Commentary: Teachers Unions Are More Powerful Than You Realize, But That May Be Changing

Teachers unions throughout the US claim to be looking out for the best interests of teachers and students, but they are deeply political organizations with significant influence over what, how, where, and with whom most children learn.

While the nation’s largest teachers unions have long been deeply connected to the Democratic Party and left-wing ideology, this political affiliation has become increasingly apparent in recent months. From hinging their support for reopening schools on outrageous policy demands to launching court battles, threatening strikes, and openly supporting disturbing actions during recent protests, today’s teachers unions are more powerful and dangerous than many parents may realize.

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Commentary: Gallup Poll Shows Homeschooling Rate Doubles as School Satisfaction Plummets

Results of a new Gallup poll released this week may give us the sharpest look yet at how the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted American education and what may lie ahead. According to the poll, parents’ overall satisfaction with their child’s education dropped 10 percent over last year, while at the same time the number of parents saying they will choose homeschooling doubled in 2020 to 10 percent.

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Commentary: The Practice of Schools Using Empty Classes for Expensive Day Care, and Charging Parents Twice Needs to End

Normally when a business shuts its doors, it doesn’t still get to charge its customers for a product they can no longer access. It certainly doesn’t get to charge its customers twice for the privilege.

Yet, that’s exactly what we’re seeing from some public school districts. They refuse to open their doors for in-person learning—citing safety risks—but they are able to open these same school buildings to charge overworked and tired parents for day care. 

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Police Officers Were Compared to Slave Owners and KKK Members in an Assignment Given at a Texas School

An assignment given to students at a Texas school included a political cartoon comparing police officers to slave owners and Klu Klux Klan members, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

The cartoon reportedly depicted five scenes, allegedly starting with a slave ship officer who was kneeling on a black man’s neck and ended with a police officer kneeling on a black man’s neck with text saying “I can’t breathe,” the Star-tribune reported.

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One in Five Students May Defer Upcoming Academic Year, Axios Poll Shows

Over 20 percent of college students may defer the upcoming academic year, according to a recent Axios poll.

The deferment data comes as prominent universities across the country move from in-person to online classes in response to campus-wide outbreaks of the coronavirus. Of the 21% of students who may not return, most are working full-time in the interim, Axios reported. The statistic comes as 27% of students lost their summer internship, according to the poll.

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Fired for Accidentally Calling a Transgender Student ‘She,’ Teacher Takes Case to Court

Peter Vlaming has two great passions—teaching and French. 

But a Virginia school district stripped the French teacher of the ability to impart these passions in high school classrooms when it fired him for not using pronouns preferred by a transgender student.

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Remote Learning Is Leaving Working Parents with Few Options, Big Bills

Many public school districts across the country have shifted from offering some in-person learning options for students to offering only remote learning at the start of the school year.

The change in plans sent many working parents rushing to find either a place for their kids to go while they work or to find a caregiver they could pay to supervise remote learning at home. Either option could end up costing parents thousands of dollars. 

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White House Calls on Congress to Fund Another $105 Billion to Help States Reopen Schools

At a forum held at the White House Wednesday, the Trump administration said it is calling on Congress to authorize another $105 billion in funding to help states reopen schools.

“We believe many school districts can now reopen safely, provided they implement mitigation measures and health protocols to protect families, protect teachers, and to protect students,” President Donald Trump said.

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Some Parents Turn to Micro-Schooling as Back-to-School Debate Rages

As states and school districts continue to change their back-to-school policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the national debate rages over in-person or virtual learning for instruction, some parents have taken their children’s education into their own hands.

A new form of quasi-homeschooling, called micro-schooling, is emerging. In this not-so-new format, neighboring families have decided to educate their children in a modern version of the 19th century era one-room schoolhouse.

