Archives for the month of: April, 2022

The vice principal of an IDEA charter school in San Antonio was arrested for punching a 5-year-old child.

Betsy DeVos, when U.S .Secretary of Education, gave the IDEA chain more than $200 million from the federal Charter Schools Program to expand.

SAN ANTONIO – An area elementary school vice principal is in custody and charged with assault after she “lost control” and attacked a 5-year-old student in her office, according to Sheriff Javier Salazar.

The incident happened April 22 at an IDEA elementary school in the 10100 block of Kriewald Road, but the sheriff’s office wasn’t made aware of the situation until Wednesday, April 27.

According to Salazar, a mother told deputies that her five-year-old son, who attends the school, was assaulted by the school’s vice principal, 53-year-old Tara Coleman Hunter in her office..

The child admitted that he became “unruly” while in Hunter’s office and struck her. However, the situation escalated further when Hunter “lost control” and attacked the child, Salazar said.

“This was handled way inappropriately,” the sheriff said during a news conference Thursday.

Hunter punched the child in the face or head and pushed him into a file cabinet, according to the sheriff. This caused the child to develop a bump on his head and bruising.

The child was out of control, but the adult should know how to deal with an unruly child without resorting to physical assault.

I received the following statement by hundreds of Swedish teachers, protesting against the odious effects of privatization in education. They signed this post.

We teachers do not want to have it like this anymore

Published 28 Apr 2022 at 06.00

Filippa Mannerheim, high school teacher, Stockholm.

HP Tran, primary school teacher, Gothenburg.

Sara Persson, primary school teacher, Västervik.Photo: Sara Winsnes

Marcus Erhagen, high school teacher, Örebro.

Per Edberg, preschool teacher, Umeå.

We teachers demand a change. We demand that you politicians make sure to fix the institutionalized, corruption-promoting defects you yourself have built into the school system so that we teachers can focus on teaching Sweden’s children, 285 teachers write in a call against the marketized school.

This is a debate article. It is the writer who stands for the opinions in the text.

DEBATE. We who write this article do so even though we do not really have the time or energy. We write it even though it is not our job. We write it even though it should not have been needed and had not been needed in any other country than Sweden.

But as things stand now, we feel we have no choice.

We in Sweden today have large, commercial school groups that expand at the expense of the municipal school and make a profit through lower teacher density, fewer qualified teachers, fewer costly students and lower teacher salaries than municipal schools. Group schools receive permission from the Swedish Schools Inspectorate to start in municipalities even though the municipalities themselves say no and there is no need.

We do not want it like this.

Today, through the free right of establishment and the unregulated offer, a school can be opened anywhere and look any way. A teaching position can be anything for anyone. Nothing on the school grounds is regulated. Nothing is planned based on society’s needs.

We do not want it this way.

In the past, independent schools had lower school fees because the municipality must ensure that all students can go to a school close to home. The municipality can not choose the organization that is cheapest, it can independent schools. The municipality can not put students in line, it can independent schools. The municipality can not profile its schools so that some students feel that the school is not suitable for them, independent schools can. The municipality’s assignments are larger and more expensive, but the tuition fees are just as large. A majority of the Riksdag’s parties refuse to change this.

We do not want it this way.

The revolving doors between politicians and independent school companies are freshly blown and the close ties that exist between politicians, lobbyists and the business community are becoming increasingly tighter when former politicians take seats in school management or continue their careers as lobbyists.

It’s time to listen to the voters. It’s time to listen to us teachers. It is time to climb out of the school market swamp and act as elected politicians again.

Public opinion in Sweden is clearly against the private gains made in welfare and school. Nevertheless, this is not reflected in the Riksdag decisions that are made.

We do not want it this way.

School companies and large real estate companies today buy school properties so that the companies can make money at school even if politicians decide on a profit ban. They want to be able to move money from profits in school to profits in real estate companies. Instead of hiring teachers, the school fees are used for the real estate companies’ return requirements.

We do not want it this way.

We have politicians who drum up “freedom of choice” as a mantra as soon as criticism is directed at the system, but the free choice they defend is in fact the school groups, which through targeted marketing to parents with high-performing children, have the choice to only give school to the “cheapest The students. Everything is as it should be in the best of worlds, the majority of our parliamentary parties believe.

But we do not want it this way.

The Swedish school once made class trips possible. The school was good at getting the majority of students to succeed – even children without a study background. Today, Sweden has the most unequal school of all the Nordic countries. Swedish school torn apart.

Instead of a cohesive compensatory school, we now have listed company schools, groups with fake coats of arms, schools that call themselves international and that have teaching in a language other than Swedish. We have religious schools with dubious values.

We teachers do not want it like this anymore. We demand a change. We demand that you politicians make sure to remedy the institutionalized, corruption-promoting defects you yourself have built into the school system so that we teachers can focus on teaching Sweden’s children. And avoid writing articles like this in the future.

It’s time to listen to the voters. It’s time to listen to us teachers. It is time to climb out of the school market swamp and act as elected politicians again.

We teachers do not want it like this anymore.

