A revealing interview with a teacher union boss.
May 14, 2021
ITEM #1: We’ve written extensively about the 1619 Project in this space, and how the left has worked to force this tortured version of American history into our culture and even into our school’s curricula.
But we’ve also noted that thanks to the efforts of many people (including those of us at Morning in Nevada PAC, with your help), we’ve seen some success in exposing the anti-American lies at the heart of the project.
So we were delighted to see a terrific interview this week, in which Fox News’ Martha MacCallum pointedly pressed union boss Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, on the topic.
Click here to watch the full interview, but here’s a key passage, as reported by Yael Halon:
“MacCallum questioned Weingarten's push to implement a curriculum based on certain parts of the 1619 Project, published in 2019 by the Times.
“The project is based on the belief that the first importation of the slaves to American shores in 1619 constituted the nation’s true founding, 'and that the reason for the revolution and the colonization was because people wanted to preserve slavery,' MacCallum explained.
“Weingarten, a self-described 'history and social studies teacher' defended the controversial belief, claiming that 'from everything I can see and understand from the data that I see, 1619 was the year that the first slave boat came from Africa to the United States. So that's a point in history that I think we should be teaching.'
"'That's a very simplistic take on it,' MacCallum fired back. 'The Story' host explained that the project indoctrinates children to believe that 'the country was founded on the basis of wanting to preserve slavery.'
"'But that is not factual. That is not true,' MacCallum told viewers. 'In fact, scholars say there's no evidence that colonists were motivated by that in coming to the United States. So it would be wrong as a historian to want to teach them something that is not true, because that is the basis that sets up all of these other tenants that lead to teaching kids that we live in a systemically racist country.'
“Weingarten claimed that she had ‘several conversations’ with 1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jones and that she has ‘not arrived at the same conclusion from her work as [MacCallum has].’”
MacCallum challenged her on her response, and that’s where the interview took a twist for the absurd, with Weingarten completely ignoring MacCallum’s point and instead complaining about Fox’s 2020 election coverage.
MacCallum was having none of it:
"'Oh, come on, Randi,' a frustrated MacCallum interjected. 'This is not the topic that we’re here to talk about. I'm not going to talk about that. We talked about that before. But that's a dodge. Okay?' she said."
The discussion continued along those lines, and since the transcript simply doesn’t do it justice, you really ought to take a few minutes to watch the video. Suffice it to say that you’ll be impressed with MacCallum’s direct, no-nonsense line of questioning throughout — and you’ll wait in vain for anything from Weingarten resembling a straight or honest answer.
ITEM #2: Who is Joe Biden?
If you ask Biden himself or many of his defenders, he is — or at least aspires to be — the next Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Of course, Donald Trump Jr. made some waves recently with a quite different observation:
And in an insightful piece for Fox News, Liz Peek fleshes out that comparison in some detail:
“Former President Jimmy Carter is best remembered as presiding over ‘stagflation’ at home and humiliation abroad. Taking office at a time of economic distress, the one-time peanut farmer from Georgia failed to inspire Americans and was bounced after only four years.
“Some wonder whether Biden will follow the same path.
“Americans are anxious about a recent employment report that came up hundreds of thousands of jobs short, prices spiking for everything from chicken to diapers and gasoline, and a president who continues to push trillions more in spending while at the same time threatening enormous tax increases.
“Joe Biden’s White House has its foot on the gas and the brake at the same time.
“Meanwhile there are signs that 78-year-old Biden, who frequently appears to lose his train of thought and seems incapable of jousting with the press, will be tested by our adversaries.
“It is not comforting that Biden has frequently boasted about the two-hour telephone conversation he held with China’s President Xi Jinping early in his presidency; it’s not clear whether Biden thinks that call noteworthy because he could maintain his focus for two hours or because anything of consequence was said.
“So far, Biden’s most notable foreign engagement was his convening of a global climate summit, at which he weirdly (singularly) wore a mask on a zoom call while pledging a wildly expensive and potentially harmful 50% cut in U.S. emissions by 2030. In response, the leaders of China and Russia promised… nothing.”
Peek provides a litany of other examples of how Biden’s early days in office contain echoes of Carter’s dismal presidency, and we encourage you to take some time to read the full piece, available here.
But we did want to leave you with this line from near the end of her piece, which we’d say is likely the closest parallel of all:
“Carter was viewed as a weak leader. Though it’s early in his presidency, there are signs that Biden lacks leadership strengths, too. Though he campaigned to bring the country together, polling suggests he has done the exact opposite.”
