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The New Normal/Political Correctness Run Amok Thread


Muda69
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On 12/24/2020 at 4:31 AM, Muda69 said:

? Did the junior high school bureaucrat make you walk to/from school or be transported in a vehicle?

My mom signed papers saying that I was allowed to walk home from school. I don't think she had anyone else authorized to pick me up, since we lived so close to the campus. 

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8 hours ago, DanteEstonia said:

My mom signed papers saying that I was allowed to walk home from school. I don't think she had anyone else authorized to pick me up, since we lived so close to the campus. 

What would have been your mother's response if the government school bureaucrat had said "No,  walking home from school is too dangerous for Dante.  He need to rides the bus or you need to provide transportation"?

 

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5 hours ago, Muda69 said:

What would have been your mother's response if the government school bureaucrat had said "No,  walking home from school is too dangerous for Dante.  He need to rides the bus or you need to provide transportation"?

She probably would have gone along with it, as she was a school teacher and understood liability for child safety. 

Also-

 

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On 12/26/2020 at 12:34 AM, DanteEstonia said:

She probably would have gone along with it, as she was a school teacher and understood liability for child safety. 

Also-

 

?  Please explain your liability argument.  Frankly once a child, or anybody for that matter, leaves a school's grounds/campus then that organization should not be liable for anything which may occur to the individual.

 

 

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13 hours ago, Muda69 said:

?  Please explain your liability argument.  Frankly once a child, or anybody for that matter, leaves a school's grounds/campus then that organization should not be liable for anything which may occur to the individual.

School bus drivers will be glad to hear that. 😆

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3 minutes ago, Bobref said:

School bus drivers will be glad to hear that. 😆

One could make the case that a school bus is an "extension" of the school campus, since it owned/driven by a contractor or government employee.  So I would guess town sidewalks are now that as well? What about the walkway from the sidewalk to my front door, is that also an extension of the school campus?  Where does one draw the line?

 

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3 hours ago, Bobref said:

All will undoubtedly be revealed ... in the fullness of time.

By which I meant, the “line” will be established in the usual way: litigation. A terribly inefficient process, but there it is. Don’t expect the line to be bright.

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Rep. Cleaver ends opening prayer for new Congress: ‘Amen and awoman’: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/rep-cleaver-ends-opening-prayer-for-new-congress-amen-and-awoman

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Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., altered the traditional ending of "amen" by saying "Amen and awoman" as he delivered the opening prayer for the 117th Congress on Sunday -- raising eyebrows.

The video was posted online and he was criticized by other lawmakers who said he was wrong to attempt to assign gender to the word "amen."

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., took to Twitter to note that the word amen is "Latin for ‘so be it.’"

"It’s not a gendered word," he posted. "Unfortunately, facts are irrelevant to progressives. Unbelievable."

Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich slammed the move as fresh evidence of Democrats moving to the left: "the radical madness has begun."

Cleaver’s office did not respond to an email from Fox News.

Cleaver is an ordained United Methodist pastor and was tapped to lead the opening prayer to start the new session. Congress swore in new lawmakers on Sunday and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was re-elected as House speaker.

Just a day ago, Pelosi introduced new House rules she said will help the body become more inclusive. A 45-page package that will be voted on Monday strips all mention of gender-specific pronouns and terms such as "man," "woman," "mother" and "son."

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

No, AOC, It's Not the Government's Job to 'Rein in Our Media'

https://reason.com/2021/01/14/aoc-rein-in-our-media-literacy-trump-capitol-rots/

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) told her social media followers earlier this week that Democrats in Congress might respond to the Capitol riot with some sort of "media literacy" initiative.

The phrase media literacy ordinarily implies helping individuals make sense of the media landscape, but AOC seems to have more in mind than that: She suggested "we're going to have to figure out how we rein in our media environment so that you can't just spew disinformation and misinformation."

AOC suggests adding "media literacy" as a mandate for a congressional "truth and reconciliation" committee pic.twitter.com/sv7UXMwvaO

— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 13, 2021

It's true that both traditional media and social media sometimes spread "disinformation and misinformation." But the federal government has no formal role to play in suppressing its spread. The First Amendment explicitly bars Congress from infringing on freedom of the press or freedom of speech, and the Supreme Court has recognized no exceptions for disinformation. If the government could ban disinformation, after all, it could use that as a cover for banning speech that is not actually false but merely critical of the government, or of specific politicians. Recall that Democrats swiftly denounced The New York Post's report on Hunter Biden's foreign connections as "disinformation," even though many underlying aspects of the story have since been confirmed.

