As nearly every standardized test is showing, our schools are doing an abysmal job teaching kids how to read or do math. In some cases, kids graduating from high school can barely read their diplomas.
But the schools are wildly succeeding with their climate change indoctrination program. When I speak to kids on high school and college campuses and ask what the greatest threat is to their generation, the answer isn’t China’s aggression. It isn’t a drug abuse problem that is becoming the leading killer of our children. It isn’t the failed schools or the corrupt government or the more routine violations of freedom of speech. It isn’t the $32 trillion national debt soon headed to $50 trillion. (I always remind the kids, I won’t be paying for this Mount Everest-sized debt burden. YOU will.)
No, they almost all raise their hands and moan that they are most worried about global warming or “climate change.” We are raising a generation with millions of Greta Thunbergs. A Daily Telegraph poll found that more than half of teenagers surveyed believe that the world “may end in their lifetime” because of climate change. No one has ever told them that the climate has been changing for as long as the planet has existed. They’ve apparently never heard of the ice ages. The earth has gone through centuries of warming — and that was before air conditioning, which the climate czars want to take away from us to combat warming. Figure that one out.
I’m not here to argue about “the science” of global warming. What I do know is it’s only “settled science” because anyone who dares question the “experts” is written off as crazy or a quack. Meanwhile, the people who warned us about “the population bomb,” nuclear winter, mass starvation, running out of energy, global cooling and a future so polluted that everyone would have to wear gas masks in cities, are telling us to just trust them as they are busy at work erecting a multitrillion-dollar climate change industrial complex that revolves around our planetary savior — the windmill.
But scaring the bejesus out of our kids to score political points is a reprehensible practice. Our school kids are being terrorized with misinformation. This, in turn, is leading to all sorts of maladies, including a rise in teen depression, suicide, lower productivity and drug addiction.
Worst of all, we are seeing the opposite of a population bomb. We are experiencing one of the most severe birth dearths in American history. The birth rate is plummeting and no surprise. Who wants to bring kids into a world that will be uninhabitable in 50 years?
Psychologists are attributing these dysfunctions to a new syndrome called “eco-anxiety.” It’s a fear that Mother Earth is going to punish us in a brutal way — and very soon.
The irony of all this is that today’s children and teens are inheriting a living standard, a cleaner planet, and a level of goods and services and technologies and medical care that is far superior to anything anyone in history — even the richest kings and queens — had access to even 100 years ago. If kids think climate change is worrisome, they should try dealing with the bubonic plague, which killed one-third of Europe’s population, or polio or tuberculosis — or fending off barbarians or working 60 hours a week in a coal mine.
If my parents were part of the “greatest generation,” living through two world wars and a great depression, then this must be the psychotic generation. Are they to blame? No, we — their parents — are. We are the ones who have passively sat by as the Left turned our kids into neurotic Green New Dealers. Death to the machine. Turn the lights out. No more cars. No more flush toilets or washing machines. What’s next to save the planet? Euthanasia?
That’s what happens when you teach your children that they aren’t inheriting the earth, but a fiery hell.
Stephen Moore is a contributor to The Daily Caller News Foundation, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and a co-founder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. His latest book is “Govzilla: How the Relentless Growth of Government Is Devouring Our Economy.”
Firearms are a serious matter, and it’s essential to teach children from an early age about their potential danger. Unfortunately, not all parents and guardians are adequately informed or trained to teach their kids about gun safety. That’s why it’s important to have programs in place to help educate children about the importance of not playing with firearms.
This session, Representative Selina Bliss tried to do just that when she introduced HB2332, a bill dealing with firearms safety training in Arizona schools. But Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed it. This decision is concerning because it may put the safety of children at risk.
HB2332 would have provided education and resources to schools to teach children about firearm safety and the consequences of playing with guns. The Governor’s decision to veto the bill sends the message that gun safety is not a priority for the state, which is simply unacceptable. In her veto letter, Governor Hobbs stated, “Ensuring the safety of our students is a responsibility that belongs to all of us.” We agree. That is why HB2332 was so important, and yet while the Governor admits to meeting “with gun safety advocates to discuss acts of preventable gun violence,” she never responded to numerous requests to meet and discuss from us.
It’s crucial to remember that firearms are not toys, and they should never be treated as such. Children must understand the dangers associated with guns and how to handle them safely, even if they have never personally encountered a firearm before. This education can be the difference between life and death for both the child and those around them.
