Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Education

Chicago Hostage Crisis Ends With Forced Medical Testing on Children

FFS. You notice that the parents and kids didn’t even have a seat at the negotiating table.

CTU chief of staff Jen Johnson said in a virtual press conference Monday night that the agreement includes testing at leas 10% of students at each school for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. The union had been requesting much wider testing that parents would have to explicitly opt out of, but the district and Lightfoot would not agree to that. The plan also gves clear metrics for when schools would switch to remote learning, Johnson said.

Schools will go to remote learning if they are in an area of high transmission according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and 40% of students are in isoloation or quarantine due to COVID-19 protocols. Schools could also go remote if 50% of students are in isolation or quaratine even if the transmission rate is no longer considered high by CDC standards. Another scenario that could cause a school to switch to remote learning would be if 30% of teachers are in isolation and total teacher absences exceed 25% even with substitutes.

Keep our schools open

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week. Last year at this time, this column would have been controversial. This year, I’m on the bandwagon.

Think back to your childhood. Maybe you were 6 years old and excited to get to school to play with your friends. Maybe you were 12 and learning that instrument that would spark a lifelong love of music. Maybe you were 17 and sweating through your ill-fitting suit as you danced with the girl who would become your wife. Those were formative years. They were important years.

 

Now go back into your memory, pick any year or two, and erase it. Replace it with a picture of yourself sitting at home – alone – staring at the world through a screen and trying to understand it. Hour after hour. Day after day. How many opportunities are lost? How many relationships are never formed? How is your life different?

 

As the omicron variant of COVID-19 sweeps through Wisconsin, some school districts are already thinking about closing their doors to pretend to do virtual learning. The Milwaukee Public Schools and the Madison Metropolitan School District, Wisconsin’s two largest school districts, have already decided to go virtual (read: abandon education) and delay opening for fear of omicron. Other school districts might soon follow.

 

This must stop. We are almost two years into our experience with COVID-19 and there are two things we know for sure: COVID-19 is almost no threat to kids, but closing schools is devastating to them on many levels. We must prioritize the education and mental health of our kids over the minimal threat of COVID-19.

 

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,040 kids under the age of 18 have died of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic almost two years ago. Bear in mind that the CDC’s accounting of COVID-19 deaths has been intentionally hyperinflated by including people who died with COVID-19 in their body even if something else might have killed them.

 

COVID-19 can be a serious or deadly illness for a few kids, but for the vast majority of them, it is no worse than a seasonal cold. To put it in perspective, in 2019, according to the CDC, more than twice as many kids committed suicide; more than twice as many kids accidentally strangled or suffocated; more than twice as many kids died of heart disease; more than ten times as many kids died from accidents; more than three times as many kids were murdered; and roughly the same number of kids died from influenza and pneumonia.

 

Parents should be as concerned about COVID-19 for their kids as they are about the flu. Parents should be much more concerned about their kids’ substance abuse, driving safety, and mental health than COVID-19. Sadly, by the time the CDC crunches the death statistics for 2020 and 2021, we can expect to see child deaths by suicide and drug overdoses to have skyrocketed.

 

While COVID-19 poses a nominal physical threat to kids, we have seen ample evidence that closing schools has a detrimental impact on their education and mental health. According to researchers at Stanford University, they “estimated that the average student average student had lost one-third of a year to a full year’s worth of learning in reading, and about three-quarters of a year to more than 1 year in math since schools closed in March 2020.”

 

According to the CDC, more than 85% of teachers reported seeing a significant learning loss in their students compared to previous years. Wisconsin’s test scores mirror the research and studies as math and reading scores plummeted after the widespread closure of schools.

 

It is too early to know if the school systems can ever fill the hole left in the kids’ educations. Some kids will likely be able to get back on track, but far too many will never fully recover those lost months and years. The kids who will be hardest hit are those who are already on the other side of the yawning socioeconomic gap in education and kids with learning difficulties.

