Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Education

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.

Teacher Licensing Doesn’t Improve Teaching

I know… we’re a bit focused on education lately. Our teaching licensure bureaucracies are being leveraged as an instrument of the Left to indoctrinate and propagate that indoctrination. They have very little to do with the quality of teaching.

Meanwhile, researchers have found no difference in performance between certified and noncertified teachers. Super­visors also don’t seem to think licenses mean much: The Aspen Institute has found that just 7 percent of superintendents and 13 percent of principals think certification guarantees that a teacher “has what it takes” to be effective in the classroom.

Indeed, preparation programs frequently seem more focused on insisting that would-be teachers embrace an ideological deluge of “anti-racist” and “social justice” dogma. The American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education champions the “integral role educator preparation programs play in advancing scholarly work on Critical Race Theory” and urges them to “resist recent federal attacks.” Accreditation standards for teacher preparation call for candidates to inventory “their personal biases” so as to promote “equity, diversity, and inclusion.” At the nation’s largest teacher-preparation programs, two in five faculty say that their area of study includes equity, race, or diversity — and about a third of these scholars employ a critical-race-theory perspective.

 

While alternative licensure programs may seem a promising workaround, the vast majority of them are owned and operated by schools of education. The schedule and structure of the programs may look different, but the culture, curriculum, and cost of the training don’t meaningfully change. Even programs such as Teach for America, which is inevitably depicted as an “alternative” route into the profession, typically partner with schools of education to license their teachers.

Proponents of teacher licensure frequently offer analogies to medicine or engineering, arguing that professionals in each field need certain essential knowledge and skills. They have it partly right. Those fields do require licenses. But what they ignore is that licensure in those professions signals only a baseline grasp of the requisite knowledge and skills — not that someone will be a “good” physician or civil engineer. Likewise, teacher licensure is a poor proxy for ensuring that someone will be a good teacher. Perversely, though, even as the ed-school professoriate preaches that good teaching is largely a matter of relationships and emotional intelligence, they defend bureaucratic, rigid licensure systems that just aren’t capable of accounting for these traits.

Another year. Another tax increase.

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News this week.

The West Bend School Board is about to jack up taxes again to fuel their ever-increasing spending. This is despite rapidly declining enrollment. The good news, for them, is that the electors of West Bend just doubled their pay. It is very easy and rewarding to spend other people’s money.

 

At the annual meting of the West Bend School District’s electors, the school board put forth a resolution for consideration to increase the property tax levy by 7.25% to $47.8 million. The electors, who are just citizens of the district who decided to show up to the meeting, voted to approve the increase. It is not binding, but since it was the school board who drafted the resolution, they will likely approve the tax increase later this month.

 

This has become routine for the West Bend School Board. Irrespective of the state of the economy, the amount of federal stimulus money they received, or the number of kids they are educating, the West Bend School Board increases taxes. They are the proverbial scorpion crossing the river. It is just what they do.

 

The 7.25% tax increase this year is on top of the 6.21% tax increase last year and the 7.15% tax increase the year before. Thanks to the power of compounding, that is a 22% tax increase in just three years.

 

They have to increase taxes to support the increase in spending. This year’s budget increases overall spending by 7.12%. The district will break the $100 million budget threshold with a whopping $103.4 million. The West Bend School Board is continuing to increase spending despite the fact that enrollment in the district is collapsing.

 

According to enrollment figures provided by the school district, there are 5,824 full time equivalent (FTE) students in the district this year. That is a decline of 560 students, or 8.8% in just three years and over a thousand in five years. In the same three years where the West Bend School Board increased taxes 22% (assuming they pass this year’s proposed tax increase), student enrollment has declined by 8.8%.

 

The decline in enrollment has long been forecasted. There is a general decline in the school age population due to demographic trends. The decline has accelerated in some government school districts during the pandemic. Parents who were frustrated with unnecessary school closures and the damaging impact of onerous pandemic response theater moved their kids to private or home schools. But even without the pandemic, the West Bend School Board has known that the district’s enrollment was in for a decade-long decline in enrollment.

