Category Archives: Culture wars

Naming Commission is Stripping History

by Donald Smith

The week of January 16, 2023, was a big one for Virginia heritage issues in the Richmond area. Connor Williams, the chief historian for the Congressional Naming Commission (CNC) came to the American Civil War Museum to explain and defend the commission’s sweeping recommendations toward, and its disparagement of, Confederate memories on Department of Defense installations.

That week also saw the announcement that the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Richmond would be renamed as part of a campaign to strip “racist history from military facilities,” according to a story in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.

In the article, Sen. Mark Warner (D), a former governor of Virginia, praised the renaming. “Naming decisions should honor the patriotism of our veterans,” he said.

So, by highlighting that particular part of Warner’s statement, the Stars and Stripes apparently thinks that, in Mark Warner’s eyes, Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire and the Virginia soldiers he treated during the Civil War were neither patriots nor veterans.

It is time for the General Assembly to act. The GA needs to convene a hearing to explore the CNC’s recommendations and let the CNC justify them. Continue reading

On the Unlawful Nature of ‘Equity’ in Virginia

by David Gordon

The Democrats wanted a fight over Critical Race Theory (CRT). The Virginia Project and our friends gave them the fight they were begging for — and spanked them so hard they’ll never forget it. When the facts were made known, the public was overwhelmingly against it, across every demographic. Fighting CRT was a clear winner and Virginia’s Republicans rode the issue to success across the state.

However, CRT is merely the root of a much broader structure, one that includes other concepts such as “equity, diversity and inclusion” and “antiracism.” While CRT itself has been purged, with leftist schools and school boards rushing to scrub it from their materials lest they get caught and become the next schools scandal, its products remain deeply embedded — not just in the schools, but all across the state, implemented at the local level.

Critical Race Theory is dead. It’s now time to kill off its hyper-racialist demon spawn, starting with “Equity.”

“Equity” is the new “Critical Race Theory,” and the war to defeat it is rapidly entering into full swing. Continue reading

Virginia Community Schools Redefined – Hubs for Government and Not-for-Profit Services in Inner Cities – Part 1 – the Current Framework

by James C. Sherlock

I believe a major approach to address both education and health care in Virginia’s inner cities is available if we will define it right and use it right.

Community schools.

One issue. Virginia’s official version of community schools, the Virginia Community School Framework, (the Framework) is fatally flawed.

The approach successful elsewhere brings government professional healthcare and social services and not-for-profit healthcare assets simultaneously to the schools and to the surrounding communities at a location centered around existing schools.

That model is a government and private not-for-profit services hub centered around schools in communities that need a lot of both. Lots of other goals fall into place and efficiencies are realized for both the community and the service providers if that is the approach.

That is not what Virginia has done in its 2019 Framework.

The rest of government and the not-for-profit sector are ignored and Virginia public schools are designed there to be increasingly responsible for things that they are not competent to do.

To see why, we only need to review the lists of persons who made up both the Advisory Committee and the Additional Contributors. Full of Ed.Ds and Ph.D’s in education, there was not a single person on either list with a job or career outside the field of education. Continue reading

Chilling Revelations In The Saga Of The 6-Year-Old Teacher Shooter

by Kerry Dougherty

Excuse my language, but what the hell is going on at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News?

On Saturday, The Washington Post reported that school administrators there have downplayed threats of violence, apparently ignoring pleas for help from frightened teachers.

One account claims that the same boy who shot and nearly killed his teacher two weeks ago threatened another teacher saying he wanted to set her on fire and watch her burn.

The Post story is crammed with horrifying accounts of violent outbursts by an out-of-control child allegedly terrorizing his fellow students and teachers.

If true, there needs to be a wholesale shake-up in that school and this bleeding heart nonsense needs to STOP.

School officials must explain why they allow students who have threatened violence against teachers to remain in the classroom. Then they need to tell us why THEY deserve to keep their jobs.

Here’s a question for Richneck school leaders: Is there anything they WON’T tolerate at that dysfunctional elementary school, where a substitute teacher told The Post that the kids were so frightening that after one day she refused to go back to that particular school?
Continue reading

Hokies, Join the Resistance!

From Campus Reform:

Virginia Tech prof accuses student of spreading misinformation, threatens to delete discussion board posts

A pro-life student at Virginia Tech was publicly accused of spreading misinformation by her professor after submitting a discussion board assignment expressing pro-life views.

