Lee, Jackson, the Right of Rebellion, and Hanging Cromwell’s Corpse

The thirst for vengeance has no expiration date: hanging Oliver Cromwell’s corpse.

by Jock Yellott

As an August vacation from current events, let’s explore Virginia’s Right of Rebellion — and the question of Confederate treason.

It’s in our state constitution Bill of Rights: “Whenever any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to [the benefit, protection, and security of the people] a majority of the community hath an indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal. Virginia Constitution Art. I §3 (June 12, 1776).

Virginia’s Constitution was no anomaly.

When the American colonies seceded from England in 1776, and afterwards for the next three quarters of a century until 1860, most state constitutions in their Bill of Rights or Preamble reserved to the citizens the right to abolish their own governments. A representative sample: the original colonies Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Georgia, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, and later (when added to the union) the states of Texas and Maine. Continue reading

Hallelujah! Cellphones Banned In Virginia Beach Schools

by Kerry Dougherty

Quietly and without fanfare the Virginia Beach School Board on Tuesday night decided to ban cellphones in schools.

Even powering up a phone on school property will now be against school board policy.

Hallelujah!

No longer will teachers have to patrol the aisles, reminding kids to put their phones away. No longer will high school students be allowed to spend every break hunched over their phones and they won’t be permitted to text or call their friends or family during the school day, thus terminating one of the most persistent distractions to education.

Board member Carolyn Weems told her colleagues of a teacher who’d asked her kids to keep track of how many hours they spent on their phones each day.

The results? A shocking 10 to 12 hours. Every day!

Combine that ever-present distraction with the learning losses that took place during misguided covid shutdowns and the Beach had a recipe for failure.

The new cellphone policy was the subject of a refreshingly cordial conversation at the Board’s workshop, with all members seemingly in agreement that the insidious phones had to go. Continue reading

Can Teaching Be Fixed to Transform It From a Burnout Job? – A Professional Approach

by James C. Sherlock

K-12 teachers all over the state and country report burnout.

There are lengthy discussions — OK, arguments — about the reasons for that situation. But no one denies it is happening.

One of the attractions of teaching when I was a kid and a young man was that teachers, largely then as now women, could raise their families, teach and enjoy and feel fulfilled by both.

  • Most went to school with the school buses and came home with the school buses. They were home when their kids got home. They were with their kids in the summers.
  • They did not work at home or at school on their computers and the internet because there were no home computers or internet. They had a free period during the day, but they did grade papers at home. Sure. Sometimes. Lesson plans. Ditto. I know I did in my brief pre-military stint as a teacher. But I did not find that stressful. Neither did my married colleagues. Teaching was fun.
  • The undergraduate education schools taught their students how to teach. Both the curricula and student teaching were meaningful. They prepared student teachers for their first and second years of teaching far better than they do today.
  • Ed school emphasis was on their undergraduates. Teachers did not require graduate degrees to teach. (Still don’t, but their own schools today make them second-class citizens if they do not have one. Lower pay. Unlikely to be a principal. Not versed in the latest graduate school of education trendy theories, so they don’t get sent to professional conferences. Regardless of the relative quality of their teaching. They can be Master Teachers in some divisions, but that was an afterthought.)
  • That system worked for both the teachers and the kids, both their own and those they taught.
  • It worked for the schools, because they could fill their classrooms with qualified teachers, who did not burn out and quit.

There is a professional approach to returning the job of teacher to a lower stress condition. First, insist on it. Then re-architect the school and thus the profession of teacher to make it happen. Continue reading

Youngkin on the Mar-a-Lago Raid

What do you think of Governor Glenn Youngkin’s comparison? Does former President Trump’s behavior on Jan. 6, 2021, warrant special attention by federal law enforcement? Or have the DOJ and FBI become servants of the new ruling class, intent upon prosecuting only the transgressions of the political right? If the latter (remembering that this is a Virginia blog), how can Virginia, as a co-sovereign state in a federal system, push back?

Teacher Shortages Aren’t the Only Manpower Problem in Schools

Data source: Virginia Department of Education, Staffing and Vacancy Report

by James A. Bacon

Virginia’s teacher shortage has become so acute that it has ignited widespread inquiries into what’s causing it. The explanations proffered by establishment media fall into two buckets: (1) teachers aren’t paid enough; and (2) teachers are quitting because conservative parents are meddling in their jobs. The latest example is an article published by the Virginia Mercury, which focuses mainly on salary and compensation.

