Archives for category: Republicans

The Republicans who control the North Carolina legislature want to divert public funds to religious and private schools. This outright theft of public funds is cynically called a bill for “equity and opportunity,” although it will increase racial segregation, undermine equity, and subsidize students to attend schools of lesser quality than public schools.

At what point do these thieves of public money reveal their true motives and stop stealing the egalitarian language of public education? There is nothing egalitarian about their scheme to take money from public schools and transfer it to low-quality religious schools. Some of these schools will use racist textbooks. Some will exclude students whose parents are gay. Some will be attached to churches that teach snake-handling. Few will have certified teachers or meet any state standards. North Carolina Republicans don’t care about the future of their state. They prefer to subsidize low-quality schools instead of improving their public schools.


Kris Nordstrom of NC Policy Watch wrote this description of the legislation. It was shared with me by Public Schools First North Carolina:

HB32 would make five changes to the Opportunity Scholarship program:

1.     No prior public school enrollment requirement for entering second graders: Under current law, first-time voucher recipients had to previously been enrolled in a public school unless they are entering kindergarten or first grade. Under H32, applicants entering second grade would not have to have been previously enrolled in a public school. As a result, more vouchers will be provided to students who were already enrolled in a private school.

2.     Increase value of the voucher: Since its inception in FY 2014-15, the Opportunity Scholarship voucher has been capped at $4,200. Under HB32, the maximum voucher amount would be set to “70 percent of the average State per pupil allocation in the prior fiscal year.” The average state per pupil allocation is currently $6,586, implying a maximum voucher of more than $4,610 if, as proposed, this goes into effect for vouchers awarded in the 2022-23 school year. The maximum voucher value would then be bumped up to 80% of the average State per pupil allocation in the 2023-24 school year and beyond. This would permit vouchers of up to $5,269, given current state spending levels.

3.     Loosening of prior public school enrollment requirement in grades 3-12: HB32 would allow students entering grades 3-12 to also be eligible for a voucher even if they’re already enrolled in a private school, so long as they were in a public school in the preceding semester. For example, if a student started their school year in a public school, but transferred to a private school for the spring semester, they would still be eligible for a voucher in the subsequent school year. This change would first apply to vouchers awarded in the 2022-23 school year.

4.     Diversion of funds to marketing efforts: Since inception, the Opportunity Scholarship program has been overfunded. HB32 would divert $500,000 worth of unused funds to “a nonprofit corporation representing parents and families” to market the program in an effort to juice up demand. There are few (if any) organizations that would qualify for these funds beyond Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina. It is probably just a coincidence that PEFNC provided HB32 sponsor Rep. Hugh Blackwell with an all-expenses paid trip to Miami in 2012.

5.     Increase of administration funding. Under current law, the NC State Education Assistance Authority  may retain $1.5 million for administrating the Opportunity Scholarship program. Under HB32, they would be allowed to use up to 2.5% of appropriated funds. That equates to $2.1 million for FY 2021-22, rising to $3.6 million by FY 2027-28.

The bill also amends the state’s two other voucher programs: the Disabilities Grant voucher and Personal Education Savings Accounts vouchers.

The Disabilities Grant is a traditional voucher covering up to $8,000 per year for students with disabilities. Funds can be used for school tuition, as well as for related expenses such as therapy, tutoring and educational technology.

Under the Personal Education Savings Accounts, parents of qualifying children receive a debit card loaded with $9,000 to be spent on a wide range of education-related expenses.

HB32 makes the following changes:

1.     Merges the two programs and changes the name. The combined program would be called Personal Education Student Accounts.

2.     Expands eligibility. Currently, students must have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to qualify for either program. Under HB32, eligibility would also be extended to students with 504 plans, which broadens the allowable disabilities. Students would also be eligible even if they are already enrolled in college, so long as they are taking less than 12 credits per year.

3.     Different awards and carry-forward rules. If a student is affected by autism, hearing impairment, moderate or severe intellectual or developmental disability, multiple, permanent orthopedic impairments, or visual impairment, they qualify for a higher award amount and may carry-forward up to $4,500 of unspent funds to the next fiscal year. These students will get $17,000 on their debit cards. Other disabled students’ awards are based on a percentage of per-student funding provided in the prior year. Based on 2020-21 funding levels, the award would be $9,549. These students would not be permitted to carry forward unspent funds.

4.     Eligibility verification relaxed. Currently the State Education Assistance Authority is required to verify eligibility of 6% of applicants each year. That requirement would be removed under HB32.

5.     Additional skimming of funds by financial companies. HB32 would permit the charging of “transaction or merchant fees” of up to 2.5% of all spending.

6.     Forward-funds the program and creates guaranteed funding increases through FY 2031-32. Under HB32, appropriations for Personal Education Savings Accounts would be made to a reserve account to forward-fund vouchers in the subsequent fiscal year. Additionally, funding would increase $1 million annually through FY 2031-32, increasing total funding by 62%. Voucher programs are the only education programs with guaranteed funding increases beyond FY 2021-22.

Finally, the bill would permit county governments to contribute to either of the voucher programs. Counties would be able to appropriate up to $1,000 per every child in the county who receives a voucher and attends a private school in the county. These funds would be used to increase the size of student vouchers rather than increase the number of vouchers awarded.

Fiscal impact of Opportunity Scholarship changes

If HB32 becomes law, it would be the second consecutive year of rapid expansion of the Opportunity Scholarship program to divert additional state funding to students who were already planning to go to a private school. During the 2020 legislative session, the General Assembly expanded the program’s income eligibility requirements and removed limits on awards to students entering Kindergarten and first grade. These changes are expected to cost the state approximately $272 million over the next 10 years.

The changes proposed under H3B2 would add $159 million to these costs over the next nine years.

Dana Milbank is a regular opinion writer for the Washington Post.

He wrote about the Republicans’ anti-Semitism problem. They refuse to denounce anti-Semitism. Bigotry multiplies.

For more than five years, I begged Republicans to reject the creeping anti-Semitism Donald Trump brought to the party, noting on the eve of the 2016 election that “when a demagogue begins to identify scapegoats, the Jews are never far behind.”


But I never expected I would see in my lifetime, in the United States of America, what occurred on the floor of the House this week. One hundred ninety-nine Republican members of Congress rallied to the defense of a vile, unapologetic anti-Semite in their ranks who calls for assassination of her opponents.


