Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSS key problems with restorative justice policies in school • Cam & Co. GunlockThu, 19 Apr 2018 19:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum#ChampionWomen: Late First Lady Barbara Bush + Heroine Pilot Tammie Jo Shults • Steve Gruber Show GunlockWed, 18 Apr 2018 15:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMedia Panic over E-cigarettes will Harm Smokers<p> Over at&nbsp;<a href="">Forbes</a>, American Enterprise Institute scholar Dr. Sally Satel asks if the panic over JUUL (a type of e-cigarette device) and teen vaping may result in policies that harm those who are trying to quit traditional cigarettes.&nbsp;</p> <p> As Satel explains, there are many e-cigarette products in the marketplace but Juul seems to be particularly popular with teens. In the past several months, the media has cranked out a number of panicked stories suggesting JUUL and other vaping products are a major danger to kids and might even serve as a gateway drug to traditional cigarettes.&nbsp;</p> <p> Yet, as Satel explains, despite JUUL&rsquo;s popularity, traditional cigarettes sales continue to decline among all age groups&mdash;data that seems to contradict that narrative. She writes:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote> <p> Is vaping leading them to smoke? If indeed &rdquo;gateway effect&rdquo; exists, the data strongly suggest that it is very small. For one thing, smoking among teens is at an&nbsp;<a href="">historic low</a>, dropping as vaping is rising. Notably, too, the 2015 National Youth Tobacco Survey&nbsp;<a href="">found&nbsp;</a>that only 0.3 percent of non-smoking adolescents regularly vape.</p> </blockquote> <p> Yet, Satel admits there are still legitimate questions about JUUL and other vaping products. These questions, she says should prompt rational discussion and data analysis by the FDA and other regulatory agencies. But instead, the media and the opponents of these smoking cessation products are, as Satel says, &ldquo;&hellip;posing a false&nbsp;choice&nbsp;between the wellbeing of teens and the wellbeing of smokers,&rdquo; adding that their tactics are simple: &ldquo;&hellip;emphasize the theoretical downsides of safer nicotine delivery while ignoring its value as a way to help smokers quit.&rdquo;</p> <p> It&rsquo;s understandable that parents worry about what their kids are getting into but it&rsquo;s also important that we remember that e-cigarettes are an incredibly helpful tool for adults who are trying to quite traditional cigarettes.&nbsp;</p> <p> We needn&rsquo;t take away these tools in order to solve a problem that doesn&rsquo;t exist.&nbsp;</p> GunlockWed, 18 Apr 2018 05:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhile Obama pushed 'restorative justice' in schools, the Parkland shooter got a free pass<p> Parkland high school student Isabelle Robinson deserves high praise for her&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1523979894446000&amp;usg=AFQjCNE9R_WXMybjsCYp7O4ysphYjLKq-A" href="" target="_blank">New York Times essay</a>&nbsp;debunking the vile suggestion that it was persistent bullying that made school shooter Nikolas Cruz snap and go on a killing spree. As with most conspiracy theories that hatch after tragedy, this one distorts reality and is disrespectful to both the victims and survivors of the Parkland school shooting.</p> <p> Yet Robinson&rsquo;s story provides a window into another very important but overlooked factor that contributed to the tragic events in Florida: lax discipline policies that permit dangerous students continuous contact with others and allow their pathologies to fester.</p> <p> As Robinson tells it, she first became aware of Cruz&rsquo;s violent and sociopathic tendencies years ago when, in the school cafeteria, he threw an apple at her 12-year-old, 90-pound frame causing her to gasp for air. Years later, Robinson was assigned to tutor Cruz through the school&rsquo;s peer counseling program where she endured verbal abuse and sexual harassment by him. In a heartbreaking look back, Robinson writes that she&rsquo;s now horrified that school officials left her alone with Cruz, who she says, &ldquo;&hellip;had a known history of rage and brutality.&rdquo;</p> <div> <div cnx-creative-type="BrandedContent"> <div id="cnx-adUnit-overlay"> In addition to feelings of horror, Robinson and her parents should be furious that she was ever put in this dangerous situation by school administration in the first place.</div> </div> </div> <p> In fact, after the shooting, one of Cruz&rsquo;s teachers described her discomfort with Cruz,&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1523979894446000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFjoaQVHKFbTePXfVRG_w42Zp-H1g" href="" target="_blank">saying</a>: &ldquo;I did not want to be alone with him in my classroom.