Tulsa experienced a surge in new infections, and Tulsa health officials say that the Trump rally on June 20 was a likely cause.

Keep watch on the numbers in Arizona and South Dakota, where Trump held rallies, also Trump’s next stop, New Hampshire.

He is a Super Spreader. He is a one-man catastrophe.

In six weeks, the Republican National Convention will be held in Jacksonville, Florida. No social distancing. No requirement to wear masks. Lots of cheering and droplets in the air. Then delegates will fan out across the country, some bringing the disease home.

This is no way to fight a pandemic.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has canceled the State GOP Convention, which was scheduled for next week.

In light of the dangerous health situation in Houston, the mayor said it was unsafe.

Good to know that local elected officials take the pandemic seriously, even though the president does not.

Most nations in Europe imposed strict quarantines, masking, and social distancing. They eventually got the virus under control.

Not Sweden. It took a different route, relying on the good sense of individuals and the hope of “herd immunity.” It didn’t work, according to this story in the New York Times.

LONDON — Ever since the coronavirus emerged in Europe, Sweden has captured international attention by conducting an unorthodox, open-air experiment. It has allowed the world to examine what happens in a pandemic when a government allows life to carry on largely unhindered.

This is what has happened: Not only have thousands more people died than in neighboring countries that imposed lockdowns, but Sweden’s economy has fared little better.

“They literally gained nothing,” said Jacob F. Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “It’s a self-inflicted wound, and they have no economic gains.”

The results of Sweden’s experience are relevant well beyond Scandinavian shores. In the United States, where the virus is spreading with alarming speed, many states have — at President Trump’s urging — avoided lockdowns or lifted them prematurely on the assumption that this would foster economic revival, allowing people to return to workplaces, shops and restaurants.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson — previously hospitalized with Covid-19 — reopened pubs and restaurants last weekend in a bid to restore normal economic life.

Implicit in these approaches is the assumption that governments must balance saving lives against the imperative to spare jobs, with the extra health risks of rolling back social distancing potentially justified by a resulting boost to prosperity. But Sweden’s grim result — more death, and nearly equal economic damage — suggests that the supposed choice between lives and paychecks is a false one: A failure to impose social distancing can cost lives and jobs at the same time.

Sweden put stock in the sensibility of its people as it largely avoided imposing government prohibitions. The government allowed restaurants, gyms, shops, playgrounds and most schools to remain open. By contrast, Denmark and Norway opted for strict quarantines, banning large groups and locking down shops and restaurants.

More than three months later, the coronavirus is blamed for 5,420 deaths in Sweden, according to the World Health Organization. That might not sound especially horrendous compared with the more than 129,000 Americans who have died. But Sweden is a country of only 10 million people. Per million people, Sweden has suffered 40 percent more deaths than the United States, 12 times more than Norway, seven times more than Finland and six times more than Denmark.

The moral of the story: Social discipline and leadership are necessary to get the disease under control. In the absence of both, the virus will continue to spread and destroy lives.

The US Supreme Court ruled today that teachers in religious schools are not protected by federal anti-discrimination law. Please note that Justice Alita says that the central mission of religious schools is to teach the faith, which is why so many object to public funding of religious schools. If religious schools take public money, are they still exempt from public laws that cover public schools?

David Savage wrote for the Los Angeles Times:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday restricted teachers who work at church-run schools from filing discrimination claims against their employers, ruling that the Constitution’s protection for religious liberty exempts church schools from state and federal anti-discrimination laws.

The justices, by a 7-2 vote, ruled that because two elementary school teachers at Catholic schools in Los Angeles County helped carry out the mission of teaching faith as part of their jobs, the schools are free to hire and fire them without concern for antidiscrimination laws.

The decision effectively closes the courthouse door to tens of thousands of teachers nationwide in religious and parochial schools who encounter workplace discrimination based on their gender, age, disability or sexual orientation that would otherwise be impermissible. It is also written broadly enough that it could include many other types of workers at the schools, such as counselors, nurses, coaches and office workers.

