Archives for category: Ignorance

NBC reports that North Dakota may impose a ban on sexually explicit books, especially those that refer to gender identity, on public libraries. Librarians who ignore the proposed ban will be subject to 30 days in jail. Since the bill was introduced by the House Majority Leader, it may pass.

Books containing “sexually explicit” content — including depictions of sexual or gender identity — would be banned from North Dakota public libraries under legislation that state lawmakers began considering Tuesday.

The GOP-dominated state House Judiciary Committee heard arguments but did not take a vote on the measure, which applies to visual depictions of “sexually explicit” content and proposes up to 30 days imprisonment for librarians who refuse to remove the offending books….

Library Director Christine Kujawa at Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library said the library has a book with two little hamsters on the cover. At the end of the book, the hamsters get married, and they are both male.

“It’s a cute book,” Kujawa said — but it would be considered pornography under the bill because the book includes gender identity.

Facing criminal charges for keeping books on shelves is “something I never thought I would have to consider during my career as a librarian,” Kujawa added.

In addition to banning depictions of “sexual identity” and “gender identity,” the measure specifies 10 other things that library books cannot visually depict, including “sexual intercourse,” “sexual preference” and “sexual perversion,” — though it does not define any of those terms. The proposal does not apply to books that have “serious artistic significance” or “materials used in science courses,” among other exceptions.

Thanks to Christine Langhoff for suggesting this article.

Just in case there was any doubt about what Governor DeSantis and Florida legislature banned when they outlawed any discussion of “critical race theory,” that doubt has been resolved. They do not want schools and teachers to acknowledge race, racism, or the very existence of people of color in the United States. Sight unseen, the DOE has banned an AP course on African American studies. The Department claimed that the content of the course is historically inaccurate and violates state law, even though the Department has never seen the course syllabus.

The Miami Herald reported today:

Without a detailed explanation, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration has rejected a new Advanced Placement course on African American studies for high school students, broadly claiming it violates state law and that it “lacks educational value.”

When asked for specifics on the content, the Florida Department of Education did not respond, making it unclear what items the state believes are unlawful or objectionable.

“In the future, should College Board be willing to come back to the table with lawful, historically accurate content, FDOE will always be willing to reopen the discussion,” the state wrote in a letter to the College Board, the company that administers the course as well as other interdisciplinary courses and the SAT exam.

The Advanced Placement program is the first course in African American studies to be offered by the College Board. It would allow high school students to earn credits and advanced placement at many colleges across the country.

The course has been in development for more than a decade, and it focuses not just in history, but explores the “vital contributions and experiences of African Americans” in literature, the arts, political science, geography and science, according to the College Board. A syllabus is not yet publicly available.

Read more at: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/education/article271362032.html#storylink=cpy

Think of the most extreme, most vitriolic, least responsible members of the GOP caucus in the House of Representatives. Think of the ones who defended the insurrection. Think of those who encouraged the effort to overturn our government. Speaker Kevin McCarthy just put them on the most important committee in the House, the one that will conduct investigations for the next two years.

Hunter Biden’s laptop! Hunter Biden’s Laptop! Jewish space lasers! QAnon! Pedophiles! The entire Biden family (unlike the Trump family) enriching themselves on your dime (please don’t bring up the $2 billion that the Saudis gave Jared Kushner after Biden took office!) Hunter Biden’s laptop! The hundreds of classified documents that Trump fought to hold onto for over a year, first claiming they were planted by the FBI, then claiming they were his personal property, and the small number of documents that Biden immediately turned over! Trump good, Biden bad! Laptop!

The New York Times reported:

WASHINGTON — They were deeply involved in President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. They have come to the defense of people being prosecuted for participating in the deadly storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Some have called for violence against their political enemies online, embraced conspiracy theories or associated with white supremacists.

Several of the most extreme Republicans in Congress and those most closely allied with Mr. Trump have landed seats on the Oversight and Accountability Committee, the main investigative organ in the House. From that perch, they are poised to shape inquiries into the Biden administration and to serve as agents of Mr. Trump in litigating his grievances as he plots his re-election campaign.

Their appointments are the latest evidence that the new Republican majority is driven by a hard-right faction that has modeled itself in Mr. Trump’s image, shares his penchant for dealing in incendiary statements and misinformation, and is bent on using its newfound power to exact revenge on Democrats and President Biden.

Many of the panel’s new Republican members — including Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania — are among Mr. Trump’s most devoted allies in Congress. Their appointments underscore that, while the former president may be a shrunken presence in the current political landscape, he still exerts much control over the base of his party.

