Archives for category: Propaganda

Robert Hubbell writes a thoughtful, informative blog. I’m posting this as part of my personal project to understand the new face of white supremacy. White supremacy has always been there, simmering below the surface. Trump invited them to show their faces and step into the daylight. They did, and DeSantis is sending them signals that he wants to be their champion.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has set his anti-education sites on Florida’s state colleges. Through a series of political and legal maneuvers, he has ceded control over Florida’s state colleges to ultra-conservative culture warriors like Christopher Rufo. In short order, DeSantis has announced that he will rid Florida state colleges and universities of curricula not “rooted in Western tradition” or that “compels belief in critical race theory or related concepts such as intersectionality.”

Amid the torrent of reporting on Ron DeSantis’s attack on critical race theory and intersectionality, the quiet part is often left unsaid. So let me say it: DeSantis’s educational agenda is code for racism and white supremacy. (Other parts of his agenda seek to erase the dignity and humanity of LGBTQ people.) DeSantis’s invocation of “Western tradition” is meant to suppress knowledge regarding the people (and contributions) of Asia, Africa, South America, Oceania, and the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. See Talking Points Memo, DeSantis Makes 2024 Ambitions Clear As He Pours Gasoline On His ‘Woke’ Education Fire.

Given DeSantis’s generalized ignorance, his call to focus on “Western tradition” is a slippery slope that will inevitably lead to the discussion of unpleasant truths about America. For example, the enslavement of Black people was a “tradition” in North America for 246 years—and the abolition of that evil practice is relatively recent (155 years ago). So, a college course that honestly addresses the Western “traditions” of North America should include an examination that the role of slavery played in the economic, social, and political development of America.

But DeSantis isn’t stopping at converting Florida’s colleges and universities into re-education camps in the worst traditions of the USSR. He is seeking to up-end centuries of “Western tradition” embodied in the Constitution and the English common law: the requirement of a unanimous jury to impose capital punishment. DeSantis has floated the idea that a less-than-unanimous jury verdict can impose a sentence of death—an unconstitutional proposal designed to inflict the death penalty on more Black and Latino Americans. See Vox, Ron DeSantis wants to make it much easier for the state to kill people.

DeSantis is willing to do all this because he wants to capture Trump’s loyal base—which is the only hope that DeSantis has of becoming a credible candidate. As Trump becomes mired in criminal prosecutions, DeSantis will become emboldened and radicalized beyond his already extremist views. Doing so ignores the lessons of the 2022 midterms: persuadable Americans are done with Trump and his MAGA extremism. Like all military generals, Ron DeSantis is fighting the last war (the presidential election of 2020) and has failed to heed the tectonic shift that occurred in the midterms.

John Thompson, a retired teacher and historian in Oklahoma, has written frequently about events in his state for this blog. Here, he describes the political coercion that determined right-wingers are promoting in Oklahoma and calling it “choice.” From his description, some Republican legislators are worried about “liberal indoctrination,” transgender students using the “wrong” bathroom, litter boxes for children who think they are cats (this seems to be a QAnon idea), and the danger of “social-emotional learning.” Apparently students in Oklahoma have no social or emotional issues.

Ryan Walters, Oklahoma’s newly elected, extreme rightwing Secretary of Education, first says that “the state should have the ‘most comprehensive school choice in the country.’” Secondly, Walters pushes the rightwing Michigan-based Hillsdale College curriculum; he doesn’t want to allow schools to choose to retain research-based curriculums that he identifies as “liberal indoctrination.” As Clark Frailey, executive director of Pastors for Oklahoma Kids, says, Walters seems to be pushing for “Christian Dominionism,” which is “based on the philosophy that Christianity is at the core of America’s foundation and all institutions need to align with that viewpoint. If people won’t convert, then a government religion must be forced upon them.”

Two voucher programs for private schools and homeschools have been filed. The most interesting one is Sen. Shane Jett’s Oklahoma Parent Empowerment Act for Kids (PEAK). Even extremely conservative Republicans legislators worry that vouchers would undermine the finances of their rural schools. Jett seems to be offering a carrot and a stick to those vulnerable constituencies. He would impose vouchers only in counties with a population of more than 10,000 people. But, vouchers would be offered in counties with fewer than 10,000 residents if they are served by a “trigger district.”

The Oklahoman then reports:

Jett defined a “trigger district” as a public school system that allows or tolerates House Bill 1775 violations, use of school bathrooms according to gender identity, anthropomorphic behavior known as “furries,” disparagement of the oil and gas industry, lesson plans promoting social-emotional learning and animal rights activism, among other topics.

In other words, the bill would coerce schools into “choosing” to comply with the entire extremist agenda. But that begs the question about how educators would choose to deal with today’s threats to public education. Republican Sen. Adam Pugh’s newly revealed plan for school improvement was based on meetings with 200 public school superintendents; every college president in Oklahoma; and “hundreds, if not thousands” teachers and parents and advocacy groups.  Based on these listening sessions, Pugh did not propose vouchers.

Pugh’s plan would raise teacher pay so the minimum starting salary was $40,000, “with graduated raises to the minimum salary schedule based on longevity.” The estimated cost would be $241 million, which is less than the cost of Sen. Julie Daniels’ voucher bill ($275 million). They would  also create an “Oklahoma Teacher Corps” and a teacher mentoring system;  provide certain teachers at least 12 weeks of maternity leave; update the school funding formula, and pass Pugh’s seven other constructive reforms. 

As Pugh explained, “I hope this plan will demonstrate to teachers that we’re serious about the work that you do, and we appreciate how you pour your heart and your soul into educating kids, as we need you to stay in the classroom, and we need more of you.”

But, the Stillwater News Press offers an equally important response:

While that offers us a bit of a sigh of relief, Oklahomans should be aware that the push [to] move taxpayer money into private schools isn’t going anywhere. It’s a well-funded campaign and the state’s administrators and board members have been handpicked to make that a top priority.

I’m afraid I agree with the Stillwater News. Pugh’s bills raise hope. But Oklahoma Republicans will continue to coerce schools into compliance with their extremist privatization and Christian Dominionism ideologies – and call it “choice.”

On the other hand, more Republicans sound like they are getting fed up by Walters and his minions. This week, the Secretary of Education was supposed to present a budget to a legislative subcommittee for planning purposes, but a letter obtained by the Tulsa World shows that Walters seems to be prioritizing “ridding public education of ‘liberal indoctrination.’” Walters’ “spokesman” said he “has requested additional information on diversity, equity, inclusion programs (DEI) to fully understand the extent of indoctrination happening in higher education.”

