” but it also uses federal dollars to fund “teaching of racial discrimination in America’s elementary and secondary school systems.”

*****

This article was published on May 24, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from The Federalist.

School Superintendent: Critical Race Theory ‘Isn’t Optional Anymore’

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

School districts across the country have pushed Marxist critical race theory, either by requiring teachers to take “anti-racism” trainings or by embracing the discredited “1619 Project” or by championing the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Learning for Justice” lessons. Yet rarely have superintendents blatantly stated that there is no room for dissent from the idea that America is institutionally racist.

Yet in a Zoom equity committee meeting on January 28, 2021, Dan Grotting, superintendent of the school district in Beaverton, Ore., suggested that if teachers disagree with the anti-racism movement inspired by critical race theory, they should look for work elsewhere.

“I do want the message to get out there that this [anti-racism training] isn’t optional anymore,” Grotting said in the meeting, The Daily Wire reported. “We’ve waited for the willing, and if you’re not willing then maybe this isn’t the right place for you to work” (emphasis added).

Recommended: Watch: Teacher Rips Woke School District for ‘Racial Insanity’.

“Maybe we can free up your future, because if we’re going to become an anti-racist school district, it can’t just be a few people, it needs to be everybody, to include our staff, our students, our community, eventually everyone,” the superintendent said.

This statement may violate teachers’ First Amendment protections, but Grotting’s remarks illustrate just how noxious and widespread this movement has become. Some on the Left equate any disagreement with “anti-racism” with actual racism.

The “anti-racism” movement traces back to Ibram X. Kendi’s book How To Be An Antiracist. Echoing critical race theory, Kendi claims that racial disparities are ipso facto proof of hidden racial bias or discrimination (regardless of civil rights laws explicitly forbidding such discrimination), and that people must choose sides. Those who support the status quo are “racist” while those who advocate for leftist race-based overhauls are “anti-racist.”

These ideas trace back to critical race theory (CRT), a Marxist attempt to upend society by claiming that America is systemically racist……

Continue reading this article, published May 21, 2021 at PJ Media.

House Republicans Target Teaching of Critical Race Theory

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

House Republicans seek passage of legislation to push back against a rule proposed by the Biden administration to promote teaching Americans to judge each other based on skin color.

At least three House GOP members last week announced legislation, with two bills targeting schools, one the military, and one all federal institutions.

Public comment closes Wednesday on the Department of Education’s proposed rule to prioritize K-12 grants based in part on whether schools teach critical race theory. This would include teaching The New York Times’ disputed 1619 Project, as well as the teachings of controversial author Ibram X. Kendi.

Critical race theory is a theoretical framework that contends individuals either are oppressed or are oppressors based on their skin color; it makes race the prism through which proponents analyze all aspects of American life.

Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, introduced two measures last Thursday in response to the Biden administration’s proposed rule to fund education based on the teaching of critical race theory. 

“I grew up attending segregated schools in the Jim Crow South during a time when people were treated differently based on the color of their skin,” Owens, who is black, said in a public statement. He added:

Critical race theory preserves this way of thinking and undermines civil rights, constitutionally guaranteed equal protection before the law, and U.S. institutions at large. This is the United States of America, and no one should ever be subjected to the discrimination that our laws so clearly prohibit.

One of the proposals by Owens, a former pro football player, is a bill that would prohibit teaching of critical race theory within federal institutions, according to a press release. The other is a resolution highlighting the dangers of teaching critical race theory in U.S. schools and decrying the “damaging philosophy within this prejudicial ideological tool.”

Both measures have 30 co-sponsors.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, proposed legislation to block federal tax dollars from going to schools that teach critical race theory. Roy calls his bill the Combating Racist Teaching in Schools Act, or the CRT Act, using the same initials as critical race theory.

Roy’s bill would include any elementary school, secondary school, or institution of higher education.