Governor Ron DeSantis took the unusual step of convening a grand jury to investigate COVID vaccines. His opposition to the vaccines has been a hallmark of his administration. He wants to be the leading anti-vaxxer in the nation. He even found a public health official to serve as his Surgeon General who also opposes the vaccines. DeSantis relies on “experts” who oppose the vaccines, such as those who signed the so-called Great Barrington Resolution.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that he plans to petition the state’s Supreme Court to convene a grand jury to investigate “any and all wrongdoing” with respect to the COVID-19 vaccines.

The Republican governor, who is often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2024, gave no specifics on what wrongdoing the panel would investigate, but suggested it would be in part aimed to jog loose more information from pharmaceutical companies about the vaccines and potential side effects.

He made the announcement following a roundtable with Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and a panel of scientists and physicians.

“We’ll be able to get the data whether they want to give it or not,” DeSantis said. “In Florida, it is illegal to mislead and misrepresent, especially when you are talking about the efficacy of a drug.”

Vaccine studies funded by pharmaceutical companies that developed COVID-19 vaccines have been published in peer-reviewed journals like the New England Journal of Medicine, and government panels reviewed data on the safety and effectiveness of the shots before approving them for use.

Statewide grand juries, usually comprised of 18 people, can investigate criminal activity and issue indictments but also examine systemic problems in Florida and make recommendations. Recent such panels have tackled immigration issues and school safety.

DeSantis noted that Florida recently “got $3.2 billion through legal action against those responsible for the opioid crisis. So, it’s not like this is something that’s unprecedented.” That money came largely through lawsuits, and settlements with drug makers, retailers and distributors.

DeSantis said he expects to get approval from the Supreme Court for the statewide grand jury to be empaneled, likely in the Tampa Bay area.

“That will come with legal processes that will be able to get more information and to bring legal accountability to those who committed misconduct,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis also announced that he is creating an entity called the “Public Health Integrity Committee,” which will include many of the physicians and scientists who participated in the roundtable on Tuesday. The group includes prominent opponents of lockdowns, federal vaccine mandates, and child vaccinations.

He said that over the course of the pandemic some people have lost faith in public health institutions, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The governor has frequently spoken out against CDC directives, including mask and vaccine mandates, and filed lawsuits to stop many from taking effect in Florida.

Additionally, the governor announced that Ladapo will conduct research through the University of Florida to ”assess sudden deaths of individuals in good health who received a COVID-19 vaccine.” In addition, he said that the Florida Department of Health will utilize disease surveillance and vital statistics to assess such deaths.

Read more at: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/article269950162.html#storylink=cpy

Tom Nichols, a staff writer for The Atlantic, posed the question that is the title of this post. Nearly half the voters of Georgia cast a ballot for a man who was manifestly unqualified for the office, by any measure. Republicans thought it was cunning to pick a Black candidate, hoping to peel support away from Senator Warnock. It didn’t work. Walker got very few Black votes. Warnock won with unified Black support and a multiracial coalition.

Nichols fears that Trump has dumbed down expectations for Republican candidates to an alarming degree. Following his model, they can be stupid, they can be immoral, they can be liars, they can be adulterous and flaunt it, they can mock democracy. There is no low too low for them.

Nichols writes:

Walker’s candidacy is a reminder of just how much we’ve acclimated ourselves to the presence of awful people in our public life. Although we can be heartened by the defeat of Christian nationalists and election deniers and other assorted weirdos, we should remember how, in a better time in our politics, these candidates would not have survived even a moment of public scrutiny or weathered their first scandal or stumble.

And yet, here we are: An entire political party shrugs off revelations that a man running on an anti-abortion platform may have paid for an abortion (possibly two), has unacknowledged children, and may also be a violent creep. Not long ago, Walker would have been washed out of political contention as a matter of first principles.

Think of how much our civic health has declined in general. Only 35 years ago, during the long-ago Camelot of the late 1980s, Gary Hart had to pull out of the Democratic primaries for getting caught with a pretty lady on a boat named “Monkey Business,” and the televangelist Jimmy Swaggart stood with tears streaming down his face because he’d been caught with a prostitute in a Louisiana motel. In 1995, Senator Bob Packwood (again, more tears) resigned in the aftermath of revelations of sexual misconduct just before being expelled from the Senate.