The letter said:

Please provide a full outline and review of every dollar that has been spent over the last 10 years on diversity, equity, inclusion. Additionally, I want an overview of your staffing and the colleges underneath your oversight as the Chancellor of Oklahoma Higher Regents within every DEI program … and expenditures,” Walters wrote on letterhead of the Office of the Secretary of Education. “Lastly, please provide a copy of the materials that are being used in any of these programs.”

Neither has Walters followed legislative norms for presenting a public education budget. As Nondoc reported, Walters said he instituted a hiring freeze and a spending freeze for the State Department of Education when he took office and all related decisions require his approval. And, in addition to demanding vouchers, he has insisted on any teacher pay raise being performance-based. Above all, Walters said he would be bringing a completely different budget than the one his predecessor drafted. 

Republican Toni Hasenbeck (R-Elgin) responded saying, “district superintendents had expressed concern for ‘the next four years’” because of Walters’ campaign comments. Rep. Dell Kerbs, (R-Shawnee) commented, “I don’t need elevator speeches. I need details.” Subcommittee Chairman Mark McBride (R-Moore) understood the argument that performance pay could be a part of teacher pay, but he said that Walters’ plan went too far. And then he tried to get Walters back to the normative procedures which the subcommittee follows for helping craft funding priorities.

McBride “interrupted Walters,” and asked, “Are you saying the budget will totally change — you’re presenting a budget that’s not going to be the same budget, and you’re going to totally change it?”

Nondoc reported that “McBride seemed confused and paused for a moment.” When Walters tried to change the subject, [McBride] interrupted him and asked why Walters was presenting a budget that would not exist in a week. Walters again changed the subject and, as Nondoc reported, “McBride interrupted him again, asking him to stay on topic presenting monetary figures rather than discussing policy and slipping into “campaign rhetoric.” McBride said, “With all due respect, I need the performance review for last year. That’s what you’re here to present.” Then, after that interruption, Walters stopped his presentation.

 After the meeting, Matt Langston, Walters’s “spokesman” (a paid GOP consultant based in Texas) said, “Not one person in Oklahoma is surprised that Democrats are unhappy with the political theater that was orchestrated today.” According to Langston:

They do not want transparency, accountability or even basic reform because they are used to playing in the shadows. Union bosses, whining and liberal tears will not stop education reform, and the superintendent is looking forward to next week’s actual budget hearing.

Stay tuned! When Walters reveals his budget, chaos and vitriol will increase, and we’ll see whether Walters really believes he can implement his promise or “suggestion,” that “received some pushback from lawmakers in 2022,” a ten-year plan to reject all federal spending on education

Keith Benson is a teacher in Camden, New Jersey. He is also President of the Camden Educators Association, an author, and a member of the board of the Network for Public Education. He wrote the following article for the Newark Star-Ledger. He reminds us that when Republican governors and ideologues talk about “parental rights,” they assume that only white parents have parental rights. Black parents too have parental rights, and black and white and Latino and Asian students—all students— have the right to learn accurate, factual history.

To make sense of America’s fixation with the (non)existence of critical race theory (CRT) in schools and the ways by which CRT became a partisan flashpoint, we must consider this phenomenon as a contemporary manifestation of what Emory University professor Carol Anderson calls, “white rage.”

With corporate news media refusing to unequivocally point out that CRT, a complex legal theory, is not taught in K-12 schools but is taught in some graduate schools of education and law schools, allowed predominantly white grievants and Republican politicians to shapeshift CRT into anything American history-adjacent that offended their whitewashed sensibilities.

Republican lawmakers like Ron DeSantis and Glen Youngkin, along with a host of conservative pundits, Greg Abbott (Texas), and Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Arkansas), and astroturf “parent groups,” don’t want American children – which does include Black children – to learn, and in some cases making it illegal to be taught this history at all.

The decrying of CRT is part of a long American tradition of white backlash that is aided by a well-funded conservative messaging apparatus skilled in amplifying white rage for political gain based on misinformation in efforts to protect whiteness and the societal benefits it provides white Americans.

By exhaustively covering anti-CRT rallies at suburban school board meetings following President Joe Biden’s convincing defeat of Donald Trump in 2020, mass media platformed white grievance in response to an imaginary issue.

A complicit media apparatus, however, is not the only bad actor advancing CRT propaganda. As the organized effort attacking CRT is also bolstered by some of the same education reform advocates who champion school choice as the answer for, ironically, urban Black parents to receive a “better” education.

White backlash, the concept that greater equity achieved through increased political representation or economic opportunity for non-white ethnic groups results in a loss of social status among white Americans, has been ubiquitous throughout our nation’s history.

The passing of the Second Amendment, the amendment conservatives hold so dear – that they are willing to sacrifice the lives of students and school staff to preserve it in its entirety – was passed to pacify slave states by permitting them to arm militias consisting exclusively of white men, to crush efforts by enslaved Black people, if they chose to fight for their freedom as exhibited in the Stono Rebellion (1739) and Haitian Revolution (1791).

The enacting of Black Codes immediately following Emancipation and the formation of the Ku Klux Klan, the nation’s first terrorist organization, founded soon after Black Americans gained access to the franchise; the establishment of school choice resulting from the Brown (1954) decision where white parents refused to integrate southern public schools, and instead began an alternative schooling system in protest of white tax dollars going toward educating Black children are not examples of CRT, but historic examples of how white rage impacts our society today.

In its place, Republican lawmakers are calling for the teaching of white supremacist “classical” “patriotic” history and social studies curriculum that uncritically celebrates American history that lionizes the “founding fathers,” and uncritically champions capitalism.

Aside from conservatives and lawmakers’ commitment to derail students’ understanding of history, is the collection of individual groups like the Center on Educational Excellence, National Charter School Alliance, and National Parents Union who supported those Republican governors’ rise to power in advocacy, or in their silence against lawmakers’ campaign of miseducation

For decades, education reform advocates, consisting primarily of wealthy ideologues and representatives from the business community, publicly lamented the shortcomings in public education as evidenced by test scores and graduation rates.

They argued that privatizing education in the form of school vouchers, charter schooling, online education, and now homeschooling are answers to “underperforming” public schools — a message targeted principally toward Black parents.

