A Teacher Triumphs Over the Woke Educational Establishment



Photo:

H. Rick Bamman/Zuma Press

At last some good news from U.S. public education, thanks to one tough teacher who refused to accept the poisonous ideology now enforced in so many classrooms. Regular readers of this column will be especially cheered to read the latest dispatch from Ramona Bessinger via the Legal Insurrection website:

On July 13, 2021, I blew the whistle at Legal Insurrection on how a new Critical Race curriculum in the Providence, Rhode Island, middle school where I taught was creating racial hostility, turning students and staff against me because I was white, and turning students against their country.

My students, almost all of whom were minority, started calling me “America” because I was white — You are America, they would say, we are not. How could I keep silent seeing what the Critical Race curriculum was doing to the students and our society?

… What followed was a year of retaliation, harassment, intimidation, and involuntary transfer to another school where there was no teaching position for me. I was forced to spend a year alone in a windowless empty school basement resource room, as students and staff passed by and gawked at me like I was some strange caged zoo animal, audibly mumbling how I was that ‘racist’ teacher they had been warned about.

I fought the district legally with the help of James Peterson at Judicial Watch, and I am emerging from the basement victorious, with a full-time regular classroom assignment. I am unbowed, and more committed to fighting the CRT scourge than ever before.

Back on July 14, 2021, this column welcomed the news of Ms. Bessinger’s brave and lonely battle against the destructive ideology embraced by the educational establishment and noted:

The conceit at the heart of the campaign to embed critical race theory in American education is that U.S. schools have been teaching a whitewashed version of our nation’s history, a nationalistic rendering that ignores the country’s flaws. But of course anyone educated in the U.S. knows that left-leaning academics who are highly skeptical of American tradition have been dominating the field for generations. The current battle is really about whether largely factual critiques of America written by liberals will now be replaced by anti-American screeds written by propagandists who aren’t particularly concerned with accuracy.

This column has been hoping that the mostly liberal teachers who stand at the front of America’s classrooms will be roused to declare—loudly— that they are not Marxists or racialists and do not endorse the fact-challenged radicalism now being promoted by their union leadership. Today brings some cause for optimism…

Ms. Bessinger’s victory brings even more—the hope that more teachers will go from quiet anguish to open defiance of a false and destructive rendering of U.S. history.

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Don’t Mess with Texas
Martin Braun, Amanda Albright and Jennifer Surane report for Bloomberg:

Citigroup Inc.’s

municipal-bond business, for decades a powerhouse in the $4 trillion market for US state and city debt, has seen a wave of high-profile departures as the bank revamps parts of the group’s trading and banking units.

The bank in recent months shuttered its muni proprietary trading unit — which used the firm’s own cash to trade and invest — as part of a push to focus on providing more of its balance sheet to larger, institutional clients, according to people familiar with the matter.

Citi

group offered buyouts to more than a dozen senior traders, bankers and salespeople, spurring further departures across the group as rivals moved quickly to poach talent…

The muni business faced a blow late last year after Republican politicians in Texas sought to punish Citigroup for recent changes to its policies for lending to gun retailers. After a months-long pause, the bank resumed underwriting in the state — the second-biggest market for muni deals — in November. Still, it’s seen an exodus of bankers based there.

Shall we call this a tale of blue Citi?

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Speaking of Failures in Public Education
Remember the teachers union officials who demanded opportunity-destroying school closures until massive sums were appropriated to upgrade ventilation systems? Even those tempted to believe that in-person education could not safely occur in the Covid era must now recognize how unrealistic it was to think that government officials would quickly pull off a mass retrofit of U.S. school buildings. Ben Chapman reports for the Journal:

A federal study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found nearly two-thirds of schools aren’t planning to replace or upgrade their heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. Instead, about 70% of schools in the CDC survey reported low-cost steps to increase student safety, including relocating activities outdoors, inspecting and validating existing HVAC systems, and opening doors and windows.

About a third of schools were installing high-efficiency particulate air-filtration systems in high-risk areas, according to the study released in June. Some schools have cited supply-chain issues, tight deadlines or bureaucratic challenges as reasons for not upgrading.

The news here is doubly frustrating. Parents would never have tolerated school closures if politicians had accurately described how long it would take to change air-filtration systems. The bureaucratic pace of work also suggests that President Biden’s signature law may continue to feed inflation as state and local governments deploy taxpayer dollars to demand goods and services. Mr. Chapman reports:

Schools have been given access to billions of dollars in federal Covid-19 relief funding for building upgrades under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that may be used to pay for ventilation fixes.

U.S. districts as of May had spent about 7% of $122 billion invested in the K-12 education system as part of the American Rescue Plan, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Education.

Since the Covid panic is over and the money is being spent so slowly, perhaps there’s now time to consider whether some of it should not be spent at all.

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James Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival.”

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