Columnist David Weigel of the Washington Post writes that many Republicans have turned against vote-by-mail plans because Democrats support it. Ironically, absentee balloting typically favors Republicans.

He writes:

Georgia Speaker of the House David Ralston called into a local interview show with bad news. It would be tough, he told FetchYourNews yesterday, to find “enough people to man” polling sites. It would be easier to “push back the date” of the primary, which Georgia’s governor had already delayed by two months. And a solution from Republican Secretary of State John Raffensperger — sending absentee ballot applications to every registered voter — was problematic, he said. “When you look at the people in Georgia that have lined up to support Secretary Raffensperger’s proposal, it’s every extreme, liberal Democratic group that’s out there,” Ralston said. “It kind of makes you wonder what their agenda is.”

That same conversation, with the same fear and suspicion, is happening in nearly every state. Just five states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington — were planning before the start of the coronavirus pandemic to conduct November’s elections with all-mail ballots. Voting rights groups and many Democrats have pointed to vote-by-mail as the most workable solution if in-person voting is a health risk.

But the very fact that Democrats support these changes has raised Republicans’ skepticism and heightened their opposition. Taking cues from the president, who warned this week that “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again” if Democrats’ reforms were adopted, some conservatives argue that expanding vote-by-mail is a liberal scheme. Anything that made it into H.R. 1, the House Democrats’ package of voting reforms that has been ignored by the Republican-run Senate, is immediately suspect.

“These rules were all intended to basically make it easier to manipulate elections, and frankly, make it easier to cheat,” Hans von Spakovsky, director of the conservative Heritage Foundation’s election law project, said in an interview with Breitbart News. “They have absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with helping the country deal with the coronavirus.”

Von Spakovsky, who has been criticized for overhyping the risks of voter fraud, spoke for many Republicans. If nothing changes before November, the election and the primaries still being held between now and then will be held in wildly divergent conditions from state to state. None of the states that conduct all-mail voting are seen as competitive in this year’s presidential election, and the debate about one party fighting for partisan advantage has not squared with their own experience. In fact, for years, rules expanding the use of absentee ballots were seen as favoring Republicans.

“Being a very red state, we haven’t seen anything that helps one party over another at all,” said Justin Lee, who has been Utah’s director of elections for three years as vote-by-mail was implemented. “We’ve heard less concern about voter fraud than about whether every ballot that should get counted does get counted.”

Of the eight states expected to be see the closest races — Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — only the first two have a robust absentee ballot tradition. New Hampshire requires voters who want an absentee ballot to declare that they will be at work, out of the state or unwell or that they have some religious exemption from in-person voting, while the seven other states have no special requirement.

Seven of the eight swing states have something else in common: divided governments. In Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Democratic governors are frequently at odds with Republican-run legislatures. (In Minnesota, Republicans control the state Senate, while Democrats control the House.) For Wisconsin, that meant Gov. Tony Evers’s proposal to send postage-paid absentee ballots to voters was dead on arrival, with the Republican speaker of the House calling it an “invitation to voter fraud.”

In New Hampshire, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu contests with a Democratic-run General Court and has vetoed several attempts to make voting easier. In Arizona, Republicans control most of state government, minus the secretary of state’s office; in Florida, they run every element of the election process.

For the past few weeks, elections officials across the country have been talking frequently, sharing best practices and sometimes walking through the vote-by-mail process. The National Association of State Election Directors had been holding weekly conference calls, and Kim Wyman, the Democrat serving as Washington’s secretary of state, said her office had been in touch with officials in every other state, answering questions about vote-by-mail logistics.

They had demystified vote-by-mail’s anti-fraud measures, explaining that ballot envelopes must be signed, that county clerks call voters if there are problems with their ballots, and that they’ve been able to chase down the few cases where people voted twice. In Washington’s last election, 4.4 million ballots were cast but fewer than 100 ballots were flagged and none led to a criminal fraud investigation. Voter fraud remains rare, with high-profile cases representing a tiny fraction of votes cast each year.

Yet so far, in legislatures, the debate over adjusting voting systems to deal with the pandemic has broken across partisan lines. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, called for universal vote-by-mail on March 18, one day after the state’s presidential primary. Republicans were skeptical, with state Rep. T.J. Shope telling the Arizona Republic that he saw “[an] appetite on the other side to take advantage of a crisis and do things they’ve been trying to get done for a very long time.”

Conservative pressure kept vote-by-mail out of last month’s coronavirus response package an succeeded in reducing funding that Democrats wanted for a switch to that system from $2 billion to $400 million. According to Wyman, vote- by-mail saved money in some ways, such as giving disabled voters a ballot instead of prepping every polling place for disabled access, but the pandemic is going to pile on more costs.

