Category Archives: Race and race relations

Major Impacts of Northam’s War against Teachers

Federal school funding threatened; Democrats and unions in a bind; Lawsuits coming

Timing is Everything

by James C. Sherlock

Ralph Northam declared on August 30 of this year that Virginia’s schools are systemically racist and that teachers are presumptively racist and must be treated and monitored.

In addition to threatening to create turmoil in the schools and damage to the very students he apparently meant to help, the Governor has potentially kicked over a hornets’ nest worse than he stirred up with his infamous infanticide interview that resulted in the release of his blackface yearbook photo. 

And he may have set Virginia up for federal demands for repayments of Department of Education funds and related fines. At stake is a breathtaking amount of money that includes CARES Act funding, all of which has been contingent on compliance with the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The documented facts may also have put Democrats and their allies (in that word’s traditional and critical race theory definitions) in a large political bind.

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Boomerang: Opioid Overdoses Surge

by James A. Bacon

When governments shut down economic and social activity to quell the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Bacon’s Rebellion has frequently warned, they run the risk of engendering unintended consequences. We have predicted negative impacts from job loss and social isolation on mental health, substance abuse, domestic abuse, and suicide. Just because state government doesn’t report those numbers real-time, as it does with COVID-19 cases, doesn’t mean the impacts aren’t real.

Thanks to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, we do have data on opioid overdoses at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. The surge is dramatic and impossible to ignore.

While overall emergency room visits declined 29% between March and June 2020 compared to the same period the year before, nonfatal opioid overdoses leaped 123%. Continue reading

The Undemocratic Origins of One Fairfax

by Emilio Jaksetic

On July 12, 2016, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted a One Fairfax resolution to achieve “racial and social equity” and “direct the development of a racial and social equity policy for adoption.” The Board of Supervisor adopted the final One Fairfax Policy on November 20, 2017.

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) issued a history of the One Fairfax policy that is available on the Fairfax County government web site and the CSSP web site. A review of the CSSP document shows that One Fairfax was conceived, developed, and adopted without any meaningful effort at seeking the input or approval of the people of Fairfax County.

The chronology and quotes in this essay are from the CSSP document, “One Fairfax: A Brief History of a County-Wide Plan to Advance Equity and Opportunity,” December 2018.

In 2009, Fairfax County government commissioned CSSP to analyze the Fairfax County juvenile justice system. The CSSP analysis concluded that problems with the juvenile justice system were contributed to by “structural and institutional factors across County agencies and institutions.” Continue reading

Will Virginia Teach Critical Race Theory to Kindergartners?

Robin Diangelo, critical race theorist.

by Hans Bader

This week, the Virginia Board of Education will meet to discuss a report that may promote destructive racial ideologies — the August 2020 “Report from the Governor’s African American History Education Commission.”

James Sherlock laments “the fiercely negative approach to the teaching of African American history offered by the Governor’s Commission.” He says its “Report is critical race theory brought to life. It represents the most thoroughly negative view of America’s history and pessimism about its future as a nation that I have ever encountered in a government document anywhere. Many universities have had success at radicalization. This recommends an earlier start. Kindergarten.”

After reading his assessment at Bacon’s Rebellion, I read the Report and was dismayed by it as well. Three authors cited in the Report — Robin DiAngelo, Ibram Kendi, and Glenn Singleton — give harmful advice which, if followed, will lead to civil-rights violations and spread racism in our schools.

So in comments I emailed to the Board of Education at [email protected], I objected to their inclusion. They are currently listed in Appendix F of the report, as “Scholars and Partners for Collaboration,” and their works are cited as “Resources to Support Implementation.” Continue reading

Teaching African American History in Virginia

Frederick Douglass

By James C. Sherlock

I fully support integrating African American history into the broad sweep of history taught in the nation’s primary and secondary schools.  

On September 17, there will be a Virginia Board of Education meeting with an agenda item titled “Report from the Governor’s African American History Education Commission, August 2020”  (the Report). 

I will offer here a positive, optimistic approach.

But first, the fiercely negative approach to the teaching of African American history offered by the Governor’s Commission.

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Trump’s ICE Scandal in Farmville

By Peter Galuszka

In a remarkable display of incompetence, the Trump Administration this summer transferred dozens of undocumented aliens being held in detention centers in Arizona and Florida to a private prison in Farmville just so special federal tactical officers could beef up crowd control in Washington, D.C.

Consequently, some 300 inmates at the Farmville Detention Center operated by the privately held Richmond-based Immigration Centers of America contracted the COVID 19 virus and one died.

The action, reported this morning by The Washington Post, prompted U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to call for stricter oversight of the Farmville facility that operates under a contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to hold undocumented aliens while their cases are being reviewed or while they await deportation.

Jennifer Boysko, a Democratic state senator, called for changes in state law to allow greater regulation of private prisons.