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Commentary: Could COVID-19 End the Government Monopoly on Education?

by Daniel J. Mitchell   The coronavirus has been horrible news, most obviously because of death and suffering. But the disease has also wreaked havoc with the economy and given politicians an excuse to push counterproductive policies. But if you want to find a silver lining to that dark cloud, the virus may be putting…

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Survey: Private, Charter Schools More Likely to Provide Meaningful Education During Shutdowns

Several reports and national surveys indicate that private and charter schools provided more meaningful educational services during state shutdowns than public schools did, and more parents are choosing nontraditional educational options this fall.

A nationally representative survey conducted by Education Next found that while there was “a lot of lost ground on learning” during coronavirus shutdowns in the spring semester, there was “a more robust response in the charter school sector and in the private school sector” among respondents.

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Newt Gingrich Commentary: Cheating the Children or Empowering the Parents

The United States is gradually grinding to an educational collapse as the giant bureaucracies and extraordinarily powerful teachers’ unions ignore children and education in pursuit of power.

Many of the wealthiest school systems have decided that they simply will not go back to school this fall. They will offer virtual classes even though the evidence is overwhelming that for younger children virtual classes are dramatically less effective than in person instruction.

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Teachers Unions Sue DeSantis for Trying to Open Schools

The nation’s largest teachers unions filed a lawsuit Monday against the State of Florida over a department of education emergency order, which demanded schools reopen in August.

The Florida Education Association was joined by the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association in suing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and Richard Corcoran, commissioner of the Florida Department of Education, according to a press release. DeSantis’ emergency order, issued on July 6 by the department of education, ordered all brick and mortar schools to open at least five days a week in August.

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Commentary: School Board Elections May Be Your Most Important Decision This Year

Our late friend Phyllis Schlafly, the First Lady of the Conservative Movement, was fond of saying that the most important election wasn’t President, it was Republican Precinct Committeeman, because that was the gateway to the Republican Party organization, and through it the ability to endorse candidates and set the GOP Platform.

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Health Professionals Advocate for School Reopening Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

Health professionals nationwide released statements in a Tea Party Patriots Action Second Opinion Project email on Thursday that they believe schools should reopen and that it is the safest option for kids.

The consensus among the physicians, that kids would benefit academically, socially, and health-wise from schools reopening this fall, echoes a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released on July 10 addressing the issue of schools reopening in the fall.

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Minnesota Schools Given Possible Scenarios for the Fall

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) gave additional guidance for what school could look like in the fall.

The guidance recommended school districts plan for three possible scenarios: in-person learning for all students; hybrid learning with social distance and capacity limits; or distance learning only.

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Commentary: Liberal Group ‘Veterans Education Success’ Seeks to Re-Instate Obama-Era Education Policy Targeting Private Colleges

A new TV ad campaign seeks to overturn a key reform of the Trump administration. In the name of veterans, the campaign attempts to lure President Trump into breaking his word, endangering educational institutions in a difficult time.

In an ad by “Veterans Education Success,” we see servicemembers in uniform, overseas, and hugging their children, and shaking hands with President Trump. The images remind me of the strong support the President has had among active and retired military, who voted for him by 60-34 percent in 2016.

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Commentary: The CDC’s Guidelines for Back-to-School Under COVID Sound Traumatizing

When schools reopen in the US amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they will be even more restrictive than they already were. Schools have long controlled students’ movements and imposed constraints on where they can go, when, and with whom. With virus concerns, those controls will increase in quantity and intensity.

NPR recently proclaimed that “disruption from the pandemic constitutes an ‘adverse childhood experience’ for every American child.” While many children are sad to be away from their friends and activities, being home with their family members for a prolonged period of time is hardly an “adverse childhood experience” for most American children. Returning to schools with extreme virus control and social distancing measures, however, could very well be traumatic for many kids.

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Poll: 40 percent of Americans More Likely to Home-School, Enroll Children in Virtual Schools After Lockdown

A new RealClear Opinion Research poll of 2,122 registered voters found that a strong majority surveyed support school choice and 40 percent are more likely to pursue homeschooling opportunities after COVID-19 restrictions end.