Social media platforms are currently struggling with how to identify disinformation and what actions against it are appropriate. Certain subjects—such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 election results—are aggressively policed, while other misleading content is left alone. Users have every right to criticize these decisions, but ultimately Twitter and Facebook are private companies with the right to set their own moderation policies. They can prohibit speech they define as misinformation. Congress can't.

In suggesting a role for the government to regulate the media's speech, AOC is echoing comments made by numerous right-wing figures—most notably President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly called for changing libel laws to make it easier for maligned officials to sue the press. Trump has also made threats against newspapers for covering his presidency negatively. It's critical that the law not be changed; the media must be free to vigorously criticize the president, Congress, or any other aspect of the government, even if the reporting is sometimes wrong or off-base. Similarly, addressing disinformation should be a job for private platforms and individual readers, not the government.

 

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Here's what should replace the 1st amendment- No law shall be passed, restraining the free interchange of thought and opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print, freely, on any subject whatever: but for the abuse of that right, every person shall be responsible. In all prosecutions for libel, the truth of the matters alleged to be libellous, may be given in justification.

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Ultra-Woke Illinois Mandates Are Top Threat to U.S. Education

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/ultra-woke-illinois-mandates-are-top-threat-to-u-s-education/

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Step aside, California. Minnesota, hang your head. Illinois is the wokest of all, and what it does will spread.

Yes, woke K-12 curricula grounded in neo-Marxist Critical Race Theory are on the march through America’s schools. We’ve just learned that a California elementary school is forcing third-graders to deconstruct their racial identities and rank themselves by “power and privilege.” Although California governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a too-woke ethnic-studies high-school graduation requirement last fall, a reworked version, still saturated with Critical Race Theory, has just been released for public comment. Minnesota’s new draft social studies standards minimize key events in American history and stress “systemic racism” and “marginalization” instead. Cities like Seattle and San Diego are moving in the same direction. The egregious 1619 Project has already been adopted by school districts across the country.

Keep your eye on the under-the-radar case of Illinois, however. That is where woke has gone for broke, and America may soon pay the price.

On February 16, The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) of the Illinois General Assembly will decide whether to officially enact a rule already approved by the Illinois State Board of Education. The new rule is called “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards.” It’s a doozy. Should the rule be ratified on February 16, the entire Illinois teacher corps will be effectively forced into political re-education and compelled to turn their classes into woke indoctrination sessions. We’ll look at details, but the most extraordinary in a raft of outrageous dictates is that teachers must “embrace and encourage progressive viewpoints and perspectives.” Illinois is literally about to mandate that every one of its licensed teachers adopt progressive political orthodoxy and impart that ideology to students. I’ve seen some pretty extreme stuff in my time, but my jaw is now officially on the floor.

And I’m only just getting started. Yes, the new Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards are filled with commands that utterly politicize the classroom and very likely trample the free-speech and religious-liberty rights of teachers. The larger problem, however, is that Illinois has already laid the groundwork for this assault on the Constitution by enacting a so-called civics law that forces teachers to discuss current political controversies in class. The Illinois civics law also compels teachers to organize adventures in “action civics” (student protests or lobbying expeditions on behalf of causes like gun control or the Green New Deal.) These so-called civics requirements are transparent attempts to import leftist political activism and indoctrination into Illinois schools.

But now it’s official! Teachers already pressed into the role of de facto leftist community organizers by the 2015 Illinois civics law will soon be liable to negative performance reviews; student, peer, or parent complaints; or even failure of licensure, if they refuse to lead classroom discussions or organize student protests and lobbying expeditions on behalf of leftist causes. Illinois’s new Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards, in combination with the existing Illinois civics law, really do formalize the conversion of K-12 schools into political indoctrination camps.

What’s more, the Illinois experience is about to go national. As I explained recently, a nation-wide movement is pushing for the enactment of state history and civics standards on the model of Common Core. That movement is top-heavy with leaders and supporters of the Illinois civics model (considered the ultimate in “best practices” by the education Left). This new education movement wants Biden to follow Obama’s lead on Common Core, using federal carrots and sticks to pressure states into adopting woke history/civics standards. The eventual result would be “action civics” on the Illinois template in every state in the union.

