Education

Notre Dame Students are Protesting the Vice President’s Commencement Speech

by Casey Quinlan – Students say they deserve a commencement that respects LGBTQ and undocumented graduates. Notre Dame seniors will stage a walkout to protest Vice President Mike Pence’s commencement speech at the Indiana university on Sunday. Students say they are expressing solidarity with LGBTQ, undocumented, low-income, and female students affected by Pence’s policies. Students plan to stand up when Pence begins speaking and quietly leave the ceremony. Fifty to 100 people could walk out on Sunday, student organizers say. Protesters are using the hashtag #WalkOutND to bring attention to the protest on social media. “During his time as governor of the state of Indiana and now as a Vice-President, Pence has targeted the civil rights protections of members of LBGT+ community, rejected the Syrian refugee resettlement program, supported an unconstitutional ban of religious minorities, and fought against sanctuary cities,” said the student activist group organizing the protest, We StaND For,...

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Michelle Obama Offers Great Question To Ask Trump: ‘What Is Wrong With You?’ (VIDEO)

by Jon Queally – After seeing one of her signature efforts go backwards under new Republican administration, former First Lady wants to know, ‘Why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school?’ With her focus on nutritious foods and making sure access to them was expanded to all children in the nation during her time in the White House, former first lady Michelle Obama is asking some serious questions now that President Donald Trump has moved to go backwards on efforts designed to promote healthier school lunches and reduce childhood obesity. Just months after former president Barack Obama left office, as Common Dreams reported earlier this month, the Trump administration issued orders that weakened standards set by the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act,” which Ms. Obama championed and her husband signed into law in 2010. The Obama-era statute repealed by Trump had set guidelines and added funding that would...

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It’s Becoming More Common for Young Adults to Live at Home – and for Longer Stretches

by RICHARD FRY – Through both recession and recovery, the share of young adults living in their parents’ home continues to rise. Today’s young adults are also more likely to be at home for an extended stay compared with previous generations of young adults who resided with their parents, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. census data. As of 2016, 15% of 25- to 35-year-old Millennials were living in their parents’ home. This is 5 percentage points higher than the share of Generation Xers who lived in their parents’ home in 2000 when they were the same age (10%), and nearly double the share of the Silent Generation who lived at home in 1964 (8%). It doesn’t appear that a lack of jobs is keeping Millennials at home. As of the first quarter of 2016 (when the living arrangements data were collected), only 5.1% of older young adults...

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USDA Rolls Back School Lunch Guidelines Championed by Michelle Obama

by Lauren McCauley – The nutrition rules were long abhorred by industry groups who now have a friend in the White House. In one of his first orders of business, President Donald Trump’s newly confirmed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue took steps to weaken school lunch standards championed by former First Lady Michelle Obama. In an interim final rule, announced by Perdue while he visited an elementary school in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Leesburg, Virginia on Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is rolling back nutrition rules that were part of Obama’s Let’s Move campaign that was abhorred by food industry groups. Specifically, Perdue is postponing a regulation that would have required schools to lower the sodium content in lunches. The order has also eliminated requirements that schools serve 100 percent whole-grain rich products, and another that forbade sugary, flavored, one percent milk. As The Hill explains: “Sodium levels in...

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Climate Denial Textbooks, Coming Soon to a Public School Near You

by Dartagnan –  It’s bad enough that a hateful propaganda site like Breitbart News has its sordid tentacles entwined with the critical mental functions of the current White House occupant. It’s even worse when one of its featured columnists mates with a right-wing think tank to spawn poison aimed at our children in the public schools. The Heartland Institute is a tool of major fossil fuel producers and the Koch Brothers network of polluters salivating to maximize their profits with a clueless, malleable dupe like Donald Trump in the White House and a compliant Congress eager to serve them. Heartland propaganda is at the core of the climate denial industry which still seeks to convince the American public that there is some type of “debate” among scientists about the science of climate change. The latest well-funded salvo from this noxious organization comes in the form of a thin, glossy book, titled...

