Fauci Says He Supports Vaccine Mandates for Teachers

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday he supports efforts by local governments to mandate vaccinations for teachers against the novel coronavirus.

“I’m going to upset people on this but I think we should [mandate vaccinations for teachers]. I mean, we are in a critical situation now,” Fauci told MSNBC “We have had 615,000 deaths and we are in a major surge now as we’re going into the fall, into the school season. This is very serious business.”

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Commentary: School Choice Is Not Enough

Young girl wearing black headphones, smiling

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

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

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

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

School bus with "use your voice" on the windshield

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

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

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

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

Protestor with megaphone, talking

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

Past politicization of school board elections

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

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

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Commentary: Hillsdale College’s 1776 Curriculum

Hand underneath American flag

On July 19, Hillsdale College released the 1776 Curriculum, a package of American history and civics materials for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The curriculum offers students and teachers a more traditional and patriotic approach to American history than the critical alternatives now prevalent in the nation’s primary and secondary schools.

At nearly 2,500 pages, the 1776 Curriculum is a mammoth collection of teaching materials, offering grade-specific guidance for teachers, assignments and exams for students, and a trove of primary sources from the American founding and beyond. In a press release, Hillsdale’s assistant provost for K-12 education Dr. Katherine O’Toole contrasted what she described as Hillsdale’s “truly American” curriculum with its “partisan” competitors.

“Our curriculum was created by teachers and professors – not activists, not journalists, not bureaucrats,” O’Toole said. “It comes from years of studying America, its history, and its founding principles, not some slap-dash journalistic scheme to achieve a partisan political end through students. It is a truly American education.”

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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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White House Backs Teachers Unions, Critical Race Theory Curricula

Jen Psaki

The Biden administration signaled its support for the teaching of “anti-racism” curriculum in public schools Friday, wading into an ongoing culture war over critical race theory playing out on cable news and in school board meetings across the nation.

Asked about a recent decision by the National Education Association to throw its weight behind controversial progressive teachings about race, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told RealClearPolitics that President Biden believes “kids should learn about our history” including the view that “there is systemic racism that is still impacting society today.”

Psaki continued that the president and the First Lady, who is also a life-long educator, believe that “there are many dark moments, and there is not just slavery and racism in our history.”

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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: 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 Movement Teaches American Kids How to Think, Not What to Think

Girl student standing and holding books in hand in a classroom

An American educator is persuading schools to implement viewpoint diversity in the classroom.

Erin McLaughlin is a teacher from Pennsylvania who is making headlines with her approach to classroom instruction. She argues that viewpoint diversity, which is teaching students how to think rather than what to think, should be at the center of many curriculums.

McLaughlin, in an interview with The College Fix, said that it is the job of educators to teach children how to process things as opposed to what to advocate for.

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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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Florida Teachers’ Unions Fought Against Raises

The pandemic has made it clear to parents that teachers’ unions don’t represent the interests of students. And while, in theory, the union should serve the interests of teachers, in practice they have another master: the Democratic Party. When these interests don’t align, the result can be fascinating political contortions – as when Florida teachers’ unions fought against pay raises provided by the state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis.
In October 2019, DeSantis declared that 2020 would be the “year of the teacher.” Despite the massive budgetary uncertainty presented by COVID, in March 2020 DeSantis requested $600 million for teacher raises and $300 million for teacher bonuses. The legislature delivered $500 million for raises and $100 million for bonuses, which Jacob Oliva, chancellor of the Division of Public Schools in the Florida Department of Education, described as “the single largest compensation increase ever in Florida and a statement to the nation that Florida is elevating the teaching profession.”
One might expect teachers’ unions to applaud DeSantis and call on other governors to follow his lead. Instead, some local teachers’ unions actually fought against the raises, effectively keeping money out of their own members’ pockets.

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Fauci Says Not All Teachers Need to Be Vaccinated to Open Schools

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday said not all teachers need to be vaccinated in order for schools to reopen, The New York Post reports.

“It’s not [the case] that you can’t open a school unless all the teachers are vaccinated. That would be optimal, if you could do that,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC’s anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week”.

