Education

Ignorance and Arrogance – the Defining Characteristics of the Betsy DeVos Hearing

by Steven Singer – Betsy DeVos wouldn’t commit to protecting students with special needs. She wouldn’t commit to keeping guns out of school campuses. She wouldn’t commit to holding charter and voucher schools to the same standards as traditional public schools. She didn’t know the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was a federal law. And she couldn’t explain the difference between proficiency and growth. That’s your nominee for Secretary of Education, America! During a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) tonight, DeVos showed herself to be hopelessly out of her depth. She tried to cover her ignorance by being noncommittal. But it was obvious that she had no idea what she was talking about more than half the time. And far from being a fair arbiter, Senator Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairperson of the committee, did everything he could to shield her from further...

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Democrats Aim to Slam Brakes on Key Members of Trump’s “Rigged Cabinet”

by Deirdre Fulton – Tillerson, Sessions, DeVos, and Mnuchin among those set for messy confirmation process. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been warned that Senate Democrats are planning to “aggressively target” eight of President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees, aiming to delay as long as possible the confirmation hearings slated to start next week. “President-elect Trump is attempting to fill his rigged cabinet with nominees that would break key campaign promises and have made billions off the industries they’d be tasked with regulating,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement Sunday reported by the Washington Post. “Any attempt by Republicans to have a series of rushed, truncated hearings before Inauguration Day and before the Congress and public have adequate information on all of them is something Democrats will vehemently resist,” Schumer said. “If Republicans think they can quickly jam through a whole slate of nominees without a...

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Alongside Sanders, New York Governor Announces First-in-Nation Free Tuition Plan

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘Our job is to encourage every person in this country to get all of the education they can, not to punish them for getting that education,’ Sanders says in New York. With Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at his side, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced a plan to offer free tuition at state and city colleges for middle- and low-income New Yorkers. Under the Excelsior Scholarship, described as the first of its kind in the nation, students whose families make $125,000 or less per year would be eligible to attend all public universities in New York for free. More than 940,000 middle class families and individuals would qualify for the program, according to a statement from Cuomo’s office. “A college education is not a luxury—it is an absolute necessity for any chance at economic mobility,” said Cuomo, a Democrat, “and with these first-in-the-nation Excelsior Scholarships,...

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Racist Carl Paladino Gets Booted Off School Board (VIDEO)

by Stephen D Foster Jr – The Buffalo School Board refuses to tolerate racism from one of their own members, and decisively voted to oust a racist Trump supporter from their ranks on Thursday. Earlier this month, Carl Paladino wrote a wish list hoping for President Obama’s death from mad cow disease and called for First Lady Michelle Obama to be sent to live with gorillas in Africa. “I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla,” Paladino wrote. Predictably, national outrage ensued as Paladino’s own son condemned him. “We value and respect our employees, friends, partners and all of our commercial and residential tenancies and we do not condone the statements made about the President of the United States and his wife,” William Paladino wrote. “They were disrespectful and absolutely unnecessary.”...

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House Republicans Seek Destruction Of School Lunch Program

by Stephen D Foster Jr – The National School Lunch program that provides healthy free or reduced meals for children in need has joined Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare as yet another program Republicans want to gut in 2017. Not only do Republicans want to take Social Security away from the American people and take away healthcare for adults and children alike, they apparently also want to let children starve at school, too. For years, both parties supported the school lunch program, but Republicans have becomes so greedy and heartless that they are breaking that spirit of cooperation in order to ruthlessly take food out of the mouths of the children who need it most. The program currently costs $12.7 billion, which is a drop in the bucket considering Donald Trump just called for expanding America’s nuclear weapons stockpile, which will cost way more than a school lunch. Clearly, Trump nor...

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Teaching Civics in the Time of Trump

by PANYIN CONDUAH – Many Americans are still going through a whirlwind of emotions as they process November’s election results and the dawning of Donald Trump’s presidency. Although, by the time the official tally is finished, Trump will likely have lost the popular vote by 2 full percentage points, the Electoral College will place him in the Oval Office when a joint session of Congress formally counts the votes in January. Many feel hopeless when it comes to the future of America and criticize the outcome as the result of a broken system. But while Trump may have won the big seat in the Oval Office, officials in other branches of government at the federal, state and local levels have the power to stand up to Trump’s agenda. For American voters to effectively push these levers of power, however, they’re going to have to understand how government works. Studies show that...

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Beach Boys Song Too Sexually Offensive for 2016 College Campus

by Elizabeth Nolan Brown – The Midwest farmer’s daughters are not alright. Before they took a turn toward the psychedelic in the mid-1960s, the Beach Boys were about as uncontroversial as you could get in American pop music. But what was acceptable for teenyboppers in the early ’60s may be too sexually taboo for today’s college campuses. University of Kentucky (UK) journalism professor Buck Ryan claims he was sanctioned for singing the Beach Boys’ 1965 single “California Girls” while in his official capacity as a UK representative. The university’s Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity found Ryan violated federal Title IX guidelines against sex-based discrimination and harassment by using “language of a sexual nature.” “If my case is any indication, then everyone concerned about discrimination and sexual harassment should be alarmed,” wrote Ryan in a letter to the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan also pointed out that he has never, in a...

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Shkreli’s Infamous $750 Pill Recreated By High Schoolers For Just $2

by Whitney Webb – A team of high school students have created an inexpensive version of the drug Daraprim, which Martin Shkreli made infamous by increasing its cost by over 5,000%. Martin Shkreli quickly became one of the most hated men in the world almost overnight, when he used his position at Turing Pharmaceuticals to jack up the price of the drug Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to $750. The 5,000% jump in the drug’s price quickly drew protests from the medical community as concerns were raised that many patients would soon be unable to afford the drug. Daraprim, one of the World Health Organization’s essential medicines, is commonly prescribed as an anti-parasitic. Despite the obvious price gouging at work here, Shkreli maintained that the increase was simply a savvy business decision. Though Shkreli tried to make amends by reducing the drug’s price for hospitals, it has remained at $750...

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The Conservative Group Behind Efforts to Intimidate Professors

by Casey Quinlan – Turning Point USA encourages conservative student activism, but its latest efforts look a lot like harassment. Last week, a conservative group called Turning Point USA published a “Professor Watchlist” that targets academics accused of pushing a “radical agenda.” But the project is part of the group’s much larger effort to organize young conservatives on college campuses. Since its start in 2012, the group has started local chapters at hundreds of universities and high schools across the United States. Founder Charlie Kirk has used the megaphone of social media — he has over 84,000 followers on Twitter — and his regular television appearances as the conservative Millennial to bring attention to his organization and the Professor Watchlist. Although much of the The Turning Point USA website is benign, some of its resources claim affirmative action is unfair and suggest being confrontational with groups seeking safe spaces. The Turning Point USA website provides...

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Could Trump’s Education Secretary Damage Public Schools? Just Look at Detroit

by Casey Quinlan – Detroit schools help explain Betsy DeVos’ mission. President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Betsy DeVos, a philanthropist and a strong supporter of school choice, as his education secretary. And although DeVos isn’t a household name, she could end up having a big impact on public school students across the country. For evidence, just take a look at Detroit — a city where DeVos’ influence shows how an expansion of charter schools without the proper oversight can hurt the quality of education for low-income students. Throughout DeVos’ career as a school choice advocate, she has aggressively pushed for the expansion of charter schools. Although many charter schools across the country benefit low-income families seeking an alternative to public schools, educational equity advocates often raise concerns that a lack of accountability allows less effective charter schools to thrive. And DeVos has been at the forefront of efforts to push against this accountability. DeVos...