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100 Days of Deconstruction: Part Two

by STEVEN HARPER – Through key cabinet appointments, Trump is gutting federal agencies that have improved citizens’ daily lives in ways that most Americans will no longer take for granted. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment. — STEVE BANNON TO HISTORIAN RON RADOSH ON NOV. 12, 2013 (ACCORDING TO RADOSH) Beware of the enemy within. With respect to the US government, the ultimate inside job is well underway. Through key cabinet appointments, Trump is gutting federal agencies that have improved citizens’ daily lives in ways that most Americans will no longer take for granted. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos In her confirmation hearing, billionaire Betsy DeVos made the world painfully aware that she isn’t an educator or expert in curriculum. She’s not familiar with the decades-old Individuals with Disabilities Act, or the fraudulent...

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100 Days of Deconstruction

by STEVEN HARPER – At CPAC, Steve Bannon declared that key members of Trump’s Cabinet were “selected for a reason.” In the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency, that reason has become clear. Editor’s Note Donald Trump may be a racist, misogynist, sexual predator, liar and bully, but he is still president of the United States, and we underestimate him at the nation’s peril. Viewed in isolation, his policies seem idiosyncratic and incoherent. Viewed in context, they reveal a strategy to plunder the government of what is profitable to Trump’s family and minions and leave what remains smoldering in the ruins. This series — “100 Days of Deconsruction” — seeks to provide that context. If Trump succeeds, little of what makes America great survives. But knowledge is power, so read these essays and keep fighting in this decisive battle for our country’s heart and soul. Their author, Steven J. Harper, produced...

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Sanders and Perez to Launch Nationwide ‘Come Together & Fight Back’ Tour

by Nadia Prupis – ‘At a time of massive income and wealth inequality and a shrinking middle class, we need a government which represents all Americans.’ Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Tom Perez will kick off a multi-state tour in Maine on Monday, where they are expected to outline the progressive plan to strengthen the party, bolster grassroots activism, and resist President Donald Trump. “At a time of massive income and wealth inequality and a shrinking middle class, we need a government which represents all Americans, not just Wall Street, multi-national corporations, and the top 1 percent,” Sanders and Perez said in a joint statement. The circuit is officially named the “Come Together and Fight Back” tour. Sanders won Maine’s presidential caucuses by nearly two-thirds when he ran in the 2016 primaries against Hillary Clinton. The tour is expected to take him and Perez through Maine,...

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Dept of Ed Hires Anti-Civil Rights Crusader to Protect Student’s Nonexistent Civil Rights

by Steven Singer – Candice Jackson is a victim of oppression. When she was attending Stanford University in the mid-1990s, a minority calculus tutoring group refused to help her because she was white. Sure she could probably afford to pay for private tutoring, but it was the point of the  thing. She came from a family where both parents ran medical practices. Her dad, Dr. Rick Jackson, even unsuccessfully ran for Congress. You know – just like black families redlined into the ghetto and struggling to find work because of their African-sounding names. Why shouldn’t the limited amount of tutoring spaces serve her as well as people from traditionally less privileged backgrounds? White lives matter, ya’ll. “I am especially disappointed that the University encourages these and other discriminatory programs,” she wrote in the Stanford Review. “We need to allow each person to define his or her own achievements instead of assuming...

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Anti-Defamation League Offers to Teach Spicer About the Holocaust

by Ned Resnikoff – In an open letter, the group says they can do a training at his convenience. The premier U.S. organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism has offered to clear up any lingering confusion White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer might have over what occurred during the Holocaust. Earlier this week, Spicer said during a White House press briefing that Adolf Hitler never used chemical weapons against “his own people.” When stunned reporters pointed out that Hitler’s regime slaughtered Jews en masse using lethal gas, Spicer amended his remarks to acknowledge Nazi Germany’s use of “Holocaust centers” — a strange, apparently novel euphemism for the death camps. In an open letter to Sean Spicer, the Anti-Defamation League offered to conduct a Holocaust education training “at your convenience for you, your staff, and anyone at the White House who may need to learn more about the Holocaust.” Kyle Griffin ✔@kylegriffin1 .@ADL_National has sent...

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Malala Yousafzai Made an Honorary Canadian Citizen

by Jillian Kestler-D’Amours – The advocate for girls’ right to education worldwide is only the sixth person to ever receive the symbolic title. Ottawa, Canada – Pakistani human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has become only the sixth person, and the youngest, to ever receive honorary Canadian citizenship. Canada bestowed the title on Yousafzai, 19, during an honorary citizenship ceremony in Ottawa on Wednesday. “I’m humbled to accept honorary citizenship of your country,” she said in the House of Commons, where she received several standing ovations from parliamentarians and members of the public that packed the gallery. Malala and Satyarthi receive joint Nobel “While I will always be a proud Pashtun and a proud citizen of Pakistan, I’m grateful to be an honorary member of your nation of heroes,” Yousafzai said. “Though I still require a visa, but that’s another discussion,” she added, with a laugh. Yousafzai...