 

In addition to the detrimental impact on kids’ education, the impact on their mental health is truly tragic. According to the CDC, nearly 25% of parents whose children were forced into virtual or hybrid education reported a decline in their children’s mental or emotional health. Kids also had worse diets, exercised less, and spent more time alone.

 

Closing schools is having a devastating impact on our kids and their futures, but there is no evidence that closing schools reduces the incidence of COVID-19 for kids. The rate of COVID-19 in communities that closed their schools and neighboring communities that kept them open are identical. Closing schools is politically motivated pandemic theater and our kids are paying the price of admission.

 

When it comes to closing schools, our kids’ futures and their very lives are on the line. Closing schools is far more destructive to our kids than COVID-19 ever will be. Keep our school open. Our kids are depending on us.

Chicago’s Teachers Are Horrible People

They just are. Selfish. Lazy. Horrible people. They should all be fired and stripped of their teaching credentials. They can’t call themselves teachers if they refuse to teach.

Chicago officials canceled classes for hundreds of thousands of public school students for two days this week after reaching an impasse with the city’s teachers union over whether in-person learning was safe during a wave of COVID-19 infections.

 

City leadership, including Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, had asked teachers to continue in-classroom instruction. But 88% of the Chicago Teachers Union’s leadership and 73% of its members voted on Tuesday in favor of remote education.

 

Chicago Teachers Hold Children Hostage

The assault on the kids is unacceptable. They should fire every single one of them and start over. Would it be disruptive? Yes, but no more so than having teachers who shut down schools by refusing to work.

CHICAGO — Teachers in the nation’s third-largest school district voted Tuesday to switch to remote learning, and city leaders reacted by canceling classes for most of the district’s 330,000 students.

 

The Chicago Teachers Union voted late Tuesday to pause in-person learning and work remotely until Jan. 18, or until COVID-19 cases fall below a particular threshold. The union, which has roughly 25,000 members, is also demanding the district require negative tests from students and staff before returning to school.

Keep our schools open

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

Think back to your childhood. Maybe you were 6 years old and excited to get to school to play with your friends. Maybe you were 12 and learning that instrument that would spark a lifelong love of music. Maybe you were 17 and sweating through your ill-fitting suit as you danced with the girl who would become your wife. Those were formative years. They were important years.

 

Now go back into your memory, pick any year or two, and erase it. Replace it with a picture of yourself sitting at home – alone – staring at the world through a screen and trying to understand it. Hour after hour. Day after day. How many opportunities are lost? How many relationships are never formed? How is your life different?

 

As the omicron variant of COVID-19 sweeps through Wisconsin, some school districts are already thinking about closing their doors to pretend to do virtual learning. The Milwaukee Public Schools and the Madison Metropolitan School District, Wisconsin’s two largest school districts, have already decided to go virtual (read: abandon education) and delay opening for fear of omicron. Other school districts might soon follow.

 

This must stop. We are almost two years into our experience with COVID-19 and there are two things we know for sure: COVID-19 is almost no threat to kids, but closing schools is devastating to them on many levels. We must prioritize the education and mental health of our kids over the minimal threat of COVID-19.

UW-Madison Refuses to Accommodate Blind Professor

Good for UW. Organizations should do everything they can to accommodate people with disabilities to do the job. But in this case, it isn’t about her disability. She is demanding that students receive an inferior education to appease her irrational fears. She’s no longer cut out for the job and UW should get someone who is. The University doesn’t exist for the professors.

A blind UW-Madison professor requested to teach online this fall semester. She had the support of her department, documentation from her doctor and a long history of receiving disability accommodations from the university.

 

UW-Madison instead offered English professor Elizabeth Bearden an N95 mask to wear while teaching.

 

“It was just so heartbreaking,” she said. “I feel betrayed by my institution.”

