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Chicago Teachers Union deletes tweet labeling push to reopen schools as ‘rooted in sexism, racism and misogyny’



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After deleting a tweet claiming that the effort to reopen school is “rooted in sexism, racism and misogyny,” the Chicago Teachers Union is facing severe backlash, The Washington Examiner reported Monday.

This comes as many schools across the country have returned to exclusively online learning, as COVID-19 cases spike around the country and alarmingly sends the total number of related deaths in the U.S. past 282,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Many parents across the nation, however, have resisted these changes and have called on schools to let children continue learning in person.

According to a screenshot of the now-deleted tweet, it was published on Sunday at 1:03 pm and had accumulated almost 2,000 quote tweets compared to its nearly 600 likes.

The CTU, The Examiner‘s Tyler Van Dyke writes, has published numerous tweets highlighting the growing disparities in health outcomes from the novel coronavirus for people of color. One of their retweets called social distancing a “privilege,” pointing to a study that showed neighborhoods which had “crowded housing or had fewer people who could work from home” and neighborhoods composed predominantly of people of color “saw more COVID-19 deaths,” Van Dyke reports.

“For each additional percentage point of the population that was Black, there was a 32 percent increase in the COVID-19 death rate, and for each additional percentage point of the population that was Hispanic/Latino, there was an 19 percent increase in the COVID-19 death rate,” the study states. “Conversely, neighborhoods with a higher percentage of Asian or white residents saw lower death rates.”

Some critics of the CTU, Van Dyke writes, refer to a California lawsuit launched by seven families who allege that remote learning in the Golden State “left many already-underserved students functionally unable to attend school,” according to The Washington Post. Education advocates have been worrying about remote learning, claiming that it “will widen the achievement gap that separates Black, Latino and poor students from their peers.”

Following the overwhelming criticism they received from the tweet, the CTU posted a tweet on Sunday addressing the controversy, writing that reopening schools was a “complex issue” which “requires nuance” and “much more discussion.”

“Fair enough. Complex issue,” the CTU tweeted. “Requires nuance. And much more discussion. More important, the people and the decision affects deserve more. So we’ll continue [to] give them that.”

Want to read more about this story? Read the full Washington Examiner story here.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Returns After 7-Year Journey with Asteroid Samples



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After a remarkable seven-year voyage spanning nearly 4 billion miles in space, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is set to make its triumphant return to Earth on Sunday. OSIRIS-REx, an acronym for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer, was launched in 2016 on a groundbreaking mission to collect material from an asteroid in space.

The capsule, holding a precious cargo of nearly 9 ounces of rocks, dust, and dirt gathered from the asteroid Bennu, will detach from the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft before making an anticipated landing inside the Defense Department’s Utah Test and Training Range. According to reports from Fox News, teams from NASA and Lockheed Martin, the vehicle’s builder, will eagerly await its arrival.

Describing the precision required for this endeavor, OSIRIS-REx Deputy Project Manager Michael Moreau likened it to a challenging game of accuracy, stating, “It’s like putting a dart board at one end of a basketball court and throwing the dart from the other end and getting a bull’s-eye.”

This years-long mission holds significant scientific importance. It will aid researchers in investigating the formation of planets, shed light on the origins of life, and enhance NASA’s understanding of asteroids that could pose potential threats to Earth.

Furthermore, the collected sample is expected to offer “generations of scientists a window into the time when the Sun and planets were forming about 4.5 billion years ago,” according to NASA.

Moreover, the mission could contribute crucial information to Earth’s defense against a potential collision with Bennu, an asteroid roughly the size of the Empire State Building. NASA estimates a 1-in-2,700 chance of Bennu impacting Earth in the latter half of the 2100s.

The journey leading up to this momentous return has been a long and meticulous one. OSIRIS-REx arrived at Bennu in 2018 and spent two years closely orbiting the asteroid, gathering vital data.

In 2020, the spacecraft made history with a successful landing on Bennu’s surface, collecting a “touch and go” sample in under a minute. Despite an initial setback due to a jammed door that led to the loss of some space dust, the sample collected still surpasses the mission’s requirement of two ounces.

Once the capsule safely touches down in the Utah desert, a dedicated NASA team will transport the precious material to a meticulously clean environment. Subsequently, the Bennu samples will find their way to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Approximately 70% of the asteroid material will be preserved for future research endeavors, allowing scientists worldwide to delve into its mysteries. Additionally, a portion of the sample will be shared with the Japanese Space Exploration Agency as part of an exchange for samples collected by Japan’s Hayabusa spacecraft.

Looking ahead, OSIRIS-REx is set to continue its mission by studying another asteroid named Apophis, named after a demon serpent in ancient Egyptian mythology, symbolizing evil and chaos. This ambitious mission marks another chapter in humanity’s ongoing exploration of our solar system and beyond.

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