 

What has the West Bend School Board done to prepare for the decline in enrollment? Have they lowered expenses in line with lower enrollment? Not at all. Did they scale back staffing? No. Staffing is down about 4% since 2017 despite enrollment being down 26% over the same period. The school board has also voted to give the entire bloated staff substantial pay increases.

 

Have they closed any school buildings that are well below capacity? No. The district has the same number of schools as they have for years. Have they closed the district office and moved into one of the schools to save money? Nope. Have they outsourced non-educational functions to save cost? No. The school board has just kept spending because nobody is standing up and telling them to do anything different.

 

In fact, the electors rewarded the school board members’ spendthrift ways by doubling their pay. A large contingent of district employees and other local liberals showed up in force at the annual meeting to ensure that the tax increase would pass and to double the pay of the school board members. The school board did not propose a pay increase for themselves, but the electors in the room made sure that they got some more tax money in their pockets too.

 

People get the government they deserve. Unless the citizens of the district show up at the annual meeting, at school board meetings, and, most importantly, at their polling sites to elect actual conservatives to the board, this will continue to happen every year. There are no surprises here. These are the consequences of lethargy, bad candidates, and stupid decisions by the district’s citizens.

UW Increases Size of Slush Fund During Pandemic

Just remember these tidbits when they jack up your kid’s tuition and whine about being poor.

After a year of spending cuts driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, fund balances at University of Wisconsin System campuses have grown significantly. Tuition reserves, in particular, have increased by more than 46 percent following years of sustained decreases that put some campuses in financial jeopardy.

 

Tuition fund balances are revenues left over after expenses are paid in a prior campus budget year and used to safeguard against unexpected costs or revenue losses.

 

According to a new UW System report on a variety of balances, unrestricted tuition fund balances in fiscal year 2021 increased to $333.2 million, which works out to an increase of more than 46 percent compared to the $227.3 million held at the end of the 2020 fiscal year. That’s the highest tuition balances have been since 2015. The increase follows years of consistent tuition fund balance declines driven by anger from Republican lawmakers over the size of balances held by system campuses nearly a decade ago.

 

[…]

 

In addition, the UW System got around $575 million in federal stimulus funds during the pandemic. Half of that is slated for student emergency aid. The UW System reports spending about $265 million in federal stimulus funds.

Another year. Another tax increase.

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

The 7.25% tax increase this year is on top of the 6.21% tax increase last year and the 7.15% tax increase the year before. Thanks to the power of compounding, that is a 22% tax increase in just three years.

 

They have to increase taxes to support the increase in spending. This year’s budget increases overall spending by 7.12%. The district will break the $100 million budget threshold with a whopping $103.4 million. The West Bend School Board is continuing to increase spending despite the fact that enrollment in the district is collapsing.

 

According to enrollment figures provided by the school district, there are 5,824 full time equivalent (FTE) students in the district this year. That is a decline of 560 students, or 8.8% in just three years and over a thousand in five years. In the same three years where the West Bend School Board increased taxes 22% (assuming they pass this year’s proposed tax increase), student enrollment has declined by 8.8%.

 

[…]

 

Have they lowered expenses in line with lower enrollment? Not at all. Did they scale back staffing? No. Staffing is down about 4% since 2017 despite enrollment being down 26% over the same period. The school board has also voted to give the entire bloated staff substantial pay increases.

 

Have they closed any school buildings that are well below capacity? No. The district has the same number of schools as they have for years. Have they closed the district office and moved into one of the schools to save money? Nope. Have they outsourced non-educational functions to save cost? No. The school board has just kept spending because nobody is standing up and telling them to do anything different.

Underly Want to take the “politics” out of decision to mandate masks on children

Lefties really hate it when people oppose what they are doing. They like to label any opposition as “politics” and slander the opponents as just engaging in “politics.” Well “politics” is the process by which we publicly debate what we want our government institutions to do. There is a sizable group of stakeholders who do not want to abuse our kids by forcing them to wear masks. They have to engage in politics to make their voices heard by our government schools. When Underly says that she wants to “take the politics” out of the mask debate, what she is really saying is that she wants to silence any opposition. She want you to shut up and do what you’re told.

