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

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

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

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

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

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Commentary: Leading the Charge Against Critical Race Theory

Young boy reading a book

Critical Race Theory continues to permeate our classrooms and infect our children’s minds with outrageous ideas about their nation’s history. But a growing number of Americans are standing up to fight back against its false tenets and demand its removal from K-12 education. At the forefront of this patriotic effort is 1776 Action, an advocacy group committed to the vital work of restoring honest and unifying education in public schools throughout the nation.

The group’s Candidate Pledge has garnered national attention in recent weeks for its emphasis on America’s values and its vow to eradicate divisive race- and gender-based ideologies such as CRT from America’s schools. Political candidates who sign the pledge commit to restoring “honest, patriotic education that cultivates in our children a profound love for our country” and to promoting a curriculum that “teaches that all children are created equal, have equal moral value under God, our Constitution, and the law, and are members of a national community united by our founding principles.” The pledge also seeks to prohibit any curriculum that divides students by race and sex – or sets out to infuse harmful ideologies into course material.

In May, Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) became the first candidate to sign the pledge, declaring that CRT and similarly divisive theories are “shameful [and] must be stopped.” Other high-profile conservatives running for office, such as Republican nominee for Governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin, also vowed to replace CRT with “a high-quality civics curriculum.” The two Republican candidates for Governor of Kansas, former Gov. Dr. Jeff Colyer and Kansas Atty. Gen. Derek Schmidt, have also signed the pledge. As more candidates sign this pledge, it will put pressure on teachers, principals, and school boards to declare their stances on CRT and other key educational matters. It will also hold them accountable for the materials they teach and ensure our children are not indoctrinated with malicious theories that seek to denigrate our country and reduce students to their sex or skin color.

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Utah House Passes Bill to Ban Critical Race Theory in Public Schools

Students in class, listening to the teacher at the front of the room

Utah is one of many states in America considering banning critical race theory in public schools.

Republican State Representative Steve Christiansen sponsored a bill that takes direct aim at critical race theory concepts being taught in public education. The bill passed the Utah House and is awaiting the signature of the Speaker to move onto the state Senate.

That bill, HR901, calls on the Utah Board of Education for a re-evaluation of guidelines to weed out critical race theory in publicly funded classrooms.

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Commentary: Florida’s DeSantis Is America’s Great Right Hope

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Democratic Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Gavin Newsom of California, and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan shatter everything they touch. Ron DeSantis, conversely, seems to get everything right. The Florida Republican has emerged as America’s governor. 

“We’re standing with our folks. We’re going to do the right thing. We leaned into it, and we stood strong,” DeSantis told Fox News host Tucker Carlson recently.

Rather than snip a tax, kill a regulation, and then doze off, as too many Republicans have done, DeSantis is a tireless, full-spectrum conservative. He has authorized a host of economic, cultural, and law enforcement initiatives that are buoying Florida and transforming him into the Great Right Hope.

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Mom Says School Board Threatened to Sue Her for Seeking Public Information on Critical Race Theory in Curriculum

Nicole Solas was surprised to find her name listed on the meeting agenda of her local school board, especially since it said the board was considering taking legal action against her in response to her many requests for public records.

The Rhode Island mother of two began filing records requests with the South Kingstown School District several months ago, when she learned that teachers were incorporating critical race theory and gender ideology in the curriculum.

But she didn’t expect the school board to talk about suing her.

“I was shocked,” Solas, 37, told The Daily Signal in a recent phone interview. The school board, she said, “did not tell me that [the requests were] a problem.”

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Commentary: Four Signs Parents Won’t Be Sending Their Kids Back to Public School This Fall

Student working on school work at home.

As disruptive as the 2020/2021 academic year was, it led to many positive educational changes that will be transformative and long-lasting. Most notably, parents have been re-empowered to take back the reins of their children’s education from government bureaucrats and teachers unions. Frustrated by school closures and district “Zoom schooling,” families fled public schools in droves over the past year, and there are several signs that these families won’t be returning this fall.

According to an analysis by Chalkbeat and the Associated Press, public school enrollment fell by an average of 2.6 percent across 41 states last fall, with states such as Michigan, Maine, Vermont, and Mississippi dropping by more than 4 percent. These enrollment declines far exceeded any anticipated demographic changes that might typically alter public school enrollment.

How many of these students will be back in a public school classroom next year? Not as many as public school officials hoped.

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New Poll Confirms Widespread Support for School Choice

Student raising hand in class

A majority of voters support school choice, a new poll from Echelon Insights shows.

Among more than 1,100 registered voters surveyed, 65% support school choice compared to 19% who oppose it, while 16% remain unsure.