This is more than a Republican problem, it’s an American problem. You don’t have to be a scholar of 20th-century Europe to know what happens when the elected leaders of a democracy condone violence as a political tool and blame the country’s ills on the Jews.


Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), who is quickly becoming the de facto face of the Republican Party, has suggested that the deadly neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, where white supremacists chanted “Jews will not replace us,” was actually an “inside job” to “further the agenda of the elites.”


She shared a video in which a Holocaust denier claimed that an “unholy alliance of leftists, capitalists and Zionist supremacists have schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation” with the purpose of “breeding us out of existence in our own homelands.”


She posed for campaign photos with a white-supremacist leader and then refused to renounce the man.
She approved of a claim that the Israeli intelligence service assassinated John F. Kennedy, and she speculated that wealthy Jewish interests — the Rothschilds, a target of anti-Semites since the 19th century — set forest fires in California using lasers from space.

This isn’t idle bigotry, for she “liked” a social media suggestion that “a bullet to the head would be quicker” to remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), who has committed “a crime punishable by death.” She posted on social media about hanging Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, approved of a suggestion that FBI agents be executed, and posted a photo of herself with an automatic weapon next to three Democratic members of Congress, calling herself their “worst nightmare.”


On the House floor this week, she offered no apology and no direct mention of her anti-Semitic and violent statements. Using Christ-on-the-cross imagery, she condemned those who would “crucify me in the public square for words that I said, and I regret, a few years ago.”


But she didn’t regret them. She had tweeted the night before: “We owe them no apologies. We will never back down.” She retweeted an article featuring another QAnon adherent attacking the Republican Jewish Coalition. And several Republican colleagues gave her a standing ovation Wednesday night when she delivered a private speech that Republicans said was similar to the unrepentant one she gave in public on Thursday.


House Republicans refused to sanction her for her outrages, and on Thursday, all but 11 House Republicans voted against a successful Democratic measure to remove her from House committees.
“Marjorie Taylor Greene will be remembered for breaking new ground for her wild anti-Semitism,” Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League, told me after the vote. Greenblatt, whose group has tracked all-time high levels of anti-Jewish incidents during the Trump years, wrote three letters to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) about Greene since her nomination, and he urged McCarthy to remove her from committees. Greenblatt received no reply.

Greene’s ugly pronouncements about Muslims and Black people, and her harassment of school-shooting survivors and families of victims, are no less reprehensible. But the rallying around this unrepentant anti-Semite by Republicans is an ominous new frontier. The Republican Jewish Coalition said it is “offended and appalled by [Greene’s] comments and her actions.”


Yet on Thursday, House Republicans rushed to her defense. “We’ve all said things we regret,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.


Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.) protested the proceedings by forcing a vote to adjourn. “We shouldn’t be wasting the time of this body attacking a member of this body,” he said.


Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) disowned Greene’s rhetoric, but what he really found “sad” and “unprecedented” was that Democrats weren’t giving her “due process.”


Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) informed Democrats that “today is really about one party single-handedly canceling a member of the other party because of something said before that member was even elected.”


Republicans have used similar gaslighting in their response to impeachment. Trump helped organize a rally, incited his supporters to attack the Capitol and refused to call for an end to their murderous spree as they rampaged in search of elected officials in their hopes of overturning the election. But Democrats are the ones doing something “unconstitutional” by holding an impeachment trial after he left office?


Insurrection? Sedition? Assassination? Move on, the Republicans say. These actions and threats are mere “distractions” from the real issues.

Republicans defended Greene with absurd parallels. They attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for past anti-Semitic statements — omitting the crucial distinction that Omar, after Democrats roundly condemned her words, said, “Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes. … I unequivocally apologize.”


Greene, by contrast, remained unrepentant. On Friday, she held a celebratory news conference, again refusing to recant, or apologize for, her violent and anti-Jewish words and gestures.


Would she apologize for advocating for the execution of Pelosi?
“

I don’t have to,” she said, calling for the journalist to apologize instead.


Would she disavow her endorsement of putting “a bullet to the head” of Pelosi?


Accusing the questioner of lying, she replied: “That’s your problem and that’s how we end news conferences.” She walked away.


In retrospect, it’s clear Trump led us to this point. In his 2016 campaign, he singled out prominent Jews as part of a “global power structure” that doesn’t “have your good in mind.” He elevated white supremacists, spoke of “blood suckers,” told Jewish Republicans they wouldn’t support him “because I don’t want your money,” and shared an image of a Star of David atop a pile of cash.


As president, he spoke of the “very fine people” marching among the white supremacists in Charlottesville. Anti-Semitic violence increased significantly: pipe bombs sent to favorite Trump targets such as financier George Soros, and the synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. Yet Trump continued, embracing the far-right, violent Proud Boys in a presidential debate.

As Thursday’s emotional debate drew to a close, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), the House majority leader, displayed a poster taken from one of Greene’s social media posts showing her with an AR-15 next to photos of two Muslims and one Latina — Reps. Omar, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) — and Greene’s caption: “Squad’s Worse Nightmare.”


“They’re not ‘the Squad’,” Hoyer thundered. “They are people. They are our colleagues.”


He asked Republicans: “Imagine your faces on this poster. Imagine it’s a Democrat with an AR-15. Imagine what your response would be, and would you think that person ought to be held accountable?”
One hundred ninety-nine House Republicans looked at that invitation to assassination and voted to defend its author. God only knows what horrors they have unleashed.

Valerie Strauss posted this article that I wrote on her Washington Post site “The Answer Sheet.” The tests now required by federal law are worthless. The results are reported too late to matter. The reports to teachers do not tell them what students do or do not know. The tests tell students whether they did well or poorly on a test they took six months ago. They do not measure “learning loss.”

Diane Ravitch is a former assistant secretary of education and historian. For more than a decade, she has been a leading advocate for America’s public education system and a critic of the modern “accountability” movement that has based school improvement measures in large part on high-stakes standardized tests.


In her influential 2010 book, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” Ravitch explained why she dropped her support for No Child Left Behind, the chief education initiative of President George W. Bush, and for standardized test-based school “reform.”