Rolf Wallander, subject teacher years 4-6, Haninge 

Miranda Chang, F-6 teacher, Gislaved 

HP Tran, primary school teacher, Gothenburg 

Helena Tarras-Wahlberg, teacher, Ängelholm

Anna Bränström, high school teacher, Sundbyberg municipality

Maria Karlsson, high school teacher, Knivsta 

Jonas Linderoth, Professor of Pedagogy University of Gothenburg 

Pia Ennemuist, elementary school teacher, leisure educator, Värmdö 

Therese Wikström, high school teacher, Ale 

Erik Winerö, high school teacher / doctoral student educational science, Lerum

Alexander Nilsson, high school teacher, Trelleborg

Marie Pettersson, special educator, Skövde

Therese Andersson, elementary school teacher, Örebro 

teacher , Stockholm

Magnus Svensson, university lecturer, teacher educator, Eskilstuna. 

Ann-Christine Norman, upper secondary school teacher, Boden

Daniel Runhage, primary school teacher, Malmö 

Per Edberg, preschool teacher, Umeå

Filippa Mannerheim, upper secondary school teacher, Stockholm 

Anton Ek, primary school teacher. Falun

Felix Björk, music teacher student, Stockholm

Aron Ihse Trägårdh, elementary teacher student, Malmö 

Anthon Brunzell, subject teacher student, Lund

Björn Dahlman, teacher, Ekerö

Terese Crona Lindström, teacher in after-school center, Ängelholm 

Simon Kvassman, subject teacher and teacher student, Örebro

Birch Petter 

MagnusBäcklund, teacher Hörby

Jenny Winberg, teacher, Västerås

Edvin Jensen, high school teacher, Linköping 

Maria Olsson, retired high school teacher, Ale

Martin Ahlstedt, high school teacher, Gothenburg

Pernilla Wallgren, elementary school teacher, Stockholm 

Lena Karlsson Saranpää, elementary school teacher, Motala

Maja Anselius, Special educator 

, , primary school teacher, Stockholm 

Erika Tidblom, teacher, Norrköping

Magnus Dahlström, high school teacher, Malmö

Tilde Jansson, high school teacher, Stockholm 

Lena Danelius, high school teacher, Lund

Daniel Lund, high school teacher, Norrköping

Rasmus Hardeström, teacher, Linköping

Maria Hals, high school teacher, Danderyd

Joel Larsson, High school, Danderyd

Maria Jarlsdotte r former principal, Ängelholm 

Per Johansson, high school teacher, Ängelholm

Karl Engqvist, primary school teacher, Arvika. 

Olof Persson, High school teacher, Strömsund

Lotta Lindvall, preschool teacher in preschool class, Motala

Birgitta Hultkrantz, Municipal adult teacher Stockholm

Jonas Hemström, deputy principal, Stockholm

Andreas Olofsson, high school teacher, Ljungby 

Petter Cronberg, teacher, Nyhamnsläge

, elementary school teacher, elementary school

NyborgDanderyd

Kristina Lundin, high school teacher, Köping

Ulla Åkerström, leg. teachers who left school, Gothenburg

Johanna Verme, high school teacher student, Lerum

Jesper Berglund, high school teacher, Gothenburg

Lisa Göland, high school teacher, Linköping

Petra Särnhammar, school librarian and high school teacher, Linköping

Linda Odén, high school teacher, Gråbo

Lars Ljunggren, high school teacher, Falun

Åsa Tadell, high school teacher

Maria Gustavson, teacher, Västerås 

Fredrik Sandström, teacher, Arboga

Tom Bergström, vocational teacher, Sala 

Petra Lindström, teacher, Gnesta

Pontus Bierich, Teacher, Kungälv

Linnea Argårds, teacher, Örebro

Martin Viklund, teacher, Hudiksvall

Gunnar Wike, primary school teacher, Västerås

Anders Törnlund , teacher, Huddinge

Jan Kjellin, preschool teacher, Falun

Fredrik Björkman, high school teacher, Malmö

Elisabeth Ahrent, teacher Simrishamn

Johan Carlsson, high school teacher, Upplands Väsby 

Fredrik Törnqvist, high school teacher, Stockholm

Magnus Almström, high school teacher, Borås

Helena Edvardsson, elementary school teacher, Gothenburg

Christoffer Eriksson, high school teacher , Uppsala

Kari Nilsson, teacher, Malmö 

Elin Persson, after-school center teacher, Danderyd

Anna Östman, primary school teacher, Huddinge

Rickard Himre, upper secondary school teacher, Stockholm  

Fredrik Clausson, upper secondary school teacher, Lund

Nils Rickdorff Lahrin, upper secondary school teacher, Uppsala 

Björn Johannesson, primary school teacher, Gothenburg

Maryna Grip, primary school teacher, Söderhamn

Jan Magnusson,

Lotta Gedik-Cederberg, primary school teacher, Malmö

Jenny Vide, primary school teacher, Uppsala

Mathias Israelsson, primary school teacher, Gothenburg

Lilian Birath, high school teacher, Svedala 

Anna Heimer, preschool teacher, Partille

Patrik Unné, special educator 

Margareta Melin, primary school teacher, Kungälv

Jonas Fried, Gothenburg primary school

teacher , elementary school teacher, Ryd

Sara Persson, elementary school teacher, Västervik 

Maria Himre, high school teacher, Stockholm

Marie Karlsson, elementary school teacher, Svedala

Olof Loklint, elementary school teacher, Västerås 

Niclas Djupström, high school teacher, Skövde

Gunnel Alm, high school teacher, Norrköping

Bodil Ejwertz, teacher, Tylyl

, teacher , Sundbyberg

Helen a Svanängen, university lecturer, Jönköping

Isabella Åkerlund, teacher, Karlstad

Maria Hilber, preschool teacher, Huddinge

Isabella Verner, high school teacher, Stockholm

Malin Ahlgren, high school teacher, Stockholm

Elinor Löfstaf, teacher, Västerås 

Peter Sjöde IDH teacher Jönköping

Svensson Gothenburg

MånsPettersson, high school teacher, Stockholm 

Anders Lindborg, high school teacher Varberg

Karin Berg, high school teacher, Gothenburg 

Peter Alm, high school teacher, Uppsala 

Marina Nordin, teacher, Stockholm 

Calle Andén, primary school teacher, Gotland

Niclas Ländin, deputy principal, Sollentuna 

Hedvig Bolmgren, special teacher / special educator,

Östhammar Rosenberg, primary school teacher, Klippan 

Fredrik Hornegård, teacher, Stockholm 

EwaLiz Larsson, primary school teacher, Karlskrona 

Tobias Nilsson, special teacher, Lund 

Anna Nylander, high school teacher, Lysekil. 

Marika Lindholm, teacher, former. principal, Stockholm

Emma Sjödin, high school teacher, Stockholm 

Shpetim Ademi, high school teacher, Kristianstad. 

Johanna Andersson, high school teacher, Malmö

Bernt Andersson, leg. teacher of music and English, SiS in Lidköping

Magnus Karlberg Teacher / leisure educator Stockholm

Ellinor Brantås, elementary school teacher, Järfälla 

Johanna Ramstedt, elementary school teacher, Stockholm

Linda Bäckström, high school teacher, Gothenburg

Niklas Aronsson, high school teacher Gothenburg

Hjalmar Holgersson, high school teacher, Gothenburg

Pelle Flemark, high school 

Eva Söderberg, certified teacher of handicrafts / Swedish, Gothenburg

Kedikova, high school teacher, Norrköping

Anna Lundin, music teacher, Västerås 

Helene Johansson, elementary / high school teacher, Uddevalla 

Jakob Winnberg, high school teacher, Växjö

Solveig Ivarsson, elementary school teacher, Svenljunga

Jan Gustavsson, Norrman Lotman,

Zumi, elementary school teacher, Ulricehamn 

Anna Klingström, high school teacher, Sala

Fredrik Månsson, high school teacher, Norrköping

Christina W. Källström, high school teacher, Katrineholm

Emma Solum Holst, high school teacher, Borlänge 

Alexandra Georgieva, elementary school teacher, Gothenburg

Carina Lindström, music teacher in elementary school, 

Södertarje high school Lina teacher, Stockholm

Helena Wessel, school secretary former high school teacher, Stockholm

Katarina Hjärpe, school librarian, Malmö 

Mattias Forsberg, high school teacher, Arvika

Henrik Estvik, high school teacher, Stockholm

Maria Ruukel, elementary school teacher, Valdemarsvik 

Åsa Andersson, elementary school teacher, Västerås

Jonathan Wikström, elementary school teacher,

L primary school teacher, Stockholm

Staffan Lindström, music teacher in primary school, Södertälje

Carin Hammarström, teacher, Malmö

Hans-Uno Karlsson, retired primary school teacher, Hajom

Jennie Gudmundsson, leg. teacher ma / bi 7–9, Ängelholm

Ragnar Suneson retired language teacher 7–9, Tranås

Cecilia Ekdahl Schewenius, subject teacher / assistant professor, Kungshamn 

Jan Wärmegård, primary school teacher, Stockholm

Cecilia F. Kroon, teacher, Staffanstorp 

Gunilla Martinsson, teacher Falkenberg

Maria Henriksson, language teacher Mora 

Anna Liljekvist, teacher, Nacka

Cecilia Svensson, teacher F-3, Sundsvall 

Inga-Lill Lagerlöf, retired teacher, Tierp

Hanna Wallinder, teacher, Malmö 

Helén Enqvist, language teacher years 6–9, Botkyrka 

Annette Säterberg, high school teacher, Kungsbacka

Ingemar Abrahamsson, handicraft teacher, Gothenburg

Lotta Carlson, subject teacher Ma / No, Kungsbacka 

Carola Svensson, adult teacher, Norrköping

Marie Wislander, teacher, Tjörn

Maria Jansson, special teacher, Stockholm

Jonny Wester, music teacher, Hylte 

Miriam Järlebark, teacher SFI, Örebro

Film Katja 

Roselli Åsell, teacher, Hofors

Jan Gustavsson, Municipal adult teacher, Norrköping

Helen Egardt, high school teacher, Lidingö

Thomas Bergström, high school teacher Ludvika

Mikael Winblad, teacher e, Strängnäs

Ann-Sofie Johansson, high school teacher, Västerås 

Pia Brodersen, special educator, Stockholm

Ulla Sunden, teacher, Gothenburg

Mirjam Cameron Sedwall, teacher, Stockholm

Linda Söderberg, teacher, Timrå 

Robert Warrebäck, teacher, Stockholm

Jenny Vad-Schütt, teacher, Täby 

Johan Thorssell, high school teacher, Gothenburg 

Cecilia Rosenqvist, subject teacher, Simrishamn

Rebecka Beijer, high school teacher, Eskilstuna

Jaana Vilén, special teacher, Karlskoga

Carola Sjöstrand, teacher, Jönköping

Elisabeth Broman, former elementary school teacher, Österåker

Sabina Granstrand, teacher Frida, Samstad

4-6 Gothenburg

Louise Halldin, high school teacher, Gothenburg

Birgitta Jensen, deputy principal, Emmaboda

Pia Thomasson, 7 – 9 teachers, Ängelholm

Sanna Dabolins, high school teacher, Gothenburg 

Linda Gunnarsson, teacher, Härryda 

Bengt Johansson, teacher, Nacka 

Malin Hökby, high school teacher, Nacka 

Anna Näslund War, primary school teacher 4–6, Karlskrona

Ingela Bursjöö, teacher, Gothenburg

Hasse Annerbo, primary school teacher 1–7 Falun 

Åsa Hartzell, upper secondary school teacher, Stockholm

Jessica Andersson Sjöstrand, upper secondary school teacher, Växjö 

Marie Rehnström, middle school teacher, Härryda

Johanna Stigmark, SFI teacher, Södertälje

Maria Knutsson-Torvaldsen, primary school teacher, Ockelbo 

Frida Lotfi, upper secondary school teacher, Danderyd

Kenneth Pilström, retired teacher, Kil

Anders teacher, Norrköping

Cecilia Rehnqvist, teacher, Malmö 

Petter Träff, high school teacher, Malmö

Maria Trulsson, teacher, Gothenburg

Kristina Broberg, elementary school teacher, Uddevalla

Nilla Wikberg, special educator, Uppsala

Elin Jonasson, teacher student, Mönsterås

Robert Alexandersson, middle school teacher, Kristinehamn

high school teacher Micke Hjalmarsson Motala

David Reljanovic, high school teacher, Borås

Edith Marelli, high school teacher, Malmö

Sophia Ivanovic, teacher Nässjö

Robert Svensson, teacher Trollhättan

Sara Berggren, teacher, Sundsvall 

Nicklas Ivarsson, teacher, Trelleborg

Per Olov Nordin, philosophy Master, retired, Söderhamn

Susanne Lindgren, speci Luleå

Anna Svensson, high school e-teacher, Skara

Magdalena Gyllenlood, high school teacher, Nacka

Marie Sandström, high school teacher, Vara

Maria Sköld, teacher, Haninge

Amanda Terlevic, high school teacher, Gothenburg

Kerstin Meurling, teacher, Kulturskolan, Sundsvall

Maria L. Persson, teacher, Varberg

Susanne Lärkeryd, teacher,

Skellefte Utter, upper secondary school teacher, Gothenburg

Elin Bergström, leisure teacher, Sundsvall 

Nicolas Micic, teacher, Huddinge

Jennie Frisk, primary school teacher, Uppsala 

Åsa Fondin, special teacher, Landskrona

Stina Carlsson, primary school teacher ma / NO 1-7, Dalsed

Johanna Leinås, teacher, Täby 

Christer Hällkvist, high school teacher, Linköping 

Susan Persson-Payne, teacher, Eskilstuna

Jenny Svensson, high school teacher, Halmstad

Johan Fransson, high school teacher, Linköping

Staffan Melin, primary school teacher, Gothenburg

Karin Wilsson, principal, Mark municipality

Majlis Seppänen, teacher, Boden

Niclas Skott, teacher, Gothenburg

Anton Svensson , teacher, Växjö

Klas Holmgren, teacher, Borlänge

My Landberg, teacher, Järfälla

Joakim Lindström, teacher, Huddinge

Josefine Forsberg, primary school teacher, Umeå

Kerstin Rödén, special educator, Östersund

Helena Eidenson, primary school teacher, Sigtuna

Rolf Back, mathematics teacher, Falun

Lars Persson, technology teacher, Sölvesborg

Ola Lindholm, teacher, Karlstad

Marcus Erhagen, high school teacher, Örebro

Göteborg Hjertén, teacher 

Finnhigh school teacher, Uppsala

Jenny Dahlin, high school teacher, Mark municipality

Eva Almestad, preschool teacher, Sundsvall

Olof Dahl, fil. dr, high school teacher, Mölndal

Åsa Marmebro, teacher, Kungälv

Ulrihca Malmberg, high school teacher, Stockholm

Sara Fransson, high school teacher, Huddinge 

Debora Påhlsson, teacher, Båstad 

Birgitta Olsson, teacher, Karlskrona

Karin Linderyd, high school teacher, Motala 

In case you wondered, Peter Greene is not a fan of SEL (social-emotional learning). Just because the loathsome Florida Governor Ron DeSantis doesn’t like it is no reason to embrace it. He feels the way about SEL that I always felt about character education. Character education should not be a course or a program; it should implicitly permeate everything you do in teaching honesty, integrity. responsibility, and helpfulness. It must be modeled, expected, reinforced by example, not turned into lessons.

Greene writes:

Social and Emotional Learning is the new target of the GOP attempt to set multiple education brushfires in hopes of stampeding voters towards a Republican victory (as well as one more way for the authoritarian crowd to hammer home their central point of “Trust nobody except Beloved Leader”). The attacks range from overblown to intellectually dishonest to giant piles of bovine fecal matter to the odious, evil charges that the teaching profession is simply a haven for groomers.

And there is irony in these attacks from the right, because SEL is just the latest packaging of what we used to call “soft skills,” and some of the greatest push for getting these into schools has come from the business community (“Hey schools! Fix my meat widgets so they communicate and cooperate better!!”)

All that said, I’m not going to be the one to defend SEL in the classroom.

Perhaps I should say “formal SEL instruction.” SEL has always been in the classroom and always will be, because it’s impossible for an adult teacher to lead a roomful of young humans through learning and education and all the bumps and interactions that come by putting so many human beings in one room–well, you can’t navigate any of that without including SEL. “Don’t interrupt” and “keep your hands to yourself” and every group project ever are part SEL. Everything a teacher imparts, directly or indirectly, about how to work with, talk to, and get along with other humans is SEL. 95% of all the “this teacher changed my life” stories are about SEL and not actual subject content. So it is impossible to remove SEL from a classroom.

But formal SEL is another thing.

As soon as we try to formalize SEL instruction, we run into all sorts of problems. Are we doing it to help people get a better job and better grades or to be a better human being? And if it’s the latter, as it should be, who the heck is going to define what a better human being looks like? And is there just one definition? And if not (as is true), then exactly what sort of assessment are we going to use to measure the “effectiveness” of the program or the social and emotional learnedness of the students? And can you promise me that you aren’t going to record all that data to build some sort of digital social and emotional swellness file on each student? Also, will the program require every teacher to have a trained counselor level of expertise? Every single one of these questions ought to stop the march toward formalized SEL instruction dead in its tracks. But it hasn’t-not any of the times SEL, under various monikers has come trundling down the tracks…

If you spend an hour a week talking about how to be a decent person, and the rest of the week behaving like a lousy person, you’re wasting that hour. And if you spend the week being decent people, what do you need that hour of class for?

And, I would add now, you don’t model character for young humans by engaging in lying and slander to score political points. If 2022 is, as some activists are promising, the year that SEL takes over for CRT as the object of panic du jour, good luck to us all. But just because you call out the throwing of poo, that doesn’t mean you have to support the thing the poo’s being thrown.

We agree.

Teachers in New South Wales, Australia, plan to strike on May 4 to protest working conditions, especially understaffing and low salaries.

A letter to public school parents

Every day across NSW, children are missing out because of a lack of teachers.

It’s an unacceptable situation affecting public and private schools. Children can’t put their education on hold and wait for this to be fixed.

They have a right to be taught by a fully qualified teacher today and every day.

This is why teachers and principals have made the difficult decision to go on strike on Wednesday, May 4.

The teacher shortages are a growing problem caused by uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads. COVID isn’t the cause. It’s just making a bad situation worse.

In February this year, there were vacant permanent teaching positions in more than half the schools in NSW. More than 95 per cent of teachers and principals say their school has difficulty finding casual teachers.

The Department of Education’s own research shows large and growing shortages of teachers in many subject areas, forcing almost a quarter of secondary teachers to teach outside their area of expertise.

How do we fix the teacher shortages and ensure no child misses out?

If we truly want every child to get a high-quality education, we need a qualified teacher in every classroom.

Significantly, increasing teacher salaries and giving them more time to prepare lessons is an investment in our future that will pay off for our kids and our country.

While the work of teachers has become far more complex and challenging, their salaries have fallen far behind other professions. The NSW Government’s wage offer of a 2.04 per cent annual increase won’t even keep pace with rising costs, with inflation now running at 5.1 per cent.

Workloads are also excessive, with NSW teachers now working an average of 60 hours a week.

For more than 18 months, we have tried to reach agreement with the NSW Government on a reset of teacher salaries to better reflect the value of the work teachers do and make the profession more attractive to high— achieving young people.

We have also sought an increase of two hours in the preparation time teachers have each week. (The current two-hour entitlement for primary teachers has not changed since the 1980s. Preparation time for secondary teachers hasn’t changed since the 1950s.)

Unfortunately, the NSW Government is refusing to make this investment that will help retain our dedicated teachers and attract the ones we need to stop the shortages.

What will happen on Wednesday May 4?

You will need to make alternative plans for your child on this day because teachers will not be at the school.

We understand this is not ideal. But if we do not take action now, the teacher shortages will only grow and more children will miss out.

If you would like more information or to show your support for teachers, you can do so at

morethanthanks.com.au

Chaz Stevens, a 57-year-old tech wizard, noticed that Florida made it easier to challenge books used in schools and housed in school libraries. The law doesn’t take effect until July 1, but Stevens couldn’t wait that long. So he immediately launched a complaint about the Bible and the Oxford English Dictionary and requested that they be banned.

As of Wednesday, he has filed near-identical petitions with 63 Florida school districts asking to ban the Bible. He has also filed a second petition with one district, Broward County Public Schools, requesting the removal of the Oxford English Dictionary.

His three-page petition critiques the Bible for its depictions of bestiality and cannibalism, its “eye-popping passages of babies being smashed against the rocks” in Psalms 137 and its “strong pro-slavery position,” citing Ephesians 6:5-7.

“As the Bible casually references … such topics as murder, adultery, sexual immorality, and fornication — or as I like to think, Date Night Friday Night — do we really want to teach our youth about drunken orgies?” the petition asks.

Stevens’s subsequent complaint against the dictionary calls it “a weighty tome over 1,000 years old, containing more than 600,000 words; all very troubling if we’re trying to keep our youth from learning about race, gender, sex, and such.”

The Washington Post checked with First Amendment scholars, and one said “that the Bible is replete with episodes of violence and sexual abuse, including the rape of Dinah in Genesis, which leads her brothers Levi and Simeon to kill every man in the city of Shechem to avenge her honor; the incestuous rape of King David’s daughter Tamar by her half brother Amnon; and the brutal dismemberment of a concubine in Judges. She said the Bible is at least as sexually explicit as some of the books parents are labeling inappropriate, raising the question: Why can the Bible stay in the library when those books have to go?

Two districts told Stevens that he is not a resident of their district, but he hopes to find residents in every district to file the same complaint.

A third official, Eydie Tricquet, the superintendent of the Jefferson County School District, wrote to say that her district is still under state control; Florida took over managing the district five years ago because of its failing grades, financial problems and staffing woes. But Jefferson is due to revert to local control this summer, and Tricquet promised in her email to Stevens that she will consider his request then, in accordance with school board policies and Florida law.

“At this time, I do not have a school or a library to place or remove a Bible,” Tricquet wrote.
Stevens, whose day job involves managing a website that connects people with mental health issues to supports including clinicians and therapy animals, said he knows many people see his efforts to ban the Bible as just the latest triviality in a long line of political pranks.

His colorful history includes campaigning to open city commission meetings with invocations to Satan, erecting a Festivus pole at the Florida Capitol to protest the Christmas Nativity scene and sending butt plugs to misbehaving public officials.
He pointed out that his antics once led to the arrests of two-fifths of Deerfield Beach city’s ruling body, including the mayor, over allegations they falsified records and violated state conflict of interest and gift disclosure laws.

“I’m sorry you’re stuck with me,” he said. “But I don’t see anybody else rising to the challenge, just a lot of …Twitter commentary.”

He added: “If not me, then who?”

The book-banning and censorship are reaching absurd proportions. A school district in Florida just banned a beloved children’s book, “Everywhere Babies.” Caitlin Gibson wrote about it in the Washington Post. what’s next? “Goodnight Moon”? Some think it’s atheist because the little bunny doesn’t say its prayers. “Harold and the Purple Craton”? Why “purple? Is Harold gay? These censors don’t realize how ridiculous they are. They join the ranks of the ignoramuses who think they can ban ideas and books that are easily available on the internet and television.

The inspiration for the popular children’s picture book “Everywhere Babies” came to author Susan Meyers more than 25 years ago, after the birth of her first grandchild. It was around Christmas, she recalls, and she kept seeing Nativity scenes everywhere — baby Jesus embraced by his doting mother, surrounded by kindly visitors. Meyers, deeply smitten with her 5-month-old grandson, was struck by the everyday, extraordinary miracle of babies in their earliest months of life, how their development touches the lives of everyone around them. So she decided to write about it.

Since its publication in 2001, “Everywhere Babies” — a whimsical, lyrical ode to infancy, illustrated by Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Marla Frazee — has become a staple of family bookshelves, a common recommendation in new parent groups, and a celebrated title on Best Books lists.

But for the first time in its history, “Everywhere Babies” was featured this week on an entirely different kind of list: The book was among dozens of works recently banned from public school libraries in Walton County, Fla. School district officials confirmed the removal of the books to WJHG-TV in Florida. Walton County School Superintendent Russell Hughes told the outlet that it was “necessary in this moment for me to make that decision and I did it for just a welfare of all involved, including our constituents, our teachers, and our students.”

Hughes did not respond to requests for comment from The Washington Post. A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Education referred questions to Walton County, noting that “individual school districts are responsible for making these decisions,” and did not respond to follow-up questions….

Gibson interviewed the author Susan Meyers and illustrator Marla Frazee. They were shocked that their book was banned but thrilled to be in the company of illustrious writers like Toni Morrison and Judy Blume whose works were also banned.

Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, the authors of a popular—and frequently challenged—children’s book “And Tango Makes Three,” warn in this article that Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law threatens every book that deals with “gender identity.”

They wrote in The Washington Post:

Dear K-3 teachers of Florida,

Thank you for your kind messages! Please don’t feel bad. We totally understand why you have to stop reading our “gay penguins” book in school. You’re doing great and deeply important work at an extraordinarily difficult time to be a teacher. You shouldn’t have to worry about being slapped with a lawsuit for discussing homosexual seafowl.

We’ve been thinking this law leaves some pretty key terms undefined. Take “sexual orientation.” There are lots of them! Answering a question (“classroom instruction”) about any of them could land you in hot water. So just to be safe, you probably ought to pull more than our book from your curriculum. In case it’s helpful, here are a few we thought could run you into trouble.

• “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf — for gender identity

We know, we love it too! But a bull that doesn’t roughhouse and prefers to sit in the shade and smell flowers? This is going to lead you right into some verboten gender-identity discussions. “Do some boys like flowers?” “Why don’t cows get invited to bullfights?” “Can ungulates be nonbinary?” You don’t want to go there.

• “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey — for sexual orientation

Such a gem, but sadly, there’s no way around the sexual orientation of this mallard couple. One is male; the other is female. They go island-hopping, hatch eight ducklings and look after their little ones together. Heterosexuality is a sexual orientation, people! Unless you want to be hit with newly illegal questions such as, “Are Mr. and Mrs. Mallard married?” or “Why would a girl duck want to marry a boy duck?” you should probably nix this one, too.


• “The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes”
by DuBose Heyward — for very sexual orientation

“The little girl Cottontail grew up to be a young lady Cottontail. And by and by she had a husband and then one day, much to her surprise there were twenty-one Cottontail babies to take care of.” Tempting at Easter time, but skip it.

• “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel”by Virginia Lee Burton — for gender identity and sexual orientation

A hard-working backhoe named Mary Anne is bound to raise gender-identity questions. “How can you tell if an engine is a boy or a girl?” “Can boys be backhoes?” Steer clear. Ditto for the author’s books about a tractor (“Katy”) and cable car (“Maybelle”), as well as Watty Piper’s titular Little Engine That Could, who uses she/her pronouns. Meanwhile, all these machines appear resolutely single. Could they be asexual? Probably best to give a wide berth to all books featuring gendered heavy machinery, at least until we can figure out what’s what.


• “A Kiss for Little Bear”
by Else Holmelund Minarik — for pansexuality

Grandmother wants to pass along a kiss to Little Bear, and so we watch a female bear kiss a female chicken, who kisses a male frog, who kisses a male cat, who kisses a male skunk, who gets into some serious necking with a female skunk (they marry) before giving the kiss back to the chicken, who kisses Little Bear. It’s like Berlin in the 1920s. Pass!

• “Good Night, Gorilla” by Peggy Rathmann — for that bedroom scene

A male zookeeper shares a bed with a woman who calls him “dear,” only to be joined by a mouse and an ape (who look as though they’ve been there before). You do not want to discuss “polyamory” with your principal.

• “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle — for fabulousness

A ravenous, and possibly gender-fluid, male caterpillar mysteriously transforms into a “beautiful butterfly.” Trans parable? Don’t risk it.

Now that we think of it, eliminating all books with characters who have a gender identity or a sexual orientation doesn’t leave a lot. You’ll probably want to avoid all books that touch on love or relationships. Also, books with people or animals or things that are male or female or some other gender or non-gender.

Actually, it’s probably best to skip books altogether. Maybe stick with games.

Is duck, duck, goose okay?

Hang in there,

Peter and Justin

I wrote this article that was published in the New York Daily News. It could be subtitled: “Lies that the Charter Lobby Says to Protect Its Money Pit.”

Fix this wasteful federal charter-school fund

By Diane Ravitch

New York Daily News

April 28, 2022 at 5:00 am

The federal Charter School Programs (CSP) began in 1995 as a modest program intended to jump-start new, independent, publicly funded schools free of most regulations. The idea was to free educators from bureaucracy and enable them to create laboratories of innovative practices that could be used to improve district schools. At the time, there were only about 100 charter schools in the nation. It was a bold idea. Having worked in the George H.W. Bush administration, I supported it.

Soon, however, entrepreneurs with no background in education at all realized that the new funding stream could present a profit-making opportunity.

Businessman Ron Packard, with experience at McKinsey and Goldman Sachs, saw a chance to use federal funds to help build the highly profitable K12 Inc. online charter chain (now called Stride), which gets dismal academic results but paid him $19 million during a four-year period.

J.C. Huizenga, the Waste Management heir, used federal CSP dollars to launch his for-profit National Heritage Academies, which helped him amass a real estate empire.

Marcus May, now serving time in prison for massive fraud, got substantial funding from the feds for his New Point Education Partner charter schools, some of which he used to buy a yacht and enjoy extravagant vacations.

Marcus May, the CEO of charter school management company Newpoint Education Partners, was found guilty of racketeering and fraud. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $5 million.

The program that began with only $6 million has grown into a $440 million fund rife with fraud, waste and abuse. Now there are more than 7,000 charters. The Network for Public Education, an organization I lead, prepared a report called “Still Asleep at the Wheel,” which used data from the U.S. Department of Education to show that 12% of the schools that got federal tax dollars never even opened and another 25% closed within a few years, but the federal money often landed in the entrepreneurs’ bank accounts.

Almost three decades later, the Biden administration has proposed modest reforms to restore the program’s original purposes, such as barring for-profit charter operators. The charter industry has reacted to his effort to regulate the program with outrage, falsely claiming that he is trying to shut down charter schools. Rather than supporting reform, commentators from the Washington Post to the far-right-wing Newsmax have pummeled the proposed regulations.

Opinion pieces defending the status quo sound as if they were written by the charter industry’s lobbyists. Their lies have become so bold that the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rosa DeLauro, issued a scathing condemnation, lambasting the “unserious efforts and false claims” advanced by the “national trade organization of low-quality for-profit companies,” arguments that according to DeLauro are intended to “shift outrage and attention away from the risky, low-quality for-profit charter schools they represent.”

What these proposed regulations will do is make sure that federal funds do not flow to charter schools operated by for-profit corporations. The for-profit operators can still open schools if their state allows them, but they won’t get federal dollars to do it.

The regulations would give a few bonus (priority) points to charter schools that try to be good neighbors with local public schools and find ways to share ideas and services. Is it a requirement? No. But remember, cooperation between charters and publics was one of the original purposes of the program. It makes sense that both sectors should share best practices.

Contrary to the critics’ claims, the local public schools would not have to be over-enrolled for a charter school to get a grant. The proposed regulations are clear. Over-enrollment is only one of many ways that a new charter school can demonstrate that it is needed.

Some critics claim that the regulations will force new charters to be diverse, but this is not true. Under the changes, charter schools in areas where there is no racial diversity would still be able to get CSP funds. And if you are in a diverse community and you want to open a white-flight charter school you can still do it, but not with federal start-up funds. CSP money should not be used to fund white-flight charters.

Finally, the regulations would require states to supervise how the money is being spent — something that has been sorely lacking. That would be a big improvement over the status quo, which has wasted a billion dollars since 1995 on schools that never opened or opened and eventually closed.

Conservatives always prided themselves on being good stewards of tax dollars. There is nothing conservative about refusing to regulate a federal program that hands over $440 million a year to entrepreneurs and grifters without oversight.

Ravitch is president of the Network for Public Education, a nonprofit nonpartisan organization that exists to support and improve public schools. An education historian recently retired from New York University, she served as assistant secretary of education for research under U.S. Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander.

Good news from the Brooklyn Public Library for teens whose libraries have been ransacked by censors and other vandals.

The Brooklyn Public Library will give you free access to its collection, which is uncensored.

Like we needed another reason to love libraries: with book bans ramping up in school systems around the country, the Brooklyn Public Library is taking steps to make its massive catalog available to as many young people as possible.

Right now, and for a “limited time,” anyone in the United States between the age of 13 and 21 can apply for a free Brooklyn Public Library eCard, which gives access to 350,000 eBooks, 200,000 audiobooks, and online databases. (Normally, Brooklyn Public Library eCards are only free for people who live and/or work in New York state.)…

Teens who want to apply for the free eCard can send an email to BooksUnbanned@bklynlibrary.org or a message to @bklynfuture on Instagram.

Dana Milbank noticed a strange phenomenon: some prominent members of the GOP who graduated from Ivy League colleges are denouncing Democrats who graduated from the same colleges as elitists. He wrote this column during the Senate hearings on the confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. How dare this Harvard/Harvard Law School elitist expect to win their votes!

Sen. Tom Cotton is what you might call a counterfeit commoner.
The dour Arkansas Republican announced with indignation at this week’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings that he doesn’t want a justice who follows the “views of the legal elite.” He later complained that “a bunch of elite lawyers” such as nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson “think that sentences for child pornography are too harsh. I don’t and I bet a lot of normal Americans don’t, either.”

And who is this “normal American” decrying the “legal elite”? Why, he’s a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, a former clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit and a former associate at two Washington-insider law firms who now sits on the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Senate.

He’s part of a Republican Party of 2022 that has flipped the script on populism: The gentry are revolting.

At the same hearings this week, Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) decried a “managerial elite” of media, academics, bureaucrats and corporations. “This cabal think they are smarter and more virtuous than the American people,” argued Kennedy, whose bio says he has a “degree with first class honors from Oxford University (Magdalen College).” This man of the people — Phi Beta Kappa at Vanderbilt, executive editor of the law review at the University of Virginia and a member of something called the Order of the Coif — has been heard denouncing the “goat’s-milk-latte-drinkin’, avocado-toast-eating insider’s elite.”

Also on the dais during the proceedings: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law who loves to inveigh against the “coastal elites,” and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a former Supreme Court clerk out of Stanford University and Yale Law School who fancies himself standing with the proletariat in “the great divide” between the “leadership elite and the great and broad middle of our society.”

Three decades ago, Pat Buchanan, himself a Washington insider, ran for the Republican presidential nomination claiming a revolution of “peasants with pitchforks.” The latest Republican revolution seems to be of the trickle-down variety. Call it plutocrats with pitchforks.

Cruz, Hawley and Cotton are all contemplating presidential runs — where they might meet in the Republican primary another man of the people, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. A graduate of Yale and Harvard Law, he wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled “Don’t Trust the Elites,” and he rails routinely about “elites” trying to shove this or that “down the throats of the American people.”

These phonies must be onto something, because a new generation of pretend populists aims to join them in the Senate.

In Nevada, Republican candidate Adam Laxalt portrays himself as a modern-day Robespierre. He has repeatedly warned of the “rich elites … taking over America,” “elites in Washington,” the “coastal elites,” the “elites” who “do not believe in our nation” and the “elites” who are “all in one club” while “we’re all in another club.”

“We”? Laxalt is the grandson of a U.S. senator and governor of Nevada and the son of a Washington lobbyist. He is a graduate of prep school, Georgetown University and Georgetown Law School who recently hauled in $2.2 million as a partner at Cooper & Kirk, the same Washington firm that employed those plebeians Cotton and Cruz.

Milbank goes on in this vein, identifying other Republicans who rail against elites. Hypocrisy seems to be in vogue. Beware.