The findings were consistent across party lines, with 75% of Republicans, 60% of independents, and 61% of Democrats saying they strongly or somewhat support school choice. Most voters in both parties agree parents should control all or some of the tax dollars they pay for education.

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Commentary: The Inevitable Fruits of Critical Race Theory

Captured in a metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia primary school, seated amongst his classmates, this photograph depicts a young Asian-American school boy, who was in the process of creating a drawing, and was choosing from a box of crayons, the colors he’d use in order to bring his ideas to life. It is important to know that these objects are known as fomites, and can act as transmitters of illnesses.

A black man went on a multistate shooting spree recently. The suspected gunman, Justin Tyran Williams, said he specifically targeted white men in his rampage that left five wounded. “Basically, [Williams] explained throughout his life, specifically white males had taken from him, and also what he described as military-looking white males had taken from him,” Columbus (Georgia) Police detective Brandon Lockhart testified Monday.

A racially motivated mass shooting would be the number one news story on CNN . . . were the races reversed. But a black man intentionally shooting white men is just not that interesting to those outside of conservative media.

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A Parent-Led Rebellion Against Critical Race Theory Is Storming School Boards Across the Country

Young girl reading a book

A parent-led rebellion against Critical Race Theory is storming school boards across the country and demanding accountability for what is being taught to American children.

At least 165 local and national groups have formed to combat Critical Race Theory (CRT) instruction in schools across the U.S., an NBC analysis found. Many of these groups were founded by parents appalled to discover what was being taught to their children. Their advocacy has launched small town CRT debates onto the national stage, spurring far-left activists and establishment media outlets to accuse conservatives of ignorance and in some cases, racism.

“Parents are right to revolt against critical race theory in the classroom,” senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and anti-CRT writer Christopher Rufo told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Children are not inherently ‘oppressors’ and should not be implicated for historical crimes on the basis of their race. That’s the kind of propaganda that belongs in a Soviet history museum—not American K-12 classrooms.”

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Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Teaching Critical Race Theory in Schools

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

A new poll shows that the majority of American voters are deeply opposed to having critical race theory (CRT) principles being taught in schools.

The survey, conducted by Competitive Edge Research for Parents Defending Education, also shows that people overwhelmingly prefer Capitalism to Socialism (61.8% to 31.4%), frown upon “cancel culture,” (62.7% to 10.6%) and believe the United States is headed “on the wrong track” (60.7% to 32.8%).

Additionally, more respondents had a negative opinion of Black Lives Matter, than had a positive opinion (48.1% to 44.4%).

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Commentary: Florida is Overcoming ‘Systemic Privilege’ by Putting Students Before the ‘System’

Students in shop class at school with safety goggles on

Throughout America, a very important – and highly racialized – conversation is taking place about overcoming injustice. Here in Florida, that conversation has often gone in a markedly different and very promising direction. And schoolchildren of color are among the greatest beneficiaries.

The conversation in Florida, at least as it pertains to education, has focused on what might be called “systemic privilege.”

If you are unfamiliar with this (de-racialized) mash-up term, try this: Go to a public forum and suggest that all families should be treated fairly – that all parents should have access to the per-pupil funds for their children even if they choose to educate them outside the public school system.  

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Inside Story on How the 1776 Commission Refused to be Canceled by Biden

Joe Biden in the office

Despite being abolished by the Biden administration, the 1776 Commission established by President Trump to develop a patriotic education curriculum lives on.

The commission’s executive director, Matthew Spalding, told Just the News that the panel is staying operational despite losing its federal charter and shifting its focus to state and local education. A Web site and new social media presence are forthcoming.

“You can abolish a commission, you can take a report off the website, but you can’t erase history,” Spalding told the John Solomon Reports podcast in an episode that aired Wednesday.

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High Court Hears Arguments on Tennessee’s School-Choice Program

ORNL Traveling Science Fair at the TN 4th Annual Tennessee STEM Innovation Summit and STEMx Event, Nashville, TN

Tennessee’s highest court heard arguments on a disputed school choice program.

Tennessee’s Education Savings Accounts (ESA) pilot program, approved by the state Legislature in 2019, would provide state-funded scholarships of about $7,100 to low-income students in Nashville and Memphis – home to the state’s two lowest-performing school districts. Students would be able to use the funds to attend nonpublic schools of their choice.

A district court ruled the program unconstitutional when the two counties sued the state to stop the program. The state Court of Appeals upheld that ruling, and the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

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Commentary: Critical Race Theory Has Radically Transformed America’s Corporations and Public Schools

People in the streets protesting

Just four weeks ago, I wrote about the rising resistance to the woke craze and critical race theory, and much has transpired since then.