Underly also had a message for local districts caught in the middle between parents pushing for masks and full COVID-19 mitigation efforts and parents demanding their children not wear masks at schools.

 

“My message to schools is hang in there. The issue itself has just become way too political. We need to remove politics from it. When we take politics out of it, we take the emotion out of it as well,” she said. “We have to take emotion out of some of these mitigation measures and follow the science and do what we need to do to protects kids and staff.”

West Bend School District Keeps Raising Taxes and Spending with Declining Enrollment

This letter to the editor by Carol Heger takes us back a bit to illustrate the yawning gap between the rhetoric of the current board members and their actions. The spending doesn’t have anything to do with education. It has to do with supporting a political constituency with your money.

On Monday night, Sept. 27th, the West Bend School District (WBSD) held its annual meeting. Once again, the so-called, self-identified “conservative” school board members are proposing to raise the tax levy. This will be the third year in a row, if this resolution is approved, that the school board has increased the tax levy. In the 2019-20 school year, it was raised 7.15%, in 2020-21 it was raised 6.21%, and now the board is proposing a 7.25% increase.

 

In addition, the annual meeting revealed that the district’s gross total expenditures proposed for the 2021-22 school year are to increase 7.12% from $98,504,627 to $103,376,400.  This increase in spending is happening when enrollment has declined about 200 students from 6,034 last year to an estimated 5,824 this school year.  (In the last 10 years, the district has lost about 1,000 students.)  This increase in spending and the property tax increase are happening when the schools all over Wisconsin are flush with federal stimulus funding.

Read the whole thing.

Assembly Passes Bill Mandating Civics Education

While I support the need to teach civics, I’m not sure I trust 60%+ of the government school teachers to teach it fairly.

Under the bill, the required civics curriculum would have to include teaching the history and context of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and “a sense of civic pride and desire to participate regularly with government at all levels.”

The bill passed the Assembly on a 61-37 vote, with all Republicans and Democratic Rep. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, of Milwaukee, voting yes. All other Democrats voted against it. The measure now heads to the Senate, which must also pass it before it would go to Gov. Tony Evers.

West Bend Electors Approve 7.3% Tax Increase and Double Stipend for Board Members

The people who show up make the decisions. The West Bend School District has an annual meeting in which the district’s electors can show up and vote on various items. Some of those things are binding. Some of them (like the levy) are advisory. Last night, West Bends’s liberals turned out to jack up taxes and double the pay for board members. This is despite declining enrollment and federal stimulus funding flooding the district.

The tax levy is proposed at $47,816,964, up 7.3% from $44,583,969.

 

[…]

 

A new change this year, brought forward by electors, was to double the compensation given to school board members, or $5,000 annually per member and $5,200 per officer. During the 2014-2015 budget year, compensation was approved at $2,500 per member per year and $2,600 per officer per year.

 

Mark Allen, District 2 alderman and school district resident, asked electors to disapprove of the resolution as proposed in favor of increasing compensation.

The presentation included this slide:

That’s a 14.7% decline in enrollment in just 5 years. That’s over a thousand fewer students to educate. They still haven’t closed any buildings. They are still overstaffed. But the electors in West Bend just gave them a massive tax increase and doubled the pay of the board making the decisions.

Conservatives in West Bend… if you want to know why this district is going to hell, look in the mirror. The liberals showed up. You didn’t.

Wisconsin Government Schools Called Police About Students at Above Average Rate

I honestly don’t know if this is a problem or not. We don’t want teachers and administrators enforcing discipline if a student is truly committing a crime like assault or theft. It would be appropriate to call the police. So are Wisconsin’s school employees quicker on that trigger? Is there a higher degree of criminal behavior in Wisconsin’s schools? Is anyone actually doing anything wrong or is this just reflecting the reality?