“Critical race theory, like all its racist derivations, is a direct affront to our core values as Americans,” Roy said in a public statement, adding:

No one in America—be they students, servicemen and women, government employees, or anyone—should be indoctrinated to hate our country, its founding, or our fellow citizens. Worse yet is its pernicious demands to ‘divvy us up by race’ and perpetuate the lie that we should be treated differently by virtue of our skin color. There is no room for state-sanctioned racism anywhere in our society, and we must oppose it with all our might. …

As Americans we believe that all are created equal by God Almighty, regardless of their skin color. That self-evident truth, and the American promise that comes with it, are worth fighting for.

Specifically, the Roy legislation would ban federal funding for teaching that any race is inherently superior or inferior to any other race, color, or national origin; teaching that the United States is a fundamentally racist country; that the Declaration of Independence or Constitution are fundamentally racist documents; and that an individual’s moral character or worth is determined by the individual’s race, color, or national origin.

It also would ban federal tax dollars from being used for teaching that an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race, is inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously; and prohibit money for schools teaching that an individual, because of the individual’s race, bears responsibility for the actions committed by other members of the individual’s race, color, or national origin.

Roy’s legislation has 26 co-sponsors.

The proposed Department of Education rule states that American history and civics should reflect the role of diversity in the nation’s democracy as well as the consequences of slavery.

“This acknowledgement is reflected, for example, in The New York Times’ landmark ‘1619 Project’ and in the resources of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History,” the Education Department’s proposed rule states.

The Biden administration regulation goes on to say that “schools across the country are working to incorporate anti-racist practices into teaching and learning.” It also says:

As the scholar Ibram X. Kendi has expressed, ‘[a]n antiracist idea is any idea that suggests the racial groups are equals in all their apparent differences—that there is nothing right or wrong with any racial group. Antiracist ideas argue that racist policies are the cause of racial inequities.’ It is critical that the teaching of American history and civics creates learning experiences that validate and reflect the diversity, identities, histories, contributions, and experiences of all students.

Earlier this month, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers union, defended teaching both the Times’ 1619 Project and critical race theory in classrooms.

“All of a sudden you’re hearing people talk about critical race theory, people who have no idea what that term means, or trying to ban the 1619 Project because it is trying to … actually teach a factual version of oppression in America,” Weingarten said May 6.

Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., introduced the Stop CRT Act to prevent federal funds from paying for teaching critical race theory. Bishop also introduced another bill, the Combatting Racist Training in the Military Act, to block teaching critical race theory to the nation’s armed forces.

“Critical race theory is a poison to the psyche of our nation. This destructive ideology has no place in America’s institutions, and the bills I’m introducing will help ensure that our government isn’t spending resources on promoting it,” Bishop said in a public statement

Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier, commander of 11th Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base Colorado, told Fox Business that he was relieved of his post last week after he criticized training in critical race theory.

As The Daily Signal previously reported, the Navy included books promoting critical race theory as part of a reading list for sailors, including “How to Be an Antiracist” by Kendi and “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander.

The Daily Signal also previously reported that the entire Defense Department, with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s approval, promoted a similar reading list, supposedly to combat suspected extremism in the ranks.

“But President [Joe] Biden and the radical left are committed to pushing this neo-Marxist propaganda into our classrooms, places of work, and even the military,” Bishop said. “Legislators on every level must fight back against this insidious effort to undermine the truths about our nation’s founding with everything we’ve got.”

Local school districts are drawing attention for implementing the teaching of critical race theory. Examples include:

  • Public schools in Evanston, Illinois, promoted the book “Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness,” with one school asking parents to discuss the book with their children at home. Among other things, the book argues that “whiteness is a bad deal” and “always was,” and that “you can be white without signing onto whiteness.” In the same school district, parents of kindergarteners were asked to quiz their 5- and 6-year-old children on whiteness and to give them examples of “how whiteness shows up in school or in the community.”
  • An advisory board in Loudoun County, Virginia, called for teachers to be dismissed if they opposed the school district’s “equity training” inspired by critical race theory.
  • In Buffalo, New York, the school district applied critical race theory to an “emancipation curriculum” telling students that “all white people play a part in perpetuating systemic racism.” The district eliminated the line after it stirred controversy.
  • In Louisiana, the Orleans Parish Board of Education adopted a resolution that says “our country’s racist history” is “still pervasive in today’s systems.” The resolution also calls the nation “an unjust systemic racist America.”

