Roger Simon: Speaker Sexton’s Task Force to Look into Rejecting Federal Education Dollars Should Include the Public

Roger Simon: Speaker Sexton’s Task Force to Look into Rejecting Federal Education Dollars Should Include the Public

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Roger Simon in studio to weigh in on Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton’s efforts to reject funding from Department of Education in the state.

(Zippity Do Dah plays)

Leahy: We brought that just for you, Roger.

Simon: I love that song. Brings tears to my eyes.

Leahy: Zippity Do Dah.

Simon: I think of myself at age seven, sitting in a theater watching that.

Leahy: In New York City.

Simon: And loving it.

Leahy: Yes.

Simon: It’s the decline of Disney personified. It’s so sad because Disney did wonderful things for the world.

Leahy: We’ll make it your theme song here, Roger.

Simon: You got it.

Leahy: We’ll play it.

Simon: This is an upper. But it’s a sad upper because it’s no more.

Leahy: But look, there is hope for the future.

Simon: Yes, there always is.

Leahy: We want to talk about some of that hope here because obviously, we had a warning about the possibilities of every digital currency taking over everything. That’s your column today at The Epoch Times. But I wanna bring some zippity do dah sunshine and light into the program this morning, and it comes in the form of an action taken recently by Tennessee House Speaker Cam Sexton. We talked about it.

And this has been a theme on our program for years to basically tell the federal government, we don’t want any of your Department of Education money because with your money comes strings. And, K-12 public schools are in trouble enough. They don’t need to have some Washington bureaucrat who’s woke telling you what to do.

Simon: Actually, dumbing them down.

Leahy: Totally dumbing them down. And of course, in K-12 public schools here in Tennessee, two-thirds of third graders are not at grade level in reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Simon: It’s a national illness.

Leahy: It’s at a national level.

Simon: And the Department of Education is at great fault. And one of the great things about the Republican candidates, at least all of them that I can think of, I don’t know about Haley in this, want to obliterate the Department of Education. It should have gone under Trump one, but it didn’t, but it should go now.

Leahy: And by the way, in his campaign, stop reiterated he would get rid of the Department of Education.

Simon: Oh, absolutely.

Leahy: Asterisk. You had a chance, and you didn’t. (Laughs) I’m just saying.

Simon: But I think he would, the next time. I believe that. I think it would be one of the very first things to go.

Leahy: I was very pleasantly surprised when about a month ago Tennessee Speaker of the House, Cameron Sexton announced that he wanted to start the process of telling the federal government, we don’t want your $1.8 billion from the Department of Education. That was a good sign.

Simon: Very good.

Leahy: Now the question is, how does it happen?

Simon: Yes, of course. The devil is always in the details. He’s started a new group that will study this. (Laughter) See now, this is where these things disappear or become one-tenth of whatever they should have been. But at least they’re doing it.

My hope would be that this process, this study of the procedure, would have a little bit available to the public, so the public can weigh in, and we can see exactly what’s being done and who’s doing it.

Leahy: This is in alignment with my thinking on it as well, Roger. There is legislative activity to start the process. And on Monday, Speaker Sexton filed legislation that would create an 11-member task force to study the process required for the state to forego federal funding. That’s a good start. Asterisk.

Simon: Yes, it is a good start. Have they published yet who the 11 are? Or is it a little early for that?

Leahy: The leader of it would be Penny Schwinn, the commissioner of education.

Simon: Whose brother is connected with CRT and all this stuff?

Leahy: She’s a UC Berkeley grad who is not widely respected here in Tennessee because she’s been promoting a left-wing curriculum and has really done nothing to enforce the anti-CRT law that was passed by the legislature. But having said that, if you’re going do a task force, I would say this.

Simon: I think they should put Glenn Reynolds in that group.

Leahy: I would agree. I think you’ve got to look at the logistics of it. The idea here, it’s interesting. The purpose of this is going to be they are going to begin meeting monthly in August and are going to give a strategic plan to Governor Lee by December 1st. But here’s the key.