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‘Professor Watchlist’ Launched in the Nick of Time

by Thandisizwe Chimurenga – Just in time for Donald Trump’s America comes the Professor Watchlist, launched this week by Turning Point USA. It’s no secret that some of America’s college professors are totally out of line. Everyday I hear stories about professors who attack and target conservatives, promote liberal propaganda, and use their position of power to advance liberal agendas in their classroom. Turning Point USA is saying enough is enough.  It’s time we expose these professors. Today, Turning Point USA is proud to announce the launch of ProfessorWatchList.org, a website dedicated to documenting and exposing professors who discriminate against conservative students and promote anti-American, left wing propaganda in the classroom. Thus saith Charlie Kirk, founder and executive director of the org, who is all of 21 years old. Kirk is hailed as a wunderkind of the conservative movement who racks up accolades and cash from the movement wherever he goes.  “Standing behind free markets and limited...

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Malala Announced That She Plans To Become Prime Minister Of Pakistan

by Brianna Acuesta – Malala Yousufzai is a remarkable young woman who has made headlines and is known globally for the brave work she does in Pakistan, her home country. Her fight for the right for everyone to have a proper education, especially women, has put her life at risk many times and she even survived an assassination attempt where she was shot in the head. When she was just 17, she won the Nobel Peace Prize and her book, I Am Malala, is a national bestseller. Now, at the age of 19, she is still working harder than ever to improve education in both Pakistan and other countries worldwide. One of her most recent moves was opening a school for refugee girls aged 14-18 in Lebanon, on the border of Syria. At a conference this month in the United Arab Emirates, Malala announced that she intends to one day be the prime...

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School Lunch Worker Forced to Throw Away Student’s Hot Meal Decides to Quit

by Casey Quinlan – “As a Christian, I have an issue with this.” Under a new policy introduced earlier this year, the Canon-McMillan school district in Pennsylvania bars cafeteria workers from serving students a hot meal if their families owe the school more than $25. That’s why, when a little boy in one of the district’s elementary school went over his credit limit, lunchroom staffer Stacy Koltiska was forced to toss his meal in the trash. Instead, according to district policy, Koltiska was supposed to offer the boy two slices of white bread and cold slice of cheese. After this incident, Koltiska — who worked for the district for two years — decided to quit. She says she resigned out of “moral obligation.” “There’s enough wealth in this world that no child should go hungry, especially in school. To me this is just wrong.” “As a Christian, I have an issue with this. It’s sinful and shameful...

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Marijuana Use Is Up On College Campuses, But Other Drug Use Is Down

by JULIE FIDLER – A new study shows that the number of college students who use pot continues to rise, but they’re more often rejecting other, harder drugs, including amphetamines and opioids. The Findings On Marijuana The researchers’ findings come from the annual Monitoring the Future study, in which between 1,000 and 1,500 college students are surveyed each year. In 2006, 30% of college students reported using marijuana. By 2015, that number had risen to 38%. Daily or nearly-daily pot use (2o or more times in the previous 30 days) reached nearly 6% in 2014 – the highest level of daily use in 34 years. That number dipped slightly, however, to less than 5% in 2015. Last year, 1 in every 22 college student surveyed said they used cannabis at least 20 times a month. About 2/3 of college kids said they don’t see anything wrong with toking up once in...

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Another Unrealistic Trump Policy Proposal: Homeschool Vouchers

by Jessica Huseman – Trump recently proposed billions in spending to allow the nation’s poorest students to leave public schools and enroll elsewhere, including by using homeschooling. Except the plan won’t work for the poorest students. GOP nominee Donald Trump has said he plans to spend billions of dollars on so-called school choice programs. The $20 billion in federal funds would be available only to what he says are 11 million children living in poverty who are also “trapped in failing schools.” Families will be eligible for vouchers to send their children to charter, magnet or even private religious schools. Last Friday, he announced the policy would include homeschooling as well. “School choice is at the center of this civil rights agenda, and my goal is to provide every single inner-city child in America that is trapped in a failing government school the freedom to attend the school of their choice,”...

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Who’s Afraid of Joe Paterno’s Defenders? Exposing the Penn State Truthers

by Shane Ralston, Truthout | Op-Ed – Paterno or Penn State Truthers is the name given to those who will at all costs deny Joe Paterno’s involvement in the Penn State cover-up of the Sandusky child abuse scandal in order to salvage the reputation of the disgraced former football coach. In 2011, the university terminated Paterno’s employment and he died of cancer at the start of 2012, just a little over a year after the Sandusky scandal made national headlines. When another former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky raped boys from his charity, The Second Mile, Penn State administrators hid the crimes in order to protect the institution’s reputation. However, the victims would eventually come forward and Sandusky was convicted on 52 counts of child molestation. Joe Paterno, Graham Spanier and other university officials who failed to report the abuse to police or state child welfare agencies were ousted....

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Judge Curiel Rules that Trump University Class Action Will Begin Nov. 28, Denies Motion to Delay

by FrankDiPrima – Federal District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled today (Thursday) that trial in a certified class action challenging Trump University’s business practices as fraudulent, pending in federal court in San Diego, would begin promptly as scheduled on November 28, 2016.  The trial lawyer for Mr. Trump and his putative “University,” Daniel Petrocelli, had brought a motion to delay the jury trial in Low v. Trump because of a scheduling conflict, as Mr. Petrocelli is counsel in another unrelated trial involving SiriusXM, starting November 15.  See Judge Curiel’s short decision on the motion at link inside this reporting at www.nbcsandiego.com/… Mr. Petrocelli’s motion argued that the scheduling of the Sirius XM trial would not give Mr. Petrocelli enough time to prepare for the trial in Low v. Trump. A necessary pre-trial proceeding, hearings on competing jury instructions, had been set for November 18, and the Trump side’s same motion also argued that Mr. Petrocelli’s scheduled trial in the Sirius XM case conflicted with the jury instruction hearing...

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‘Officer Slam’ Will Not Be Charged For Brutalizing Teenage Girl (VIDEO)

by Aviva Shen – A video of Security Resource Officer Ben Fields yanking a teenage girl from her desk and throwing her across the room shocked the internet and inspired investigations into South Carolina’s use of police in schools. But on Friday, after 11 months of investigating, prosecutors announced they would not be pursuing criminal charges against the officer. Fields was fired in October for his conduct, which the sheriff said at the time made him “want to throw up.” About 100 students at Spring Valley High protested his firing. Other students had reportedly nicknamed him “Officer Slam,” because he had a reputation for violence. The investigation found that the girl had a fractured wrist and minor bruising after the incident. Still, the report quotes a witness who said, “The incident looked worse in the video than it did in the classroom.” The girl reportedly had refused to put her phone...

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How Does Trump Plan To Improve Schools If He Abolishes The Education Department?

by Casey Quinlan – Donald Trump will finally focus on education issues this week, his advisers say, and he’s already making pitches to voters of color. So far, the Republican nominee for president hasn’t discussed education very often on the campaign trail (perhaps because Trump University, the now defunct operation facing multiple lawsuits from students who say they were scammed, is a liability for him on this issue). But after Trump’s recent campaign shakeup, his new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said voters can expect to see more policy speeches on the issue. And Trump has begun to address voters of color, whom he has not only ignored up to this point but also denigrated at every opportunity. Last week, at a rally in New Hampshire, Trump spoke of educational inequities between students of color and white students. “Their policies have produced only more poverty, total joblessness and failing schools,” he said,according to...

