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Virginia school paid speaker $20K for lecture on critical race theory, white privilege




Editor’s note: This story was first reported by Asra Nomani

Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia paid an anti-racism advocate who specializes in critical race theory (CRT) $20,000 for a one-hour virtual lecture, according to the released contract, Quillette reported Wednesday.

The August 6 event, as part of Virginia’s “Race Truth and Reconciliation Week,” saw Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, an outspoken advocate of CRT, give a roughly 45-minute video lecture followed by a 15-minute question period. Kendi was paid $20,000 for the event, which is almost as much as the median salary of $27,920 that teacher assistants make in a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

CRT has been gaining traction among left-wing academics and activists for many years and, over the past few months, has become a target for right-wing thinkers and pundits, with the issue of race returning to the national spotlight this past summer. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced that he has ordered federal agencies to discontinue contracts with individuals and companies that promote CRT and white privilege through racial sensitivity seminars, calling such courses “divisive and harmful.”

Wednesday’s revelation of the speaker’s fee adds more controversy in a school district already grappling with an ongoing debate surrounding race and affirmative action.

For over a year, the issue of affirmative action has been a heated debate at the national level, prompting lawsuits against universities such as Harvard and Yale on the grounds that their admissions practices discriminated against applicants of Asian descent in particular. In this school District lies the number-one public school in the country, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHS), where 71 percent of students are of Asian origin.

Currently, TJHS’s admissions process is race-blind and merit-based, which, according to the Quillette piece, uses a combination of “standardized test scores, grade rankings, essays, and teacher recommendations” alongside “a process based on random selection from among applicants who have a core class GPA of 3.5 or greater (and are currently enrolled in algebra).” However, an effort starting in early June to replace this system has met fierce backlash from parents, with 200 of them taking part in a protest this week against the proposed change.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Biden Administration Proposes Rule to Fortify Federal Bureaucracy Against Republican Presidency



Joe Biden

In a strategic move, the Biden administration has unveiled a proposed rule aimed at reinforcing the left-leaning federal bureaucracy, potentially hindering future conservative policy implementations by Republican presidents. This move has raised concerns about the efficacy of democratic elections when a deep-seated bureaucracy remains largely unchanged, regardless of electoral outcomes.

Key points of the situation include:

Presidential Appointees vs. Career Bureaucrats: Of the 2.2 million federal civil workers, only 4,000 are presidential appointees. The vast majority, made up of career bureaucrats, continue in their roles from one administration to the next. This continuity is facilitated by rules that make it exceedingly difficult to discipline or replace them, resulting in a bureaucracy that tends to lean left politically.

Union Political Affiliation: A striking 95% of unionized federal employees who donate to political candidates support Democrats, according to Open Secrets, with only 5% favoring Republicans. This significant political skew among federal workers raises questions about the potential for political bias in the execution of government policies.

Obstructionism and Challenges for GOP Presidents: Some career bureaucrats have been accused of obstructing Republican presidents’ agendas, leading to policy delays and challenges. For example, during the Trump administration, career lawyers in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division declined to challenge Yale University’s discrimination against Asian American applicants, prompting Trump to seek legal counsel from other divisions. The case was subsequently dropped when Joe Biden took office.

Biden’s Countermeasures: President Biden has taken steps to protect the bureaucracy’s status quo. In October 2020, Trump issued an executive order aiming to reclassify federal workers who make policy as at-will employees, but Biden canceled it upon taking office.

Proposed Rule and Congressional Actions: The rule unveiled by the Biden administration seeks to further impede a president’s ability to reinstate Trump’s order. Additionally, some Democrats in Congress are pushing to eliminate the president’s authority to reclassify jobs entirely. This has been referred to as an attempt to “Trump-proof the federal workforce.”

Republican Candidates’ Pledge: GOP candidates such as President Donald J Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis have pledged to address this issue. According to reports from Fox News, Ramaswamy has gone further, advocating for the elimination of half or more of civil service positions, emphasizing the need for accountability.

Debate on the Merit of the Civil Service: While Democrats and their media allies argue that civil service protects merit over patronage, critics contend that the system has evolved into a form of job security for federal workers with minimal accountability. Federal employees often receive higher salaries and more substantial benefits than their private-sector counterparts.

In summary, the Biden administration’s proposed rule and broader actions to protect the federal bureaucracy have sparked a debate over the role of career bureaucrats in shaping government policy.

Republican candidates are vowing to address these concerns, highlighting the need for accountability and ensuring that government agencies work in alignment with the elected president’s agenda. This ongoing debate raises important questions about the relationship between the bureaucracy and the democratic process in the United States.

Information in this article was retrieved from Fox News.

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