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Westlake Legal Group > Education

Chris Skidmore: Creating the next Stanford or MIT of the future – right here in Britain

Chris Skidmore is Minister of State jointly at the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.  He is MP for Kingswood.

Britain’s universities are home to some of the world’s brightest and best minds. Scientists and researchers are hard at work cracking the toughest problems, from modelling the polar ice-sheets to developing new antibiotics. Their ground-breaking work inspires young people and changes people’s lives. We rank first or second on most metrics, coming only behind the US – a country with far bigger budgets. It’s a great British success story.

But other countries have taken note and are massively scaling up their own efforts. Just look at China: they’ve committed to spending a whopping five per cent of their GDP on R&D. South Korea has already reached 4.3 per cent. The UK lags way behind at just 1.7 per cent.

This isn’t just a twenty-first century ‘science race’, like the space race of the last century. It matters because investing in R&D is the best way for modern economies to raise productivity, especially in the face of increased global competition.  In 2016, the UK committed to reaching to 2.4 per cent by 2027. If we achieve this, it will revolutionise our economy. But it depends on getting two things right.

The first is about people. As we leave the EU, it is vital that the UK becomes even more attractive for international research talent. Earlier this year, we announced a new fast-track visa plan, designed to attract elite researchers and scientists to the UK.

And today, we are unveiling 78 new Future Leaders Fellows – helping early-career researchers to do their best work, benefitting from £78 million investment and access to our world-class universities.  These people are truly inspiring – relocating from all over the world to continue their amazing work right here in the UK, such as new research into ocean oxidisation, violence against women, quantum thermodynamics and self-driving cars.

And we want to go further – ensuring that job offers turn into lasting careers in research. This means cutting red tape, eliminating bullying and discrimination, and unlocking the creativity of everyone working in research, whether in universities or industry.

That brings me to my second point. Raising productivity is important for government. But it is arguably even more important for industry. Over two-thirds of our national R&D is paid for by private funds. That is a sign of its value to the market, proving that innovation is the path to growth.

I am determined that our private and public R&D systems should work together as effectively as possible. This means universities, government and industry working together to share risks and to convert great ideas into new businesses, new industries and new products and services.  Universities have shown themselves to be more than capable of playing their part. Just take the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, where universities have secured over £2bn from industry and private sources into 54 projects right across the UK.

To build on this, I’m delighted that the government is today unveiling 20 new University Enterprise Zones. Established with £20 million of government funding, these new UEZs will be based in universities right across the country, from Falmouth to Sunderland.  These projects are all about creating a business-friendly environment, helping to build a bridge between academia and business. They will allow local start-ups to co-locate in universities, building the businesses of the future – inspired by university research.

In this way, the Government is supporting and encouraging strong relationships between our world-leading researchers and the business world that can best make use of their ideas.  By fostering effective university-business links, we too can create the Stanford or MIT of the future – right here in the UK – ensuring science and research remains a remarkable success story for many years to come.

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Richard Bingley: Five pillars of higher education success driven by Conservative reforms

Richard Bingley is the Managing Director of a private Higher Education Institution and former Director of a public sector UK University Business School.

What makes a good Higher Education Institution?

For almost a decade, I’ve read numerous policy documents and op-ed pieces about the supposed dire state of UK higher education. Despite the fact that the UK founded three of the world’s top ten universities and checks in at number two on the QS World Ranking of higher education systems.

Often such pontifications are by left-leaning societal advisers or consultants who – no matter how bright and passionate – perhaps have never taught within a university, nor gained the appropriate postgraduate qualification to do so. Their solutions are often to strangle our sector with yet more regulation or formal reviews. They usually involve cutting the tuition fees and/or not trusting the tutor to deliver in class.

Paradoxically, the longer I’ve worked in higher education – in both the public and private sector side – the more straightforward I’ve found it to understand the fee-paying customer. Most rightly want, and deserve, connectivity with experienced, industry-facing tutors, practical curricula relevant to the world of work, and the opportunity to realistically apply for decent job opportunities at the end.

So, let’s be clear: British higher education is at a far stronger place than perhaps it has ever been. The most recent Conservative government innovations have been refreshing both for providers (well, those who are ambitious for their learners) and also for consumers. They have introduced market realism and real-world innovation.