Ravitch worked from 1991 to 1993 as assistant secretary in charge of research and improvement in the Education Department of President George H.W. Bush, and she served as counselor to then-Education Secretary Lamar Alexander, who had just left the Senate where he had served as chairman of the Senate Education Committee. She was at the White House as part of a select group when George W. Bush first outlined No Child Left Behind (NCLB), a moment that at the time she said made her “excited and optimistic” about the future of public education.


But her opinion changed as NCLB was implemented and she researched its effects on teaching and learning. She found that the NCLB mandate for schools to give high-stakes annual standardized tests in math and English language arts led to reduced time — or outright elimination — of classes in science, social studies, the arts and other subjects.


She was a critic of President Barack Obama’s policies and his chief education initiative, Race to the Top, a multibillion-dollar competition in which states (and later districts) could win federal funds by promising to adopt controversial overhauls, including the Common Core State Standards, charter schools and accountability that evaluated teachers by student test scores.


In 2013, she co-founded an advocacy group called the Network for Public Education, a coalition of organizations that oppose privatizing public education and high-stakes standardized testing. She has since then written several other best-selling books and a popular blog focused primarily on education.


She was also appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress, and served for seven years.

In the following post, she provides a historical overview of standardized testing — and takes issue with supporters who say that these exams provide data that helps teachers and students. Instead, she says, they are have no value in the classroom.


The subject has resonance at the moment because the Biden administration must decide soon whether to give states a waiver from the federal annual testing mandate. The Trump administration did so last year after schools abruptly closed when the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the United States, but said it wouldn’t do it again if President Donald Trump won reelection. Trump lost, and now Biden’s Education Department is under increasing pressure to give states permission not to administer the 2021 tests.

By Diane Ravitch


I have been writing about standardized tests for more than 20 years. My 2000 book, “Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform,” included a history of I.Q. testing, which evolved into the standardized tests used in schools and into the Scholastic Aptitude Test, known now simply as the SAT. The psychologists who designed these tests in the early 20th century believed, incorrectly, that you inherited “intelligence” from your family and nothing you might do would change it. The chief virtue of these tests was that they were “standardized,” meaning that everyone took the same ones. The I.Q. test was applied to the screening of recruits for World War I, used to separate the men of high intellect — officer material — and from those of low intellect, who were sent to the front lines.
When the psychologists reviewed the test results, they concluded that white males of northern European origin had the highest I.Q., while non-English-speaking people and Black people had the lowest I.Q. They neglected the fact that northern Black people had higher I.Q. scores than Appalachian White people on the Army’s mental tests. Based on these tests, the psychologists believed, incorrectly, that race and I.Q. were bound together.


One of the psychologists who helped create the wartime I.Q. tests was Carl C. Brigham of Princeton University. He wrote an influential book, called “A Study of American Intelligence,” in 1923, which proclaimed that the “Nordic” race had the highest intelligence and that the increasing numbers of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe were causing a decline in American intelligence.


His findings encouraged Congress to set quotas to limit the immigration of so-called “inferior” national groups from places like Russia, Poland and Italy. Brigham, a faculty member at Princeton, used his knowledge of I.Q. testing to develop the Scholastic Aptitude Test in 1926. Because they could be easily and cheaply scored by machine, the SAT tests eventually replaced the well-known “College Boards,” which were written examinations prepared and graded by teams of high school teachers and college professors.


Standardized testing occasionally made an appearance in American schools in the second half of the 20th century, but the tests were selected and used at the will of state and local school boards. The Scholastic Aptitude Test was important for college admission, especially for the relatively small number of elite colleges. Nonetheless, it was possible to attend an American public school from kindergarten through 12th grade without ever taking a standardized test of academic or mental ability.


This state of affairs began to change after the release of the Reagan administration’s “Nation at Risk” report in 1983. That report claimed that the nation’s public schools were mired in “a rising tide of mediocrity” because they were too easy. Politicians and education leaders became convinced that American education needed higher standards and needed tests to measure the performance of students on higher standards.


President George H.W. Bush convened a national summit of governors in 1989, which proclaimed six national goals for the year 2000 in education, including:


• By the year 2000, United States students will be first in the world in math and science.

• By the year 2000, all students will leave grades 4, 8, and 12 having demonstrated competence over challenging subject matter including English, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history and geography.


Such goals implied measurement. They implied the introduction of widespread standardized testing.


In 1994, President Bill Clinton introduced his Goals 2000 program, which gave grants to every state to choose their own standards and tests.


In 2001, President George W. Bush put forward his No Child Left Behind legislation, which required every student in grades 3 to 8 to take a standardized test in reading and mathematics every year, as well as one test in high school. Test scores would be used to judge schools and eventually to punish those that failed to make progress toward having every student achieve competency on those tests. The NCLB law proclaimed that by 2014, virtually every student would achieve competency in reading and mathematics. The authors of NCLB knew the goal was impossible to achieve.


When Barack Obama became president, he selected Arne Duncan as secretary of education. The Obama administration embraced the NCLB regime. Its own program — Race to the Top — stiffened the sanctions of NCLB.


Not only would schools that did not get high enough test scores be punished, possibly closed or privatized for failing to meet utopian goals, but teachers would be individually singled out if the students in their classes did not get higher scores every year.
The Bush-Obama approach was recognized as the “bipartisan consensus” in education, built around annual testing, accountability for students, teachers, principals and schools, and competition among schools. Race to the Top encouraged states to authorize charter school legislation and to increase the number of privately managed charters, and to pass legislation that tied teachers’ evaluations to the test scores of their students.


Duncan also promoted the Common Core State Standards, which were underwritten by philanthropist Bill Gates; the U.S. Department of Education could not mandate the Common Core, but it required states to adopt “common national standards” if they wanted to be eligible to compete for a share of the $4.35 billion in federal funding that the department controlled as part of the recovery funds after the Great Recession of 2008-09.


The department was able to subsidize the development of two new national tests aligned to the Common Core, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). At the outset — in 2010 — almost every state signed up for one of the two testing consortia. PARCC had 24 state members; it is now down to two and the District of Columbia. SBAC started with 30 state members; it is down to 17.


Politicians and the general public assume that tests are good because they provide valuable information. They think that the tests are necessary for equity among racial and ethnic groups.


This is wrong.