There is more but you get the idea.

Teresa Hanafin of the Boston Globe writes in her daily Fast Forward column that there are 12 states whose governors refuse to issue stay-home orders:

“I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s mostly governors who belong to the science-denying GOP who have been cavalierly ignoring the unanimous and increasingly frantic calls by the nation’s top epidemiologists and researchers for everybody to stay home to try to slow the spread of this deadly virus.

“The mayors of some cities in seven of those states have ignored their governors and implemented local stay-home orders: That has happened in a few cities and towns in Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

“But in Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and both Dakotas, there are no such orders. Maybe they think they have magic borders.”

The University of California released this statement:

The San Francisco Chronicle reported:

UC system to ease admissions requirements; no more SAT, letter-grades: The University of California will temporarily suspend the SAT standardized test requirement for students applying to its campuses for the fall 2021 semester due to the coronavirus outbreak, officials announced Wednesday. UC also will dispense with letter grade requirements for admission. Officials said there will be no rescission of admissions offers due to students or schools missing official final transcript deadlines. “We want to help alleviate the tremendous disruption and anxiety that is already overwhelming prospective students due to COVID-19,” said John A. Pérez, chair of the Board of Regents, which is the governing board for the school system.

Howard Blume and Sonali Kohl’s report on the large number of students in Los Angeles who are getting no instruction during the shutdown.

About one-third of some 120,000 Los Angeles high school students have not logged onto online classes every day, and 15,000 are absent from all online learning as efforts to continue distance learning fall short, according to the school district.

The disappointing figures were released Monday by L.A. schools Supt. Austin Beutner during a morning video update.

“It’s simply not acceptable that we lose touch with 15,000 young adults or that many students aren’t getting the education they should be,” Beutner said in prepared remarks. “This will take some time and a good bit of trial and error to get it right. And it will take the continued patience and commitment of all involved — students, families and teachers.”

Beutner says he hopes the online reach will improve as more families take advantage of free computers provided by L.A. Unified and free internet through community hot spots that Verizon is setting up through a contract with the nation’s second-largest school system.

“The great big digital divide many have spoken about is very real in the communities we serve where about 80% of our students come from families who are struggling to get by and many are not connected on the internet,” he said. “We need to train students, teachers and families so they’re all connected and comfortable using the technology.”

He added: “Then comes the main event: making sure our educators are prepared to add this to their instructional plans.”

The L.A. schools chief also pointed to bright spots in efforts to maintain student learning during a shutdown that is scheduled to last until at least the beginning of May. Beutner said that more than 200,000 people “in the area” were now watching ramped-up educational programming provided on three local public television stations: the district’s KLCS, as well as KCET and PBS SoCal.

The school system also has opened three additional grab-and-go meal distribution centers since that program began, bringing the number to 63.

Gene V. Glass is one of the nation’s most eminent researchers and statisticians of education. He is a professor emeritus at Arizona State University.

He writes:

Education Policy Analysis Archives is an open access (free to read) peer-reviewed journal now in its 28th year of continuous publication.

EPAA just published an article by David S. Knight (Univ. Washington) and Laurence A. Toenjes (Univ Houston) entitled “Do Charter Schools Receive Their Fair Share of Funding? School Finance Equity for Charter and Traditional Public Schools.”

The charter school industry constantly complains that states underfund them. They lobby legislatures asking for funding equal to the per pupil expenditure of the traditional public schools. No matter that they offer fewer services than their public school counterparts, or that they rake off far higher funds for administration than public schools. (I make no apologies for ignoring the legality that charter schools are also public schools, because so many of them attempt to operate like private schools by discouraging applications for some types of student and by projecting the image that they are private schools.)

Knight and Toenjes’s conclusion will not be welcomed by the charter industry: “Using detailed school finance data from Texas as a case study, we find that after accounting for differences in accounting structures and cost factors, charter schools receive significantly more state and local funding compared to traditional public schools with similar structural characteristics and student demographics. … Policy simulations demonstrate that on average, each student who transfers to a charter school increases the cost to the state by $1,500.”

The complete article can be downloaded at

Gene V Glass

Jersey Jazzman (aka Mark Weber) just celebrated his first 10 years as a blogger.

He explains that he started blogging because he was so outraged by Chris Christie’s constant attacks on teachers, unions, and public schools.

Along the way, he decided that he needed to upgrade his skills and analytical ability, so he earned a doctorate at Rutgers University.

