Gov. Newsom’s poll numbers are plummeting: After committing countless Covid-19-related unforced errors and still unable to get California schools reopened, Gov. Newsom’s popularity is plummeting. A new Berkeley poll released this week finds that just 46 percent of registered voters approve of Newsom’s performance as governor, while 48 percent disapprove, 31 percent of whom disapprove strongly. Newsom’s underwater polling is a major change from last year when significant majorities approved of the job he was doing. The bad polling numbers come as the recall effort against Newsom gathers steam. This week, tech entrepreneur and potential Newsom challenger Chamath Palihapitiya donated $100,000 to the recall effort.
Classroom closures are driving Newsom’s bad poll numbers: In an op-ed published today in the OC Register and its affiliated papers in Southern California, I explain how Newsom wants to reopen schools to placate angry parents, but teachers unions have other ideas. I draw on CPC’s new research showing that charter schools outperform their peers to argue that fed-up parents should pursue their charter school alternatives. Charters are more vital now than ever as California students, especially minorities, struggle to recover from the dramatic learning losses associated with the virtual-schooling debacle.
The piece closes by noting that teachers unions might be overplaying their hand:
Teachers unions have continually tried to exploit this pandemic to bolster their bargaining position. Yet this is a dangerous game. Percolating parent frustration with teachers unions over recurrent strikes, a failing public education system, and enormous unfunded pension liabilities has turned into a full-blown boil over their militant opposition to reopening classrooms. They may find that when they finally do reopen, their students will have left for outperforming charter schools.
Watching your kids struggle can quickly change your political persuasions: In his latest piece, CPC contributor Larry Sand offers data that suggests why Newsom’s popularity is sinking; namely, closed classrooms are causing enormous suffering for kids:
It is not surprising that mental health problems account for a growing proportion of children’s visits to hospital emergency rooms. In November, the CDC reported that from March 2020, when the pandemic was declared, to October 2020, the figure was up 31 percent for those 12 to 17 years old and 24 percent for children ages 5 to 11, compared with the same period in 2019. And when severe mental health problems exist, suicides escalate.
The National Institutes of Health reports that – pre-lockdown – about 70 children in the U.S., ages 5-14 kill themselves every year. While there is no national data yet for 2020, that reported number is likely to skyrocket. In Nevada’s Clark County alone, there were 18 youth suicides in the last 9 months of 2020.
The media and activists try to discredit the recall effort: On the latest episode of National Review’s RadioFree California, CPC President Will Swaim and board member David Bahnsen discuss how Van Jones and the LA Times echo false claims the recall effort is “tied” to QAnon and white supremacists. David and Will also celebrate a bill to unionize state capitol staffers — because why should legislators escape the punishment they inflict on others? — and they examine the governor’s ban on evictions.
Teacher union criticism is now also tied to QAnon: Teachers union activists are swarming Kevin McCarthy and Michelle Steele — and now CPC for promoting school choice. Their crazed message is that we’re all part of QAnon and any criticism of teachers unions must immediately be linked to white supremacists.
Another tech titan heads to Texas: This week, Digital Realty, a Bay Area tech firm, became the latest company to move to Texas. Digital Realty’s CEO lauded the “central location, affordable cost of living, highly educated workforce and supportive business climate” in Texas.
Book of Exoduses: This week, CPC launched a new research project chronicling the departure of businesses and notable individuals from California. Combined, this California exodus accounts for hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in lost economic activity.
How to reopen California: In his latest analysis, CPC contributor Edward Ring offers a plan to reopen California. Ed asks the question on every skeptic’s mind over the last several months: Why hasn’t there been a greater focus on Covid-19 early-stage treatments? Big Tech, if you’re listening, we’re not saying definitively that evidence-based treatments like Vitamin D and ivermectin reduce the severity of Covid-19. But why, asks Ed, “has discussion regarding their efficacy been suppressed? Equally important, why has an entire early-stage treatment protocol for COVID-19 been neglected?”
Ed also calls on teachers unions to do what’s right and reopen classrooms: “If there ever was a time for Californians to come together to share the risks and challenges presented by a crisis, this is it. The CTA should take Newsom’s deal, they should open the schools up immediately, they should permit sports to resume, and they should accept that perfect is the enemy of good enough.”
CPC co-signs letter to Congress opposing deceptively named “For the People Act”: This week CPC co-signed a letter to Congress opposing the latest threat to free speech, federal legislation that would require the disclosure of public interest groups’ donors’ names and addresses:
H.R. 1 and S. 1 would dramatically alter the First Amendment protections that Americans have enjoyed since the founding of our country. It would institute sweeping new burdens on their constitutionally protected rights to freely speak, publish, and organize into groups to advocate for the causes they support. In particular, H.R. 1 and S. 1 would impose onerous and unworkable regulatory standards on the ability of individual Americans and groups of Americans to discuss the policy issues of the day with elected officials and the public. This bill would also violate the privacy of advocacy groups and their supporters and stringently and excessively regulate political speech on the Internet.
San Francisco School Board is a parody of itself: Rather than focusing on getting kids back in classrooms, the San Francisco School Board has devoted its time to stripping 44 schools of their traditional names, including those named after George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. This is the latest example of cancel culture run amok. Last week, the Board passed the renaming resolution in a 6-1 vote after a so-called “blue ribbon panel of community leaders” recommended the move.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed spoke for many when she said: “What I cannot understand is why the School Board is advancing a plan to have all these schools renamed by April, when there isn’t a plan to have our kids back in the classroom by then. Our students are suffering, and we should be talking about getting them in classrooms… I believe in equity… But the fact that our kids aren’t in school is what’s driving inequity in our City. Not the name of a school.”
The Board of Education didn’t bother consulting historians because, in the words of Jeremiah Jackson, the chairman of the school renaming committee, there was nothing to discuss: “What would be the point? History is pretty written and documented pretty well across the board. … There’s no point in debating history in that regard. Either it happened, or it didn’t.” But Jonathan Zimmerman, education and history professor at the University of Pennsylvania, notes the Board got some of its facts wrong:
It claimed that James Russell Lowell — the namesake of San Francisco’s elite high school — opposed Black suffrage. It insisted that businessman James Lick funded a racist statue of Native Americans kneeling at the feet of whites, which has been removed from downtown San Francisco. Wrong and wrong. Lowell supported the vote for Blacks and Lick had been dead for 18 years when the statue went up.
Among canceled school names are those for former presidents Herbert Hoover and James Monroe, naturalist John Muir, Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere, and author Robert Louis Stevenson. Even California Sr. Sen. Dianne Feinstein was canceled because she once ordered a confederate flag be replaced in 1984 during her tenure as Mayor of San Francisco.
But the most egregious name to be removed from a school was Abraham Lincoln. According to Chairman Jeffries, “‘Lincoln… did not show through policy or rhetoric that black lives ever mattered…”
Wow. Just. Wow.
No wonder the school board can’t figure out how to reopen classrooms.