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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Matt Vespa: What's With Kamala Harris' Wife-Beater Bail Out Fund

                                       Kamala Harris   [Source: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster]

Uh, So What's With This Wife Beater Bail Out Fund Kamala Harris Promoted For Months

Matt Vespa, Townhall, September 23, 2020

Well, I don’t know how much of an impact this is going to have, but it appears Kamala Harris might have a wife beater problem. The Daily Caller News Foundation sifted through some documents to find that the California liberal who was fond of locking up any person for smoking pot as a prosecutor, also peddled a bail fund that helped set free serial domestic abusers. Oh, and the latter didn’t happen like 10 years ago. It was last June. The party of women has Joe Biden’s running mate peddling a fund that’s helping wife beaters be set free. Is that a good look? No. Hell no. And she’s still promoting it (via DCNF):

A bail fund promoted by Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris helped bail out of jail six men accused of domestic violence between June and August, court documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation show.

Two of the men face felony charges for allegedly strangling women in their own homes, and another stands accused of beating his girlfriend upwards of six times with a closed fist, records show. All but one of the individuals had been convicted of prior domestic violence-related charges when the Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF) helped bail them out of jail, according to court records.

Harris, a California senator, encouraged her supporters to donate to the MFF in June. The fundraising link she posted to Twitter sports her branding and was still accepting donations as of Tuesday.

Harris told her followers that contributions to the fund would “help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota” against the police-custody death of George Floyd.


The DCNF previously reported that in the months since Harris promoted the MFF, the fund has helped post bail for people accused of violent crimes, including Timothy Wayne Columbus, who faces up to 30 years in prison for allegedly sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl, according to court records.

Donavan Dexter Boone, 31, was arrested May 2 after he allegedly broke into his son’s mother’s apartment and proceeded to strangle her in front of her minor children, according to a statement of probable cause.

DCNF noted more profiles in their piece while adding that only six percent of Minnesota Freedom Fund’s contributions during the leftist rioting went to bailing out these thugs. Are we shocked? No. Democratic politics is fraught with hypocrisy and double standards. Hey, during these riots, all sorts of thugs were arrested and then released back onto the streets. Why not wife beaters? It’s in keeping with the Left’s abject embrace of lawlessness because Trump is president. It’s also the reason why Independent and soft Trump voters are coming back into the camp as Election Day nears. No one wants this nonsense. And all normal people see is Democrats endorsing it and advocating for it. 

Sadly, we'll see if this catches on due to the Supreme Court fight brewing on the Hill in the wake of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death. It should creep its way into the VP debate, however. We'll see. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Bethany Mandel: Say No To Remote Learning


My interest in posting on this blog is to seek the most diverse array of opinions possible, on current issues.

Certainly the pre-k to 12th grade education journey is a current issue, a minefield.

Parents have strong opinions, as they should. My vote goes to all parents being open to their children about their options, and then supporting them while they proceed. Also, all parents should make time to speak with the teacher at the school often enough to get a clear picture about how the child is doing.

Communication is key.

Betsy Combier
Editor, ADVOCATZ Blog

‘Remote learning’ is a disaster, and terrible for children
by Bethany Mandel, NY POST, September 16, 2020

At every pediatrician appointment for the last several years, I’ve been asked about how much “screen time” my kids are getting. I’m reminded by the doctor that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children younger than two avoid digital media other than video chatting. And for children ages 2 to 5, the limit is supposed to be one hour of high-quality children’s programming per day.

It wasn’t just pediatricians sounding the alarm on the dangers of screen time. Every child expert for the last decade has warned about the dangers of too much: in young kids its impact on brain development, fine and gross motor skills; and for everyone its linkage to obesity and short attention spans. A growing kids podcast industry has sprouted trying to offer parents screen-free alternatives, and one of the most popular topics of conversation in parenting groups is weaning kids off of screens.

Those days of warning about screen time are gone.

