Flooding Could Wipe Out 25 Percent of Critical Infrastructure: Report

About 25% of critical infrastructure in the U.S., or 36,000 facilities, is at serious risk of being rendered inoperable as a result of flooding over the next three decades, according to an industry report released Monday.

American infrastructure such as police stations, airports, hospitals, wastewater treatment facilities, churches and schools were all considered in the analysis, according to First Street Foundation, the group that published the first-of-its-kind report. The U.S. is “ill-prepared” for a scenario where major flooding events become more commonplace, the report concluded.

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Gov. Abbott Bans All COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates in Texas

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order late Monday prohibiting all COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the state of Texas.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should always remain voluntary and never forced,” Abbott said in a tweet announcing the executive order.

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School Sees COVID Cases Decline after Court Said It Can’t Require Masks

After a judge told a school district it couldn’t require masks for students without a quarantine order, the district reported fewer COVID-19 cases, but it has faced other consequences.

It comes as a member of the Illinois Legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules said there is further evidence the Illinois State Board of Education can’t revoke a public or private school’s recognition status for failing to follow the governor’s mask mandate.

Attorney Thomas DeVore said since securing a temporary restraining order enjoining the Hillsboro school district from mandating masks on children on Sept. 17, cases have gone down.

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Teacher Reportedly Forced to Remove a Pro-Police Flag Because the School Deemed It a ‘Political Symbol.’ BLM and Pride Flags Still Allowed

Blue line flag

A middle school teacher in Washington state reportedly was told to remove a pro-police flag she had hanging in her classroom, while Black Lives Matter messages and pride flags are still permitted at the school, according to documents obtained by the Jason Rantz Show and 770 KTTH.

A Marysville Middle School teacher had a Thin Blue Line flag hanging in her classroom to show her support for police, but the school district’s human resources department said the flag could cause “disruption in the classroom,” because it is a “political symbol,” according to documents obtained by the Jason Rantz Show.

The teacher’s brother, Chris Sutherland, was formerly a police officer with the Marysville Police Department and a school resource officer when the fatal Marysville Pilchuck High School shooting happened on Oct. 24, 2014, which resulted in five deaths, the Jason Rantz Show reported.

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Commentary: The Other Back to School Story

Back to school stories this year will focus, naturally, on the Covid-19 pandemic’s toll on students and families and on remedying these difficulties.

But another story is being shortchanged: it’s about how parents sought new options for their children like homeschooling, small learning pods, and micro-schools, with civic entrepreneurs and their partners creating new organizations or expanding existing ones to meet this demand.

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Kentucky Lawmakers Override Governor, Ditch School Mask Mandate

Group of young students at table, reading and wearing masks

Kentucky’s Republican legislature overrode the state’s Democratic governor late Thursday and repealed a statewide public school mask mandate.

The move, reported by the Louisville Courier Journal, came on the final day of a special session called by Gov. Andy Beshear. The mask mandate was repealed as cases in the state increased for the 10th straight week, and as over 30% of Kentucky’s new cases Thursday were in people 18 and younger, according to state data.

The legislature last month moved to significantly limit Beshear’s pandemic-related power, an action that was upheld by multiple judges in the state.

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Commentary: Vaccine Mandates and Bribery Are Headed for K-12 Schools

Young girl getting COVID vaccination

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, more than 680 U.S. public and private colleges require students to get a coronavirus vaccine. This is a non-negotiable mandate for students to maintain enrollment status.

The vaccination edicts come even as the coronavirus has an extremely low mortality rate among college-aged students — CDC data attributes only 2.8 percent of coronavirus deaths to those under age 45. Regardless of this reality, those favoring mandated vaccines argue that schools already require students to provide proof of other vaccinations.

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Science on Mask Usage Indicates Scant Benefit

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended that all schools require mask-wearing indoors by teachers and students, vaccinated or unvaccinated against COVID-19. 

And many school districts are adopting that requirement, to the dismay of many parents.

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Ohio Lawmakers Want Local School Mask Mandates to End

Mike Loychik

An Ohio lawmaker wants to remove the mask-wearing decision for K-12 students across the state from local school boards by having the state prohibit any district from requiring masks.

Rep. Mike Loychik, R-Bazetta, said he plans to introduce legislation to stop school districts across the state from mandating students wear masks, saying parents in his district are upset school boards have required masks as the school year begins.

Lakeview and Warren school boards, each in Loychik’s district, voted to require masks for students.

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Columbia Medical School Will Teach Students How to ‘Disrupt Racism’ and Confront Microaggressions

Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health entrance

Columbia University has developed new programming to help black and Hispanic medical students “disrupt racism” and confront microaggressions they could face.

A medical school professor, who is also the diversity director, said that the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota has made the situation worse at the New York institution.

Professor Jean Alves-Bradford said in a news release that “it’s been very difficult for students in general, but especially for students underrepresented in medicine.”

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Ohio Will Not Mandate Masks in Schools

Saying he does not believe he has the authority to mandate masks in Ohio public schools, Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday turned that decision over to local school boards and parents.

DeWine, along with other state health officials and physicians, almost pleaded with parents to either have their children vaccinated or wear masks as the beginning of the school year draws near and a new COVID-19 variant is causing increased infections.

“I do not believe I have the ability today to mandate [masks in schools]. There is not the appetite in this state for that kind of a mandate,” DeWine said. “We are at a point in the pandemic where information is out there but these decisions must be left to the local community and must be left to the parents.”

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Columbus Schools Will Require Masks When Ohio Students Return

Woman sitting alone with a mask on.

Ohio’s largest school district will require all students, staff and visitors to wear masks inside buildings and on buses this fall, but an Ohio lawmaker has introduced a bill that prohibits schools from requiring masks.

The Columbus City Schools Board of Education said in a news release it relied on recommendations from The American Academy of Pediatrics and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with talks with Columbus Public Health, to reach the decision.

“Safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall is a priority, and masks provide and extra layer of protection in reducing transmission of the COVID-19 virus,” Superintendent Talisa Dixon said Wednesday in a news release. “Throughout this pandemic, we have relied on the guidance of our public health officials. We feel that this was the best decision for our district and community.”

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Ohio Public Schools, Colleges Cannot Require COVID-19 Vaccine

Young girl wearing a mask and reading a book in school

Ohio public schools, colleges and universities cannot require COVID-19 vaccines after Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill that originally was introduced to help military families.

The Ohio Senate amended House Bill 244, which passed in late June along party lines, to prohibit public schools from requiring any vaccine not fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and from discriminating against unvaccinated individuals. The FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines on an emergency basis.

The bill also allows military families moving into Ohio to enroll their children in school virtually or through advanced enrollments before they move into the state.

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Clemson School Administrators Used COVID Caps and Fake RSVPs to Suppress Turnout at Conservative Event

Assortment of conservative buttons with a "Get Involved" Turning Point USA fillout

During the height of the pandemic, two college administrators from Clemson University used phony ticket reservations to suppress attendance at a conservative student event and bragged about it on Facebook.

The conservative group Turning Point USA’s local chapter hosted speakers Tomi Lahren, Brandon Tatum, and Graham Allen for an event on the South Carolina campus in April 2020.

The event was limited in capacity because of COVID-19, and people had to reserve tickets from a smaller pool in advance.

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Utah House Passes Bill to Ban Critical Race Theory in Public Schools

Students in class, listening to the teacher at the front of the room

Utah is one of many states in America considering banning critical race theory in public schools.

Republican State Representative Steve Christiansen sponsored a bill that takes direct aim at critical race theory concepts being taught in public education. The bill passed the Utah House and is awaiting the signature of the Speaker to move onto the state Senate.

That bill, HR901, calls on the Utah Board of Education for a re-evaluation of guidelines to weed out critical race theory in publicly funded classrooms.

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Ohio Court: 700-Plus Training Hours to Arm a Teacher

An Ohio lawmaker believes it’s now more important to make it easier for teachers to have guns in the classroom following an Ohio Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that school districts must require police-level training for employees to be armed.

Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Township, introduced legislation in April that requires school employees to complete only concealed carry weapon training to carry a gun on campus. 

In a 4-3 ruling, the court sided with a group of Madison Local Schools parents who sued the district in September 2018 to stop teachers from being armed without extensive training, including more than 700 hours of peace officer training. Madison Local Schools adopted a policy that required only 24 hours of training before staff could carry a concealed weapon.

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Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Teaching Critical Race Theory in Schools

Young girl in pink long sleeve writing

A new poll shows that the majority of American voters are deeply opposed to having critical race theory (CRT) principles being taught in schools.

The survey, conducted by Competitive Edge Research for Parents Defending Education, also shows that people overwhelmingly prefer Capitalism to Socialism (61.8% to 31.4%), frown upon “cancel culture,” (62.7% to 10.6%) and believe the United States is headed “on the wrong track” (60.7% to 32.8%).

Additionally, more respondents had a negative opinion of Black Lives Matter, than had a positive opinion (48.1% to 44.4%).

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LA Teachers Union Agrees to Reopen Second Largest School District

United Teachers Los Angeles and Los Angeles city officials have come to a tentative agreement, creating a path for the nation’s second-largest school district to reopen.

Students in the Los Angeles Unified School District would return to in-person classes in mid-April under the tentative agreement struck Tuesday evening, according to city and union officials, The New York Times reported. The Los Angeles school board and United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) members still need to ratify the agreement.

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Fauci Says Not All Teachers Need to Be Vaccinated to Open Schools

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday said not all teachers need to be vaccinated in order for schools to reopen, The New York Post reports.

“It’s not [the case] that you can’t open a school unless all the teachers are vaccinated. That would be optimal, if you could do that,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC’s anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week”.

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Ohio Moves Up School Employees for Vaccines to Get Students Back in Classrooms

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine plans to offer vaccines to all schools in the state that want it by mid-January in an effort to get children back to in-person learning in districts that want to return.

At his regular news conference Wednesday, DeWine announced new phases of vaccine distribution that included adults in school districts, those 64 years old and older, along with those with severe medical conditions.

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Data: Schools Aren’t COVID-19 Super-Spreaders

Some new evidence is showing Elementary and high schools do not appear to be super spreaders of COVID-19, according to new data.

The New York Post reports, Brown University economics Professor Emily Oster and data scientists at the technology company Qualtrics collected data on COVID-19 in schools. The data collected on almost 200,000 kids in 47 states from the last two weeks of September revealed an infection rate of 0.13 percent among students and 0.24 percent among staff.

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As European Schools Stay Open Amid Rising Cases, Many U.S. Schools Remain Shuttered

Leaders in Western Europe remain committed to continuing in-person instruction for young students — in some cases relaxing restrictions like face mask requirements and social distancing rules — even as caseloads throughout the region continue to explode. 

It’s a sharp contrast from many school districts in the United States, including some of the largest and most populous, where governmental authorities and teachers’ unions continue to insist that children be barred from face-to-face instruction, that any in-person learning be accompanied by strict distancing and face covering rules, and that even modest upticks in coronavirus cases should necessitate a complete shutdown of face-to-face learning.

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Ohio Schools Among the Safest to Reopen According to Report

As schools around the country continue to struggle with opening to in-person learning, a new report shows Ohio as one of the top places in the nation for schools to reopen safely.

As some students learn online, through a hybrid model or in person in classrooms because of COVID-19, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on the safest schools to reopen. It ranked Ohio as seventh.

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DeWine Administration Lays out Its Work Over the Past Week, from Providing Kids with Books to Implementing School Virus Reporting Requirements

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his administration provided a “Week in Review” for the past week, with actions ranging from providing free books to kids to requiring schools to report coronavirus cases to local health departments.

The week started off Monday with DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announcing assistance for five projects to create 574 new jobs and retain 1,058 jobs statewide. The Ohio Tax Credit Authority (TCA) reviewed economic development proposals brought to the board by JobsOhio and its regional partners. Collectively, the projects are expected to result in more than $23 million in new payroll and spur more than $68 million in investments across Ohio.

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Guidance for Masks in Schools Varies Widely Across US States

School districts that plan to reopen classrooms in the fall are wrestling with whether to require teachers and students to wear face masks — an issue that has divided urban and rural schools and yielded widely varying guidance.

The divide has also taken on political dimensions in Iowa, among other places, where Democratic-leaning cities like Des Moines and Iowa City have required masks to curb the spread of the coronavirus, while smaller, more conservative communities have left the decision to parents.

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Commentary: Now That School Security is a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry, is There a Better Way to Protect Children?

by Kerry McDonald   U.S. taxpayers spend nearly $700 billion each year on K-12 public schooling and that eye-popping sum shows no sign of slowing. In fact, as more non-academic programs get adopted in schools across the country, the price-tag for mass schooling continues to swell even as achievement lags.…

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Half of Young Americans Believe US is ‘Racist’ and ‘Sexist,’ Survey Finds

by Troy Worden   A basic knowledge of civics and belief in American exceptionalism are in startling decline among younger Americans, a new report suggests. About half of those surveyed under age 38 said they view the United States as a “sexist” or “racist” nation. More than 4 out of…

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Commentary: How School Choice is Lifting Up Puerto Rico’s Children After Hurricane Maria

by Jude Schwalbach   Thirteen months ago on Sept. 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria slammed the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, devastating homes and infrastructure and leading to loss of life across the island. The storm greatly exacerbated the problems of a school system already in crisis: Puerto Rican fourth- and…

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Williamson County House 61 Voters Almost Unanimously Support School Resource Officers in Every Tennessee School

security at schools

A new poll conducted among likely GOP voters in the Nashville suburbs of Brentwood and Franklin by Triton Polling shows that voter concerns about traffic congestion, illegal immigration and rising crime are at the top of the list. Recent school shootings have also resulted in over 90% of the Republican…

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Christian Parent Furious After School Instructs Children To Write Out Their Submission To Allah

Classroom Islam

by Joshua Gill   A West Virginia school has come under fire for instructing junior high students to write the Islamic profession of faith ostensibly to practice calligraphy. Rich Penkoski, a Christian parent and founder of online ministry Warriors for Christ, raised alarms over a packet on Islam his daughter’s seventh…

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