While much could be unpacked regarding the nonsensical nature of that argument, through massive funding of “think tanks” and foundations, combined with sustained lobbying of lawmakers of both parties, the goal of shifting collective responsibility of educating all of America’s children through its public schools to that of a private endeavor where parents focus only on what impacts their child directly, has been achieved.

Significant expanses of the country see their public institutions deliberately dismantled and replaced with more voucher and corporate charter schools.

Where is the prominent pushback from the reform community from the likes of KIPP, Teach For America, the Broad Foundation, Democrats for Education Reform, and National Charter Schools Conference, to the deliberate miseducation of America’s students, including the Black students to whom these organizations appealed for decades?

As Republican lawmakers endeavor to pass more choice legislation while simultaneously mandating the whitewashing of American history, we have to ask: Do Black parents have a choice in the type of history their child will learn, or is the concern for Black parents’ choice matter only to conservatives and reformers when weaponized to attack public education?

Keith E. Benson is the author of Education Reform and Gentrification in the Age of #CamdenRising: Public Education and Urban Redevelopment in Camden, NJ (2018) available on Peter Lang Publishing at www.peterlang.com. He is the President of the Camden Education Association, a board member of the Network for Public Education and co-founder of Working Together, LLC.

This is one of Peter Greene’s finest posts. He explains the real reason that Republicans have fallen in love with vouchers. They want to eliminate public schools and in time shift the financial burden of schools to parents, not taxpayers. One of the loudest voucher advocates, who got his doctorate from the University of Walton….the University of Arkansas’s so-called Department of Educational Reform, where they teach the doctrine of school choice, posted a photograph of himself and a woman whom I assume was his wife at a funeral, celebrating the death of public schools. When we go high, they go low.

Greene writes:

The new wave of voucher bills being rammed through red state legislatures all demonstrate a truth about school voucher policies– vouchers are not about choice. They’re about peeling people away from the public school system in order to defund and dismantle that system.

What makes me think so? Here it is. Sometimes it’s not about what people say, but about what they don’t say.

If the concern were really and truly choice for every student, then voucher fans would be addressing some of the real obstacles to school choice.This door doesn’t lead where they told you it would.

For one, they would be addressing discriminatory and exclusionary policies. Yet when have we ever heard a voucher supporter say, “These discriminatory policies have to stop. LGBTQ+ students deserve just as much school choice as any other students.”

The closest thing we ever get is “Well, then they can start an LGBTQ-friendly school of their own.” Yet when that happens, pro-voucher politicians target that school with terms like “perversion.” And of course in some states, such a school can never happen because talking about LGBTQ students or Black history has been outlawed. And voucher laws are written to hold the private school right to discriminate as it wishes inviolable.

If someone were serious about voucher based choice, they would also address cost. Vouchers are typically far too small to pay for tuition to top schools in the state. If voucher supporters were really interested in making sure that, as Jeb Bush says, “each and every…student can access the education of their choice,” there would be a robust discussion about how to bridge the gap between meager vouchers and expensive schools.

Yet we never hear voucher advocates saying, “We need to find the way to fully fund vouchers so that they provide a real choice to students.” Choice advocates like to point at the inequity of the public system–parent choice is limited by their ability to buy an expensive house in a wealthy neighborhood. But the current crop of voucher programs doesn’t change that a bit–a voucher offers little to change the fact that how much “freedom” you get depends on how wealthy you are.

It has been done. But when Croydon, NH set up a school choice program, a voucher-like system that bore the full cost of sending a student to the school of their choice, local libertarians tried to shut it down because they wanted lower taxes.

Voucher fans love the idea of school choice; they just don’t want to actually pay for it.

If these folks were serious about school choice via vouchers, we would have calls for oversight and accountability. It would make a choice system that much more attractive for parents to know that all the available options have been vetted and screened and will be held to some standards, just like shopping in a grocery store where you can rest easy in near-certainty that whatever you pick, it’s not going to actually poison your family.

And yet not only do voucher fans not call for oversight and accountability, but they actively block it with language that hammers home that nobody can tell vendors what to do or how to do it.

Voucherphiles like to call their system child-centered, but in fact it is vendor-centered, with “protections” for the service providers written into the law, and protections for the students non-existent. Parents are left to navigate an unregulated system of asymmetrical information that favors the businesses– not the families.

Please open the link and finish the post. And while you are at it, subscribe to Peter’s wonderful blog.

Jan Resseger looks behind the daily news and ties together fast-moving events in the red states. The sudden proliferation of voucher programs is no accident, she writes, nor is it a response to public demands. It is a carefully crafted, well-funded strategy to defund public schools, to smash teachers’ unions, and to implement a rightwing ideology that does not benefit students or improve education.

She writes:

This week in Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds signed an Education Savings Account, universal voucher program into law. And last week in Utah, the same kind of voucher plan took the first step toward adoption when it was passed by Utah’s House of Representatives.

The Des Moines Register reports on Iowa’s new vouchers. The program will “phase in over three years and eventually allow all Iowa families to use up to $7,598 a year in an ‘education savings account’ for private school tuition. If any money is left over after tuition and fees, families could use the funds for specific educational expenses, including textbooks, tutoring, standardized testing fees, online education programs and vocational and life skills training. The $7,598 per private school student is the same amount of funding the state provides to public school students and is expected to rise in future years… The bill allows the Iowa Department of Education to contract with a third party to administer the education savings accounts, but the state has not yet issued a request for proposals from companies seeking to manage the funds.”

It would appear that the Iowa Legislature tried to calm the fears of the public school community by promising that, “Public school districts would also receive an additional $1,205 in funding for students receiving education savings accounts who live within the public school district’s boundaries.” But despite that promise, a drop in overall public school funding is expected: “By the fourth year, the (Legislative Services) agency estimates public school districts will receive $49.8 million in new per-student funds for private school students within the public district’s boundaries. The agency also expects a net decrease of $46 million in public school funding as a result of more students attending private schools.”

It is hard to keep track of all the states that now have school vouchers or are considering voucher programs and to know which states have the latest flavor of vouchers—Education Savings Accounts (ESAs). Most ESA programs, unlike Iowa’s, don’t even require that families use the vouchers at private schools. In most places, ESA’s can be used for educational programs, for educational tools and materials like books and computers, and for homeschooling. In some states families can use the money for so-called micro-schools in which families come together and hire a teacher to work with children in someone’s home.