After being admonished publicly, student Alyssa Jones met with her professor and recorded the conversation. “I hadn’t really been thinking the way you want me to I guess,” she said. “I didn’t say anything that was factually incorrect in my discussion post, and I’m just a little bit confused as to why you told the class that I was spreading misinformation.”

Bacon’s bottom line: Push back. Document everything. And take your case public. Students, there are people who will help you,

By the way, Hokie alumni, where the heck are you? You’ve got the most politically conservative (or least “progressive”) students among the major Virginia universities. Why aren’t you standing up for them? Join the University of Virginia, Virginia Military Institute, James Madison University, and Washington & Lee in forming an alumni resistance group. We’re happy to help. Contact me at jabacon@thejeffersoncouncil.com.

— JAB

Leave Arlington’s Confederate Memorial Intact

Cherry trees bloom in Jackson Circle around the Confederate Monument in Section 16 of Arlington National Cemetery, April 7, 2015, in Arlington, Va. The Confederate Monument was unveiled June 4, 1914, according to the ANC website. (Arlington National Cemetery photo by Rachel Larue)

by Phil Leigh

Arlington National Cemetery’s Confederate Memorial should remain intact. Although four of the first seven cotton states arguably seceded from the union over slavery, they did not cause the Civil War. They had no purpose to overthrow the federal government. After forming the seven state Confederacy in February 1861, they promptly sent commissioners to Washington to “preserve the most friendly relations” with the truncated Union. Instead of letting the cotton states depart in peace, the North’s resolve to force them back into the Union caused the war.

With half of the military-aged white men of the eventual 11-state Confederacy, the four states of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas only joined the original seven after President Lincoln called upon them to provide volunteers to force the first seven back into the Union. In response to a telegram from Lincoln’s Secretary of War Edwin Stanton directing that Virginia provide her quota of such volunteers, Governor John Letcher replied that his state would not comply and concluded: “You have chosen to inaugurate Civil War….”

On the eve of the war, Northerners and Southerners differed on their relative loyalties to the federal and state governments. According to historians Edward Channing and Eva Moore, Northerners had

the general opinion that the Union was sovereign, and the states were part of it…. The idea that the people of the United States formed one nation had been reinforced by the coming of immigrants from abroad. These people had no conception of a ‘state’ or a sentimental attachment to a ‘state.’ They had come to America to better their condition….

By mostly settling in the North, they reinforced the Northerners’ belief that they owed their loyalty to the Union first and only secondarily to the state. Continue reading

The Naming Commission’s Diktats

by Donald Smith

The Congressional Naming Commission (CNC) was authorized as part of the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act. Its eight commissioners included two retired Army generals, a retired Navy admiral and a retired Marine Corps general. It also had academics with imposing credentials. One commissioner is a professor emeritus at United States Military Academy West Point and another is a senior official at the American Enterprise Institute. The commission’s chief historian, Connor Williams, took a leave of absence from his faculty position at Yale to serve on the CNC. The CNC even had an elected federal official — Austin Scott, a Republican congressman from Georgia.

The CNC recommended — among many, many other things — that all active U.S. Army bases named for Confederate generals be renamed. And, in the Preface to Part 1 of its report, it appears to pick a fight.

This is how the CNC report’s Preface characterizes monuments erected to Confederates and the Confederacy in the years following the Civil War:

Most importantly, during the end of the nineteenth century and the start of the twentieth century, the South and much of the nation came to live under a mistaken understanding of the Civil War known as the “Lost Cause.” As part of the “Lost Cause,” across the nation, champions of that memory built monuments to Confederate leaders and to the Confederacy, including on many Department of Defense assets. In every instance and every aspect, these names and memorials have far more to do with the culture under which they were named than they have with any historical acts actually committed by their namesakes. (Preface, page 3).

The obvious implication of this statement goes well beyond changing some base names. The commissioners presume to pass judgment on (a) what these names and memorials meant to everyone and (b) what the “real” motivations for those statues were. Think about that. Continue reading

Part II: School Discipline, Virginia Data and Virginia’s Disproportionality Concerns

This is the second of a three-part series on school discipline. The authors present information and provide discussion questions for the audience to respond. We hope the discussion will further an understanding of the complexity of school discipline and safe and orderly schools within the context of the presented data.

by Matthew Hurt and Kathleen Smith

Findings from Virginia Data

Data on school discipline are abundant, but not always reliable. The reasons are many. Overall, data are reported by infraction to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and to the Office of Civil Rights by each school division. One kind of infraction in one school division may be deemed another kind of infraction by another division. For example, using a curse word while talking to a teacher could be considered disrespect or a threat, depending on who is entering the data in the system. Although the VDOE has attempted to clarify the language over time, it still may not be reliable. For this reason, the data used herein refer to only a few data points of what is reported to the Office of Civil Rights by divisions for each school every two years in 2015-2016 and 2017-2018. This data can be found here. Some data are highlighted below.

