Larry Sand

About Larry Sand

After shutting down for three days, the schools reopened on Friday March 24 — and voila! A deal was reached the same day — and the union wound up getting almost all of what it wanted.

The Los Angeles education workers’ strike followed a typical script, and kids and taxpayers are bearing the brunt of it.

Service Employees International Union Local 99 staged a three-day walkout in Los Angeles last week after negotiations failed. SEIU, which represents about 30,000 cafeteria workers, bus drivers, special education assistants, etc. called for a strike if their demands were not met by the Los Angeles Unified School District. And the United Teachers of Los Angeles decided to ditch school, too, in what was deemed a “sympathy strike.” The unions’ action forced every public school in LA to shut down from March 21 to March 23.

RANDI IS WRONG AGAIN Then the not-so-amazing Randi has the unmitigated chutzpah to spit out, “After the onset of the pandemic, teachers worked harder than ever.” The fact is that teachers worked far fewer hours after the schools shut down for Covid. The shutdowns, largely orchestrated by the teachers unions, had a devastating effect on children – both academically and socially – but all the while teachers collected a full paycheck, maintained their health insurance, and padded their retirement accounts.

The president of the American Federation of Teachers makes a bunch of ridiculous and easily refutable claims.

I’ve got to give Randi Weingarten a lot of credit. Every time I write about the president of the American Federation of Teachers and her relentless blather, I think that she cannot possibly sink any lower; yet she always manages to dig herself a deeper hole.

THE COLLEGE DEBT RELIEF SWINDLE Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) – a lawyer and former Native American – claimed that President Biden “has the legal authority to cancel student loan debt,” and talked about the “millions of working families” being “crushed by student loan debt.” But, she said, “if the Supreme Court follows the law instead of playing politics, then student loan debt will be canceled.”

As colleges go woke, dumb down curricula, and raise tuition fees, Pickpocket-in-Chief Joe Biden wants you to foot the bill.

It’s no secret that colleges have become woke fad factories, where students aren’t learning the things they need to become productive citizens, but instead are being indoctrinated into the radical causes-du-jour. Additionally, colleges are dropping entry requirements, dumbing down curricula, and a majority of students – poorly prepared by their k-12 experience – are finding their classes too difficult.

Adding insult to injury, in August, President Biden announced his loan cancellation plan to help “borrowers meet their economic potential and avoid economic harm from the COVID-19 pandemic.” His action (Congressional involvement was nowhere to be found) would erase $400 billion in student debt – one of the most ambitious and expensive executive actions ever.

THE ‘DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION’ ONSLAUGHT The nation’s universities are the epicenter of DEIfication. For example, the University of Central Florida has 14 separate DEI programs, all permeated with Critical Race Theory. As Christopher Rufo notes, according to the university’s official glossary, the great oppressor who occupies the “mythical norm,” is “male, white, heterosexual, financially stable, young-middle adult, able-bodied, Christian.” Other groups are “minoritized,” or condemned by the “systemic and structural realities in place that push people and communities to the margins.”

DEIIs in full religious bloom – but there are signs of resistance.

DEI has gone national. The belief that quality takes a backseat to racial bean counting wormed its way into the White House in February, when President Biden signed an executive order that promises to create a national “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” bureaucracy. As Christopher Rufo reports, the DEI diktat, “Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,” proposes three key strategies:

  • Creating internal cadres and power centers through the deployment of “Agency Equity Teams.”
  • Funding third-party political activism through grants to “community[-based] organizations.”
  • Weaponizing civil rights law by requiring federal agencies to use artificial intelligence “in a manner that advances equity.”

TEACHER PAY IN PERSPECTIVE Yes, competition works. But if you are a socialist or a competition-phobic teacher union leader, an educational free market is your worst nightmare.

Should we pay teachers more? Depends.

Teacher pay has become the topic-du-jour of late. The subject has even worked its way into the U.S. Senate, where Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders recently held a town hall on the “teacher pay crisis.” The strident socialist invited Randi Weingarten and Becky Pringle, two national teacher union leaders, to join him for a slanted and hyperbole-riddled evening.

Second City Shambles In fact, more than one-third of Chicago’s 473 traditional public schools are currently running at half-full or worse, according to data released in December. Douglass High School, which bills itself as “The Jewel Of The Westside,” has a capacity for 888 students, but just 34 are enrolled, and not one of them is proficient in reading. In the past ten years, the city’s total public school enrollment has gone from over 400,000 to 322,000 and the bleeding shows no sign of abating.

The teacher union-controlled school system in Chicago is an abject failure.

The numbers are jaw-dropping. In 30 Chicago public schools, not a single student can read at grade level. In total, just 20% of third- through eighth-graders in the Windy City are proficient in reading and only 15% are proficient in math.

THE COVID LOCKDOWN DISASTER: THREE YEARS LATER Unless things change in a hurry and learning losses are reversed, the country’s current crop of K-12 students will grow up to be less educated, lower-skilled, and less productive adults. Per Eric Hanushek, a Stanford University economist, they will earn 5.6% less over the course of their lives than students educated just before the pandemic. Dr. Hanushek maintains that the losses could total $28 trillion over the rest of this century, adding, “The economic costs of the learning losses will swamp business cycle losses.”