In the past, the Supreme Court has recognized an implied “ministerial exemption” that shields churches, synagogues or other religious bodies from being sued by priests, pastors and other ministers. The issue in the pair of cases from Southern California was whether that exemption extended more broadly to teachers in a church-run school whose primary duty was not necessarily religious instruction.

“The 1st Amendment protects the right of religious institutions to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority.

“The religious education and formation of students is the very reason for the existence of most private religious schools, and therefore the selection and supervision of the teachers upon whom the schools rely to do this work lie at the core of their mission,” he continued. “Judicial review of the way in which religious schools discharge those responsibilities would undermine the independence of religious institutions in a way that the 1st Amendment does not tolerate.”

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.

Kristen Biel was a fifth-grade teacher at St. James School in Torrance whose teaching contract was canceled shortly after she told the principal she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She later sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects employees from discrimination based solely on a disease like cancer. She died last year, but her husband, Darryl Biel, has maintained the suit.

Agnes Morrissey-Berru had taught fifth grade at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Hermosa Beach for decades when the principal suggested she may want to retire. She refused, and her teaching contract was not renewed. She then sued, alleging age discrimination.

Lawyers for the Catholic Archdiocese said the suits should be dismissed, citing the ministerial exception recognized by the high court. Two federal district judges agreed, but the 9th Circuit Court cleared both suits to proceed, ruling that neither teacher was a religious leader at school.

In dissent, Sotomayor called the court’s ruling “simplistic” because it allows a church to decide which of its employees are central to its religious mission and therefore not covered by antidiscrimination laws.

“That stretches the law and logic past their breaking points,” she said. “The court’s conclusion portends grave consequences.
Thousands of Catholic teachers may lose employment-law protections because of today’s outcome. Other sources tally over a hundred thousand secular teachers whose rights are at risk. And that says nothing of the rights of countless coaches, camp counselors, nurses, social-service workers, in-house lawyers, media-relations personnel, and many others who work for religious institutions. All these employees could be subject to discrimination for reasons completely irrelevant to their employers’ religious tenets.”

Trump has made clear that he wants federal funds to flow to private and religious schools if any new aid is approved to help public schools reopen. DeVos and Trump will use any opportunity to push federal money to religious schools.

The Supreme Court’s decision in the Espinoza case, which ruled that any state that aided private schools had to provide aid to religious schools, has encouraged Trump and DeVos to push harder for federal funding of religious schools.

Thus far, the Democrat-controlled Appropriations Committee in the House has blocked all such requests by DeVos and Trump.

President Donald Trump will ask for a “one-time, emergency appropriation” for a new grant proposal, according to an outline of the plan obtained by McClatchy. The grants would be provided to states to distribute to nonprofit institutions that disburse scholarships to qualified students who want to attend non-public schools.

“I have never heard a single, compelling persuasive reason as to why somebody is against Education Freedom Scholarships, opportunity scholarships, school choice, charter schools. And the reason is this: we’re trying to give these kids just another opportunity and provide their parents with another option,” Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, told McClatchy.

The White House is seeking to have 10% of the amount that Congress approves for state and local educational agencies set aside for the grants. Trump will also seek approval of $5 billion in federal tax credits for businesses and individuals who donate to the scholarship programs.

The Trump administration has been promoting school choice initiatives for weeks as a way to provide educational opportunities to children in underserved communities and get money to help financially struggling private and Catholic schools before the new school year.

Read more here: https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article243956302.html#storylink=cpy

Jeff Bryant noticed and documented a worrisome new trend: Charter operators are taking advantage of the pandemic to open new charter schools in suburban districts with good public schools.

Public school parents have spoken out, as he shows, because they understand that new charters will drain money from their good public schools and weaken them.

Because reopening public schools in the coming school year will be fraught with unprecedented challenges, experts say, and education budgets may get cut to the bone, news of charter school startups and expansions will undoubtedly spark heated opposition from public school parents and teachers, even in well-to-do suburban communities, like Wake County, that may have been insulated from the financial costs of school choice in the past.