According to the Post, the Trump Administration wanted more protection from generally peaceful protests that were being held near the White House that called attention to police slayings of African Americans while in custody. Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser declined to call for federal help. Continue reading

Systemic Inequity on the Virginia Beach Schools Equity Council

by James C. Sherlock

The Superintendent of Virginia Beach Schools has some work to do now that the Equity Policy he signed off on has been approved. The policy was developed with the assistance of the Virginia Beach Schools Equity Council.

I have recommended today to the School Board and the Superintendent that they make the first order of business changing the membership of the Equity Council to make it more equitable in compliance with the new policy. It will need either to be expanded into uselessness or reconstructed with new membership.

The current leadership of the Council consists of two members of the school board and the Virginia Beach Schools Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Each is black, as are the majority of the members.  I frankly don’t care about that, but now Virginia Beach Schools officially does.

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Qarni’s War on Meritocracy Gets Personal

Atif Qarni demeans activist Muslim mom as member of an anti-Muslim hate group.

by James A. Bacon

Wading deeper into the controversy over admissions policies at the elite Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Secretary of Education Atif Qarni is now at odds with the school’s PTA and one of its more outspoken members, Asra Nomani.

According to the PTA, Qarni has falsely accused Nomani, whose essay on TJ admissions policy Bacon’s Rebellion published here, of being part of an anti-Muslim hate group. Qarni, according to the Associated Press, has barred the PTA and Nomani from participating in an upcoming “listening session” on the admissions controversy.

Qarni has organized a task force to study equity-and-inclusion issues at TJ and 18 other Governor’s Schools across Virginia. Racial bean counters are concerned that the magnet schools have insufficient numbers of African-American and Hispanic kids. The racial disparity is especially lopsided at TJ, a math and science school, where 70% of the students are of Asian origin. Nomani and other parents have argued that the admissions process is race-blind and based upon academic aptitude as gauged by a test. Rather than reduce admissions standards, they have argued, Virginia schools need to work on developing mathematical and scientific aptitude among blacks and Hispanics earlier in their educational development. Continue reading

Virginia SAT Scores Barely Budge in 2020

Data source: Virginia Department of Education.

by James A. Bacon

In the absence of Standards of Learning (SOL) exams last year, there’s no way to tell if the education policies enacted by the Northam administration are working or failing for the vast majority of Virginia school students. But Virginia schools did administer the SAT college-preparatory exams, so we can get a sense of how well high school graduates are doing.

The good news is that Virginia high school grads eked out incremental gains in the percentage that met or exceeded the College Board’s college-readiness benchmarks in English and mathematics. The bad news is that a wide gulf persists between Asians and other ethnic groups, even though the average scores of Asian students declined somewhat.

Fifty-five percent of Virginia high-school graduate test takers met the SAT college-readiness standards, up from 54% last year. (The Virginia Department of Education rounds off its numbers, so it is impossible to tell if the increase was a full percentage point, or slightly more, or slightly less.) As usual, Asian students out-performed all other racial/ethnic groups by significant (though diminished) margins. Whites trailed Asians, Hispanics trailed whites, and blacks trailed Hispanics. Continue reading

Educational Equity in Virginia Beach Public Schools

George Orwell

by James C. Sherlock

I publish below the Educational Equity Policy to be voted on by the Virginia Beach School Board at a 4 p.m. meeting today.

My overarching comment is that the policy, as written in draft, defines equity to include both equality of opportunity and equality of outcomes. Teachers are specifically charged to ensure equality of outcomes.

The former is exactly what must happen, the latter demands quotas. It demands equity by sex as well as race and a lengthy list of other human characteristics. One wonders how much attention will be given to the outperformance by girls over boys in standardized tests.

The parenthetical notes below are mine.

The Equity Policy to be voted on tonight states that:

Strict equality of opportunity and resources between students may not result in educational equity.”  …

Equity gaps means the disparity in a metric in achievement, opportunity, or treatment that can be reasonably be correlated to racial or social inequity practice.” (Reasonably?) (The metrics of achievement include primarily SOLs and SATs. Online teaching will render those questionable for years. ) 

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Vitamin D and COVID-19

by Carol J. Bova

Researchers at the University of Chicago have found that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a higher  likelihood of contracting the coronavirus. In combination with other Vitamin D research, the results may point the way to a quick and inexpensive way to reduce COVID-19 deaths among African-Americans and Hispanics.

David Meltzer, MD, Ph.D, lead author of the article published September 3rd in JAMA Network Open, discussed their findings on a University of Chicago Medicine website. “Vitamin D is important to the function of the immune system and vitamin D supplements have previously been shown to lower the risk of viral respiratory tract infections. Our statistical analysis suggests this may be true for the COVID-19 infection.”