That’s why it’s critical for parents and guardians to take responsibility for educating their children about firearms, especially now that HB2332 has been vetoed. They should talk to their kids about the dangers of playing with guns and emphasize the importance of never touching a firearm without adult supervision. It’s also crucial to teach children what to do if they come across a firearm accidentally, such as immediately leaving the area and telling a trusted adult.
Moreover, parents and guardians should teach their children to differentiate between toys and firearms, as some toy guns look similar to real firearms. It’s important to emphasize that real guns can cause harm and are not to be played with, no matter how similar they may look to a toy.
Teaching children about firearm safety is a paramount responsibility for parents, guardians, and society as a whole. It’s not only about protecting our children but also about preventing tragedies. While the veto of the recent bill is disheartening, we can all take steps to educate our children about the importance of not playing with firearms. By doing so, we can create a safer world for our children to live in.
25 Arizona House and Senate Republicans led by freshman State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Phoenix) called for Governor Doug Ducey to do something about the school districts defying state law with their mask mandates. The news release on Wednesday revealed that Republican legislators have urged Ducey privately to take action, to no avail. This public statement appears to be their next step in convincing Ducey to enforce the law.
It’s been over a week since the first school district called a mask mandate: Phoenix Union High School (PXU). Other schools followed suit soon after: most recently, Flagstaff Unified School District (FUSD). Ducey hasn’t taken action – though his spokespersons have relayed Ducey’s finger-wagging statements of disapproval in response to those school districts.
The legislators proposed that Ducey respond to the districts’ actions by withholding federal funding, authorizing temporary Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) for families, inform families of the law, and take legal action.
Hoffman’s statement explained that the ban on mask mandates included a retroactivity clause that puts it in effect – contradicting school districts’ insistence that the law can’t take place until 90 days after the end of the legislative session, per Arizona statute. He noted that the school districts’ behavior undermined lawful government and bordered on anarchy.
“Under Arizona’s constitutional form of government, local governments do not have the authority or power to usurp state law simply because they disagree, yet that is precisely the kind of illegal activity in which many local governments are presently engaged. The Arizona legislature, with the Governor concurring, very intentionally enacted the laws at hand to protect Arizonans and Arizona children from the threat of government mandating them to wear a mask or be injected with a vaccine,” wrote Hoffman. “A resounding message must be delivered to any local government or subdivision of the state considering defying state law – lawlessness will not be tolerated.”
House Speaker Pro Tempore Travis Grantham (R-Gilbert) signed onto the statement admonishing Ducey. He told AZ Free News that he also supports law enforcement stepping in to enforce the law. Grantham hinted that this debacle sparked a legislative priority for next year – adding more teeth to legislation.
“It’s unfortunate that some of our government-funded schools have chosen to blatantly ignore state law and the will of the majority of Arizonans by instituting mandates regarding students wearing face coverings,” relayed Grantham. “I support executive action by the governor to include withholding of taxpayer dollars and expansion of school choice funding options giving more educational choices to parents. I also support any efforts by law enforcement to enforce state law and I encourage parents and teachers to follow state law when sending their children to school and when on school grounds. Next year I will make it a focus to hold those who violate state law accountable and ensure appropriate funding reductions are in place for districts that purposely violate the law.”
State Representative Joseph Chaplik (R-Scottsdale) also signed onto the statement. He reiterated to AZ Free News that disagreement with the law isn’t justification for violation of it. Chaplik wrote the legislation that effectively banned mask mandates in schools. He, too, asserted that the power to act is in Ducey’s hands.
“Just because some don’t agree with policy and law, we should not disrespect and violate it while also teaching children these illegal tactics,” said Chaplik. “We passed this policy due to the inconsistencies of results with mask use and the unknown long term health issues that can impair our children. We need to stop this madness. The legislature did its job and now the executive branch needs to enforce the law.”
As of press time, Grantham and Chaplik said that they haven’t seen or heard any responses from Ducey.
The public’s business should be open to the public. And under Rhode Island law, it is. Yet when mom Nicole Solas sought to attend the meeting of a publicly funded committee that meets weekly to discuss and make recommendations on policies that apply across her daughter’s school district, she was told that the meeting was closed and parents were not welcome.