Congruency Matters in Learning and Discipline Data

Congruency means that percent of total of a discipline indicator should be similar or equal to the enrollment percent of total. In other words, in 2017-2018, if 22 percent of students are Black, then 22 percent of Black students should have been suspended. In 2017-2018, 51 percent of the total number of suspensions were of Black students. This means that the Black population’s results are not congruent to the actual percent of the Black students in the total population. Continue reading

Have Virginia Republican Elected Officials Given Up on Charter Schools?

by James C. Sherlock

Two things we know:

  1.  There is absolutely no question that charter schools run by successful charter management organizations (CMOS) are proven to be the most efficient and effective American public schools in instructing poor urban kids.
  2. There is also no question that many Democratic politicians, having eliminated any doubt about their hierarchy of values, have thrown those kids off the lifeboat in favor of the teachers’ unions.

But where, exactly, are Virginia Republican elected officials on this issue?

The only school choice bill I have seen from Republicans introduced in the General Assembly this session, education savings accounts, does not appear to help poor kids at all.

What is the thinking there?

If Democrats representing those districts — and they are all Democrats — are going to vote against their own kids in deference to the teachers’ unions (and they have in the past) why bother?

If that is it, I urge Republican elected officials to re-think this. Continue reading

Miyares Reminds Republicans the Difference a Year Makes

by Shaun Kenney

If Virginia Republicans needed a sizzle reel, this was it.

With news that leftist Commonwealth Attorneys are openly refusing to enforce the law in some cases, the threat to the rule of law and the problem of selective enforcement is greater now than ever before.

Which is why a long list of actual accomplishments is enough to lift the spirits of anyone kicking the dirt about what Virginia Republicans might be in future:
Short list?

• Miyares actually reminds us of his constitutional oath (something his predecessor set aside rather quickly);
• Launching Operation Ceasefire;
• Keeping repeat offenders off Virginia’s streets;
• Listening to and working with local law enforcement across Virginia;
• Protecting consumers from bad corporate actors;
• $1 billion in settlements while tackling the opioid crisis, specifically targeting the cheap availability of fentanyl — which is more of a problem than most people realize;
• Protecting Virginia energy ratepayers;
• Touring Virginia public schools regarding school safety;
• Perhaps the marquee issue: investigating Loudoun County Public Schools for their horrific and heavy-handed treatment of concerned parents.

There are also these: (1) Virginia Republicans are moving forward with a focus on process rather than agenda; (2) Miyares knows Virginia like the back of his hand; and (3) Miyares intends to move in coalition. Continue reading

General Assembly Democrat Bill Supports Gender Transition at 16 Without Parental Consent

Del. Candi King, (D) – House District 2 Stafford and Prince William (Facebook)

by James C. Sherlock

I note that House Bill No. 2091, with Patrons Munden-King, Clark, Hope, Maldonado, Rasoul and Simon does two things:

  1. It modifies Code of Virginia § 20-124.6. Access to minor’s records to permit health care providers to deny a minor patient’s records to parents if, in the provider’s judgment, providing those records would be “reasonably likely to deter the minor from seeking care.”
  2. It modifies Code of Virginia § 54.1-2969. Authority to consent to surgical and medical treatment of certain minors by adding:

“L. Any minor 16 years of age or older who is determined by a health care provider to be mature and capable of giving informed consent shall be deemed an adult for the purpose of giving consent to consultation, diagnosis, and treatment of a mental or emotional disorder by a health care provider or clinic.”

“Deemed by a health care provider.”

Going out on a limb, let’s take gender dysphoria as an example. Continue reading

Newport News Schools Making Changes After Shooting – But Not Enough Yet

Evolve Technology
Courtesy Kenton Brothers

by James C. Sherlock

Better late than never. Truly.

The Daily Press reported today that the Newport News school board has secured funding for state-of-the-art metal detectors.

