Category Archives: Children and families

The Death of Common Sense and the Child-Care Shortage

by James A. Bacon

Simone Martinez began searching for child care four months into her pregnancy. When her baby Zelaina was born, she still hadn’t found a provider, Cardinal News tells us. “I was debating quitting my job even though we really can’t afford it,” she said.

Hundreds of families are on waiting lists in Southwest and Southside Virginia, says Cardinal News. Indeed, child care shortages are a statewide problem — and they are causing major headaches for parents.

Forty-seven percent of Virginia residents live in child care “deserts,” defined by the Center for American Progress as areas having insufficient options. Even when child care is available, it can be so expensive — equivalent to private school tuition — that it makes sense for many parents, usually mothers, to drop out of the workforce and stay home. In 2021, 44,000 Virginians made career sacrifices because of child care issues, according to the liberal-left think tank.

In the minds of many, every social problem calls for a government “solution,” which means Mo Money from taxpayers, and day care is no exception. The Cardinal article quotes multiple people calling for bigger government subsidies. “If we don’t have continued investment and subsidies from the state and federal government,” says one provider, “the child care industry will collapse.”

No one, and that includes Cardinal News, thinks to inquire why day care is so scarce and so expensive in the first place. The usual suspects quoted in the media never ask if excessive government regulation might play a role. Continue reading

Medical Gender Transition in Children – American Academy of Pediatrics Headquarters vs. the World

Courtesy American Academy of Pediatrics

by James C. Sherlock

Who cares for transgender kids the most and is looking out for their best interests?

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) headquarters leadership; or
  • Dissenting AAP members and the medical societies of some of the leading nations in the science of medicine?

A reasonable and important question, since Virginia and the rest of the nation need to know what is best for kids before we squabble about who chooses.

An op-ed in The Wall Street Journal by pediatrician Dr. Julia Mason and Leor Sapir, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, pulled back the curtain on the politicization of AAP headquarters and its suppression of debate on matters of medical treatment of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

They take on the efforts by AAP to suppress:

  • both public knowledge of the gaps in the science of child transgender medicine; and
  • efforts in conservative states to regulate on-demand puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery in children.

Importantly, they revealed that Sweden, Finland and the U.K. have enacted restrictions on medical transition of minors and that medical societies in France, Belgium and Australia are on the verge of doing so.

What do the medical societies and government health services in those countries know that the AAP does not permit discussion of and its scriveners in the American press have not reported? Continue reading

Progressives in Virginia In Position to Overrule Parental Objections to Invasive Child Gender Dysphoria Treatment

by James C. Sherlock

The Virginian-Pilot, in an editorial, bemoaned Governor Youngkin’s endorsement of a policy that would require schools to tell parents about their kids’ transexual identity expressions at school.

It’s as though the potential consequences of such a policy have never crossed his mind.

The sure consequences of opposing that policy were not discussed.

The Pilot brain trust did not address, and perhaps did not care, that a child in Virginia must have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria as a predicate for mental health treatment. And, of course, for physically invasive treatments.

Most Virginians think parental/guardian consent is required for all of that. It certainly should be. But it won’t be if progressives find the right judge.

Medical ethics should help protect kids, but will not. Progressive medical providers think themselves to be doing the best thing for the child, even with the dangerous, irreversible and ghastly treatments to which some providers subject children diagnosed as gender dysphoric.

Neither will judicial ethics. Read the papers every day for things that progressives think best for all of us. Progressive judges will think themselves to be doing the right thing as well.

Virginia is thick with progressive doctors and judges. It is thicker with parents.

The progressives need to be stopped by changes in Virginia law. This is a very complicated subject.  So the background discussion will be extensive.

Continue reading

American Kids Are Flabby. It Isn’t Because Of Climate Change.

by Kerry Dougherty

Just when you thought the world’s climate clowns couldn’t get any zanier there’s this:

Yep, these loons are now blaming America’s flabby, sedentary and out-of-shape children on global warming. Continue reading

Parental Rights Trump Kids’ Rights to Privacy

by Kerry Dougherty

In their relentless quest to slam Governor Glenn Youngkin, Virginia’s rabid lefties are now apoplectic because he believes parents ought to be notified if their troubled son is dressing as a girl at school and changing his name and pronouns.