The teacher shortage is national in scope, as the Mercury rightly points out, and it is aggravated by the fact that pay is not keeping up with inflation. The article describes how school districts are competing for a limited pool of employees by offering retention bonuses, boosting benefits, and other strategies. The Mercury also alludes in passing to non-pecuniary reasons behind the teacher exodus, quoting James Fedderman, president of the Virginia Education Association.

Fedderman lays blame on culture-war issues such as LGBTQ rights and critical race theory. By way of specifics, he mentions the email tipline that Governor Glenn Youngkin said he would set up so parents could report on “inherently divisive practices” in schools. It’s been more than half a year now. Has the tipline resulted in a single action against a single teacher? Can Fedderman name one teacher who has been indisposed by the tipline? No. I’m sorry, but the tipline is not why droves of teachers are leaving schools. Give it up!

So, what are the real issues? Continue reading

Zombie Legislation

by Jim McCarthy

Zombies, having become popular in filmdom and TV, are finding resonance in the nation’s legislative sausage making. Generally, the term zombie legislation applies to statutes negated or consigned to death, often by federal or state court decisions, that remain on the books due to legislative lethargy. Currently, the phenomenon has become more apparent and pertinent following the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision in Dobbs v Jackson, reviving concern about related privacy precedents.

As a matter of fact, however, zombie statutes have an even older presence than 2022.

The post-Civil War amendments intended to emancipate slaves and affirm the principle that all are created equal. The Thirteenth (in precatory language) declared that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude … shall exist within the United States,” and the Fifteenth guaranteed that the right to vote shall not be denied. Declaring slavery shall not exist as a precatory statement is not the equivalent of outlawing the practice. Just over three decades later, at the opening of the 1900s, Virginia convened a constitutional convention. One of its prominent leaders, Carter Glass (later U.S. Senator), in responding to questions about some provisions in the document as discriminatory, proclaimed:

Discrimination! What that is exactly what we propose. To remove every negro voter who can be gotten rid of, legally, without materially impairing the numerical strength of the white electorate.

Continue reading

Equal Time: American Federation of Teachers on Teacher Retention and Discipline in Schools

by James C. Sherlock

To balance my reporting on discipline in schools and teacher retention, it is only fair to go to the best progressive source of ideas.

To give them equal time.

It is a close call, but the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is the most progressive and militant of America’s major teachers’ unions. They are proud of that.

But that does not imply that they are ignorant of what is going on in schools. I read their reports and recommendations regularly, and find some interesting ideas there. Some worth considering.

Many of those ideas unfortunately prescribe solutions that require an avalanche of new money and new hiring. More money than they are willing to estimate. More hiring of specialists than are available in the workforce. But a few do not.

One concludes from reading the dozens of resolutions and reports of the AFT that on the subject of student discipline:

  1.  The union recognizes that student discipline and teacher safety are linked and constitute a major problem;
  2. It wants to double down at breathtaking expense on current multi-tiered systems of supports like Virginia’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to solve the problem; and
  3. It does not want students suspended or expelled.

The tension among those three bullets is not explored, but it is unfair to AFT to imply that is all they have to say.

Get a refreshment and we will review some of their ideas. Continue reading

Too Much Money for Roads?!?

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Although gas prices have receded substantially from the levels that sent everyone into a tizzy earlier this  year, Governor Youngkin has not given up on his proposal to lower gas taxes.  Now, however, his rationale for the cut is different.

According to veteran reporter Dave Ress, in an article that appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Governor told a group of supporters in Virginia Beach recently that the gas tax should be decreased because it brings in too much money for the state transportation fund. The governor said that some level of tax needed to be retained as a use fee.

If the governor really believes that the state brings in too much money for the transportation fund, it seems strange that he let go unchallenged the General Assembly’s budget proposals to use $554 million in general fund appropriation to fund highway and bridge construction projects as follows:

  • Widen I-64 between the Bottoms Bridge exit in New Kent to James City County–$539 million (Item 447.10, Chap. 1 (HB 29) and Items 452 and 485, Chap. 2 (HB 30))
  • Extend Nimmo Parkway, Virginia Beach–$10,000,000 (Item 447.10, Chap. 1 (HB 29))
  • Replacement of Robert O. Norris Bridge–$5,000,000 (Item 452, Chap. 2 (HB30))

Continue reading

Partisan Explanations for Teacher Shortage Are Inadequate

Governor Glenn Youngkin

by James A. Bacon

Governor Glenn Youngkin and state senator Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, have given WLJA-TV alternative explanations for Virginia’s teacher shortage. Youngkin’s is partisan and incomplete, and Surovell’s is partisan and disconnected from reality.

