Biden Executive Orders Turn Solutions into Problems
Despite criticizing President Trump for his use of executive orders, the new president is far out-pacing him with his own pen. One of Biden’s first executive orders was 13985, “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities.” Section 1 of this order makes the sweeping claim: “[E]ntrenched disparities in our laws and public policies, and in our public and private institutions, have often denied equal opportunity to individuals and communities.” It goes on to state that “a historic movement for justice has highlighted the unbearable human costs of systemic racism.”
The Biden Administration evidently plans to perpetuate destructive policies, including the Critical Race Theory promoted in schools, that serve to increase racial tensions and encourage division. The Trump Administration sought to overturn such policies in September 2020 with Executive Order 13950, “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.” Biden’s order revokes this commonsense directive, which was simply a call for all Federal agencies, contractors, and the U.S. military to “not promote race or sex stereotyping or scapegoating…. And to not allow grant funds to be used for these purposes.”
The Trump order’s intent was to discourage the “different vision of America” being pushed by many individuals and organizations, and which “is grounded in hierarchies based on collective social and political identities rather than in the inherent and equal dignity of every person as an individual.” This ideology, the order stated, “is rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors; and that racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans.” It cited a number of examples of this infliction in the Federal bureaucracy, such as a seminar at the Department of the Treasury which argues that “virtually all White people, regardless of how ‘woke’ they are, contribute to racism.” The seminar instructs “small group leaders to encourage employees to avoid ‘narratives’ such as that Americans ‘should be more color-blind’ or ‘let people’s skills and personalities be what differentiates them.’” Training materials from Federal entities including the Argonne National Laboratories, contend that racism “is interwoven into every fabric of America” and describe statements like “color blindness” and the “meritocracy” as “actions of bias.” Sandia National Laboratories directs materials toward non-minority males claiming that “an emphasis on ‘rationality over emotionality’ is a characteristic of ‘white male[s],’ and asks trainees to ‘acknowledge’ their ‘privilege’ to each other.”
Biden Executive Order Derails the 1776 Commission
The Biden Administration’s Executive Order 13985 also revokes President Trump’s establishment of the President’s Advisory 1776 Commission within the U.S. Department of Education. The commission’s purpose was “to better enable a rising generation to understand the history and principles of the founding of the United States in 1776….” It was to have been composed of about 20 members appointed by the president who would serve not more than two years and who could be removed at any time for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance.” Members could come from all walks of life but were required to have subject-matter expertise or relevant experience.
The 1776 Commission’s goal was to promote the truths of America’s founding in the nation’s schools; e.g.: “The American founding envisioned a political order in harmony with the design of ‘the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,’ seeing the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as embodied in and sanctioned by natural law and its traditions.
“The formation of a republic around these principles marked a clear departure from previous forms of government,” the commission stated, “securing rights through a form of government that derives its legitimate power from the consent of the governed.”
With the derailing of this commission, the “poor scholarship” that vilifies our Founding Fathers and casts a pall over America’s entire past is likely to assume full rein, becoming even more entrenched in our nation’s public schools, colleges and universities.
The 1776 Commission Report
The President’s Advisory 1776 Commission issued a 45-page report before it was canceled. The document has been pulled from the official White House.gov website but is in circulation and may be accessed at The President’s Advisory 1776 Commission Final Report. The report is packed with historical facts about the framers of our Constitution and the challenges our country has faced since its founding. It references the documents that form the bedrock of our republic, and includes information and quotes from key historical figures. Appendix I provides the full text of the Declaration of Independence.
The report exposes the contrast between our constitutional form of government and the philosophies of Communism and Fascism, which it aptly labels “totalitarian movements” that, while at odds with each other, are alike in “their utter disdain for natural rights and free peoples.”
The report calls out the importance of teaching students basic skills, which Phyllis Schlafly Eagles Founder Phyllis Schlafly emphasized throughout her exemplary life. The report further notes: “State and local governments—not the federal government—are responsible for adopting curricula that teach children the principles that unite, inspire, and ennoble all Americans. This includes lessons on the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitutional Convention. Educators should teach an accurate history of how the permanent principles of America’s founding have been challenged and preserved since 1776. By studying America’s true heritage, students learn to embrace and preserve the triumphs of their forefathers while identifying and avoiding their mistakes.”
The report encourages school districts to “reject any curriculum that promotes one-sided partisan opinions, activist propaganda, or factional ideologies that demean America’s heritage, dishonor our heroes, or deny our principles.”
Parents of school children of any age and in any academic setting should avail themselves of this valuable resource.
