We already know Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, so six more weeks of winter. We also know that we’ve got a new President and Congress, and that the pandemic is still in charge of much of our lives, as we scramble to get vaccinated. But did you know that:

  • On his very first day in office, President Biden axed the 1776 Commission whose stated purpose was “to enable a rising generation to understand the history and principals of the founding of the United States in 1776.”

About that writes Rick Hess, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and director of Education Policy Studies: “Now, let’s be clear: When I talk about a need for patriotism, I’m not arguing for whitewashed accounts of silver dollars and cherry trees. Students absolutely need to understand that, though some people enjoyed the blessings of American institutions, others have been denied those blessings—or even oppressed by those same institutions.

“But I worry that too many in education are less interested in a richer, more complete narrative than in a new orthodoxy erected atop a caricature of American villainy. Portraying the American tale as an endless parade of horribles isn’t any more honest than cartoonish accounts of American wonderfulness; worse, it strikes me as remarkably destructive if the goal is to raise engaged, responsible citizens…”

  • City Attorney Dennis Herrera, backed by Mayor London Breed, has sued the San Francisco Board of Education and the San Francisco Unified School District in a last attempt to save what’s left of the school year.

Herrera says: “Not a single San Francisco public school student has set foot in their classrooms in 347 days. More than 54,000 San Francisco schoolchildren are suffering. They are being turned into Zoom-bies by online school. Enough is enough.”

  • 19 students committed suicide in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas since schools shut down last March; 13 have happened since July.

About such tragedies, professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Brown University Susan Duffy says, “Across the country, we’re hearing that there are increased numbers of serious suicidal attempts and suicide deaths.”

Adds Dr. Vera Feuer, director of pediatric emergency psychiatry at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of Northwell Health in New York: “The kids we are seeing now in the emergency department are really at the stage of maybe even having tried or attempted or have a detailed plan. And we’re admitting to the hospital more kids than unusual because of how unwell they are… The stories that we hear day by day in the emergency department really speak to us about the level of difficulties, the layers of traumas, and the real problems that families are facing.”

  • America’s student debt now stands at $1.6 trillion, affecting some 45 million of us, but what do do about it? Senator Sanders and Representative Ilhan Omar want it all canceled. Senator Elizabeth Warren wants to cancel up to $50,000 for those making less than $250,000. President Biden suggests cancelling up to $10,000 per borrower.

Asks Scott MacDonald, author and founder of the MacDonald Community Scholarship Program, “The fairness issue is also apparent when talking to graduates and parents who sacrificed and struggled to avoid or minimize debt while the student was in school…”

  • Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has invested $2 billion to set up a Montessori-inspired network of preschools. Add that to his takeover of the Washington Post, his $42 million clock said to keep time for 10,000 years, and his spaceflight company Blue Origin which plans to send the first woman to the moon.
  • A study recently published in Scientific Reports found that young children who use touchscreens a lot are more easily distracted than those who don’t. And found researchers, 70% of families with children 3 and younger—even just 12 months old—are active on such devices.

And so the new year rolls on…
With my thanks and good Valentine’s Day wishes, Carol