Now, the Goldwater Institute is pushing back: We’ve joined with the Stephen Hopkins Center for Civil Rights in Rhode Island to represent Nicole in a complaint before the state attorney general asserting that the school district has violated Rhode Island’s Open Meetings Act (OMA) by closing these meetings to the public.
Rhode Island’s OMA was enacted to ensure that “public business be performed in an open and public manner and that the citizens be advised of and aware of the performance of public officials and the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy.” The presumption under that law is always in favor of public access.
Yet in March 2021, the South Kingstown School Committee signed an agreement with the South Kingstown BIPOC Advisory Board to hold weekly meetings where district policies ranging from student discipline to coaching to hiring would be discussed and where recommendations would be made on those issues by the Board to the School Committee. In other words, the Board was charged with advisory power by the School Committee over matters of significant public interest—the education of South Kingstown’s youth. The Board is also publicly funded with taxpayer dollars by the School Committee, and two members of the School Committee’s subcommittee on policy sit on the Board.
As a retired Arizona teacher and former member of the National Education Association, I am disgusted regarding the teachers unions’ recent solid support for instruction based on “critical race theory” – a point of view that promotes divisiveness based on race and/or ethnicity. Although recent state legislation outlaws CRT instruction in public schools, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, is advising the teachers to break the law and continue with it nevertheless. She promises that the union will pay any fines imposed on them.
CRT instruction is not new to Arizona. For several years, the Tucson Unified School District has implemented a program referred as “ethnic studies,” specifically “La Raza” for Hispanic students. This course of study promotes racial hatred toward whites, much like CRT. For example, the book OccupiedAmerica used in La Raza classes includes a speech by a Mexican leader who calls upon Chicanos To “kill the gringo” and end white control over Mexicans.
In 2008, several Tucson students reported that the director of the La Raza program had called a popular Mexican-American teacher a “White man’s agent” because he did not agree with the anti-white instruction. The students added that they were advised to “not fall for the White man’s trap” and to attend college to attain the power to take back “the stolen land” and return it to Mexico.
Tom Horne, former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction (2003-2011) and then State Attorney General (2011-2015), opposed this instruction so much that he wrote a bill prohibiting it. The legislature passed it and Governor Jan Brewer signed it into law in 2010. However, in 2017, after Horne had left office, a liberal federal judge found the law to be unconstitutional. No one in public office at that time bothered to appeal this judgment so it has continued in Tucson schools.
People do not realize teachers unions have failed the public in other ways. While still a teacher in 1998, I left the union myself in response to its involvement in replacing a competent Phoenix high school principal who valued student achievement with an incompetent one who favored equity over equality. This leadership-change resulted in the gradual demise of advanced placement instruction and the watering down of other classwork. A once-orderly high school turned into a teenage day center. This high school never recovered. Presently, Great Schools ranks it, out of a possible “10”, as “3” in academic progress and “2” in state test scores.
Several years ago, in a community column for the Arizona Republic, I compared Phoenix school districts with high union enrollment with those with low or no union enrollment. The highest paying district had the greatest number of union members, yet turned out to be the one with the lowest rate of student achievement. Other factors such as poverty come into play when making these evaluations, but not as dramatically as the unions claim.
In one large low-income, predominantly minority Phoenix elementary school district, the superintendent successfully persuaded her teachers to invest in mutual funds instead of spending thousands of their hard-earned money every year on union dues. She realized that a powerful union would make it impossible for her to do anything about low achievement, a consequence of poor-performing teachers. Soon, the schools showed remarkable academic progress and the teachers were quite proud of what they had accomplished.
In a “right to work” state like Arizona, unions have to work diligently to build membership among teachers because no one can be forced to join. Thus, in order to gain support, the unions focus on salary, benefits, job-protection, and political action against anyone who disagrees with their union causes.
School boards and administrators are supposed to be a force of opposition to union control. Unfortunately, that seldom happens because unions themselves often handpick and fund the campaigns of those board candidates – whom they can count on to hire superintendents of the same mind.
Parents would be wise to seek out the dedicated teachers who realize that union policy has become detrimental to student success. Together, they could establish a better way – either through reform or total abolishment of teachers unions.
Johanna J. Haver is a retired teacher with 32 years of experience. She was a member of the Maricopa County Community College District board (2015-18) and has written three books, most recently Vindicated: Closing the Hispanic Achievement Gap Through English Immersion (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018).