&rdquo; And yet, due to policies in place, these adults left Cruz alone with his female classmate.</p> <p> Sadly, Robinson&rsquo;s situation isn&rsquo;t unique to Parkland&rsquo;s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In January 2014, Former President Barack Obama&rsquo;s Education Secretary Arne Duncan issued &ldquo;<a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1523979894446000&amp;usg=AFQjCNF2lF8VMlAiaqduc7yV21OcrWLQ8Q" href="" target="_blank">Guiding Principles: A Resource Guide for Improving School Climate and Discipline</a>,&rdquo; in which he pushed for radical changes to the way schools approached troubled kids in order to curb what the Obama administration called the &quot;school-to-prison pipeline.&quot; The main goal of the guidance was to reduce the number of suspensions and expulsions, particularly among students of color and students with disabilities&mdash;the two demographics that have the highest rates of disciplinary actions.</p> <p> Certainly, this guidance was well-meaning, a sort of trickle-down social justice theory that if these troubled kids are better understood and if there is a reduction in the number of suspensions and expulsions, then they will be less likely to drop out of school, turn to drugs or crime, and end up in prison.</p> <p> To comply with the guidance, schools were instructed to rely less on local police to intervene with trouble-making students and more on &ldquo;school resource officers&rdquo; who would focus on &ldquo;protecting the physical safety of the school &hellip; while reducing inappropriate student referrals to law enforcement.&rdquo; Schools also began replacing more traditional methods of discipline with student-led mentoring programs (like the one in which Robinson was involved) as well as &ldquo;restorative justice&rdquo; programs, a Breakfast Club-like fantasy where, instead of punishment, the bully or the violent offender engages in talk therapy and group discussions with the kid he or she has been harassing to seek reconciliation.</p> <p> That sounds like great fun for the victim.</p> <p> In Broward County, schools were eager to comply with the new federal guidelines. In fact, Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie (who had previously worked with Education Secretary Duncan in the Chicago Public Schools) got a head start, creating the&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1523979894446000&amp;usg=AFQjCNHGuOTH6MxKZzRaBUUe3r6bcjRzvw" href="" target="_blank">Promise Program</a>&nbsp;(Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Supports &amp; Education) in 2013. The Promise Program shared the Obama administration&rsquo;s goals, relying less on local law enforcement in favor of SROs and restorative justice-style programs.</p> <p> According to analysis by the&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1523979894446000&amp;usg=AFQjCNEkAMExXFttlGbTdsb7MOgjhgAaGg" href="" target="_blank">Washington Post</a>&nbsp;(and&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1523979894446000&amp;usg=AFQjCNECfOwlGXizIoKgKFU9e-2hwb0VYg" href="" target="_blank">Runcie&rsquo;s own online bio</a>), these programs worked to reduce arrests in schools, which in Broward county went from 1,056 in 2012 to 392 in 2016. Yet, while arrests declined, the program came at a cost--the most obvious being that it allowed students with severe discipline problems to remain in the mainstream at their schools, a potential safety threat to other students.</p> <p> Nikolas Cruz was even allowed to commit crimes (including assaults, threats, bringing weapons to school) without being arrested. Had he been arrested, he might have undergone a mental health evaluation or been sentenced to a juvenile detention center and kept far away from his fellow students. Yet, when asked by reporters about this lapse of judgment, Broward County Superintendent&nbsp;<a data-saferedirecturl=";q=;source=gmail&amp;ust=1523979894446000&amp;usg=AFQjCNFUjh_E92-BuBXWzfaTJ-zNz9YJhQ" href="" target="_blank">Runcie simply said</a>: &ldquo;We can&rsquo;t solve every problem.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p> <p> He&rsquo;s right. Schools can&rsquo;t solve every problem, but they shouldn&#39;t create problems for students like Robinson by putting children on the front line in positions where they are expected to cure the ills of their troubled classmates.</p> <p> Perhaps school officials nationwide should start thinking about how school discipline fits into the larger picture of school safety.