NYC closes schools for Muslim holidays

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that two days in the NYC public school year will be turned into days off in observance of Muslim holidays Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr.

De Blasio made the announcement at a Brooklyn public school where 36 percent of its students were absent on the last day Eid al-Adha occurred during an instructional day in the school year….

From Bloomberg:

“This is about respect for one of the great faiths of this Earth,” said de Blasio, a 53-year-old Democrat. In past years, “either the child went and pursued his education and missed his religious observance or the other way around. That is the kind of choice that was wrong to have to make for these families.”

This decision will make the NYC public school system the largest in the U.S. to close in observance of the two Muslim holy days. According to Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, hundreds of thousands of students in NYC public schools practice the Muslim faith.

By Dayna Evans – Gawker.com –

Student Debt Strike is Finally Happening!

The “Corinthian 15” have fired the opening salvo in a nationwide movement to strike student debt.

A group of courageous students, caught in the cruelest of debt traps, has decided they are done waiting for relief that will never come. Enough is enough. Today, the Corinthian 15 are going on debt strike.

Scammed from first to last by one of America’s most unscrupulous for-profit colleges and denied a rightful debt discharge by the Department of Education, they are saying “We Owe You Nothing.” In a gesture of solidarity with the strikers, the Rolling Jubilee has announced that it has erased more than $13 million of student debt owed by students of Everest College, a subsidiary of Corinthian….

Although the Corinthian 15 are fighting against some of the worst creditors in our predatory system, they are taking a stand for everyone who finds themselves saddled with decades of education debt. For-profits are only the most exploitative part of America’s debt-financed higher education system–public and private universities are little better. While the crushing burden of debt affects most students, those with the least resources are paying the highest price….

Student loan debt has tripled over the last decade, turning higher education into a pathway to poverty for all but the well-heeled. Everyone knows that huge chunks of U.S. student debt–more than $1.3 trillion and growing–cannot and never will be repaid. But, though nearly half of outstanding student debt is effectively in default or other forms of nonpayment, default on an individual basis is not leading to change; it is only causing misery, depression, and worse. Joining together to refuse repayment publicly and collectively is the only way to end the injustice of debt-financed education. The Corinthian 15 are the first to stand up and take collective action.

A strike is typically a last resort, when all other alternatives are exhausted. The Corinthian 15 certainly see it that way. State attorneys general, like California’s Kamala Harris, legislators, like Elizabeth Warren and Maxine Waters, and even government agencies, like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, have all tried to secure justice for them. But the Department of Education has not listened. Instead of protecting the students, it has bailed out the college’s investors, acting like a debt collector for a predatory lender. The Corinthian 15 have concluded they have no other alternative….

From StrikeDebt.org –

NYC Libraries Offer Internet Lending Program

The New York Public Library is launching the nation’s largest Internet lending program, handing out 10,000 free high-speed hot spots to some of the city’s poorest residents.

The program which offers the devices for up to a year, about a $1,000 value, seeks to bridge a digital divide in the nation’s largest city, where studies have found nearly 3 million of the 8 million people lack broadband access.

The program is a partnership between tech companies and the city:

Google’s $1 million donation, along with a $500,000 grant from the Knight News Challenge, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and Robin Hood Foundation, will allow the program to expand this fall to all three library systems, including Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library. The goal is to offer about 10,000 families Wi-Fi devices powered by Sprint, helping to close the digital divide in New York City.

“Whether you’re a parent looking for a job, a child working on a school project, or a family looking for information on services, broadband access is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity.” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I commend both New York City Libraries and Google for their commitment to increasing accessibility to technology through the innovative Library Hotspot program, and I am thrilled to see thousands of New York City families get access to the internet.”

By Jen Hayden – Daily Kos –

Obama now trying to outlaw single-sex classrooms & sports

The Obama Administration is now trying to outlaw single-sex classrooms, a practice that has been growing as parents and teachers see its good results. The Obama Administration is discouraging that option in conformity with demands by the feminists who believe in the interchangeability of the genders and insist that schools forbid any deviation from their peculiar belief that there is no difference between male and female.

The Minnesota State High School League, which controls policy for all extracurricular activities in all schools, public and private, voted 18 to 1 to outlaw recognition of all sex differences in high-school sports. The new policy, adopted December 4, allows students the choice to play on either boys’ or girls’ teams if they claim transgender status.