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Is The Department Of Education’s Work On Campus Sexual Assault In Danger?

by Casey Quinlan – Over the past several years, Title IX — the federal statute that protects students from gender-based harassment — has become an important tool for campus activists to hold their colleges accountable when it comes to the way administrators are responding to cases of sexual assault and harassment. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights currently has 246 open investigations into 195 colleges and universities to examine the way they have handled sexual assault cases brought by students. But Republican lawmakers and universities have long been critical of this aspect of Title IX enforcement, saying that the government is overstepping its authority on college campuses. Most of these criticisms have been overblown. But new developments in a case regarding how Title IX should be interpreted regarding the rights of transgender students turns the opposition into more than hot air. Now, the U.S. Department of Education’s ability to enforce this law might...

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Federal Judge Blocks Obama Administration From Protecting Transgender Kids

by Zack Ford – Anti-LGBT judge issues anti-LGBT ruling just in time for school to start Surprising nobody, a federal judge in Texas issued an injunction Sunday barring the federal government from enforcing its guidelines protecting transgender kids in schools. The injunction was a response to a lawsuit filed by Texas and about a dozen other states challenging guidance issued by the Departments of Education and Justice earlier this year. The guidance stated that Title IX’s nondiscrimination protections on the basis of “sex” protect transgender students in accordance with their gender identity, such that they must be allowed to use the bathrooms and play on sports teams that match their gender. Texas Transgender Injunction (8-21) facilities which match their gender identity rather than their biological sex.3 Plaintiffs claim that on May 13, 2016…www.scribd.com Judge Reed O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee whose anti-LGBT reputation precedes him, concluded Sunday that Texas had a...

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Harvard Republicans Disavow Trump, Call On The GOP To Abandon Him

by Joe Fletcher – Republicans are flocking away from the GOP’s presidential candidate in droves. One group of Republicans just joined the ranks of those who cannot support Donald Trump. The Harvard Republican Club has decided that they cannot in good conscience support Trump’s presidential bid. On Thursday, the Harvard Republican Club’s editorial board published a press release that masterfully lays out the case as to why they cannot –  and nor should anyone else  – support Trump: “In every presidential election since 1888, the members and Executive Board of the Harvard Republican Club have gathered to discuss, debate, and eventually endorse the standard-bearer of our party. But for the first time in 128 years, we, the oldest College Republicans chapter in the nation, will not be endorsing the Republican nominee. Donald Trump holds views that are antithetical to our values not only as Republicans, but as Americans. The rhetoric...

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Your Kids Might Be Attending ‘After School Satan Clubs’ This Fall – And It’s All The Christians’ Fault

by Shannon Barber – Christians have long lobbied for the ability to peddle their religion in the public square. This includes public schools, despite the fact that this is patently illegal, per the Constitution. However, all of that changed when, in 2001, when they had the Supreme Court on their side, and were able to have Good News Clubs and the like open the door to proselytizing to impressionable school children. Well, that “victory” is coming to bite these idiots in the ass, because if they allow one religion access, they must allow all. Now, the worst nightmare of right-wing Christians everywhere is coming true. Those wonderful rabble-rousers at the Satanic Temple are at it again, and this time they are offering “After School Satan Clubs” to elementary school children, and they might be in schools in some U.S. states as early as the coming school year. Now, of course,...

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Texas Textbook: Mexican Americans Don’t Work ‘Vigorously,’ Want To ‘Destroy’ Society

by CASEY QUINLAN – A proposed textbook about Mexican-American history that would be read by Texas high school students is filled with inaccuracies and stereotypes about Mexican Americans, said a coalition of educators opposing the publication of the textbook. Latino activists and educators have been urging the Texas State Board of Education to allow for more coverage of Latino Americans in the textbooks it reviews, so when a textbook on Mexican Americans was included among the textbooks to be considered for the school year of 2017-2018, it appeared to be a win for those advocates. But when excerpts from the textbook were released, it became clear to advocates for more inclusion of Latino American history that the book was far more harmful than helpful. Among the issues educators, scholars, and activists take with the book is its representation of Mexican Americans as lazy. The coalition, called The Responsible Ethnic Studies...

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Trump U. Explicitly Taught Students To Exploit Our Most Vulnerable People In Worst Way Imaginable

by Rika Christensen – How do you make a fortune in real-estate, like Donald Trump? Why, be as cold and heartless as possible. Just when we all thought the brouhaha over Trump University was dying down, along come Patrick Caldwell and Mother Jones to throw a stinging dose of reality onto the whole sordid situation. It seems that one of the major things that Trump U. tried to teach was how to exploit poor, disabled people facing foreclosure. Gary Eldred, a real-estate investment advisor, explained in this particular course that seeking out short sales (situations in which the homeowner can’t pay their mortgage back as it stands, and so a buyer convinces both them and their bank to settle for a lower price) that will be profitable requires looking for people who are “certified destitute.” That means people who are out of work and not likely to be working again...

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Clinton Will Introduce New Proposal To Help Students Pay Their Loans

by CASEY QUINLAN – Hillary Clinton will introduce a new proposal on Wednesday to allow the deferment of federal student loan payments for three months so students can restructure or refinance their debt, according to information obtained by the Washington Post. If Clinton becomes president, she plans to make this change unilaterally. Implementing a 3-month hiatus would cost the government an estimated $1 billion in lost interest. The Clinton campaign argues that facilitating borrowers’ ability to make other financial choices — like buying a home or starting a business — would make up for that loss. The proposal may help grab borrowers’ attention as they struggle to figure out how to navigate their options. Although the Department of Education has recently made steps to streamline the loan repayment process for borrowers and emphasize income-based repayment plans, borrowers are still having difficulty communicating with student loan servicers, such as Navient and Great...

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Florida’s AG Is Tied Up In The Trump University Scandal. And Things Just Got Worse

by EMILY ATKIN – Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is in a bit of hot water. The trouble started in June, when the Associated Press reported that Bondi “personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump” in 2013 — right around the time she was deciding whether or not to investigate alleged fraud at Trump University. Trump University, of course, is the controversial for-profit school owned by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. It was only four days after Bondi announced she might join an investigation into Trump University when a Trump family foundation gave $25,000 to a political group supporting Bondi’s re-election. After that money came in, Bondi said she would not pursue a lawsuit against Trump University. Two years later — one day before Florida’s crucial primary election — Bondi endorsed Trump for president. Bondi has so far denied impropriety, calling the AP’s story “false and misleading.” But...

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‘Victory for Children of Every Color’: SCOTUS Upholds Affirmative Action

by Deirdre Fulton – Surprise ruling ‘reaffirms the value of diversity in higher education,’ says ACLU In a narrow but significant 4-3 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the University of Texas at Austin’s affirmative action program. The court’s decision (pdf) in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin “is a victory for children of every color in America,” the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said on Twitter. The case was brought by Abigail Fisher of Sugar Land, Texas, a white woman who said the university had denied her admission based on her race. Fisher, who has since graduated from Louisiana State University, had the backing of anti-affirmative action groups. As Vox explains: The case, Fisher v. Texas, challenged the University of Texas at Austin’s admissions procedures. Most of its students are chosen by admitting the students at the top of every high school class in the state. Because Texas’s...

