I’m delighted to learn that everything must be fine with America’s public schools, with student loans and debts, with the growth of community colleges, with affirmative action in our school communities, with a healthy diversity, school assaults and shootings, fair pay, teacher satisfaction and childcare issues.
I know this because otherwise, I would have no explanation for why Education Secretary Betsy DeVos would have time to interfere with the content of college abroad classes.
Last week, the Education Department ordered Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to remake their Middle East studies program run jointly by the two schools because it isn’t offering a positive-enough image of Judaism and Christianity in that part of the world.
The department is dictating what two colleges teaching students in Arab countries are serving up as part of a college recruitment course aimed at encouraging the region’s Muslim high school population to attend college.
That’s right. The department is now dictating what two colleges teaching students abroad in the middle of Arab countries and culture are serving up as part of a college recruitment course aimed at encouraging the region’s Muslim high school population to attend college.
This came to light in a letter to the universities published last week in the Federal Register. Robert King, assistant secretary for postsecondary education, said the course did not present enough “positive” imagery of Judaism and Christianity. The New York Times, which described the entry into the content of a college course “rare,” indicated that the letter followed an inquiry into the Middle East program, asserting that it violated the standards of a federally supported program in international studies and foreign language programs.
Looking for Anti-Israel Bias
DeVos’ department has become increasingly aggressive in going after perceived anti-Israel bias in higher education. The department’s civil rights head, Kenneth L. Marcus, has made pro-Israel advocacy a focus of his departmental work, leading efforts to delegitimize and defund Middle East studies programs that he has criticized as rife with anti-Israel bias.
The education department said that the North Carolina program is offering elementary and secondary school students “a considerable emphasis placed on the understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East.” Too few of the Duke-U.N.C. programs focused on “the historic discrimination faced by, and current circumstances of, religious minorities in the Middle East, including Christians, Jews, Baha’is, Yazidis, Kurds, Druze and others,” the department said.
Now in pursuit of distance learning to be offered by American colleges, you might think that the education department would be concerned with protecting the independence of educators in areas like the Middle East, as opposed to dropping the hammer on a particular religious outlook. Secondly, if the department wanted to build American influence abroad, they might recognize what is involved in being a good guest in someone else’s country.
Of course, the education department thinks it has a say in what is taught because it has offered federal grants to these institutions.
Palestinian Groups Protest
Naturally, Palestinian rights groups accused the Education Department of intimidation and infringing on academic freedom.
The education department has involved itself in lots of campus discussions about boycotts and other political criticisms for renewed Israeli muscularity in taking Arab lands in the West Bank and other occupied territories.
The letter sent to the universities – who declined to comment – basically asserted that Title VI monies meant that foreign language instruction and area studies should be reflecting an American or western lean. In the letter, King criticized a conference focused on “love and desire in modern Iran” and another focused on Middle East film criticism, “programming that “appears to lack balance.” The department also criticized teacher training programs for focusing on issues like “unconscious bias, serving L.G.B.T.I.Q. youth in schools, culture and the media, diverse books for the classroom and more.” They said that it had a “startling lack of focus on geography, geopolitical issues, history and language.” DeVos ordered an investigation into how a course offering on “Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics and Possibilities” fit within the federal funding guidelines.
The education department gave only days for the change to kick in before funding renewals are due.
How about the government either decide to support colleges or not and leave the teaching to those whose job it is.
David Cay Johnston issues ‘a warning’ after reading ‘Anonymous’ book: Trump is stupid, crazy and dangerous
At DCReport we’ve scored an advance copy of the most anticipated book of the year, “A Warning” by “Anonymous, A Senior Trump Administration Official.” This book, which goes on sale Nov. 19, is as important, fascinating and easy to read as any book in our times.
The scariest line comes on Page 238, where the author identifies the most unwelcome visitor to the Trump White House—reason.
Crazy anecdote by idiotic tirade by telling detail gathered from behind closed doors at the White House, the author makes clear that this book is a work of duty by someone who loves America, has dedicated their life to our safety and well-being and is certain that all we hold dear is in grave danger.
The hammer will fall during the Trump impeachment hearings — only if you believe in magic
Whether you want the hammer to come down on Donald Trump or finally get the chance to dismiss the whole impeachment inquiry as wrongheaded, the hammer may fall this week if you believe in magic.
Wednesday is Opening Day for the Democrats’ assault on the White House, a chance for House Intelligence Committee members led by Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to put the Ukraine impeachment case against Trump in public view.
The idea among Democrats, of course, is that because people refuse to read, public hearings will take the testimony from former ambassadors and national security people out from the shadows and into the light, where all can hear directly from these witnesses, adjudge their independence and credibility and move toward a declaration of impeachment. Schiff said public hearings will show "the most important facts are largely not contested" related to Trump's use of "illicit" means to secure damaging information on his political rivals.
David Cay Johnston explains how Trump’s trade tariffs are really a tax on his base
Candidate Donald Trump railed against America’s chronic trade deficits, vowing to eliminate them if he became president.
So, how’s Trump doing? Awful. Trade deficits are growing on his watch.
The overall trade deficit in September was 21% larger than during his first full month in office.
In 2016, under President Barak Obama, America imported $502.9 billion more in goods and services than it sold in exports.
In 2018, under Trump, that ballooned to $627.7 billion, an increase of $124.7 billion, and the deficit is on pace to run even deeper in 2019. For the nine months ending in September, the overall trade deficit was $481.3 billion, up $24.8 billion for the same period of 2018.