Public schools in Wisconsin referred students to police twice as often as schools nationwide in 2017-18 — nine students were referred to police for every 1,000 students enrolled compared to the national rate of 4.5, a Center for Public Integrity analysis of U.S. Department of Education data found.

 

Just three states — New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia — reported higher rates of referral than Wisconsin.

 

The analysis of data from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico found that school policing disproportionately affects students with disabilities, Black children and, in some states, Native American and Latino children. Nationwide, Black students and students with disabilities were referred to law enforcement at nearly twice their share of the overall student population.

 

In Wisconsin, students with disabilities and students of color also bore the brunt of school policing. In 2017-18, Wisconsin was more likely than any other state to refer Native students to law enforcement, reporting a rate over three times higher than the rate of referral for their white peers.

Student Debt Breakdown

Interesting data. It helps inform us that when we are talking about the student debt “crisis,” we’re mostly talking about people who took on a lot of debt to go into lucrative professions. To have taxpayers pay that debt is really to have the working class pay off the debt of the professional class.

Overall, graduates with associate’s degrees borrowed an average of $14,000, as compared to bachelor’s degree grads who borrowed $23,000.

 

Then there are master’s degrees, of which the costs have been a large focus of the conversation around the price of higher education in recent months. Master’s degree holders borrowed a median of $40,000, according to the data, while professional degree recipients took out a median of $144,000 while doctoral degree graduates borrowed a median of $73,000, according to the data.

 

“The one pattern that really did jump out at me … is that the student debt for a master’s degree and for professional degrees is just off the charts,” Gillen said. “There’s really, really high debt for graduate programs. That doesn’t always hold for doctoral programs, which I felt was kind of interesting.”

Parents Push Back on SEL and CRT Curriculum in West Bend

I heard rumblings about the West Bend School Board’s meeting last night, but the video of parents sharing their views is incredibly compelling. Check out the Washington County Insider for more.

Quite a few parents asked the board to call an emergency meeting to remove the SEL and CRT curriculum from the West Bend School District.

 

“Stop teaching SEL in Badger and the high school and take emergency action to remove it now. You are causing harm to our children,” said parent Corine Freund. “It is not safe in our school. My son got beat up last week in your school district and I am tired of it.”

 

Nicole Casper has two children and already removed one from the district opting for homeschooling. “Why do you think it’s ok to continue teaching something parents don’t want,” she said. “Why is there such a pushback against parents who are concerned to have this stopped?”

 

Jamie Dutcher read from SEL curriculum that promoted a website for 13-and-14-year-old children. The website loveisrespect.org reminded students to “clear your history after visiting this website.”

 

“Sex can be a fun and gratifying activity for you and your partners to enjoy together. Five tips for your first time. … You can live chat your questions to us.”

 

Dutcher said she asked superintendent Jen Wimmer about the site and Wimmer told her the website was stricken from the curriculum.

National Guard Called out to Bus Kids

I’m beginning to suspect that there is a bit of mission creep in the National Guard.

The National Guard has been mobilized in Massachusetts to ferry kids to and from school amid a nationwide shortage of bus drivers exacerbated by COVID.

 

Up to 250 members of the Guard will be activated to address the shortage, following a direct order from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to deploy the servicemen, as school and state officials across the country have been forced to deal with the dearth of drivers.

The stated mission of the Guard is:

The Army National Guard’s federal mission is to maintain well-trained, well-equipped units available for prompt mobilization during war and provide assistance during national emergencies (such as natural disasters or civil disturbances).

Does a bus driver shortage really meet this threshold? Remember that members of the Guard have day jobs. They have to leave those jobs, travel away from their families, and give up their personal time when they are called into action. I expect that serving members are more than willing to do that to keep a city from being burned by rioters, helping recover from a hurricane, or going to actual war, but to drive kids to school?

Given the personal sacrifices that Guard members make whenever they are called up, we shouldn’t be so cavalier about it. They are not just a bunch of temp employees for the governor to use at will. They have a specific mission.