“[These parents and public school advocates] should expect charter schools to drain financial resources from their communities’ public schools,” Preston Green told me in a phone call.

Green, a University of Connecticut professor, is the author of numerous critical studies of charter schools, including one in which he argued that the charter industry’s operations resemble the business practices of Enron, the mammoth energy corporation that collapsed under a weight of debt and scandal.

As evidence, Green sent me an email citing a 2018 study of five non-urban, North Carolina school districts. The study determined that these non-urban districts lost about $4,000 to $6,000 for every student enrolled in a charter school.

Green said that because controversial charter schools have so far been less widespread in the suburbs compared to inner-city communities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, and Detroit, it’s likely that many suburban parents who previously were unfamiliar with the fiscal impacts of charter schools will increasingly express concerns about seeing new charter schools popping up in their communities.

“This fiscal impact is concerning,” Green explained, “because public schools have fixed costs, such as facilities and administration, that cannot be cut very easily.”

I have posted reports of individual charter schools that received hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions of dollars, from the federal Paycheck Protection Program. These charters claimed to be small businesses, not public schools, which were not eligible to get PPP money. Until two days ago, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refused to release the names of those who asked for PPP money.

Now the list is out, and it will take a long time to analyze it because 650,000 applicants received federal funding from this program.

Some charters and charter advocates have already been identified on the PPP list. The grants awarded are not exact. They are in a range. I present here the upper limit of the range. I don’t know why the exact amount was not reported. That’s not like the federal government.

KIPP: 19 different KIPP applicants received up to a total of $58 million

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools received an amount in a range up to $1 million.

The California Charter Schools Association received an amount in a range up to $2 million.

The pro-charter, pro-voucher Center for Education Reform received up to $350,000.

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers collected up to $1 million

The handsomely funded Thomas B Fordham Foundation collected up to $1 million (when I was on the board in 2009, the TBF Institute had about $40 million in assets and has since received many grants from Gates and other foundations to promote privatization and Common Core).

It may take weeks to produce a full accounting of the coronavirus funds collected by the charter industry, its lobbyists, its advocacy groups, and its schools.

However, we do have a report for one state, Arizona.

Educator and author Curtis Cardine reviewed the PPP grants to private schools in Arizona and produced this list:

Charter Schools
1. Sonoran Schools, $1 to $2 million.
2. Success Schools, $1 to $2 million.
3. Acorn Montessori Charter School $350,000 to $1 million.
4. Arizona Autism Charter Schools, $350,000 to $1 million.
5. Arizona Montessori Charter School at Anthem, $350,000 to $1 million.
6. Ball Charter Schools (Dobson), $350,000 to $1 million.
7. Ball Charter Schools (Hearn), $350,000 to $1 million.
8. Candeo Schools, Inc., $350,000 to $1 million.
9. Career Success Schools, $350,000 to $1 million.
10. Challenge School, Inc., $350,000 to $1 million.
11. Desert Garden Montessori School Inc., $350,000 to $1 million.
12. FitKids Charter School, $350,000 to $1 million.
13. Franklin Phonetic Primary School, $350,000 to $1 million.
14. International Commerce Secondary Schools Inc., $350,000 to $1 million.
15. International School of Arizona Inc., $350,000 to $1 million.
16. Keystone Montessori Charter School, $350,000 to $1 million.
17. LEAD Charter Schools, $350,000 to $1 million.
18. Legacy Traditional School, Peoria, $350,000 to $1 million.
19. Legacy Traditional School, East Mesa, $350,000 to $1 million.
20. Legacy Traditional School, Gilbert, $350,000 to $1 million.
21. Legacy Traditional School, North Chandler, $350,000 to $1 million.
22. Legacy Traditional School, Laveen, $350,000 to $1 million.
23. Legacy Traditional School, Goodyear, $150,000 to $350,000.
24. Liberty Traditional Charter School, $350,000 to $1 million.
25. Liberty Traditional Charter School, Inc, $350,000 to $1 million.
26. Legacy Traditional Schools – Nevada Inc., $2 to $5 million. This is the same company that runs Legacy in Arizona.
27. Mohave Accelerated Elementary School Inc, $350,000 to $1 million.
28. Noah Webster Schools – Pima, $350,000 to $1 million.
29. Noah Webster Schools-Mesa, $350,000 to $1 million.
30. Paradise Valley Christian School, $350,000 to $1 million.
31. Prescott Valley Charter School, $350,000 to $1 million.
32. Verde Valley School, $350,000 to $1 million.
33. Ball Charter Schools (Val Vista), $150,000 to $350,000.
34. Bright Beginnings School, Inc., $150,000 to $350,000.
35. CAFA Charter School, Lp, $150,000 to $350,000.
36. Concordia Charter School Inc, $150,000 to $350,000.
37. Crown Charter School, Inc., $150,000 to $350,000.
38. Desert Star Community School, $150,000 to $350,000.
39. E-Institute Charter High School, $150,000 to $350,000.
40. Eastpointe High School Inc. $150,000 to $350,000.
41. Incito Schools, $150,000 to $350,000.
42. Midtown Primary School, $150,000 to $350,000.
43. Milestones Charter School, $150,000 to $350,000.
44. Montessori Day School, Inc, $150,000 to $350,000.
45. Montessori International School, Inc., $150,000 to $350,000.
46. Mountain School, Inc, $150,000 to $350,000.
47. New Horizon School for The Performing Arts, $150,000 to $350,000.
48. North Star Charter School Inc, $150,000 to $350,000.
49. Park View School, Inc., $150,000 to $350,000.
50. Phoenix Advantage Charter School, $150,000 to $350,000.
51. Sedona Charter School, Inc., $150,000 to $350,000.
52. Synergy Public School, $150,000 to $350,000.
53. The Edge School Inc., $150,000 to $350,000.
54. The Excalibur Charter School, Inc., $150,000 to $350,000.
55. Tucson International School Inc., $150,000 to $350,000.
56. Twenty First Century Charter Schools Inc., $150,000 to $350,000.

Religiously Affiliated
1. Gilbert Christian Schools, $1 to $2 million.
2. Northwest Christian School, $1 to $2 million.
3. Notre Dame Preparatory Roman Catholic High School, $1 to $2 million.
4. Valley Christian Schools, $1 to $2 million.
5. Bourgade Roman Catholic High School Phoenix, $350,000 to $1 million.
6. Desert Christian Schools Inc., $350,000 to $1 million.
7. Joy Christian School, $350,000 to $1 million.
8. Phoenix Christian Unified Schools, Inc., $350,000 to $1 million.
9. Seton Roman Catholic High School Chandler, $350,000 to $1 million.
10. St Augustine Catholic High School, $350,000 to $1 million.
11. St Mary’s Roman Catholic High School, $350,000 to $1 million.
12. The Gregory School, $350,000 to $1 million.
13. Trinity Lutheran Church And School, $350,000 to $1 million.
14. Ascension Lutheran Church And School, $150,000 to $350,000.
15. Valley Lutheran High School Association, $350,000 to $1 million
16. Yuma Catholic High School, $350,000 to $1 million.
17. El Dorado Private School, $150,000 to $350,000.
18. Imago Dei Middle School, $150,000 to $350,000.
19. Lourdes Catholic School, $150,000 to $350,000.
20. Phoenix Christian School Society, Inc., $150,000 to $350,000.
21. Salpointe Catholic High School, $1 to $2 million.