Over the summer, the AAP released its recommendations for the coming school year and unequivocally pushed for “[the] goal of having students physically present in school.” And yet, despite their lengthy recommendations on the importance of reopening schools and details regarding how to do so safely, there wasn’t a single mention of how detrimental all-day online learning would be for children, especially those in elementary school.

The importance of in-person learning, yes. The detriments of distancing learning, no.

In countless homeschooling Facebook groups I’m a member of, we see new arrivals asking for guidance on where to begin homeschooling. These exasperated parents explain they are pulling the plug on distance learning because their kids simply can’t handle it. Friends post pictures of their children curled in a ball facing away from the desk after several hours, others describe screaming, sobbing and outbursts after children as young as five are left feeling fried after being expected to stay engaged six hours a day online.

What benefit is there to keeping kids tied to these screens all day, every day? How much learning is even happening? My friend Mary explained that she chose homeschool instead of distance learning this year because she didn’t want to be a “Zoom butler.”

Another friend described all of the “impossible” technical expectations of her daughter’s teachers for students who have never used PowerPoint or even manipulated a mouse, and explained, “This requires full caregiver engagement.”

Rory Cooper, a father in Virginia tweeted this week, “I just got a brisk two-line email from my kid’s Kindergarten teacher informing us that our 5 [year old] isn’t participating in ‘virtual class’ and I’m fuming. He didn’t draw a monster. This is day 6. Note: they asked parents to not participate and let kids be independent. Nevertheless we are *very* much involved. BUT HE’S 5.”

Responding to a viral TikTok video showing a teacher spend five minutes trying to show a student how to unmute his mic, Noah Rothman, a father in New Jersey tweeted “On the other end [of the screen] are around 20+ children who are being told to click the chat box, fill out the form, submit the form, and click the mute button when done to tell the teacher they’re all set, but who cannot read yet so needs you to do it all for them.”

For older kids it’s also exhausting, but as teenagers do, they find a way around being glued to Zoom all day. The father of one teen told me most of the class time is spent trying to make sure everyone is paying attention. Another caretaker for kids distance learning told me about how students in local classes have figured out how to take a screenshot of themselves looking engaged and set that as their photo, set their computers to be muted, and then go watch television in another room.

Naomi Shafer Riley, resident fellow at AEI and the author of Be the Parent Please, a book with tough love for parents struggling with how to handle screen time told me, “Watching a young child on a screen for several hours at a time is like witnessing the life being sapped out of them. I don’t mean to exaggerate but we know that excessive screen time is correlated with higher rates of obesity, shorter attention spans, and a decreased ability to read emotional cues from other people.”

Meghan Cox Gurdon, the author of a landmark book, “The Enchanted Hour,” on the power of reading out loud in our distracted world told me, “What kids are getting from Zoom sessions tends to be so thin, so stretched from connection and feeling. It’s not a knock against teachers, it’s the medium, it’s just not good enough, not human enough.”

Gurdon recommends parents spend an hour a day reading to their children instead. She explains, “The brilliant thing with books — with poetry and nonfiction and storybooks and goofy picture books and classic novels and books at every level — is that you have curated language that is much broader than anything a teacher will say over Zoom or that you and your children may say to each other in the course of daily life.”

The answer to fixing education this year isn’t just reading out loud, but it is surprising how much even an older child can gain from the practice.

What’s clear is that distance-learning isn’t just a waste of time, it is actually doing harm to children. And worst of all, it is those we have entrusted with their safety that are putting it in jeopardy.

Twitter: @bethanyshondark

Sunday, September 6, 2020

NY State School Districts' Teachers Want Remote Classes Only; Buffalo Teachers File For Injunction Against In-Classroom Work

Superintendent Scott Martzloff announces the delay of classes for grades 5-12 in
western New York's Williamsville Central School District in a video message.