No doubt, this “action civics” coalition and its Biden administration allies will move slowly and cautiously, at first, in red states. But the new Illinois “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards” expose the endgame. Once states force civics teachers to lead discussions of contemporary political controversies and organize student lobbying and protest expeditions, it’s only a matter of time until the education Left imposes formal ideological controls on those activities. The new Illinois civics law was enacted in 2015. They’ve waited six years to openly force it into a leftist template. Of course, the law was already very much along those lines. The entire “action civics” program amounts to an open invitation to an overwhelmingly leftist teacher-corps to bring politics into the classroom, thereby recruiting students into a progressive political army. It’s worked out rather nicely for the Left to date, but they want to formalize things nonetheless. Too many moderate and conservative districts resist the tide of woke.

We’ll circle back to the national implications of the Illinois experience, but let’s have a closer look at the new Illinois standards and their prospects for approval.

The Illinois Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards are less about education than political re-education. The new rule mandates, for example, that teachers, “assess how their biases…affect…how they access tools to mitigate their own behavior (racism, sexism, homophobia, unearned privilege, Eurocentrism, etc.)” You might think it impossible to “mitigate” the “unearned privilege” of being white, male, or straight, but Bettina L. Love, a prominent advocate of Critical Race Theory in education, holds that “White Teachers Need Anti-Racist Therapy.” By this she means therapy that combats “White emotionalities” or what Robin DiAngelo famously calls “White fragility.” The committee that drafted the new rule includes an article touting white fragility training sessions to help teachers “move past their whiteness” in the readings it offers to explain the standards.

In other words, the new Illinois standards are saying, “Don’t allow your racism to keep you out of therapy designed to extirpate your whiteness.” And if teachers don’t enter such therapy voluntarily, the new standards will make it easy for schools to force them into therapeutic “mitigation” of their “whiteness.” Complaints about a teacher’s failure to embrace “progressive” perspectives or let go of “Eurocentrism” (say, by assigning too many novels by white male authors) could easily subject hapless educators to DiAngelo’s cure for their whiteness. Licensure and certification are at stake.

The new Illinois standards also mandate that teachers embrace ideas like “systemic racism.” As the standards put it, teachers must affirm “that there are systems in our society that create and reinforce inequities, thereby creating oppressive conditions.” This blends with the mandate that teachers, “embrace and encourage progressive viewpoints and perspectives that leverage asset thinking toward traditionally marginalized people.” That provision might appear to narrow the forced embrace of progressivism to issues pertaining to race, ethnicity, or sexuality. Remember, however, the concept of systemic oppression detects racism and bigotry in almost every conservative policy position, from the environment to the budget. That means teachers who want to get and keep their licenses in Illinois have got to be full-spectrum progressives.

The proposed Illinois standards also make it clear that students have to be both indoctrinated and pushed into progressive activism: “Be aware of the effects of power and privilege and the need for social advocacy and social action to better empower diverse students and communities….[Leverage] student activism [by being a teacher who] promotes student activism and advocacy.” Again, given the mandate to “embrace and encourage progressive viewpoints,” the content of this activism is clear. Teachers are also encouraged to substitute “social justice work” or “action civics projects” for more traditional forms of testing when deciding on a student’s grade. Staying woke will get you straight A’s.

The new standards also mandate that Illinois teachers, “intentionally embrace student identities and prioritize representation in the curriculum,” adding that this must include “the wide spectrum and fluidity of identities.” Traditionally religious and/or conservative teachers are commanded here to affirm against conscience that there are a vast number of genders, and highlight that claim in their teaching.

The most inadvertently hilarious part of the standards is their insistence that there is “not one ‘correct’ way of doing or understanding something.” Except for Critical Race Theory, that is. Woke ideology is the one correct way of teaching, according to the new Illinois standards. The notes of the committee that created the proposed standards include a passage saying teacher preparation programs must be “forced” to teach Critical Race Theory. Relativism for thee but not for me.

The proposed Illinois standards on Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading have kicked up opposition from conservative and religious groups in state, who hold that the rule mandates political indoctrination and violates teachers’ constitutional rights. Every teacher certified by Illinois will have to be trained and assessed in accordance with the new standards. Attorneys for the Thomas More Society, which is working with the Pro-Family Alliance, calls the proposed standards unconstitutional and discriminatory on the grounds that they compel speech and violate the free exercise of religion and conscience.

Sadly, however, the new standards are likely to win final approval at the meeting of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) on February 16, if the vote falls along traditional party lines, that is. The situation is by no means hopeless, however. Serious pushback from the public just might tilt enough votes to block ratification. These bureaucratic approvals are usually quiet affairs. Once the public gets wind of just how wildly radical this new rule is, large-scale blowback could sink this pernicious proposal. The leader of the opposition to the new standards is Rep. Steven Reick, who sits on the JCAR. Reick’s thoughts on the new rule are well worth a look. As to how the public can make its opinions known to the JCAR before the big decision, that is explained at the end of this energetic critique of the new rule by the Illinois Family Institute.