Higher Degree Apprenticeships (HDAs) stand to transform vast sections of the sector, with a major shift away from an outdated textbook approach toward teaching practicalities and underpinning theory hand-in-glove with employers. Graduates with HDAs will get jobs, quite simply because most already are employed by their sponsor.

The downside for higher education is that apprenticeships are too cumbersome to manage and the margin for the teaching institution is far too thin to incentivise widespread engagement or to build in student protection contingencies if something goes wrong.

The newly established Office for Students (OfS), which has already taken a robust intervention to ‘rescue’ a failing provider, has geared itself towards widening access and thinning down the frequency of intensive regulatory reviews, whilst the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has empowered learners to understand the roles and responsibilities of higher education providers.

Quite simply, if marketing is incorrect, then service providers will be held to account (often by publishing corrections and repaying a portion of money to the consumer.) After all, if a learner is paying almost £30,000 for course fees over three years, they surely should have the rights of any comparable consumer.

Most practical academics will tell you that there are common characteristics that drive forward higher-performing education institutions (note, that I didn’t use the word ‘ranking’). Aligned to most reforms described above, my five pillars for success are:

1) Effective, broad-based, governance. Independent-minded, qualified experts, key stakeholders, industry networks and paying customers (student reps) are at the heart of oversight and formal strategic advice. The institution and its staff intuitively know and subscribe to its core mission, inherent strengths and collective sense of purpose.

2) Focus on what matters. The institution’s senior management does not chase ever-changing shadows of market behaviour driven by today’s preposterous levels of media hype. Too many higher education Institutions mimic poor restaurants by offering a vast array of half-baked course products, unrelated to their unique origins and specialisms.

3) Discipline. Learners… turn up on time and be prepared. Turn off the phone. Tutors… informal and formal assessment promptly marked with personal, constructive feed-back. Non-attendees removed and Student Finance informed. The demoralisation of good performers, because bad performers are tolerated, should never be permitted

4) Quality of teaching. Tutors must exude authority. Authority is usually only earned from learners if a) the tutor can point to pre-existing high-achievement in both academia and the ‘real world’, and b) the tutor can apply their career achievement into the classroom in an engaging, structured manner. All tutors must be credible ‘captains of ship’. If you can’t command an audience, don’t apply to a profession which is all about working one!

5) Intensive academic support. If ministers want to widen access and ensure that learners can excel, intensive support of student engagement must be invested in. Academic support is costly and plans outlined in the recent Augar Review to significantly reduce student fees raises a problem in this regard.

Further sector concerns around finance are magnified by Jeremy Corbyn’s policy to scrap tuition fees altogether, and directly fund higher education by £9.5bn (funded by increasing income tax for those above £80,000). This is an unrealistic throwback, and would prove totally unworkable and destructive.

Firstly, the funding pot is too small for the modern-day global business that is British higher education provision.

Second, removing consumer power is likely to make degree programmes less job-market focused, and reverse employability progress made during the past decade. If universities and colleges struggle to gain income from teaching, the top-end will revert principally to research. (Most research that is not ‘world class’ is money down an endless drain: it earns, and pays for, nothing.)

Meanwhile other teaching-intensive institutions, usually the more accessible former-polytechnics and private providers, often sited within Labour’s own heartlands (if any exist these days) will collapse.

In the real world of higher education, cash flow generated by tuition fees matter. It provides more institutional stability and also drives up internationalisation and diversity, both within the teaching curriculum and among the audiences that an institution can reach out to and attract.

If providers struggle further to attract or retain decent lecturers (particularly those with industry experience and contacts – remember, this is a global employment market!), and academic staff development budgets are trimmed further, how can this ultimately help the learner?

For a ‘real world’ example in how a student fee cut might impact upon the coal-face, consider as follows: a Grade 9 ‘Lecturer with little or no classroom teaching experience, nor industry work experience, nor post-grad teaching certificate, is appointed to an undergraduate teaching post at £30,000 per annum. This is likely to occur because a Grade 10 ‘Senior Lecturer’ (circa £50,000 per annum), with much stronger career and academic credentials, including industry experience and contacts, had, in effect, made themselves too expensive for the sector.