Western New York school district delays classes after wave of teacher resignations and leaves of absence

(CNN)A school district outside Buffalo, New York, has delayed the start of online-only learning programs for grades 5-12 because of mass staff resignations and leaves of absence, the superintendent announced on Friday.
In a letter to families, Williamsville Central School District Superintendent Scott Martzloff said 90 staff members have taken a leave of absence due to Covid-19 and 111 staff members resigned.
Additionally, 2,361 students opted into online-only learning, including 1,375 middle and high school students, creating more than 80 virtual teacher vacancies, the letter reads.
Due to the reduction in staffing, school will be delayed until further notice for all students grades 5 through 12 in the online-only learning model, Martzloff said.
    Once adequate staffing arrangements are made, the district will notify families of a new start date, Martzloff said in a video posted online.
    Students in the hybrid instructional model or K-4 online-learning only will begin classes on September 8 as originally scheduled, according to the letter.
    Students are not allowed to switch instructional models until after October 1, when they will be allowed to switch once, Martzloff said.
    The school board announced in a letter Saturday that they were unaware of the change for remote learners, and were told on September 2 that was the school was ready to start school on September 8. The board will hold a special online meeting Sunday to discuss the matter further.
    "We sincerely apologize to the families that are impacted by this last-minute decision and we will work with the District to ensure students in grades 5-12 who are in the remote online learning model can start their school year as soon as possible," the letter said.
      The school district's website says it is the largest suburban school district in western New York with a projected 9,919 students enrolled in the 2020-21 school year.
      CNN has reached out to the New York State Department of Education for comment.
      Buffalo Teachers Federation President Philip Rumore wants a judge to issue an injunction stopping
      the district from forcing teachers to be in the classroom even as students learn from home.
      Jay Rey Updated 

      Buffalo Public Schools and its teachers union are headed to court – again – this time over whether the 3,600 Buffalo teachers need to report to school while the students are learning from home.
      The two sides, no strangers to settling their conflicts in the court room, confirmed a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Thursday when they will meet virtually with State Supreme Court Justice Frank A. Sedita III.
      The BTF is hoping the judge will issue a temporary restraining order. That would prevent the district from forcing teachers to work from their classrooms two days a week, during this period of remote instruction, until a full hearing can be conducted on the health and safety concerns being raised by the teachers union.
      At that full hearing, the union would seek a more permanent injunction until the matter could be resolved during the arbitration process, explained BTF President Philip Rumore.
      But arbitration could take months, which would be “disastrous” for the school district and its ability to eventually reopen in-person amid the Covid-19 pandemic when that time comes, said Nathaniel Kuzma, general counsel for the school district.
      “Even in an expedited fashion it will take months,” Kuzma said, “and any hopes to returning students to the school building at all will be significantly diminished.”
      Kuzma on Wednesday pointed the finger squarely at Rumore, the long-time union president. Fighting with the district continues to erode the trust in the city’s education system and drive families away to the private and charter schools, he said.
      “This is Phil. I don’t think this is the majority of teachers,” Kuzma said. “He has been teeing this up from the beginning.”
      The teachers union, which called for a remote start to the school year, has been threatening legal action all summer if teachers are uncomfortable with the district's reopening plan.
      The district announced a couple weeks ago that it would begin the school year Sept. 8 with all students learning from home. It plans to reevaluate the decision four to six weeks after opening day.
      But the district still wants teachers to teach remotely from their classrooms two days a week, understanding some may not be able to do so for health reasons.
      This week, teachers started professional development and are scheduled to set up their classrooms on Friday.
      Rumore, meanwhile, said many schools still lack adequate air filters, and windows don't open in some classrooms in older buildings. He said protocols for testing, temperature screenings and cleaning the buildings are inadequate.
      Rumore pointed to a poll of teachers over the weekend that found 1,866, or 70% of those surveyed, oppose the district's reopening plan and do not think it provides safe conditions in schools. Thirty percent, or 789 teachers, believe that it is safe for them to return to the classroom. There were 2,655 teachers voting, out of about 3,600 teachers, Rumore said.
      The union filed a grievance last week and sought the court’s intervention.