The Illinois Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards force the woke ideology of the Chicago-based educators behind the 2015 Illinois civics law onto every teacher and school district in the state. That has been the drift of things in Illinois for the past six years.

The groundwork for the 2015 Illinois civics law was laid years before, as progressive educators in Chicago began to push teachers to discuss controversial contemporary social and political issues. These discussions were then tied to “service learning,” i.e., student partnerships with the many leftist community organizations in the area. (Chicago is the home of Alinskyite community organizing, after all.) This approach was formally incorporated into the Chicago Public Schools by an administrator with a background in community organizing, then expanded to include “action civics,” where students protest or lobby for almost exclusively leftist ends. Alinskyite community organizers purport to solicit the concerns of their organization’s members, while in reality pushing them slowly but surely into radical political action. That is exactly how action civics works, with teacher as the organizer and students as the organized.

In 2015, these Chicago educators prevailed upon the Illinois legislature to push their leftist brand of “civics” onto the state. Technically, local districts were left free to develop their own civics curricula, so long as they discussed current political controversies and insisted that students do “service learning” with local community organizations. Cleverly, however, the law’s backers designed it so that schools could use private funding to create their curricula. That created an opening for the powerful (and very left-leaning) Robert R. McCormick Foundation to fund curricular materials and teacher training seminars. McCormick has used its wealth to take de facto control of the Illinois civics curriculum, in the same way the Gates Foundation took de facto control of reading and math through Common Core.

The backers of the new civics bill openly concede that the “social justice frame” of the Chicago civics curriculum won’t easily fly in more conservative parts of the state. (Note the implicit admission that the Chicago civics curriculum is thoroughly politicized.) Their workaround has been to have McCormick offer free “professional development” seminars designed to push teachers outside the city toward the Chicago approach. The Illinois example is a case-study in the dangers of even state-level overrides of local school-district control. Chicago is very cleverly and successfully imposing its ideology on the more conservative parts of the state.

McCormick also funded a lavish website filled with curricula, course materials, and a blog on civics implementation. The website and the entire McCormick operation are run by Shawn Healy, the key figure behind the Illinois civics law, and Mary Ellen Daneels, the leader of McCormick’s course implementation seminars. Both advocate Critical Race Theory and the “Culturally Responsive Teaching” practices that derive from it.

The McCormick-funded website, Illinoiscivics.org, is filled with material on Critical Race Theory and Culturally Responsive Teaching, much of which overlaps with the readings offered by the committee that crafted the “Illinois Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards.” That means the main backers of the Illinois civics law are fully on board with the ideology behind the new standards. Even before the civics law was passed, the long-term goal of the action civics crowd was to get controversial issue discussion and activism built into state teacher licensure and certification requirements. The new Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards do all that, and more.

The inside story of the implementation of the Illinois civics law is told in a study published by “CivXNow: A Project of iCivics.” (CivXNow is the national coalition of mostly leftist action-civics-oriented groups run by iCivics.) The national iCivics group, as I explained recently, is a major force behind the effort to impose woke action civics on the country at large. They and their coalition partners look to Illinois as a model of what American civics should be. The iCivics/CivXNow report on the implementation of the Illinois civics law lists the following as one of the “universal takeaways” of the Illinois civics experience: “If you’re not schooled and aware of whiteness or privilege, then civic courses can very quickly become oppressive to young people of color.” The proposed new Illinois standards are fully in line with this thinking.

Late last year, in partnership with members of its national coalition, iCivics issued a white paper on “Equity in Civic Education.” The paper was co-authored by key leaders and supporters of the Illinois civics model, including Shawn Healy himself. Unsurprisingly, iCivics prominently put forward the Illinois experience as a template for the country at large. The iCivics paper also highlights “Culturally Responsive Teaching” as a perspective to be adopted by other states.

The iCivics coalition is poised to press the Illinois model on America, using the Biden administration as its ally. That would be a disaster for our country, full and final inscription of woke indoctrination into state education mandates. iCivics and its coalition partners will do their best to wrap their plans in the soothing rhetoric of “civics,” full of platitudes about developing good citizens to strengthen our democracy. Yet the Illinois model is about as far away from America’s foundational liberties as a program of education can get. However much iCivics and its coalition partners slow-walk and disguise it, the new Illinois Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards reveal the endgame of the “new civics” movement. That movement needs to be stopped, first in Illinois on February 16, and then in Congress and every state in the union.