</p> GunlockMon, 16 Apr 2018 15:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFree-range parenting in today's punitive parenting culture • NBC Nightly News GunlockSat, 14 Apr 2018 10:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAre we raising a generation of snowflakes? • BoldLife GunlockFri, 13 Apr 2018 16:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum'Free-Range' Parenting Gets A Boost In Utah • Cam & Co. GunlockTue, 3 Apr 2018 13:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumUtah’s 'free range' law necessary in today's punitive parenting culture<p> This week, parents in one state can breathe a sigh of relief. Utah Governor Gary Herbert has made parenting a lot easier by signing a bill that&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">legalizes</a>&nbsp;&ldquo;free-range&rdquo; parenting. &nbsp;</p> <p> Free-range parenting allows children to play without the constant and close supervision of their parents or another adult. Devotees believe children benefit from more freedom and learn vital decision making skills while playing at parks, walking to school, or wandering the neighborhood, without a parent hovering over them.</p> <p> The bill&rsquo;s sponsor, Utah state Senator Lincoln Fillmore recognized the benefits of free-range parenting&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">saying</a>, &ldquo;kids need to wonder about the world, explore and play in it, and by doing so learn the skills of self-reliance and problem-solving they&rsquo;ll need as adults,&quot; adding that society has &ldquo;become too hyper about &lsquo;protecting&rsquo; kids and then end up sheltering them from the experiences that we took for granted as we were kids.&rdquo;</p> <p> While all parents should cheer the bill&rsquo;s passage, they should also ponder why this bill was even needed. A generation ago, free-range parenting was simply known as &hellip; parenting. Why now is the state required to &ldquo;allow&rdquo; people to make certain, and until very recently, normal parenting choices?</p> <p> The sad answer to that question is that these laws are desperately needed. As Lenore Skenazy, founder of the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Free Range Kids movement</a>&nbsp;and head of the nonprofit&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Let Grow Organization</a>, has documented for decades, many practitioners of free-range parenting have faced criminal charges and even prosecution for allowing their children the freedom to roam unattended by an adult.</p> <p> Consider what happened to the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Meitiv family</a>.&nbsp;These parents from Maryland allowed their two children (ages 10 and 6) to walk to and play at a park less than a mile from their Silver Spring home. In 2015, as the children were walking home, police picked them up and handed them over to Child Protective Services, where they were held for more than five hours without notifying the Meitiv parents. CPS later opened a neglect investigation against them and although the Meitivs weren&rsquo;t charged, this was a chilling example of the state disapproving of a parent&rsquo;s personal decisions.</p> <p> Or, consider what happened to Connecticut mom&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Maria Hasankolli</a>. When her son missed his bus and began walking to school, the police were called about &ldquo;an unaccompanied child.&rdquo; Hasankolli was placed in handcuffs for allowing her child to walk to school and later charged with &ldquo;risk of injury to a child.&rdquo;</p> <p> Similarly,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Sonya Hendren</a>&nbsp;from Sacramento, Calif, was arrested, when she let her four-year-old child play alone at a playground that was 120 feet from her home (that&rsquo;s roughly two bowling lanes long, or going from home plate to second base). Again, her actions were deemed negligent and potentially dangerous to her child.</p> <p> And just this week,&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">a Missouri mom</a>&nbsp;is facing charges for leaving her children in a car when she went into the gas station to pay for the gas because, according to that state&rsquo;s law, it&rsquo;s illegal to leave your child in a car unattended &mdash; even for the five minutes it takes to swipe your credit card at the cashier station.</p> <p> Today, sitting in judgment of the way people choose to raise kids has become a very sad, unnecessary, and commonplace reality. Yet, it&rsquo;s one thing to disagree with or even mock a parent&rsquo;s style of raising kids and quite another to take punitive action against these same parents.</p> <p> As a conservative, I tend to believe fewer laws are better and I generally resist the idea that we need legislative action to fix society&rsquo;s problems. Yet, as a parent trying to raise kids in an increasingly judgmental and caution-loving culture, laws protecting parents who want to make their own parenting decisions &mdash; even unpopular ones &mdash; are clearly needed.