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With Gorsuch Sworn In as Supreme Court Justice, a New Conservative Era Begins

by Deirdre Fulton – Neil Gorsuch could immediately make an impact on cases dealing with religious freedom, gun rights, and immigration. After a bruising Senate confirmation battle, former federal judge Neil Gorsuch was sworn in Monday as the 113th Supreme Court justice, restoring a 5-4 conservative balance to the nation’s high court. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath at 9:00am in a private ceremony; later Monday, Justice Anthony Kennedy—for whom Gorsuch formerly clerked—will ask his new colleague to take a second oath in a public ceremony at the White House. Watch below: Gorsuch “is widely expected to shift the ideological balance of the court to the right,” wrote Lydia Wheeler for The Hill, “with his views seen as mostly in line with the man he is replacing: the late Justice Antonin Scalia.” However, she continued, “some court watchers say Gorsuch may be even more conservative than Scalia, his mentor...

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Poised to Make History, New York on Cusp of Tuition-Free College

by Andrea Germanos – The plan “shows the difference that government can make,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. New York is on the verge of becoming the first state in the nation to offer tuition-free state and city colleges for low- and middle-income students. The plan is part of the budget the Democrat-controlled New York State Assembly passed on Saturday; and the Republican-controlled state Senate is set to vote on it Sunday evening. It follows a compromise reached Friday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and lawmakers. Under the plan, the Excelsior Scholarship would kick off this fall with a three-year phase-in. In 2017, it would cover tuition at the state’s community colleges or four-year universities for students from families making up to $100,000 annually; the threshold moves up to $110,000 in 2018, and $125,000 in 2019. A statement from Cuomo’s office says that more than 940,000 families would be...

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How Slashing the NEA Would Damage the US Economy

by Paul Bonin-Rodriguez and Charlotte Channing, Truthout | Op-Ed – Despite the National Endowment for the Arts’ vital role in the US economy, in February, Trump announced that his proposed 2018 budget would eliminate the agency. While the NEA has been on the target list for the right wing for ages, with so much else at stake, it’s hard to imagine that the left wing will take this on as a priority in its resistance efforts. The final budget proposal is promised to be out within weeks, which leads us to ask, what would life be like without the NEA? Fifty years ago, Congress voted to authorize the National Endowment for the Arts based, in part, on a notion that a great US followed from an enlightened and unfettered citizenry. The authorizing legislation observed that: “Democracy demands wisdom and vision in its citizens. It must therefore foster … access to the...

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Meet Julia, the First Muppet on ‘Sesame Street’ with Autism (VIDEOS)

by Jessica Goldstein – “Sesame Street’ stands for inclusion and acceptance.” The first thing children watching Sesame Street might notice about Julia, the new Muppet on the block, is that she doesn’t want to make eye contact with Big Bird. Sesame devotees — which is to say, toddlers, kids, and their parents — might recognize Julia from her previous appearances on digital Sesame platforms, including ebooks. They’ll already know that Julia is a four-year-old with autism. But for viewers who will meet Julia for the first time when she makes her broadcast debut on April 10, Julia might seem unusual. Then again, maybe not: One in 68 children is diagnosed with autism. Maybe Julia will not seem unusual at all. Maybe she’ll seem totally, completely familiar. “When something is this prevalent, it’s something we have to step up to,” Sherrie Westin, Executive Vice President for Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, said by phone....

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“Morally Obscene” Trump Budget Proposal Stands to Make America Cruel Again

by Deirdre Fulton – Environment, public education, worker protections, and cultural institutions all stand to lose under Trump’s “cruel” budget blueprint.   Meals on Wheels. Amtrak. Teacher training, after-school, and summer educational programs. The National Endowment for the Arts. The Appalachian Regional Commission. The National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All these initiatives and agencies—plus many more—face cuts or wholesale elimination under President Donald Trump’s proposed “skinny budget,” officially unveiled Thursday. Meanwhile, the blueprint calls for increases in military spending, border and immigration enforcement, and money for charter and private schools. The Washington Post has a comprehensive breakdown, with graphics, here. The document was variously denounced as “an all-out assault on our planet;” “dirty and dangerous;” “cruel;” and “unacceptable.” “President Trump’s budget is morally obscene and bad economic policy,” declared Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “It will cause devastating pain to the very people Trump promised to help...