Biden Executive Order on Reopening Schools
On January 21, the Biden White House issued an executive order with the lengthy title “Executive Order on Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers.” It’s short – just over three pages – and reads as though it could have been written by the teachers unions, which continue to drag their feet about returning to the classroom. Section 1 alleges that, while “every student in America deserves a high-quality education in a safe environment,” this was “already out of reach for too many” and “has been further threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.” As may be expected, more Federal Government intrusion and control is the Biden Administration’s remedy for this situation.
Biden’s order fails to acknowledge the many studies showing that children can safely return to the classroom with appropriate precautions, as some public school students and most private school students have been doing for months. Instead, it calls for “evidence-based guidance to assist States and elementary and secondary schools in deciding whether and how to reopen, and how to remain open, for in-person learning; and in safely conducting in-person learning, including by implementing mitigation measures such as cleaning, masking, proper ventilation, and testing.”
The order calls for the Federal government to identify strategies “to address the impact of COVID-19 on educational outcomes, especially along racial and socioeconomic lines, and shall share those strategies with State, local, Tribal, and territorial officials. In developing these strategies, the Secretaries shall, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, consult with such officials, as well as with education experts; educators; unions; civil rights advocates; Tribal education experts; public health experts; child development experts; early educators, including child care providers; Head Start staff; school technology practitioners; foundations; families; students; community advocates; and others.” One wonders how, with all this dividing, discerning, and consulting, children will ever return to school.
Biden’s order further calls on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) “to increase connectivity options for students lacking reliable home broadband, so that they can continue to learn if their schools are operating remotely,” which as of this writing, appears likely for public school students in large, Democrat-controlled districts.
Biden Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity; Trump Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping; Trump Executive Order Establishing the 1776 Commission; The-Presidents-Advisory- 1776-Commission-Final-Report on Phyllis Schlafly.com; Biden Executive Order on Reopening Schools.
Parents Create Successful Parent Cooperative School
By Linda Rusenovich
For parents considering options for their child’s first educational experience outside the home, the Elgin Parent Cooperative School (EPCS) model offers unique advantages. It provides children with learning experiences that go beyond what each parent can provide at home, and gives parents skills and confidence as teachers.
Our co-op school in Elgin, Illinois employs a Director/Teacher who is certified in early childhood education. She develops curriculum and guides parent volunteers in providing a positive environment for creative play and learning. Parents staff the school on a rotating schedule; newer parents work with more seasoned members, some of whom have years of parenting experience. Personally, I picked up valuable parenting tips by watching other parents and the teacher interact with children in the “ordered chaos” of the school day.
All co-op parents also participate in monthly “adults-only” evening staff meetings. Parents read and discuss the classic parenting book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, which teaches them how to interact with the children in a positive and effective way. The director shares insights on each child’s strengths and challenges. Other parent staffers may offer input based on their own interactions with the child. When problems occur among the children, parents address them together and work out a plan.
The Elgin Parent Co-op School website, https://elginpreschool.com/ explains: This is a school for parents who believe in their role as teachers and wish to stay involved in their children’s lives as they begin their education…. Having parents give more of their time and talents as staff members allows EPCS to keep preschool tuition rates low.
I learned from a recent board member that, sadly, EPCS has run into problems with the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services and has been unable to reopen after pausing for COVID-19. It seems that DCFS requires a higher certification for the director than EPCS wants, needs, or can afford. How ironic that this grassroots, community-based organization that costs taxpayers nothing and has served hundreds of families since 1970 is being blocked from reopening by the state of Illinois’ bureaucracy. (Some observers wonder if the pandemic presented DCFS with a convenient excuse to close a successful school that operates outside the reach of government.—Ed.)
Groups wishing to start a cooperative preschool can find information online. Think through and codify your school’s philosophy, expectations, bylaws, staff training, and continuing education. Check state regulations about teacher qualifications, background checks, food rules and sanitation. This level of commitment will seem worthwhile as you find yourself building a stronger and happier family, all while having fun with your child.
Editor’s Note: Linda Rusenovich is a mom and free-lance writer. She and her husband, Tony, were active members of the Elgin Parent Co-op School with their young family.
Education News Briefs
New website tracks the prevalence of critical race theory on today’s college campuses.