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This article was published on May 18, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the Daily Signal.

Regulatory Capture, Teacher Unions, and CDC Abuse

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

In his seminal article in 1971 on the economic theory of regulation, the Nobel Laureate George Stigler of the University of Chicago argued that government agencies were often “captured” by the industries they were designed to regulate. Before Stigler, the common view was that noble regulators worked assiduously to correct “market failures” with regulation, in order to promote the public interest. Stigler showed that if we assume that regulators have other goals in mind besides promoting the public interest (e.g., covering up their own government failure or enhancing their power, prestige, and budget) they will eventually represent the interests of the industry they are supposed to regulate. 

This is referred to as “regulatory capture.” Examples such as a “revolving door” between defense contractors and the Department of Defense and cozy relationships between pharmaceutical companies and the Food and Drug Administration and large energy firms and the Environmental Protection Agency come to mind. When there is regulatory capture, the interests of firms become more important than the public interest, which leads to a net loss to society.

Traditionally, capture theory applies mainly to private sector interests, i.e., firms and industries. However, thanks to several intrepid reporters at the New York Post, we now know that capture theory can also be applied to public sector unions. These reporters uncovered palpable evidence of explicit collusion between the American Federation of Teachers and the CDC. Similar types of explicit collusion between teachers unions and public health officials may also be occurring at the state and local levels. We know that it has also occurred in the U.K., where Boris Johnson appears to be defying trade union pressure to keep masks on secondary school children.

What motivates political appointees at the CDC to collude with teachers unions to prolong lockdowns and continue the confinement and deformity of our children? First, the Biden administration is beholden to teachers unions, who provide substantial financial support to Democrats and also constitute a major, reliable voting bloc. Second, CDC stands for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and thus, is responsible for the single greatest government failure of all time. Their ineptitude, inconsistency, and overall incompetence, both before and after the outbreak of the virus, has been staggering. Therefore, it is important that the CDC keeps its trade union friends for political cover. Third, public health police state officials, such as the CDC director, are basking in the limelight and flush with funds, power, and influence. For infectious disease experts, who have become our unelected rulers, these are the best of times. Pandering to teachers unions allows them to continue regulating all aspects of our family life. Note also that while the CDC is lionized by the media, they are also shielded by craven, cowardly politicians from any accountability for the damage they have inflicted on our economy, society, and physical and mental health, as a result of their misguided quarantines, lockdowns, and “reopenings.” 

A sad irony is that the agency responsible for the most massive government failure of all time is allowed to grow and prosper, while continuing its ongoing collective theft of private property, services, and economic, personal, and religious liberty. For example, thanks to the CDC, the entire cruise industry has been grounded for at least fifteen months. CDC guidelines have led to closures of public libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions for over fourteen months. The CDC Director’s recent message of “impending doom” is music to the ears of teachers union officials, who have a vested interest in maintaining maximal use of nonpharmaceutical interventions, such as school closures, physical distancing, and masks for children as young as four years old.