Here in California, even Disneyland has not been spared the wrath of the crazies. On May 7, the incomparable Christopher Rufo reported that “The Wokest Place on Earth” now includes employee trainings on systemic racism, white privilege, white fragility, and white saviors, and also launched racially segregated “affinity groups” at the company’s headquarters.

But just five days later, Rufo disclosed that Disney “has removed its entire antiracism program from the company’s internal portal, effectively scrubbing it out of existence.” Rufo added, “This is a major victory in the war against ‘woke capital,’” and noted that a “significant backlash from the public” was responsible for the shift. While some skeptics suggested that the policy was being “tweaked or rebranded, not scrubbed,” Rufo responded, “Possibly, but small victories start to add up. We’ve set the precedent—and forced a $329 billion company to back down.”

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Montana Attorney General Bans Critical Race Theory

"End Racism Now" sign and "Black Lives Matter" in a crowd

The highest-ranking prosecutor in the state of Montana has declared Critical Race Theory to be a violation of state and federal law, and has banned the far-left theory in Montana’s schools, as reported by ABC News.

Attorney General Austin Knudsen (R-Mont.) made his announcement on Thursday, after he was asked for his opinion by the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Erise Arntzen (R-Mont.). His declaration bans the concept not only from Montana’s schools, but from employee training as well.

The far-left American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a statement criticizing Knudsen’s decision, falsely accusing him of attempting to “impose an alternate version of American history – one that erases the legacy of discrimination and lived experiences of black and brown people.”

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Commentary: No Schools are Safe from Critical Race Theory – Even in Tennessee

Downtown Franklin, Tennessee

Williamson County? Never heard of it. What’s the big deal?

Well, a lot.

Williamson County, Tennessee is what you might call “Republican Heaven.” Just south of Democrat-stronghold Nashville, much of it is a gorgeous suburb, home to the likes of country star Luke Bryan of “American Idol” fame – on an 150 acre estate – and Senator Marsha Blackburn.

Its county seat, Franklin, has a downtown straight out of an updated version of Norman Rockwell, the kind of place you can get both great barbecue and haute cuisine.

That small city and county are growing like crazy in large part because they are also supposed to have one of the best public school systems in the country.

Supposed to…

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Commentary: If He Wants to Unite the Nation, Biden Should Take Up School Choice

Joe Biden

Throughout his campaign and his presidency so far, Joe Biden has focused his message on fostering unity in the country. Newsflash: it’s not working. 

Despite the president’s stated goal of ending the “uncivil war that pits red against blue,” as he called it in his inaugural address, issues including health care, immigration, racial justice, and even Covid-19 continue to divide the American electorate. Ostensibly, few issues remain on which Republicans and Democrats can find common ground. 

That’s where school choice should come into the picture. Recent polling suggests that school choice may be the issue where a majority of Americans see eye to eye. If Biden really wants to unify, he should pick up the mantle of choice.

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11 States Consider Bans on Teaching Critical Race Theory

Student raising hand in class

Earlier this year, an Aiken County teacher wrote to South Carolina state Rep. Bill Taylor in alarm about critical race theory emerging in public schools. 

“I know full well the insidiousness of the so-called critical race theory that aims to resegregate society, discriminate against those who are white, victimize those who are black, and render America a nation of identity groups rather than Americans,” the teacher wrote. 

Hardly a day goes by, Taylor said, that he doesn’t hear from a constituent on the issue. 

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Commentary: Giving Parents the Choice in Their Children’s Education

With widespread school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the debate over school choice has once again taken center stage.

For the past seven years, approximately two-thirds of Americans have consistently supported school choice.  Additionally, support is largely bipartisan, with 82 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Independents, and 55 percent of Democrats in favor of school choice.  

The positive impact of access to quality education is clear.  As President Donald Trump said during his State of the Union Address on February 4, 2020, “The next step forward in building an inclusive society is making sure that every young American gets a great education and the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.” 

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Legal Group Intervenes After University Bars Christian Student from Classes over Refusal to Take Vaccines

Girl with mask on

A Christian nonprofit legal group has sent a letter to the University of Alabama-Birmingham after the public university blocked a student from registering for classes because she would not take vaccines.

The letter from First Liberty Institute asks university officials to follow the religious exemption it granted Jackie Gale for her first year at school. The university does not currently mandate the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Due to Ms. Gale’s religious beliefs, she cannot receive the childhood immunizations UAB requires under its immunization policy,” Christine Pratt, counsel for First Liberty, wrote in a May 13 demand letter.

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DeSantis Signs New School Choice Law, Could Make Florida First in Nation

Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed an education bill that allows for greater school choice in his state.

