Arizona Sues Biden Admin After They Threaten State Over Funding for Schools Without Mask Mandates
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President Joe Biden’s Treasury Department wants COVID-19 funding back from Arizona because the state is sending money to districts that don’t have mask mandates — and the state’s Republican governor is taking them to court over it.
According to The Arizona Republic, Gov. Doug Ducey filed a lawsuit against the administration on Friday, alleging it was trying to “bully Arizona” into adopting Democrat-endorsed COVID policies by threatening to withhold or claw back money allocated under the American Rescue Plan.
The Biden administration using the power of the purse to punish states over masking in schools is a new low in the social tug-of-war over COVID policy, particularly since there’s little demonstrated benefit to the policies and considerable psychological costs. (Here at The Western Journal, we’ve been making readers aware of these facts since the beginning of the pandemic. You can help us continue to bring readers the truth by subscribing.)
In a Jan. 14 letter, the Treasury Department said Arizona’s $163 million Education Plus-Up Grant Program and its COVID-19 Educational Recovery Benefit Program undermined Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on reducing COVID transmission, according to The Hill.
The former program only funnels funds to schools without mask mandates, while the Educational Recovery Benefit Program provides up to $7,000-a-student payouts to parents whose children are in schools that have imposed “unnecessary closures and school mandates.”
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The Treasury Department said in the letter that the funds allocated to Arizona under the American Rescue Plan were intended “to mitigate the fiscal effects stemming from the COVID-19 public health emergency, including by supporting efforts to stop the spread of the virus” and that the money must be used for programs that, in the administration’s view, don’t undermine efforts to prevent COVID transmission.
The Treasury Department gave Arizona 60 days to come into compliance and redirect the funds, warning that if they didn’t do so, they’d try to claw back the money and withhold further aid.
Ducey blasted the move on Twitter, calling it “the latest example of a President that is completely out of touch with the American people” and saying the administration was “attempting to rewrite rules around public dollars that will result in LESS funding to schools and kids — particularly in low-income communities.”
“When it comes to education, President Biden wants to continue focusing on masks. In Arizona, we’re going to focus on math and getting kids caught up after a year of learning loss,” Ducey said. “We will respond to this letter, and we will continue to focus on things that matter to Arizonans.”
That response came Friday, when Arizona filed suit against the Biden administration over the threat to revoke funding.
“Treasury’s actions far exceed the statutory authority granted to it under” the American Rescue Plan Act, the lawsuit read, according to The Hill.
The lawsuit states Ducey used money from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, or SLFRF, “to create two grant programs that addressed the long-term, negative economic impacts on disadvantaged communities from school closures and overbearing mask mandates. The programs empower parents and students to exercise their freedom to make informed decisions regarding their health and educational needs.”
Furthermore, the Treasury Department had previously noted states had, to quote their own guidance, “broad latitude to choose whether and how to use the [SLFRF funds] to respond to and address the negative economic impact” caused by COVID-19.
Ducey’s lawsuit said, “Treasury arbitrarily changed its guidance, and through a clear abuse of discretion, is seeking to unilaterally amend [the American Rescue Plan] by adding new health conditions on how SLFRF monies may be used.
“In particular, and even though Treasury has no background expertise in public health, Treasury recently issued a Final Rule that purports to prohibit SLFRF monies from being used in a manner that, in the subjective and ill-informed opinion of Treasury, would undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Furthermore, even if the Treasury were in a position to make bad public health judgments, the American Rescue Plan doesn’t authorize that, the suit alleges: “Nothing in that underlying statute authorizes Treasury to condition the use of SLFRF monies on following measures that, in the view of Treasury, stop the spread of COVID-19.”
“If Congress had truly intended to give Treasury the power to dictate public health edicts to the States, and recoup or withhold SLFRF monies based on an alleged lack of compliance with such edicts, it would have spoken clearly on the matter. It did not.”
Ducey, meanwhile, said in a statement that, “The Biden administration is attempting to hold congressionally-appropriated funds hostage and is trying to bully Arizona into complying with this power-grabbing move.”
A Treasury Department spokeswoman said the administration “believes the rule is correct and allowed by the statute and Constitution,” setting up a battle in court, according to The New York Times.
No matter how that ends legally, it’ll put the Biden administration in the uncomfortable position of defending policies that don’t “follow the science,” to use an execrable idiom.
Masking in schools hasn’t proved efficacious, no matter what the administration chooses to believe.
Gov. Ducey introduced two programs to combat it — and, because it doesn’t follow the administration’s dogmatic views regarding COVID, they want to take money away from Arizona. If this doesn’t tell you the battle is about politics and not public health, I don’t know what will.
Virginia Elementary School Threatens to Charge Maskless Students With Trespassing
An elementary school in Loudoun Country, Virginia has announced that if students show up to school maskless, they will be charged with trespassing.
The Assistant Principal of the elementary school was recorded telling parents via phone call that, if their child was to be on school property without a mask, they would be charged with trespassing.
In Virginia, trespassing is a Class 1 misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. This is the penalty being faced by elementary school students.