The tests are a measure, not a remedy.


The tests are administered to students annually in March and early April. Teachers are usually not allowed to see the questions. The test results are returned to the schools in August or September. The students have different teachers by then. Their new teachers see their students’ scores but they are not allowed to know which questions the students got right or wrong.


Thus, the teachers do not learn where the students need extra help or which lessons need to be reviewed.


All they receive is a score, so they learn where students ranked compared to one another and compared to students across the state and the nation.


This is of little value to teachers.


This would be like going to a doctor with a pain in your stomach. The doctor gives you a battery of tests and says she will have the results in six months. When the results are reported, the doctor tells you that you are in the 45th percentile compared to others with a similar pain, but she doesn’t prescribe any medication because the test doesn’t say what caused your pain or where it is situated.


The tests are a boon for the testing corporation. For teachers and students, they are worthless.


Standardized test scores are highly correlated with family income and education. The students from affluent families get the highest scores. Those from poor families get the lowest scores. This is the case on every standardized test, whether it is state, national, international, SAT, or ACT. Sometimes poor kids get high scores, and sometimes kids from wealthy families get low scores, but they are outliers. The standardized tests confer privilege on the already advantaged and stigmatize those who have the least. They are not and will never be, by their very nature, a means to advance equity.


In addition, standardized tests are normed on a bell curve. There will always be a bottom half and a top half. Achievement gaps will never close, because bell curves never close. That is their design. By contrast, anyone of legal age may get a driver’s license if they pass the required tests. Access to driver’s licenses are not based on a bell curve. If they were, about 35 to 40 percent of adults would never get a license to drive.


If you are a parent, you will learn nothing from your child’s test score. You don’t really care how he or she ranks compared to others of her age in the state or in another state. You want to know whether she is keeping up with her assignments, whether she participates in class, whether she understands the work, whether she is enthusiastic about school, how she gets along with her peers. The standardized tests won’t answer any of these questions.


So how can a parent find out what he or she wants to know? Ask your child’s teacher.


Who should write the tests? Teachers should write the tests, based on what they taught in class. They can get instant answers and know precisely what their students understood and what they did not understand. They can hold a conference with Johnny or Maria to go over what they missed in class and help them learn what they need to know.


But how will we know how we are doing as a city or a state or a nation? How will we know about achievement gaps and whether they are getting bigger or smaller?


All of that information is already available in the reports of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), plus much more. Scores are disaggregated by state, gender, race, disability status, poverty status, English-language proficiency, and much more. About 20 cities have volunteered to be assessed, and they get the same information.


As we approach the reauthorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act — the successor law to No Child Left Behind — it is important to know this history and this context. No high-performing nation in the world tests every students in grades 3 to 8 every year.


We can say with certainty that the No Child Left Behind program failed to meet its purpose of leaving no child behind.


We can say with certainty that the Race to the Top program did not succeed at raising the nation’s test scores “to the top.”


We can say with certainty that the Every Student Succeeds Act did not achieve its purpose of assuring that every student would succeed.


For the past 10 years, despite (or perhaps because of) this deluge of intrusive federal programs, scores on the NAEP have been flat. The federal laws and programs have come and gone and have had no impact on test scores, which was their purpose.


It is time to think differently. It is time to relax the heavy hand of federal regulation and to recall the original purposes of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act: to distribute funding to the neediest students and schools; to support the professional training of teachers; and to assure the civil rights of students.


The federal government should not mandate testing or tell schools how to “reform” themselves, because the federal government lacks the knowledge or know-how or experience to reform schools.


At this critical time, as we look beyond the terrible consequences of the pandemic, American schools face a severe teacher shortage. The federal government can help states raise funding to pay professional salaries to professional teachers. It can help pay for high-quality prekindergarten programs. It can underwrite the cost of meals for students and help pay for nurses in every school.


American education will improve when the federal government does what it does best and allows highly qualified teachers and well-resourced schools to do what they do best.


Andrew Tobias blogs occasionally, usually around 1 a.m., and he usually has interesting perspectives on politics, culture, and economics. This is a good one:

The Madness Of Crowds

More than a third of Republicans believe the QAnon conspiracy that Donald Trump is waging a secret war against a shadowy cabal of paedophile cannibals is “mostly true” . . .

So, for the record:

>  No Democrat I know has eaten children or worshipped Satan.

>  Though some Republicans deny it, the Parkland massacre — like the Holocaust — was real.

>  The 9/11 attackers really did crash American flight 77 into the Pentagon.

>  The Clintons did not murder John Kennedy, Jr.

>  I’ve met George Soros.  He’s done more to champion freedom and democracy around the world than anyone I can think of.  The idea that he used space lasers to light California’s forest fires is insane.

As is the idea that someone who believes these things would have been endorsed by the leader of the Republican party; would have been elected; and would be appointed by her Republican colleagues to the Education Committee.

The difference between our fringe and theirs is that our “fringe” fights (peacefully) to give the average American a better deal:  Higher wages.  Consumer protections.  Health care.  A habitable planet for their kids.  Crazy s–t like that.

Their fringe beats Capitol Police with American flags, wears Camp Auschwitz t-shirts, and seeks to murder the House Speaker and Vice President.

To which their leader, watching gleefully on TV, eventually responds: “Go home.  I love you.  You are very special people.

Their fringe are evangelicals — especially the one African American in the crowd the camera dutifully zooms in on — who just laugh at the notion Joe Biden could have won.  (WATCH!)

Because who who better embodies Christ’s teachings than Trump?

The first crowd madness we are living through is the madness of those who’ve been conned into believing Trump and Putin are the ones to be trusted — the good guys in this tale — while the 84 million who voted for Biden are somehow in league with the devil.

[BONUS: Tips on deprogramming a QAnon cultist.]

One of the casualties of the 2020 election was public education in New Hampshire, because Republicans regained control of the legislature. They already hold the Governorship (Chris Sununu, son of John Sununu, who was also Governor of New Hampshire and chief of staff to the first President Bush).

The Republicans’ top priority is school vouchers. Their program, if enacted, would be the most expansive voucher program in the nation. At least 95% of students in the state would be eligible to apply for a voucher.

