Ten More States Sue Over Obama’s Transgender Edict — But One GOP Governor Surrenders

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (Photo credit: Dominick Reuter for WBUR via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Last Friday brought good news and bad news in the gender-dysphoria wars. As we’ve come to expect in the education arena, though not without disappointment, the bad news arrived at the hands of a supposed Republican.

The glad tidings were that 10 states have joined the original 13 in challenging the Obama administration’s unlawful “guidance” requiring schools to open up restrooms, locker rooms, overnight sleeping accommodations, and probably sports teams to all students of either sex. The administration’s theory is that when Congress passed Title IX of the Civil Rights Act 42 years ago to protect girls’ interests in federally funded education programs, it actually intended to limit their opportunities and even endanger their privacy and safety.

A total of 23 states have now officially and legally declared this theory to be absurd. Ten states — Arkansas, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming — sued Friday in federal court in Nebraska to stop the administration from penalizing states, districts, or schools that refuse to buckle to its new mandate. The original states to sue were Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Now the bad news. Also on Friday, Republican Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts signed a bill adding the phrase “gender identity” to the state’s anti-discrimination laws. This means all public accommodations (including schools) must open up private spaces such as restrooms and showers to members of either sex. Continue Reading

Massachusetts Court Thwarts Parent-Led Effort to Put Common Core on Ballot

Massachusetts State House entrance in Boston, Mass. (photo credit: Matt Kieffer via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Last week the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) threw out an initiative petition signed by over 130,000 Massachusetts citizens to challenge the adoption and implementation of the Common Core national standards and assessments scheme in Massachusetts. The petitioners sought to overturn the decision of the Massachusetts education establishment to ditch the state’s stellar K-12 standards in exchange for $250 million in federal money. After the petitioners gathered the signatures necessary to place the question on the ballot, the state attorney general certified the petition and cleared the way, finally, for citizens to vote on the usurpation of the state’s education system.

The SJC thwarted this citizen-empowerment effort based not on the substantive issues presented by the petition, but rather on the technical question whether the different provisions of the petition were sufficiently “related” to satisfy the statute governing such initiatives. The opinion was written by Justice Margot Botsford, who was appointed to the court by the governor (Deval Patrick) who brought Common Core to Massachusetts.

Regardless of technicalities, the most significant — and depressing — aspect of this case is that the powerful interests behind Common Core were able to crush a citizens’ revolt against the scheme. Money apparently was no obstacle to the ten individual plaintiffs who sued to derail the petition. The law firm representing them, Foley Hoag, is a silk-stocking firm that doesn’t come cheap, but the towering legal bills didn’t seem to be a problem. Continue Reading

Help Wanted: Leaders Willing to Stand Up to Washington Bullies

Photo credit: Mr. TinDC via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Attorney General Loretta Lynch proclaims that moms and dads who don’t want their little girls forced to share restrooms with grown men are just reincarnated Bull Connors. Presumably Lynch speaks for the man she worships — or rather works for — who is blowing past all constitutional and statutory boundaries to complete his fundamental transformation of America before he assumes the title of Emperor Emeritus.

But perhaps to their surprise, Obama and Lynch are facing some pushback. First, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory failed to roll over under the federal threats and instead challenged the lawless intimidation tactics in court. Now a group of students from the University of North Carolina, which is also in the Justice Department’s crosshairs, have filed their own lawsuit claiming that the federal government may not force them to sacrifice their personal privacy in order to pursue their education.

Our federal overlords can be forgiven for assuming that all state and local officials would simply surrender to their dictates rather than assume a standing position and fight back. After all, the education wars of the last few years have proven that too many elected officials are frightened of the feds — and especially terrified that exercising any constitutional autonomy will endanger federal money. We can’t ditch the Common Core national standards or the tests or anything else the feds want, this argument goes, because they might cut our funding. In a battle between our children’s education and the almighty dollar, the kids will always come in a distant second. Continue Reading

Voters Want Fighters, Not Appeasers, on Common Core

From left: Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Heidi Huber — founder of Parents Against the Common Core and Ohioans Against Common Core — is running for the Ohio House of Representatives. In a dramatic showdown, she is challenging incumbent Rep. Tom Brinkman (27thDistrict), whom she originally helped elect, for reneging on his campaign promise to fight for the repeal of Common Core.

In a recent interview for the Cincinnati Examiner, Brinkman dismissed Huber’s complaints, “Huber doesn’t understand how things work in Columbus and killing Common Core isn’t an overnight process.” Brinkman argues that he has done everything he can to stop Common Core, including authoring a bill to repeal it.

However, those fighting Common Core understand that simply authoring legislation to repeal it will not get the job done. As Huber stated to the Cincinnati Examiner, “There’s more to it than slapping your name on [a bill].” Common Core opponents across the country couldn’t agree more.

Fellow Common Core warrior, Heather Crossin of Hoosiers Against Common Core, supports Huber’s criticism of Brinkman: “It takes more than a promise and a half-hearted effort to get legislation passed to repeal the Common Core. It takes real leadership and dedication, which Brinkman apparently doesn’t have.”

Authoring a bill but failing to back it with a fight is the greatest betrayal by a politician. To promise to stand at the battle line and lead the fight — to be the hero in the legislature — creates dependency in a movement. Continue Reading