The Republicans were once an uptight and censorious party—something I rather liked about them, to be honest—and they are now a party where literally nothing is a disqualification for office. There is only one cardinal rule: Do not lose. The will to power, the urge to defeat the enemy, the insistence that the libs must be owned—this resentment and spite fuels everything. And worst of all, we’ve gotten used to it. I’m not sure who said it first, but the Doobie Brothers said it again in the title of their 1974 album: What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits.

There’s a lot of blame to go around, but no one did more to pioneer the politics of disgust than Donald Trump, who took the outrageous moments of his two presidential campaigns and turned them into virtues. Trump ran, and still runs, as something of a dare, a challenge to see if we’re just a bunch of delicate scolds who get the vapors over things like veterans or foreign influence or nepotism. Are you really going to let the commies and immigrants from the “shithole countries” take over? he seems to ask at every turn, just because of little nothing-burgers like whether I’m keeping highly classified documents in the magazine rack next to my gold toilet?

As usual, however, the real problem lies with the voters. The Republicans are getting the candidates they want. This is not about partisanship—it’s about an unhinged faux-egalitarianism that demands that candidates for office be no better than the rest of us, and perhaps even demonstrably worse. How dare anyone run on virtue or character; who do they think they are?

It’s terrifying to realize that totally unhinged candidates, not only in Georgia but in other states, like Arizona, received almost half the vote.

My hope lies with changing demographics and our youth. Young people who have grown up in the 21st century are likely to replace the shrinking generations of old white bigots, who are now the GOP base. America will be a better nation in the years ahead, as these voters make better choices and choose a better future where all of us make progress. Together.

H. Hurley, a reader of the blog, left the following comment, which places NAEP hysteria into context:

The cherry on the journalistic cup cake related to recent NAEP reporting was an interview by Stephanie Ruhle on her 11:00 pm MSNBC program where she rushed in, of all people, ARNE DUNCAN, to discuss the CRISIS OF THE DROPPING NAEP SCORES. Her URGENCY in her set-up and interview was almost reported as a 3 alarm fire. Poor Arne. He actually tried to calm her reactions. But her hysteria is typical related to student test scores.


Nuts!


It’s obvious to real educators that a pandemic, million COVID deaths, ZOOM schooling, kids alone at home, banning books, masking, vaccing…anti vaccing, limited computer/Internet access, Jan6, school shootings, politics, chaos everywhere….shall we go on?


On top of this craziness, when children are finally returning to school, we TEST. We test & react in horror that children didn’t know the grade level content or skills. Scores dropped….who knew? Who could have predicted that?


ACTUALLY…….Anybody with some sense!
Children living in war, migration, fleeing, homeless, famine, rising fascism, massive crime, poverty, lead poisoning, hunger, job losses, craziness, etc…..are then tested under the WORST CONDITIONS.
Meanwhile, journalists hold up those results as if our children were living under heat lamps in incubators to be educated under the best conditions.


Stop the testing madness, end poverty, stop the political madness, allow families to raise their children with proper wages, fund schools, stop destroying public schools & use the election spending zillion$ on real people for a healthy nation.


My 2¢ worth!

In Tampa, a teacher was fired for teaching false claims to students, but was then hired by a charter school. She was not an exception. Public schools have standards for teachers. Charter schools sometimes do.

Parents said Kimberly Gonzalez was upsetting their children by saying Eve was a man, Adam was gay and God was as real as Santa Claus.

Gonzalez denied making these statements. She kept her job teaching science at Progress Village Middle School in Tampa.

A year later, the concerns escalated. Children said they were told that the Holocaust basically did not happen, that Jewish people wanted World War II, and that the Auschwitz death camp was like a country club with soccer and a cinema. A parent received a link to an antisemitic conspiracy site through Gonzalez’s district messaging server.

Gonzalez told Hillsborough County school officials she wanted her students to think critically about what they learned in school. They opted not to renew her contract. After an argument about sick pay, in which she accused them of “enslaving” her, she left.

She soon found work at Bell Creek Academy, a charter school in Riverview.

Teachers at Florida charter schools, which are publicly funded but independently managed, must hold state credentials in most cases. But when they have a disciplinary history at the organizations they left, it’s unclear how extensively charter schools review them.

The Tampa Bay Times examined 14 such cases in Hillsborough County, often delving deeper into teachers’ backgrounds than the charters did when they hired them.

Sit down and prepare for a long but very important read. You might conclude that the elected officials of South Carolina–Governor Henry McMasters, Senator Lindsay Graham, Senator Tim Scott, and the State Legislature–don’t give a damn about the children of South Carolina. You might be right.