Slightly more than 40 percent polled said they are more likely to home school or virtual school after lockdowns. Before the coronavirus shutdown, roughly 4 percent of K-12 students were in home education settings.

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Commentary: Educators Should Learn from Homeschoolers, Not Antagonize Them

The editors at Harvard Review must be surprised at the reaction they provoked with their magazine’s recent article, “The Risks of Homeschooling.” For an issue that concerns “roughly 3 percent to 4 percent of school-age children,” the great profusion of responses from every corner of the internet would convince a person that it is really 96 percent to 97 percent who are homeschoolers—which might currently be the case since nearly every school has closed down for the year to prevent the spread of the Wuhan virus.

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Commentary: That Americans Were Poorly Educated Before Mass Government Schooling Is a Myth

Parents the world over are dealing with massive adjustments in their children’s education that they could not have anticipated just three months ago. To one degree or another, pandemic-induced school closures are creating the “mass homeschooling” that FEE’s senior education fellow Kerry McDonald predicted two months ago. Who knows, with millions of youngsters absent from government school classrooms, maybe education will become as good as it was before the government ever got involved.

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Commentary: Harvard Magazine Is Wrong When it Called for a ‘Presumptive Ban’ on Homeschooling

As a Harvard alum, longtime donor, education researcher, and homeschooling mother of four children in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I was shocked to read the article, “The Risks of Homeschooling,” by Erin O’Donnell in Harvard Magazine’s new May-June 2020 issue. Aside from its biting, one-sided portrayal of homeschooling families that mischaracterizes the vast majority of today’s homeschoolers, it is filled with misinformation and incorrect data. Here are five key points that challenge the article’s primary claim that the alleged “risks for children—and society—in homeschooling” necessitate a “presumptive ban on the practice”:

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Commentary: Education Entrepreneurs Are the Only Ones Who Can Disrupt the Status Quo

Transforming entrenched systems and industries comes through disruptive innovation and entrepreneurship. Coined by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, disruptive innovation is the process by which new ideas and inventions create value and ultimately topple existing competitors. A visionary individual or group spots opportunity and develops new solutions that meet consumer demand faster, better, and more cheaply. This innovation improves our lives through efficiency and cost-effectiveness, allowing us to keep more of our hard-earned money with better service and satisfaction.

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Commentary: Now Is the Perfect Time to Cut Education Spending

Leftists love to label those who favor cutting education spending as “anti-children,” “anti-public school,” and basically, “anti-education.” That’s because leftists are the ones benefiting most from the increases in education spending that have, until recently, been mandated like clockwork.

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Commentary: Coronavirus May Lead to ‘Mass Homeschooling’

As fears of coronavirus mount around the globe, cities and countries are taking action to prevent the new respiratory virus strain from spreading. While the virus has not yet hit hard in the United States, government officials and health agencies have enacted response plans, corporations are halting travel abroad, and education leaders are grappling with what a widespread domestic outbreak of the virus could mean for schoolchildren.

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Commentary: Our Schools and the Sexualization of the Young

In “Sexualization, Pornography, and Grooming in the Schools,” Amy Contrada reports on the introduction of “comprehensive sex education (CSE) into our schools. After reading her article and following some of the links, which contain graphic content, the word that first came to mind was YUCK! (Other words popped into the brain pan as well, but it’s best to not mention them.)

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Commentary: Families Today Have More Schooling Options Than Ever, But Nowhere Near Enough

I am a glass-half-full kind of person, so while we could focus on the criticisms and some of the setbacks related to expanding educational freedom to more families, there is much more to celebrate than to lament. As National School Choice Week ends, it’s a great time to spotlight the growing variety and abundance of education options available to parents and young people.