This is where we are heading back to under Corbyn’s existing proposal. Lower fees and more regulation aren’t always the best fix.

Strong governance, strong institutional identity, strong discipline, strong teaching and strong academic support, always are.

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Meet the NoVA nonprofit that recently partnered with Keanu Reeves

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-114 Meet the NoVA nonprofit that recently partnered with Keanu Reeves youth development programming Philanthropy partnership nonprofits kids Keanu Reeves g3 community services Family empowerment Education
The G3 Community Services team includes just three full-time staff members: Executive Director Jonathan Shores (left), administrator Karen Myers (center) and founder Vernon Green Jr. (Photo courtesy of G3 Community Services)

A few years ago, Vernon Green Jr.’s daughter came home to their Stafford residence crying about her day at school. When he asked what happened, she explained that the boys were causing trouble, the teachers couldn’t control it and she needed his help. 

“All daughters think their daddies are superman when they are young,” says Green.

The following day, Green—an Army veteran, former minister and CEO of a cybersecurity company in NoVA—addressed his daughter’s class and told them sternly, but honestly, that the students’ behavior had to change and he would ensure it did. From down the hall, a few other teachers asked Green to do the same thing and before he knew it, the principal of Anthony Burns Elementary School inquired about turning that one lecture into a full-time program for young boys, eventually becoming nonprofit G3 Community Services.

While G3CS started as a mentorship program for young boys, it has since grown to benefit young children in Stafford County in general, as well as veterans and families in the NoVA region through extensive programming. 

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-28 Meet the NoVA nonprofit that recently partnered with Keanu Reeves youth development programming Philanthropy partnership nonprofits kids Keanu Reeves g3 community services Family empowerment Education
Vernon Green leads a discussion at one of the Stafford elementary schools that offers his programming. (Photo courtesy of G3 Community Services)

Extraordinary Young Minds is the organization’s longest-standing program, supporting character development of children in the school system through science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) initiatives, including lessons on coding, race car building and virtual and augmented reality. While this branch of the organization is currently offered at nine public schools in the county, Green hopes to extend the entirety of the group’s work to parts of Maryland and Washington, DC, in addition to more schools in Northern Virginia.  

As of August, Green got a little bit closer to this goal with help from Fairfax native Jim Klock and actor Keanu Reeves, who recently produced Already Gone, a film about two New York City teens who attempt to escape complex upbringings. Following an introduction through Green’s long-time friend and Stafford County Sheriff David Decatur, Green was given the opportunity to partner with Reeves and the rest of his team to host a special screening of the film in New York, benefiting G3CS. 

“I swear I thought it was a joke. I was like there’s no way,” says Green about the interest from Reeves. “It ended up being a win-win situation—they wanted a sponsor and we needed someone who would carry our message.”

While the event generated interest and several donations from attendees, ultimately fully funding one public school’s G3CS programs, Green’s focus is on finding more volunteers who can teach and inspire the organization’s participants. 

“We are looking to move north but it goes by where I can generate volunteers,” says Green. “We want to have an impactful program, not something that’s barely getting by.”

Green is bringing his outreach efforts to his for-profit cybersecurity company, GCubed, Inc., too. Through internship programs for veterans transitioning out of the system to employee visits at participating G3CS schools, Green seeks to benefit NoVA’s community and workforce at the same time.

“I started to realize there’s a lack of qualified professionals in cybersecurity and information technology in our area, so by teaching these kids from the start, it helps put them into that pipeline of possibilities,” says Green. “If you can give people education, careers and opportunities we can change lives.”

Want more news about Northern Virginia schools? Subscribe to our semimonthly Education newsletter.

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‘Cause We Can’t Have Politics in School: Varsity Cheerleaders Get Put on Probation for Posing with a Trump 2020 Sign

Westlake Legal Group north-carolina-cheerleaders-trump-sign-SCREENSHOT-620x352 ‘Cause We Can’t Have Politics in School: Varsity Cheerleaders Get Put on Probation for Posing with a Trump 2020 Sign Uncategorized Front Page Stories Featured Story Education Allow Media Exception Academia

[Screenshot from ABC13 Houston via Twitter, https://twitter.com/abc13houston/status/1173937414462758912]


North Carolina’s North Stanly High wants students to show their school colors but not their political ones.