Seven years ago, Arnold Hillman and his wife Carol retired as educators in Pennsylvania and moved to South Carolina. Instead of taking up golf, they became deeply involved in helping high school students in impoverished schools. Having served as volunteers in the schools, Arnold Hillman quickly realized that South Carolina ignores the needs of its children. There is no real system, he says. Charter schools have been a distraction, not a solution. He concludes that the schools of South Carolina need radical change. What are the chances of a deep Red state acting on his proposals? Sadly, not great. South Carolina has a well established record of tolerating neglect of its children, especially those who are impoverished and Black.

Arnold Hillman can be reached at arnold@scorsweb.org

Arnold Hillman writes:

THE NEED FOR RADICALIZATION IN EDUCATION

It’s time for us to look seriously at completely redoing the education system in South Carolina. As Senator Greg Hembree, Chair of the Senate Education Committee of the South Carolina Assembly told Barnett Berry, “ It is time to stop nibbling around the edges of school reform and the teaching profession.”1

No truer words have been spoken about our present education system. In fact, there really is no system. In the long scheme of things, our present way of doing education is a bunch of pile-ons from the original manufacturing design of Frederick Taylor and his scientific management. 

While Taylor was creating the assembly line process, Ford was dehumanizing it by considering people as cogs in a great machine. If you don’t see any relationship between these two mammoth names in our economic history, go to your local high school and watch when the bells ring and students change classes.

More specifically, South Carolina ranks low on education state rankings that use multiple variables. They are variously ranked from 40thin the nation to 49th. Education Week gives South Carolina a C- for education quality.2 While the Annie Casey Foundation grades education as 43rd in the nation.3

Each year the legislature and the administration in South Carolina claim that we have a new program that will increase test scores and general education standards. According to the numbers, that just is not so. We may introduce the newest panaceas and claim that they will create higher state, federal and NAEP scores, but that does not usually happen.

This is not a single person’s opinion. In this article in the State Newspaper of August 5, 2022, it declares that “ SC has among worst school systems in US, new ranking shows. Here’s why and what’s being done.”

Read more at: https://www.thestate.com/news/state/south-carolina/article264174836.html#storylink=cpy

The problems will continue. The same people will present small ideas that will hold forth for a while. Then these ideas and programs will fade into the distance and new people with other small ideas will approach these problems and fail once more. Take a gander at the history of education in South Carolina over the past 50 or so years.

If what you see in our history disturbs you, then you are on the correct path to starting over again and creating a new way of teaching our children.

WHERE DO WE BEGIN ?

Minnesota passed the first Charter School law in 1991. It was followed by Massachusetts in 1993. The basic tenets of the laws were that these were going to be public schools, with independent management. They were also less restricted by state law and could become examples of innovation.5

Public schools would then have a chance to look at these innovations and use them in the regular public schools. That is not what happened. Charter schools became independent entities, sometimes managed by profit making organizations. Their history of innovation is slim. Furthermore, since they were able to disregard state law in many instances, while regular public schools could not copy any of the alleged innovations.

Here was a panacea that really had no possible way of succeeding for the overwhelming majority of public school children. Once again, here was an idea that would propel education into the 21st century and improve education for our children. It did not work that way.

As almost all of these panaceas fell by the wayside. It is evident that none of them had any chances of succeeding. The ideas that created these programs never seemed to begin with the children. They were always ideas that were promulgated to somehow enter the system and make things right. Few, if any of them, began with the needs of the children.

In any radicalization of education, students need to come first. All other things are just trimmings that come after. What is evident from all of these efforts to improve public education, is that they have no basis in children’s needs. Whether you agree with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs or its revision or not, children have absolute needs when they are in school.5

Proof of these needs has been highlighted recently when mass school shootings have created social and emotional disturbances among children. These children need to feel safe.

We can list children’s needs from pre-school to 12th grade. They will all be familiar to you.

Safe and Stable environment

Proper nutrition

Structure

Sense of belonging

Consistency

Health Care

Emotional Support

Education

There are many more items that could be added to the list. The author has chosen these because of consistent information about South Carolina’s children that appears in public journals and media. Here are some statistics.

One in six (or 178,710) children in South Carolina are food insecure — numbers that are growing due to the pandemic-induced unemployment.

• Over 12,000 students experienced homelessness in 2017-19, and another unidentified 34,000 were estimated to be without a home.

• Over 40 percent of South Carolinians live in childcare deserts — a term used to describe a Census tract of more than 50 children under the age of five where there are no childcare providers.