It is impossible to understate the dastardly actions of teachers unions in exerting undue influence on the federal agency charged with deciding how and when to “reopen” schools. Let’s start with the fact that teachers have already received more special treatment than any other type of worker. Recall that when our state-run Covid religion was established in March 2020, a totalitarian/Orwellian taxonomy of “essential” and “nonessential” workers and industries was developed. In most states, teachers are “essential” workers. Unlike many “nonessential” workers, teachers have received full pay during quarantines and lockdowns, with virtually no job losses in the sector. In some school districts, teachers have even received raises and additional benefits, while children remain at home to learn online, often with inferior Internet connections and overwhelmed parents to supervise them. Unlike almost all other “essential” workers, many teachers have not physically reported to work since March 2020. Also, in many states, teachers were vaccinated before many others in their age groups, since we were told that this step was necessary to reopen the schools. The forced masking of students as young as four years old for six hours a day is designed to protect teachers, not students. It has never been clearer that teachers unions aim to prolong the pandemic party for teachers while paying no heed to the physical and psychological damage to the nation’s students.

Now that the collusion between the teachers unions and the CDC has been exposed, we can no longer pretend that public health officials have the public interest in mind. Their claim to follow the “science” has been revealed as fallacious, since they are actually following “political science.” Since March 2020, we have all been human subjects in a grand social science experiment, which has been conducted without “informed consent.” As social scientists, when we conduct an experiment, we are required by law to obtain the informed consent of each of our human subjects. That is, we are required to explain to each subject, in great detail, precisely what we are trying to accomplish in our project, as well as its duration, cost, and risks. All of these protocols have not been followed. We also have to abide by an ethical code, which says that there should be no psychological or physical harm to the subject.

There is no doubt that this unprecedented and deviant child experiment has inflicted significant harm on its human subjects. Thus, while some might say that it is wrong to demonize public health officials, we say that their actions, especially as they relate to children, have been demonic. Regulatory capture of the CDC by teachers unions is a scandal of epic proportions.

For these reasons, we call on parents to reject CDC guidelines for schools and any semblance of the “new normal” at schools. We should no longer allow our children to be unwitting subjects in this deviant and unethical grand social experiment. CDC and teachers-union-enabled child abuse and its ongoing destruction of normal childhood development must end now. The next time your child is forced to wear a face mask for seven hours a day and prevented from interacting with her playmates, you should call child protective services on that teacher or school official. The CDC and the teacher’s unions are now officially guilty of child abuse.

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This article was published on May 12, 2021 and is reproduced with permission from the American Institute for Economic Research.

Dr. Donald Siegel is Foundation Professor of Public Policy and Management and Director of the School of Public Affairs (SPA) at Arizona State University.

New Report: AZ School Districts Reroute Millions that Lawmakers Intended for Teachers

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

In 2018, Arizona state lawmakers approved the “20×2020” plan to send hundreds of millions of new dollars to public school districts so they could raise average teacher salaries by 20%. But data revealed in a new Goldwater Institute report suggests that most of that money never made it—at least, not to teachers.

As shown in this new Goldwater report, The Truth about Teacher Pay in Arizona: How Arizona School Districts Have Held Back Teacher Salaries, Blamed Lawmakers, and Continually Captured Public Sympathy, school districts used the majority of the new 20×2020 funds simply to replace, rather than add to, existing buckets of state money for teachers (and vice versa). The result: During the 2019-2020 school year alone, teachers received at least $170 million less from their school districts in salary increases than Arizona taxpayers provided for.

How could this be? After all, school districts reported average salary increases of 13.3% through the 2019-2020 school year, just shy of their 15% interim target. Goldwater’s new report shows, however, that most of this increase was already paid for by other automatic state funding increases intended to support teacher pay, which 20×2020 was designed to complement, not replace.

As shown in the report:

  • After accounting for the dollars teachers would have received anyway (from state inflation adjustments and from higher state tax sales tax revenues under Proposition 301), districts used their 20×2020 dollars to provide just a 6% ($3,000) raise in average teacher salaries through 2019-2020, far short of the funded target of more than $7,000 for that year.
  • School districts have established a decades-long pattern of this behavior: After voters approved the Proposition 301 sales tax increase for K-12 funding in 2000, for example, the state Auditor General found that over the following decade, districts had disregarded the expectations of voters, likely violated state statute by shifting funds away from the classroom, and paid their teachers “about $7,500” less on average than they could have with the new funds.
  • Districts have consistently deprioritized teacher pay, even during years of economic growthand record K-12 spending:From the implementation of Proposition 301 in fiscal year 2002 through the pre-Great Recession economic boom for instance, district revenues per pupil increased 11.8% adjusted for inflation, while districts sustained teacher salary increases of just 0.5% over the same period once similarly adjusted for inflation.
  • Districts have increased operational spending (adjusted for inflation) in all major expenditure categories between fiscal years 2001 and 2020, yet teacher salaries have failed to rise. District spending on administration, for instance, has risen by nearly $2,000 in inflation-adjusted terms per class of 20 students, even as teacher salaries were no higher through fiscal year 2020.
  • Contributing to the downward pressure on teacher salaries, Arizona school districts have added almost 2,000 managers, supervisors, and directors since the 1983-1984 school year. The growth rate of these administrative positions is over 30% higher than that of students and teachers during the same period.
  • More recently, despite an unprecedented $4 billion in federal COVID-19 stimulus revenues given to Arizona’s K-12 system and surging district fund balances, Arizona school districts have elected to respond by terminating educators, while the Arizona Department of Education has declined to release up to $85 million dollars as requested by members of the state legislature.
  • Taken together, these episodes each fit into a decades-long trend in which district spending on teacher salaries has fallen from 37% to 28% of district budgets since 1980, meaning schools now spend roughly a quarter less on teacher salaries compared to other expenditures than they did just a handful of decades ago.

As previously reported by the Arizona Tax Research Association, state lawmakers’ 20×2020 plan contained enough new funding for Arizona public schools to increase average teacher salaries to the 26th highest in the nation (16th highest when adjusted for the cost of living). Since that time, however, education activists have insisted that Arizona teacher pay remains at the bottom of the barrel, dismissing the hundreds of millions of dollars of additional taxpayer investments as “nothing.”

While these claims have continued to recycle badly outdated figures from the pre-20×2020 period, they may indeed reveal a deeper, more problematic pattern—a seemingly endless cycle in which a) district and union leaders warn of low teacher salaries, b) state lawmakers and/or voters agree to provide massive funding to boost those salaries, and c) the money is ultimately used to instead increase spending in virtually every category except teacher salaries.

State lawmakers—and their constituents—may wish to rethink their participation in this cycle, and they can start by reading more in Goldwater’s new report here.

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This article was published on May 12, 2021, and reproduced with permission from the Goldwater Institute.

 

University of Utah: ‘Systemic Anti-Black Racism Is A Public Health Crisis’

Estimated Reading Time: < 1 minute

The University of Utah has committed to “becoming ardent anti-racists” and declared “systemic anti-Black racism” as a “public health crisis,” according to a tip obtained through YAF’s Campus Bias Tip Line.

An interview with Associate Vice President for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion José E. Rodríguez published on the school’s website details their “commitment to health equity.”

“In health care, anti-racism work forces clinicians to examine their practices and recognize that health disparities are caused by systemic anti-Black racism,” Rodriguez says. He also says the school will prioritize hiring Black clinicians.

Rodriguez even goes so far as to suggest that the Disney movie classic, The Lion King, has examples of “implicit bias” against black people. “In The Lion King, the bad lion has a black mane but the good one has a reddish mane. Disney may not have done that intentionally, but it is a clear example of how deep the roots of anti-Black racism run,” he stated.

It’s apparent that this administrator, hired to promote “equity, diversity, and inclusion,” has become so focused on seeing everything through a racial lens that he can’t think critically. Suggesting prioritizing hiring based on race and absurdly claiming that racism is a public health crisis (during a pandemic, nonetheless!) is irrational and dangerous rhetoric for someone in the health care field.

It’s a sad day when Critical Race Theory has infiltrated even health care–one of the most important parts of society–that should be off-limits to hate and politicization.

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This article was published on May 6, 2021 and is reproduced with permission of YAF, Young America’s Foundation.