On August 30th — before a Friday night football home game — a group from the cheer squad posed with a banner that read…**Trigger Warning**…”Trump 2020: ‘Make America Great Again.’”


Photos of the ghastly endeavor made their way across social media, and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association acted fast.

According to the Daily Mail, the entire squad was placed on “probation,” which means they can’t cheer for a whole year.

The Associated Press reports Stanly County Schools Superintendent Jeff James made clear the intention of the probation: To make sure the guilty gals “don’t do it again.”

And why? Because all NC high schools have a policy against students displaying political signs.

Officials explained:

“The focus of Friday night football games should be on our students — the players, cheerleaders, band members — the focus should not be on politics. For this reason, we are hopeful the situation will resolve, and our student athletes can have a successful fall season.”

But some are calling hogwash: A Facebook event was created, encouraging backers of the girls to attend this week’s game in support.

As for the district’s rule: So school shouldn’t be about politics? That sounds great; when do we start?

Take a ganders:

Dumb University Of Cambridge Rescinds Fellowship Offer To Brilliant Jordan Peterson

Pennsylvania State University Adds ‘Conjoling’ With Flattery As A Basis For Sexual Assault Guilt

The Regression Of Progress: College Bans Chick-Fil-A Because Of Its Values

University Of Montana Bans Mean Speech

California Passes Legislation Forcing All Public Universities To Provide Abortion Pills

The BBC Releases A Lesson Plan For 9-Year-Olds: There Are More Than 100 Genders. Disagree And Go To Jail

New Video Allegedly Reveals Planned Parenthood Instructing Teachers On How To Help Kids Hide Abortions From Their Parents

Former Sex Educator: Planned Parenthood Is Grooming Girls For Abortion Via The Public Education System

TREACHERY: Tennessee School System Creates Video For Teachers On How To Teach Kids America Is Racist

Hey — I just thought of something: Since the students are individuals, but the school is funded by taxpayers, isn’t it the school that should never be political, but students should be free to voice their opinions? Aw, I’m probably just turned around.

In the meantime, there is one bit of good news:

The cheerleaders will be on probation for a year but are expected to continue cheering.

Punishment ain’t what it used to be.



Find all my RedState work here.

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The post ‘Cause We Can’t Have Politics in School: Varsity Cheerleaders Get Put on Probation for Posing with a Trump 2020 Sign appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group north-carolina-cheerleaders-trump-sign-SCREENSHOT-300x171 ‘Cause We Can’t Have Politics in School: Varsity Cheerleaders Get Put on Probation for Posing with a Trump 2020 Sign Uncategorized Front Page Stories Featured Story Education Allow Media Exception Academia   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Ranil Jayawardena: The free school programme is good. Let’s make it outstanding.

Ranil Jayawardena is Member of Parliament for North East Hampshire and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party.

Education holds the greatest hope for a life rich in promise. That’s what I said in my maiden speech. I believe it to be true now more than ever. If we are serious about unlocking the potential of every community, we need not only to build the fantastic transport and future-focused digital infrastructure, but we need to put pupils and parents at the forefront of our education policy.

There have been great successes. 1.9 million more children are now in good or outstanding schools due to reforms since 2010 and the continued commitment of teachers in the classroom. Boris Johnson has set out that we will ‘level up’ funding so that schools in every corner of the country get a boost. And it is right that we think about the next steps.

Every year, we get more evidence of the growing success of David Cameron’s free schools policy. But seeing these great results comes with a tinge of frustration that so few have been approved recently. That’s why I was delighted with Boris’ announcement that there will be a new wave of free schools, changing the lives of countless pupils.

We know how well these schools achieve – they outperform other school types at every level, and are more likely to be rated Outstanding by Ofsted than any other school. Last month, GCSE results day brought these triumphs further to life, showing more of the transformational impact these schools have made.

Schools like Cobham Free School, where 78 per cent of the first cohort of students achieved Grades 9-4 in their English and maths GCSEs. At the East London Science School, more than a quarter of all grades were 7 or above, significantly above the national average.