It has been my pleasure to post many of JJ’s blogs, which have been consistently honest, thoughtful, and rigorous (in the best sense of the word).

By telling the truth, JJ became a leader of the Resistance.

Happy BlogDecadeDay, JJ!

Ed Johnson, a Georgian who puts a high value on intelligence and thoughtful decision making, writes about the conflict among some of his fellow Georgians. Should they listen to God or science? Johnson doesn’t think that one has to choose. God is not in opposition to science. God and science walk together. God wants people to learn about COVID-19 and take care of themselves.

Will they listen?

You know how politicians like to use international test scores to bash our public schools? Here’s good reason to bash the politicians in D.C.

Teresa Hanafin of the Boston Globe writes:

The expected numbers of American deaths from the coronavirus unveiled by the administration yesterday was pretty shocking — 100,000 to 240,000 — although those numbers have been floating around among scientists, researchers, and epidemiologists for awhile now.

But for Trump to allow his task force doctors to reveal those numbers publicly was remarkable, and a sign that it has finally dawned on him that he’s is presiding over a devastating epidemic.

It’s beyond sad to contemplate how low those numbers could have been, and how many lives could have been saved, had Trump listened to the experts instead of being contemptuously dismissive for weeks.

Had he seized control of the situation and kicked the feds into high gear with an aggressive, comprehensive, and nationwide approach, we wouldn’t be talking about World War II-level deaths.

That’s what South Korea did, a country that reported its first case on the same day as the US: Jan. 20. South Korea immediately convened officials from 20 medical companies and ordered them to start producing tests.

As tests were approved, the government opened hundreds of drive-through testing sites. The tests were free to anyone who wanted one, with results within hours. Test kits were supplied to hospitals and clinics as well.

Within seven weeks, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had tested about 300,000 people out of a population of 51 million.

In the same time period, the United States tested only 60,000 people in a population of 330 million.

That’s how community spread happens: When you don’t know who has the virus, you can’t stop it from spreading. At a certain point, the virus outruns you, and you can do nothing but keep scrambling to catch up. That’s where we are.

Face masks were readily available to South Koreans in local pharmacies, with each person allowed two per week. In the US, even frontline medical workers are rationing and reusing face masks.

Another factor: South Korea’s national health care system, under which nobody has to worry that they’ll get a lower quality health care than somebody richer than them, hospitals don’t have to fret about low reimbursements when they treat the poor, and people don’t have to worry about being driven into medical bankruptcy as so many Americans are.

In the US, Trump’s sustained attacks on Obamacare means that millions more Americans are uninsured than when he took office. Now, of course, those uninsured Americans are desperate to enroll, but in an act of what Democrats say is simply utter cruelty, Trump is refusing to reopen the federal exchange so that the uninsured can obtain insurance before they or someone in their family, God forbid, contracts the virus.

Fortunately, some governors have reopened their state exchanges, so if you live in a state with Democratic leadership, you could be in luck.

The bottom line:

The US has close to 200,000 cases, about .06 percent of the population, and 4,400 deaths, a rate of 2.2 percent. (That rate has increased, not declined, as more cases are uncovered.)

South Korea has 9,900 cases, about .02 percent of its population, and 165 deaths, a rate of 1.7 percent.

By late February, South Korea was getting about 900 new cases a day. Today, it’s about 100. In contrast, the number of new cases in the US is still soaring.

While the trajectory of South Korean cases has declined, the US trajectory is solidly pointing upward, increasing at the fastest rate in the world.

It didn’t have to be this way.

The Trump administration appears poised to take advantage of the national crisis torelease controversial changes, like announcing yesterday that it was dropping the federal fuel economy standards that were intended to reduce air pollution.

Now, Politico tells us that the Department of Education is likely to revise Title IX regulations. Betsy DeVos long ago made clear that she sympathized with the young men who had been accused of rape or sexual harassment, not the young women who accused them. So expect revisions to make it harder for young women to step forward to complain and have their complaints investigated.

Politico writes:

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FORGES AHEAD ON TITLE IX OVERHAUL: The completion of OMB’s review on Friday officially clears the way for DeVos to issue the new rule, which is expected to shake up how sexual assault and harassment charges are handled at every college campus and K-12 school.

— However, an Education Department spokesperson said the agency does not have an anticipated publication date yet.

— OMB meetings with groups on the rule are also still scheduled through April 16, according to the website.

— Even without a publication date, hundreds of education and victims advocacy groups, state attorneys general and some Senate Democrats are calling on the Education Department to put off the final rule until the coronavirus national emergency ends. Most groups asked to suspend nonessential rulemaking, saying that school resources are already spread thin trying to figure out how to move instruction online and support students.