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Oklahoma City Doesn’t have Enough Money for Public School Textbooks

by Walter Einenkel – Oklahoma has been in trouble for a while now. Governor Mary Fallin, besides not understanding some of the fundamentals of our system of government, like most Republicans, finds her state circling a toilet bowl as the result of stupid conservative policies. A couple of months ago, the Oklahoma Senate put together Senate Bill 1187. The idea was to “free” public schools from government regulation, and how were they going to do that? Elimination of the teacher’s minimum salary schedule. Elimination of the requirement for school districts to participate in the Oklahoma Teacher’s Retirement System (OTRS). Elimination of school district provided health insurance. Elimination of criminal background checks on school employees. Elimination of teacher evaluation and due process protections. Elimination of payroll deduction. Elimination of due process protections for support staff. Elimination of all certification requirements for all school district positions. Elimination of negotiations between a school district and employees....

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4 Shady Business Practices That Trump University Used To Target Students

by CASEY QUINLAN – Documents detailing exactly how Trump University convinced students to enroll in its real estate classes were made public on Tuesday after a federal court ordered their release. The business, which began operating in 2005 and is now defunct, was actually never an accredited university. Instead, students paid thousands of dollars for advice from professors whom they believed were handpicked by Trump. In reality, the professors were not chosen by Trump, something the real estate mogul has admitted in depositions. Now, Trump University is facing three lawsuits, including a lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General and two class-action lawsuits brought by students in California who said they were swindled. These “playbooks,” which show the script recruiters used to sign up prospective students, are being released as evidence in one of the ongoing class action lawsuits in California. The Washington Post requested that the documents be...

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Trump University Documents Expose Presumptive Con-Man-in-Chief

by Lauren McCauley – GOP nominee built his fortune partly on a real estate education scheme that “preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.” A swindle and a sham that “preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money” is how people who worked for Trump University described the methods behind the self-titled, now-defunct real estate education program run by the presumptive Republican nominee. Donald Trump’s shifty business practices were laid bare on Tuesday after U.S. district court judge Gonzalo Curiel unsealed more than 400 pages of Trump University “playbooks” (pdf) as well as testimony from former employees as part of a class-action lawsuit accusing the company of fraud. Trump University billed itself as an educational program dedicated to helping students “achieve financial independence” through real estate investment, holding multi-day retreats that cost as much as $35,000 to attend. “I believe that Trump...

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University Of North Carolina Reverses On Complying With HB2

by ZACK FORD – The University of North Carolina (UNC) has made clear in legal filings that it will not enforce HB2, the state’s law requiring transgender people be refused access to restrooms in accordance with their gender identity. This is a reversal of sorts from the university’s prior position. After HB2 first became law, UNC President Margaret Spellings announced that the system would comply with it, in that bathrooms and changing facilities would be “designated for and used only by persons based on their biological sex.” This is despite the fact that the university includes — and would continue to include — “gender identity” in its nondiscrimination policy. Her guidance noted, however, that the law “does not contain provisions concerning enforcement of the bathroom and changing facility requirements.” Though students were outraged by the compliance, it seemed that without enforcement, the status quo would not change. Multiple suits have...

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The Grand Inquisitor for Bill Clinton’s Sinning is Mired in a Sexual Abuse Scandal

by Libby Shaw – I am writing this blog post because the host of NPR’s  Texas Standard is curious as to why the reprehensible scandal at Baylor University is slipping from the news cycle. Why?  The host of Texas Standard believes it is because Baylor wins.  When I first moved to Texas, years ago, a friend told me to be prepared. For churches and football loom Texas oversized large here.  If this is so, and it is, in certain parts of the state, I guess when there is a monumental disgrace that involves a religious institution and football  but also includes, God forbid, criminal acts such as rape, sexual assault, along with a hot dash of denial to boot, everyone wants the infamy to go away as quickly as possible.  No! It can’t be!  Not here!  We are a Christian school! We have an honor code!  Students don’t drink and they certainly do not have sex. Those sinful acts take place everywhere else but here. Not so....

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Elizabeth Warren HILARIOUSLY Continues Battle With Trump, ROASTS Reputation With Women (VIDEO)

by Sarah – If you haven’t heard about the ongoing battle between Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren then you’re clearly living under a rock, or possibly a newborn baby. They’ve been going back and forth on Twitter, in speeches, and every time he tries to call her “goofy” or “Pocahontas” (because he’s apparently five years old) she smacks him down harder and harder. During her commencement address at Suffolk University this past weekend, Warren went after him yet again. Taking a brilliant dig, because let’s face it, she’s brilliant, Warren said: “How’s this speech polling so far? Higher or lower than Donald Trump’s unfavorable numbers with women?” If you weren’t aware, Trump isn’t doing so well with women, polling at 70% unfavorable. But can we be all that surprised? He’s very misogynistic, constantly calling women names, and him going after Warren and then Hillary Clinton for actually being a woman, is...

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Bolivar County, Mississippi Fought School Desegregation For 50 Years. It Finally Lost

by IAN MILLHISER – In the summer of 1965, dozens of children sued the Bolivar County, Mississippi Board of Education “on their own behalf and on behalf of all other Negro children and parents.” They sought an end to racially segregated schools. But more than half a century later, the county continues to operate at least two schools that are almost entirely black. Last week, just days before the 62nd birthday of Brown v. Board of Education, a federal court ordered the district to end this practice. When the court’s order takes full effect — assuming that it is not reversed on appeal — it will be the first time in the history of Brown that schools in Bolivar County comply with the Constitution. The case, Cowan v. Bolivar County Board of Education, is a monument to the slow and difficult process that often faces school districts with a legacy...

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The Legal War Over North Carolina’s Bathrooms Takes A Bizarre New Twist

by ZACK FORD – A fifth federal lawsuit has been filed over North Carolina’s HB2, which requires public schools and offices to refuse transgender people access to facilities that match their gender identity. The suit expresses concern over the potential loss of Title IX funding for the state’s schools and universities, but with a bizarre twist: it does so by actually defending the discriminatory law. The complaint was filed by “North Carolinians for Privacy,” a coalition of an unknown number of public school students, public university students, and their parents — none of whom is identified by name. It calls upon the courts to rule against the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Education’s (DOE) interpretation that transgender people are protected from discrimination under Title IX so that North Carolina’s schools won’t lose funding for abiding by HB2. Perhaps uncoincidentally, it complements the suit filed Monday by Gov. Pat...

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You Need To Hear What President Obama Just Said About The Importance Of Voting BLUE (VIDEO)

by John Prager – In case you have been living under a rock, Democrats got slaughtered in the 2014 midterm elections. That year featured voter turnout that was at its lowest since World War II. Unfortunately, Republicans thrive on low turnout — especially when they can take advantage of the Supreme Court’s monumentally stupid decision to gut the Voting Rights Act. Already, we are seeing an impact. In 2016, GOP voters have been flocking to the polls to support their favorite KKK-endorsed bigot, Donald Trump. Democrats, however, have largely been staying home, especially in southern states. On Saturday, President Obama addressed the graduating class at Howard University, where he dropped a truth bomb on the crowd: if you stay home, we lose. Obama acknowledges that Republicans have managed to not only keep barriers in place even after the many decades since the Voting Rights Act was passed in the first place, but that they...