In an interview with the Washington television station, Youngkin blamed Democrats for holding up negotiations on the biennial budget that will provide a pay boost for teachers. “I did feel that Senate Democrats really dragged their feet unnecessarily,” he said. “And, yes, we signed the budget in June, but it included a 10% raise for teachers over the next two years along with bonuses, and it would have been really nice for the recruiting to be able to start much earlier for these spots with some certainty.”

State Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Mount Vernon.

Surovell took issue with Youngkin’s spin on the budget. Although the state budget wasn’t signed into law until this summer, says WLJA in summarizing his argument, both political parties in Richmond were in favor of teacher raises. The raises never were an issue in the negotiations. School boards have known that teachers could expect an 8-10% raise since February.

That argument seems persuasive to me. But Surovell undercut himself with this ludicrous claim: “Teachers are leaving because conservatives like the governor are making it unpleasant to be a teacher today by micromanaging how they should teach and what they can say in the classroom.” Continue reading

Wind: SCC Rejects Deal Signed By Its Staff

Click for larger view. Source: Dominion

by Steve Haner

First published this morning by the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy.

Rejecting an agreement that its own staff reached with Dominion Energy Virginia, the State Corporation Commission has imposed at least some level of financial risk on the utility’s shareholders should its $10 billion offshore wind project fail to match the company’s promised performance.

Lest you think that means the ratepayers can relax, the long final order issued August 5 once again highlights all the things that could go wrong with the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project, scheduled to be fully operational by 2027. The regulators also wash their hands of any responsibility and record for posterity that the Virginia General Assembly made them approve this. Continue reading

Meanwhile, the Homicide Rate Keeps Climbing

From January to June this year, the seven largest localities of Hampton Roads have seen 115 homicides — up from 88 the same time last year, a 30% increase. Newport News and Hampton experienced a dip, but homicides have surged in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Suffolk, reports The Virginian-Pilot.

— JAB

Welcome to America, Land Where Killers Roam Free

by James A. Bacon

Adrian de Jesus Rivera Guzman, 48, and his stepson Juan Carlos Anaya Hernandez, 24, immigrants who had fled gang violence in Central America, were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were innocent bystanders doing landscaping work outside the Assembly Alexandria apartment complex when they were killed by gunfire.

Details of the July 16 shooting are sparse, as reported by The Washington Post, and police are still investigating the homicides. But Alexandria authorities have linked the incident to a burglary at the upscale apartment complex and have identified a suspect,  27-year-old Francis Deonte Rose, who had been released from custody in neighboring Arlington County several months earlier after prosecutors dropped drug and weapons charges against him.

Republicans have blamed Arlington’s progressive, George Soros-funded Commonwealth Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti (D) for the tragedy.  She has responded by calling the GOP accusations “an outrageous and irresponsible lie.”

Rose had repeated encounters with the law. He had been charged in Washington, D.C., and Arlington with carrying firearms illegally in the past, charged for unlawful possession of a loaded .45-caliber handgun that police recovered after he threw it to the ground during a foot chase, and possessing cocaine and fentanyl with intent to distribute.

Continue reading

Newport News School Officials Should Be In Trouble

by Kerry Dougherty

Sue them. Sue them all.

This is my unsolicited advice to the parents of two Newport News high school students who were shot last September by a violent criminal who should never have been allowed in their school in the first place.

Sue the school. Sue the superintendent. Sue the school board. Sue the principal. See what sticks.

Remember, parents: you can overcome the principle of “sovereign immunity” by proving gross negligence.

Let’s look at the facts and see if school officials were grossly negligent:

Heritage High School assigned a 15-year-old boy who had already pleaded guilty to shooting someone else to a classroom with ordinary decent kids.

The shooter was so dangerous the court had ordered him to wear an ankle bracelet so the authorities could keep track of him.

While the school has metal detectors, they weren’t in use at the time, allowing the shooter to bring a gun into school. Continue reading

School Discipline Issues Meet Unshakeable Progressive Dogma

by James C. Sherlock

Moral panic has been defined as a:

…widespread feeling of fear, often an irrational one, that some evil person or thing threatens the values, interests, or well-being of a community or society.

Virginia’s progressive community is in moral panic over the refusal of school discipline outcomes to bend to their prescriptions for “equity.” Scientific surveys conducted by the state show teachers are scared of their students. In Virginia Beach.

To see that panic in action, read the comments on my article, “Why are Teachers Quitting? In Virginia Beach, It May Not Be “Mean Parents.”

Combative progressive comments offer a clinic on the subject.

Let’s look deeper to see sources of the progressive concerns. Continue reading

Jeanine’s Memes

From The Bull Elephant