How dare Youngkin say parents are entitled to know such things about their kids!

Boys have a right to visit their transition locker when they get to school to pick out a cute frock and matching pumps for the day. They can then use the girls’ room, demand to be called Susie, insist on she/her pronouns, and re-emerge as a boy before heading home.

What business is this nutty behavior to the people who are legally responsible for him and love him, the left asks. Continue reading

A Teacher Safety Perspective on Teacher Shortages

by James C. Sherlock

We have discussed here teachers shortages in Richmond and some of the other larger school divisions in Virginia.

When the issues of teachers being physically afraid to continue teaching because of behavioral chaos in the schools is brought up, it is ignored or dismissed by the left in favor of its “mean parents” narrative.

The facts do not matter to that narrative. But they matter to nearly everyone else except, for some strange reason, the teachers’ unions. I have no explanation for that.

Let’s look at high school teachers’ (and students’) fears for their safety from student assault. Continue reading

Virginia Needs Better Information Sharing to Provide Mandated Public Services to Illegals Efficiently and Effectively

by James C. Sherlock

I am on record as a persistent advocate of improving the quality of both schools and medical services for poor and minority citizens. It has been the main focus of my work for years.

In a directly related matter, we read, with different reactions depending upon our politics, of the struggles with uncontrolled immigration on border states on the one hand and D.C, New York City and Los Angeles on the other.

We are treated to the public spectacle of the mayors of sanctuary cities deploring massive new influxes of illegal border-crossers and asking for federal assistance. It provides one of the best object lessons in being careful what you ask for in recent public life.

All of that is interesting, but Virginians know that the problem is increasing. They know Virginia can’t fix it, and they want to know how Virginia will deal with it.

By law we owe illegals services. And we need to provide them efficiently and effectively both for humanitarian reasons and to ensure that citizens are not unnecessarily negatively affected.

There is work to do. Continue reading

Social Theory vs. Science in K-12 Discipline in Virginia – Fraud or Just Wrong?

Both fraudulent and wrong?

by James C. Sherlock

American school children have in my lifetime been the subject of widespread experiments in theory disguised as breakthroughs in education.

Consider the “new math” and the “reading wars” as prominent examples.

Now we have social theory on school discipline created by federal civil rights lawyers piggybacking on what may or may not prove to be successful academic practices for children with disabilities. That social theory has been promulgated as state policy guidance in Virginia.

A Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) has been used successfully in some instances to help teach academics to the learning-disabled.

This system was extended by lawyers from the aspirational left to school discipline and social-emotional learning without evidence. Now it has been published by the Virginia Board of Education for use by every school division in Virginia as a potential cure for “systemic racism” in discipline.

The 2021 Model Guidance for Positive, Preventative Code of Student Conduct Policy and Alternatives to Suspension (Virginia Model Guidance) may be fraudulently referenced. It is certainly incompletely referenced. Continue reading

The Public Housing and Education Debate – Who, Exactly, are the Racists?

Norfolk public housing immediately adjacent to old Virginian-Pilot building

by James C. Sherlock

There is agreement on both sides of the political divide in Virginia and the rest of the country that public housing projects were and are hellholes.

I have written that the bipartisan response, vouchers, run into lack of supply virtually everywhere.

Cue the debate about causes and solutions.

Let’s take a look at the evidence. Continue reading

Where Does Virginia Most Need Charter Schools?

by James C. Sherlock

Discussing failing schools in Virginia, people tend to speak in generalities. When an example is needed, the City of Richmond Public Schools is chosen — an uncontested layup.

But failed schools are not a problem just in Richmond. And bad public schools in Richmond are not limited to RPS. They are a problem to which VDOE has paid lip service, hamstrung by Virginia law and constitution when trying to fulfill federal mandates with federal money.