Agreed.  This sad push in Illinois is just another example of the evils of government education, in the end it becomes nothing more than a political football, with one side or the other vying for the right to use the power of the state to indoctrinate our young people.

And if this take a foothold across the entire state of Illinois, watch out Indiana.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

San Francisco School Board Votes 6-1 To Rename 44 Schools

https://reason.com/2021/01/27/san-francisco-school-board-rename-lincoln-washington/

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San Francisco's school board voted 6-1 on Tuesday to accept a committee's recommendation to rename 44 public schools that honor historical figures like Presidents Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. A school named for current Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein will be retitled as well.

"It's a message to our families, our students and our community," said board member Mark Sanchez, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's not just symbolic. It's a moral message."

The board had been considering this move for some time, despite opposition from Mayor London Breed, a Democrat, who rightly objected to the timing.

"In the midst of this once in a century challenge, to hear that the District is focusing energy and resources on renaming schools—schools that they haven't even opened—is offensive," said Breed in October.

"It's offensive to parents who are juggling their children's daily at-home learning schedules with doing their own jobs and maintaining their sanity. It's offensive to me as someone who went to our public schools, who loves our public schools, and who knows how those years in the classroom are what lifted me out of poverty and into college. It's offensive to our kids who are staring at screens day after day instead of learning and growing with their classmates and friends."

Offensive, indeed. The renaming process is likely to cost schools millions of dollars at a time when the district is already facing a significant budget deficit; the Chronicle estimates it will be $75 million by next year. San Francisco schools don't have a single dollar to waste on new signs: Every cent must go toward protective equipment, ventilation, and whatever else is needed to get kids back in their desks. Whether a school is named Abraham Lincoln Elementary or George Washington High or School McSchoolface is really not important right now. (And what's wrong with Lincoln, anyway? He freed the slaves!)\

That the school board is wasting time with this speaks volumes about the competency of its members.

 

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Disney Revamps Jungle Cruise Ride To Remove Racist Depictions Of Indigenous People: https://www.npr.org/2021/02/01/962772012/disney-revamps-jungle-cruise-ride-to-remove-racist-depictions-of-indigenous-peop

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It's 5 p.m. at the Disney Springs shopping complex near Orlando, Fla., and guests are streaming in after a busy day at the theme parks. Among them are Corey Schleining from Indiana, and his 4-year-old grandson Tristan.

Over a steaming bowl of poutine from The Daily Poutine, Schleining runs down the list of rides he took Tristan on.

"We did Peter Pan and we did some of the important ones like that. Barnstormer and some of the stuff that he could ride for his first time," Schleining said.

They had to skip the Jungle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom because it was too crowded even with extra health and safety protocols put in place during the pandemic.

On Jan. 25, Disney announced it planned to change the Jungle Cruise ride to address negative depictions of Indigenous people. Schleining has heard about changes to the ride to make it more inclusive for guests, and said it's something he welcomes.

"As a culture. We have to change. I mean we have to change. These are things that really probably should have never existed in the first place," Schleining said.

The 10-minute ride described as a "scenic and comedic boat tour of exotic rivers" on Disney's website, takes guests on a winding 10,000-mile cruise across Asia, Africa and South America. At the very end is one controversial part: an indigenous man named Trader Sam holding up several shrunken heads. Guides quip about how Sam is the "the head salesman" whose "sales have been shrinking lately."

"Either way you slice it or dice it you won't come out ahead," one guide said jokingly.

Rollins College English professor Anne Zimmermann says that's not the only part of the ride that's problematic. She studies the stories Disney tells its guests on rides like the Jungle Cruise. The first time the boat encounters Indigenous people guests are told they're entering headhunter territory and that sometimes the natives attack crews.

"They had the union Jack flying in the boat and you have these colonizers getting attacked by a tribe of indigenous people in part of the original narrative," Zimmermann said.

Updating rides based on evolving cultural norms isn't new and it isn't new for Disney.

Ady Milman teaches theme park and attraction management at the University of Central Florida.

Milman said Disney updated its Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World and Disneyland in 2018 by taking out a scene of a bride auction.

"Several years ago a show in the Pirates of the Carribean or a scene removed a scene depicting a woman being sold as a slave," Milman said.

Now, the "Take a Wench for a Bride" sign is gone and it's only chickens that are for sale.

The character named Redd who was being sold off is a pirate.

Milman said if anything technology and a nationwide reckoning around race are speeding these changes.