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Allowing Guns in Schools is a Bad Idea

by Steven Singer – Guns were not allowed at Donald Trump’s inauguration. They were not allowed at his speech to the National Rifle Association (NRA). Nor were they allowed at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) or at most of his hotels, golf courses and other properties. But he wants them to be allowed at our public schools. He promised to eliminate gun free zones at schools around the country on day one of his presidency. With all the tweeting about crowd size, he didn’t get around to it. But he may – soon. Press Secretary Sean Spicer promised in February that the President has an executive order in the works to address the issue. Before running for Chief Executive, Trump had been much more moderate on guns. But since then he has echoed the NRA’s official position several times, saying that there are fewer shootings in areas where guns are...

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School Vouchers Are a ‘False Road,’ and There’s Data to Prove It

by Jeff Bryant – “We’ve not done enough to help kids at the lower end of the socio-economic rungs,” says labor economist and Stanford University professor Martin Carnoy. It’s not an accident these families, particularly in the African American community, are demanding vouchers, charters, and other forms of choice. But it’s a false road, and one that’s more apt to result in proponents of choice, when faced with the negative consequences of their ideas, turning back on these lower-served communities and saying to them, ‘Well, we gave you a choice. It’s your own fault if you chose the wrong one.’ With President Donald Trump’s appointment of billionaire “school choice” champion Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education, there’s strong speculation in the media that some sort of school voucher plan that allows parents to withdraw their children from public schools and send them to private schools at taxpayer expense will be...

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Vouchers don’t Help Disadvantaged Students, Regardless of what Betsy DeVos Thinks

by Casey Quinlan – A new report finds little to praise in school vouchers. Education secretary Betsy DeVos has been a champion of school vouchers for decades, and has claimed students don’t benefit from better funding of public schools. But a new report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that vouchers do not improve student achievement in any meaningful way. A significant body of research on vouchers over the past 15 years has found that there is not enough evidence to support the claim that vouchers significantly improve student achievement, wrote Martin Carnoy, Vida Jacks Professor of Education and Economics at Stanford University. In some cases, vouchers exacerbate issues that hurt students’ quality of education, such as racial and economic school segregation and a flow of inexperienced young teachers into schools. Research on voucher experiments in New York City, Dayton, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. showed that there were no significant improvements...

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Harvard Law Review Elects its First Black Female President in its 130 Year History

by wagatwe – In “great but way overdue” news: The Harvard Law Review has elected its first Black female president. The highly regarded publication, which had its first black male president when Obama attended 27 years ago, finally reached this milestone after 130 years in existence. Harvard BLSA @HarvardBLSA Congrats to Imeime Umana, HLS ’18, on her selection as President of the Harvard Law Review. 1st black woman to serve as President. #Herstory 9:24 PM – 29 Jan 2017 · Harvard Law School Imeime Umana, a 24-year-old woman born to two Nigerian immigrants (I know Trump wouldn’t be happy to hear that), spoke about her election in an interview with The New York Times and why this is a Pretty Big Deal:  presidency is considered the highest-ranking student position at the ferociously competitive law school and a ticket to virtually anywhere in the legal realm. Half of the current Supreme Court justices served...

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Iowa Bill Would Force Universities to Hire Right-Wing Professors

by Nika Knight – The proposed law ‘could bring about a Soviet-style purge of liberal-leaning college staff in Iowa’. As Republican-dominated state governments push frightening right-wing legislation nationwide, a GOP senator in Iowa joined the fray on Monday with a bill that would force universities to exclusively hire Republican professors and temporarily bar Democrats until “partisan balanced” is reached. The bill, Senate File 288, “could bring about a Soviet-style purge of liberal-leaning college staff in Iowa,” warned Pat Rynard in the local politics blog Iowa Starting Line.  “The obvious impact and purpose of this bill would be to ban Democrats from getting hired anymore at Iowa colleges,” Rynard continued. “If you took a survey right now, it’s highly likely that Iowa professors are registered as Democrats at a much higher rate than Republican. So any new hires would be strictly limited to Republican or o arty voters.” Iowa state senator Mark Chelgren, who...