A new bill that would create the country’s first nearly universal voucher program has been introduced as the top priority for lawmakers in the 2021 session. House Bill 20(HB 20) would require the state to use state dollars currently allocated for public education to fund “Education Freedom Accounts.” Parents could then receive between $3,786 and $8,458 per student in state dollars, depending on eligibility and fees, to use for private school tuition, homeschooling expenses, and other school-related expenses. 

The bill creates the same voucher program that lawmakers originally introduced in 2017 under SB 193 (though they were called “Education Freedom Savings Accounts” then), which was killed because of the deep inequities it would cause for students, as well as the steep costs to the state and local towns. The current version of the bill, HB 20, has no accountability requirements to ensure that students are receiving an adequate education or that public funds are being spent for the stated purposes, aside from self-reporting by the independent scholarship organization. 

“Our communities are struggling under an inequitable funding system which will culminate in an $89 million cut in state funding next year. However, lawmakers have stated that one of their top priorities this session is to enact the most far-reaching voucher program in the country,” said Christina Pretorius, Policy Director at Reaching Higher NH.

“A question that I think our state leaders should ask is, what kind of state do we want 5, 10, 15 years from now? Will this program help to strengthen our state, our economy, and prepare our students — current and future — for life in the 21st century? This proposal, along with the funding crisis, presents a reckoning for our state, that I think we all need to grapple with,” she continued.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • HB 20 would create a nearly universal voucher program, where students attending both public and private schools would qualify for a voucher. Students who enroll in the program must disenroll full-time from their public or charter school. 
  • There are no provisions in the bill that would protect students from discrimination, but the bill does protect educational service providers from being discriminated against based on their religious affiliation. 
  • Parents could receive between $3,786 and $8,458, minus administrative fees, depending on the student’s eligibility for state aid programs. The funding would be placed in an “Education Freedom Account,” or voucher, managed by an independent scholarship organization and funded from the state’s Education Trust Fund.  
  • Parents could use the voucher for various education-related expenses, including private and religious school tuition and program costs, homeschooling costs, tutoring services, computers and software, summer programs, college tuition, or other approved expenses. Recipients are permitted to “roll-over” unused funds from year to year. 
  • Students with disabilities might waive their rights under federal and state disability laws, including the right to an IEP, the right to services, and the right to a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. 
  • There is little public oversight for state funds. There is no financial audit requirement for the scholarship organization to ensure that they are appropriately using public funds, nor are participating students required to take, or submit, the statewide assessment that public and charter school students are required to take. There is no requirement that participating students take any assessment of any kind, in order to ensure that public dollars are going towards programs that provide the opportunity for an adequate education.
  • HB 20, as proposed, would be the most far-reaching voucher bill in the country. Other states with voucher programs are targeted to low-income students, students with IEPs, and other identified or discrete student cohorts. HB 20, however, would be a nearly universal voucher program that is not targeted and is open to nearly all New Hampshire children. 
  • Voucher programs have been shown to hurt student outcomes. Long-term studies of voucher programs have shown that participants in voucher programs have significantly lower math and reading scores than those who do not, and that those dips persist for years after the initial study. Other, short-term studies by independent research organizations and universities suggest that voucher programs hurt, or have an insignificant impact, on student outcomes.



We start the day today with reports from Mercedes Schneider and from me on the new members of the House Education and Labor Committee. We both spent several hours on Sunday putting together posts, not aware that the other was doing the same thing. Mercedes reviewed the backgrounds of the Republicans just added to the committee, and she picked up some very interesting information that I missed. I recommend that you read her post.

This is my review of both parties’ new additions to the committee, which should be read in conjunction with Mercedes’.

Fifteen new members were added to the House Education and Labor Committee: 11 Republicans and four Democrats. The information I provided below was gathered mostly from Wikipedia (in italics) and the candidates’ campaign website.

By now, you have no doubt heard that rightwing extremist and Qanon nutcase Marjory Taylor Greene was added to the House Education and Labor Committee by the Republican leadership.

But she is not the only new Republican member appointed to the committee who is hostile to public schools.

Here is the complete list of new Republican members added to the committee.

New Republican members
Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA)

Miller-Meeks is a physician and an opthamologist in Iowa. According to Wikipedia: Miller-Meeks opposes the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).[1] She opposes abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or harm to the mother.[1] Of same-sex marriage, she said in 2014 that she favors “traditional marriage.”[1] She has criticized EPA regulation of waterways and coal plants, saying it creates “uncertainty.”[1] During the COVID-19 pandemic, she said she opposed the implementation of face mask mandates to halt the virus’s spread.[13]

Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT)

Burgess Owens was elected from Utah. He was a professional athlete. He is African American. He is a very conservative Republican who appears frequently on FOX News.

When asked if he planned to be involved with the Congressional Black Caucus, a group made up of African American lawmakers that is currently made up entirely of Democrats. “I will have nothing to do with the Black Caucus,” Owens responded. “It has nothing to do with color; it has to do with our values. I see an organization that’s been pro-abortion, anti-choice for school, not doing anything to make sure our kids get educated or get job opportunities. They have been our biggest problem.”

Owens says he left the NFL “a cocky liberal” but went on to become “a very humbled and appreciative conservative”.[2] He has also described his current views as “very conservative”.[22] In June 2019, Owens, who is black, provided testimony to a United States House Committee on the Judiciary subcommittee opposing a bill that advocated reparations for slavery.[23] Owens has also criticized U.S. national anthem protests and Colin Kaepernick.[24] In November 2019, Owens called Donald Trump “an advocate for black Americans”.[25] On January 6, 2021, Owens joined fellow Utah Congressman Chris Stewart and voted to reject Pennsylvania’s electoral votes for President-elect Biden.[26]

At a June 1, 2020, Republican primary debate, Owens said Democrats in Washington are held in thrall by Marxists and socialists. Owens stated: “The days of Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill are over. We’re dealing with people who hate our country”. He also said the Affordable Care Act should be repealed and that he supported President Donald Trump.[27] Later on in the campaign, Owens changed his stance, stating that coverage for pre-existing conditions should be protected, and that he did not support the repeal of Obamacare.[28][29][30]

In a candidate forum in October 2020, Owens stated that the country’s top economic need is to reduce business regulations and make tax cuts. He also stated his opposition to a minimum wage increase.[31] When asked about the need for bipartisanship, he responded, “The first thing we have to do is make sure that the Republican Party gets control again… We’re at a point now we just cannot afford to go off the cliff and allow a socialist to actually take the lead now… We have to be honest about this. There are truly people who don’t love our culture and do anything to destroy it and transform us into something else.”