In June Disney announced changes to Splash Mountain after 20,000 people signed an online petition.

The ride will get a new "The Princess and the Frog" theme based on the 2009 movie. Visitors will follow Princess Tiana and Louis on a musical journey through New Orleans as they perform in their first Mardi Gras. Music for the ride will come from the film's award-winning score. The original ride is based on the movie, Song of the South which draws on caricatures of enslaved Black people.

"And they want to stay contemporary, they want to stay current. And not to offend anybody as you probably know social media is a very quick way to criticize any type of experience," Milman explained.

A theme park is not a time capsule, said Rick Munarriz, economic analyst with the Motley Fool. Walt Disney himself embraced progress and built it into his company's business model, Munarriz said, and the new rides and attractions inspire renewed interest in the parks which translates to turnstile clicks and merchandising opportunities. Even if some fans are upset by these changes, he said, they won't be for long.

"They succumb to it. They can be angry about the change at the Pirates of the Carribean ride a couple of years ago, but they're on the ride again they're having fun," Munarriz said.

Munarriz said new rides that Disney's planning like the Guardians of the Galaxy, Cosmic Rewind roller coaster at Epcot in Orlando are already built with inclusion in mind.

A crew consisting of all varieties of species and all types of people working together on a shared mission is the right kind of message to be sending, he said.

Back at Disney Springs, Corey Schleining is excited to take his grandson on the Jungle Cruise when they return even if it is different from how he remembers it as a kid.

"We should all be evolving and doing those things. Those are things that should be left in the past so it won't bother me at all," Schleining said.

Disney hasn't released a timeline yet for when changes to the Jungle Cruise at Disney World or Disneyland will be complete.

The company did not respond to a request for a comment on this story.

But in a statement on the Disney Parks blog, Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Carmen Smith said, "it is our responsibility to ensure experiences we create and stories we share reflect the voices and perspectives of the world around us. With Jungle Cruise, we're bringing to life more of what people love — the humor and wit of our incredible skippers, while making needed updates."

 

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San Francisco Schools Renamed the Arts Department Because Acronyms Are a Symptom of White Supremacy

https://reason.com/2021/02/02/san-francisco-schools-acronyms-white-supremacy/

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The San Francisco United School District isn't quite finished with its renaming binge: The district's arts department, previously titled VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts), will now be known as the SFUSD Arts Department.

This change has been made in accordance with "antiracist arts instruction," according to ABC-7 News.

"It is a very simple step we can take to just be referred to as the SFUSD Arts Department for families to better understand who we are," Sam Bass, director of the SFUSD Arts Department, explained in a memo obtained by the local news network.

Bass did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and the memo isn't widely available. But ABC-7 reported that the decision was made to eliminate VAPA because the department realized acronyms are a symptom of "white supremacy culture."

The New York Post reported that the memo cites a 1999 paper by Tema Okun. That paper does not specifically say that acronyms are racist, though it does label "worship of the written word" as an aspect of white supremacy. Other purported characteristics of white supremacy are "perfectionism," a "sense of urgency," "individualism," and "objectivity." (If this list sounds familiar, it's because the National Museum of African American Arts and Culture got in trouble last year for promoting similar nonsense.) While some acronyms may be confusing to non-native English speakers, it's quite a stretch to describe them as a function of white supremacy.

Ironically, Okun's paper lists memos as characteristic of white supremacy, so the department should probably fire Bass for racism. And at risk of stating the obvious, the new name—SFUSD Arts Department—contains an acronym just as surely as the old one did. White supremacy is just that insidious; even an arts department dedicated to antiracism can't seem to rid itself of the stain.

This development follows the controversial decision by San Francisco's school board to formally rename 44 schools that currently honor George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and even Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.). As Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown noted earlier this week, the decision to prioritize this effort at a time when schools aren't even open strikes many people as embarrassing. "[It's] a caricature of what people think liberals in San Francisco do," one parent, a self-described Elizabeth Warren Democrat, told The New York Times. 

San Francisco school officials sure seem to enjoy humiliation. When asked about the significant learning losses among students of color who have now been kept at home for nearly a year, School Board President Gabriela Lopez essentially shrugged.

"They're just having different learning experiences than the ones we currently measure, and the loss is a comparison to a time when we were in a different space," she told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The arts department's badly explained name change isn't nearly as consequential, but it's still emblematic of a school district caught in the throes of far-left orthodoxy. If VAPA was a confusing name, then the district was perfectly justified in changing it. There's no need to cloak this mundane and reasonable decision in social justice gobbledygook.