 

The accommodation, she said, didn’t address her concerns about being unable to tell whether students were following the campus mask mandate nor alleviate her fears about an infection leading to a loss of taste or smell, which the blind rely on more than those with all five senses.

Declining to risk her health, Bearden spent the semester on medical leave, earning 60% of her salary. She also filed a discrimination complaint last month with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging UW-Madison violated her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Madison Schools Go Virtual

Once again, government schools are prioritizing the teachers’ fear over the education and mental health of kids.

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Metropolitan School District is going virtual, delaying its return from winter break due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Dane County, the district said Thursday evening.

 

In a news release, the district said instruction is now set to begin on January 6. Classes had been set to resume on Monday.

“Thursday’s return to instruction will be virtual, as planning continues for the district’s intended transition from winter break back to in-person learning,” the release reads. “All MMSD staff will return to their work spaces, schedule, and routines on Monday, January 3.”

Oklahoma Bill to Teach Wholistic View of Slavery

Context matters. America was not the only nation to engage in slavery. Slavery existed long before the United States and persists today in other countries. It is a humanitarian abomination wherever and whenever it is practiced. But it is interesting to see how aggressively some folks only want to teach about America’s sins.

A Sequoyah County lawmaker has filed a bill that would outlaw the teaching that America was unique in its use of slavery and takes aim at a New York Times’ project that sought to highlight the role slavery played in America’s founding.

 

House Bill 2988, authored by Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland, would prevent the teaching that one race is the unique oppressor in the institution of slavery, that another race is the unique victim in the institution of slavery, or that America had slavery more extensively and for a later period of time than other nations.

 

“It is important that it be taught that we had slavery as a nation and it was evil, but it would not be proper to teach it that we were the only ones that had it,” Olsen said during a Wednesday interview. “It is the agenda of the far left, they want our young people to hate America.”

 

The bill also would outlaw the use of the 1619 Project, which is a series produced by The New York Times Magazine that argued there is not enough understanding on how slavery shaped the nation and how it continues to impact society today. Spearheaded by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, the series drew scorn from some conservatives who believed it detracted from American exceptionalism, the belief that the United States is better than other nations.

Government Schools Are Closing More to Appease Lazy Teachers

This happened in West Bend too. They made the Monday after Thanksgiving a day off with less than two weeks notice. This is what happens when organizations are run for the benefit of the people in them instead of for the people they serve.

After a few months of relative calm, some public schools are going remote — or canceling classes entirely — for a day a week, or even for a couple of weeks, because of teacher burnout or staff shortages.

 

At least six other school districts in Michigan extended Thanksgiving break, and three districts in Washington state, including Seattle Public Schools, unexpectedly closed on Nov. 12, the day after Veterans Day. In one instance, Brevard Public Schools in Florida used leftover “hurricane days” to close schools for the entire week of Thanksgiving.

 

In Utah, the Canyons School District announced that all of its schools would go remote one Friday a month from November until March, equivalent to more than week of school.

 

A few of these districts have closed with very little notice, sending parents scrambling to find child care, as well as summon the wherewithal to supervise remote learning. Beyond the logistics, many parents are worried that with additional lost days of in-person school, their children will fall further behind.

 

We must not be ruled by fear

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a taste:

While we are still learning about the omicron variant, we have learned that the short- and long-term consequences of overreacting to a virus are incredibly damaging. The stock market, as a leading economic indicator, has already begun factoring in more destructive public policy responses to omicron. We must do all we can to prevent more reactionary and damaging public policies.

 

[…]

 

In conjunction with the societal deconstructing pro-crime insurgency of antifa and others, our public policy responses to COVID-19 have precipitated an explosion in crime — particularly violent crime. With less employment, more addiction, and defunded police departments, criminals have more freedom to wreak havoc than they have in decades. One could argue that the lengthy court delays in Milwaukee due to closing courts contributed to keeping the alleged Waukesha Christmas Parade killer on the streets well after he should have been imprisoned for previous crimes. We must not be ruled by fear and prevent speedy and judicial enforcement of the law. Finally, last year we allowed our government officials to completely abandon our electoral system for fear of the virus. We spent centuries crafting an electoral framework to allow free and fair elections where laws were made in the light of day by elected officials. We threw all of that in the garbage last November and allowed government officials to make up the rules as they went along. We must not be ruled by fear and abandon self-governance.