In January 2021, speaking before a group of Democrats in the Utah Legislature, Owens stated he now realizes the difference between liberals, Marxists and socialists, and apologized to liberals for past remarks. Owens stated at the time: “What I didn’t realize and now I am realizing is that the ideology that we’re all fighting against is something we all need to know is out there. There are literally people who do not love our country the way we do. And when I say that, my apologies go to liberals, because I didn’t quite see the difference in liberalism and Marxism and socialism. There’s a difference. … We believe in God. We believe in capitalism. We believe in the family unit. Conservatives and liberals believe that. … There’s an ideology, if we don’t recognize it, if we say it doesn’t exist, it’s to our detriment.”[32]

Rep. Bob Good (R-VA)

Rep. Bob Good of Virginia attended Liberty Christian Academy and received his B.S. and M.B.A. at Liberty University, founded by Rev. Jerry Falwell.

Good campaigned in 2020 on a far-right platform, espousing hard-line views on immigration policy and opposition to same-sex marriage[13] and aligning himself with President Donald Trump.[6] Good called for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act[6]and rejected public-health measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, a pandemic in the United States.[13] He did not wear a face covering or encourage the wearing of face coverings at campaign events, and opposed restrictions on businesses to slow the spread of the virus.[13] Good suggested, without evidence, that the wearing of face coverings might be harmful.[13] In the November 3, 2020 election, Good defeated Democratic nominee Cameron Webb, a physician.[6]

Rep. Lisa McClain (R-MI)

Rep. McClain was endorsed by Donald Trump.

McClain has raised over $1 million for treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.[10] She is a devout Roman Catholic.[11]

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA)

Greene was one of the 139 representatives who challenged the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election in Congress on January 7, 2021, the day after the storming of the U.S. Capitol.[3] She has voiced support for disproven and discredited far-right conspiracy theories including Pizzagate,[4]QAnon,[5]false flag shootings as a means for Congress to legislate for gun control,[6][7]9/11 conspiracy theories,[8] and the “Clinton Kill List“.[6] Her Facebook account has expressed support for executing prominent Democratic politicians.[9] After falsely asserting Donald Trump was elected in a landslide but the election had been stolen from him, in January 2021 Greene filed articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden the day after his inauguration, alleging abuse of power.[10][11]


Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN)

Rep. Harshbarger is a pharmacist from Tennessee. She ran for a safe Republican seat.

Harshbarger focused her campaign on fixing the opioid crisis, advocating anti-abortion legislation, and protecting religious freedom. She failed to debate any competitors throughout her primary or general race. [11]

On the afternoon of January 6, supporters of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, incited by the president himself, broke into the U.S. Capitol during debate, vandalized the building, and threatened lawmakers. Lawmakers fled to an undisclosed location for safety. Later that evening, Representative Harshberger joined 139 other Republican House members in voting to sustain objections to the certification of the results of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, based on claims of vote fraud that were supported by no evidence.[12]


Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL)

Rep. Miller graduated from Naperville Central High School and has a B.A. in elementary education and a B.S. in business management. She is a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus.

On January 5, 2021, two days into her House term, Miller issued a prepared speech to the conservative group Moms for America.[11][12] She quoted Adolf Hitler, saying: “Each generation has the responsibility to teach and train the next generation. You know, if we win a few elections, we’re still going to be losing unless we win the hearts and minds of our children. This is the battle. Hitler was right on one thing. He said, whoever has the youth has the future.”[13][14]

A number of groups and politicians strongly condemned the comment, harshly criticized Miller, and exhorted the Republican party to do likewise. Public statements were issued by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial MuseumAnti-Defamation LeagueWorld Jewish Congress, and multiple lawmakers including Adam Kinzinger and Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker.[15][16][17][18][19][20] Representative Jan Schakowsky, Senator Tammy Duckworth, and the Illinois Legislative Jewish Caucus called for Miller’s resignation.[21][19][16]

On January 7, Miller’s office tweeted that her remarks had been intended to compare alleged youth indoctrination efforts by unnamed “left-wing radicals” to those of Hitler, while nonetheless encouraging Republicans to even more aggressively appeal to the youth as a means to collective power.[12] On January 8, she apologized for having quoted Hitler in the message, but accused her critics of twisting her words.[11][22]

On January 14, Schakowsky said that she would introduce a measure to censure Miller.[23]


Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN)

Rep. Spartz is a CPA.

Victoria Kulgeyko was born in Nosivka,[4] Chernihiv OblastUkrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, today Ukraine.[6] Before moving to the United States, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Kyiv National Economic University. She also earned a Master of Accountancy from the Kelley School of Business of Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis.[8]

While Kulgeyko was in college, she met her future husband, Jason Spartz, on a train in Europe and began dating him.[9] They married in 2000.[10] Victoria Spartz immigrated to the United States in 2000 at the age of 21 and became a U.S. citizen in 2006.[11][12][13]

In late 2020, Spartz was identified as a participant in the Freedom Force, a group of incoming Republican members of the House of Representatives who “say they’re fighting against socialism in America”.[23][24][25][26


Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI)

Rep. Scott Fitzgerald was leader of the State Senate in Wisconsin, where he was a close ally of Governor Scott Walker and helped to pass laws that limited collective bargaining and that gerrymandered state legislative districts. He opposed certification of Biden’s election on January 6.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC)

Rep. Cawthorn was homeschooled and dropped out of Patrick Henry College after one semester. He spoke at Trump’s rally on January 6, rallying a violent mob to invade the U.S. Capitol.

Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA)

Rep. Steel is one of the few Korean-Americans to serve in Congress. She represents the conservative Orange County district in California. She has been active in Republican Party politics. She wants to lower taxes and supports school choice.

During her campaign, Steel spoke out against COVID-19 mask mandates.[13] Her platform included opposition to abortionsame sex marriage, the Affordable Care Act, and the creation of a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.[13][23] A conservative, she aligned herself with President Donald Trump.[24]

Democrats appointed four new members to the House Education and Labor Committee:

  • Congressman Jamaal Bowman of New York

Rep. Jamaal Bowman is a career educator who founded the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action, a middle school in The Bronx, New York City. He has a Bachelor’s degree in sports management, a masters’ degree in counseling, and a doctorate in educational leadership.