In any case, San Francisco students won't be doing any art—antiracist or otherwise—until officials bow to the scientific consensus and actually reopen the schools.

 

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Are the Classics Racist?: https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/02/are-the-classics-racist/

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It was only a matter of time before Cicero got canceled.

The New York Times the other day profiled Princeton classicist Dan-el Padilla Peralta, who wants to destroy the study of classics as a blow for racial justice.

The critique of classics as stultifying and privileged isn’t new, but in the woke era this attack is more potent than ever and has a better chance of demolishing a foundation of Western education.

At a time when Abraham Lincoln doesn’t pass muster in the progressive precincts of America, poor benighted Homer, whose chief subject was toxic masculinity, probably doesn’t stand a chance.

In its report, the Times writes that the critics believe that the study of classics “has been instrumental to the invention of ‘whiteness’ and its continued domination.” Or as Padilla himself puts it, “Systemic racism is foundational to those institutions that incubate classics and classics as a field itself.”

 

It is rare to find other instances of scholars so consumed with hatred for their own disciplines that they literally want to destroy them from within. Presumably if an ultra-progressive astrophysicist concludes that his field is desperately out of touch with social-justice concerns, he simply goes and does something else for a living rather than agitating to have students stop learning about space.

One would think Padilla’s own amazing personal journey would, in itself, make the case for the wonders of the classics. He came here as a child from the Dominican Republic, lived in a homeless shelter in New York City, discovered a book on Ancient Greece and Rome — and with help from a mentor, got into a prep school and went on to get degrees from Princeton, Oxford, and Stanford.

For him, evidently, the classics weren’t very exclusionary, and indeed there’s no reason that they should be.

The rigors of Greek and Latin, the timeless questions raised by Plato and Aristotle, the literary value of some of the most compelling poems, plays, and tracts ever written, the insights of early historians Herodotus and Thucydides, the oratory of Pericles and Cicero, the awe-inspiring beauty of the architecture, sculpture, and pottery — all of this is available to anyone of any race, ethnicity, or creed.

To look at all these marvels and see only “whiteness” speaks to a reductive obsession with race that is destructive, self-defeating, and, in the end, profoundly depressing.

The Times complains that, paraphrasing critics, “Enlightenment thinkers created a hierarchy with Greece and Rome, coded as white, on top, and everything else below.”

There’s quite a simple reason, though, that Greece and Rome have been subjects of study and fascination for so long — their cultural, political, and legal contributions are so vast and enduring.

The Greeks gave us the example — flawed and incomplete to be sure — of democracy, and the Roman stamp is still discernible on our legal system and institutions.

Western thought and literature have proceeded throughout their history in dialogue with the classics, constantly interacting with the arguments, themes, and characters of those long-ago forebears.

This isn’t true of other ancient societies.

Of course, the Greeks and Romans were blinkered, exclusionary, repressive, and violent, but who wasn’t? Where in the ancient world did slavery not exist? What society afforded women equal status with men? Where did any ruler respect the dignity of all people?

A key difference between the Greeks and Romans and the rest was that their writers critiqued and lampooned their own societies. This willingness to engage in self-criticism became one of the hallmarks, and strengths, of Western culture.

The critics give the Greeks and the Romans the same treatment as the American project, ignoring what was exceptional about them for a monomaniacal focus on their failings, even if the failings were commonplace everywhere else.

They want to impoverish American college students and ultimately the Western mind in an act of ideological destruction. This is galling enough; it’s even worse that they call it progress.

Mr. Lowry nails it.

 

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HSE superintendent mixed messages on Black Lives Matter leaves community hurt, confused

https://www.indystar.com/story/news/local/hamilton-county/education/2021/02/10/community-reacts-hamilton-southeastern-superintendent-letters-black-lives-matter/4454388001/

(Note: URL is behind a paywall)

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On Monday, Hamilton Southeastern Superintendent Allen Bourff urged educators to teach Black Lives Matters as a political issue, not a social one.  

“I am requesting that if you work with the topic, treat it as a political issue and as you do with other political issues," Bourff wrote, "teach it without advancing it or promoting your personal views."

Roughly 24 hours later, he apologized in a second letter sent to HSE faculty but didn’t directly address if he was changing course.

In Tuesday’s letter, he said he was not asking that teachers abandon passion for social cause or that students not express themselves.

“I am requesting that we affirm publicly through our instructional practices that Black Lives Matter, that all humans have value, and that we stand in solidarity against injustice, racism, and violence, at all times.”