State-of-the-art means systems that can detect weapons without the long lines and delays we associate with such systems.

As an example, a 125-year-old company, Kenton Brothers, offers Evolve Technology that combines artificial intelligence with digital sensors that they claim can screen visitors and students 10 times faster that older methods.

Kenton Brothers inevitably has competitors with similar technologies. Perhaps better ones.  These systems won’t keep teachers or kids from getting assaulted in schools, but should reduce knifings and shootings.

Which is something.

But to restore order, metal detectors must be paired with old-school zero tolerance discipline. The long-adopted, utterly failed Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) discipline system must be scrapped in Newport News schools.

Which is something else. Continue reading

What Happened to All Those Promises to Defend Virginia’s Heritage?

by Donald Smith

Many Bacon’s Rebellion readers — me included — worry that Virginia’s history is being erased and scourged and its heroes demeaned. The November 2021 state elections gave us cause for cheer. During his campaign, Glenn Youngkin indicated that he would stand up to the “Wokerati” working their way through the Old Dominion’s institutions. On November 14, we got more good news: Delegate Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, would be the new Speaker of the House of Delegates. “Todd Gilbert ready to take on powerful House Speaker job,” was the headline of Charles Paulin’s Northern Virginia Daily article on December 30.

“As Speaker,” wrote Paulin, “Gilbert will be responsible for overseeing the business of the House, including deciding which bills are called to the floor for a vote and appointing committee chairs.”

Virginia heritage activists had good reason to cheer Gilbert’s speakership. In 2020, when the sitting Speaker of the House pulled statues and busts of Confederate leaders out of the state Capitol building, Gilbert didn’t ignore it. He pushed back. Mocking the claims of the then-speaker, Eileen Filler-Corn, that she wanted to “truly tell the commonwealth’s whole history,” Gilbert pointed out that the state Capitol building had also been the seat of the Confederate government — so shouldn’t we now raze it to the ground?

When the Northam administration and activists pressured Virginia Military Institute’s Superintendent Binford Peay into quickly resigning over sensational charges of systemic racism at VMI,” Gilbert reacted harshly:

When Governor Northam admitted to wearing blackface and appearing in a racially offensive photograph, he sought the grace of the public’s forgiveness. If polling is to be believed, the public has largely extended that grace to him. Now the Virginia Military Institute stands accused of accommodating racist incidents. It’s a shame that Governor Northam couldn’t extend the same amount of grace that he’s been afforded with his own past, at least until we know all the facts.

Another reason for cheer was that Gilbert appeared to be a “Somewhere,” instead of an “Anywhere.” British author David Gilbert coined the terms to differentiate between people who have close ties to a region or culture, versus people who view their current home as simply an address (perhaps temporary) of convenience. Gilbert didn’t represent Fairfax or Loudon or any of the other Northern Virginia counties now dominated by people new to Virginia. His 15th District covers Page and Shenandoah Counties — two Shenandoah Valley counties with many residents whose Virginia ties go back to at least the Civil War. Those people are “Somewheres,” in other words. Continue reading

UVa Student Council Peddles Its Character Assassination to the General Assembly

by James A. Bacon

The executive board of the University of Virginia Student Council has asked the Virginia General Assembly to reject Governor Glenn Youngkin’s appointment of Bert Ellis to the Board of Visitors.

The letter was addressed to Democratic Party leaders of the state Senate. The Senate is comprised of 22 Democrats and 18 Republicans, which gives Democrats the power to block the nomination if they follow a party-line vote. None have commented publicly yet on their intention.

The letter, which recycled charges made earlier this year by the UVa Student Council and Faculty Senate, described the Ellis appointment as “reckless, ill intentioned and threatening to the safety of the marginalized students at this University.” 

The Daily Progress repeated the allegations and linked to the letter without any offsetting comment from Ellis, the Youngkin administration, or The Jefferson Council, a UVa alumni organization of which Ellis is president. Ellis’ email is readily available: it is listed on The Jefferson Council website, as is that of the executive director (me).

The vendetta against Ellis amounts to character assassination. The portrayal of him is so one-sided as to make him unrecognizable. Ellis offered to give his side of the story to the Faculty Senate but the offer was declined. The Jefferson Council has published rebuttals, and letters have been written to The Cavalier Daily, but Ellis’ critics have acknowledged none of the exculpatory facts and testimony. They appear to be impervious to anything that might disturb their narrative. Continue reading

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