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Tennessee Approves Guns On College Campuses

by CARIMAH TOWNES – Without widespread approval from its student leaders, regents, or police, Tennessee just empowered full-time staff and faculty to carry firearms at public universities and colleges. Following months of heated debate about how to keep schools safe, Gov. Bill Haslam allowed Tennessee’s General Assembly to expand campus gun rights without his signature. A bill to arm employees was first introduced last January by Sen. Mike Bell (R) and Rep. Andy Holt (R), who argued that firearms on campus could bolster security measures. Beginning July 1, at least 27,000 employees will have that option, if they are licensed gun owners. Guns will not be allowed in stadiums or gyms, medical and mental health facilities, or meetings about discipline and tenure. But as long as they let local law enforcement know that they plan to carry, employees will mostly have free rein at higher education institutions statewide. Haslam refused to...

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This NY Program Is Helping Inmates Get An Ivy League Education

by Brianna Acuesta – Hudson Link provides programs where inmates can earn degrees, decreasing their risk of re-incarceration and saving taxpayers millions Hudson Link, an organization dedicated to providing opportunities for higher education to inmates in New York, has been an active program in New York state prisons since 1998 and has awarded 303 degrees to inmates since 2001. Naysayers may say that inmates should not be allowed the opportunity to improve themselves while in prison because of their legal predicament and the cost to taxpayers. However, studies show that when inmates receive a higher education, they are less likely to return to prison, which costs taxpayers much more than helping inmates successfully re-enter society. The national rate of re-incarceration in the U.S. is 43%, meaning that 43% of adult inmates that are released from prison end up back in there within 3 years. Meanwhile, less than 2% of Hudson Link’s...

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Roy Blunt Blames Students’ Lifestyle Expectations for High Debt

by Joan McCarter – Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, of course a Republican, thinks the problem with student loan debt is that those damned college students just have too high expectations for their standard of living, and that’s why they’re drowning in debt. If they didn’t take out so much damned money to live high on the hog, then they wouldn’t be so far in debt. No, really. That’s what he said at a recent Senate hearing on student debt. At the hearing, Blunt pointed to the “personal living standard” of students as a significant factor in rising levels of student debt.“I’m pretty confident over the years that the student expectations for their personal living standards often have increased from where they would have been just a few years ago,” Blunt told Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Duncan seemed a bit taken aback by the suggestion, not at all sure that it was...

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Even Fewer Kids Are Learning Basic Things About Sex Ed

by TARA CULP-RESSLER – The United States, which has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world, isn’t exactly known for its top-notch sexual health resources. But a new study suggests that our country’s sex ed has gotten even worse in recent years. Even fewer teens are now getting basic sex ed information, like formal instruction about how to use birth control, according to researchers at the Guttmacher Institute who compared sexual health data over a seven year period. The researchers compared data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during two of the agency’s survey periods: the 2006–2010 survey and 2011–2013 survey. These surveys included questions for teens about whether they ever received formal sex education materials — like how to prevent sexually transmitted infections, how to say no to sex, how to put on a condom, and how to use different methods of contraception...

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Republican Proposal Would Restrict Free Meal Programs At Thousands Of America’s Poorest Schools

by ALAN PYKE – Millions of low-income American students could lose access to free school meals under a proposal circulating among House lawmakers. The measure would reverse years of progress on free meals in U.S. schools by setting a much higher eligibility bar for schools to start making meals free to all students. Thousands of schools have expanded their meal offerings in recent years as researchers expose the extent of child hunger — and the dividends that come from curing it inside schoolhouses. The changes would take away schoolwide free meals programs from more than 7,000 schools that educate almost 3.4 million students in low-income areas, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports. Another 11,600 schools that have not yet taken advantage of the free meals option for all students would lose access to it under the proposal. Instead of using what’s called Community Eligibility, these schools would have to...

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UC Davis Spent $175,000 in an Attempt to Scrub This Story from the Internet (VIDEO)

by Deirdre Fulton – Documents reveal university contracted with firm to “clean up” the school’s online reputation after November 2011 pepper-spraying of students University of California, Davis, officials spent $175,000 to “clean up” the school’s online reputation after the November 2011 pepper-spraying of students resulted in a barrage of negative attention. The Sacramento Bee reported the news on Wednesday, citing documents revealed in response to requests filed last month under the California Public Records Act. The records show that the UC Davis hired two separate firms to help improve the reputations of both the university and embattled Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. According to the Bee: The documents reflect an aggressive effort to counteract an avalanche of negative publicity that arose after the Nov. 18, 2011, pepper-spraying of student protesters by campus police. Fallout from that incident continued for more than a year, as investigations and lawsuits played out and spawned criticism...

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Children in US ‘Scared and Depressed’ by Trump Rhetoric

“We’ve seen 10 or more years of anti-bullying work get rolled back by a hostile atmosphere in many schools.” Something ugly is happening inside America’s classrooms. Headscarf-wearing Muslim girls are being called terrorists. Latinos are warned of deportation and teased about wall-building along the US-Mexico border. The N-word is making a comeback, and children younger than ever before are using it. Although name-calling has always been a feature of playground life, teachers across the US say it has grown nastier since Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rhetoric during the election campaign. “I think there’s a real danger of harm taking place in all American schoolchildren,” Maureen Costello, an education expert at the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), a civil rights group, told Al Jazeera. “We’ve seen 10 or more years of anti-bullying work get rolled back by a hostile atmosphere in many schools. Teachers describe disillusionment, depression and discouragement...

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Texas and Textbooks

by Christopher Brauchli – School days, school days, Dear old Golden Rule Days. . . . — 1907 Popular Song by Will Cobb and Gus Edwards For those of us who in years gone by have enjoyed watching the Texas State Board of Education wrestle with the question of what to put in science textbooks used by its students that address, among other things, the pesky questions of climate change and evolution, I am happy to alert readers to the possibility of a new addition to that august group. To describe her at this time may seem premature, since in order for her to join that Board she will have to win a run off election in early May as well as the general election in November. Nonetheless, since many of her ideas remind us of the halcyon days of that Board when it was chaired by Don McLeroy, it seems...

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The Fall and Decline of the English Language

by A. Barton Hinkle – How :-), :-(, and emoticons helped lead to Trump Among the many factors adduced to explain the rise of Donald Trump, the most important has been left unnoted: the devolution of the English language. Evidence of that devolution lies everywhere. On a recent Monday, for instance, the Drudge Report ran this headline: “Suspect preplanned to interrupt Dayton rally…” You know a suspect is serious when he not only plans an interruption, but preplans it. “Preplan” is one of those redundancies, like “added bonus” or “general vicinity” (or “annoying newspaper columnist”) that defies explanation. But its frequency, like the frequency of those other redundancies, has increased in recent decades. (See for yourself by analyzing word usage in Google Books’ Ngram Viewer.) Redundancies—which occur when people express the same idea more than once using different words—are a sign of lazy thinking, which leads to the repetition of concepts, often...

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The Fraud Cases Against Trump University Are Gaining Steam

by CASEY QUINLAN – GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is contending with multiple civil lawsuits alleging fraud at his now defunct Trump University. Now, Trump will have to handle another case against his virtual “university” — this time, from the New York Attorney General’s office, the New York Daily News reported. Four judges for the New York Appellate Division unanimously ruled on Tuesday that the office is authorized to pursue the fraud case. The New York Attorney General’s office first filed the lawsuit in 2013. The “university,” which allowed students to purchase expensive CDs and DVDs, was not actually accredited. The lawsuit charges that Trump University “repeatedly deceived students into thinking that they were attending a legally chartered ‘university’” and misled students into believing the so-called experts on investing in real estate would be hand-picked by Trump, according to the New York Daily News. The New York Department of Education sent Trump University...