Bowman became a leading advocate against standardized testing.[8][9] His blog on the role of standardized testing has received national attention.[8] He has written about high-stakes testing’s role in perpetuating inequalities,[10] including the turnover, tumult, and vicious cycle it creates in the lives of students and educators, as assessment performance damages a school’s ability to teach and, subsequently, the quality of the education upon which the student is assessed. By the mid-2010s, a quarter of Bowman’s students had opted out of standardized testing. He also advocated for children to receive arts, history, and science education in addition to the basics of literacy and numeracy.[8] Bowman’s school policy used a restorative justice model to address the school-to-prison pipeline.[citation needed] After ten years as principal, he left the job to focus on his congressional campaign.

  • Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez of New Mexico

Rep. Leger Fernandez received her BA from Yale and her law degree from Stanford Law School. She practiced law in New Mexico before running for Congress. Leger Fernandez has advocated for a “New Mexico Green New Deal,” Medicare For All, a transition away from fracking to green energy, and a ban on the sale of military style semi-automatic rifles.[26] She has also supported comprehensive immigration reform and the passing of the DREAM Act.[27]

  • Congresswoman Kathy Manning of North Carolina

Rep. Manning earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard and her law degree from the University of Michigan. Her father worked for Ford Motor Co. and her mother taught public school. Manning was director of the charitable Jewish Federations of America. She supports an increase in the minimum wage, affordable healthcare, improving education, and access to arts in the community.

  • Congressman-elect Frank Mrvan of Indiana

Rep. Mrvan was born in Indiana, where he attended public school and graduated from Ball State University. He was a mortgage broker, then a township trustee. He campaigned on a platform of improving healthcare, increasing jobs and opportunity, and was endorsed by the AFT and United Steelworkers.


 

Politico reports that Republicans have come up with a “compromise” COVID relief bill that slashes funding for schools. President Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion relief bill, that includes $170 billion for schools. Republicans have offered a COVID relief bill of $600 billion with a dramatic cut for schools, reducing the school aid to $20 billion. In the previous COVID relief (the CARES Act), charter schools, private schools, and religious schools received far more funding per-pupil than public schools. Republicans want public schools to reopen without the resources to reopen safely.

SENATE GOP PLAN WOULD SLASH BIDEN’S REQUEST FOR SCHOOL FUNDING: A group of 10 Republican senators is set to unveil the details today of a $600 billion counterproposal to Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan, and Biden plans to hear them out. White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced on Sunday evening that Biden had invited the group to the White House early this week. Her statement also touted the “substantial investment in fighting COIVD and reopening schools” in the administration’s original proposal. 

— The GOP lawmakers, led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), requested the meeting to make the case for a bipartisan deal — even as Democratic congressional leaders prepare to move ahead this week on a budget resolution that would unlock a path to passing Biden’s plan along party lines through budget reconciliation. 

— Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a member of the group, said on “Fox News Sunday” that the proposal would provide $20 billion “to get kids back to school,” which is a major decrease from the $170 billion for education in Biden’s relief plan.

— “We’ve already given schools 110 percent of what they usually receive from the federal government,” Cassidy said. “Parochial schools are open with a fraction of that money. Charter schools are open. The real problem is public schools. That issue is not money. That issue is teachers unions telling their teachers not to go to work. And putting $170 billion towards teachers unions’ priorities takes care of a Democratic constituency group, but it wastes our federal taxpayer dollars for something which is not the problem.”

Jake Jacobs, an art teacher in New York City, a leader of New York BadAss Teachers, and a writer for The Progressive, read and reviewed Hillary Clinton’s policy briefing book in 2017 and reviewed the education section for Alternet. I missed his article, but it’s worth reading now to understand how advocates of privatization have inserted themselves into both political parties and use their vast wealth to control public policy and undermine public schools.

Jacobs points out that Laurene Powell Jobs “has been close with the Clintons since the late ’90s, also sat with Betsy DeVos on the board of Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education. She set up billionaire “roundtables” with Clinton’s campaign advisors through 2015 while donating millions to Priorities USA, Clinton’s main PAC.”

Jacobs notes:

Notes taken by Clinton aide Ann O’Leary were made in interviews with Powell Jobs and Bruce Reed, President of The Broad Foundation (and former chief of staff to Joe Biden). According to the notes, the “experts” were calling for new federal controls, more for-profit companies and more technology in public schools — but first on the menu was a bold remake of the teaching “profession…”

Powell Jobs suggests letting principals “pick their teams,” making teachers individually negotiate salary (every teacher—really?), expanding online education offerings like Khan Academy and making teaching universities “truly selective like TFA and Finland.” This comment is perplexing because while Finland has demanding teacher vetting and training, Teach for America places inexperienced teachers in classrooms after a seven-week summer crash course...

Tying campaign donations to a singular issue like expanding charter schools might in days past been seen as a prohibited quid-pro-quo. But in this cycle, Podesta, O’Leary and [Neera] Tanden [director of the Center for American Progress and President Biden’s nominee to lead the crucial Office of Management and Budget, which sets priorities for federal funding] all busily raised campaign money from the same billionaire education reformers with whom they were also talking policy specifics.

But they did more than talk. On June 20, 2015, O’Leary sent Podesta an email revealing the campaign adopted two of Powell Jobs’ suggestions, including “infusing best ideas from charter schools into our traditional public schools.” When Clinton announced this policy in a speech to teachers, however, it was the one line that drew boos.

“Donors want to hear where she stands” John Petry, a founder of both Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) and Success Academy, New York’s largest network of charter schools, told the New York Times.  Petry was explicit, declaring that he and his billionaire associates would instead put money into congressional, state and local races, behind candidates who favored a “more businesslike approach” to education, and tying teacher tenure to standardized test scores.
..

Not mentioning education would become important in the general election. This policy book shows a snapshot in time when wealthy donors were pushing Clinton’s and Jeb’s positions together, seeking more of the federal privatization begun under George W. Bush and continued by Obama...