• In 2019, about 10 percent of the 15,000 children referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice were for status offenses (truancy, curfew violation, etc.) reflecting underlying personal, family, or community problems, not criminal ones.

The simple truth is that many children in our state have few of the basic needs outlined above. This is not just a problem of poor and minority communities. 6

A kindergarten assessment at the beginning of the 2020- 21 school year was modified because of the pandemic. However, the results published by the Westend Corporation, the creator of the assessment, found these numbers statewide:

33% of the 48,000 of the kindergartners tested at the beginning of the year had an Emerging Readiness. This means that they will need significant help to reach readiness.

40% of the children were classified as approaching readiness and would need some kind of intervention.

27% of the children are actually demonstrating readiness.7

During the early days of the pandemic there were contrary opinions about wearing masks and getting vaccinations. Even today cases of Covid variants are spiking in a number of counties in the state, according to the DHEC. The situation is confusing. There is an elected Superintendent of Education who had differing views from those of the administration.

This confusion made life difficult for local decision makers. Who does one listen to, the Governor, the Superintendent of Education or the Department of Health and Environmental Control? Consequently, there was little consistency across the state.

Leadership at the local level became a problem when 32 of the 78 school superintendents turned over from March of 2020 to June of 2022. That is 41%.8 This lack of consistency has propelled many school districts into micro-management by school boards. These kinds of happenings are never a positive event for the children.

If South Carolina has a system of education, it is not apparent. The funding mechanisms for school districts relies on many layers of bureaucratic meddling. As in most states in the union, school districts are governed by local school boards. At the upper levels of the state government, the Governor, or an appointed official, such as a Chief State School Officer actually operates the system.

Leadership at the local level became a problem when 32 of the 78 school superintendents turned over from March of 2020 to June of 2022. That is 41%.8 This lack of consistency has propelled many school districts into micro-management by school boards. These kinds of happenings are never a positive event for the children.If South Carolina has a system of education, it is not apparent. The funding mechanisms for school districts relies on many layers of bureaucratic meddling. As in most states in the union, school districts are governed by local school boards. At the upper levels of the state government, the Governor, or an appointed official, such as a Chief State School Officer actually operates the system.

South Carolina is one of 12 states that elects its chief state school officer. There are pros and cons to this system. In some cases, it can stimulate cooperative action, while in others it stimulates conflict.In South Carolina, there are a number of bureaucratic layers to school governance. At the local level, there are school boards, superintendents of schools, county councils, and something called a legislative committee whose power is ill defined. It is composed of both state senators and state house members. There is also the Education Oversight Committee (EOC). This is the legislators’ way of keeping on eye on education and how it is performing across the state.

                 SO WHAT IS THE CONCLUSION ?

Underneath the edujargon and the political palaver, most folks know that education is not doing well in South Carolina. We will not delveinto higher education. This is a concluding thought from many people. 

Now, who do you blame? We blame everyone and no one. Many good hearted people of all political stripes have tried to fix things. They have not succeeded. The Covid-19 pandemic has pointed out that our system cannot deal with the realities of our current world. We have left our children to the devices of companies who are producing online products. We have left our teachers out there in the universe of online education with no tools at their disposal. They have tried mightily to do their job. It was mostly a futile attempt.

staff reports  |  Results from end-of-year examination scores revealed that South Carolina students are struggling in U.S. history, algebra and biology. More than a third of high school students failed algebra last year and 24% got a “D.” They scored even worse in history and biology with a mean of 65% and 66%, respectively.The culprit: Pandemic-related learning loss, education officials suspect.

State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said more work needed to be done to help students recover: “Preparing students to meet college and career-readiness standards must not just be an aspiration in our state,” she said, according to published reports. “It’s a responsibility that all of us must play a role in as we pursue meaningful solutions.16

As we get back to in-person education, the children have been besieged with social and emotional problems. Teachers are not able to handle such things by themselves. It is a gross miscalculation that all children are getting the help that they need. In fact, when they do get help, who is it that provides it ?

We are even further behind than we were in March of 2020. Yet, some school districts still seem to shine. In larger school districts, with many schools, there still seem to be those whodo well. They are singularly in the minority. How can we compare a school district with a median household income of $101,284 with one whose income is $26,074?9

Think of the resources that wealthy parents can provide for their child, compared to a child whose parents are just getting by and have no resources for their child, except for love.

O.K. RADICALS, WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?