In her role as chair, the legislation further requires that Commissioner of Education Schwinn notify the US Department of Education by August 31st and advise them on, wait for it…Tennessee’s intent to explore the possibility. (Laughs) There are three qualifiers right there of Tennessee rejecting federal funding. It’s a slow start, but it’s a start.

Simon: It’s a snail start.

Leahy: Yes. Yes. Snail. Moving slowly.

Simon: I hate to see that. I really hate to see that. One of the things about woke is it’s a money scam. It’s a kind of a weirdly advanced form of capitalism.

Leahy: It’s political crony capitalism.

Simon: Yes, exactly. And communism is capitalism in that way.

Leahy: Yes, exactly. All the money flows to the elite running the show.

Simon: Elite who are already in position and the rest of you can go suck lemons. (Chuckles)

Leahy: So here’s the thing. 11 members of this task force, Penny Schwinn is the chair. (Buzzer sound) Problem there. Then three state senators. They’re selected by, wait for it…the Speaker of the Senate, Randy McNally, who’s got a few problems of his own.

Simon: I hope they’re not transgender.

Leahy: I know.

Simon: Why doesn’t Randy McNally, if anyone’s listening to this right now, recuse himself at this point from anything like that?

Leahy: We’ve made that suggestion to him. On Sunday, we wrote for the first time in the six-year history of The Tennessee Star did an editorial, but we said just time for him to resign. What’s probably gonna happen with him is the session only has six weeks to go.

Simon: They still have to make that reference.

Leahy: Then three members of the State House, selected by Speaker Cameron Sexton. I think Scott Cepicky would be a great person to be on that. He’s been tracking the education thing. Then it gets one district superintendent selected by Speaker McNally.

One district superintendent, selected by Speaker Sexton of the House. Then one teacher, selected by McNally, and one teacher, selected by Speaker Sexton. All I have to say is none of these people have an interest in telling the Feds, we don’t want your money.

Simon: Yes. Or have an interest in actual education. It’s frightening because, you know, Abraham Lincoln was a kind of a genius, really, and a great writer of speeches. He went to a one-room schoolhouse. He didn’t need any of this stuff. I think you could do the inverse-square law on education and the money that is spent on it.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Cameron Sexton” by Cameron Sexton. Background Photo “Department of Education Building” by Farragutful. CC BY-SA 4.0.













Laurie Cardoza-Moore on Proclaiming Justice to the Nations’ Upcoming Summit, ‘Taking Back America’s Children’

Laurie Cardoza-Moore on Proclaiming Justice to the Nations’ Upcoming Summit, ‘Taking Back America’s Children’

Live from Music Row, Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed CEO and Founder of PJTN, Laurie Cardoza-Moore in studio to talk about the upcoming event this Sunday called, Taking Back America’s Children for families of students.

Leahy: In studio right now, our very good friend, Laurie Cardoza-Moore, the founder and CEO of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations. Good morning, Laurie.

Moore: Good morning, Michael!

Leahy: It’s always great to have you here in studio. It’s so much more fun to be in studio.

Moore: I know, I just can’t see doing it over the phone. Doing it live! We have to do the phone, okay fine. But this is more fun.

Leahy: Now, you do have to get up early.

Moore: I know, I was up early.

Leahy: You were up early. So thank you for that. A big event coming up this Sunday. Taking Back America’s Children will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.. You’ll be there as well as many speakers there. People can go to to sign up. Tell us about this event, Laurie.

Moore: This is an extension, Michael, of what we did a decade ago. And you remember that a decade ago we found a Pearson published textbook that was not just antisemitic, but anti-American, anti-Judeo Christian, and anti the values that our nation was founded upon.

And that was in Williamson County. This was a parent who came to us, whose student was in the 9th grade. He came home questioning his faith. Now, listen to this and all of our audience who are believers.

He came home questioning his faith. He said to his mom, he said, who has legitimate rights to the land of Israel? And this is a kid who came from an evangelical home. He had been in youth Bible studies.

He knew what the word of God said. And she said to her son, well, what does the Bible say? He said, no, Mom, I know what the Bible says, but tell me the truth. Who has legitimate rights to the land?