Cornell University Law Professor William Jacobson set up CriticalRace.org as a “free resource for parents and
students concerned about the negative impact Critical Race Training has on education.” The website features an interactive map of the U.S., where visitors can click on their state and read about the “anti-racism” programs that go beyond education and spread propaganda at the more than 200 colleges and universities in Jacobson’s database. Parents and students can submit information for the site, and Jacobson expects to expand the number of schools his group monitors to 500 in the near future. Ultimately, he wants to add primary and secondary schools as well, although he believes the “source of the problem” is higher education, “where the ideological foundations were developed and the training of activists takes place.” The website describes Critical Race Theory as “an outgrowth of the European Marxist school of critical theory, an academic movement which seeks to link racism, race, and power.” Jacobson explains how advocates “use this focus on race to emphasize the importance of identity politics.” Along with a variety of related news articles and information, CriticalRace.orgdemonstrates how Critical Race Training is used in the classroom, and lists the ways colleges and universities have bowed to campus activist groups and outside agitators to abandon or change curriculum. As may be expected, Jacobson has raised the ire of the left. According to the Daily Wire, “the Black Law Student Association, Cornell alumni, and law school faculty” want the university to “take immediate action to fire him.” His website is definitely worth a visit for anyone concerned about the proliferation of Marxist influence in our nation’s schools. DailyWire.com, 2-3-21;
Public school students who fail to show up for online classes may get credit anyway.
The chaotic year of
unabated for public education in 2021, with most students still outside the classroom all or most of the time. For many parents the value of public school curriculum is up for debate, but giving academic credit to students who have disappeared from both online and in-class instruction is a separate issue. An investigative news report by KMOV-TV, a local CBS affiliate in St. Louis, Missouri, reveals that students who have not logged in for remote learning at all during the 2020-21 school year may yet receive half credit. School districts in the St. Louis area have operated on a hybrid model of both in-class and remote learning, with students in and near the city’s core likely to have been shut out of their classrooms altogether. The teachers who spoke with KMOV investigators asked to remain anonymous. Several described the use of “a virtual performance grading scale” in which a D becomes a C, and a C becomes a B, etc. One middle school teacher said: “We were encouraged heavily to try and boost all Fs and Ds to Cs.” A high school teacher admitted: “I have several students who have been on my roster since the beginning of school in August who I still haven’t seen [online].” Another said: “We had a staff meeting a couple of weeks ago and was [sic] basically told hey you should give these kids 50 percent even if they didn’t turn the work in.” The superintendent of a district just outside the St. Louis metro area reported that although in-person learning wasn’t suspended during the pandemic, a virtual option was available, and that the district had “identified students that were chronically absent online.” Parents need to question whether compensating for the lack of learning with fake or inflated grades is fair to children who have already been victimized by the pandemic, and then investigate alternatives to the fiasco that is the public school system currently on display in America. KMOV- TV News Report-2-9-21
Countdown to Socialism
Devin Nunez, Encounter Books, 2020
Congressman Devin Nunez (R-CA) has written a compact and sobering exposé of how socialism is being implemented in America. This little book is one of a new series of short, concise works published by Encounter Books, called Encounter Broadsides, which are modeled after eighteenth century pamphlets the publisher says “electrified the colonies and helped to forge American democracy as we know it.” Encounter’s aim in introducing Broadsides “is to make the case for ordered liberty and democratic capitalism at a time when they are under siege from a resurgence of collectivist sentiment.”
Nunez describes Countdown as “a roadmap to ready us for what lies ahead.” He details the incredibly destructive events of the past four years to demonstrate how the mainstream media and social media worked in
tandem with Democrats and the political Left to mount a relentless negative onslaught against the Trump Presidency. He shows how these forces combined to promote and prolong “the Russia collusion conspiracy theory, which has done enormous damage to American society, our governing institutions, and to so many individuals.” He posits that the Left “has wholly rejected the fundamental principles that bound Americans together and allowed us to work out our differences democratically and peacefully. They now reject free speech, a fair voting system, private property, and the rule of law.” He likens the tearing down of our historical statues and monuments, the attacks on the police, and rioting in the streets of major cities to revolutionary destructiveness typical of socialist movements, pointing out: “In Mao’s Cultural Revolution, radicals sought to eliminate the four ‘olds’: old customs, culture, habits and ideas. Obviously, if you successfully eliminate those, there’s nothing left of the previous way of life.”
Key to how the left has fostered socialism is what Nunez terms the “disinformation funnel.” He uses the concept to demonstrate how news is manufactured at the top and eventually disseminated to ordinary Americans through the mainstream and social media. He makes the case that, despite the proliferation of alternative media, 55 percent of Americans never read or hear any viewpoint that contradicts the socialist narrative. He writes that “most Americans are casual news consumers” who want to stay informed but lead busy lives. “Most of them are perfectly reasonable people who will consider a wide range of views, but they’re only being exposed to one viewpoint.”