I will be very specific about schools and school divisions and the potential to help those children with professionally-run charter schools. Currently not a single one of the six or so charter schools in Virginia is managed by a successful charter management organization (CMO).

The most useful public list that we have at the moment for this discussion is the 2020-21 VDOE list of “Schools Identified for Support and Improvement under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).”

I will use that list to offer specificity to a Governor who wants to help. Continue reading

No, Your Middle Schooler Doesn’t HAVE to Get the HPV Vaccine

by Kerry Dougherty

Virginia Beach Delegate Tim Anderson took his sons to see the new “Minions” movie two weeks ago at the Regal Cinemas at Town Center.

They were settled in their seats when a disturbing image appeared on the screen.

The movie wasn’t offensive. But a public service announcement from the Virginia Department of Health was. It told the audience that a vaccine against HPV — the human papillomavirus — was required for entry into Virginia middle schools.

Trouble is, that’s deceptive. While that vaccine against a common STD is listed with the mandates, parents can decide if they want their child to receive it. Continue reading

Mamas, Let Your Babies Grow Up Before Getting Vaccinated

Source: Virginia Department of Health

by James A. Bacon

About 21,000 Virginia children aged four and under have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the three weeks since the shots were made available, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. That amounts to only 5% of the age group, observes reporter Eric Kolenich, but it’s significantly higher than the national average of 2%.

I’m double vaxed and double boosted. But, then, I’m 69 years old. Nearly 3,800 Virginians in my age bracket have died from the virus. Only 13 children under the age of nine have succumbed.

I don’t proffer unsolicited advice to my daughters. They’re intelligent women capable of making informed decisions about my three grandchildren, and I’m not inclined to meddle. But if they sought my counsel (which they haven’t), I would advise against vaccinating the little knuckleheads.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, nearly 160,000 cases of COVID have been reported for the 0-to-9 age bracket. The chances of little guys getting the virus are high. But only 942 have been hospitalized, and only 13 have died. Continue reading

Hospitals Continue to Cut Labor and Delivery and NICU Services

Credit Kylie Johnson Photography

by James C. Sherlock

Virginia and the nation continue to see the results of the baby bust.

I wrote yesterday of the baby cliff, the 15% decline in live births that started in the great recession of 2007-09. It continues. And it continues to drive change, much of it not good.

I have written here about such important hospital changes as:

  • the closing of labor and delivery services at Virginia Beach General Hospital and elsewhere in the state; and
  • the consolidation of Neo-natal ICU (NICU) services with the integration of two hospital systems into Ballad Health in Southwestern Virginia and Northeastern Tennessee.

That too is a continuing national trend.

Today’s young people of child-bearing age will find not only fewer places to deliver a child than their parents did, but also to provide specialized care if the baby needs it. Continue reading

Gender Dysphoria Treatment for Children Needs Some Rules in Virginia

by James C. Sherlock

Virginia needs, for the protection of children, parents, and physicians, a law to specify minimum age requirements and require court orders for voluntary medical intervention in child sexual development.

When there are physical abnormalities involved, the court can order those treatments as well.

On the other hand, I propose a ban on voluntary sex reassignment surgery in minors.

A court order is already required in Virginia for non-therapeutic sterilization of children. Virginia law makes no reference to the treatment of gender dysphoria in children.

Some will try to parse the differences, but it seems almost axiomatic that consent to puberty blocking and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for minors should be treated the same as consent to sterilization. Continue reading

School Security and Public Recreation

Courtesy of ESPN

by James C. Sherlock

Richmond Free Press (RFP) has editorialized about an issue of importance to all Virginians.

The editorial “Indoor basketball courts or outdoor courts? Why not both?” discusses the fact that the City of Richmond has late-stage plans for the construction of the new George Wythe High School that have secure entrances to indoor facilities and no plans for outdoor basketball courts.

RFP in its editorial makes a plea to the mayor and city council to let the adults and kids in the neighborhood use the high school as a community asset for recreational activities when the kids are not in school.

The RFP editorial board is spot-on.

It is or should be an issue all across the state. Continue reading