That mother, of course, being her family background is Jewish. They have Jewish ancestry. She started to look into the materials that he brought home that day, and she contacted me and she said, you will never believe what we found in Williamson County school is what we’re teaching our kids.

And so she brought me the book. I reviewed it cover to cover, and we started the process of trying, as most parents have been doing, with these school library books and some of the textbooks and the wit and wisdom that our children are being subjected to this garbage, these lies.

And so we went through the proper protocol, and we ultimately went to the school board. The school board said we’re going to put a committee together, we’re going to look at the book, and we’re going to deal with this.

They looked at the book and they were to vote. One night, there was a school board meeting, and of course, we went on the radio two weeks prior to that meeting, because I knew I had to get parents and citizens to show up at that meeting.

And we started airing spots, just examples of what we were finding in this textbook mom and dad in Williamson County. Do you know what your kids are being subjected to? And that night at the school board meeting we ended up having standing-room-only.

The parents lined up to tell the school board, we want these books removed. We want this book removed. I got up and I said, this is an election year, and if you don’t remove this textbook, we’re going to remove you from office.

They voted that night. They slapped the parents and citizens in Williamson County in the face, and they kept the book. They said, ‘Oh, the issues in the book do not warrant removing it.’ So we went to work. We had four months to be able to flip that school board.

We looked for parents who are citizens, tax-paying citizens that were willing to run for the school board, and the community got behind them within four months. We had four months to do it.

Michael, come election day in August, those six sitting school board members that were up for reelection, we removed all six. Well, it’s been a decade, and we’ve watched moms and organizations come in to try to right the wrong, and we still have a problem in this school district. The school board has got to go, and that’s what this training is about.

That’s why we’re hosting this meeting coming up this Sunday and why it’s important that you as tax-paying citizens, as parents with your children or even grandparents with grandchildren in the school system, you need to show up at this so you can be trained and can hear from top-tier leaders who are coming in from across the country. We’ve got Robert Arnakis, who’s coming in from the Leadership Institute.

Leahy: And we’ll go through more details. I think here’s the bottom line on all this. The educrats and the left have an ongoing onslaught that keeps bad curricula in the schools.

Moore: That’s right.

Leahy: And on our side, you have to constantly fight, fight, fight. This event next, this coming Sunday will be an opportunity for people to learn about how to fight back. It’s Taking Back America’s Children-National Southeastern Conference.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Laurie Cardoza-Moore” by Laurie Cardoza-Moore. Background Photo “Classroom” by Wokandapix.


Tennessee House Education Administration Committee Chairman Mark White on Third Grade Retention Bill, Early Literacy

Tennessee House Education Administration Committee Chairman Mark White on Third Grade Retention Bill, Early Literacy

Live from Music Row, Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Chairman of the Education Administration Committee in the Tennessee House of Representatives (R-TN-83) Mark White to the newsmaker line to address the core of the third-grade retention bill and confronting issues in earlier education.

Leahy: We welcome to our newsmaker line right now our friend, State Representative Mark White from Memphis, who’s the Chairman of the Education Administration Committee in the Tennessee House of Representatives. Good morning, Representative White!

White: Good morning. Good morning, Michael. Thank you. How are you doing?

Leahy: I want to thank you. It’s a federal holiday and it’s 6:15 in the morning, and you are working. You’re talking to us. Thanks for getting up and doing this. I really appreciate it.

White: Well, thank you very much. But when you are on the Education Committee, there is never a day off.

Leahy: Never a day off. You actually have a long history as a teacher. We have mutual friends. You were their teacher many years ago. You were a science teacher, correct?

White: Right, a science teacher for 5th, 6th, and 7th grade. Really enjoyed it.

Leahy: See if you can shed some light on this third-grade retention bill. I’m watching local television reports, and there are so many people whining and complaining about it. Oh, they’re setting standards. And if you don’t meet these standards, you may have to repeat third grade or go to summer school. What’s so terrible about that?

White: Yes. Number one, I’m glad that everybody’s attention is on the fact that we need to be fixing this issue. And so I’m glad the opportunity is here if a child or a person reaches the 12th grade and they are still struggling with the comprehension of reading skills that are affecting their ability to go into trades or higher education. And so we have really got to address this and can fix this.