Kings College London Mathematics School retained their spot as the highest performing state school at A-level with 91 per cent of all grades achieving A* or A. The specialist maths school offers talented young mathematicians opportunities that would previously have been denied to them. Alongside Kings, at London Academy of Excellence in Newham an incredible 93% of all grades by students were A*-B, resulting in an unprecedented 22 students securing places at Oxford and Cambridge.

It would be remiss of me not to reference Michaela Community School, too. The school has attracted huge amounts of criticism over the years, but proved its doubters wrong in stunning fashion last month. Across every subject, more than half of exams were graded 7 or higher, while nearly a quarter of students achieved grades 9-7. Overall, the school has an estimated Progress 8 score of 1.5, making it likely to be in the top ten highest performers in the country.

This makes it all the more frustrating that there is no guarantee these schools would get approved today. The criteria for new schools to open have been squeezed over the past few years so much so that new parent and community groups are at risk of becoming extinct. While I do not agree with the critics who suggest that the free school programme is now merely a vehicle for academy trusts to grow, the argument is too easily made.

I know first-hand that it is still possible for community groups to go through this process, daunting as the requirements are without the resources of an academy chain behind you. In support of a free school in North East Hampshire, I have worked with teachers, parents, employers and community leaders to make the case for a new school. We hope this will put us on the way to opening our doors and doing our bit to make sure even more local children get the education they deserve.

Sadly, there are still some schools in north Hampshire that are not delivering for the next generation – this is why we came together, and what we are working to change. But it has been extraordinary to be on the receiving end of so much misunderstanding, misinformation and ‘fake news’, for simply wanting parents to have a real choice for their children.

And this is what other areas need, too. The bottom line is that there are still far too many schoolchildren going to schools which aren’t good enough – where families know their children are being short-changed and they have no opportunity to make it better. It’s true in north Hampshire, and it’s true in too many other communities as well.

The free school programme should be much more about standards, not just about school places. How many of those surplus places are in schools where you would not send your own children? School choice is taken for granted in areas with an abundance of high-performing schools, but in others the lack of options makes this a sham.

Because this is the unspoken truth: we already have school selection in every – yes, every – part of our great nation. Not by ability, but by house price. It is the lowest paid who are left behind; they cannot afford to move to the catchment area of a better school and they certainly cannot afford school fees. They want to do the very best for their children. They work hard, but are not rewarded for doing the right thing.

I was lucky. I grew up in my constituency and was fortunate enough to be in the ‘right’ catchment. My parents couldn’t have afforded school fees and my great education at the village primary schools and local comprehensive was simply a quirk of fate. It could have been very different. But it shouldn’t be.

Boris Johnson has explicitly called upon parents, educational groups and community organisations to come together to make this happen and play their part. I welcome this. The process is not easy, but nor should it be, but we need to be sure we don’t shut out those who want to help. That’s why I should like to thank Unity Howard and her team at the New Schools Network for the invaluable support they offer applicant groups.

Levelling up the quality of education is a lesson objective we all share. And free schools are vital to doing so. But like a disruptive pupil at the back of class getting all of the attention, the opportunity for all pupils to get the best education is hamstrung by the current focus on the need for new school places alone. The free school programme is good; let’s make it outstanding. Giving energised parents, teachers and communities the freedom to set up truly innovative new schools will enliven our educational ecosystem, provide families with the choice that their children deserve, and get British education up to the top of the class.

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5 mommy-and-me classes to attend with your kids this fall

Westlake Legal Group Mommy-and-Me-Feature 5 mommy-and-me classes to attend with your kids this fall Things to Do parenting Motherhood mommy and me classes kids fitness family friendly events Family Features Family Events Education children
© Shutter2U / stock.adobe.com

School is back in session and the community pools have closed their gates. It’s an adjustment period, as most parents call it, prepping for the busy weekends that are bound to lead straight into the holiday season.

But if you’re looking for a fun way to spend some time with your little ones and slow down during the hustle and bustle, here are five of our favorite upcoming classes to enjoy, with no cleanup required!

