Instead of Following Science, the CDC Listens to…a Teachers’ Union

Instead of Following Science, the CDC Listens to…a Teachers’ Union

This was all supposed to be based on “science.” Or so claimed groups like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for over a year now. It was the rationale for the draconian lockdowns. It was the reasoning behind the overreaching mask mandates. And whenever the topic of schools reopening arose, we were told that students couldn’t return to in-person learning yet because “science.”

Then, on February 12, President Biden issued a statement declaring that opening most K-8 schools by the end of his first 100 days was a national imperative. That sounds good enough, but this announcement came with a catch. President Biden said that this could “only be achieved if Congress provides states and communities with the resources they need to get it done safely through the American Rescue Plan.”

But the president didn’t stop at shamelessly pushing his disastrous $1.9 trillion “COVID relief bill” that’s jam-packed with far-left policies unrelated to the pandemic. He went on to praise the CDC as providing “the best available scientific evidence on how to reopen schools safely.”

Certainly, you would hope that the national public health agency of the United States would follow science when forming such a plan. But instead, the CDC allowed itself to be manipulated by one of the most powerful teachers’ unions in the country: the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

So much for following the science…

Emails acquired after a Freedom of Information Act request by Americans for Public Trust show that:

    • The CDC implemented at least two suggested changes from the AFT nearly word for word in its final Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools.
    • AFT Senior Director for Health Issues Kelly Trautner shared her gratitude at the union acting as the CDC’s “true thought partner.”
    • The Biden administration’s knowledge of all of this in the days before the president’s announcement in February.

Clearly the AFT is using its political clout to write CDC guidelines on schools reopening. But it gets worse.

AFT President Randi Weingarten and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky made concerted efforts to hide their cooperation from the public. And in 2020, the AFT began lobbying for specific bills that would dramatically increase the budget, reach, and power of the CDC.

Yesterday, top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Dr. Walensky demanding answers. But she has yet to respond. Meanwhile, AFT President Weingarten posted a desperate and ridiculous series of tweets attempting to rationalize the union’s behavior as “routine.”

But since when is it routine for the CDC to copy and paste nearly verbatim guidance from a teachers’ union? If this is a common practice, then everyone at the CDC should be fired immediately.

The fact is that many students haven’t been missing out on just in-person learning. They’ve been missing out on learning altogether—with one report estimating up to 3 million students across the country who haven’t experienced any formal education since March 2020.

You would think that an “American Federation of Teachers” would care about these students and their parents. But the AFT doesn’t. It only cares about protecting its own interests. And the only science the CDC is interested in…is political.

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Is Critical Race Theory Coming to a Public School Near You?

Is Critical Race Theory Coming to a Public School Near You?

They’re at it again. You would think that public school districts would learn their lesson at some point. After all, many of them turned their backs on students and parents in the wake of COVID-19. And now, those school districts are paying the price.

But apparently, they’re too committed to their agenda.

Some school districts are ignoring the science and keeping their beloved mask mandates. Some would rather keep parents in the dark about classroom curriculum. While others are trying to adopt Marxist Critical Race Theory programs in their schools. 

The latest culprit is Litchfield Elementary School District, where the school board recently published an “equity statement” along with a set of “equity goals.” The goals were presented at the school board meeting in March and crafted by, you guessed it, a “district diversity committee.”

If you’re unfamiliar with Critical Race Theory, it’s a movement that combines Marxist theories of class conflict within the lens of race. And it teaches that racism is present in every interaction. Races that have been “minoritized” are considered oppressed while those who are “racially privileged” are called “exploiters.” Proponents of the movement are good at disguising it. As Christopher Rufo from the Manhattan Institute points out, you’ll often find Critical Race Theory is present when you hear terms like “social justice,” “diversity,” “inclusion,” and “equity.”

Sound familiar?

Litchfield’s Superintendent Jodi Gunning claims that her school district is not adopting Critical Race Theory, but just read the first sentence of her letter to all district families:

I’m writing to update you about Litchfield Elementary School District’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work…

All the evidence is there. Thankfully, parents and other taxpayers are starting to raise their voices, causing one Litchfield board member to respond to criticism of the district’s “equity statement” inappropriately.

Sadly, this is nothing new. Activists have been trying to force Critical Race Theory or similar programs into our schools for quite some time. In fact, back in 2019, Chandler Unified School District adopted a program called “Deep Equity” (there’s that word again) at nearly half a million dollars! (It’s amazing the moments when capitalism becomes acceptable.) Parents spoke out back then, and the program was soon phased out.