“Until you arrive your children will be held in an in-school restriction situation here at school,” the Assistant Principal told the parent. “It is important that I point out to you – it’s stated in the letter that you’ll receive – but, it’s important that I point out to you that they are not allowed on campus or on Loudoun County Public School property. Starting tomorrow it will be considered trespassing.”
Listen to the full audio below:
In the same county, the students are being held in auditoriums, gyms, and offices alone for not wearing masks to school. One brave high school student, Nicholas Sanchez, reportedly spent the majority of his week alone in an auditorium.
Sanchez defended his position on the masks but ultimately explained that he would be giving in to the mask requirements so he can continue to get an education.
“Growing up, I was raised to have integrity and to be honest and to do what I believe is right,” said Sanchez. “I did what I could from a student’s perspective. Keeping my educational interests in mind, I think I will go ahead and put on the mask – the face decoration on my face and get my education.”
Another family in Loudoun County, the Platts, reported that their sons’ elementary school warned them that their children will be physically removed from the property if they don’t put on a mask.
“As a family, we will discuss that because these kids take that pressure differently especially the little one,” said the father of the Platt family. “We just want to make sure they aren’t impacted.
High School Biology Class Tells Students to Eliminate “Gendered Terms” From Their Vocabulary… Parents Accuse School of Teaching Pseudoscience
At a high school in Massachusetts, students are being taught that it is offensive to use “gendered terms”, and that humans should be viewed in the same way as a clownfish or a species of tree frog, which can both change sex.
Some presentation slides from the school’s biology class were obtained by a parent activist group, Parents Defending Education. They revealed an entire presentation on gender fluidity, the minute population of intersex, and how gender identity is “your psychological sense of self”.
The slides that define sex, gender, gender expression, and attraction are infused with opinion-based, progressive ideologies that serve to further a personal agenda rather than teach students factual science.
Eliminating “gendered terms,” according to one of the presentation slides, ensures that “people with diverse (a)sexualities, (a)genders, bodies, and (a)romantic orientations are included and respected.” Discussing biological sex in terms of men and women “marginalizes” those born with both male and female genitalia, “who have been persistently discriminated against.”
Intersex, a rare genetic condition that results in the affected person having both male and female physical characteristics, is present in about 0.018% of the population. However, the parent activist group found that the teacher was falsely claiming that 2% of the population is intersex and that they should be properly accommodated in everyone’s daily speech habits.
“Needham High School promised a science class and instead delivered a pseudoscience class,” said the director of outreach for Parents Defending Education, Erika Sanzi. “The slides shared by the biology teacher are harmful and wrong because they are factually inaccurate, sow confusion, and rely heavily on regressive sex stereotypes. Perhaps most absurd is the implication that biological sex in humans is fluid, or can literally change, because it happens to be true of non-human species like clownfish and tree frogs.”
The biology class at this high school is working hard to push other people’s beliefs onto these children. Telling students they must erase gendered terms from their vocabulary is no business of a high school biology teacher. This doesn’t fall into the “science” category, but instead falls into the woke Liberal agenda.
NEA hid votes on ‘white fragility,’ Black Lives Matter, reparations amid new scrutiny
Last summer, the nation’s largest teachers union scrubbed its website of newly approved resolutions approving funding for “critical race theory” promotion, “fight[ing] back against anti-CRT rhetoric,” and anti-racism training.
The scrubbing went further than previously known.
The National Education Association also memory-holed some recorded votes from its 2019 “representative assembly” (RA) two years later, shortly after its 2021 resolutions were drawing scrutiny.
Among them: the RA’s defeat of New Business Item 2, which would dedicate the NEA to “putting a renewed emphasis on quality education.”
The Southeastern Legal Foundation publicized the archived pages, which now redirect to NEA’s RA portal, on Monday night. The pages’ Internet Archive indexes also show some were first taken down — returning “404 Not Found” empty pages — without redirecting.
The conservative Georgia nonprofit told Just the News it came across the cache of deleted pages while doing research for an upcoming “continuing legal education” event. “There is a lot more that we will be putting out,” they promised.
The defeated 2019 resolution on quality education was still live July 6, 2021, but redirected three months later. An approved resolution (NBI 11) to incorporate the concept of “white fragility” into existing NEA training was live July 3 but redirected two months later.
The NEA approved partnering with organizations seeking reparations for “descendants of enslaved Africans” (NBI 25), which was still live July 3 but had disappeared without redirecting five weeks later.
At least three 2019 resolutions may have been scrubbed before the July 2021 resolutions drew scrutiny, with their last live archives in May or June 2021.
NEA approved promoting the “Black Lives Matter Week of Action” in schools (NBI 19). Its agenda includes mandatory teaching of ethnic studies starting in pre-kindergarten, replacing “zero-tolerance policies … with restorative justice practices,” and hiring “more counselors not cops.”
NBI 118, which demands the U.S. government “accept responsibility for the destabilization of Central American countries” that led to a flood of asylum seekers, was “404 not found” Dec. 14, the next time it was archived.
An approved resolution opposing “all attacks on the right to choose” abortion (NBI 56) was “404 not found” by July 10.
The NEA didn’t answer queries Tuesday seeking an explanation for the removal of its resolutions and subsequent redirections of their URLs to its RA portal. Just the News asked whether they were migrated to new URLs or if old resolutions are customarily removed after a certain time period.
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