This was predicted by John Podesta, who bragged just after the 2012 election about nullifying education policy differences between President Obama and Mitt Romney. Sitting next to Jeb Bush, Podesta proclaimed “ed reform” a bipartisan affair, telling donors “the Obama administration has made its key priorities clear. The Republicans are pretty much in the same place…this area is ripe for cooperation between the center-right and center-left”...

The 2014 policy book reveals some essential lessons about how education policy is crafted: in secret, with the input and influence of billionaire donors seeking more school privatization and testing—regardless of what party is in power. Even as the backlash against testing and the Common Core grew, Clinton’s advisors pushed her to embrace them. Clinton vacillated, then fell silent on K-12 policy, and as a result, education issues were largely left out of the election debate. Today, under Trump, privatization marches on worse than ever.


Madison Cawthorn is a Republican member of Congress from North Carolina. He was elected last fall when he was only 24, the youngest person ever elected to Congress. He spoke at the Trump rally that preceded the violent siege of Congress on January 6. He is to the very far-right of the Republican Party. He uses a wheelchair due to an automobile accident that almost took his life. He is considered a rising star in the Republican Party, due to his good looks and his rightwing bona fides.

Here are a few things you should know about him, drawn from a profile in Salon.

He was home-schooled. “According to his own claims in a sworn deposition, his work experience as recently as two years before his congressional run was limited to a job at Chick-fil-A, along with a part-time gig in a district office of former Rep. Mark Meadows.” He claimed that he planned to enter the Naval Academy but that he lost his chance because of the accident that almost killed him, but he was rejected by the Naval Academy before his accident. He enrolled in Patrick Henry College but dropped out after a semester. He was a protege of Mark Meadows, but ran against Mark Meadows’ hand-picked successor and beat her.

Cawthorn’s relationship with Mark Meadows and the Meadows family has shaped some of the most formative moments of the young conservative’s life, including the 2014 car accident that left him partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair. Indeed, in the four years between 2013 and 2017, Meadows recommended Cawthorn for the U.S. Naval Academy; had his son, Blake Meadows, find a Florida attorney to handle Cawthorn’s insurance case; hired Cawthorn in his congressional office; and apparently played a role in helping Cawthorn gain admission to Patrick Henry College, which he attended for just one semester, before dropping out with a self-reported D average.

Cawthorn entered Patrick Henry College in the fall of 2016, where he quickly managed to get a bad reputation for preying on young women. “Last October, weeks before the general election, more than 150 of Cawthorn’s former fellow students at Patrick Henry — roughly half the school’s total student body — wrote a letter alleging that his during his brief stint there he had engaged in “sexually predatory behavior,” lied habitually and committed vandalism.

Cawthorn apparently has altered his resume to make claims about his achievements that don’t stand up to scrutiny. In an article in The Nation, Sarah Luterman wrote about his habit of inflating his role in the Paralympics. Cawthorn has said that he was training for the 2020 Paralympics Games, now delayed until 2021, but Luterman interviewed several accomplished paralympians, and they threw cold water on Cawthorn’s boasts.

Cawthorn frequently said on social media that he was “training” for the Paralympic Games. Technically, such a statement could be true—but only in the sense that I could be training for the Olympic Games. “It’s like a kid saying they want to play in the NBA when they’re on their fourth-grade basketball team,” said Amanda McGrory, a three-time Paralympian who has earned seven medals in track and field. Cawthorn stated on the Christian inspirational podcast The Heal, “I had an opportunity for the Paralympics for track and field.” He did not have that opportunity, nor does it appear he took any meaningful steps that would have led him there.

Paralympians are the best at what they do. Qualifying is a long, complicated process. In addition to being a Paralympian, McGrory is the archivist and collections curator for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. She told me: “You have to be involved in a team, usually your college or a local club. And then from there, you establish times at qualifying races, and then from there you get scouted.” Patrick Henry College, which Cawthorn attended for a semester before dropping out, doesn’t have a disabled sports program.

In addition to not being on a team, Cawthorn does not appear to have competed in any qualifying races. Robert Kozarek, a former elite wheelchair marathoner, said he would have met Cawthorn at some point if he had been serious competition. Kozarek himself never qualified for the Paralympic Games. “The community itself is small. There’s probably 50 [elite wheelchair racers] in the entire country, and we see each other four, five, six times a year, at least.”

Cawthorn is a worthy addition to the Republican Party’s growing number of extremists, who feel they can say anything and get away with it. Unfortunately, the Republican leadership appointed him to the House Education and Labor Committee, despite his lack of formal education and character.

I posted this article last fall. It explains why QAnon Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene ran unopposed for election in Georgia. Her allies literally drove her opponent out of the race and out of the state with death threats. His life was destroyed. This is not the way democracy works. This is the way fascism works.

The post starts like this:

Stephanie McCrummen wrote this story in the Washington Post about what happened when Kevin Van Ausdal ran against a member of QAnon in a Congressional district in Georgia.

There was a time when Kevin Van Ausdal had not yet been called a “loser” and “a disgrace” and hustled out of Georgia. He had not yet punched a wall, or been labeled a “communist,” or a person “who’d probably cry like a baby if you put a gun in his face.” He did not yet know who was going to be the Republican nominee for Congress in his conservative district in northwestern Georgia: the well-known local neurosurgeon, or the woman he knew vaguely as a person who had openly promoted conspiracies including something about a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles.

Anything still seemed possible in the spring of 2020, including the notion that he, Kevin Van Ausdal, a 35-year-old political novice who wanted to “bring civility back to Washington” might have a shot at becoming a U.S. congressman.

So one day in March, he drove his Honda to the gold-domed state capitol in Atlanta, used his IRS refund to pay the $5,220 filing fee and became the only Democrat running for a House seat in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, which Donald Trump won by 27 points in the 2016 presidential election.

He hired a local campaign manager named Vinny Olsziewski, who had handled school board races and a couple of congressionals.

He came up with a slogan — “Save the American Dream” — and posted his first campaign ad, a one-minute slide show of snapshots with voters set to colonial fife-and-drum music.

He gave one of the first public interviews he had ever given in his life, about anything, on a YouTube show called Destiny, and when the host asked, “How do you appeal to these people while still holding onto what you believe in?” Kevin answered, “It’s all about common sense and reaching across the aisle. That’s what politics is supposed to be like.”