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Apple CEO Wants Schools to Help Fix the World’s Fake News Problem

by Lauren C. Williams – In Telegraph interview, Tim Cook said battling fake news needs to be “ingrained in the schools” because “it’s killing people’s minds.” For Apple CEO Tim Cook, fake news isn’t just a social media phenomenon, it’s a societal problem that needs to be addressed in every corner of our culture, starting with the education system. “It has to be ingrained in the schools, it has to be ingrained in the public,” Cook told the UK’s Telegraph in an exclusive interview. “There has to be a massive campaign.” The rise of fake news is a “short-term thing” that people don’t want, Cook said, emphasizing that a problem which is “killing people’s minds” can only be solved by educating children who will then push their parents to act. “It’s almost as if a new course is required for the modern kid, for the digital kid,” he said. “In some ways...

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Protesters Block Betsy DeVos From First Visit to Public School (VIDEO)

by Nadia Prupis – She eventually managed to get inside Jefferson Academy, as teachers, parents, and other activists gathered to protest her confirmation. “Stand up, fight back!” the crowd answered.Protesters briefly blocked Betsy DeVos from entering a Washington, D.C. school Friday morning in her first visit as Education Secretary, one woman shouting, “She does not represent anything that stand for!” The crowd followed DeVos as she turned to leave, with another man saying she had bought her way into the position. (Indeed, DeVos made campaign contributions to every senator that voted in her favor.) “You should be so proud of yourself,” he said, before shouting, “Shame! Shame!” as DeVos got into a car. ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos She eventually managed to get inside Jefferson Academy, amid a vigil organized by the Washington Teachers Union which saw teachers, parents, and other activists gathered to protest her confirmation—though...

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Over Massive Opposition, Betsy DeVos is Confirmed as Education Secretary

by Casey Quinlan – Vice President Mike Pence’s vote broke a Senate tie and confirmed DeVos as education secretary. Betsy DeVos, a Michigan-based philanthropist, was confirmed to serve as the education secretary in the Trump administration on Tuesday after massive resistance from Democrats and protesters. Although DeVos has no experience working at a public school or attending a public school, she is now tasked with running an agency that oversees the country’s public education system. After a deadlock in the Senate over DeVos’ confirmation, Vice President Mike Pence cast a historically unprecedented tie-breaking vote to move her confirmation forward. It was the first time in the nation’s history that a vice president has had to step in to resolve a tie on a cabinet nomination. Two moderate Republicans, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME), withheld support for DeVos’ confirmation after tens of thousands of phone calls from activists and...

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A Yiannopoulos, Bannon, Trump Plot to Control American Universities?

by Robert Reich – I don’t want to add to the conspiratorial musings… but I wouldn’t bet against it either. The events at Berkeley Wednesday night have been a boon to Milos Yiannopoulos, of Breitbart News, and to Steve Bannon, formerly head of Breitbart News and now Trump’s consigliere. As you may know, on Wednesday night, February 1, Berkeley gave Yiannopoulos a major forum to spout his racist and misogynistic vitriol. But police had to cancel the talk because about 150 masked agitators threw Molotov cocktails, smashed windows where Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak, and threw rocks and fireworks at the police – delivering made-for-TV images of a riot. According to a promotional Breitbart story that ran before the event, Yiannopoulos was going to “call for the withdrawal of federal grants and the prosecution of university officials who endanger their students with their policies.” Which is exactly what Trump did via...

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As End of DACA Looms, Colleges and Organizers Ramp Up Efforts to Protect Undocumented Students

by Eleanor J. Bader, Truthout | Report – Within days of the presidential election, Maria Ferrera, a professor of social work at Chicago’s DePaul University, began hearing stories that worried her. Calls to suicide hotlines were up, she learned, and many of the callers were undocumented students or people with Deferred Action on Childhood Arrival status. Worse, rumors of actual suicides — as yet unconfirmed — were circulating. Fear and anxiety continue to be palpable, she told Truthout. Will US-born children be separated from their undocumented parents? Will DACA recipients be stripped of their legal status and forced to drop out of school? Will the mass deportation of three million people happen, as Trump has promised? “It makes me angry,” says 27-year-old Syndia, a DACA recipient and graduate student at a large Midwestern college. “Thanks to DACA authorization, I’ve been able to work to pay for my living...

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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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