District spokesperson Emily Pace Abbotts said Wednesday that teachers are encouraged to use the strategies "that were outlined in the first letter to assist students as they develop their own positions on this important social issue."

The first letter referred to those strategies as ones to use "when teaching about political issues."

Bourff’s first letter to teachers started by saying he’s heard from “a number of parents who are concerned that we are advancing the cause of Black Lives Matter, a political movement within the country. They contend that their children are being indoctrinated rather than taught and that this effort has been a distraction from the academic purpose of school.”

Pace Abbotts said Wednesday that she estimated more than 30 parents emailed with complaints about teaching Black Lives Matter in schools. The HSE school district has nearly 22,000 students and nearly 1,700 are Black, per data from the Indiana Department of Education.

Per data from the Indiana Department of Education, 2% of educators in the district, which includes teachers as well as other certified employees of the district, were Black in the 2019-20 school year, the latest data available.

Parents told the district said there were lessons and discussions “reflecting the agenda of the Black Lives Matter organization are taking place in classes" and that it was part of the social emotional learning curriculum, Pace Abbotts said. 

But she added the district doesn't have specific evidence of those lessons and discussions and the SEL curriculum this semester has been focused on mental health.

IndyStar was unable to speak with anyone who complained about Black Lives Matter to the district.

Initial letter came as a surprise

For some in the HSE community, the first letter came as a surprise, leaving them asking: Why now? And why during Black History Month? But for others, including recent graduates, the letter was disappointing, but not a surprise.

Chase Iseghohi, a 2020 graduate of Fishers High School, said the district has been performative in its activism and support of Black lives.

“My voice or my life doesn’t matter whatsoever unless it’s for a photo opp or to put me online or on a flyer,” he said, adding that when it’s time to stand up for students of color, the district is “nowhere to be found.”

Iseghohi and others from Fishers Equity Awareness, a group of recent graduates and current high school students in the district, said they are starting plans to contact the school board.

On social media, people in the HSE community are calling on each other to contact the school board.

HSE parent Amber Welch started a Change.org petition called “Black Lives Matter is NOT political." As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, the petition had close to 1,200 signatures.

Welch, who has two kids in the district, said she started the petition as a way to allow people to collectively speak as one voice. She said she views Bourff’s choice to write this letter as a slap in the face, especially during Black History Month.

Welch said that the letter perpetuates the idea of “us and them.”

"That he is essentially pushing a political agenda," Welch told IndyStar, "while telling teachers not to is hypocritical."

'Many have moved it to the political arena’

In his first letter, Bourff acknowledged there is disagreement about whether Black Lives Matter is a social or political issue.

“It is clear that many have moved it to the political arena," he said "and contend that teachers should not be promoting it."

He wrote there is room for teaching political movements, even citing the American Revolution as one and included an outline for how teachers can address political issues in the classroom.

Bourff wrote that educators should not advance political causes but can teach the origins of a political cause to “explore social concepts and events that brought it to the political arena. To teach students the implications of a current political cause is to examine with them how social concepts or issues framed or have helped to frame it.”

But the second letter struck a different tone.

Instead of calling Black Lives Matter a political issue or asking for it to be treated as one, he called it a “social issue” multiple times and never used the words political or politics.

“The intent of yesterday's letter to the faculty was designed to provide instructional strategies to discuss and teach Black Lives Matter, one of the most significant issues of our time. I understand that the impact was hurtful, and for that I apologize,” Bourff wrote. “The letter was designed to provide guidance for teachers to lead these discussions and to assist students as they develop their own positions on this important social issue.”

He wrote that at HSE “we will not debate the humanity of any individual.”

.....

What a quagmire.

 

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Quagmire yes.  For Snowflakes.  For anyone with any intellect, it isn't.  Black Lives Matter as an organization is just that, an organization.  Debate it's beliefs, actions, anyway you like and in most any forum, but outside of that, historically speaking, it's an organization formed after the shooting of a young black man.  IMHO - BLM (as an organization) is no different than ANTIFA, or the Proud Boys. 

"Black lives matter" is a topic that could very well be covered in any humanities course or other that focuses on race issues or cultural issues or in a historical perspective relative to the current events of today.

(IMHO)

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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9262809/More-2-million-customers-Texas-without-power-following-winter-storm.html

Millions of people are without power in Texas after frozen wind turbines caused blackouts in the state amid Winter Storm Uri, which has sent temperatures plunging across the southern Plains a day after conditions canceled flights and impacted traffic across large swaths of the US.

1)  Not a very good endorsement for wind turbines......

2)  It's pretty cold in Texas this week, huh?

 

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