</p> <p> Contrary to what popular culture tells us, there simply is no right way to parent. Utah seems to understand this. Other states should follow.</p> GunlockFri, 30 Mar 2018 10:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDon't mandate, but nudge parents hard to vaccinate their kids<p> Deciding whether to vaccinate your child shouldn&#39;t be a tough decision.</p> <p> The evidence that vaccines are safe is overwhelming. Yet, unfounded fears persist, leading many parents to forgo vaccines.</p> <p> This raises an important public health question: Should vaccinating your child be mandatory? If so, how would the government enforce this mandate?</p> <p> While many parents claim not to be anti-vaccine, they still employ a precautionary, or &quot;better safe than sorry,&quot; policy toward vaccines &ndash; saying they&#39;d rather not inoculate their children for fear that some of the rumors, no matter how many times they have been debunked, are true.</p> <p> That lays bare the irony: It is often the parents who are the most concerned &ndash; one could even say obsessed &ndash; with their child&#39;s health and well-being that make the risky decision to render their child defenseless against diseases that cripple, maim and even kill.</p> <p> There&#39;s a cost to this way of thinking.</p> <p> In 2014, the CDC reported 667 cases of measles in 27 states &ndash; a record since 2000. Much of this is due to the reductions in vaccinations. According to a 2014 study in the American Journal of Public Health, between 2009 and 2013, nonmedical exemptions, personal objections or religious exemptions for school immunizations increased by 19 percent.</p> <p> To stop this harmful trend, some in the medical and child welfare arena think vaccines should be mandatory. It&#39;s an understandable position to take considering those who fail to vaccinate not only endanger their own lives but the lives of their friends and neighbors too.</p> <p> Yet, despite the clear moral imperative to vaccinate, many also believe that parents should be the ultimate arbiter of their children&#39;s medical care and feel uncomfortable with the idea of forcing a particular medical treatment on another person&#39;s child.</p> <p> Enforcement is also an issue. Will children be taken away from their anti-vaccine parents? Will these children be placed in foster care, vaccinated and then returned? Will their parents face a large fine or even face jail for noncompliance?</p> <p> If ultimately we&#39;re worried about the children, are these pro-child solutions?</p> <p> A better strategy might be to deny anti-vaccine parents certain government services, like access to public schools. To do this, public schools might consider dropping the &quot;personal objection&quot; justification, which is an amorphous rule that makes all other school guidelines about the need to vaccinate meaningless.</p> <p> Schools might also consider doing away with religious exemptions, which are too often abused by nonreligious, anti-vaccine parents looking to skirt the rules.</p> <p> It&#39;s comforting to know that all major religions endorse vaccinations and encourage their members to vaccinate. Even Christian Scientists, who rely mainly &ndash; though not exclusively &ndash; on prayer for healing, have a nuanced position on the matter.</p> <p> Instead of advising against vaccines, leaders advise their parishioners, if they vaccinate, to pray that no harm comes from the inoculation.</p> <p> Federal and state governments might also consider attaching proof of vaccination to certain welfare programs. Most food assistance programs come with government guidance on how to stay healthy, which is why these programs shouldn&#39;t support unhealthy decisions like failing to vaccinate children.</p> <p> And since these welfare programs often come with certain expectations of the recipients, all government welfare programs could be tied to proof of inoculation.</p> <p> Agreeing to protect yourself and the greater community from dangerous diseases seems a fair tradeoff to receive government services.</p> <p> In the 2008 book &quot;Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness,&quot; Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein wrote about influencing behavior through choice architecture.</p> <p> In other words, making life hard for those who make bad decisions. When it comes to encouraging people to give their children life-saving vaccinations, nudging people to make these good decisions will work better than punishing them for not.</p> GunlockThu, 29 Mar 2018 11:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumConservative Students Who Want to Teach May Not ‘Qualify’<p> A pair of university professors at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, a public university funded by taxpayers, has utterly annihilated and dismissed the notion of viewpoint diversity &mdash; the very essence of what academic life is generally about.