For more stories relating to parenthood, roundups of family-friendly events and more, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Bella Bundle
Sept. 23, 8:45 a.m.
You might know the location best for its ballerina lessons for tiny twirlers, but this class is designed for adults (and strapped-in babies) only. The baby-wearing and prenatal fitness class incorporates dance components, strength training and gentle stretching. It’s a great way for you to get up and moving, no babysitter needed. // prices vary

Mommy & Me Fitness
Sept. 25, 11:45 a.m.
This family-friendly class not only gives parents the chance to get a workout in, it also allows the kids to learn the importance of exercise from a young age. Any children over 1 year old can join the class, as well as any athletic or fitness level for adults. That recommended 30 minutes a day of physical activity will fly by in no time. // prices vary

Mommy & Me Yoga
Oct. 3, 10 a.m.
The benefits of a yoga class for a new mom can make for a long list, but we’ll keep it short: engage and stimulate the mind of your little yogi, allow your child to see how others react to movements and behaviors for social development, shake off new-parent jitters and make some new friends. // $20 per adult (kids are free)

Mommy and Me Chocolate-Making Class
Oct. 14, 10 a.m.
Everyone loves Halloween candy, but what about making it yourself this time? Take a chocolate-making class with Santosh Tiptur, head chef at The Conche (the Leesburg-based, chocolate-themed restaurant), and learn how to make a chocolate bunny from the world-class pastry chef and chocolatier himself. Plus, moms get a drink to kick off the class, and kids get a free cup of hot chocolate. // $50 per person

Parent and Me Decorating Class
Oct. 20, 2 p.m.
Baking with the kids can be fun and educational, but it can also make for quite the mess. Instead of turning your kitchen into a war zone, grab a tube of icing and get to decorating these Halloween-themed cookies. You know what they say: have your cookie and eat it too … or, something like that. // $30 per person (two tickets required)

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This year’s 7th annual Senior Spelling Bee to benefit local memory care program

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-43 This year’s 7th annual Senior Spelling Bee to benefit local memory care program words Things to Do Features spelling bee Spelling seniors senior spelling bee Senior Living memory improvement memory care Education Dementia annual event
© Terdsak / stock.adobe.com

On Sept. 26, community members throughout Northern Virginia will gather together for one day of educational fun, thanks to the annual Senior Spelling Bee, started by NoVA resident Toni Reinhardt. This year’s funds will go toward Insight Memory Care Center’s program, Dementia Friendly Herndon

Dementia Friendly Herndon was established in 2016 as the first Virginia-based branch of the national organization, Dementia Friendly America, which seeks to provide support for those living with dementia and their caregivers. 

While the event first began as a recreational activity for seniors living in community centers to participate in, it is now a full-fledged, annual fundraiser. This year’s event will be held at retirement community Hunters Woods at Trails Edge in Reston, where seniors will compete in a comfortable and social atmosphere for the chance to win a special prize that has yet to be announced. Plus, food and door prizes will be served to all attendees, regardless if they are participating or not. 

Prior to the competition, each participant will be supplied with a practice spelling bee list, tips for how to properly prepare and the option to volunteer to help groups run trial spell-offs events. Then on the day of, organizations across Northern Virginia can choose two participants over the age of 65 to be the team leaders and compete. 

For those who want to come out and watch, be sure to represent your given team with T-shirts, signs and noisemakers to add to the already supportive community event. 

“It gives people a chance to gather together and stretch their brain cells,” says Reinhardt. “And some people who are good spellers, even if they have early onset dementia, they retain that ability and it’s fascinating.”

If you are interested in registering for or becoming a sponsor at this unique fundraising event, click here. // Hunters Woods at Trails Edge: 2222 Colts Neck Road, Reston; donations encouraged

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The Dead Hand of Antonio Gramsci

If you’re not familiar with Antonio Gramsci, you should be. Gramsci was an Italian Communist who, while in prison in the 1920s, penned what has become the left’s handbook for taking over societies. The current ne plus ultra of Gramsci’s methods is Pope Francis, the Marxist who worked himself up through the ranks of the institution to become its head. Today’s Catholic Church, a 2,000-year-old institution, is headed by a Marxist who may not even be a Catholic. That’s Gramsci.

The Pope is hardly the only leftist “marching through the institutions.” He’s just a handy, very prominent example. The world is full of these people. The idea of Cultural Hegemony — seeking it, maintaining it, using it — is central to leftist thinking worldwide. Here in the United States, we are at considerable risk of being surrounded by Gramsci-style cultural hegemons. Ironically, that is because we had attacked them where they are strongest.