Private Schools
1. The Orme School, $350,000 to $1 million.
2. Arizona School Of Integrative Studies llc, $150,000 to $350,000.
3. A Castlehill Management, Llc. Dba Castlehill Country Day School, $150,000 to $350,000.
4. Kriskat Investments, Llc Dba Primrose School Of Ahwatukee, $150,000 to $350,000. https://start.cortera.com/company/research/k9q8pxn1m/kriskat-investments-llc/
5. Lake Pleasant School 2 Llc, $150,000 to $350,000.
6. Lake Pleasant School Llc, $150,000 to $350,000
7. Lexis Preparatory School Llc, $150,000 to $350,000
8. Bayer Private School, $150,000 to $350,000.
9. Summit School of Ahwatukee, $350,000 to $1 million.

Perhaps you could do the same for your state.

The Paycheck Protection Program was indeed a bonanza for charters and other private schools. Charters had the advantage of collecting public funds as “public schools” and then collecting again as “small businesses.”

Remember how Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin fought to keep private the names of those who received federal coronavirus funds intended for small businesses? The trillion or so was meant to keep people employed by small businesses at risk of bankruptcy.

Now we know why Mnuchin wanted to seal the books. The recipients included the politically powerful and members of the Kushner and Trump families. And many more with political connections.

Here’s one review by ProPublica.

Here’s a Daily Beast list of the politically connected who cashed in.

Thirty-five top law firms collected $169 million, including the firm of Daid Boies and Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz.

Wall Street investment firms and insurance companies received billions of dollars.P

Trump supporter Kanye West collected millions for his business although he claims to be a billionaire.

CNBC has more details, including a link to the full list of recipients.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s family’s business, Foremost Maritime, got a loan valued at between $350,000 and $1 million. Chao is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Perdue Inc., a trucking company co-founded by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, was approved for $150,000 to $350,000 in loan money.

The Americans for Tax Reform, which opposes federal spending, and the Ayn Rand Institute, founded by anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, received between $350,000-$1 million. Norquist opposes wasteful government spending unless he gets some.

The Paycheck Protection Program was a free-money party for those in the know.

Trump demanded that schools reopen for in-person instruction in a few weeks, as the pandemic surges in more than half the states. He and his party have refused to pass the HEROES act to provide additional resources for schools.

DeVos blasted school districts that hesitate to open, fearing risk to students and staff. She said, patronizingly, that life has many risks: get over it.


Trump doesn’t care about the lives of students and staff. He cares only about his poll numbers. DeVos is arrogant and doesn’t care what might happen to students and teachers and other staff in public schools. She never has.

Opening schools without elaborate and carefully planned protocols for testing, daily screenings, masks, small classes, and social distancing is insane.

Opening schools in the middle of a raging and uncontrolled pandemic is irresponsible. Whose loves will be sacrificed?

What example has Trump set by refusing to wear a mask? Didn’t he just falsely claim that 99% of COVID infections are “totally harmless”?



President Trump on Tuesday dialed up pressure on state and local authorities to reopen schools, even as coronavirus cases spike, accusing officials who keep them closed as being motivated by politics.

He said in-person education was essential for the well-being of students, parents and the country as a whole, and he vowed to keep up the pressure on governors to open buildings.
“We want to reopen the schools,” Trump said. “We don’t want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons. They think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep schools closed. No way.”

The president did not mention that his own reelection prospects may depend on whether voters see the country as having recovered from the economic and social devastation of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

It’s also unclear whether the schools push will be a political winner for Trump.

Some parents are eager to return to normal but many others, fearful of the virus, have told districts they want to keep their children home this fall.

Virtually every K-12 school in the United States closed this spring in an effort to control infections, abruptly moving to online learning.

The system worked reasonably well for some families in some school districts but was an outright failure in others.

Colleges and universities also shut down, though their remote learning was generally seen as more successful.
Now schools at all levels are struggling to develop plans for the fall, with many planning a mix of in-person and online classes…

During an afternoon dialogue at the White House, federal, state and local officials made the case for in-person schooling, saying it was imperative for the education and social-emotional well-being of children, and critical for parents who need to go to work.

They noted that schools provide children with meals, mental health counseling and socialization.
“Parents have to get back to the factory. They’ve got to get back to the job site. They have to get back to the office. And part of that is their kids, knowing their kids are taken care of,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.