The disinformation campaign begins at the top with graduates of Ivy League and other elite universities, who have been fed a steady diet of propaganda from their progressive and left-leaning professors, taking positions as journalists, editors, producers, etc. at the nation’s top media outlets. Conservative or independent stories and viewpoints are routinely filtered out.
Nunez exposes the role of social media in the disinformation funnel, calling it “the central component of the fake news chain.” He relates how, following Hilary Clinton’s surprise loss to Donald Trump in 2016, Democrats, led by Barack Obama, “decided they needed to own the entire infrastructure of social media. It wasn’t enough that the press and Big Tech companies were uniformly left-wing. The Democrats needed to ensure the whole industry was locked down.” Nunez describes how they pressured Mark Zuckerberg into compliance after information got out on Facebook during the 2016 campaign that “was not harmful to Trump and not helpful to Clinton.” He notes that “Obama was angry because Facebook had failed to play its nakedly partisan role in the information ecosystem that had served the Democrats so faithfully during his time in office – what former Obama advisor Ben Rhodes called the ‘echo chamber.’”
Nunez writes: “Because of the media’s constant excusing, downplaying and skewing of stories, Democrats routinely get away with actions and statements that would instantly end any Republican’s career.” He cites as examples some of the outrageous Democrat antics and comments during the COVID-19 pandemic and the BLM and Antifa riots. “Without an unbiased media to air all sides of an issue,” he says, “it’s easy to shift a population toward socialism.”
Perhaps the most disturbing chapter in this fast-paced, factual little book is the last one, titled “Information Desert,” in which Nunez uses his home state of California to illustrate the power of the “disinformation funnel to affect public perception and government policy.” The San Joaquin Valley is Nunez’s home. It’s a natural desert that became the literal breadbasket for America and many other countries through construction of the most sophisticated and successful irrigation system in the world. Despite the great bounty of food and jobs the region produced, radical environmentalists worked for decades to drive the farmers out and restore the land to its natural desert condition. “This is characteristic,” Nunez writes, “of the socialists’ environmental extremism, in which the overall goal is to impose population controls.”
The San Joaquin Valley’s irrigation system depends on the annual snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Water is stored and distributed not only for crops but for use by most of the state’s 40 million residents. In the 1990s, environmental groups filed a succession of lawsuits on behalf of a supposedly threatened baitfish called the Delta Smelt, with the goal of forcing the state to divert “billions of gallons of water away from farmers and families and dump it into the Pacific Ocean.” Over the years, the water crisis has deepened, with environmentalists opposing any enhancements to the water storage system and supporting restrictions on the pumping of groundwater. “As a result,” Nunez writes, the valley “is ensnared in a years-long water crisis” with an area of farmland larger than the State of Rhode Island forced into idleness and soon to be abandoned if the crisis continues.
As Nunez explains, the real problem is not only that Democrats who control California are beholden to the radical environmental lobby and therefore block any Republican attempts to alleviate the crisis, but that so few Californians outside the valley understand the controversy or know about what is really happening. Most citizens are not aware that such huge quantities of priceless water is being dumped into the ocean where it benefits no one, while restrictions on water usage are becoming more commonplace throughout the state. Nunez writes: “The media often ascribes the overall problem to drought or global warming, neither of which are true…. The problem is that the government is preventing us from using the system to full capacity, and it’s politically impossible to get new storage projects approved.
“The media also darkly warns of various environmental catastrophes if more water is diverted back to human use.” But what they fail to mention, he notes, is that if the 80 percent of the Sierra Nevada snowpack currently being diverted into the Pacific Ocean were reduced to just 75 percent, “there would be plenty of water for everyone – farmers, cities, and the environment.”
Nunez describes how he has worked to get the truth out, but admits “it’s tough for one person to reach millions of citizens who are bombarded, day in and day out, with disinformation.” He notes that people often believe lies from the media “because they just don’t have any other information to challenge the propaganda.” He advises readers to spread his information far and wide and, whenever possible, to use alternatives to the main social media networks. He reminds us of the group of “investigative reporters outside the mainstream media who got the truth out about the Russia collusion operation when the rest of the press was furiously peddling the hoax. There weren’t many of these contrarian reporters, but they reached enough people to have a major political effect.”
Kudos to Congressman Nunez for his timely and eye-opening work, and to Encounter Books for creating its innovative and eminently readable Broadsides series. May these little books be as effective as the eighteenth century pamphlets upon which they are modeled, and which were read aloud in taverns, churches, and town squares across the colonies to make the case for American freedom and independence.
MALLARD FILLMORE / by Bruce Tinsley