But that doesn’t mean liberal educators and other members of the left won’t try again. That’s why we must remain vigilant. One way to do so is by appealing to state lawmakers. Arizona should look to follow the lead of states like Texas, where a ban on Critical Race Theory recently passed out of committee in the House, and Idaho, where a bill to ban it was just sent to the governor.

But legislative work alone can’t be enough. It is critical in the world we live in today for parents to stay informed, talk to their children, and speak up when this sort of curriculum tries to sneak its way into classrooms. There is strength in numbers. And that’s where taxpayers come in. Even if you don’t have children in public schools, you must let your voice be heard. You should have a say regarding where your hard-earned money goes. And a half-million-dollar “equity program” is probably not what you had in mind.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

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Both Republican and Democrat Voters Show Their Support for Election Integrity Bills in New Poll

Both Republican and Democrat Voters Show Their Support for Election Integrity Bills in New Poll

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks to say the least. In the wake of severe distrust of the U.S. election system, multiple states throughout the country have been seeking to pass reasonable laws that protect our election process. You would think that’s something everyone could get behind.

But not the liberal media and the left. They would rather tell one lie after another, all to push their “big lie” that these bills are somehow voter suppression. The pressure from the woke left resulted in Major League Baseball moving its All-Star Game from Atlanta after Georgia passed its new voting laws. And even here in Arizona, multiple business leaders have taken a public stand against several election integrity bills.

Perhaps they should’ve checked in with voters first.

A poll conducted late last week by the Free Enterprise Club and Heritage Action shows that bipartisan majorities support sensible reforms that strengthen Arizona’s election laws.

The poll found that more than 80% of Arizona voters support requiring all voters to provide identification in order to vote, with 70% strongly supporting this requirement. Even a large majority of Democrats, 69%, support the idea of requiring all voters to provide ID prior to voting.

But there’s more.

Since there is a difference between asking about general support for election integrity laws and support for specific legislation, we decided to poll two specific bills being considered by the legislature. Both of these bills have been labeled “extreme” by the media and left.

The first was SB 1713, legislation that would require voters that vote by mail to include additional identification when voting. When asked if they would support this new requirement, 63.7% of Arizona voters said they would, including large majorities of Republican and Independent voters.

The other bill we asked voters about was SB 1485, legislation that would remove a person from the early voter list who does not vote by mail in 2 consecutive primary and 2 consecutive general elections from the early vote-by-mail list unless they return a notice within 30 days from the county indicating they would like to remain. Not surprisingly, a majority of voters support this reform as well.

So, shouldn’t lawmakers listen to the people by passing reasonable election reforms? After all, that’s why they were voted into office. Unfortunately, these widely popular bills may be stopped if the corporate media and Democrats get their way.

For example, Sen. Quezada (D-LD29) has already threatened the people of Arizona with losing the 2023 Super Bowl if SB1713 and SB1485 are signed into law. And inflammatory rhetoric such as “voter suppression” and “Jim Crow” is being regurgitated by liberal politicians and activists on a regular basis.

Enough is enough. It’s time for Arizona lawmakers to stand up to the woke bullying and threats and do what’s right. The vast majority of Americans support voter ID laws and election integrity reforms. They want an election system that makes voting both accessible and fraud proof. And they understand that voter ID laws and clean voter rolls help make that happen. That means passing SB 1713 and SB 1485.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

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Democrat States: “Voter Suppression” for Me, but Not for Thee

Democrat States: “Voter Suppression” for Me, but Not for Thee

It is now very obvious that the left and liberal media’s commitment to false and hyperbolic rhetoric regarding election bills in Arizona, Georgia, Texas, and elsewhere is not about policy but rather demonizing Republicans. But the jig is up. Characterizing every Republican-led effort to implement reasonable election reforms as “Jim Crow 2.0” (laws that legalized racial segregation) is not only offensive, it is lazy, hypocritical, and getting very tiresome.

For example, SB 1106, sponsored by Senator Mesnard, would require county recorders, upon confirmation that a voter has registered in another county or state, to cancel that voter’s registration. Additionally, the bill would classify the action of aiding someone who is registered in another state in voting in Arizona as a class 5 felony.

Senator Quezada, a Democrat representing legislative district 29, tweeted out that Governor Ducey needs to veto SB1106 along with SB1485 and SB1713 or we might lose our Super Bowl in 2023, similar to how the MLB pulled out of Georgia for what Sen. Quezada refers to as “voter suppression laws.”