</p> <p> Instead of embracing and encouraging a plethora of ideas in their classrooms, professors Erin Miller and Tehia Stark-Glass assert that aspiring K-12 teachers with conservative views who resist internalizing social justice theories may not be qualified to work with students, especially children of color, according to a recent piece in&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Campus Reform</a>.</p> <p> In other words &mdash; if these professors had their way, all educators would hold political views that skew far Left.</p> <p> The disillusioned duo advanced their position in a March 2018 journal article entitled&nbsp;<a href="" rel="noopener" target="_blank">&ldquo;The Maintenance of Whiteness in Urban Education,&rdquo;</a>&nbsp;which was published in The New Educator.</p> <p> An excerpt from the study&rsquo;s abstract reads:</p> <p> This study uses purposive sampling and qualitative methodologies to examine how white students with impervious dispositions that would likely not qualify them to work with diverse children at this point in their lives present us with opportunities to better understand the deeply rooted and complicated nature of whiteness in teacher education candidates and teacher education programs.</p> <p> We found that among white students who seemed challenged most by course content in our classes, a recurring narrative was that many seemed to think they were being indoctrinated into anti-American values. Through interrogation of their own experiences in school, some found their personal experiences with discrimination made them less open to accepting the legitimacy of the lives of marginalized peoples. In some ways, they felt the values they were taught from their families and communities were being threatened by an overt attention to diversity in the class &hellip;</p> <p> LifeZette reached out to professors Miller and Stark-Glass for comment and insight, but did not hear back from either by the time of publication.</p> <p> Fortunately, beyond the halls of academia, not everyone is buying the brand of identity politics that&rsquo;s purported by Miller and Stark-Glass.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s amazing what qualifies as &lsquo;science&rsquo; these days, particularly in the field of social sciences,&rdquo; said Julie Gunlock, a senior fellow and the director of the Culture of Alarmism Project at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, based in Washington, D.C.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;These professors got the exact results they were looking for, but common sense could have saved them some time and university resources,&rdquo; Gunlock also told LifeZette. She&rsquo;s the author of the book &ldquo;From Cupcakes to Chemicals: How the Culture of Alarmism Makes Us Afraid of Everything and How to&nbsp;Fight Back.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <blockquote> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;The study would be humorous if it weren&rsquo;t so dangerous.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> </blockquote> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;It isn&rsquo;t at all surprising that white conservative students rejected the social justice message that being white and conservative renders you incapable of complex thought and makes you prone to racism,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;This study is nothing more than a form of intimidation &mdash; meant to silence conservatives and keep them out of the teaching fields.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Gunlock&rsquo;s assessment of the study should not be taken lightly.</p> <p> Intimidation of conservative students on college campuses nationwide is real and rampant &mdash; and the Miller and Stark-Glass study is only the latest example.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Added Gunlock, &ldquo;The study would be humorous if it weren&rsquo;t so dangerous. Social justice warriors &mdash; whether students on campus or members of the faculty &mdash; are going to great lengths to silence debate in order to inoculate themselves and their movement from criticism.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> GunlockMon, 26 Mar 2018 12:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumStudent Marchers are Well-Intentioned, But Misguided • Fox & Friends GunlockSat, 24 Mar 2018 11:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumRFS Creates Strange Bedfellows<p> The Washington Times <a href="">reports</a> that an odd fellowship has arisen between green groups, who a decade ago touted the federal government&rsquo;s ethanol mandate and the EPA&rsquo;s renewable fuel standards, and Sen. Ted Cruz, who has long been a critic of these mandates and has long argued that the program needs an overhaul.