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Texas Academics Told to Avoid ‘Sensitive Topics’ to Prevent Angering Armed Students

by Peter Van Buren – Here’s another swanky benefit of our out-of-control gun culture: university professors should be aware that their students might shoot them. The Texas state legislature voted last year to allow students to carry concealed handguns into classrooms, dorms, just about anywhere on campus, a practice with roots to when Socrates taught Aristotle. If students packing seems like a bad idea to you, imagine how you’d feel if you were a professor. There’s nothing quite like the free exchange of ideas when everyone is armed in math class. How about armed Texans in classes that teach Arabic, or Islamic Studies, or Hebrew, or evolution? Some good times ahead. The academic chilling effect seems pretty obvious. One wonders how many brilliant teachers will move to campuses in less-armed states, and how many researchers will avoid Texas for creating an academic environment incompatible with academics. It is possible that overall...

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Trump May Have To Take A Break From Campaigning To Handle Fraud Case Against Trump University

by CASEY QUINLAN – GOP frontrunner Donald Trump might have to take a break from the campaign trail to deal with a civil case alleging that Trump University committed fraud against its students. The case may require Donald Trump’s presence as a witness this spring, though a trial date has not yet been scheduled, Yahoo Politics first reported. If the trial happens in May, it could gum up Trump’s schedule, Yahoo explained — that’s the same month that primaries are held in Nebraska, West Virginia, Oregon, Washington, and there are many important primary dates in early June. The “university,” which first began operating in 2005 and no longer exists, was not accredited and did not have a campus. It also did not give students degrees. Instead, students went to the website and bought expensive CDs and DVDs; some of them paid as much as $35,000 for their Trump University education. There...

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20 Texas Private Colleges Are Opting Out Of State’s Campus Carry Law, Citing Safety Concerns

by CASEY QUINLAN – Trinity University announced that it would opt out of Texas’ campus carry law Thursday, making it the 20th private college to do so since the legislation passed in June of last year. Other private colleges opting out of the law include Austin College, South Texas College of Law, Southern Methodist University, and University of St. Thomas. The law allows students to carry concealed handguns on campus and store handguns in dormitories. Trinity University President Danny Anderson released a statement on the decision, which read, “The safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors is our highest priority. A weapons-free environment is the best learning environment for a residential campus like Trinity University.” The Texas Tribune tracks all of the private colleges’ positions on the campus carry law. Of the private colleges the publication tracks, 17 have not decided whether they will opt out and one college,...

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Campaign To Restore College Coursework Behind Bars Gets Big Boost In New York

by JACK JENKINS – Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing a new plan to fund college courses for prisoners in New York state, arguing that educating inmates will reduce the chance that they will end back up in jail. According to the New York Times, the governor announced on Sunday his intention to use $7.5 million in criminal forfeiture funds — along with another $7.5 million in private matching funds — to pay for a new program that offers an “integrated curriculum” to about 1,000 inmates statewide over the next five years. Cuomo made his announcement while speaking from the pulpit of Mount Neboh Baptist Church, a predominantly black congregation in Harlem, New York. I say when they’re in prison, teach them a skill. “I say when they’re in prison, teach them a skill,” Cuomo said. “Give them an education.” Cuomo proposed a similar plan nearly two years ago, but was...

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AZ Taps Chemtrail Truther Who Thinks Earth Is 6,000 Years Old To Educate Their Kids (VIDEO)

by CHRISTIAN DRAKE – Republican contempt towards public education has hit an all-time low in Arizona. This is made painfully clear by the appointment of Senator Sylvia Allen to lead the Arizona legislative committee on education. You might think that Senator Allen had an extensive education in teaching, with years of experience both in the classroom and from an administrative standpoint. However, you would be dead wrong. Allen attended high school, but never went to college. That fact is not terrible in itself, but when you are in a position like hers, it’s ludicrous at best. Let’s look at her qualifications which will ensure she provides the best possible education for Arizona children: Allen teaches students about our system of democratically elected government, by telling everyone there is a government conspiracy that uses chemtrails to control the weather. Allen proved her strong literacy in social studies and civics when she...

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University President Urges Students To Carry Guns And ‘End Those Muslims’

by IGOR VOLSKY – Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. urged more students to carry guns, arguing that if the victims of last Wednesday’s attack in San Bernardino, California were armed, they would have been able to protect themselves from the attackers. “I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them,” he said during the school’s convocation, before teasing the students about his own gun. “If some of those people in that community center had what I have in my back pocket right now…,” he said. “Is it illegal to pull it out? I don’t know,” he joked, to laughter and loud applause. “I just wanted to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course,” he said. “Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show...

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Kids At This School Will No Longer Be Allowed To Read A Book About Trans People

by ALAN PYKE – A right-wing anti-LGBT group succeeded this week in scaring a Wisconsin school district out of trying to help its elementary students better understand the experience of a classmate who was assigned male at birth and now identifies as female. The Mount Horeb Area School District announced Wednesday that it is canceling plans to have students at the Mount Horeb Primary Center read the book “I Am Jazz.” The school’s principal had previously sent a letter home to parents informing them their children would be assigned the book, which is “the story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere,” according to Amazon. “We have been working with the family of a student on your child’s floor who identifies as a girl, but has male anatomy. We refer to this as having a girl brain...

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Texas Education Board Rejects Panel to Review Textbook Errors

by Kiah Collier, The Texas Tribune – *Editor’s note: This story has been updated throughout. Weeks after a Houston-area mother sparked an uproar over a caption in her son’s textbook that inaccurately described African slaves as “workers,” the State Board of Education tentatively approved several changes to its textbook adoption process. However, the 15-member elected board on Wednesday narrowly rejected a proposal that would’ve given it the option of creating an expert panel for the sole purpose of identifying errors in textbooks. The board, which oversees the textbook adoption process, voted 7-8 against an amendment proposed by its vice chairman, Thomas Ratliff, a Republican from Mount Pleasant who often clashes with more conservative Republican members. Those members, including David Bradley of Beaumont and Geraldine Miller of Dallas, blasted Ratliff’s proposal Wednesday, saying it would send a signal that the current textbook adoption process isn’t sound and unnecessarily add an additional layer of...

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Beyond Mizzou: Fight for Racial Justice Spreads to Campuses Nationwide

by Deirdre Fulton – Spurred by successful demonstrations at University of Missouri, students and faculty escalate actions at Ithaca, Yale, and beyond Empowered by successful campus organizing at the University of Missouri, where protests over racial tensions culminated Monday in the resignation of University president Tim Wolfe, students and faculty at schools across the country are seizing their moment to amplify the call for racial justice. As CNN noted on Tuesday, “It’s not just Missouri where students, concerned about the racial climate at their schools, are wielding newfound power. Campus activists across the country, fed up with what they see as their administrators’ inadequate response to racial harassment, are taking matters into their own hands.” A student group called People of Color at Ithaca College (POC at IC) plans to hold a ‘Solidarity Walkout’on Wednesday afternoon, “for all the injustices students of color face on this campus and other colleges nationally.”...

