This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Charles Hobson, a retired resident scholar at the William & Mary Law School, 26-year editor of The Papers of John Marshall, and author of The Great Chief Justice: John Marshall and the Rule of Law. Dr. Hobson shares what students should know about the longest-serving, most important chief justice in the history of the Supreme Court, and his influence on our understanding of the U.S. Constitution. He reviews some of the most important Court decisions in American history. He also describes Marshall’s relationship with President Thomas Jefferson and their divergent views on the authority of the Court; as well as Marshall’s paradoxical position on African-American slavery. They explore the “Marshall Trilogy” of foundational Court decisions about Native Americans; and Chief Justice Marshall’s role and legacy of using the Court to safeguard the rule of law under the Constitution.

Stories of the Week: In Arizona, 40 students enrolled in the Applied Career Exploration in STEM (ACES) Camp engaged in immersive, hands-on activities and explored a wide variety of STEM careers. All 50 U.S. governors have agreed to expand K-12 computer science education in their states, prompted by a letter from 500+ business, education and nonprofit leaders urging an update.

In this episode of Take Back Our Schools, Beth and Andrew welcome back former math teacher, journalist and educational hero, Paul Rossi. Paul discusses his seven week purgatory from Twitter for exposing videos of toxic racial literacy curriculum that has infiltrated private schools across the country. Paul also talks about his recent expose of his former school, Grace Church, where a drag queen was invited to perform in bi-weekly chapel, and students were pressured to dance along. We also discuss how identity politics in schools has shifted from race to gender and sexual orientation, and Paul shares his own experiences as a teacher witnessing this transition. 

Paul Rossi is a mathematics teacher, writer, and whistleblower who disclosed the impact of CRT at Grace Church School, where he taught from 2012 to 2021. He is currently a Senior Education Analyst writing for LegalInsurrection.com, and an advisor to the Educational Liberty Alliance.

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Remember the time we were foolish enough to contemplate that affirmative action was finally going to be tossed into the dustbin for good? That time has come and gone. Now corporations have a new campaign for the Supreme Court’s approval of this disastrous policy under the auspices of “diversity”; since the evidence of affirmative action’s […]

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Communism will never go away. Its enchantments are too great. What is more debatable is where it will “take” next. Could easily be the U.S.A. Heck, it “took” in such disparate places as China, Cuba, and Hungary. I guess East Germany too, though that is hard to say, since the country was called into existence […]

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This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Milly Arbaje-Thomas, President & CEO of the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, Inc. (METCO) and Roger Hatch, co-author of Pioneer’s report, METCO Funding: Understanding Massachusetts’ Voluntary School Desegregation Program. Milly shares her background as an immigrant from the Dominican Republic and deep involvement with anti-poverty and neighborhood-based organizations in Boston. She describes METCO’s history, the challenges METCO participants face, and the program’s proven track record of achieving excellent results for minority students from Boston and Springfield. The discussion turns to METCO’s complex funding model, and Roger Hatch summarizes the main findings of his recent report. They explore institutional barriers to expansion, despite the program’s contribution to diversifying greater Boston’s suburban districts (METCO students constitute very high percentages of those districts’ minority student population). They talk about the fiscal implications of METCO in suburban districts, including state and district funding and transportation costs; and possible financial reforms.

Stories of the Week: Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg applauds President Biden’s reversal of a proposal to curb charter school expansion. Basketball legend and civil rights trailblazer Bill Russell passed away this week; Cara and Gerard pay tribute to him.

Professor Sues U. of Wash. After Being Punished for ‘Inappropriate’ Opinion on Land Acknowledgments

 

Perhaps you’ve heard of “land acknowledgment” statements, which have come into vogue in educational and cultural institutions. In the higher education context, the gist of such statements — sometimes placed on course syllabi, sometimes spoken at meetings, exhibitions, or performances — is to state that the institution’s campus sits on occupied indigenous lands. This year, the University of Washington’s computer science department encouraged its faculty to issue such statements, offering approved language on how to word them. 

UW computer science professor Stuart Reges didn’t think much of this, viewing the exercise as performance (he’s not alone), so he crafted one of his own to make a point. More than four months later, after being accused of creating a “toxic environment” and subject to a seemingly unending harassment investigation, Reges has sued his employer to vindicate his First Amendment rights. Reges is represented by my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE).

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Richard Epstein, the inaugural Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, and author of The Classical Liberal Constitution: The Uncertain Quest for Limited Government. He describes the influence of 17th and 18th-century English ideas on our Founding Fathers’ views of ordered liberty and self-government. He traces federalism’s legal roots and explains why the concept of “competitive federalism” among the states and with the national government remains hotly contested. They discuss federalism as it relates to education, with early state constitutions delegating wide authority to local governments and citizens. Professor Epstein distinguishes federalism from infamous states’ rights arguments from antebellum America, or unjust state and local laws like Jim Crowism and segregation, and offers insights on how to strike a balance between the federal, state, and local governments in terms of ensuring basic rights. He explores how policymakers at all levels should think about using classical liberal constitutionalism to achieve wider access to educational excellence. The interview concludes with Professor Epstein’s reading from his book.

Stories of the Week: In the UK, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Entrepreneurship has issued a report calling on the government to prioritize instruction in entrepreneurial skills. In Utah, women constitute 72 percent of K-12 educators, but only 13 percent of school superintendents, according to 2019 study by the national School Superintendents Association.

Louisiana Enhances Student Due Process, Free Speech Protections, While Dept of Ed Threatens Both

 

Last month, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed two bills into law that will significantly strengthen key civil liberties in higher education. HB 185, introduced by Rep. Charles Owen, codifies important free speech protections for students at Louisiana’s public colleges, while HB 364, introduced by Rep. Scott McKnight, provides critical due process protections. My employer, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), advised Louisiana legislators as they drafted and revised each bill.

HB 185 makes important revisions to Louisiana’s existing campus free speech law. Among its provisions, the law adopts the speech-protective definition of student-on-student harassment established by the Supreme Court in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, which defines student-on-student harassment as conduct “so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively bars the victim’s access to an educational opportunity or benefit.” HB 185 also prevents colleges from charging security fees to students and student organizations based on the content of their expression or the anticipated reaction to an invited guest’s speech.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Bernita Bradley, founder and president of Engaged Detroit, a parent-driven urban homeschooling advocacy coalition. Bernita shares her background, and how she became a nationally recognized parent advocate for urban K-12 education reform. They delve into problems with the chronically underperforming Detroit Public Schools, the ways in which parents have responded, and the tensions in Detroit between the traditional public schools and charter schools. Bernita describes her daughter’s experience during COVID, why it was a turning point, and how it sparked an interest in homeschooling. She shares how Engaged Detroit and other parent organizations’ efforts to organize parents across the country are progressing, and the main lessons K-12 education policymakers should be learning from parent-driven school reform efforts.

Stories of the Week: A new study from a team of political scientists found that those college grads who worked for Teach for America were significantly more likely to vote than their peers who applied but weren’t admitted to the program. Former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has called for the abolition of the agency she once led, and giving more authority back to states and localities.

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This from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten: Our delegates and committees put in the work on the issues keeping families up at night, from climate change, to accessible healthcare, to the crushing crisis of student debt, to the terrifying safety issues plaguing too many workplaces. https://t.co/PTrGHKl7XM Preview Open

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UCF Honors the Law Prohibiting Anti-Racist Statements

 

How many times have you asked yourself what would it take to stop the universities from insisting that students and professors are racists? Surprisingly, in Florida, it hasn’t taken much effort at all, thanks to the consistent actions of Gov. DeSantis and the Florida Board of Governors which oversees the university system. In fact, the Board of Governors is exploring additional prohibitions to be included in the rule.

To review how we arrived at this moment, Gov. DeSantis signed the “Stop WOKE Act”:

On this episode of Take Back Our Schools, Beth and Andrew speak with Bob Eitel about the Biden administration’s proposed changes to Title IX rules. Bob explains how the Obama administration manipulated Title IX to erode due process in favor of kangaroo courts and secret inquiries. He discusses how the Trump administration under Secretary Betsy DeVos reversed the Obama changes, and how the newly proposed Biden rules not only threaten free speech and academic freedom, but trample parental rights and have the potential to destroy girl’s and women’s sports at the university and K-12 level. Bob also shares his view that Title IX is being used to usher in radical gender ideology and is effectively a backdoor to fundamental cultural change. 

Bob Eitel is a co-founder and president of Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies (DFI), a non-profit, non-partisan organization that is fighting to reduce the power of the federal government and the influence of government sector unions in education and workforce policy and to defend the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans in the classroom and the workplace. Bob previously served as Senior Counselor to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos from 2017 through 2020 where he supervised the implementation of the Secretary’s regulatory agenda and was an architect of the Secretary’s reforms concerning Title IX and the Higher Education Act.   

Additional information about the proposed Title IX rules can be found on DFI’s website (https://dfipolicy.org/titleix/). Concerned Americans can submit a comment about Title IX to the Department of Education through either www.dfipolicy.org or https://protecttitle9.org.

Join Jim and Greg as they celebrate Arizona leading the way on universal school choice – including parents keeping money for private tuition or homeschooling. They also groan as Canada’s vaccine mandate for people entering the country will mean 10 players for the Kansas City Royals can’t play in Toronto. And they analyze polling showing potential Georgia ticket-splitting as Gov. Brian Kemp enjoys a healthy lead while GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker is slightly behind.

 

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Gerard Robinson and guest co-host Kerry McDonald talk with Jean Strouse, author of the award-winning biography of J.P. Morgan, Morgan: American Financier. They discuss why the general public and students alike should know more about the life and accomplishments of the controversial, late 19th- and early 20th-century American banker. She explains Morgan’s role as a stabilizing figure while serving as the de facto central bank during financial booms and panics, and his importance in the creation of U.S. Steel, Edison General Electric, and the railroad empire, all of which helped propel the nation’s economic ascent. He was also involved in public disputes with Theodore Roosevelt and other Progressive-era figures over the power of business trusts and monopolies. Finally, Ms. Strouse describes Morgan’s famous art collecting, and one of the most interesting figures in his life, Belle da Costa Greene, who was director of the world-renowned Pierpont Morgan Library. The interview concludes with Ms. Strouse’s reading from her biography of J.P. Morgan.

Stories of the Week: Survey data show more Americans are considering foregoing college in favor of alternatives to career pathways, and enrollment has not seen a post-COVID rebound. For those families who do plan for college, U.S. News offers some tips, including starting the search early, talking to recruiters, learning effective study habits, and more.

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You can look up and listen to Evita’s speeches, or one of ’em. The one I found may have been a video/audio montage. But I feel certain all the parts are authentic. She really called people – some people – her supporters – descamisados. Imagine saying into a microphone “shirtless ones.” Imagine the words booming […]

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I think this is really big news.  Just recently, the faculty of the University of Washington, in deep-blue Seattle, rejected a requirement that faculty seeking tenure sign a “diversity statement”.  This was worse than the anti-communist “loyalty oath” that was required in the 1950s.  The professor who spoke with local radio host Dori Monson said […]

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This Fourth of July week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Dr. Joseph Ellis, Professor Emeritus of History at Mount Holyoke College and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. They discuss the resurgence of public interest in the Revolutionary and Founding generations due, in part, to his book, Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams. Known as the “Atlas of American Independence,” John Adams was perhaps the best educated among the Founding generation. Ellis describes his deep knowledge of classical liberal arts and Enlightenment subjects, including ancient history, political philosophy, and the law, and how it equipped him for intellectual and political leadership. They review Adams’ key experiences and character traits, as the major author of the 1780 Massachusetts Constitution, which served as a model for the U.S. Constitution; his ardent opposition to slavery; and his critical eye for spotting political talent. Lastly, they explore the relationship between Adams and his beloved, talented wife, Abigail; as well as their gifted son, John Quincy Adams, the sixth U.S. President; and the family’s remarkable dedication to public service. Prof. Ellis concludes the interview with a reading about John Adams and American Independence.

Stories of the Week: In Mississippi, public K-12 students have made greater gains than in any other state, becoming a national model for both practitioners and policymakers alike, as a result of specific reforms implemented by State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright. At least 12 states are relaxing teacher certification rules, including licensure, to address the labor shortage.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Arif Panju, a managing attorney with the Institute for Justice and co-counsel in the U.S. Supreme Court school choice case, Carson v. Makin; and David Carson, the lead plaintiff. Panju shares the key legal contours of Carson v. Makin and the potential impact of the Court’s decision in favor of the plaintiffs. They delve into the origins of the Maine school tuitioning program, and the change in the early 1980s that resulted in discrimination against religious families. They also review the 2020 Supreme Court ruling, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which was a major victory for the Institute for Justice and school choice. Carson reflects on what motivated his family to join this case and take such a courageous stand for school choice and religious liberty, and what it has been like being involved in such a high-profile U.S. Supreme Court case.

Stories of the Week: Cara and Gerard review the impact of the Pell Grant program, launched 50 years ago this week, in helping to expand access to higher education. What would high school look like if it were designed to give students job-based learning experiences and marketable skills upon graduation?