There was a think piece in Friday’s Wall Street Journal that is nominally about “the role of the corporation in society” but which describes how Roosevelt’s New Dealers built the American welfare state inside the private sector, using large firms to do what they could not do (at that time) politically. They basically ‘Gramscied’ the Fortune 500 into carrying out their preferred social policy in regards to medical care, defined pensions, employment security, etc. They could do this because corporate governance was quite weak back then. Managers did whatever they wanted with corporate assets; ownership was so spread out and unorganized that shareholders really had no say in how resources were used.

All that changed in the 1970s with the rise of ‘shareholders rights’ movements and institutional investors who swung a big enough bat to put an end to the corporate welfare state. Which the lefties hated but which is just as well because it’s probably a bad idea to have unelected people setting social policy anyway. As we are learning the hard way with Twitter and Google.

So all the unelected Social Policy Makers from the private sector moved into the government, where they populated a vastly expanded federal bureaucracy. That’s pretty much where we’ve been for the last 30 years, with Gramsci’s hegemons happily directing government resources and power into their favorite causes. Like the corporate hegemons of the 1950s, they have mostly ignored the owners’ elected representatives.

Just as shareholders eventually revolted in the 1960s and reclaimed their assets from the occupying social engineers, so the voters are waking up and wondering why their government is allowing so much harm to come to them, and doing so little to benefit them as opposed to all these other causes and peoples around the world.

If it hadn’t been Trump, it would have been somebody like him. Somebody was going to come along and harness the fact that the government is in the hands of a huge, unelected clique of arrogant do-gooders who don’t care, and don’t have to care, what the public wants or what the “politicals” tell them to do.

It has taken Trump three years, but we are finally starting to see evidence that the Gramscian Hegemons in government service are being squeezed. They certainly aren’t gone yet, and they may never be entirely removed. But we don’t need them to be gone. We only need them to get their hands off the steering wheel.

Here’s what else we don’t need: we don’t need them popping up again in the private sector, turning large corporations into social engineering platforms the way they were in the 1950s. This isn’t just happening in Silicon Valley anymore. We’re seeing Gramsci’s head pop up in places like WalMart and NASCAR, where left-leaning ideologues are using market power to implement social policies they cannot get past the elected leaders in government.

The good news is that this means that the left wing hegemons are indeed being kicked off their perches in the Civil Service. They feel threatened, and many are jumping ship.

The bad news is that if we don’t catch this in time, and the Bad Guys get lucky, they could end up owning both the private and public sectors. And then we’re hosed.


Follow Robert A. Hahn on Twitter.

The post The Dead Hand of Antonio Gramsci appeared first on RedState.

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Born In A World At War

Westlake Legal Group 9-11-september-eleventh-620x325 Born In A World At War War Terrorism terror September 11 school History Front Page Stories Featured Story Education Allow Media Exception 9/11

Eighteen years ago today, a series of airplane crashes changed the world.

These crashes were no accident. The September 11th terror attacks were a well-orchestrated strike into the hearts of Americans, killing so many of our countrymen and injecting a new and terrible fear into the hearts of us all.

The strikes brought down the World Trade Center in New York, a section of the Pentagon, and aimed to take out the White House (had it not been for the heroic actions of the Americans on board of the final plane, sending it instead into a field in Pennsylvania). They kept us out of sports arenas and large gatherings for fear of what might happen next. The United States began taking steps toward war to punish those responsible – a terror organization deep in the heart of the Middle East.

That war and the wars that followed have not ended since they started.

Across America today, there are students who are learning about this event in a solely historical context – this year’s graduating high school seniors were either less than a year old or not even born when the attacks happened. Yet, the world they are growing up in is a world built upon those attacks.

Many of them have parents in the military, who even now serve overseas in the same places that spawned the terrorists who attacked us. Others have family that has been lost in those conflicts. Still others come from families who support the war or families who oppose it.

The politics inspired by those terror attacks and the wars in the Middle East have shaped family discourse. While not solely due to the September 11th attacks, what has happened in the political realm has undoubtedly been shaped by them. Because of that, we now live in a very politically-charged era. Kids are becoming all-too-aware of the toxicity of it all, and it bleeds into the classroom.