Children, officials added, are far less likely to become ill and die of the virus than older people, though little was said about the teachers and staff who might be at risk.
“We cannot simply focus on virus containment at the expense of everything else,” said Elinore McCance-Katz, assistant secretary for mental health and substance use at HHS.

The confidence projected from the White House stood in contrast with the angst in many local districts working to develop plans for the fall. Most big cities and many others are developing hybrid models that alternate days in the building and days at home to minimize the number of students present at any given time.

Those models are being developed in part to comply with guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that recommends “enhanced social distancing” in buildings. For instance, the CDC recommends that desks be placed at least six feet apart, something that might not be possible if all students are on site.

Administration officials did not address these hybrid plans directly, though Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said that schools “must fully reopen and fully operate this school year.”

One guest, Patrick Daly, principal of St. Vincent de Paul High School in Petaluma, Calif., said he plans a hybrid system, where students learn from home on certain days. Trump replied that he hoped the school could be in-person full time.

“I know you want to try,” he said.
CDC Director Robert Redfield noted that the agency never recommended that schools close in the first place. And he appeared concerned that his agency’s guidance has made districts reticent to open.
“Nothing would cause me greater sadness” than learning that schools view the guidance as reason not to open, he said.

Schools can safely reopen if they arrange for appropriate social distancing, face coverings and strong personal hygiene including hand-washing, Azar said.

He and some other administration officials were seen wearing masks at the White House, something the president has resisted.

Making his case for a return to normal, Trump repeatedly played down the rising number of coronavirus cases, saying treatments and vaccines are coming soon. He said there are only more cases because the country is doing more testing, a point health experts dispute.

Politico reported on a phone call that DeVos had with the governors, in which she demanded that schools reopen and ignore the risks.

Lily Eskelsen Garcia responded:

“The reality is no one should listen to Donald Trump or Betsy DeVos when it comes to what is best for students,” said Lily Eskelsen García, National Education Association president. “Trump has not once proven credible, compassionate or thoughtful when it comes to this pandemic.”

The White House is hammering a message of reopening schools even as coronavirus cases spike throughout the country, insisting it’s okay to move ahead and that decisions last spring to close doors came from states rather than health experts at the CDC.

Ignore them. They don’t care about human life. They care about the stock market and the election.

Garrison Keillor’s “The Writers’ Almanac” posted this greeting:

It’s the birthday of American author, historian, and narrator David McCullough (books by this author), born in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1933). McCullough has won two Pulitzer Prizes, both for nonfiction books about presidents. The first was for Truman (1993); the second was for John Adams (2001).

At Yale University in the early 1950s, McCullough took a writing class with novelist Robert Penn Warren, who required his students to slip a fresh piece of original prose under his door each day at 8:30. If they didn’t, they received a zero. McCullough said, “It was a great way to learn discipline.” He also grew close to playwright Thornton Wilder, who advised him to look for stories that hadn’t been written yet, and write them.

After graduation, McCullough worked at Sports Illustrated as a writer. One editor at the magazine had a red stamp with a four-letter word on it: dull. McCullough grew to fear receiving the stamp on his work, so he became meticulous with his writing. It was later, while working at American Heritage magazine, that he really thought he might become a writer. “Once I discovered the endless fascination of doing research and of doing the writing, I knew I had found what I wanted to do with my life.”

For many years, he wrote in a small, windowed shed in the backyard of his Martha’s Vineyard
home. He said, “Nothing good was ever written in a large room.” The shed had no running water and no telephone. Family members had to whistle when they approached so as not to startle McCullough. On his desk were a green banker’s lamp and a Royal typewriter, which he had freshly oiled for each new book.

When asked how he chooses which historical figure to write about, he admitted to quitting a project on the painter Pablo Picasso. He said: “He was an awful man. I don’t think you have to love your subject — initially you shouldn’t — but it’s like picking a roommate. After all, you’re going to be with that person every day, maybe for years, and why subject yourself to someone you have no respect for or outright don’t like?”