Madison Government School Scheme to Violate the Law

To many of your government schools are no longer interested in the views of parents, the community, or even the law. Many of them don’t seem very interested in actual education anymore either. They think that their higher purpose to program their ideology into the next generation takes priority over all other priorities.

As far as the Madison school district is concerned, parents have no business knowing if their children are experimenting with alternate gender/sexual identities – no matter what the courts say.

 

Last year, the district’s official policy was to lie to parents if their children came out as transgender at school. Parents sued, and the courts struck down the district’s policy.

 

[…]

 

Regardless of that straightforward language about not concealing information from parents, MMSD believes it has a workaround. It’s advising staff to simply not answer parents’ questions about their children coming out at school.

 

“If a parent asks a teacher a question about their child as to these matters, including information about the name and pronouns being used to address their child at school, the teacher CAN choose not to answer the question.  The District does NOT have a policy that a teacher must choose not to answer that question if a parent asks about their own child.  It is within the teacher’s discretion whether to answer the question or not,” according to guidance from the district’s general counsel.

 

MMSD Chief of Staff Dr. Richard McGregory sent that guidance to all staff on Aug. 30th. He did not respond to requests from MacIver News for comment.

 

Advising teachers to deliberately deceive parents, preventing parents from knowing about a child transitioning and denying them the basic right to have a role in that sensitive and life-changing decision is not the School District’s only example pushing sexualization and very adult discussions onto children.

Virtual Learning Contributes to Child Suicides

Perhaps I can cut some slack to the people who shut down schools last year when we didn’t know what we were dealing with. But the ones who want to shut down schools now for a virus that is virtually harmless to children have a lot to answer for.

A recent tweet from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner stated: “Since March of 2020, 60% percent of child suicides cited virtual learning as stressors in their life. Ages were 12 to 17.”

 

Dr. Schoof says the pandemic was hard on kids socially as well as academically as they transitioned to online learning.

 

“When we see students and their academics decline, they get very low self-esteem, they don’t believe they are worth anything. Those things are incredibly linked to an increase in suicide or presentation or even ideation,” said Dr. Schoof.

Parents File Petition to Recall School Board Members

Good for them.

A group of parents have filed petition signatures to recall members of the Mequon-Thiensville School Board.

 

The parents said they were upset over the board’s handling of the district’s COVID-19 protocols.

 

They want four of the seven members replaced.

 

The group needed to collect 4,150 signatures from registered voters to legally file the recall paperwork.

 

They said they turned more than 16,000 into the district offices Monday afternoon.

 

“We have successfully collected the signatures needed to recall all four members,” organizer Amber Schroeder told WISN 12.

 

The mom of three launched the grassroots effort earlier this summer.

 

She said they’re not politically motivated but believe the district’s COVID-19 mitigation strategies last year failed and the education of the students suffered.

School Boards Meet to Talk About COVID Policies for New School Year

In West Bend and Germantown… if you are a stakeholder in those districts, you might want to show up. From the Washington County Insider.

The West Bend School Board meets Monday, August 23 in The Silver Lining Auditorium at the High Schools beginning at 5:30 p.m. Click HERE to review the agenda. Click on ‘MEETINGS’ in the upper right corner and then on August 23, 2021 Regular Board Meeting.

 

[…]
The Germantown School Board meets Monday, August 23 beginning at 7 p.m. in the Germantown High School Performing Arts Center.

 

Florida Threatens School Districts With Defunding if they Implement Illegal Mask Mandates

Huzzah

(CNN)The Florida State Board of Education has sent an order to Broward and Alachua counties’ school board officials stating that they have 48 hours to comply with the state’s wishes to allow an opt-out option for masks or the state will begin withholding funds, according to copies of the orders shown to CNN.

If the school districts do not comply and continue to keep their mask mandates in place, the districts will start facing financial penalties. The state is requesting a list of the annual salaries of all board members, and the State Board of Education will then begin withholding 1/12th of that amount each month from the district’s funds, according to the document.

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