Leahy: Yes. Clearly, there’s a problem. I’ve read various accounts of how many third-grade students will perform below. I think it’s the English language art standards for reading and writing.

In the tests given by the state in third grade, some people say it could be as many as 65 percent of kids will have to go to summer school or be held back. Some say it will be less than that. How many kids would, under the current law, will be held back?

White: That’s the real conundrum, and that’s the discussion that everyone is having. It depends on how you look at it. The big issue we need to consider as we move forward on this and we will have a good hearing in a couple of weeks on this entire issue to hear everybody’s concerns.

But the main thing is there are a lot of opportunities for summer school and for tutoring that the state has put in place that no child has to repeat if they take advantage and the schools take advantage of these opportunities to make sure the child is reading proficiently as they move on past third grade.

Leahy: I congratulate you and the Tennessee General Assembly for identifying this very important problem here. Can I make a suggestion for your consideration?

White: Absolutely.

Leahy: My view is, part of the reason that so many students are performing poorly in the third grade and other grades, but specifically in the third grade, where this bill is focused on reading and writing and arithmetic is because we have a bad system of instruction.

And merely putting kids into repeating the class or going to a summer school in the same system is unlikely to really solve the root of the problem. I would suggest the following: if you’re familiar with a methodology of teaching called direct instruction, which is something that Thales Academy has been using to teach reading, writing and arithmetic.

If the state were to implement such a strategy of delivery of curriculum, I think you would see a dramatic improvement in reading, writing, and arithmetic among all K 12 students. Your thoughts on that methodology?

White: Thank you very much, and I appreciate that. You’re really talking our language. And what you’re saying is exactly how I want to use the committee as we move forward. Let’s make sure whether it’s direct instruction as you suggest or let’s make sure we get kindergarten one and two correct.

We should not be having the discussion of third-grade retention if we have the issue of early childhood literacy under control in kindergarten, first and second grades. And so we’re really going to look at the entire picture of what we need to do now.

A couple of years ago, in January 2021, when we passed the Third Grade Retention Law, we also implemented Phonics. We’re putting Phonics back into our system. Our teachers are being trained as well as those who are coming out of college.

So that that’s a plus. Reading 360 and a lot of these things we have in place that are working. So, yes, what you’re saying is let’s get the entire system in place so that we do not continue to talk about third-grade retention.

Leahy: And Direct instruction is a methodology that’s been around since the late 1960s. It is a proven methodology. And I would suggest that you and other committee members would be well suited to go and take a visit to Thales Academy-Franklin, where they use direct instruction and watch how the kids perform. Every single kid that goes there learns how to read and write in kindergarten.

White: Thank you. We would definitely look at that and have those people come in. We’re going to bring all types of experts into what is working as we move forward. I really want to use this opportunity.

We’re going to have several bills filed, legislation filed on addressing third-grade retention, but we’re going to look at the entire picture and not just legislation on whether or not we should have home students back or not.

Leahy: Do you anticipate that there will be a significant change in the current third-grade retention bill in this session?

White: Very good question. We’re going to have 19 members on the committee this year. We have about five or six that are new members that are coming in that will be on the committee and we’re going to have to catch up to speed as we go forward. There will be a lot of discussion around that.

Some legislation says, well, let’s just turn it back over to the local LEAs. In 2011, we did pass a third-grade retention law, but we left the decision up to the locals. And here we are 11 years later, still talking about it. So that’s not working. I’ll tell you, we need to have a part of the state and we need to step in and we need to make sure we correct this.

Leahy: I see that William Slater is the vice chair of the committee. 19 members, pretty big. A couple of new members as well. Gino Bolso from Williamson County is on it. Harold Love, Jr., from Davidson County, and Justin Jones, newly elected from Davidson County is on the committee.

White: Yes, they’re all new members, and I know some better than others. That’s what I’m doing. For the next two weeks, the House is on recess while the new members get adjusted and get in their offices. And so I’m going to spend that time not only working on this issue but getting to know some of the new members.