Why is there so much so much legislative activity about expanding vouchers? Several factors are important to consider, and many of them were the subject of economist Gordon Lafer’s analysis in The One-Percent Solution. Lafer’s book focused on the public policy that flowed from state legislatures after the Tea Party wave election in 2010, but his observations are still on point as we begin 2023. Lafer enumerates all the reasons why far-right ideologues and big corporate moneyed interests seek to undermine and privatize public schools: “At first glance, it may seem odd that corporate lobbies such as the Chamber of Commerce, National Federation for Independent Business, or Americans for Prosperity would care to get involved in an issue as far removed from commercial activity as school reform. In fact, they have each made this a top legislative priority… The campaign to transform public education brings together multiple strands of the agenda… The teachers’ union is the single biggest labor organization in most states—thus for both anti-union ideologues and Republican strategists, undermining teachers’ unions is of central importance. Education is one of the largest components of public budgets, and in many communities the school system is the single largest employer—thus the goals of cutting budgets, enabling new tax cuts for the wealthy, shrinking the government, and lowering wage and benefit standards in the public sector all coalesce around the school system… There are always firms that aim to profit from the privatization of public services, but the sums involved in K-12 education are an order of magnitude larger than any other service, and have generated an intensity of corporate legislative engagement unmatched by any other branch of government. Finally, the notion that one’s kids have a right to a decent education represents the most substantive right to which Americans believe we are entitled, simply by dint of residence… (F)or those interested in lowering citizens’ expectations of what we have a right to demand from government, there is no more central fight than around public education. In all these ways, then, school reform presents something like the perfect crystallization of the corporate legislative agenda.” (The One-Percent Solution, pp 128-129)

It is hard for public school advocates to mobilize nationally against the expansion of vouchers. Voucher battles are fought state by state because public education and the funding of public education is a state-by-state issue. Advocates are likely to focus on public education legislation in their own state and not to pay attention to what’s happening elsewhere. And citizens are not likely to pay much attention to what is happening in the legislature. Once again, Gordon Lafer identifies the problem: “(M)any of the factors that strengthen corporate political influence are magnified in the states. First, far fewer people pay attention to state government, implying wider latitude for well-funded organized interests… Apart from labor unions and a handful of progressive activists, the corporate agenda… encounters little public resistance at the state level because hardly anyone knows about or understands the issues… So, too, corporate lobbies’ financial advantage is magnified in the states. Citizens United marked a sea change in state as well as federal politics.” (The One Percent Solution, pp. 34-36)

Christopher Lubienski, a professor of education policy at Indiana University who has studied the impact of school privatization and the politics around privatizing public schools, recently published a reminder that school privatization is driven by the power of the corporate agenda. Expansion of vouchers has never been an expression of voters’ overall preference: “School choice is continuing to expand across the United states…. But these successes often come in spite of overwhelming voter opposition to school choice programs… According to the pro-voucher organization EdChoice.org, the U.S. has over 75 publicly funded private school choice programs, including vouchers, and education savings accounts, as well as another 45 charter school programs. But all of these programs have been implemented by legislators, not the electorate… In fact, voters have been allowed to weigh in on school choice programs only nine times since 2000, and they almost always reject them, often by overwhelming margins. Only twice did school choice programs pass through the ballot box. In 2012, Georgia voters empowered their legislature with the ability to create charter schools. That same year… Washington voters passed a charter school referendum.”

Who are the far-right advocacy groups and think tanks powerfully promoting Education Savings Account vouchers? They include the usual suspects: the American Legislative Exchange Council and a state- by-state group of think tanks that are ALEC’s partners in the State Policy Network, EdChoice, the Goldwater Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Institute for Justice, which provides two model laws—“Education Savings Account Act: Publicly Funded,” and “Education Savings Account Act: Tax-Credit Funded“—so that state legislators can merely adapt a canned statute to their own state’s particular needs. SourceWatch reports corporate funding streams for these and other far-right think tanks that promote vouchers—funding from the Koch Brothers, the Bradley Foundation, and investments from the Donor’s Capital Fund, a powerful investor of corporate dark money since the 2010, U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United.

In the past two years, the campaign to undermine public schooling and promote the expansion of vouchers has developed a new strategy to convince parents that their children in public schools are being brainwashed by critical race theory and surrounded by discussion of gender and sexual orientation. In a new report published by the Network for Public Education this week, political scientist Maurice Cunningham traces the money behind what may appear to be a spontaneous emergence of parents’ groups—Parents Defending Education, Moms for Liberty, and No Left Turn in Education. Cunningham points to clues that these are not local grassroots groups of parents; their websites, for example, betray a big investment in communications. And while, for example, the founders of Parents Defending Education (PDE) claim to be a bunch of working moms, Cunningham explains: “PDE took in $3,178,272 in contributions and grants in 2021… Donor’s Trust, a dark money donor associated with the Koch network donated $20,250 to PDE in 2021. The Achelis & Bodman Foundation which funds voucher and charter school programs and targets public education, contributed $25,000. Searle Freedom Trust, another right-wing donor with ties to Donors Trust, contributed $250,000 in 2021. We don’t know all the names on the checks, but we do know that those checks had to be pretty large, that the attorneys and consultants sit at the hierarchy of right-wing operatives, and that the board members and staffers are connected to the highest levels of conservative donors including the Koch network.”

The same people who are promoting vouchers are working to scare parents with the huge, culture war campaign driven by identifiable funders and a mass of dark money supporting an education marketplace and undermining parents’ confidence in public schools. But as Christopher Lubienski, the scholar who has studied the effect of the privatization of public education reminds us, expanding vouchers has not improved the outcomes for our children: “(R)ecent research is repeatedly showing that… vouchers are not a good investment. Although publicly funded vouchers may be propping up some private schools that might otherwise go out of business, they are not really helping the people they purport to help. In fact… study after study shows that students using vouchers are falling behind where they would have been if they had remained in public schools. Thus, policymakers might think twice about defying voters on initiatives that actually cause harm to children.”

The political theorist Benjamin Barber warns that school choice does not really provide freedom for families: “We are seduced into thinking that the right to choose from a menu is the essence of liberty, but with respect to relevant outcomes the real power, and hence the real freedom, is in the determination of what is on the menu. The powerful are those who set the agenda, not those who choose from the alternatives it offers. We select menu items privately, but we can assure meaningful menu choices only through public decision-making.” (Consumed, p. 139)

Gary Rayno writes in InDepth NH about a Democratic proposal to put the State Department of Education in charge of the voucher program. Called “Education Freedom Accounts, the program was sold as a way to help low-income students in bad public schools transfer to better private schools. But about 75% of the students getting voucher money were already enrolled in private and religious schools. The free-market State Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut (who home-schooled his own children) projected that the program would cost $3.3 million, but it has actually cost $27 million in its two years of operation. Edelblut promised it would cut property taxes, but the cost of the program is projected to grow.