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Commentary: ‘We’ Should Not Regulate Homeschooling

The desire to control other people’s ideas and behaviors, particularly when they challenge widely-held beliefs and customs, is one of human nature’s most nefarious tendencies. Socrates was sentenced to death for stepping out of line; Galileo almost was. But such extreme examples are outnumbered by the many more common, pernicious acts of trying to control people by limiting their individual freedom and autonomy. Sometimes these acts target individuals who dare to be different, but often they target entire groups who simply live differently. On both the political right and left, efforts to control others emerge in different flavors of limiting freedom—often with “safety” as the rationale. Whether it’s calls for Muslim registries or homeschool registries, fear of freedom is the common denominator.

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Commentary: Students’ Test Scores Unchanged After Decades of Federal Intervention in Education

Federal “Highly Qualified Teacher” mandates. Adequate Yearly Progress requirements. Smaller learning communities. Improving Teacher Quality State Grants. Reading First. Early Reading First. The dozens of other federal programs authorized via No Child Left Behind. School Improvement Grants. Race to the Top. Common Core.

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Activists Want to Abolish Your Kid’s Honors Classes, Cite ‘White Toxicity’ and ‘Supremacist’ Values of High Achievement

School systems across the country are seeking to abolish honors classes, teach how math has been used to oppress people, and let truant students into gifted schools. Advocates say the moves are aimed at diminishing an achievement gap between demographic groups.

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Commentary: Five Reasons the Chicago Teachers’ Strike Is Immoral

The Chicago Public School system’s 361,314 registered students are starting their tenth day at home this morning, as their teachers union strikes for its fourteenth cumulative day. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have publicly supported the 32,000 teachers and school staff (represented by the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU, respectively) on the picket line – but there are five reasons people of faith should not join them.

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Commentary: Yes, Soros Is Influencing Your School Board and Local Government Elections

Luke Rosiak’s revelation of the Soros connection in local school board elections and policy making in the Daily Caller reminds us that school boards are not the Soros network’s first foray into obscure local political campaigns and local government policymaking.

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Commentary: The Strongest Support for School Vouchers Comes From Lower-Income Families

hen it comes to education, the word voucher tends to elicit strong reactions in three broad public opinion camps. First, there are those who feel strongly that vouchers can expand education options for families by allowing children to attend a private school using some or all of the per-pupil spending amount allocated to the local district school.

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Commentary: NEA Embraces the Woke Agenda, But Votes Down ‘Student Learning’

by Nat Malkus and RJ Martin   Last week, thousands of teachers gathered in Houston for the National Education Association’s (NEA) annual convention. During the convention, any group of 50 delegates could bring to the floor a new business item, which is a one-year, non-binding resolution directing the union to…

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Tim Ryan Wants Social-Emotional Learning in Every Public School Nationwide

  2020 hopeful Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) wants to introduce social-emotional learning standards to every public school in the country. The Ohio Star’s Beth Lear recently did a deep dive on the Ohio State Board of Education’s efforts to bring social-emotional learning to the state. “This is part of a…

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Analysis: Bernie Sanders’ Education Plan Is Rife with Deceit

by James D. Agresti   Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has unveiled a plan that he says will create “an education system that works for all people, not just the wealthy and powerful.” In it, he portrays the U.S. education system as grossly underfunded and racially biased, but…

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The History and Results of Our Disastrous Public School System, Part II

by Justin Spears   There is a popular saying that “the proof is in the pudding.” In the first part of this article set, my colleague Mike Margeson spelled out the historical roots of the American schooling system. He clearly laid out the blueprint that men like Horace Mann used…

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JC Bowman Commentary: Time to Separate PACS from Lobbying

dealmakers

Professional Educators of Tennessee will continue to lobby for public education.  However, we will never endorse political parties or candidates as an organization on behalf of our members.  We also do not have a PAC, nor do we plan to ever start one.  It would harm our effectiveness.  We must advance public education without the divisive tribalism of partisan politics, and we will only get involved in education related issues.

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