Beginning in March 2020, many bad decisions were made that will impact untold numbers of young people for the rest of their lives.

There has been nothing but awful news about the unnecessary Covid-related shutdown of American schools. Study after study and a mass of anecdotal evidence show the harm done by the forced lockdowns.

Yet more research, released in January, extends the grim scenario. A meta-analysis of 42 studies across 15 countries assessed the magnitude of learning deficits during the pandemic, and finds “a substantial overall learning deficit…which arose early in the pandemic and persists over time. Learning deficits are particularly large among children from low socio-economic backgrounds.”

PUSHBACK IN THE CULTURE WARS Needless to say, the wokesters have not taken kindly to the governor’s actions. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin accused DeSantis of going “full-blown white supremacist.”

DeSantis and some state legislators are stepping up.

“The largest cultural menace in America is the conformity of the intellectual cliques which, in education as well as the arts, are out to impose upon the nation their modish fads and fallacies, and have nearly succeeded in doing so. In this cultural issue, we are, without reservations, on the side of excellence (rather than ‘newness’) and of honest intellectual combat (rather than conformity).

The above words were from William F Buckley’s National Review mission statement in 1955. Sadly, almost 70 years later, our “intellectual cliques” and, in fact, increasing numbers of our institutions are faddier and more fallacious than ever. In short, our country in many areas has gone bull-goose loony. To wit….

EDUCATION FREEDOM IS ON THE MOVE In Oklahoma, Duncan school superintendent Tom Deighan said supporters of taxpayer-funded school choice aim to “dismantle all public schools.”

School choice is picking up steam nationwide – and 2023 promises to be a great year.

Somewhere, the late Milton Friedman is beaming. The godfather of school choice and all-around genius had a vision in 1955 to extricate the government from administering education by giving parents vouchers that they could use for specified educational services.

It took a while to get off the ground, but today Friedman’s plan is flying high. According to EdChoice (formerly the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice), 32 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have some form of private school choice law in place.

THE CIRCULAR FIRING SQUADS The National Education Association has just released a statement, in which it insists that climate change must be taught in every subject including “science, social studies, visual and performing arts, and world languages.”

As conflicts escalate over what students should learn, school choice is more important than ever.

In October, a study released by the RAND Corporation revealed that just 23% of teachers maintain that one of the top three aims of civic education is “promoting knowledge of social, political, and civic institutions.” Instead, a majority of teachers feel that “promoting students’ critical and independent thinking” is much more important.

X-Rated ED The New Jersey chapter of the NEA hosted a “LGBTQIA+ banned books drag queen story hour” at its 2022 convention as a way for educators to “explore and express their intersectional identities.” Drag queens read educators “And Tango Makes Three,” a story of two male penguins who have a baby penguin together, and “Prince & Knight,” a picture book about a prince and knight who fall in love.

Educator-related sexual abuse of children is escalating.

Pedophilia is proliferating in the nation’s public schools. Going back to 2004, a report prepared for the U.S. Department of Education revealed that nearly 9.6% of students are victims of sexual abuse by school personnel, and these are just the reported cases.


Even worse, when other types of sexual misconduct are taken into consideration, such as being shown pornography or being subjected to sexually explicit language or exhibitionism the number increases to about 4.5 million children (10 %). SESAME also explains that one child sex offender can have as many as 73 victims in a lifetime.

THE DYSFUNCTIONAL STATE OF CALIFORNIA Newsom also signed a law that decriminalizes jaywalking because of “racism.” The “Freedom to Walk Act,” will prevent law enforcement from stopping people who are crossing the street not at a crosswalk unless they are in visible danger. The law’s proponents insist that jaywalking is a racist crime because it is allegedly enforced unfairly in “communities of color” where people allegedly cannot afford to pay the fines.

California is losing its sanity – not to mention many of its citizens.

When I moved to California in 1983, the state was terrific. The weather was fabulous, the coastline and mountains were spectacular, the people were friendly, and the government was normal.

That was then. Over the past forty years the first three have remained constant, but now many of the state’s politicos are bonkers.

THE EDUCATION BATTLEFIELD As always, the progressive teachers unions, channeling George Wallace, are standing in the school house door doing their best to stifle educational freedom.

As the new year begins, the education freedom wars show no sign of abating.

As we transition into 2023, we can see that the field of education will once again be a contentious one, as too many government-run schools are failing, and parents are not happy. In Chicago, for example, great numbers of students are avoiding their local schools. In fact, more than one-third of the city’s public schools are at least half empty, with high schools the most vacant. Douglas High School has a capacity of 888 students, but only 34 students are enrolled. Manley High School can seat 1,296 students, but just 70 attend. On the k-8 level, the Mason School can accommodate 1,710 kids, but has only 187 enrollees.

DESANTIS BATTLES THE TEACHERS UNION The Florida Education Association is, not surprisingly, very unhappy with the DeSantis plan. In a statement, the union said, “The past few weeks, FEA has been asking educators to fill out a wish list with what they’re hopeful for in 2023. Common themes have been less testing, more resources and support, more stability — all things that would help us better serve our students and alleviate the teacher and staff shortage. Gov. DeSantis, however, appears to prioritize politics. Only a Grinch would attack teachers’ freedom to join in [sic] union to advocate for our students and schools.”

Fighting for a sane measure for educators.

Years ago, when I was teaching, I asked then United Teachers of Los Angeles president A.J. Duffy at a union meeting why teachers weren’t responsible for paying their own dues. He replied, “They might forget.” I didn’t respond, but knew that some of my colleagues were thinking what I was thinking. Forget? No. Choose not to pay? Yes.

COLLEGE CARNAGE Mark Tapson, Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, recently wrote that Princeton, while trashing Dead White Males like William Shakespeare and Isaac Newton, does offer courses like “Black + Queer in Leather: Black Leather/BDSM Material Culture” and “Anthropology of Religion: Fetishism and Decolonization.”

The nation’s colleges – and the students who attend them – are in deep trouble.

The well-documented woes that plague our government-run k-12 schools are now infecting our colleges. Students are arriving at universities woefully unprepared with the skills that are needed to tackle the rigors of upper-level education.

LOSING A GENERATION The Arizona Department of Education has created an “equity” toolkit, claiming that babies show the first signs of racism at three months old, and that white children become full racists – “strongly biased in favor of whiteness” – by age five.

School-related cultural upheaval is taking a serious toll on children.

It’s no secret that the education system’s horrible response to Covid did great damage to children, and not only academically. A survey released earlier this year revealed that the pandemic affected students’ mental health as well, with 70% of public schools seeing a rise in the number of children seeking psychological services. Also, 76% of schools report that faculty and staff members expressed concerns about depression, anxiety and trauma in students since the start of the pandemic.

POMPEO V. WEINGARTEN: THE WAY FORWARD  I saw up close and personal what I have always felt – that the teachers unions are running on empty. The emperor is naked as a jaybird. Not only don’t they have anything to offer in the way of true education reform, they are the greatest impediment we have to any meaningful change. All the lofty words from teacher union presidents over the years about higher quality schools, teacher accountability, putting the interests of students first, etc. are nothing but empty rhetoric meant to lead the public to believe that children are their highest priority.

How Mike Pompeo might get Randi Weingarten to debate him.

We live in a hyperbolic age. “Trump is a Nazi!” and “The January 6 attack on the Capitol was an insurrection!” are but two of the myriad over-the-top phrases that permeate our media and culture these days. Now, we can add a new bit of shrill distortion to the list. On Nov. 21, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referred to Randi Weingarten, longtime president of the American Federation of Teachers, as “the most dangerous person in the world.”

OUR DEVASTATING EDUCATION SCHEMES So to unruffle the feathers, there is now a move to get all classrooms a pet. Yes! For just a few bucks, a school can get a bunny for the kids to hug, and all will be good!

We need to get back to basics.

Little did I know that when I was teaching in the 1990s and “multicultural education” became all the rage, that it was just the beginning of an onslaught of radical endeavors that shows no sign of abating. As 2022 winds down, let’s take a glimpse at a small sampling of the schemes that have been inflicted on America’s children over the past few years.

SCHOOL CHOICE TREMORS The NEA maintains that children need a pronoun guide. A version supplied by the union explains that English has two sets of gendered pronouns: “she/her/hers” and “he/him/his” which are attached to a particular gender.” But the NEA says it’s “important to get out of the habit of assuming pronouns,” and instead, the guide suggests using such nonsense pronouns as “zim” and “zirself” so as not to offend anyone.

Election results show that parental freedom is on the move, but too many children are still stuck in government-run schools with few options.

The election on November 8th was good for the school choice movement. As Corey DeAngelis, senior fellow at the American Federation for Children, explains, 76% of candidates supported by his organization won their election. Govs. Kim Reynolds (IA), Chris Sununu (NH), Kevin Stitt (OK), Bill Lee (TN) and Greg Abbott (TX) were victorious after making school choice a centerpiece of their campaigns.

SCHOOL BOARD BATTLES ARE RAGING Union leaders clearly know the game. As former Los Angeles teacher union boss Alex Caputo-Pearl once explained, “We have a unique power – we elect our bosses. It would be difficult to think of workers anywhere else who elect their bosses. We do. We must take advantage of it.”

Teachers unions finally have some competition in all-important school board races.

It’s no secret that the teachers unions have control over most aspects of public education in the U.S. The school boards, which negotiate with unions over salary, work rules, etc. are particularly important for the unions to dominate. To that end, Michael Hartney, a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, recently quantified the unions’ stronghold on the all-important boards.

Hartney asserts that union-endorsed candidates win about 70% of all competitive school board races. Union support helps both incumbents and challengers, and union-friendly candidates also tend to win in both conservative and liberal school districts.

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