Rayno writes:

CONCORD — Several lawmakers seek changes to the new Education Freedom Account program with a package of bills addressing issues raised in its first two years of operation.

The program was included in the state’s two-year operating budget passed in 2021, and has been significantly over budget projections with more students than anticipated and what many view as insufficient oversight.

“It is hard to have oversight,” said the prime sponsor of House Bill 626, Rep. David Luneau, D-Hopkinton, “when you don’t have transparency, when you don’t have the data to look at.”

The bill, which had a public hearing Wednesday before the House Education Committee, would have the Department of Education administer and manage the program instead of the Children’s Scholarship Fund NH, which receives 10 percent of the program’s grant distribution under its contract with the state. The organization’s no-bid contract was approved by the Executive Council soon after the program was approved in the state’s operating budget.

The program allows the money parents receive to roll-over from year to year, unless the amount exceeds what would be a quarterly payment.

If the student graduates, leaves the freedom account program or is removed from the program for misuse of funds, the parents would be required to return any excess money to the Education Trust Fund under the bill.

The bill would also require students in the program to take one of the statewide assessment tests required of public school students as a comparison of how well the students in the program are doing, Luneau said.

Luneau and other supporters of the change say the program needs more oversight, accountability and transparency given the millions of dollars being distributed to parents.

The state has spent about $27 million during the first two years of the program, well above the $3.3 million budget Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut projected would be the cost.

He asked for $30 million each year of the next biennial budget in requests to the Governor’s Office.

Luneau told the committee that is $90 million in the first four years of the program coming out of the Education Trust Fund, and $9 million of it going to the scholarship fund.

He said he believes with added staff, the department could manage and administer the program for much less money and have the data needed for better accountability, transparency and assessment.

Why use tax dollars to pay the overhead of a private company, when you are already paying the department to oversee kids’ education in the state, Luneau said.

To date, about 75 percent of the funds for the program have gone as subsidies to parents of students who were enrolled in private or religious schools prior to the program’s start.

Of the 3,000 students in the program this year, about 700 attended a public school the year before.

Luneau said the reports include the kids who were in private and religious schools before the program began to show how successful it is, but that is not saving any taxpayers money but is using money from the Education Trust Fund.

Luneau is prime sponsor of another bill prohibiting using the money as a subsidy for private or religious school tuition.

Supporters of the program sold it as a way for lower income parents to afford to find the best education opportunities for their students while saving property tax dollars for taxpayers.

Luneau said taxpayers who fund public schools receive a great deal more accountability, oversight and transparency of their tax dollars than they do in the freedom account program, adding the reports the scholarship fund has provided are laughable; they are so incomplete.

The view of Republican legislators is that parents alone offer accountability. If they don’t like the program, they will leave it. Since 3/4 of them are already enrolled in private and religious schools, they should be overjoyed that the taxpayers are underwriting the cost.

Open the link and read the rest of the article.

Far-right extremists concocted a cascading series of so-called culture wars that have no basis in fact or reality. Their purpose is to undermine public trust in teachers and public schools, paving the way for divisive “school choice,” which defunds public schools.

Teachers are intimidated, fearful that they might violate the law by teaching factual history about race and racism. Students are deprived of honesty in their history and social studies classes. Schools are slandered by extremists. Needless divisions are created by the lies propagated by zealots whose goal is to privatize public funding for schools.

First came the furor over “critical race theory,” which is not taught in K-12 schools. CRT is a law school course of study that examines systemic racism. The claim that it permeates K-12 schools was created as a menace threatening the children of America by rightwing ideologue Chris Rufo, who shamelessly smeared the teachers of America as purveyors of race hatred that humiliated white children. Rufo made clear in a speech at Hillsdale College that the only path forward was school choice. The entire point of Rufo’s gambit was the destruction of public trust in public schools.

Then came a manufactured brouhaha over transgender students who wanted to use a bathroom aligned with their sexual identity. The number of transgender students is minuscule, probably 1%. And yet again there was a furor that could have easily been resolved with a gender-neutral bathroom. Ron DeSantis made a campaign ad with a female swimmer who complained that she competed against a trans woman. What she didn’t mention was that the trans woman was beaten, as was she, by three other female swimmers.

And then came the nutty claim that teachers were “grooming” students to be gay. Another smear. No evidence whatever. Reading books about gay characters would turn students gay, said the critics; but would reading about elephants make students want to be elephants?

Simultaneously, extremists raised loud alarms about books that introduced students to dangerous ideas about sexuality and racism. If they read books with gay characters, students would turn gay. If they read about racism, they would “hate America.” So school libraries had to be purged; even public libraries had to be purged. One almost expected public book burnings. So much power attributed to books, as if the Internet doesn’t exist, as if kids can’t watch porn of all kinds, as if public television does not regularly run shows about American’s shameful history of racism.

As citizens and parents, we must stand up for truth and sanity. We must defend our schools and teachers against libelous claims. We must oppose those who would ban books.

Of course, parents should meet with their children’s teachers. They should partner with them to help their children. They should ask questions about the curriculum. They should share their concerns. Learning benefits when parents, teachers, students, and communities work together.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is determined to pass a voucher bill in the upcoming legislative session, along with voucher zealot Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. They hope to use the culture war nonsense about public schools “indoctrinating” students on race and gender issues. They pay no attention to the research showing that students who use vouchers are likely to lose ground, academically, and learn less than in public school. Does the legislature really want to harm the state’s public schools while sending kids off to religious and private schools where they are likely to get a worse education than in public schools?

Edward McKinley of the Houston Chronicle wrote recently:

Private school vouchers were within a handful of votes of becoming Texas law in May 2005. Former Rep. Carter Casteel still remembers the constituent who confronted her in her office that day.

“He kind of threatened me, not to harm me, but that I wouldn’t be reelected if I didn’t vote for the vouchers,” Casteel, a New Braunfels Republican, said in an interview. A public school teacher and school board member before she served in the Legislature, Casteel is and was a staunch opponent of private school vouchers.