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Commentary: Teachers Unions’ Selfish, Unscientific COVID Response

Clarity and consensus among medical professionals has been hard to find on many issues related to COVID-19 policy, so it’s much appreciated when something appears to be clear-cut and universally agreed upon. In today’s sound-bite world, it can be dizzying trying to keep up. Thankfully, a consensus has emerged around one topic that is tremendously important to all Americans: school reopening. The verdict is coming in: time to get the kids back in the classroom.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, has been clear as a bell on this issue. During a recent briefing, she said, “There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated in order to reopen safely.” She went on to definitively state that “Vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for the safe reopening of schools.” These comments are completely in line with those from her colleague at the CDC, Dr. Margaret Honein, Ph.D., who was recently first author on an elegant viewpoint for the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Honein wrote that data has shown “there has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission.”

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Commentary: Education Professors Blast 1776 Report as ‘Better Fit for a Dictatorship’

It really says something when an effort as intellectually vacuous as the 1619 Project is venerated by educators, but the 1776 Report is viewed contemptuously.

As former President Trump said back in September, the 1776 Commission’s task was to teach students about “the miracle of American history and make plans to honor the 250th anniversary of our founding.”

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Commentary: On the First day of Christmas…Teachers Got a Legal Headache Over Blurring the Line Between Church and State

During a school year disrupted by pandemic-related closures, students across the U.S. will soon be absent for a scheduled reason: the annual Christmas break.

In New York City, the U.S.‘s largest school district, children will be off from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1. Officially called “winter” recess, the December hiatus coincides with Christian celebrations, adding to the number of approved days that many students take off from school on religious holidays, including Eid al-Fitr and Yom Kippur.

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While Unions Demand More Money, Unemployment Data Shows Increasing Layoffs in Education Sector

In April, several education groups, including two national teachers’ unions, urged Congressional leaders to allocate more than $200 billion to education in addition to the CARES Act and federal relief through which Congress had just allocated nearly $31 billion in March.

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North Carolina Teachers Strike in Consecutive Years Hoping for Higher Wages

  North Carolina teachers took to the streets Wednesday for the second year in a row with hopes that a more politically balanced legislature will be more willing to meet their demands. Teachers, auxiliary staff and supporters marched in Raleigh with scheduled speakers including Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and the…

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Denver Teachers Strike Over Pay

Denver teachers went on strike Monday after failing to reach a deal with administrators on pay. The school district said schools will remain open during the strike and will be staffed by administrators and substitute teachers. However, the district has canceled classes for 5,000 preschool children because it doesn’t have…

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The Booming Job Market Is Leading Teachers to Quit at Record Levels

by Tim Pearce   Public education employees such as teachers and janitors are quitting jobs in record numbers, an uncommon trend in a profession that often rewards longevity, The Wall Street Journal reported. Many industries in the past year have seen a historically high rate of workers quitting. A tight…

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Half of Young Americans Believe US is ‘Racist’ and ‘Sexist,’ Survey Finds

by Troy Worden   A basic knowledge of civics and belief in American exceptionalism are in startling decline among younger Americans, a new report suggests. About half of those surveyed under age 38 said they view the United States as a “sexist” or “racist” nation. More than 4 out of…

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School Discipline Policy Belongs at the Local Level, Not Washington

classroom

by Jonathan Butcher   Teacher unions and progressive special-interest groups cried foul earlier this year when the White House suggested that federal directives on school safety could be rescinded. But if a recent hearing held by the Federal Commission on School Safety is any indication, state and local policymakers don’t need Washington to micromanage…

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JC Bowman Commentary: Testing is Open for Debate

Professional Educators of Tennessee raised the issue on Testing, with a hard-hitting editorial called the Trouble with Testing. Professional Educators of Tennessee did NOT support the use of that data on teacher evaluations, nor did they sign a support letter on the original grant submission., which the Tennessee Education Association did.

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JC Bowman Commentary: Giving Tennessee Educators a Choice and a Voice

teacher

As teachers and administrators go back to school across the state, they will have a choice in what teacher association in which they want to join.  We hope they will join Professional Educators of Tennessee.  As an independent, Tennessee -focused professional association, we keep our membership dues low by ensuring that…

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JC Bowman Commentary: Mothers, Wives and an Everlasting Love

JC Bethany Mothers Day

If language is everything, we could not, even if we tried, honor the women that shapes and inspires our lives. No matter how much you thank the woman who does it all for her children, once a year is never enough.

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