 

COVID-19, of any variant, is something to take seriously. Please take the time to wash your hands, avoid unnecessary contact, stay home if you are sick, get vaccinated if you choose, and take other reasonable steps to keep yourself and your loved ones from getting ill. But we must not be ruled by fear and give up our way of life. The virus is here to stay in one form or another. We must get on with living.

Juiced Report Cards Still Show Declining Results In Government Schools

Even after changing the criteria, thus obliterating any longitudinal value of the report cards, schools show decline

In the first report cards released since before the pandemic to assess Wisconsin schools, the state’s districts collectively backslid, with fewer schools meeting or exceeding expectations for test scores, attendance and equity.

 

About 72% of Wisconsin schools met or exceeded expectations in the 2020-’21 school year, according to the report cards released Tuesday. That’s down from about 87% in the 2018-’19 school year. Report cards were not done in 2020 because of the pandemic.

 

The report cards, produced by the state Department of Public Instruction, are intended as a tool for families and the public to compare schools and track their progress.

 

[…]

 

The scores were partly based on student progress on standardized tests for math and language arts: data that was released earlier this year and showed significant declines statewide and especially in Milwaukee.

 

The report card scores give extra weight to the improvement of certain groups of students, including those who had lower test scores in the past and those who face additional challenges based on race, ethnicity, income, disability and learning English. This year, DPI put more emphasis on students who previously scored lower, and less emphasis on the demographic groups.

 

The report cards also include absenteeism and graduation rates. A previous five-point penalty for failing to meet attendance goals was removed this year.

To hide the overall decline in performance, the DPI granted additional weight if a favored group of kids improved (still not good, but improved) and eliminated metrics that brought down scores.

Even with the cover, it’s pretty clear that Wisconsin’s government schools are in a crisis of quality despite record spending on them. Every year that we allow this to continue is another kid who will be punished for the rest of their lives because of a terrible education.

But, by all means… let’s fill classroom time with SEL and CRT instead of math, economics, finance, literature, history, civics, science, etc.

Shutting Doesn’t Schools Does Not Help Slow Spread of COVID

It does, however, damage children.

School shutdowns in Japan last year did not prevent the spread of coronavirus during the first wave of the pandemic, a new study finds.

 

Researchers from the U.S. and Japan compared municipalities that closed schools in spring 2020 with schools that did not.

 

They found there was no differences in the number of Covid cases per 100,000 between the two groups of municipalities.

Mequon School Board Recall Attempt Fails

Even Mequon’s school district is lost. It’s time to defund government education.

A recall effort against four Mequon-Thiensville School Board members failed to unseat any incumbents Tuesday, a major loss for recall organizers who had raised nearly $50,000 and gained national attention in their months long pursuit.

 

Each of the incumbents won over 58% of the votes in their races, according to unofficial results posted by the district Tuesday.

 

The election marks the 16th failed recall effort against school board members in Wisconsin since the pandemic began, with many of the recall organizers citing frustration with pandemic safety measures.

White Hate Being Taught in School

I feel bad for that poor kid.

Virginia mother told a local school board last week that her six year-old daughter had been told she was ‘born evil’ for being white during a history lesson in scandal-hit Loudoun County.

 

The unidentified woman claims she moved her daughter out of the district because of the school curriculum.

 

She blamed former Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams; his successor, Dr. Scott Ziegler, and the school board for the alleged slur.

 

‘We had specifically moved them out of LCPS due to the swift and uncompromising political agenda of Superintendents Williams, Ziegler, and the school board had forced upon us,’ the mother said.