It’s a world that they know all-to-well, but it’s not the world that my generation (the beloved millennial generation) and those older than I always knew. Sure, we can look at several events through history that have changed the world, and we can argue many generations have their own similar historical world-shaping events. It’s also true that this generation may well come to witness an event that shapes their worldview like September 11th, Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK, and other events affected previous generations.

With September 11th the most current of those events, however, it’s important for those of us old enough to remember it to explain why and how the world has changed. There are far too many people even in our media and political establishments who pretend as though history began sometime after 2002.

That type of worldview, the type that ignores the context of the times we live in, is actually dangerous. Context is what makes history something to learn from. Simply memorizing the dates and people and events of history isn’t enough. The context that makes them important fill in the gaps, and lead us from one event to the other, making it more than a timeline but an explanation of why the world is the way it is.

The students in our classrooms today need to understand the context of their world. They need to know the context of the world as it was before and leading up to September 11, 2001, and they need to understand the world now as it has been affected by those terror attacks.

The post Born In A World At War appeared first on RedState.

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Kidcreate Studio set to open in Old Town this fall

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-11 Kidcreate Studio set to open in Old Town this fall Studio play time kids inspiration family friendly Family Features Family Entertainment Education Creativity children arts art education art classes
Photo courtesy of Kidcreate Studio

From knitting classes to gymnasiums for toddlers, there is no shortage of entertainment for NoVA’s kids. And later this fall, the community of Old Town will have a home for artistic play, structured creativity and pure fun for children 18 months through 12 years of age, thanks to one local mom. 

Kidcreate Studio first opened in Minneapolis over 10 years ago by Lara Olsen, who noticed a lack of art education in her young children’s school curriculums. Today, the brand has grown into a franchise with studios in 10 states, with Virginia being the latest addition to the company. 

“Here in the area we are invested in making our kids great community members who are enthusiastic about their interests, and I think this studio will really help with that,” says Fairfax County resident Diane Greenbaum, who has plans to open Kidcreate late this fall in Old Town Alexandria. “When I thought about what I wanted to do next, this just made sense.”

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-22 Kidcreate Studio set to open in Old Town this fall Studio play time kids inspiration family friendly Family Features Family Entertainment Education Creativity children arts art education art classes
Photo courtesy of Kidcreate Studio

Greenbaum previously worked in the corporate world, yet recently found that her current interest didn’t match with the same dreams she had as a 20-year-old. With Kidcreate, she’ll be able to dive into the company’s full-fledged curriculum, featuring about 1,000 lesson plans, in an effort to give children in NoVA a creative outlet. 

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According to the eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care, the creative arts help support children’s growth in a variety of ways, including social, cognitive, emotional and physical development. 

Kidcreate consists of programming for children between 18 months and 3 years, where parents stay alongside their child; a preschool program for those between 3 and 6 years of age; a curriculum for children ages 4 through 9, which is the most popular program; and an elementary school program for kids ages 5 through 12. 

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-52 Kidcreate Studio set to open in Old Town this fall Studio play time kids inspiration family friendly Family Features Family Entertainment Education Creativity children arts art education art classes
Photo courtesy of Kidcreate Studio

“Each lesson follows anywhere from art techniques to material use to just free-for-all painting, and we really stay in tune with what kids are into right now,” says founder Lara Olsen. “Recently, we did a Harry Potter class where he flew through Van Gogh’s Starry Night. We like to incorporate a little more pizzazz than what the kids are used to at school.”

In addition to weekly structured lessons, Kidcreate has drop-in messy time, as well as an on-the-go division, which allows the team to bring art to you, whether that be at a birthday party, local organization or an after-school program. Parents can also submit requests to host birthday parties within the studio, which Greenbaum has already received, despite not yet having a set location for the site. 

According to Greenbaum, she is hoping to sign a lease at a desired location within the next few weeks and open the doors before November’s end. Until then, she will continue to spread the word and scout for local talent in the Alexandria region to join the local branch of the company. Talent does not have to come in the form of an artist, though, but rather someone who is genuinely great with kids and isn’t afraid to get a little messy. 

In Olsen’s words, “If you don’t like glitter, it’s not the job for you.”

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