We begin with the children and the things that they need. We can look at the above-mentioned items as a beginning. As was said, there are many more things that children need. As they mature through the school and life experiences, their needs change. Do we know enough Piaget to list the things that the children need at particular ages. Notice, I did not say grades. As a noted educator and speaker Sam Clemens once said, “ How do you handle a kindergartner who comes into school carrying a New York Times when you also have a little one who walks in and needs to learn his alphabet?

It all begins at birth, or maybe even before. Without proper health care for expectant moms, the chances of a child having a normal entrance into this world is diminished. South Carolina’s infant mortality rate of 6.5% per 1000 live births is higher than the national average of 5.4% per 1000 live births. Pre-natal medical care is most lacking in rural areas of the state. 

How does one prevent this kind of statistic? There are a number of ways, if the state is of a mind. One way is a massive public campaign aimed at areas with few physicians and few clinics. The need for medical facilities in these places should become a state priority. 

A second, and more accelerated way is for consortia of school districts, local municipalities and hospitals to purchase medical vans. These vans have been in use in many rural and urban areas in the United States. The van could be under the jurisdiction of one of these entities for financial responsibility. The driver would be a staff member of one of these entities. 

Medical personnel could be secured with volunteers, dentists, school psychologists, doctors, nurses, PAs and others. The vans could advertise when they would be in a certain area. Pre-natal exams could be a major function, while children from 0-4 could also be seen by some of these specialists. 

A third method of securing health care for pre and post-natal care is an outreach program that is run by a local school district. The Appleton, Wisconsin School District has created a birth through five program that focuses on entire community resources to help parents in the community.

85% of the foundation for a child’s intellect, personality and skills is formed by age 5. Appleton Area School District’s Birth-Five Outreach offers an inclusive network of family care services, school information, and community support.Birth–Five Outreach builds positive relationships with families by offering connections to many school and community resources early on.11

A fourth possible method is to establish a 0-5 school building, or community building that will have all of the services needed by families with children from 0-5 and pre-natal care. In the early 1980’s such a school was created by the Titusville School District in Northwestern Pennsylvania. 

All of these suggestions are now in effect in the United States of America, but not in South Carolina. These programs are not only helpful to the individual parent and child, but to the community and to the schools that these children will go to.

        SO NOW THEY WALK INTO SCHOOL, OR DO THEY?

If we are going to deal with children where they are at, can we still use the old fashioned age requirement for kindergarten. Not only don’t we want to do that, but maybe we don’t even call the first year of school by that old name. There are things attached to the word, that it may be necessary to use some other word or some other description.

So many of the children that walk through those school doors are at variance with what we consider “ready to learn.” The differences between the children is immense. So what do we do? Here are some programs that could exist in a public school, a vocational school or a technical college.

A. Pre and postnatal care

B. Teenage pregnancy

C. Day Care for community members orschool staff

D. Day Care to programming 0-5

E. On site medical care

F. Training for students to learn day care skills

G. Special education programs for children with disabilities

H. Eldercare

I. Job Placement

J. Home for state reps and congress people

K. Psychological services

There are many definitions of what a school or series of schools might be. The origin of the term, “Community School” comes from Stewart Mott’s vision of the Flint community in Michigan in the mid 1930’s. As the head of General Motors, he was able to fund these programs through his Mott Foundation, which still exists today.

A simple definition of the term Community School comes from the NEA.

Community Schools are built with the understanding that students often come to the classroom with challenges that impact their ability to learn, explore, and develop to their greatest potential.  

Because learning never happens in isolation, community schools focus on what students in the community truly need to succeed—whether it’s free healthy meals, health care, tutoring, mental health counseling, or other tailored services before, during, and after school. 13

In recent times, here in South Carolina, Professor Barnett Berry has coined the term “ Whole Child,” education.14His thesis is that unless we take care of the complete needs of children, they will not achieve their maximum capabilities. He also believes that “Whole Child” education begins at birth. Although teaching, “The Whole Child” was concept from the 1950’s, Berry’s description of the process of “Whole Child Education” is much wider and includes so much more than just teachers in a classroom.

One form of “Community School” has been a building that was open 24 hours a day and accommodated an entire community’s needs. The current administration in Washington has increased funding for these kinds of “community schools.” That is not to say that they do not exist already. Here is an example of a school district that has recognized the problems  their children bring with them to school and has taken action.

https://inthepublicinterest.org/biden-proposes-increasing-funding-for-community-schools-by-15-times-the-current-level/ 12

The federal government has recently sent out a request for proposals with the intent of distributing the funding to school districts across the country to promulgate or expand community schools. The total of 468 million dollars in the federal budget proposal for 2023 expands the program. It will be distributed to schools that provide medical assistance, nutritional assistance, mental health, tutoring, enrichment and violence prevention services. The schools will have to be those who have been involved in these programs for a decade.