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Alabama Education Official: ‘Homosexualist’ Coloring Books Make Kids Do ‘Transgender Stuff’

by JOHN PRAGER – An Alabama Board of Education member has officially gone over the edge of Stupid Mountain. According to Betty Peters, Common Core is doing more than present math in a manner that Jesus can’t understand: the set of standards is training kids to do all kinds of “transgender stuff” as part of a “homosexualist” takeover of the South’s education system. While she was unable to offer any evidence that a.) what she is claiming is happening, is happening and b.) that it would be a problem, Peters recently condemned the gay agenda-driven plot to steal kids’ souls for Satan: “I understand Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi are the three Southern states targeted by the radical, left, homosexualists to change our students’ perspective. We have gone past gay, lesbian and bisexual and we’re now into gender fluid spectrum.” Peters says that public schools need to be teaching “Christian values” rather...

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After School Community Unites Against Campus Racism, President Forced to Resign

by Lauren McCauley – University of Missouri system President Tim Wolfe on Monday announced his resignation after a growing movement of University students, staff, and athletes demanded he step down for failing to address a series of bigoted incidents on campus and what they described as the school’s “racist culture.” During his address to the UM Board of Curators, Wolfe said he takes full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred and for the campus unrest. Wolfe’s announcement comes two days after black members of the school’s prominent football team said they were boycotting all football-related activities until he stepped down. One week prior, University graduate student Jonathan Butler announced he would go on a hunger strike until Wolfe was no longer heading the University system. “(S)tudents are not able to achieve their full academic potential because of the inequalities and obstacles they face,” Butler wrote to the Board of Curators...

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University Of Missouri’s Black Football Players Strike, Won’t Play Until President Resigns

by CARIMAH TOWNES – Following a series of racist incidents on campus, at least 32 members of the University of Missouri’s football team will not play until the school’s president, Tim Wolfe, resigns. On Saturday night, a group of black players declared that they are going on strike, citing Wolfe’s “negligence” in handling discrimination on campus. The announcement was tweeted from Missouri’s Legion of Black Collegians, next to a photo of 32 players with linked arms. According to the Columbia Missourian, 60 of the 124 players on the current roster are black, but the exact number joining the protest is undetermined. “The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe ‘Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere,” the caption read. “We will no longer participate in any football related activities until President Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students’...

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High School Students Walk Out in Response to Racist Threats

by Ashoka Jegroo – More than a thousand high school students in Berkeley, California walked out of class on November 5 in a protest against racist threats left on a school library’s computer in support of the Ku Klux Klan and threatening a “public lynching” next month. “This is an act of domestic terrorism,” one student attending the protest told Fusion. “This is terrorism and it should be treated as such.” The controversy began at around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday when people at Berkeley High School — a public school located a few blocks away from University of California — discovered that one of the school library’s computers was displaying a page full of racist slurs and threats, including messages like “KKK Forever” and “Public Lynching December 9th 2015.” School district spokesperson Mark Coplan said that no hacking or actual changing of the school library’s website was involved. Instead, the messages...

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Donald Trump Finally Sees the Light On Foreign Techies

by Shikha Dalmia – After maligning Rubio, he now says they are economic assets and shouldn’t be sent packing During the presidential debate, Trump was caught in a flat-out lie when he denied that he’d ever accused Sen. Marco Rubio of being Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator by pushing visas for foreign-born techies. In fact, Trump had said that very thing—and not in an unguarded moment to an interviewer, but in his own white paper on immigration (along with promising to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and their American-born children). Trump’s paper also noted that “we graduate two times more Americans with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) degrees each year than can find jobs”—implying that there was no need for the U.S. government to hand out more H-1B visas to foreign workers in these fields. Yet there he was at the debate claiming that he never had any disagreement with Zuckerberg,...

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The Drama Behind The Next Republican Debate

by EMILY ATKIN – There seems to be just a little less excitement than usual surrounding Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate. It is, after all, the third of twelve debates scheduled this season, and the candidates are the same as last time, minus Scott Walker. The New York Times even hinted at the routineness of it all, its most recent debate-related headline focusing on the “familiar risks” the candidates face. But there is some drama surrounding this upcoming event. And it has to do with the debate’s location — the University of Colorado Boulder, or CU-Boulder. Since September, there’s been a twinge of animosity among some students who claim they were misled about what housing a presidential debate on campus would be like. They thought they would be getting a unique education in American politics, but instead, some say they’re only getting a lesson in marketing. “The college framed ...

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See If You Can Guess What Grade Level This Professional Analysis Gives To A Trump Speech

by CHARLES TOPHER – It’s no secret that Donald Trump says some of the dumbest things imaginable. It’s also no secret that every time he says something idiotic, his poll numbers rise. Those of us who are sane, intelligent people can’t quite understand why. How can a man call an entire class of people rapists and still lead the Republican field for president? How can somebody stand at a podium and insult women the way he does without it being complete and immediate political suicide? It turns out that the answer is simple: Trump does well appealing to the uneducated base of modern Republican dimwits, because he speaks to them as just that. By using short, simple sentences, crass insults and a very basic vocabulary, Donald Trump is speaking to the neo-con dunce in the language of a fourth grader. That isn’t speculation or a baseless insult– it’s a fact....

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Actively Trying To Make Maine Dumber, Republican Gov. Appoints Creationist Education Commissioner

by JAMESON PARKER – Perhaps recognizing that his job security rests on keeping voters as ignorant as possible, embattled Republican Governor Paul LePage just put his close friend and well-known anti-science crusader, Bill Beardsley, in charge of the state’s education system. In a move that should shock a society that values education, science, and reality, LePage announced the appointment of Beardsley as “acting education commissioner.” Beardsley is not a fan of the types of things that might equip the young minds in Maine with the tools needed to prosper in the 21st Century. In 2010, Beardsley was LePage’s competitor in the gubernatorial race, and ran on the idea that creationism, and creationism alone, should be taught in school. Voters didn’t seem thrilled at his draconian education plans. He lost the race (to LePage), but now he gets to see his plans implemented anyway. Beardsley also manages to be openly hostile...

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Seven Substantive Issues That Divide the Democratic Candidates

by JOSH HOXIE – In a field defined more by conformity than contradiction, here’s where the candidates split The first Democratic presidential debate differed immensely in substance and tone from the two Republican debates held thus far as candidates acknowledged, as Bernie Sanders put it, that they were “sick and tired of hearing about damn emails” and ready to dig into the serious issues of our time. While the candidates agreed on many mainstay Democratic policies ranging from the need to address skyrocketing student debt and climate change to their support for guaranteed maternity leave, they did vary in their positions on some very key issues.  Here are the top seven issues that split the candidates. Capitalism After confirming that Bernie Sanders was indeed serious about not being a capitalist, CNN moderator Anderson Cooper clarified if any other candidate would like to take a stance against capitalism. No one...

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Tennessee Bill Would Prohibit Middle Schools From Teaching Students About Islam

by KIRA LERNER –   In response to complaints from Tennessee parents that what their children are being taught about Islam borders on indoctrination, a Republican lawmaker in the state has proposed legislation to prohibit schools from teaching “religious doctrine” until high school. Rep. Sheila Butt’s proposed bill comes at a time when anti-Islamic sentiment has been surfacing at schools across the country. If enacted, the bill would ban schools from teaching students younger than 10th grade about Islam or other topics the state decides constitute “religious doctrine.” “I think that probably the teaching that is going on right now in seventh, eighth grade is not age appropriate,” Butt, who claims her bill isn’t targeted at Islam, told the Tennessean. “They are not able to discern a lot of times whether its indoctrination or whether they’re learning about what a religion teaches.” Parents in the state have taken issue with...