And the Pima County Democratic Party tweeted Governor Ducey, calling on him to veto SB1106 with the hashtags #JimCrowAZ and #RacistVoterSuppression.

But is canceling the registration of a voter who has moved to another state really “Jim Crow 2.0”?

Over the weekend we highlighted some provisions in Kentucky’s HB 574 that are being referred to as “expanding voting access” there, but “Jim Crow” here in Arizona. One of those was a requirement nearly identical to what is proposed in SB1106. We’ll wait for Sen. Quezada and the Pima County Democratic Party to condemn the 25 Democrats in the Kentucky House, 8 Democrats in the Kentucky Senate, and the Democrat Governor who all supported it.

A statutory procedure to ensure people aren’t voting in multiple states is common practice around the country and simply commonsense.

For example, let’s look at the democrat stronghold and home state of President Joe Biden—Delaware. There, the State Board of Elections, at any duly called meeting, may consider the cancellation of voter registrations if a member has a “valid reason to believe” the voter is no longer a qualified elector (§ 1702).

They even allow for the cancellation of a voter’s registration if the voter’s spouse, adult child, sibling, or parent sends a written notice that the voter has moved out of state (§ 1707). Don’t like the way your parent votes? No worries. Just send a letter to their county and get their registration canceled.

Colorado, a bastion of liberalism, also criminalizes voting for non-residents (§ 228)with a class 6 felony. Colorado also has a similar provision as SB1106 (§ 604) outlining the process (§ 605)  for canceling the registration of electors registered in multiple jurisdictions. Oregon too, allows the cancellation of elector registrations, “if the county clerk receives written evidence that the elector has registered to vote in another county in this state or in another state” (§ 555.)

And since former President Obama took to twitter in support of the Georgia boycott, we’ll turn our eyes to a state he represented in the U.S. Senate—Illinois. There, a voter’s registration is canceled for simply not voting in the last four years and failing to respond to a notice within 30 days (§ 5-24). County clerks are also required to verify voter registrations every 2 years and cancel the registrations of any voter no longer qualified (§ 5-25).

SB1106 is not “Jim Crow” or “voter suppression.” States around the country, including the left’s beloved blue strongholds, have reasonable measures in place to ensure they maintain a clean and current voter registration database. If the left really believes this policy is “voter suppression” then their position must simply be this: voter suppression for me, but not for thee.

The Liberal Media Must Not Have Read the Kentucky Election Bill that “Expands Voting Access”

The Liberal Media Must Not Have Read the Kentucky Election Bill that “Expands Voting Access”

This past week in Kentucky, HB 574 was signed into law. Despite the Kentucky legislature consisting of Republican supermajorities in both the House and Senate, the account for Democratic Governors tweeted, “While Republicans like @BrianKempGA are implementing Jim Crow 2.0, yet another Democratic governor just expanded voting rights…”

And the corporate media picked up this talking point with headlines such as “Kentucky Gov. Beshear signs into law bipartisan elections bill expanding voting access” from CNN, “Why Kentucky Just Became the Only Red State to Expand Voting Rights” from the New York Times, and “Democratic Governor in deep-red Kentucky signs bill to expand voting, bucking national trend” from the Washington Post.

Meanwhile, here in Arizona the headlines read “Arizona Republican lawmakers join GOP efforts to target voting, with nearly two dozen restrictive voting measures” under a bold “Voting Rights Under Attack” from CNN, “The next Georgia: Texas and Arizona emerge as voting rights battlegrounds” from the Guardian, and “23 voter suppression bills in Arizona legislature” from KOLD.

Let’s take a look at what the left and liberal media consider “Jim Crow 2.0” in Arizona compared to what they applaud as “expanding voting access” in Kentucky.

Early Voting

In Arizona, early voting begins 27 days before an election.

Under the Kentucky bill, early voting is limited to a mere 3 days – Thursday, Friday, and Saturday during normal business hours (Section 11).

Ballot Harvesting

In 2016, HB2023, which prohibited ballot harvesting, was signed into Arizona law. The Democrat party sued the state over it, claiming it has a disparate impact on minority voters. The case is currently in the Supreme Court.

Under the Kentucky bill, ballot harvesting is prohibited (Section 6).

Vote By Mail/SB1485

In Arizona, no excuse is required to vote by mail and voters can register to automatically receive a ballot for every single election, without having to reapply. SB1485 would remove a voter from this list only after the voter failed to vote in four consecutive elections and fails to respond to a notice. The voter would still be registered, they would just no longer receive a ballot in the mail automatically.