ITEM #3: History will not be kind to those responsible for the entirely indefensible shuttering of schools in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
And the editors of the Las Vegas Review-Journal are getting a jump on the historians:
“It will be difficult to fully calculate the damage done to students by prolonged school shutdowns. It will be hard enough simply to find the students who dropped off the educational map over the past year.
“Distance learning was a challenge for many families. Parents had to juggle work schedules. Older siblings had to help younger ones instead of focusing on their own classes. The number of students failing a course increased dramatically in the Clark County School District.
“Tragically, those weren’t the worst outcomes. Bellwether Education Partners estimated last fall that up to 3 million students hadn’t experienced any formal education since schools closed in March 2020.
“Many districts saw drops in attendance. In October 2019, CCSD’s enrollment was 318,226 students. Last fall, enrollment dropped to 305,750, a 4 percent decline. In California, 160,000 students didn’t turn up this year. Los Angeles Unified School District, the country’s second-largest, lost around 22,000 students or 4 percent of its enrollment.”
While acknowledging that the lower attendance numbers may be partially explained by some parents opting for homeschooling or even private school, the editors point out that:
“[M]any children around the country appear to have simply been lost in the shuffle. Politico recently interviewed Kristen Record, who teaches science in Connecticut. She estimated that around 10 percent of her students never showed up. ‘I have missing kids,’ Record said. ‘Kids that are on my roster who I haven’t seen in weeks and are not going to pass my class.’
“Some of those missing students may have lost touch because they didn’t have the tools necessary to participate in distance learning. Last June, the Boston Consulting Group estimated that 15 to 16 million schoolchildren didn’t have reliable access to a device and an adequate internet connection. In January, the same group estimated up to 12 million students still lacked those basic tools.”
Nor has the Silver State been spared from these serious challenges:
“Nevada students had these same problems. Tens of thousands of students started the fall semester without a device or reliable internet connection. In January, Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert finally announced that every Nevada student had a device and internet access.”
The Review-Journal’s editors punctuate the piece with a stinging indictment: “The students who suffered the most from distance learning are those society is least likely to hear from. Keeping schools shuttered last August was a national tragedy and devastating for this potentially lost generation of students.”
ITEM #4: City officials throughout the country flirting with the idea of defunding their police departments as a sop to the radical left may want to take a hard look at Baltimore.
Writing at City Journal, Stephen J.K. Walters reports:
“A decade ago, Baltimoreans became lab rats in a fateful experiment: their elected officials decided to treat the city’s long-running crime problem with many fewer cops. In effect, Baltimore began to defund its police and engage in de-policing long before those terms gained popular currency.
“This experiment has been an abject failure. Since 2011, nearly 3,000 Baltimoreans have been murdered — one of every 200 city residents over that period. The annual homicide rate has climbed from 31 per 100,000 residents to 56 — ten times the national rate. And 93 percent of the homicide victims of known race over this period were black.”
We suppose we should go easy on the folks running Baltimore. After all, who could ever have possibly guessed that there might be a correlation between sufficient law-enforcement funding levels and rates of crime?
ITEM #5: A gaffe, as Michael Kinsley famously told us, is when a politician inadvertently tells the truth.
As The Hill’s Joe Concha reports, Jen Psaki recently contributed her own variation of the phenomenon:
“Jen Psaki made a stunning admission in a patently flippant way last week during a conversation with CNN's David Axelrod. The White House press secretary openly admitted that President Biden's handlers often tell him they prefer he not speak to reporters outside of controlled settings.
“'He takes questions nearly every day he’s out [with] the press,' Psaki told her former CNN and Obama administration colleague and friend Axelrod on ‘The Axe Files’ podcast.
“'A lot of times, we say, Don’t take questions,’ she continued. 'But he’s going to do what he wants to do because he’s the president of the United States.'”
“Think about that for a moment, and ask yourself this: Isn't it amazing, almost disturbing, that the leader of the free world, a man who received more votes than any other candidate in U.S. history, is being told when he’s allowed to speak to reporters outside of the desired controlled environment?
“For giggles, picture former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany saying it’s ‘not something we recommend’ regarding President Trump taking impromptu questions from reporters, which he did more often than any of his predecessors by a country mile. Then imagine the reaction of, say, Jim Acosta or any other journalist upon hearing it. Smelling salts and/or a defibrillator come to mind.”
We suppose it makes sense, really. Biden was able to run basically his entire campaign from his basement without ever being held to account by the “news” media. So why not try a similar approach while actually in office?