Obviously, the school didn’t clear this radical new policy with parents. A group of parents opposed to this agenda ran an ad in the Minneapolis Star Tribune stating “A male wants to shower beside your 14-year-old daughter. Are you okay with that?”

Under this new policy, there can be no recognition of sex differences in high school sports, on the field, or in locker rooms, or bathrooms, or hotel rooms. Minnesotans sent more than 10,000 protest emails to the State High School League, but their protests were overruled.

The National Federation of State High School Associations published language to “guide” organizations that may have to respond to parents’ complaints. This national explanation reads: “It is important for policy-makers to understand that transgender girls (who were assigned a male gender at birth) are not boys. Their consistent and affirmed gender identity as girls is as deep-seated as the gender identity of non-transgender girls.”

This nonsense comes out of a belief that schools and sports should ignore obvious anatomical differences because children supposedly become a boy or a girl only after they are old enough to decide which gender they choose to be. This sets up an authority for the child that conflicts with parental authority and probably emanates from the controversial judicial fiat once enunciated by the Ninth Circuit that parents’ rights stop at the threshold of the school door.

The perpetrators of this nonsense try to convey the impression that they are merely fine-tuning the rules of Title IX, but that is not true. Title IX was written to support equal opportunities for girls in schools and colleges, but allowing boys to play on girls’ sport teams certainly does not promote that goal, nor was it ever intended.

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration has moved to suppress the effort by a few public schools to experiment with single-sex classrooms. The senior counsel of the National Women’s Law Center criticized single-sex classrooms because they supposedly rely on “sex stereotypes” that assume boys and girls respond to different methods of teaching.

The terrible sin that precipitated the lawsuits was that the boys were assigned to read a story about hunting and dogs, while the girls’ classes were assigned a love story. “Stereotyping” has become an epithet like “racist” to silence opposition.

The ACLU filed some ten administrative complaints against stereotyping with the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights against schools in Florida, Wisconsin, Idaho and Texas. The ACLU sued schools in Louisiana, Alabama, Kentucky and West Virginia in 2009 and 2012.

The ACLU sent a letter to the Gloucester County (VA) School Board urging it to reject the policy that would limit school rest rooms and locker rooms to “the corresponding biological genders.” On December 9, the Board voted to retain boys’ and girls’ rest rooms and allow transgender students to use “an alternative private facility,” but the ACLU rejected that compromise and says it will sue.

Time Magazine reported scientific studies which show that girls’ and boys’ brains are “hard-wired” differently and support the view that separating the genders will improve learning. These studies suggest that “girls learn better in emotionally supportive, collaborative groups and may not be as good at grasping abstract mathematical concepts, while boys thrive in competitive environments and tend to struggle with reading and art.”

Principal Skyles Calhoun of Woodbridge Middle School in Virginia has been so successful in using different teaching styles for boys and girls that grades and test scores for both have soared. He will now be in violation of the new rules, and that will kill a good thing that has produced wonderful results.

There is nothing compulsory about the single-sex option. Woodbridge School offers parents a choice for their children’s education, and requires them to answer 33 questions so the schools can be sure that the parents really, really want the single-sex classroom and are not worried about stereotypes.

Meanwhile, the feminists have renewed their drive to put the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. Since the operative word in ERA is “sex” and not “women,” judges would probably rule that ERA would put their transgender sex nonsense into the U.S. Constitution.

By Phyllis Schlafly – Eagle Forum –

Homework Teaches ‘Rights Are Special Privileges The Government Gives’

Apparently according to a homework sheet being given to our 2nd graders in this country about how to be good citizens, the government *gives* us our rights. Did you know that?

This is what eight-year-old kids are being taught in this country.

Wait, did I say taught? I meant being indoctrinated to blindly believe. They might as well exchange the word “citizen” in “being a good citizen” for “statist” or “fascist” or “communist.”

Not that it should even have to be said, but our rights are inalienable. Definition: unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor. Why? Because they are inherent. Definition: existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute. The government is not in a position (although it is trying as hard as it’s tyrannical centralized little heart can) to grant or give rights which we already have. By the same token, those rights cannot be taken away by the government either.

You wouldn’t know it from this worksheet however. That’s the real message these kids are getting here. Because if the kids can be taught to believe the government gives them their rights, then would that same government not also be able to condition them that it can take their rights away as well?