“I explained to him my position, and he wasn’t very happy, I remember that,” she said. “If you want your child to go to a private school, then that’s your choice and you spend your money, but you don’t take taxpayer dollars away.”

Debate on the floor of the Texas House stretched on for hours, and the voucher bill was gutted following a series of back-and-forth, close votes. Casteel voted no, saying publicly that she was willing to lose her House seat over it.

In a dramatic capstone to the proceedings, Rep. Senfronia Thompson ran across the floor and yanked the microphone out of the bill author’s hand, yelling for attention to a procedural mistake in the bill that led to its death.

That day was the high-water mark in efforts to pass private school vouchers in Texas.

They have been blocked by a powerful coalition of Democrats and rural Republicans in the House. In fact, the House has routinely and overwhelmingly supported a statement policy that outright bans taxpayer funds from going to private schools in sessions since.

But advocates for vouchers believe that those legislative dynamics that have been frozen for the last 17 years may finally be thawing.

As Republicans for the past year have raised alarms over what they see as liberal indoctrination in the public school curriculum — especially in the way racism and LGBT issues are taught — they’ve chalked up victories in statehouses across the country. Texas parents have carried that same fight to school board meetings, their local libraries and trustee elections. Now, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are calling for more of the same in the upcoming legislative session, with pledges to back ‘parents matter’ initiatives that include another voucher push.

“Families started to see there’s another dimension to school quality that’s arguably more important, which is whether the school’s curriculum aligns with their values,” said Corey DeAngelis, senior fellow with the American Federation for Children, which advocates for vouchers. “And I think that’s sparked a wave of support for school choice around the country.”

Abbott earlier this year announced his support for a policy that would allow public funds to follow students, regardless of whether they attend public schools or private schools. Shortly after, DeAngelis posted a photo of himself meeting with the governor, and “it’s happening, Texas,” has become a refrain on his popular Twitter account.

“With all the national momentum, I think a lot of people are looking toward Texas as the next step,” DeAngelis said. “It’s going to be all eyes on Texas coming up this session. And people are going to be watching.”

Eyes on Arizona, Virginia

The argument for vouchers has traditionally been that children, particularly in urban areas, are forced to attend struggling schools, when the state could instead subsidize them attending private schools nearby. One problem with this argument is that polling has often found that while people have critical views of public schools generally, they often like their own public schools just fine.

“In the past, they’ve tried to get vouchers by saying we’ve got to do something about kids trapped in failing schools. And so we’d say we’ve got all these failing schools. And then you’d look at the data and you have about 80 campuses out of about 8,500 or so that were ‘improvement required.’ So you’re looking at 1 percent,” said Charles Luke, head of the Coalition for Public Schools, which represents education groups opposing voucher policies.

“So when you’re talking about how horrible the public school system is, 99 percent of them are doing fine,” he said. “A kid takes a test and he gets a 99 on it, you wouldn’t say ‘he’s failing, I’m failing him, The system is failing him.’ You’d say, he’s doing great!”

But instead of school budgets or test scores, this time it’s culture war issues with spinoffs that include whether teachings on racism damage the self-esteem of white kids, and if it’s OK for young children to see a drag show or discuss gender identity.

“There’s this misalignment to what parents thought was going on in their schools and now their eyes have been opened, and now they say hey, hey lets fix this,” said Mandy Drogin, with the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “No more of this social justice warrior, whatever the teacher or administrator feels about pushing into our classrooms. I think that’s where you see so much momentum, and everybody feels and sees that momentum.”

The issue of private school vouchers has historically hewn closely to the culture war issues of the day. The modern voucher advocacy movement has roots connecting to efforts to resist racial integrationafter the Brown v Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1954.

In the 1950s and ‘60s, supporters of vouchers wanted to leave “government schools” because they argued such schools were experimenting with “social engineering” and radical ideologies, education historian Jon Hale has noted, particularly desegregation. The debates from yesterday over leaving public schools because of their values mirror contemporary political arguments over how LGBTQ+ issues are discussed or the children who are undocumented immigrants attending American public schools.

One question legislative observers have had is whether those pushing vouchers will attempt to pass a universal program or a more limited one.

Teachers unions, Democrats and other public school advocates have traditionally opposed any voucher program, no matter how small, but voucher advocates have seen success in other states starting small and building out from there.

This year, however, Arizona passed a universal program, and advocates say that should be the goal in Texas.

Mayes Middleton, who served in the House in the 2019 and 2021 sessions and was elected this year to the state Senate, has filed one such bill. His would create education savings accounts, a form of vouchers, that could be used by anyone to send their kids to public school, private school, community college classes, virtual schools or home school.

This approach is the best way to maximize “parental empowerment,” he said in a Friday interview, and to capitalize on the momentum behind that movement that helped carry Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to victory last year. There were also Republicans unseated in the primaries earlier this year across the state who were less supportive of voucher policies, Middleton said, which could help win additional support.

He says his bill could be particularly helpful for rural Texans who want their kids to access more flexible, hybrid home school models, as well as for people who want to send their kids to private Catholic schools but cannot afford it, many of whom he said are Hispanic. Those are groups who would need to support voucher policies for them to win passage in the Legislature.

“Look in Arizona what they did it with one-seat GOP majority in their house and senate,” DeAngelis said. “If every Republican in Arizona can show up for their platform issue, other red states should be able to follow suit as well.”

Vouchers fell far short in 2021

Public school advocates and opponents of vouchers acknowledge that the fight is going to be tighter and more intense than it has been in many years, but they feel that even with intense lobbying in support, the policies will ultimately fall short.

“These are the same issues that raised their ugly head in past sessions,” said Rep. Harold Dutton, a Houston Democrat who chaired the House Public Education Committee last session, noting that more than 100 of the 150 House members voted in favor of an amendment last year barring the state from spending public funds on private schools. “I don’t see that changing a whole lot, and certainly not being able to get a majority.”

Members of the GOP’s right wing have called for House Speaker Dade Phelan to end the practice of naming Democrats to head a limited number of committees. Some have named Dutton in particular as an obstacle last session to school choice legislation.

Dutton said he hadn’t thought about whether or not he’ll be chair again, but noted: “When vouchers failed before, the person in the chair of public education was a Republican, so what does that tell you?”

Several Republican members of Public Education, who might be in line for the chairmanship if Dutton is not selected again, have also expressed skepticism or opposition to voucher proposals. Rep. Ken King from Canadian has said, “If I have anything to say about it, it’s dead on arrival. It’s horrible for rural Texas. It’s horrible for all of Texas,” while Rep. Gary VanDeaver has said, “This sense of community is what makes Texas great, and I would hate to see anything like a voucher program destroy this community spirit.”