</p> <p> For those who aren&rsquo;t familiar with the concept of Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS), Jillian Melchoir explained them in a 2015 <a href="">policy focus</a> for IWF:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> In 2005, Congress mandated the use of renewable fuels as part of the energy Policy act and in 2007, as part of the energy Independence and Security act, Congress voted to greatly expand this Renewable Fuel Standard, requiring the use of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022, including both corn ethanol and so-called cellulosic biofuel (made from non-edible plant parts like grass, wood and cornstalks), to be blended with transportation fuels.</p> <p> In 2005, green groups were excited about RFS and ethanol production because they claimed these measures would reduce carbon emissions, preserve land and help fight climate change. Yet none of that happened.</p> <p> But RFSs have had an impact. As Jillian Melchoir noted in the <a href="">policy focus</a>:</p> <p> 1) The RFS mandate has led to increased fuel costs, which has led to higher costs for goods and services, as shipping costs have increased and manufacturers are simply passing this cost onto the consumer.</p> <p> 2) The RFS mandate has also increased the tax burden on Americans as the federal government gives tax credits for the use of biofuels. American taxpayers make up for that loss of tax revenue and because RFS have increased food costs, taxpayers have shouldered the added burden of more public spending on SNAP and other food welfare program.</p> <p> 3) There are also real concerns about the impact of RFS on the environment. Instead of improving the environment, green groups now see that ethanol production emits carbon and biofuels can emit smog-creating chemicals, which may mean they are often no more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels. In addition, many green groups are worried about the conversion of land into cornfields which has disrupted habitats and led to other serious conservation issues.</p> <p> Clearly the RFS mandate needs to be reformed. Perhaps this unlikely coalition will make those reforms a reality.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> GunlockWed, 21 Mar 2018 12:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumThe Importance of Parents Being Active in Their School Districts • Cam & Co. GunlockTue, 20 Mar 2018 13:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum'Melatonin-Laced Gummy Bears’ — Are Headlines Worrying Parents More Than They Should Be? • BoldLife GunlockFri, 16 Mar 2018 15:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMinnesota District Forces Kindergartners to Analyze 'White Privilege'<p> Students attending government schools in the Edina School District in suburban Minneapolis have been subjected to the district&rsquo;s &ldquo;All for All&rdquo; strategic plan since 2013. The program is &ldquo;a sweeping initiative that reordered the district&rsquo;s mission from academic excellence for all students to &lsquo;racial equity,&rsquo;&rdquo; the&nbsp;<em>Weekly Standard</em>&nbsp;reported in February. &ldquo;The Edina school district&rsquo;s All for All plan mandated that henceforth &lsquo;all teaching and learning experiences&rsquo; would be viewed through the &lsquo;lens of racial equity,&rsquo; and that only &lsquo;racially conscious&rsquo; teachers and administrators should be hired.&rdquo;</p> <p> Kindergarten students participate in a project aimed at examining their skin color. Tenth graders are required to take a course focusing on colonization, immigration, and &ldquo;Social Constructions of Race, Class and Gender.&rdquo; Since the program&rsquo;s implementation, black student test scores have largely decreased across the board.</p> <p> <strong>&lsquo;Can&rsquo;t Really Be Surprised&rsquo;</strong></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Julie Gunlock, a senior fellow at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum, says parents are largely to blame for curricula like the Edina program becoming rampant in government schools.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;Parents need to take some of the responsibility&rdquo; for the trend, Gunlock said. &ldquo;After all, parents have willingly ceded many parental duties to schools and school officials. We can&rsquo;t really be surprised that teachers and school administrators view it as their duty to teach a certain political ideology when they do a ton of other things for kids. Schools offer three meals a day, before- and after-care babysitting, healthcare, contraception, recreational programs to entertain our kids, daycare services for teens who have had babies. Some schools even send kids home with food over holiday breaks when the school is closed.