The Senate confirmed Barbara Lagoa to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday, marking the third circuit court that has flipped from a Democrat-appointed majority to a Republican-appointed majority under the Trump administration.
Lagoa, who previously served on the Florida Supreme Court, will now serve as an appellate judge overseeing a district that includes Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. She garnered bipartisan support in an 80-15 vote.
Lagoa's confirmation came just a day after the Senate also confirmed fellow Miamian and Florida Supreme Court justice Robert Luck to sit on the 11th Circuit. The pair's ascension to the circuit court decisively swung the balance of the bench to Republican appointees. President Donald Trump had previously moved the Third Circuit and Second Circuit to conservative control.
The transformation of the federal court has been a major project of both Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). More than 160 judges have been appointed to the federal bench since Trump took office, including Supreme Court appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Carrie Severino, policy director of the conservative legal group Judicial Crisis Network, said Wednesday that Lagoa's appointment, and its effect on the federal court, represents a "major achievement for [Trump's] presidency."
"This success … is a testament to the tangible impact the president has had in reshaping the federal judiciary with constitutionalist judges who are committed to the rule of law," she said. "Despite unrelenting Democrat smears and obstruction, President Trump, Leader McConnell, and Chairmen Graham and Grassley continue to make good on their promises to nominate and confirm judges who fairly apply the law and adhere to the Constitution."
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report in December of 2018 saying that simple toys hold the most benefits for children. They warn parents against filling their toy box with flashing lights and gadgets. (1)
The report is called “Selecting Appropriate Toys for Young Children in the Digital Era”. It offers guidance for parents on what toys will most benefit their children’s development. The report focuses on children from birth through school age. (1)
When walking through the toy aisle at any major store, it can be challenging to see past all of the electronic and digital toys and games available. Although these toys may be attractive to both parents and children, the AAP recommends buying simpler toys. (1)
“Toys have evolved over the years, and advertisements may leave parents with the impression that toys with a ‘virtual’ or digital-based platform are more educational,” said Aleeya Healey, MD, FAAP, in a press release from the AAP. Healey is a lead author of the report. “Research tells us that the best toys need not be flashy or expensive or come with an app. Simple, in this case, really is better.” (1)
Interaction and Imagination
The study emphasizes the importance of play for child development. “Play is essential to optimal child development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth,” it says. (2)
The authors of the study also affirm that the engagement of children with their caregivers is extremely important. They say that toys can facilitate this interaction. (2)
“The best toys are those that support parents and children playing, pretending, and interacting together,” stated Alan Mendelsohn, MD, FAAP, in the AAP’s press release. Mendelsohn is a co-author of the report and associate professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Population Health at NYU Langone Health. (1)
According to Mendelsohn, digital toys don’t provide the same benefits. Although media-based toys, like videos, computer programs, and books with voice-recorded reading, make claims to be interactive and educationally beneficial, the AAP says that these claims are unsupported. (1)
Mendelsohn said, “You just don’t reap the same rewards from a tablet or screen. And when children play with parents – the real magic happens, whether they are pretending with toy characters or building blocks or puzzles together.” (1)
Recommendations for Simple Toys
According to the AAP’s report, caregivers should seek out toys that facilitate “cognitive development, language interactions, symbolic and pretend play, social interactions, and physical activity.” Children can engage in pretend play with toy characters, like dolls, animals, and figures. They can also pretend with toy objects, like food, vehicles, utensils, and building. Pretend play can help children learn to use words “to imitate, describe, and cope with actual circumstances and feelings.” (2)
Problem-solving is another aspect of child development that toys can facilitate. Children can play with blocks and puzzles to develop their fine motor skills, language and cognitive development, spatial awareness, and early math skills. (2)
These are just a few ways that simple toys can aid in children’s development and is not an exhaustive list. What the AAP emphasizes most is that children’s skills develop best when they play with their parents and other caregivers. So pull up your sleeves and grab some toy food. Get ready to engage your own imagination to help your child develop theirs! (2)
Inside The Media Conspiracy to Hype Greta Thunberg And the UN Climate Conference
by Chris White
Over 250 news outlets and journalists partnered with Columbia University School of Journalism’s flagship magazine to shape control of “climate crisis” coverage in the lead up to the United Nations climate conference. The coverage-coordination initiative included directing how much time, space and prominence should be devoted to the coverage, and asking that climate “news” be added to seemingly unrelated stories.
Some of the biggest media outlets in the country, such as CBS and Bloomberg, joined the effort. But others, such as The Washington Post and The New York Times, declined to participate in a project they reportedly feared appeared activist in nature. More troubling, a number of the major outlets that joined did not disclose participation to their readers.
In addition to CBS and Bloomberg, the effort, called Covering Climate Now, involved BuzzFeed News, HuffPost, The Daily Beast, the Center for Public Integrity, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Slate, Vanity Fair and The Weather Channel, among many others. BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post were among the major outlets that did not disclose the coordination. When asked by the Daily Caller News Foundation, the lack of disclosure was criticized by the Society of Professional Journalists.
The coordination effort was organized in part by Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), a nonprofit that represents professional journalists and was traditionally focused primarily on journalism ethics. Covering Climate Now’s founders hope to continue elevating climate news even after the project ends. The effort’s target was the lead-up to, and coverage of, the U.N. “Climate Action Summit,” held Sept. 15-23.
BuzzFeed News reached more than 27 million unique views between September and October, according to Quantcast, a website measuring audience size. BuzzFeed is owned by Jonah Peretti, an internet entrepreneur who founded the outlet in 2006 to track viral online content, and the left-leaning HuffPo is owned by Verizon Communications. Media tycoon Arianna Huffington originally founded HuffPo in 2005 with the help of Peretti.
Covering Climate Now’s founders kicked off the project in April and announced in May that they would ask partners to devote a week to climate-related news, starting in September. The Nation environmental correspondent Mark Hertsgaard co-founded the project under the assumption that the news outlets don’t cover climate change as urgently as he thinks they should.
WaPo and others did not contribute because they believe Covering Climate Now has the “aroma” of advocacy, he complained in September.
“We believe that every news organization in America, and many around the world, can play a part,” CJR posted May 22. Sometimes that will mean committing your newsroom to important and high-impact stories. Other times it will mean sharing your content, engaging your community, or adding a few lines of climate information to stories that wouldn’t otherwise have them.”
Covering Climate Now has not responded to the DCNF’s request for comment.
Much of the group’s coverage leading up to the U.S. climate summit focused on Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl who traveled to the U.S. in August on a racing yacht. Her visit was designed to galvanize American support for policies that seek to tackle climate change.
Thunberg’s activism and Covering Climate Now’s media blitz seemed to fall flat with the crowd of United Nations diplomats: No major promises were made to tackle climate change at the summit. The European Union, for instance, didn’t go along with environmentalists’ wishes and set a goal to be carbon neutral by mid-century out of fear that such ambitions would tank its member state’s struggling economies.
“Large parts of the mainstream media have stopped pretending to strive for objectivity in their reporting,” Myron Ebell, a climate skeptic and director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment, told the DCNF. “On the climate issue, many outlets and reporters are now publicly boasting about the fact that they are promoting their own prejudices on the grounds that increasing global energy poverty is a noble cause.”
Ebell was not the only energy advocate to criticize the program. “This is nothing more than what used to be known as ‘civic journalism’ … or propaganda for the left dressed up as news reporting,” Steve Milloy, JunkScience.com publisher, told the DCNF. He also suggested the media are being hypocritical. They would thrash the fossil fuel industry if it attempted to recruit reporters in a quest to support natural gas, Milloy said.
Much Of The Content Was Not Disclosed
BuzzFeed News and HuffPost did not divulge their participation in Covering Climate Now in any of the articles they published on climate change during that week, according to a DCNF review of the project. They never mention the words “Covering Climate Now” in any of their posts during the week-long coverage leading up to the climate summit.
HuffPost did not respond to numerous requests for comment while BuzzFeed News said the partnership did not affect the outlet’s coverage. “Our coverage of climate change is year-round and unaffected by outside partnerships,” Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for BuzzFeed, told the DCNF.
Covering Climate Now published a list of articles on its website throughout September that promoted climate coverage.
Nearly 40 of the articles on the list of 128 failed to mention the project. The list included pieces from CBS News, Bloomberg News and The Nation, all of whom produced pieces that failed to mention their participation in an outside project designed to direct their editorial bent. Many of the articles on the list bore labels containing the words “Covering Climate Now” but do not otherwise explain what the project entails or which groups are involved.
CBS News, which has not returned requests for comment, produced a Sept. 21 feature on clear cutting in Oregon that did not include a disclosure. The title of that feature was “Who should be in charge of America’s ancient forests: industry or environmentalists?” which discussed the impact clearing U.S.’ forests has on the environment and if private companies should be allowed to use forests.
CBS News included disclosures on articles throughout September that discuss how Americans feel about climate change. The channel also mentioned its participation in a Sept. 17 feature highlighting how U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is considering a summit to discuss ways of re-invigorating the Paris Climate agreement, which he says needs to be re-booted.
Bloomberg News, for its part, published a statement on Sept. 16 announcing its role in the project, but the outlet still produced content that did not contain disclosures. The outlet published a Sept. 22 article titled “Big Oil Prepares to Defend Big Gas as Climate Week Begins,” which discusses how the oil industry is defending the use of natural gas as a clean alternative to coal. The article did not mention the outlet’s participation in Covering Climate Now.
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg founded Bloomberg News. Bloomberg, who flirted with the idea of running for president in 2020 and filed in the paperwork to participate in Alabama’s Democratic primary, has devoted much of his philanthropic work to funding various anti-coal projects. Bloomberg News has not responded to the DCNF’s request for comment.
The Nation, Covering Climate Now’s co-founder, published a 2,400-word article on Sept. 18 with an alarmist headline suggesting that Americans are “fueling the next global extinction.” The piece did not contain a disclosure but notes that it was originally published by Tom Engelhardt at TomDispatch.com, though the DCNF was unable to locate the article on Engelhardt’s website.
The Nation, which announced the project in a July post, also published a journalistic piece on Sept. 19 by Nation associate editor Zoe Carpenter that fails to mention Covering Climate Now. Nobody from the outlet has responded to requests for comment.
Wealthy Climate Activists Also Participated
Covering Climate Now was aided by wealthy advocacy groups, some of which help journalists edit and craft stories discussing climate change from an alarmist perspective. One nonprofit group associated with the project is Climate Central, which provides extensive guidance to reporters.
“We contribute data and charts plus a science reporter and an editor,” the group’s website notes. “For a text story, we help craft a feature in a way that puts climate change in appropriate and accurate context. For broadcast media, we provide story and interview suggestions and help develop and review scripts.”
Climate Central has not responded to the DCNF’s request for detailed information about how it contributes to journalists’ content. The group is funded in part by the Energy Foundation, a charity providing grants to various groups with the hope of transitioning the U.S. away from fossil fuels.
Is This Ethical?
Reuters did not participate in the project, yet its editors did not object when Yereth Rosen, a freelancer for the wire service, contributed. Reuters, which opposes advocacy journalism, dismissed any suggestion that Rosen’s contributions are inappropriate.
“We do not see this cause in conflict with the Trust Principles. All stories, under the Trust Principles, are required to be accurate, fair and free from bias. Ms. Rosen’s work for Reuters has been exemplary in this regard,” Brian Ross, Reuters’s ethics and standards representative, wrote in an Aug. 15 email reviewed by the DCNF.
Ross was responding to an Aug. 13 email complaint from a former reporter who was concerned about Rosen’s role in Covering Climate Now. The person made the complaint through the outlet’s online support option. Reuters was more circumspect in later emails to the DCNF on the subject.
“While we do not comment on individuals in our newsroom, all Reuters journalists, including freelancers, are bound by our Trust Principles of ‘integrity, independence and freedom from bias,’” Heather Carpenter, a spokeswoman for Reuters, told the DCNF.
“Our journalists are to remain free from personal conflicts on the subjects they are assigned to cover,” she added. Reuters has not made Rosen available for comment nor did it address whether it is appropriate to allow an external group to dictate what content its reporters publish.
The Society of Professional Journalists, however, criticized the lack of transparency.
“We encourage journalists to be transparent,” Lynn Walsh, a national board member and former president of the Society of Professional Journalists, one of the oldest groups representing journalists, told the DCNF. “If they did not include any disclosure there is nothing we can do though. SPC is not a regulatory body.” She went on to say that any group involved must explain exactly what the project entails.
Why Didn’t WaPo And The NYT Contribute?
Most legacy media are unwilling to break away from the idea that journalism should not advocate for a position, according to Hertsgaard, who co-founded Covering Climate Now in part to impress upon journalists the importance of covering climate without feeling compelled to provide a platform to climate skeptics.
“The New York Times is not on there, The Wall Street Journal is not on there, The Washington Post is not on there,” Hertsgaard said in a September podcast with Kyle Pope, editor and publisher of CJR. Hertsgaard was referring to the major outlets that did not contribute content to Covering Climate Now.
“This has an aroma — in their minds — of activism,” Hertsgaard continued, explaining why the big three legacy outlets preferred not to join. He and Pope noted Covering Climate Now intends on breaking up that perception by wrapping climate coverage in the blanket of science rather than politics.
The Post refused to comment for this story. The NYT, WSJ and Hertsgaard have not responded to the DCNF’s request for comment.
Advocacy-style journalism is the new in-thing, according to David Blackmon, an independent consultant and analyst who has nearly 40 years experience in the energy industry.
“I don’t think that anyone would object to any of it if they were upfront about their agenda,” he told the DCNF. “There’s no effort to properly identify agenda-driven pieces. They are backed up with factual information, but it usually tells just half the story. It’s become the norm.”
Blackmon, a Forbes contributor, noted that much of the reporting is one-sided and focuses exclusively on one narrative: Climate change must be stopped at any cost. Such reporting rarely gives coverage to the economic consequences of climate activists’ preferred policies, he noted.
“We are at a point where we were at the turn of the 21st century,” Blackmon told the DCNF. “You had partisan affiliated outlets and almost no objective journalism at all. We’ve gone to that place after a period of time.
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Jason White is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Greta Thunberg” by the European Parliament. CC BY 2.0.
It would wipe the slate clean of any state or national pro-life law.
November 14, 2019
By Tony Perkins
It may be the most dangerous bill no one's really talking about. But if becomes law -- this radical grab bag of social extremism -- all of America will live to regret it. Meet the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). It's not just about women anymore. In fact, it's not really about women at all.
How much damage can 52 words do? Trust me, you don't want to find out. The House majority's new ERA may be short, but the list of consequences is never-ending. Liberals will say it's about equality, but what it's really about is a one-way ticket to everything on their social agenda wish list. Gender-neutral bathrooms? Check. Taxpayer-funded abortion? Check. Infanticide? Check. LGBT indoctrination at school? Check. Radical sex ed? Check. Transgender "rights?" Check. The elimination of women's sports? Check. It's no wonder the Democrats want to dust off the ERA. As far as they're concerned, the old push for women's rights is the perfect Trojan horse for everything else on their agenda.
Don't expect the Left to let that cat out of the bag. As far as House Democrats are concerned, this is about "women's rights." But what rights? It's 2019, FRC's Patrina Mosley pointed out on Wednesday's "Washington Watch." Women already have equal rights under the fifth and 14th Amendments. There are even laws in place to prohibit sex discrimination. So what is it the ERA would actually do?
For starters, it would wipe the slate clean of any state or national pro-life law, amending the Constitution to create a permanent right to abortion on demand -- right up until the moment of birth, paid for by American taxpayers. And, as we know from the last 11 months, "abortion," at least as far as the Left is concerned, includes leaving perfectly healthy unwanted newborns to die.
This is a smokescreen, Patrina warns, for establishing the most radical nationwide policy on abortion ever seen. Far more radical than Roe v. Wade -- and much more binding. Not that liberals will admit it. ERA Coalition co-President Jessica Neuwirth has told everyone who will listen that the proposal is "silent" on abortion. Well, the language may be silent, but abortion groups certainly aren't. "Both NARAL and Planned Parenthood have had lawsuits in the courts in the states, where they've said the ERA would be used to promote and perform abortions," Patrina countered. "It's already been used in Colorado. It's already been used in New Mexico."
And what about the word "sex?" How does the ERA define it? Simple: it doesn't. "They are intentionally ambiguous," Patrina explains. "The term 'sex' is not defined, so it can be interpreted it in any way you want. That has implications for women across the board... like allowing men -- not even men posing as women, but biological men-- to enter women's locker rooms, showers, facilities. It really opens up that can of worms that we've been fighting for so long. This would be that one quick fix that Democrats would have right in the Constitution to strip any protections a state or local government [has] against that."
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) sure wasn't shy about that in Wednesday's mark-up, telling members that when they talk about "sex," Democrats mean sexual orientation and gender identity. But how close are Democrats, really, to advancing a bill that's been dead for 40 years? No one really knows. The Virginia legislature's flip to liberal control means that their effort to push a state ERA is back in business. They argue that if they pass it, they'll be the 38th -- and final -- state that's needed. But the deadline for ratification has come and gone -- not that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will let a thing like the rules get in the way.
Congressman Mike Johnson (R-La.) was as surprised as anyone when the chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), pointed at Republicans and said, "You guys get so caught up in and in process. Process doesn't matter..." In other words, Mike said, "We're here to advance an agenda. We don't care what the rules say. We don't care what the Constitution says... That stuff's immaterial." Democrats, Cohen said, need to "look beyond the process, because we've got to advance this principle...' That's what we're up against. Right now, they're defying all of that in our constitutional tradition."
The rule of law matters, Johnson told Cohen. At least in the Trump-stocked courts, where this bill will surely end up if it becomes law. In the meantime, urge your representative to vote no on the ERA, which ought to stand for Expanding Radical Abortion.
Sanctuary cities are being targeted in a new bill introduced by senators including U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
Blackburn said she joined U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to introduce the Immigration Detainer Enforcement Act to help stop sanctuary cities. The legislation would clarify the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) detainer authority, clearly establish the authority of states and localities to maintain custody in cases in which a detainer has been issued, and incentivize cooperation between law enforcement agencies and DHS through the reimbursement of certain detention, technology and litigation-related costs.
The act follows the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act, which was introduced earlier in 2019 to hold sanctuary jurisdictions accountable for failing to comply with lawful detainer and release notification requests made by federal authorities.
“Sanctuary jurisdictions provide havens for illegal aliens and put the safety of our citizens at risk,” Blackburn said. “Legislation to protect the public is especially important in light of reports that Nashville is terminating its contract to house ICE detainees. We need to incentivize local law enforcement to work with – not against – our federal agencies to secure our border.”
Tillis said, “North Carolinians are rightfully disturbed that a handful of local sheriffs are putting politics ahead of public safety by implementing reckless sanctuary policies that release dangerous criminals back into our communities and make it harder for federal law enforcement to do their jobs.”
Grassley said, “Sanctuary cities and jurisdictions jeopardize the safety of our communities when they refuse to cooperate with federal authorities and lawful immigration detainer requests.”
The Immigration Detainer Enforcement Act:
Gives explicit authority to the arresting law enforcement agency to maintain custody of an illegal immigrant for a period not to exceed 48 hours to permit assumption of custody by the DHS, upon the issuance of a detainer.
Allows the federal government to enter into agreements with the arresting law enforcement agency to indemnify these agencies against wrongful detention claims by third parties which resulted from a detainer issued without reason to believe the individual is a removable illegal immigrant.
Makes jurisdictions ineligible for reimbursement of detention costs if they are certified by the DHS Secretary as being noncompliant.
Jurisdictions that are deemed noncompliant will not receive priority when being considered for funding from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program and when benefitting from the 1033 and 1122 programs.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.
Federal Judge Rules U.S.-Born ‘ISIS Bride’ Not an American Citizen, U.S. Not Required to Repatriate Her
By ZACHARY EVANS November 14, 2019 2:27 PM
A federal judge ruled Thursday that 25-year-old Hoda Muthana, who lived in Alabama but left the U.S. in 2014 to join ISIS, is not an American citizen and therefore the country is not required to repatriate her.
Muthana is the daughter of Yemen’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Ahmed Ali Muthana. Judge Reggie Walton ruled that because Hoda was born while Ahmed Ali still had diplomatic status, Hoda could not be considered a U.S. citizen. Ahmed Ali has since become a naturalized citizen.
In addition, Walton ruled that Ahmed Ali cannot provide financial aid to his daughter, who escaped from ISIS to a Kurdish refugee camp in 2018. Hoda Muthana has a son, Adam, who was born in ISIS territory.
U.S. law prevents the children of foreign diplomats from receiving American citizenship by birthright. Lawyers for Muthana’s family had claimed Ahmed Ali’s diplomatic status expired two months before Hoda’s birth in New Jersey, a claim apparently rejected by Judge Walton.
Muthana had previously said in an interview that she wished to return to the U.S.
“I want my son to be around my family, I want to go to school, I want to have a job and I want to have my own car,” she said in an interview with NBC.
The woman had previously called on jihadists in the U.S. to “go on drivebys, and spill all of their blood.”
“Anyone that believes in God believes that everyone deserves a second chance, no matter how harmful their sins were,” Muthana told NBC.
President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have previously expressed opposition to authorizing Muthana’s return.
“I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!” Trump wrote on Twitter in February of this year.
As the Investigative Project on Terrorismreports, CAIR’s executive director Nihad Awad shares the “formula” he believes will secure Islamists greater political power:
“A strong CAIR equals a strong community. A strong community will produce a strong and confident and successful Muslim … “So I’m telling you tonight we are going to work in the next years, inshallah (God willing], to elect at least 30 Muslims in the Congress. This number is equivalent to our size and our potential as American Muslims. Including at least two [U.S.] senator Muslims.”
In addition, Awad envisions Muslim judges, including a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, along with an Islamist extension of Hollywood.
No matter that Awad got his numbers wrong, this has been the Islamist agenda since at least the 2000s, when I heard the same professional targets outlined at national conventions. But as Middle East Forum’s Daniel Pipes wrote in 2003, it goes further.
Pipes documents how, in 1998, CAIR’s Chairman Omar M. Ahmad told a crowd of Muslims in California: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant.”
None of these views have been clandestine. Over the years the message has been consistent. What has changed is that the Islamist candidates they produce are more vocal about exactly which interests they represent.
Within this discussion of CAIR’s vision of Muslim in Congress — that is, Islamists in Congress — and those seeking other avenues of political power, it’s important to underscore that not all Muslims are Islamists. Not all Muslims are race and religious supremacists who believe that the politicization of faith is the way to go. Many Muslims stand opposed to the politicization of faith; many stand opposed to Islamists.
Veteran military serviceman and former California congressional candidate Omar Qudrat is an example of the type of Muslims who deserve to be elected —Muslims who put duty to constitution and country ahead of any religious agendas.
Dalia Al-Aqidi is another — a veteran Iraqi American journalist poised to challenge Ilhan Omar in Minnesota in the 2020 race for Omar’s congressional seat in district 5.
Both candidates are steadfast opponents of Islamists, their agenda and ideology. Both are allied with Muslim reformers.
Neither CAIR nor their allies represent the Muslim community. The American Muslim diaspora is so diverse that it would be dishonest to say that any one person or organization represents them. There is no central representation and there shouldn’t be. All our voices deserve to be heard, but what you keep seeing be pushed by mainstream media is this fabricated monolith fantasy of a Muslim — in short, an Islamist.
In a major defeat for illegal alien advocates, voters in Tucson, Arizona, overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to designate it as the state’s one and only “sanctuary city.”
Tucson voters on Tuesday resoundingly opposed an initiative, known as Proposition 205, that would have given sweeping protections to illegal aliens and prohibited local law enforcement from working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. At the close of the polls, over 71% of voters rejected the measure
Notably, the measure was opposed by every member of the Tucson City Council—all of whom are Democrats. The council members were concerned that its passage would lead to the loss of millions of dollars in federal and state funding. Leaders were very aware of the Trump administration’s fight against other local jurisdictions that have passed sanctuary policies, threatening to withhold federal grants as punishment.
Council members were also concerned that the measure would prohibit the city from working with federal law enforcement on issues that have no relation to immigration enforcement.
“It’s refreshing to see Tucson voters and council members work collectively to reject policies that undermine federal law and harbor criminal illegal aliens,” Matthew Tragesser, spokesperson at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said in a Wednesday statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“While there are more than 560 sanctuary jurisdictions throughout the country, citizens nationwide are voicing their concerns and stymieing dangerous sanctuary laws. At the state level, Florida recently adopted anti-sanctuary laws. At the local level, Montgomery County, Maryland, has experienced a spate of violent crimes at the hands of illegal aliens, and also just incorporated anti-sanctuary policies,” Tragesser continued.
The proposal’s defeat was more remarkable given the political and racial makeup of Tucson. The southern Arizona city is heavily populated by Hispanic individuals, and has long been a Democratic bastion in an otherwise red state. Every member of the city council, the mayor’s office, and all three congressional districts that cover the city are controlled by the Democratic Party.
Despite this, only 28.6% of voters supported the sanctuary measure Tuesday.
Proposition 205 would have largely restricted city police from inquiring about an individual’s immigration status. It would have also prevented police from cooperating with federal immigration authorities in regard to immigration raids and other activities by the agency.
The measure—also referred to as “Keeping Tucson Families Free and Together”—was introduced as a rebuke to a 2010 law passed by state legislators that bans sanctuary cities in Arizona. The People’s Defense Initiative, a pro-immigrant group, campaigned for its passage.
“We are incredibly proud of the hard work and inspiring commitment of our team and the hundreds of Tucsonans who made this campaign their very own,” read a statement from the People’s Defense Initiative following the vote, despite losing by huge margins. “Through this effort, we were able to uplift an important city-wide conversation that changed Tucson for the better.”
As Tucson residents soundly rejected the sanctuary proposal, they also elected Regina Romero as their next mayor—the first Latina to hold the position.
“Tucson’s rejected sanctuary proposition should serve as a model for other jurisdictions wishing to fight back against policies that minimize public safety and encourage more illegal immigration into communities,” Tragesser said.
The president signed an executive order to end DACA in 2017, as he believes it gives the president 'extraordinary powers'.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday is set to take up the Trump administration’s plan to end protections that shield about 660,000 immigrants from deportation, and legal experts say all eyes will be on the likely tie-breaker Chief Justice John Roberts.
Created under an Obama-era executive order, DACA gives some undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children the chance to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit.
Legal experts have looked back on Roberts’ June vote that blocked a citizenship question from appearing on the 2020 census. The Trump administration claimed that Americans have the right to know who’s in the country illegally.
"So important for our Country that the very simple and basic "Are you a Citizen of the United States?" Question be allowed to be asked in the 2020 Census," Trump tweeted at the time.
Critics said the question would discourage illegal immigrants from participating. Census totals determine congressional seats and political boundaries.
Linda Greenhouse, a New York Times columnist who focuses on the Supreme Court, wrote last week that the parallels between the census case and DACA is not exact, "but they are striking."
She wrote that Roberts called the Commerce Department's claim in the case "contrived."
The department claimed that the question needed to be included so the Justice Department could better job enforcing the Voting Rights Act. Greenhouse said Roberts' opinion "made it clear that the court was addressing process, not substance."
Agencies are required to offer "genuine justifications for important decisions, reasons that can be scrutinized by courts and the interested public," he wrote, according to the Times. "Accepting contrived reasons would defeat the purpose of the enterprise."
The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that Dreamers' "best hope for victory almost surely depends on" Roberts. CNN reported that lawyers were crafting their argument to appeal to one justice: Roberts.
But the L.A. Times pointed out that Roberts wrote in the travel ban ruling that the country's chief executive oversees immigration enforcement. Roberts also handed two other immigration wins to the administration.
The court sided with President Trump in allowing him to enforce the travel ban on visitors from some majority Muslim countries and Roberts voted in favor of Trump shifting military dollars to fund the wall.
Janet Napolitano, the University of California president who served as Obama's homeland security secretary when DACA was created, said the administration seems to recognize that ending DACA protections would be unpopular.
"And so perhaps they think it better that they be ordered by the court to do it as opposed to doing it correctly on their own," Napolitano said in an interview with The Associated Press. She is a named plaintiff in the litigation.
Trump has said a ruling in his favor would force Democrats back to the table and a "bipartisan deal will be made to the benefit of all."
We do not need the federal government partnering with Google to red-flag citizens.
No, no, no. H---, no! That’s my response to the latest trial balloon floated by the White House to join with Silicon Valley on a creepy program monitoring Americans’ “neurobehavioral signs” to (purportedly) prevent gun violence.
President Donald Trump’s old friend, former NBC head Bob Wright, has been pushing an Orwellian surveillance scheme called “Safe Home” — “Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes” — that would cost taxpayers between $40 million and $60 million. The Washington Post, owned by Amazon billionaire founder Jeff Bezos, reports that the plan could incorporate “Apple Watches, Fitbits, Amazon Echo and Google Home,” as well as ” fMRIs, tractography and image analysis.”
Here’s the big lie: Wright’s group promises that privacy will be “safeguarded,” profiling “avoided” and data-protection capabilities a “cornerstone of this effort.”
There’s so much bullcrap packed in that statement it should be banned as a global-warming pollutant. Anything involving Google should trigger automatic danger warnings of invasive data mining. We do not need the federal government partnering with Google to red-flag citizens. We need the federal government to red-flag Google.
Let me remind you that Google has already admitted to data-mining children’s emails without consent, in violation of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This school year, untold thousands, if not millions, of children were required to sign on to Google email and Chrome in order to access homework, schedules and classroom discussions — without obtaining parental consent. Thanks to “1-to-1” programs forcing students across the country to use laptops and tablets when paper and pencil would suffice, iPads loaded with Google for Education are metastasizing in tech-crazed, fad-addled school districts oblivious to privacy concerns.
At my high-school-sophomore son’s school, every student was told to download an app called “E-Hallpass,” which is seamlessly connected to their Google login, to track how much time students spend in the bathroom. It’s all in the name of “safety,” of course. And there’s no opportunity for parents to provide their preemptive feedback or consent.
Minnesota educator Jennifer Dahlgren told me this week: “Too many schools use Google docs and sheets to store and share (private) student information, as well as using Google as their secure email! I have brought this up in staff meetings as a concern and no one else seems bothered. Not good!”
Just last week, the Federal Trade Commission approved a settlement with Google/YouTube over its violation of the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. YouTube had been stealthily mining data of unsuspecting YouTube users under the age of 13. It will reportedly pay a pittance for this massive child abuse — somewhere between $150 million to $200 million, which amounts to just a few months’ of YouTube ad revenue. In other words: a hill of beans.
It’s not just Google. Under the cloak of “science,” Big Tech and Big Government are on the cusp of instituting a mental-health social-credit-score system incorporating dubious predictive analytics.
Who defines “mental health” risk factors? There is no consensus on how much mental health predicts violence. And don’t forget: The mental-health profession is filled with partisan zealots who think all Trump voters are dangerous. Camera-hogging psychiatrists and psychologists clog left-wing news shows recklessly and fecklessly, pretending to “diagnose” the president himself through their own unhinged political lenses.
Mental-health data mining in schools is already happening. The Pioneer Institute reported that federal, state, and local governments spent more than $30 billion in 2018 to implement social-emotional-learning monitoring in K–12 public schools. I’ve reported previously on Google apps such as ClassDojo (which collects intimate behavioral data and long-term psychological profiles encompassing family information, personal messages, photographs, and voice notes) and on federally funded TS Gold testing (which monitors “developmental domains including social, emotional, physical, language and cognitive development”). Students are rated and recorded on their ability to do things like “respond to emotional cues,” “interact cooperatively,” and “cooperate and share ideas and materials in socially acceptable ways.”
Who defines “socially acceptable?” Liberal educators who are mindlessly addicting our kids to Silicon Valley technology and brainwashing them to conform or be excluded?
The last thing Washington should be doing is handing over yet another set of keys to Silicon Valley spies with a voracious appetite for our private information — and our children’s precious minds. You want to make children safer? Deplatform Google and the other data-mining predators from public schools now. It’s insanity to let them roam free.
President Donald Trump told a rally last week: "We are all Americans. We all share the same home. We all share the same heart." He cautioned that "the radical Democrats are trying to tear this country apart" with their divisive identity politics.
Warning to parents: Left-wing activists are using these same divisive tactics to target your kids' schools and co-opt their young minds. Across the country, leftists are demanding that public schools teach "ethnic studies." Don't be fooled by the title. Many of these courses demonize America's past, label whites as oppressors and convert students into "social justice organizers."
California Democrats are pushing to make ethnic studies a high school graduation requirement statewide. Their drafted curriculum defines ethnic studies as the "experiences of people of color in the United States" and the "forms of oppression" they've endured.
The California course urges students to become "agents of change" and mandates that all students complete an "engagement/action project." Astoundingly, the course guide suggests only one project to meet this requirement: promoting "voting rights for undocumented immigrant residents" in local elections.
The curriculum tars white students — by virtue of their whiteness — as oppressors. The course outline calls for "the privilege walk," an exercise to teach white students about privileges they take for granted. "Whiteness," defined as "more than a racial identity marker," apparently "separates those that are privileged from those that are not." White kids will have to endure this harassment to graduate.
Meanwhile, the course encourages minorities to think of themselves as oppressed. No mention of success stories like Supreme Court justices Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas. No explanation for why millions around the globe are struggling to get into the U.S., even scaling walls and wading rivers, to make this country their home.
American capitalism is demonized as a system in which "people of color are disproportionately exploited." Never mind that capitalism has lifted billions of people of color out of poverty worldwide.
Educators could point to Hispanic American and African American stars such as billionaire real estate developer Jorge Pérez or former Citigroup CEO and Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons as role models for minority students. Instead, the curriculum is a one-sided Marxist indoctrination to make students hate America. To what end? To brainwash the next generation of voters into becoming leftist Democrats.
California's curriculum, drafted by teachers and university professors, nearly slipped through without public scrutiny — till Jews in the state legislature noticed the curriculum condemned Islamophobia but not anti-Semitism.
Parents and the public, who foot the bill for public schools, need to wake up and demand more control over what's being taught. Don't leave curriculum reform to self-proclaimed professionals. The National Education Association, the largest teachers union, endorses reparations for slavery, Black Lives Matter and other divisive concepts. If parents want their children to learn the basics, without left-wing brainwashing, they need to win seats on local and statewide school boards.
The push for ethnic studies is a tidal wave, from Oregon to Indiana to individual school districts like Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Here in New York City, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza would have us believe that R — for racism — is a more important lesson than the 3 R's, reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic. He's wrong.
Teaching kids they're victims won't help them pass the Regents or succeed in life. Instead, teach them about the many Hispanic Americans and black Americans who have made it to the top.
The current struggle, in New York and California and elsewhere, isn't new. In the 1930s and '40s, activists critical of capitalism pinned their hopes for social transformation on changing the social studies curriculum and, with it, the next generation of voters. The left has been trying ever since.
Today, all Americans — parents and nonparents alike — who share the vision of opportunity, common values and colorblind justice need to recognize what's happening and stop it.
Our future hinges not just on who's elected president but on who's elected to school boards. The leftist push for ethnic studies — more accurately termed "oppression studies" — poses a serious threat to the America we hold dear.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York State.
Democrats joined with immigrants and refugee rights activists at the Capitol last week to introduce a bill that would create a federal bureaucracy for the express purpose of bringing more people into the United States and helping to resettle them.
The New Deal for New Americans Act would “establish a National Office of New Americans in the Executive Office of the White House to promote and support immigrant and refugee integration and inclusion and coordinate efforts of federal, state, and local governments to support social, economic, and civic integration of immigrants and refugees.”
The bill if it becomes law would “ban deportations based on public charge determinations, and increase federally funded immigration services like English classes and workforce training,” Fortune magazine reported.
Further, Democrats and activists want to raise the cap for refugees from the Trump administration current limit of 18,000 annually to 110,000 and freeze immigration application fees — also reversing a Trump administration increase in cost to come into the United States to benefit the U.S. economy and its citizens.
At a press conference to introduce the legislation, Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), one of the sponsors of the bill, did not say how the influx of people who impact Americans in the jobs market.
Meng also said she and other Democrats behind the bill – Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill) – were still waiting from a score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on how much it would cost American taxpayers.
The issue of immigrants who are here illegally or how to stop the flow of illegal immigration into the country was not addressed at the press conference.
“This is a critical bill at a critical time,” Jayapal said. “This is about who is here and how we make sure they get what they truly need.”
“Trump is closing the doors on people who have the right to be here,” Garcia said. “We as a country are better than that.”
“The treatment immigrants currently receive is not representative of our values,” Garcia said.
Eva Millona, director of the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, repeated the popular talking point on the left about the need for more foreign workers.
“This bill is extremely important,” Millona said. “As the native born population ages, immigrant workers will be crucial to our economy.”
“It is quite simple,” Millona said. “America needs immigrant workers.”
But as Breitbart News reported earlier this year foreign workers have now outpaced American workers in terms of job growth for at least half a year, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data reveals:
While native-born Americans did not increase their labor participation rate at all year-to-year, foreign-born workers saw a 1.22 percent increase in their labor participation rate. Likewise, the number of foreign-born workers in the civilian labor force increased more than five times the number of new native-born American workers who are now in the labor force.
California's poverty rate is worse than Alabama & Mississippi, says Census Bureau. The major cause of this huge change is immigration policy which spikes housing costs & shrinks wages -- and delivers huge gains for investors in real-estate & corp. shares. http://bit.ly/2mgvBlW
A report from the Center for Immigration Studies using federal data shows that mass immigration encourages discrimination against American workers.
“You really have to be out of touch with reality to argue that there are no negative effects of immigration on native workers,” said Jason Richwine, a statistician who studied the issue for the Center for Immigration Studies.
Some of the other features of the bill include:
Amend the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to no longer allow deportation of an individual deemed to have become a public charge.
Establish a Federal Initiative on New Americans to coordinate a federal response to address issues that affect the lives of new immigrants and refugees, and communities with growing immigrant and refugee populations.
Create aWorkforce Development Grant Programto ensure that immigrant and refugee adults have equitable access to education and workforce programs that help equip them with occupational skills needed to secure or advance in employment.
Promote civic engagement through automatic voter registration of newly naturalized individuals.
Expand family integration by reducing the age of citizens who are able to petition eligible family members from 21-years-old to 18-years-old.
Conroe ISD trustee Dale Inman defended his critiques of Willis ISD for allowing a drag queen to teach a cosmetology class.
On Oct. 18, a Willis High School cosmetology teacher hosted a drag queen who performs under the name Lynn Adonis-Deveaux to speak in front of the class. Community Impact Newspaper was unable to confirm Adonis-Deveaux’s legal name.
According to a statement from WISD sent to parents, the administration was aware Adonis-Deveaux performed in drag previously, but was understood they would not be in “full drag.”
“School administrators learned at the end of the day that the man was wearing jeans but also wore heels and makeup,” the statement said. “However, the speaker did as asked, which was to talk to students about makeup application. The guest speaker did not discuss sexual orientation, lifestyle or anything else other than makeup application.”
Inman said a parent contacted him after the event and asked him to do something. He said although he is a CISD trustee, he has three daughters that attend WHS and wanted to find out more about the event.
“I put numerous calls into the administrator’s office, which of course they made it abundantly clear they will not talk about it,” Inman said.
Inman said he does not have a problem with Adonis-Deveaux but does not approve of them being allowed in front of children.
“I’ve got a problem when somebody with a false name enters a school and has advertised himself as an adult exotic dancer for men … Nobody would be allowed in a school under those circumstances,” Inman said.
According to several screenshots posted to Facebook, WHS did include the event on its monthly calendar, called “Drag Queen/Makeup Class.” However, Inman said Adonis-Deveaux is not a licensed cosmetologist.
“As a parent, I have a right to know who’s in that school building,” Inman said.
In the days following, Inman made several Facebook posts about the issue, saying he does not want “Harris county alternative lifestyles promoted to children in Montgomery county schools.”
Several other parents took to Facebook to express their anger and concern. In a Facebook group called “Willis ISD Concerned Parents,” several parents criticized the administration for not informing parents and allowing them to opt out of the event.
Inman said since the initial incident, his daughters have been harassed and bullied at school.
“The LGBTQ community is one of the most vile, hate-filled communities I’ve ever come across and I’ve spent time in the Middle East with Hezbollah and radical Muslims,” Inman said. “These folks are vicious.”
In its statement, WISD said it had examined its policy on guest speakers and “have made some adjustments in regard to communication to better serve the Willis ISD Community.”
Inman clarified that he did not want to drag CISD into the debate and that the issue was about parent-administration communication. He said he spoke with Superintendent Curtis Null about crafting a statement clarifying that every CISD student is welcome, no matter their sexual orientation or “gender choices.” However, he said if someone with a job in the sexually oriented business wanted to speak on campus, they would not be allowed.
“I would hope the board would know we are not going to bring or allow anyone in with an extremely controversial background or job profession,” Inman said.
Adonis-Deveaux has since deleted or deactivated her social media accounts.
The next WISD board of trustees meeting is scheduled for Nov. 11 at 5:30 pm at the Cargill Administration Building located at 204 W. Rogers Rd., Willis.
Southern Border Arrests Totaled Nearly 1 Million In Fiscal Year 2019, CBP Chief Says
October 08, 20191:16 PM ET
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said that nearly 1 million “enforcement actions” took place on the southern border in fiscal year 2019. More migrant families reached the border than ever before on record.
However, through the Migrant Protection Protocols program and other policies the Trump administration launched, the number of border arrests fell again in September, marking the fourth month in a row of apprehension declines.
Border apprehensions and illegal migrants in custody markedly dropped in September since May, when the border crisis reached its peak for the fiscal year.
The Customs and Border Protection acting commissioner said Tuesday nearly 1 million “enforcement actions” took place on the southern border in fiscal year 2019.
Mark Morgan revealed the latest border apprehension statistics and what the administration is doing to control the immigration crisis during a White House press briefing.
“CBP’s enforcement actions on our southwest border totaled nearly 1 million in fiscal year 2019. This is a staggering 88% higher than the number of enforcement actions in 2018,” Morgan said Tuesday. “These numbers are numbers that no immigration system in the world is designed to handle, including ours.”
Morgan’s comments came after the close of fiscal year 2019, which ended on Sept. 30.
Not only did the U.S. government experience a demonstrably high number of migrants in the last fiscal year, but it was also faced with a new type of demographic reaching the border than previous years, further complicating the country’s beleaguered immigration system. The arrival of family units in fiscal year 2019 “more than tripled” any other previous year in history, the CBP chief revealed.
“Our Border Patrol facilities were not designed to hold families or children,” Morgan said. “They were designed as police stations. And because of that — because of the new demographic of families and children — those resources became strained, and our limited resources had to be diverted from their law enforcement duties securing the border to address the humanitarian crisis.”
The CBP chief placed blame of the immigration crisis onto the U.S. immigration system, which is filled with “loopholes.” The result, he said, was hundreds of thousands of migrant families who were “told, coached and made to believe” that they would be able enter the U.S. if they reached the border with a child.
However, Morgan noted the recent drop in apprehension numbers and how it was a result of President Donald Trump’s work at home and abroad with neighboring governments.
“This September marked the lowest number of law enforcement actions during fiscal year 2019. The total number of law enforcement actions last month was just over 52,000 — down almost 65% from the peak in May of 144,000. This represents the fourth month in a row of a steady decline in apprehensions,” Morgan said, calling it an “unprecedented” achievement.
Law enforcement actions encompass border arrests and inadmissibles, those who arrive at the border and are sent back.
The administration has not only worked with Mexico to step up its own enforcement capabilities, but it has also secured asylum deals with the three Central American countries that are home to the vast bulk of migrants currently reaching the border: Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Morgan also touted the progress of wall construction on the U.S.-Mexico border, noting that crews have constructed about 71 miles of new barriers and the administration plans to have roughly 450 miles of wall built by the end of 2020.
“Just four short months ago, our daily apprehensions were close to 5,000. And today — I just looked at it on my screen before I left my office — it’s below 1,700,” Morgan said. “We went from over 19,000 people in custody just four short months ago to less than 4,000. We have essentially ended catch and release.”
School lessons teaching vitriolic hatred of America, Christianity, the traditional family, individual liberty, and more are spreading across the country like a deadly cancer. And like cancer, the result will be suffering and death — in particular, death of sanity and civilization, among other victims.
Under the guise of fighting “whiteness,” government schools from California to North Carolina and everywhere in between are subjecting the captive children in their care to so-called “ethnic studies” programs. These ideological and political brainwashing schemes bring to mind communist re-education programs, critics said.
As part of “ethnic studies” curricula, children are given classroom instruction on how “race, class, gender, sexuality, and citizenship status are tools of oppression, power, and privilege,” explained writer John Murawski in a piece for RealClearInvestigations blowing the lid off of the newest Marxist indoctrination programs to hit U.S. schools.
During the lessons, Murawski continued, the children are taught that “colonialism, state violence, racism, intergenerational trauma, heteropatriarchy,” and other real and imagined evils are all linked together by a common thread: “whiteness.” And so, society must be radically transformed along Soviet lines to deal with it.
Of course, all of this is idiotic to the max. But because children today no longer receive even basic training in logic or real history — most in California cannot even read — they have no way of realizing that they are being manipulated and duped. Instead, the children are unwittingly being weaponized to break down America, liberty, the church, the family, and even civilization itself, literally.
Some of the examples of what passes for “ethnic studies” boggle the mind. And they show clearly the agenda to use American children to break down society and its institutions.
For instance, at the Santa Monica School District in California, children are ordered to create and organize a “systematized campaign” for “social justice.” Options including organizing a protest or leafleting. Then the high-school students are supposed to teach the middle-school children about it all.
An environmentalist “charter” school in Los Angeles, meanwhile, forces students to write a “breakup letter” with some “form of oppression.” Options of “oppression” to break up with include “toxic masculinity, heteronormativity, the Eurocentric curriculum, or the Dakota Access Pipeline,” RealClearInvestigations reported.
As part of “ethnic studies,” government schools all across the state are also teaching impressionable young children to write political “manifestos” including lists of “demands.” Next up, perhaps, will be instructions on bomb making and revolutionary guerrilla tactics.
One expert, California Policy Center President Will Swaim, said the scheme basically turns American exceptionalism upside down, painting America as exceptionally evil. “It is remindful of reeducation camps in Vietnam or China,” he said. “It is indoctrination rather than education.”
And interestingly, even leading tax-funded advocates of this subversion openly proclaim their goals. “I oftentimes think of ethnic studies as radical social action,” said Association for Ethnic Studies boss Julia Jordan-Zachery, chair of the “Department of Africana Studies” at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. “It is education and knowledge that’s produced to influence social change.”
With states across the country considering mandatory ethnic studies indoctrination of all children, it is past time for God-fearing, patriotic citizens to recognize that the public-school system is a threat not just to children, but to America and liberty. It is now a national security issue. Civilization and freedom will not survive another generation of this madness.
For the third time in a row since Common Core was fully phased in nationwide, U.S. student test scores on the nation’s broadest and most respected test have dropped, a reversal of an upward trend between 1990 and 2015. Further, the class of 2019, the first to experience all four high school years under Common Core, is the worst-prepared for college in 15 years, according to a new report.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress is a federally mandated test given every other year in reading and mathematics to students in grades four and eight. (Periodically it also tests other subjects and grade levels.) In the latest results, released Wednesday, American students slid yet again on nearly every measure.
Reading was the worst hit, with both fourth and eighth graders losing ground compared to the last year tested, 2017. Eighth graders also slid in math, although fourth graders improved by one point in math overall. Thanks to Neal McCluskey at the Cato Institute, here’s a graph showing the score changes since NAEP was instituted in the 1990s.
“Students in the U.S. made significant progress in math and reading achievement on NAEP from 1990 until 2015, when the first major dip in achievement scores occurred,” reported U.S. News and World Report. Perhaps not coincidentally, 2015 is the year states were required by the Obama administration to have fully phased in Common Core.
Common Core is a set of national instruction and testing mandates implemented starting in 2010 without approval from nearly any legislative body and over waves of bipartisan citizen protests. President Obama, his Education Secretary Arne Duncan, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, and myriad other self-described education reformers promised Common Core would do exactly the opposite of what has happened: improve U.S. student achievement. As Common Core was moving into schools, 69 percent of school principals said they also thought it would improve student achievement. All of these “experts” were wrong, wrong, wrong.
“The results are, frankly, devastating,” said U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement about the 2019 NAEP results. “This country is in a student achievement crisis, and over the past decade it has continued to worsen, especially for our most vulnerable students. Two out of three of our nation’s children aren’t proficient readers. In fact, fourth grade reading declined in 17 states and eighth grade reading declined in 31.”
On the same day the NAEP results were released, the college testing organization ACT released a report showing that the high school class of 2019’s college preparedness in English and math is at seniors’ lowest levels in 15 years. These students are the first to have completed all four high school years under Common Core.
“Readiness levels in English, reading, math, and science have all decreased since 2015, with English and math seeing the largest decline,” the report noted. Student achievement declined on ACT’s measures among U.S. students of all races except for Asian-Americans, whose achievement increased.
ACT was one of the myriad organizations that profited from supporting Common Core despite its lack of success for children and taxpayers. Its employees helped develop Common Core and the organization has received millions in taxpayer dollars to help create Common Core tests.
“ACT is one of the best barometers of student progress, and our college-bound kids are doing worse than they have in the ACT’s history,” said Center for Education Reform CEO Jeanne Allen in a statement.
These recent results are not anomalies, but the latest in a repeated series of achievement declines on various measuring sticks since Common Core was enacted. This is the opposite of what we were told would happen with trillions of taxpayer dollars and an entire generation of children who deserve not to have been guinea pigs in a failed national experiment.
Perhaps the top stated goal of Common Core was to increase American kids’ “college and career readiness.” The phrase is so central to Common Core’s branding that it is part of the mandates’ formal title for its English “anchor standards” and appears 60 times in the English requirements alone. Yet all the evidence since Common Core was shoved into schools, just as critics argued, shows that it has at best done nothing to improve students’ “college and career readiness,” and at worst has damaged it.
While of course many factors go into student achievement, it’s very clear from the available information that U.S. teachers and schools worked hard to do what Common Core demanded and that, regardless, their efforts have not yielded good results. A 2016 survey, for example, found “more than three quarters of teachers (76%) reported having changed at least half of their classroom instruction as a result of [Common Core]; almost one fifth (19%) reported having changed almost all of it.”
An October poll of registered voters across the country found 52 percent think their local public schools are “excellent” or “good,” although 55 percent thought the U.S. public school system as a whole is either just “fair” or “poor.” Things are a lot worse on both fronts than most Americans are willing to realize.
Compared to the rest of the world, even the United States’ top school districts only generate average student achievement, according to the Global Report Card. Common Core was touted as the solution to several decades of lackluster student performance like this that have deprived our economy of trillions in economic growth and would lift millions of Americans out of poverty. That was when U.S. test scores, while mediocre and reflecting huge levels of functional illiteracy, were better than they are now.
It is thus still the case, as it was when the Coleman Report was released 53 years ago, that U.S. public schools do not lift children above the conditions of their home lives. They add nothing to what children already do or do not get from at home, when we know from the track record of the distressingly few excellent schools that this is absolutely possible and therefore should be non-negotiably required. But because the people in charge of U.S. education not only neither lose power nor credibility but actually profit when American kids fail, we can only expect things to get worse.