 

‘First, it was in the early spring of 2020 when my six-year-old somberly came to me and asked me if she was born evil because she was a white person.

 

‘Something she learned in a history lesson at school.’

 

The woman continued: ‘Then, you kept the schools closed for a year-and-a-half, despite the science indicating it was safe for kids to return.

I do think that CRT is an interesting, if wrong, thesis to study in higher education. But when it is taught by hack teachers to children who have not yet developed critical thinking skills, it is a travesty.

Leftists Get Very Upset When Parents Push Back

It isn’t Youngkin using schools as a political weapon. Leftists have been doing that for years. They are just upset that people are pushing back.

Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe laid into Youngkin with relish during an appearance alongside President Joe Biden on Tuesday in the vast Virginia suburbs, which have transformed what was formerly a reliably conservative southern state into a Democratic bastion.
“What bothers me daily is that Glenn Youngkin uses education to divide Virginia. He wants to pit parents against parents, parents against teachers. He wants to bring his personal culture wars into our classrooms,”

Fighting for our children

Here is my column that ran in the Washington County Daily News on Tuesday:

The outrage that so many parents and community members are feeling is the realization that many of our government schools no longer consider themselves accountable to the people.

 

Throughout Wisconsin, and the rest of America, we are witnessing an eruption of outrage and activism by parents who are angry with their local school districts and the people who run them for indoctrinating children with critical race theory. This latest advancement of Marxism in our schools, however, is only the latest manifestation of a much deeper issue.

 

The real source of the outrage is our collective realization that the people who run our government schools no longer consider themselves accountable to the communities they are supposed to serve. Too many of our school administrators, teachers, and board members just want parents to shut up, pay their exorbitant taxes, and blindly accept what their children are being taught. It is an all-out assault on small “r” republicanism. When the pandemic began and we knew so little about the latest virus, parents wholeheartedly supported their local government schools as they made difficult decisions in what everyone thought was the best interest of the children.

 

Eighteen months later, we know much more about the virus, the minimal risk to children, and the incredible damage that many of the virus mitigation methods do to children. Despite this, too many schools have persisted in damaging children despite the clear science and the protestations of parents. The refusal of government schools to follow their community’s direction on virus mitigation was a shock for many parents. The entire purpose of having an elected board of community members run our government schools is so that the school district will reflect the collective will of the local community. Not only have many school districts refused to acquiesce to that collective will, school administrators, teachers unions, and the board members who serve them have treated the community with contempt for daring to challenge the mental and moral supremacy of officialdom.

 

The infusion of CRT into the curriculum of many schools was another revelation for parents. CRT is a postmodern radical racist ideology that has its roots in the Marxist dogma of dividing people by arbitrary characteristics. Marx divided people by economic class. CRT divides people by race. In both cases, they eschew the rights and liberties of individuals in favor of collective reward or punishment. They are ideologies that erode individualism as a means to subjugation.

 

CRT put a name to something that has been happening in too many of our government schools for some time. Now that parents are objecting and the term “CRT” has become politically toxic, some schools are changing the name to “social emotional learning,” “culturally responsive teaching,” or just infusing the ideology throughout the curriculum without assigning it a name. Fortunately, many parents are already onto the game and are trying to hold their local school board accountable.

 

In Mequon, an intrepid band of parents rallied the community to recall four members of the School Board who have been ignoring the community on issues from virus mitigation to the efforts to radicalize the children through the curriculum. Importantly, the parents in Mequon, now awakened, are pointing out that while the school board and administrators have been focused on botched virus responses, radical curriculum, and shaming parents, the school district’s education performance has been declining for years. This is true of almost every government school district in Wisconsin. While school administrators and board members focus on turning out a generation of woke radicals to fuel the leftist revolution, parents just want educated kids who are equipped to go get their American dream.