Another study from Spain, published August 29, had test and control groups well-matched for age, sex, comorbidities and clinical indications of COVID-19 severity. In the control group, 50% were admitted to ICU and two died. In addition to the same drugs given to the control group, the test group was given calcifediol, a vitamin D analog, which increases vitamin D levels in the body. The test group had no deaths and only 2% had to be admitted to the ICU. Continue reading

Institutionalizing the Leftist Dogma on Race

by James A. Bacon

Last month Governor Ralph Northam announced the roll-out of a high school elective course on African American history. Sixteen school divisions are offering the course this fall.

Last year, the governor had directed the Virginia Department of Education, Virtual Virginia, WHRO Public Media, and a committee of historians to develop the course. Now complete, the course surveys African American history from precolonial Africa, the transatlantic slave trade, and American slavery through the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Civil Rights era to the present. States the Governor’s press release. “Students will learn about African American voices, including many not traditionally highlighted, and their contributions to the story of Virginia and America.”

That sounds anodyne enough. But this quote from Secretary of Education Atif Qarni hints at the ideological underpinnings of the course: “We can expect young Virginians to understand the enduring impacts of systemic racism only when they fully understand both the oppression experienced by African Americans and their significant contributions to STEM, the arts, education, law, and advocacy.” Continue reading

Race Still Unknown in One of Five COVID Cases

by Carol J. Bova

On July 27th, Bacon’s Rebellion asked the question, “Why is VDH Stockpiling Cases as Unknown Race”? The Northam administration had expressed concerns since March about the disparity of racial impacts from COVID-19. Yet 24% of confirmed cases at that time still had not been classified by race or ethnicity.

More than a month later, that percentage has barely budged. Between Aug. 1 and Sept. 5, 19% of COVID-19 cases had no racial or ethnic identifier.

On August 26, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) discussed on its COVID-19 blog why the missing information is important and announced a new method to address the problem.

Good information on disparities in disease incidence, outcomes, and social and economic consequences, is necessary to guide and develop an appropriate response. However, efforts to study these disparities have been hampered by missing data. Almost a quarter of confirmed cases are missing race and ethnicity data. Accounting for this missing data is essential to understanding COVID-19 and to facilitate research into health disparities. Social Epidemiologists from the Office of Health Equity used imputation techniques to estimate race and ethnicity for cases missing that data.

The blog post described the process used to estimate the racial composition of COVID-19 cases that were not originally reported and showed the results. Although VDH will continue to use unimputed data on the Daily Dashboard, staff from VDH Surveillance and Investigations will post new results of the imputed numbers for research purposes as they are calculated. Continue reading

“A People’s History” and its Role in Progressive Rage

by James C. Sherlock

A People’s History of the United States

In pursuit of an understanding of the sources of so much nihilistic rage by some of America’s young people in the streets, I recently read Howard Zinn’s book, ‘A People’s History of the United States’, originally published in 1980. It has sold more than 2.5 million copies. At 729 pages it is a heavy lift.  

It’s genre is specified as non-fiction – history. We’ll see.

It is assigned in high school and college classrooms to teach students that American history is an endless rosary of oppression, slavery, and exploitation, hoping to establish truth by early and repeated assertion, after which the case is closed.

Zinn’s book, first published in 1980, is perhaps the most famous American history textbook ever written, and certainly the most pessimistic. His goal was to change the way Americans saw their own history by writing his interpretation of the perspective of those not discussed in most histories.  

Remember that in 1980, the type of proud Marxist that Zinn represented could still see in the Soviet Union and Cuba models they admired and thought most surely would succeed.  

Fair enough. He is entitled to his ideals. And certainly America historically has struggled to achieve the goals so clearly laid out in founding documents. Slavery will always be a stain. But those truths were explored by historians long before 1980.  

Any objective historian when discussing the shortfalls in 500 years of American history must explain why America has lasted so long, accomplished so much, is the freest land on the planet and is still the place where the world’s strivers want to come and stay. 

So what does Mr. Zinn’s book do, how does it do it and why?

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Voters Oppose Contracts That Protect Bad Cops

By Steve Haner

As yet another bitter conflict over a police officer’s use of deadly force divides America, this time a case in Wisconsin, Virginia’s General Assembly forges ahead with opening up the state to the police unions that usually rush to protect their members from discipline or dismissal.

The Kenosha Professional Police Association was quick with its call for everybody to step back and let that investigation proceed. That is a fairly balanced statement, but then it put out a statement defending the officers’ behavior that ended with an entire clip emptied into somebody’s back.  Unions advocate for their members.

Among all the bills introduced in the General Assembly’s special session response to these cases are a handful seeking to prevent some of the worst problems seen when unions stand up for bad cops. One is already defeated, but two are languishing in a House committee, where they may or may not be heard. All three have Republican sponsors.

A poll conducted for the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy two weeks ago indicates they would have public and bipartisan support. The poll over-sampled Black Virginians, to be sure enough were called to give credence to that cross tabulation. Their support was in line with all Virginians.

To be specific:

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