As promised, after Casteel’s role in the demise of the voucher bill in 2005, she lost her seat in 2006.

She noted that a prominent San Antonio businessman and GOP donor who was present in the House the day of the vote and advocated strongly for vouchers donated more than $1 million to her opponent, as the donor did for other Republicans who opposed the voucher bill that day.

“I’ve got a great family, I’ve got a great law profession, and whether I’m (there) or I go home it doesn’t make a bit of difference to me. I didn’t go there to do nothing but what’s right,” Casteel said.

“And I did. I went home. And it never came back up — until this year.”

edward.mckinley@chron.com

John Merrow warns us that the extremists are upping the pressure to undermine public schools and their teachers. Attend local school board meetings. Run for the local school board. Stand up and be counted.

Perhaps you have been giving thanks that the predicted ‘Red Wave’ did not materialize in November’s midterm elections, but the danger isn’t over. Former President Trump has called for suspending the US Constitution, and most Republicans have refused to condemn his outrageous statement. White nationalists, racists, anti-semites, LGBTQ-haters, and the political opportunists and media whores who enable them are still out in force, working as hard as ever to destabilize our nation.

Because of my belief in the importance of public schools, I’m calling out the right-wing political activists who are working to destroy public education– and keep children from reading, thinking, and questioning. More people need to step up and defend public schools, because classrooms are becoming ‘unsafe spaces’ for exploration of anything that’s remotely controversial. That’s the polar opposite of education….and a genuine threat to our democracy.

At the top of my list is “Moms for Liberty” and its co-founder Tiffany Justice. This group is leading an effort to take over school boards in order to restrict the curriculum and fire supposedly ‘woke’ administrators. She told former Trump consigliere Steve Bannon, “We’re going to take over the school boards, but that’s not enough. Once we replace the school boards, what we need to do is we need to have search firms, that are conservative search firms, that help us to find new educational leaders, because parents are going to get in there and they’re going to want to fire everyone.”

In October The New Yorker profiled the organization, a piece well worth your attention.

Blogger Peter Greene, a former high school teacher, cataloged the right-wing campaigns of Moms for Liberty, the 1776 Project, and Patriot Mobile recently in Forbes Magazine. Below is Greene’s description of some of their victories, and the consequences.

Right-wingers took over the “Miami-Dade School Board, where a resolution to recognize LGBTQ History Month (which the district had done just last year) drew a crowd of opponents, including Moms for Liberty, the Christian Family Coalition, and the Proud Boys. The new majority on the board squashed the motion……In Colorado, a superintendent resigned after board members campaigned against his policy priorities. In Florida’s beleaguered Broward County district, a new majority appointed by Governor DeSantis passed a surprise motion to fire the current superintendent…..and in Berkeley County (SC), the new majority, on the same night they were sworn in, fired the superintendent, fired the district legal counsel, cut property taxes, banned “critical race theory,” and set up a committee to begin reviewing and removing books deemed inappropriate. Deon Jackson had served as Berkeley County’s first Black superintendent for just over a year, after long-time employment in the district in other capacities. The board offered no explanation for their action, telling the press only, ‘We expect to be able to share our rationale in the future.’”

Please open the link and keep reading.

Educators, parents, and civil rights groups in Virginia are outraged because Governor Glen Youngkin has directed the rewriting of the state’s history standards. The Youngkin standards eliminate anything that extremists and rightwingers find objectionable. The Youngkin team initially deleted all mention of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from the elementary curriculum. Presumably any discussion of Dr. King’s life and legacy might be interpreted as “critical race theory” by the Governor’s allies.

At the same time, Youngkin’s cultural warriors expanded coverage of Ancient Greece and Rome, expecting children in the early elementary years to learn about major figures in those civilizations for whom they have no context or understanding.

In the rewrite of the standards by the Youngkin team,, a startling amount of material about African Americans was deleted. The curriculum and standards were literally whitewashed.

And as you will notice, the Youngkin draft refers to Native Americans and indigenous peoples as “the first immigrants.” What?

The Youngkin rewrite shows zero knowledge of what content is age-appropriate. As you will read below, first-graders are expected to learn about the Code of Hammurabi. Are first-graders really ready to learn about ancient Babylon? The educators who wrote the statement below warn that the Code includes references to adultery and sex, possibly violating recent legislation that bans sexual content in the early grades.

Many years ago, I was deeply involved in the revision of the California History-Social Science standards and curriculum framework. The process must involve teachers, historians, and experts from different disciplines (such as geography, sociology, and other social sciences). Our committee reflected the state’s ethnic diversity and included teachers from different grade levels. The draft was circulated to teachers who would teach it to get their comments. It was then presented at public hearings where parents and the public expressed their views. It was a long and arduous process, but the state ended up with a fair and accurate account of state, national, and world history, along with an appreciation of different perspectives about history.

History is not “a story.” It is told differently depending on who is writing it, and it changes as historians learn more.

That kind of deliberation was started in Virginia but it was short-circuited by Governor Youngkin, who wanted to fulfill his campaign promises about “parental rights” and “critical race theory.” The result is that the process was politicized, and the standards were warped by political interference.

The meeting to discuss the standards was held last night. I will let you know what happens. I will keep watch on the effort to whitewash Virginia’s standards of learning and to make them explicitly Eurocentric.

Press Release by Concerned Educators of the Commonwealth

RELEASE DATE: For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Concerned Educators of the Commonwealth

WHAT: The Rewrite of Virginia’s Proposed History and Social Science Standards

WHEN: Thursday, November 17th Board of Education Meeting, James Monroe Building, Richmond

The History and Social Science Standards of Learning have always been written as a non-partisan document that values input from all sides of the aisle in a transparent process. During the October 20, 2022 meeting of the Virginia Board of Education, a number of Board Members pushed to have the proposed History and Social Science Standards along with supporting Curriculum Framework documents presented for “first review” at the next meeting. The State Superintendent of Instruction resisted this in favor of further delay. Instead of honoring her promise for only a brief delay to allow new board members appointed by Governor Youngkin time to review the proposed Standards, the links below reveal that the proposed Standards have been completely rewritten at the last moment and replaced. This rewrite was led by Superintendent Balow, the Superintendent’s selected consultant, Ms. Shelia Byrd Carmicheal and staff from the Governor’s office. It is NOT the original draft of proposed standards created in partnership with countless educators, historians, professors, museums, organizations, parents, teachers, and VDOE staff in the process laid out in Virginia Code. As indicated by Item I Memo, Shelia Byrd Carmichael will present the ¨Final Redraft of VA HSS Standards for K – 12. 11.10.22¨ There is no mention of the VDOE History and Social Science staff members who have led this work for the past two years.