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;The sad truth is that public schools are becoming social service hubs, so we shouldn&rsquo;t be shocked when those that work in schools seek to prop up that system,&rdquo; Gunlock said.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <strong>Parents Are Frequently Shut Out&nbsp;</strong></p> <p> Jane Robbins, a senior fellow with the American Principles Project, says schools oftentimes go to great lengths to conceal what&rsquo;s going on in classrooms.</p> <p> &ldquo;Most schools aren&rsquo;t as explicit about what they&rsquo;re doing as Edina is,&rdquo; Robbins said. &ldquo;I was quite struck by how explicit they are, by the types of people they&rsquo;re hiring and the mindsets they require before they hire certain people. That was just quite remarkable to me. But as far as other schools are concerned, this sort of thing is happening, not to that degree, but it&rsquo;s coming in just through the general curricula that are being turned out by various instructional materials companies and certainly with education tech products like digital learning.</p> <p> &ldquo;When something is online, frequently parents can&rsquo;t even see what their children are seeing at school,&rdquo; Robbins said. &ldquo;Sometimes they can&mdash;sometimes there&rsquo;s a parent portal, but frequently there isn&rsquo;t, and sometimes the children are not allowed to log in to the school materials at home. They have to do that at school, so parents are frequently shut out. They have no idea what is happening, and I can assure you that the problem isn&rsquo;t that the learning materials are leaning conservative. They&rsquo;re all leaning in the other direction.&rdquo;</p> <p> <strong>&lsquo;It Is Slow and Relentless&rsquo;</strong></p> <p> Robbins says the educational elites pushing these politicized curricula are relentless and secretive in their efforts.</p> <p> &ldquo;They play the long game,&rdquo; Robbins said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve been playing the long game for 100 years. They don&rsquo;t think anything of getting struck down by a local school board. They just bide their time and work on other areas, then slowly but surely it all comes around. &hellip; So [for instance], somebody creates a digital curriculum for California, then other states start to use that curriculum, and parents don&rsquo;t know it&rsquo;s being used, and frequently the local and state school boards wouldn&rsquo;t even know that&rsquo;s in the curriculum. It is slow and relentless, like dripping water, and eventually it will erode away all of our founding values.&rdquo;</p> <p> <strong>&lsquo;More Divisiveness&rsquo;</strong></p> <p> Robbins says the type of instruction conducted at Edina and elsewhere will have terrible consequences for society in the long run.</p> <p> &ldquo;You&rsquo;re are not going to have students who are well-educated,&rdquo; Robbins said. &ldquo;You are going to have students who are indoctrinated in certain beliefs and that sort of thing. If you are minimizing the great literature and the legitimate, objective lessons of history that students have been exposed to in the past, then you are going to have less-educated people and you&rsquo;re going to have more divisiveness.&rdquo;</p> <p> <strong>&lsquo;Parents Need to Be More Involved&rsquo;</strong></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Gunlock says parents have to pay attention to what their children are being taught and not hesitate to object.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;Parents need to be more involved,&rdquo; Gunlock said. &ldquo;They need to see the classroom curriculum. They should be talking regularly to their child&#39;s teacher, and they need to feel comfortable demanding changes if they disagree with what is being taught. Too often, conservative parents don&#39;t want to make a fuss or be seen as pushy or impolite. There are various civilized ways in which to make your voice heard, but conservatives shouldn&rsquo;t expect this dynamic to change if they remain silent.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;There are still good people who work in public schools and respect differences of opinion, even about politics,&rdquo; Gunlock said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s time to engage in the process a bit more, instead of sitting idly by. Our children need us to get more involved. That&rsquo;s the only way we&#39;ll reverse the disturbing trend of political activism in the classroom.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> GunlockFri, 16 Mar 2018 08:03:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum