Senate GOP’s “School Safety” Bill Would Imperil Student Privacy, Expand Police State

In the midst of the impeachment charade, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and a number of his GOP colleagues introduced a bill to address mass shootings. However, privacy groups, particularly those who advocate for student privacy, question the larger effect of the bill. Is it really about mass shootings? Or is it just building a bigger, more invasive police state?    Cornyn’s bill, the RESPONSE Act, is co-sponsored by Republican Sens. McSally (Ariz.), Ernst (Iowa), Tillis (N.C.), Capito (W. Va.), and Scott (S.C.). It has three major components: addressing unlicensed gun dealers and enhanced criminal penalties, developing crisis intervention and mental health services to include

How “Red Flag Laws” Could Open the Door to State Surveillance

Several weeks ago, we wrote about the very grave bipartisan concerns over “red flag laws” that have sadly been already passed in 17 states. These laws have been described as setting up a process that allows family members or law enforcement to ask a judge for an order that allows temporary confiscation of firearms if a person is deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. When even a state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and 2nd amendment rights organizations like Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association (NRA) are putting out similar talking

Serious Concerns Emerge in Debate over “Red Flag Laws”

Red flag laws or “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” have become an intensive topic of discussion and debate after the 2018 Parkland, Fla., shooting as well as the more recent shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso Texas. These laws have been described as setting up a process that allows family members or law enforcement to ask a judge for an order that allows temporary confiscation of firearms if a person is deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. According to the website “Guns & America” — a collaborative effort of ten different public media outlets — there are

2020 Democrats Outline Big-Government Education Plans at NEA Forum

On July 5th, ten of the current twenty major Democratic presidential candidates gathered in Houston for the 2019 annual convention of the National Education Association (NEA) to discuss their education platforms before members of the nation’s largest teachers’ union. Present at this forum were: former Vice President Joe Biden, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, California Senator Kamala Harris, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. The answers to the questions and

States Rush to Adopt “Social Emotional Learning” Standards, Despite Red Flags

Despite all evidence and even advice from proponents to be careful in the implementation, supporters of social emotional learning (SEL) standards, assessments, and data collection are following the same playbook as those who imposed Common Core standards with little discussion or buy-in from parents and teachers. As recently discussed, the full Ohio State Board of Education (OSBOE) is preparing to adopt statewide social emotional learning (SEL) standards at its meeting tomorrow after a subcommittee adopted them in May. Arkansas is also imposing new SEL standards with minimal discussion between the SBOE and the public. Thanks to Ohio SBOE members like

New Study Shows Dangers and Ineffectiveness of “Social-Emotional Learning”

The Pioneer Institute, a national leader in the fight against Common Core and other horrible corporatist and global education reform ideas, today released a new study titled “Social-Emotional Learning: K–12 Education as New Age Nanny State.” The study — which I was honored to co-author with attorney and researcher Jane Robbins and Dr. Kevin Ryan, a professor emeritus of Boston University, who wrote the foreword — came to many important conclusions. Here are some of them highlighted in Pioneer’s press release and video:  Proponents of SEL call for focusing less on academic content and knowledge in schools, and more

Multiple States Seek to Expand Invasive Mental Health Screening in Schools

In the wake of multiple horrific school shootings — particularly the Parkland, Fla., massacre where 17 people were murdered by a student long-known to have mental issues — states all over the nation have been moving to expand mental health screening, treatment, and data collection. The two most prominent states are Florida and Texas, but Georgia and other states are also joining this dangerous craze. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Act (extensively discussed in this space) expanded mental screening of students by unqualified, minimally trained teachers and other school personnel despite admissions by psychiatric physicians trained for years

4 Important Takeaways from the Federal School Safety Report

The Federal Commission on School Safety released their final report this past week. Given its sweeping scope, the report naturally contained many recommendations that were seen as controversial, regardless of one’s perspective on a particular issue. Here are four key takeaways regarding the issues of academic excellence, parental rights, privacy, and freedom of conscience. (The formal comments I submitted on these issues are available here.) 1.) The commission correctly recommended rescinding the Obama-era school discipline policy. In fact, this was such an important issue that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who chaired the commission, officially rescinded the policy just three

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