In addition to this flawed and undemocratic process, there are several aspects of the rewritten standards that we find to be unacceptable, and we urge the Virginia Board of Education to reject these rewritten standards and not consider them for first review at their upcoming meeting on November 17th, 2022:

  1. The inital rewrite of the proposed Standards which were made public on November 11, 2022 entirely removed Martin Luther King, Jr. from the elementary curriculum. This selective erasure of one of the most prominent Black men in American history calls into question this entire revision of the proposed Standards. This was partially addressed on November 16th, 2022 with the sudden addition of the “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day” to SOL K.7b. However, the public needs to be aware that this last minute half-measure still removes Martin Luther King, Jr. from the 1st grade and 2nd grade SOLs that have been in place for years. This significant reduction is still unacceptable, and it not only shows how much this process was rushed in isolation with a outside consultant, but it now seems to be a paternalistic attempt to placate and mollify.
  1. The rewrite of the proposed Standards removes most of the 2020 technical edits that were made by the recent Commission on African American History Education (click here in order to see what has been removed).
  1. The rewrite of the proposed Standards refers to Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples as America’s “first immigrants” in SOL K.2a and b – this strips a historically marginalized group of 10,000 years of human history and their heritage as native and indigenous people who numbered in the tens of millions prior to European contact.
  1. The rewrite of the proposed Standards completely removes the African civilization of Mali from the Third Grade standards while Ancient Greece and Rome have been greatly expanded. All of these civilizations should be explored for students to fully understand the world – not just the Western World. This represents another example of erasing people of color from the previous version of the standards while elevating a Eurocentric view of the world.
  1. In addition to political bias, the rewrite of the proposed Standards contains several examples of age-inappropriate content that is far too complex for adolescent children. For example,
    1. The “Code of Hammurabi” is now listed as required content for First Grade (SOL 1.1c). The Code of Hammurabi not only requires considerable historical context for students to understand Ancient Babylon, but many of the codes are inappropriate as they address topics such as adultery, sex, and capital punishment. The time period, as well as the graphic nature of the content, is highly inappropriate for 1st graders. The inclusion of the Code of Hammurabi may come into conflict with the recently passed legislation that forbids the inclusion of sexually explicit content in curriculum.
    2. The Fertile Crescent, Mesopotamia, and the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers are now required content in SOL 1.1 for First Grade. Students in primary grades have limited context of their own communities and the world around them. Therefore, they need to focus on basic map skills and geographic features such as continents and oceans – not on specific locations that require in-depth knowledge about ancient civilizations. it should be noted that the previous revision version of the Standards placed this content appropriately in secondary courses such as World History I and World Geography that is typically taught in 8th or 9th grade. Asking our youngest learners to learn about “civilization” before they have any context of their own “communities” shows a clear lack of understanding about what is developmentally appropriate in grades K-1.
    3. The Third Grade Standards require students to learn about several historic figures that are far too complex for this grade-level such as “Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Alexander the Great, Crassus, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Constantine, Odysseus, and Aeneas.” While certainly historically significant, these figures are much more appropriate for secondary courses such as World History I which is typically taught in 8th or 9th grade. Such misunderstanding of elementary education calls into question if the person or persons who drafted these revised standards have any understanding of what is developmentally appropriate for younger learners and if they have any experience in elementary education.
  1. The rewrite of the proposed Standards is full of grammatical, spelling, and formatting errors. For example, in SOL 2.2c, the famous closing statement of the Declaration of Independence is misspelled where the signers pledged their “lives, fortunes, and scared [sic.] honor” rather than sacred honor. Another simple mistake appears in SOL USI.7c, where the revised Standard states, “students will describe challenges faced by the new nation by….explaining what the Constitutional Conventions was.”
  1. The rewrite of the proposed Standards is also full of historical errors and inaccuracies. For example, SOL VS.5f requires students to “explain the reasons for the relocation of Virginia’s capital from Jamestown to Williamsburg” as part of the overall standard about the Revolutionary War. However, this makes absolutely no sense given that Virginia’s capital was moved from Williamsburg to Richmond during the Revolutionary War in order to provide greater protection against British attack. A discussion of the move from Jamestown to Williamsburg seems to be a glaring historical error given that Jamestown burned in 1698 and the capital of Virginia was moved to Williamsburg 77 years before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. The previous version of the proposed Standards did not contain egregious historical errors such as this because they were developed by a team of educators, division leaders, and historians. Another example of historical error appears in SOL VS.6 where Zachary Taylor is incorrectly identified as the most recent President from Virginia. Taylor was Virginia’s 7th President elected in 1848. Woodrow Wilson was Virginia’s 8th President elected in 1912.
  1. The rewrite of the proposed Standards emphasizes the memorization of content knowledge at the expense of skills and deeper understanding. The level of content knowledge is so extensive that it leaves very little time for critical thinking, inquiry, and project-based learning. For example, SOL CE.1n requires students to learn the “charters of the Virginia Company of London April 10, 1606, May 23, 1609, and March 12, 1612.” Such specific content knowledge in this regard promotes rote memorization and detracts from the larger goal of deeper understanding, skill development, and learning the knowledge and facts by anchoring that content to larger conceptual understandings
  1. Contributions from the Sikh and the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community have been greatly limited in this redraft.
  1. The rewrite of the proposed Standards completely alters the course sequence and will cause major disruptions as divisions struggle to redesign learning materials and resources for courses in grades K-9. If adopted, this mandate would move middle school courses to elementary and high school courses to middle school. This also has the potential to create major staffing issues as teachers will have to change teaching assignments, grade levels, and even schools. The altered sequence of courses negatively impacts students who are already in the middle of a particular course sequence. Publishing companies and education departments have created grade-appropriate materials to accompany the current SOL sequence. Making these drastic changes without allowing time for the creation of high-quality, enriching, age-appropriate supporting documents is disruptive of student learning and compromises Social Studies education.

Note: I can’t guarantee that the links will open, as this is a copy of a copy of a copy.