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New Analysis Ranks Presidential Candidates By Their Supporters’ Grammar

by EMILY ATKIN – Bernie Sanders supporters might think you’re great, but Donald Trump supporters think your an idiot. Grammar-wise, that’s at least what might be derived from a new analysis released Tuesday by the proofreading app Grammarly. By analyzing the spelling and grammar of comments on each presidential candidate’s Facebook page, the analysis found that Republican supporters made mistakes at nearly twice the rate of Democratic supporters. To get their results, Grammarly went to each candidate’s Facebook page, taking comments that were at least 15 words long and expressed either positive or neutral feelings about the candidate. Then, researchers randomly selected at least 180 of those comments to analyze for each candidate. The analysis — intended by Grammarly to be “a lighthearted look at how well the 2016 presidential candidates’ supporters write when they’re debating online” — found that, for every 100 words written, an average Democratic candidate supporter...

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Harvard Debate Team Loses to Prison Debate Team

by Walter Einenkel – Three Harvard debate team members faced off against three men incarcerated for violent crimes. This was two weeks ago. After an hour of fast-moving debate on Friday, the judges rendered their verdict.The inmates won. The audience burst into applause. That included about 75 of the prisoners’ fellow students at the Bard Prison Initiative, which offers a rigorous college experience to men at Eastern New York Correctional Facility, in the Catskills. The prison debate squad v. Harvard debate team was set up to show off Bard College’s prison initiative. Pretty successful exhibition. The prison team had its first debate in spring 2014, beating the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Then, it won against a nationally ranked team from the University of Vermont, and in April lost a rematch against West Point.Preparing has its challenges. Inmates can’t use the Internet for research. The prison administration must approve...

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Bill Cosby Loses 2 Honorary Degrees

by JESSICA GOLDSTEIN –   On Thursday, Fordham and Marquette Universities announced they would be stripping Bill Cosby of the honorary degrees they had given to him in 2001 and 2013, respectively. This is the first time either Jesuit institution has revoked an honor of this nature. They join the ever-growing ranks of entities and individuals distancing themselves from the comedian who has been publicly accused of sexual assault by more than 50 women. At Fordham, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to rescind Cosby’s degree, which he had been granted for “the significant role he played in breaking the color barrier in American television and popular culture, and his position as an inspirational figure for millions of African Americans.”The statement from Fordham, sent to all students, goes on to say that “at the time, there was no public awareness of the allegations of rape against him.” (Andrea Constand, the...

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Alabama Adds Evolution To Science Standards, Conservatives Lose Their Minds (VIDEO)

by JOHN PRAGER – Next year, students in Alabama schools will finally be held to something resembling actual standards in science class. For years, Alabama has had the dubious distinction of being the only state in the union to include a “warning label” on science books that informs students they are about to delve into the scary, scary world of evolution. The sticker warns that evolution is a “controversial theory,” that students should learn to “wrestle with the unanswered questions and unresolved problems still faced by evolutionary theory,” and that “instructional material associated with controversy should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.” “Educators say the new rules — part of a major change that includes more experimentation and hands-on instruction and less lecturing — don’t require that students believe in evolution or accept the idea that climate is changing globally. But public school students will be...

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In ‘Win for Public Schools,’ Wash. Supreme Court Rules Charter Schools Unconstitutional

by Andrea Germanos – “The Supreme Court has affirmed what we’ve said all along—charter schools steal money from our existing classrooms, and voters have no say in how these charter schools spend taxpayer funding.”—Kim Mead, Washington Education Association  Public education advocates are welcoming the Washington State Supreme Court’s ruling late Friday that the state’s charter school law is unconstitutional. The Seattle Times reports that The ruling — believed to be one of the first of its kind in the country — overturns the law voters narrowly approved in 2012 allowing publicly funded, but privately operated, schools. Teacher and author Mercedes Schneider offers more on the Act: As is true of charter schools nationwide, the charters in Washington State (up to the current ruling) were eligible for public funding diverted from traditional public schools. Charter schools were approved via a November 2012 ballot initiative (I-1240, the Charter Schools Act) in which...

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Hillary Clinton Proposes Huge AmeriCorps Expansion

by CASEY QUINLAN – As part of Hillary Clinton’s college affordability plan, or New College Compact, she announced she will expand the number of AmeriCorps members to 250,000. There are currently a little over 75,000 AmeriCorps members, and the number hasn’t increased for years. For members who finish two years of full-time AmeriCorps service and complete a year of public service, they will be able to receive more than $23,000 through the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award compared to the current maximum award of $11,550. The awards would also be made tax-free. Shirley Sagawa, a senior visiting fellow at the Center for American Progress who played a crucial role in drafting the legislation that created the CNCS in 1994, said Clinton’s plan will make it much easier for college students to participate in AmeriCorps. “AmeriCorps has always been intended as a way to offset the cost of college and it’s certainly...

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In One Month, Colorado Sold $34 Million In Marijuana: $3.4 Million Went To Schools, And Crime Decreased By 15%

by Amanda Froelich – Since Colorado legalized weed in 2012, sales have continued to increase while crime rates have plummeted Here’s a recap: If you’re still ‘undecided’ on the cannabis debate, Joe Rogan brilliantly summarizes why hemp was made illegal in the first place. In addition, the number of people experiencing extreme benefit from including high-quality cannabis extract(s) into their regime are sky-rocketing – causing a large number to question why the recreational use of marijuana is still under prohibition. Whatever way you look at it, the benefits of using cannabis far extend those derived from ‘legal’ substances, such as alcohol. And now, three years after marijuana was made legal in Colorado, the state is continuing to report massive economic improvement and reduced crime rate. For starters, just in recreational sales of marijuana in 2014, Colorado sold over $34 million in the month of August. $3.4 million of that (10%) went straight to...

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School Sends Girl Home Because ‘Revealing’ Outfit ‘Distracted’ Boys With Collarbones

By JOHN PRAGER, Addicting Info – Yet another school has decided to make the assumption that males are completely unable to control their libidos even long enough to pay attention in class for about an hour at a time without their ravenous masculine urges taking over. While Christians screaming about Sharia Law invading the United States seem to be ignoring this instance of something reminiscent of  ACTUAL “creeping Sharia,” The Internet is up in arms over a photograph of a Kentucky high school girl wearing a slutty, revealing outfit that will surely guarantee her the hottest coals in Satan’s pit of nightmares. According to Woodford County High in Versailles, there’s something very wrong with this outfit. Do you see it? Stacie Dunn, parent of a 16-year-old student at the school, posted on Facebook that she was forced to leave work to deal with an issue involving her daughter — specifically, that Stephanie Dunn’s...

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What Donald Trump Believes About Education

by CASEY QUINLAN – Republican presidential hopeful and celebrity billionaire Donald Trump has expressed his views on the Iraq War, the economy and immigration policy, but he hasn’t waded far into education policy. Although some of Trump’s statements have been fairly moderate or favorable to liberals, such as saying he opposes cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security and pointing out that a single-payer health care system works well in Canada and Scotland, Trump views on education fall in line with most of the Republican field. He supports school choice, opposes Common Core and is likely in favor of for-profit colleges. Attacking Common Core Standards He recently criticized two of his Republican opponents, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), for their positions on Common Core. Like most of the Republican field, with the exception of Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) and Bush, Trump has...

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