Keeping a Weather Eye

Kali Jerrard

CounterCurrent: Week of 05/27/2024

Though the school year has come to an end, the news headlines have kept rolling. With this whirlwind of activity I thought it best to catch up.

Firstly, the National Association of Scholars (NAS) filed an amicus curiae brief last week in support of the Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence. This came after Boston Public Schools (BPS) aimed to “racially balance” incoming classes at elite high schools. Where the previous admissions policy at elite schools looked at a composite score of merit-based attributes, the 2019 redo bases admissions on zip code quotas. The Pacific Legal Foundation reported that the BPS changes immediately affected the racial composition of enrollment—with seventh- and ninth-grade classes seeing a drop from 33 percent to 24 percent in white students, and a 21 percent to 16 percent in Asian American representation. In response to the BPS actions, NAS president Peter Wood stated:

These changes, coupled with testimony from BPS board meetings, clearly indicate a policy of race-by-proxy. Such initiatives are a stealthy means to advance racial discrimination, sacrificing one racial group to advance another in a zero-sum game. This is unconstitutional.

NAS has long been opposed to the use of racial preferences in admissions processes. Case in point being the landmark Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard (SFFA) case, for which NAS filed several amicus briefs and supported Students for Fair Admissions from the beginning. After nearly a decade, the SFFA decision was handed down by the Supreme Court in favor of removing racial preferences. One hopes that this new violation of the Equal Protection Clause by BPS is resolved more quickly than its counterpart SFFA.     

States are rising up against the Biden administration’s new Title IX rule, and for good reason.

More than half the states in the nation—26 to be exact—have filed lawsuits against the administration stating the new rule violates the Constitution, the federal Administrative Procedures Act, and Title IX itself. The original Title IX was a benign equal opportunity law which guaranteed no denial of educational benefits “on the basis of sex.” Since then, the law has been weaponized by feminists and bureaucrats alike. And any hope given by Betsy DeVos’s heroic efforts in 2020 was once again stripped away by the Biden administration. Teresa R. Manning puts it bluntly, “In the end, bureaucrats in D.C. and on campus comprise an unholy alliance ready to trash due process, ruin women’s sports, and indulge sexual fetishes to the point of violating Americans’ First Amendment free speech rights.” Hopefully the states continue in their “Happy Title IX Revolt” and force the Biden administration to unto the disastrous new rule before it goes into effect on August 1.

Moreover, the “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) monster never sleeps. 

Yale University is utilizing DEI in hiring practices? Unsurprising, and yet still disappointing. John Sailer sheds light on a tucked away document on the Yale website, deployed by the department of molecular biophysics and biochemistry in hiring processes in which faculty are told to place “DEI at the center of every decision.” Though this is not unique to this department. Every job on the Yale website links to a DEI rubric, which penalizes candidates for not actively furthering or understanding diversity initiatives personally or in the classroom. 

If the best and most influential institutions of American higher education concern themselves more with social activism than with academic excellence, other institutions follow suit and all churn out misguided activists instead of educated free thinkers. Yale should follow MIT's lead and cast aside diversity statements, and return to focus on its purpose—education.

In happy news, Iowa House File 2545 (HF 2545) was just signed into law by governor Kim Reynolds. NAS and Civics Alliance model legislation informed some of HF 2545, which aims to strengthen Iowa social studies standards and K-12 public education. Now, the State Board of Education must put the legislation into effect, and hopefully will not punt the responsibility to the Department of Education—which would surely drag its feet.

In case you missed it, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce held another hearing last week in which the leadership at Northwestern University, the University of California Los Angeles, and Rutgers University were called upon to answer for the rampant anti-Semitism overwhelming their campuses in the wake of pro-Palestinian student protests. Part of the hearing involved questioning leadership in regard to their financial partnerships with foreign nations—some which harbor hatred toward Israel and the West. Northwestern University specifically was questioned for their partnership with Qatar, a country which has been accused of supporting Hamas—an accusation Qatar Foundation denies

The Northwestern/Qatari partnership is one that Neetu Arnold has reported on before. Foreign influence on campus is something that NAS closely tracks, as some top donors to American colleges and universities are nations or entities with concerning ties or anti-American sentiments. 

As always, we keep a weather eye on the horizon as we strive to restore American education.

Until next week.

CounterCurrent is the National Association of Scholars’ weekly newsletter, written by the NAS Staff. To subscribe, update your email preferences here.

Photo by Arsen on Adobe Stock

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