The new law, which streamlines Florida school choice scholarship programs and expands eligibility, was touted by DeSantis at a May 11 news conference at Jacksonville Catholic School.

Children in families of four that earn less than $100,000 will be eligible for a fully funded K-12 education at the school of their choice.

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

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

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

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

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Poll: Support for School Choice Increases by 10 Percentage Points in Four Months

A RealClear Opinion Research poll of 2,020 registered voters in August saw a 10-point increase in support of school choice policies since its last poll in April, from 67 percent to 77 percent.

The American Federation for Children describes school choice as the right for parents to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education in a school of their choice. The tax dollars would follow the child, not be tied to a nearby school system. Funding could be used for public, private, charter, or homeschool education, whichever method the parents believes provides the best learning environment for their child.

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Two Minnesota Representatives Help Pass Act Paying Schools to ‘Desegregate’

Minnesota Representatives Ilhan Omar (DFL-MN-5) and Angie Craig (DFL-MN-2) helped pass a House bill to “desegregate” schools nationwide. All 105 cosponsors are Democratic.
“This legislation is an important step in making sure every student receives an excellent public education,” stated Craig in a press release.

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SCOTUS Strikes Down Ban on Taxpayers Funding Religious Schools

The Supreme Court ruled against a ban on taxpayer funding of religious schools Tuesday in a monumental win for school choice.

Chief Justice John Roberts joined conservative justices in a 5-4 ruling backing a Montana tax-credit scholarship program that gives residents credit if they donated to private scholarship organizations, according to Fox News, which would help the students pay for the private school of their choice.

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Trump Calls School Choice ‘The Civil Rights Statement of the Year’

by Mary Margaret Olohan   President Donald Trump said Tuesday that school choice is the “civil rights statement of the year.” “School choice is the civil rights statement of the year, of the decade and probably beyond,” he said at a White House press conference. “Because all children have to…

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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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Poll: Majority of Nation’s Democrats Favor Educational Choices

by Bruce Walker   School choice is overwhelmingly supported by likely Democratic primary voters nationwide, according to a recent poll conducted on behalf of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER). Education analysts interpret the poll results as a rebuke of current Democratic Party strategies nationwide in general and, specifically, Michigan Gov.…

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SCOTUS to Hear Montana Case on School Choice, Religious Liberty

by Derek Draplin   The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a wide-reaching Montana case dealing with school choice and the First Amendment. The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will take up the case Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which is being litigated by the Institute for Justice, a…

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In Wisconsin, School Choice Has Unexpected Benefits

by Joshua Nelson   Elisha Doerr would not have had an opportunity to attend Wisconsin Lutheran High School, a Milwaukee-based private boarding school, if it weren’t for a school choice program. The school’s excellent curricula and the religious community were valuable to Doerr, 18, who now attends Harvard University and…

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Commentary: Why Can’t We Ask the Hard Questions About Education?

By Andrew I. Fillat and Henry I. Miller   Retired teacher Mary Hudson recently wrote a damning exposé based on her experiences in the New York City public school system. Hudson taught in three different public high schools and her observations from those years lead her to implicate the students…

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Commentary: School Choice Is Breaking Down Barriers in Puerto Rico

by Jude Schwalbach   The new year is bringing exciting developments to Puerto Rico’s education reforms. Not only will the U.S. territory open new charter schools, it will also launch a new pilot private school voucher program in the fall. The need for education reform is most clearly illustrated by…

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Minnesota Receives ‘C’ Grade From Center for Education Reform, Cautions Against Walz’s ‘Authoritarian’ Approach

Minnesota received an overall C grade in parent empowerment on the Center for Education Reform’s annual Parent Power Index, which factors school choice, charter schools, personalized learning, teacher quality, and transparency into its grading system. With two school-choice programs, Minnesota received an F grading in the area of school choice,…

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Walz and Johnson Battle Over School Choice, Achievement Gap in Wednesday Debate

Minnesota gubernatorial candidates Jeff Johnson and Tim Walz squared off in a debate Wednesday morning at the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce to discuss workforce issues. The candidates remained civil throughout the discussion, but things grew noticeably heated when Minnesota’s achievement gap was mentioned, with the state consistently ranking among the…

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Poll Shows Large Number of ‘Undecided’ Voters Will Put Minnesota Gubernatorial Race in the Hands of ‘Independents’

A new poll shows Democrat Tim Walz leading Republican Jeff Johnson in Minnesota’s gubernatorial race, though both candidates are trying to win over a large percentage of undecided voters. According to a new MPR News and Star Tribune poll, 45 percent of likely voters favor Walz, while 36 percent said…

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