— But some lawyers who represent students accused of misconduct say the Trump administration should go ahead and issue the rule, arguing that college Title IX coordinators may have time on their hands with campuses empty.

Anything from Lincoln Center is worth watching!

The first concert online is today at 4 pm.

Lincoln Center at Home Announces
#ConcertsForKids Programming

First Two Weeks Feature
Concerts at

NYC-based tap dance company and live music ensemble
Music from the Sole – Wednesday, April 1 at 4 p.m.

Latin-American singer-songwriter and guitarist
Sonia De Los Santos – Sunday, April 5 at 11 a.m.

Zeshan B brings an Indo-Pakistani feel to soul, blues,
and more – Wednesday, April 8 at 4 p.m.

Elena Moon Park celebrates folk and children’s music
from all over East Asia – Sunday, April 12 at 11 a.m.

What: For family audiences, Lincoln Center at Home presents a remarkable group of artists who will bring world-class performances and diverse musical perspectives straight from their homes to yours. #ConcertsForKids are new, short concerts recorded by the artists themselves, specifically for families, during this time.

The performances will premiere at, Lincoln Center’s YouTube Page, and on Lincoln Center’s Facebook Page and will be available after, on demand for families to enjoy whenever is convenient.

Who: Viewers at home can watch premiere live performances curated specifically for families with children. First up are Music from the Sole, Sonia De Los Santos, Zeshan B, and Elena Moon Park.

When: April 1 at 4 p.m.; April 5 at 11 a.m.; April 8 at 4 p.m.; and April 12 at 11 a.m.

Where:, Lincoln Center’s YouTube Page, and Lincoln Center’s Facebook Page

More: #ConcertsForKids is a part of Lincoln Center at Home (#LincolnCenterAtHome), a new initiative launched to maintain vital connections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lincoln Center at Home also offers Pop-Up Classroom; led by some of the world’s best artists and educators, each creative learning activity utilizes simple materials found at home to help families with children explore a variety of art forms.

In addition to the family-friendly offerings, Lincoln Center at Home features a trove of video from the archives of Lincoln Center’s resident organizations, including rarely seen footage from decades of Live From Lincoln Center, more recent performances from across campus, and live streams from wherever performances are still happening – empty halls, living rooms, and more.

Follow #LincolnCenterAtHome and check our web calendar for the latest digital offerings from all of Lincoln Center.

Download Video Clips, Performer Bios, and Press Photos

About #ConcertsForKids

Music from the Sole
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Led by dancer-musician Leonardo Sandoval and bassist-composer Gregory Richardson, Music from the Sole reflects choreographic and musical influences from Sandoval’s native Brazil, and Richardson’s talent combining funk, house, jazz, and Afro-Cuban music. Featuring original music, choreography, and improvisation, this show is guaranteed to keep children and families engaged. (Recommended for all ages)

Sonia De Los Santos
Sunday, April 5, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. ET
A soulful and important new voice in family music, Sonia De Los Santos spreads messages of joyful community music-making and builds bridges across cultures to inspire and excite children and grown-ups of all backgrounds. Blending both old and new songs, Sonia weaves a personal musical story that touches on universal themes of understanding. (Recommended for all ages)

Zeshan B
Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Tempestuous soul arias, urban love dramas, Memphis blues, and civil-rights anthems are interpreted with an Indo-Pakistani feel at this memorable concert by Zeshan B. Born to Muslim Indian immigrants in Chicago, Zeshan uses his powerful voice—singing in English, Urdu, and Punjabi—to tell tales of instability, ambiguity, loss, injustice, unrequited love, urban despair, and youthful ecstasy. His debut album Vetted, produced by legendary soul arranger Lester Snell and recorded in Memphis with a wrecking crew of Stax Records sidemen, was released in 2017. He has opened for Mos Def, A Tribe Called Quest, and Rakim, and performed at venues across the world, including the White House at the invitation of President Obama. (Recommended for ages 10+)

Elena Moon Park
Sunday, April 12, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. ET
Elena Moon Park celebrates folk and children’s music from all over East Asia, reinterpreted to mix various musical traditions, languages, styles, and stories. These tunes range from northern Japanese sea shanties to Tibetan jump rope rhymes, joyous Korean harvest sing-a-longs, and more. (Recommended for all ages)

Additional dates to be announced in the coming weeks. Next up are Gustafer Yellowgold, Falu, Soul Science Kids, and more. Check for updates.

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