 

The outrage that so many parents and community members are feeling is the realization that many of our government schools no longer consider themselves accountable to the people. They consider themselves to be autonomous institutions whose purpose is to transform the bigoted, inequitable, individualistic society around them. Their hubris fuels their derision of the people they are supposed to be serving.

 

It is incredibly important that the people in Mequon and elsewhere reclaim their local government school boards for their communities. Education is the key to success for each child and every moment wasted is a moment taken from that child’s future. Teachers can model respect, dignity, and personal responsibility while teaching a full curriculum of reading, mathematics, economics, finance, civics, history, literature, geography, science, art, mechanics, technology, and all of the other subjects that compose a well-rounded education. Time is the most precious commodity a school has and there is not a moment to waste on divisive indoctrination.

Karens Sue Schools Because Their Kids Got Sick

Unless these parents are also forcing masking, distancing, etc. on their kids in every other aspect of life, I don’t see how they can even prove that their kid got COVID at school. But imagine what kind of hell schools will be if they become liable for every kid who catches any kind of illness in their walls.

The parents in Waukesha and Fall Creek each filed federal lawsuits against their respective school boards after their children tested positive for COVID-19. The lawsuits claim the children got sick after they were exposed to another sick child while in school, and blame their children’s’ illness on the districts’ lack of mitigation strategies.

 

Both cases are seeking an order to force the districts to comply with COVID-19 guidance from the CDC.

 

The lawsuits are being funded by the Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC. The Super PAC and the brewery, which has politically branded beers, are owned by Kirk Bangstad, who ran unsuccessfully last November for the Assembly District 34 seat against incumbent Republican Rob Swearingen. He started a Super PAC in January targeting Republican federal and state officials.

Parents Are Stupid and Shouldn’t Have Any Say in What Their Kids Are Taught In School

That’s pretty much this guy’s message.

Parents have an important role in the education process, no doubt, but when it comes to what is being taught, that should be left up to elected and appointed professionals that have a background in education and actual experience with teaching. Just because a parent disagrees with something doesn’t make what they disagree with inappropriate for the classroom.

 

Parents tend to let their personal views cloud what they think should and should not be taught in schools. Being an educated person means that you are a well-rounded person. A well-rounded person learns about many different topics and perspectives.

 

Parents that are demanding to have a say in what is and isn’t taught need to think about the consequences of their demands.

 

At best, parents dictating what teachers teach could lead to dangerous inaccuracies in the many facets of education. At worst, it could poison our students’ minds with nonsensical dribble.

Government Indoctrination Centers Drive Passion in Republican Base

I’m heartened to see communities trying to take control of their schools back. I hope they are successful

But the issue that transformed Yoder, a stay-at-home mother, from a reliable voter to the kind of person who brings three young children to an evening campaign rally was not her Christian values or her pocketbook.

 

It was something even more personal, she said: what her children learn in school.

 

“The past year has revealed a ton to me,” Yoder, 41, said as she waited in this northern Virginia exurb for a speech by Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate for governor. “The more I’ve listened and paid attention, the more that I see what’s happening in schools and on college campuses. And the stuff I see, I don’t want corrupting my children.”

Petition to Remove Principal Who Loves Iron Maiden

Sacrilege.

Parents of high school students in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada have started a petition to remove a school official because of the classic heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

 

Close to 400 people have signed the Change.org petition to transfer Eden High School Principal Sharon Burns.

 

IHeartRadio reported that the petition was started by Debbi Lynn.

 

“As concerned parents with impressionable children at Eden High School in St. Catharines, Ontario, we are deeply disturbed that the principal assigned to the school blatantly showed Satanic symbols and her allegiance to Satanic practices on her public social media platforms where all the students can see them under @edenprincipal (not her personal account),” the petition said.

 

On Friday, an update on the petition said they didn’t want to remove Burns because of her love for Iron Maiden but because of “openly displaying her OWN handmade sign with the 666 clearly displayed on it.”

 

The number 666 is used to represent the devil, antichrist, or evil.

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