SO WHAT DOES ALL THIS HAVE TO DO WITH SOUTH CAROLINA EDUCATION ?

For the most part, South Carolina’s education system does not work for most of its children. The state has tried a number of changes, but to no avail. There is a feeling among educators and those who view the system, that caring for the students is not the priority that it should be.

A good example of this kind of attitude is the recent return of one billion dollars in taxes, rather than using these funds to upgrade education. The needs are so great in many districts.

The establishment of public education in the 19th century was challenged by churches and by religious organizations across the burgeoning country. In some states, religious leaders imposed their religious beliefs upon these new schools. As one example, in a number states, there were no events in schools on Wednesdays afternoons and evenings. Those times were set aside for religious experiences.

In other states, there were established times when students could be released early to go to religious studies in their churches. Certainly, no sporting events were to be held on Sunday. Bibles were distributed to 6th grade students in many schools across the nation.

These were but a few instances of church actions in public schools. Sometime at the end of the 1960’s, groups of right wing religionists and their acolytes met to try and undo public education in its entirety. Now, some 50 years later, that they are succeeding in their efforts. 

There can be no doubt that elite billionaires with a religious bent are moving to destroy public education. The issue of the separation of church and state is dissolving amidst a cacophony of yelps from these right wing relgionists, or faux religionists, that they are being discriminated against. 

It is a apparent that these plans are not only to create a side by side educational system, but to allow students, who they feel are not up to par,to remain in public schools. 

In the prior administration, billions of dollars were distributed to charter school privateers, religious schools, private schools and others. This Paycheck Protection Plan was to be used for businesses that had not been doing well during the Covid 19 pandemic. Interestingly enough, none of these dollars could go to public schools.15

The history of public education both here and in all parts of our land is the history of our success as a country. The forces that continue to try and dissolve public education have no idea what will come next. Here in an essay by Anya Kamenetz, reporter from NPR, explains the history and a possible future of public education.

​​​​END NOTES

“ A Whole Child Policy Analysis,” Barnett Berry, University of South Carolina, SC4Ed P. 4 2022

2. Annie Casey Foundation 2022 Kids Count data book

3 “Map A-F Grades Rating States of School Quality”, Education Week Research 2021

4 “Minnesota is the Birthplace of Charter Public Schools” Minnesota Association of Charter Schools

5 “ Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” Simply Psychology April 2022

6   1 “ A Whole Child Policy Analysis,” Barnett Berry, University of South Carolina, SC4Ed P. 62022

7   Results of Modified Kindergarten Readiness Assessment 2020-21 Westend Corporation 2021

8   “Superintendent Turnover March 2020 to June 2022,”SCORS research Arnold Hillman 2022

9  Median Houshold Income South Carolina School Districts, U.S. Census 2020

10   “Infant Mortality and selected birth Characteristics” South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control 2021

11  https://www.aasd.k12.wi.us/families/birth-five_outreach

12   https://www.mott.org/about/history/

13   NEA statement on Community Schools- https://www.nea.org/student-success/great-public-schools/community-schools

14 “ A Whole Child Policy Analysis,” Barnett Berry, University of South Carolina, SC4Ed P. 4 2022

15  https://wlvr.org/2020/07/some-local-schools-get-paycheck-protection-funding-from-the-federal-government-while-others-dont/#.Yx6FtHbMKM8

16 Staff, StateHouse Report, September 23, 2022

“A Teacher’s Creed,” by Arnold Hillman

Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the federal judge who sentenced insurrectionist Kyle Young, gave a stern lecture to the Republicans who refused to defend the nation’s Constitution and its democratic process.

For those of us old enough to remember the Republican Party of Dwight D. Eisenhower, today’s Republicans are pusillanimous cowards who worship at the feet of a man who has no intellect, no character, no ethics, and no sense of history. The fact that such a man dominates a once-honorable party is appalling.

Judge Jackson did not mince words, according to Politico.

Kyle Cheney writes:

A federal judge delivered a blistering rebuke of Republican Party leaders Tuesday for what she said was a cynical attempt to stoke false claims of election fraud of the kind that fueled the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson said former President Donald Trump had turned his lies about the election into a litmus test for Republican candidates and that “high-ranking members of Congress and state officials” are “so afraid of losing their power” that they won’t contradict him. That fealty, she said, comes even as law enforcement and judges involved in cases related to the former president are facing unprecedented threats of violence.

It’s up to the judiciary, she added, to help draw the line against those dangers.

“The judiciary … has to make it clear: It is not patriotism, it is not standing up for America to stand up for one man — who knows full well that he lost — instead of the Constitution he was trying to subvert,” said Jackson, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama.

In addition, Jackson said, Trump and his allies are using rhetoric about the multiple criminal probes connected to Trump that contain dangerous undertones.

“Some prominent figures in the Republican Party … are cagily predicting or even outright calling for violence in the streets if one of the multiple investigations doesn’t go his way,” Jackson said…

She’s not the first federal judge to rebuke Trump in the context of Jan. 6 riot prosecutions. Judge Amit Mehta lamented that many of the low-level rioters were duped by powerful figures, including Trump, into marching on the Capitol, only to suffer criminal consequences as a result. Judge Reggie Walton called Trump a “charlatan” for his conduct related to the election. And a federal judge in California, David Carter, determined that Trump’s actions related to Jan. 6 likely amounted to a criminal conspiracy to subvert the election.

But Jackson’s comments were the most stinging assessment not only of Trump but those in the upper echelons of elected GOP leadership who have echoed him. She also pushed back at claims by some Trump allies that Jan. 6 defendants had been targeted for political reasons.

“You were not prosecuted for being a Trump supporter. You were not arrested or charged and you will not be sentenced for exercising your first amendment rights,” she said to Young. “You are not a political prisoner … You were trying to stop the singular thing that makes America America, the peaceful transfer of power. That’s what ‘Stop the Steal’ meant.”

The Brooklyn Public Library provided a great public service when it offered free access to books that have been banned by states and school districts, either online or in audio form.

Unfortunately, an Oklahoma high school teacher who shared the code to the Brooklyn Public Library’s open access program was promptly punished.

Vice reported:

Summer Boismier was removed from the classroom after the first day of school last month, when she covered her bookshelves with butcher paper and posted the QR code on the covering. Oklahoma, like many Republican-controlled states, passed a law last year banning the teaching of “critical race theory” in public school classrooms. 

Boismier, who is currently a doctoral student at the University of Oklahoma, was offered her job back but ultimately chose to resign. Boismier told VICE News that there were “some fundamental ideological differences” between herself and the district, and that the new Oklahoma law “created an impossible working environment for teachers and a devastating learning environment for students.” 

Boismier did tell VICE News, however, that she planned to keep teaching. But on Wednesday, Oklahoma Education Secretary Ryan Walters—an official in Gov. Kevin Stitt’s cabinet, who’s likely to become the state’s next superintendent of schools after the November midterms—called for the Oklahoma State Board of Education to revoke Boismier’s teaching license. 

“There is no place for a teacher with a liberal political agenda in the classroom,” Walters said in a letter directed to the state Board of Education. “Ms. Boismier’s providing access to banned and pornographic material to students is unacceptable and we must ensure she doesn’t go to another district and do the same thing.” 

“Teachers are one of our state’s greatest assets and it is unfortunate that one of them has caused such harm and shame for the entire profession,” Walters said. 

Republicans have frequently claimed the books they’re banning are “pornographic” in nature, though the nonprofit Oklahoma news outlet The Frontier reported earlier this year that the dozens of books being investigated by the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office include “Of Mice and Men” and “Lord of the Flies,” as well as books that explore topics of sexual and gender identity and racism.

But in an interview last week, Boismier said that “parents are being manipulated” by Oklahoma Republicans. “I’ve been called an indoctrinator, a woke leftist, a groomer, a pedophile, all within the last several months,” she told VICE News. 

“They don’t want these conversations happening,” Boismier said of Republicans seeking to ban books. “They don’t want critical thinkers, they want American exceptionalism and this whitewashed version of history that does not require them to interrogate their own privilege.”

“That’s dangerous when you’re the one in charge.”

Understand that what legislators call Critical Race Theory has nothing to do with the graduate courses taught in law school. They have no idea what CRT really is. What they mean by CRT is any teaching about racism, past or present. Presumably, everyone will be happier and more unified if we pretend that things like slavery, lynching, segregation, and other racist practices happened in the past and that there are structural aspects to racism today (read Richard Rothstein’s “The Color of Law” to learn more). Similarly issues about gender identity will simply fade away if we pretend they don’t exist.

This is what happens when ignorant and bigoted people are elected to positions of authority.