Under the Kentucky bill, an excuse is required to vote absentee and voters must apply within a short window of no earlier than 45 days before an election and no later than 14 days before an election (Section 11).

SB1003

In Arizona, SB1003 clarifies that if a ballot does not have a signature, the county must attempt to contact the voter and if a signature is not obtained by 7PM on election day, it is rejected.

Under the Kentucky bill, an absentee ballot must immediately be rejected if it has no signature (Section 14).

Voter Registration/SB1106

In Arizona, SB1106 would require a county recorder to cancel a voter’s registration upon confirmation the voter has registered in another county or state.

Under the Kentucky bill, a voter’s registration must immediately be canceled upon notification the voter has registered in another county or state (Section 5).

Voter ID/SB1713

In Arizona, voters on the early voter list automatically receive a ballot by mail for every election and do not have to reapply every time. SB1713 requires voters to write their date of birth and either their Arizona driver’s license or voter registration number on their ballot affidavit.

Under the Kentucky bill, a photo ID is required for voting in person and must be provided in the application for an absentee ballot – an application that must be made before every election (Section 41).

Catching the theme? All of these provisions leave Kentucky with a more restrictive election system than Arizona. If proposals in the Arizona Legislature are “Jim Crow 2.0” in the eyes of the democrats and media, then Kentucky would surely be “Jim Crow on steroids.”  

If we have learned anything from Kentucky’s passage of HB574, it is that according to the leftist media, election integrity reforms are racist and disenfranchisement when Republicans pass them, but an “expansion of voter access” when a Democrat Governor signs on.

In reality, all of the bills Arizona is considering leave intact the many accessible options available to voters with modest reforms to ensure the integrity of each. They ensure it is simple to register, easy to vote, and hard to cheat – priorities Kentucky’s new law also ensure.

Governor Ducey Should Follow the Science by Signing the “Mask Freedom” Bill

Governor Ducey Should Follow the Science by Signing the “Mask Freedom” Bill

UPDATE: On Friday, April 9, Governor Ducey signed HB 2770!

Democrats have become far too comfortable with controlling you. For many of them, COVID-19 has been a power grab, seizing the opportunity to enact emergency orders and implement other restrictions on your freedom.

They’ve crushed restaurants and other businesses with severe limits and unnecessary closures. They’ve instituted illogical curfews (because apparently the virus only comes out at night). And most recently, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego closed parking lots and grills at Phoenix parks during Easter weekend. Maybe Mayor Gallego should’ve read the guidance from the CDC that says being outdoors is safer than being indoors if you plan to celebrate with others. But no. Despite Governor Ducey’s call for all Arizona parks to remain open during Easter weekend, she decided it was better to play a game of politics.

The draconian measures need to go. But too many government officials around our state are still fighting back against reopening. And nowhere is that more obvious than with the left’s beloved mask mandates, which have been nothing but divisive without any data to back them up.

Thankfully, Governor Ducey took a step in the right direction at the end of March by requiring cities, towns, and counties throughout Arizona to lift such mandates. But more work needs to be done. Mayor Gallego and others from the left love their masks. In fact, City of Phoenix officials recently announced that they are defying Governor Ducey and leaving their mask mandate in place.

But right now, a bill sits on the governor’s desk that can end this once and for all. HB2770, sponsored by Rep. Joseph Chaplik (R-LD23) and dubbed the “mask freedom bill,” passed the Arizona State Senate last week. It simply asserts that a business is not required to enforce a state, city, town, county, or other jurisdiction’s mask mandate on the business’s premises.

This is a commonsense solution. It allows people to exercise their freedom while removing the burden from businesses to play mask police. So, naturally, the Democrats voted against it. Not a single one voted for the bill throughout the entire process. Apparently, the left would rather cling to their power than follow the science. Just ask State Senator Martin Quezada (D-LD29), who voted against the bill despite his excessive need to cross-contaminate his own mask by touching it 22 times in three minutes.

It’s time to return to normalcy and put an end to this foolishness. Businesses need to be protected, and citizens should be treated like responsible adults who can decide what’s best for them. That’s what it means to live in a free country.

Now, it all comes down to the pen of Governor Ducey. He showed a desire to do what’s right a few weeks ago by temporarily lifting mask mandates throughout Arizona. And he can make it permanent by signing the mask freedom bill. The process to reopen has been well underway. Governor Ducey should follow the science and finish the job.