Leahy: When is the House back in session? And when will the Education Administration Committee meet to discuss the Third Grade Retention Act?

White: We’re back in session on Monday, January 30th, and then I’m going to kick off the committee right away. We’re going to meet on that Wednesday, which will be February the first, and probably we’ll kick this off within two weeks of committee in mid-February.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Mark White” by Tennessee General Assembly. Background Photo “Teacher and Student” by Arthur Krijgsman.


Rep. Jerry Sexton Responds to Biden Administration Immigration Law Fails and the State Legislature Role K12 Curriculum

Rep. Jerry Sexton Responds to Biden Administration Immigration Law Fails and the State Legislature Role K12 Curriculum


Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed TN. (R) State Representative Jerry Sexton in studio to weigh in on Biden border policy and immigration failures and the Tennessee General Assembly’s role in K12 public education curriculum.

(Arizona Congressman (R) Andy Biggs clip plays)

Leahy: That’s Congressman Andy Biggs from Arizona talking about the Biden mal-administration’s failure to enforce our immigration laws. What’s happening at the border is illegal aliens are crossing in record numbers. They’re not being tested for COVID. They’re not being detained. They are being put on buses and planes and sent all around the country, including to places like Tennessee it appears.

In studio with us State Representative Jerry Sexton. Jerry, when you hear Congressman Biggs describe the reality on the border of that, you look here at Tennessee apparently, some of these illegal aliens, many of them not tested for COVID. Many of them carrying COVID are headed to Tennessee. What’s your response to that, Jerry?

Sexton: Well, it’s obvious we have certain values and certain laws and those laws are being skirted with immigration. We are a country of immigrants, and it’s called the melting pot. The problem is we’re not melting anymore. We’re trying to change the values of this country.

Leahy: Balkanizing the country.

Sexton: Yes, that’s exactly right. And when you’ve got immigrants, we could make them a way for people to come legally. But what they’re doing is they’re getting these people to beholden to them as if they’re giving them something. And unfortunately, it’s happening in Tennessee. And we’re not making our politicians pay for their votes and their policies.

It’s time that we, as Tennesseeans, decide whether we’re going to continue to put up with these types of policies, or do we know exactly what the voting record is of our state Senator, of our governor, of any politician? Do we know what their voting record is? We better stop listening to the rhetoric and see what actually they’re doing now.

Leahy: I have not seen any confirmed reports that these illegal aliens have surged across the border and have been placed in Tennessee. I have seen many confirmed reports that illegal aliens at the border are not being detained and are being sent around the country. It would stand a reason that there are 50 States and they’re probably being sent to Tennessee is one of those States.

There was an unconfirmed report down in Chattanooga. I don’t know if you saw that which said that said, apparently an organization called the Baptiste Group, there was a report, unconfirmed, was housing illegal aliens who had just crossed the border. And then there was, I think, a local Chattanooga message from their school board saying, just a reminder that by law, we are required to educate everybody that comes here.

And there’s a Supreme Court ruling on this that illegal alien children must be educated in K12 public schools. And so I don’t know. There have been no confirmed reports, but it would very much surprise me if there aren’t right now today in Tennessee, illegal aliens who have crossed the border illegally since the inauguration of Joe Biden, who are sitting here right now, many of them poised to go to public schools.

Sexton: Let me ask you something. What if every immigrant that came to America said that they had to listen to your program? And I’m in the furniture manufacturing business and these same people had to buy my product? Now, that would be a pretty good boom for us, would it not?

Leahy: Oh, yeah.

Sexton: So our education system, they get so much money per student. So what we’re doing is we’re filling up the classrooms with money because every head represents so much money for those schools. And it’s time that we tear apart these organizations that are funneling all this money and everything else. We should be teaching our people. We should be giving them an education.

Leahy: You mean on things like the Constitution of America? (Laughs)

Sexton: Oh, my gosh. Isn’t it amazing how we don’t know the Constitution and we don’t teach those things?

Leahy: Well, funny, you bring that up. Have you seen in our book Guide to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights for Secondary School Students? I think maybe this is the first time I’ve shared that with you.

Sexton: I think it is.

Leahy: And I’ll just talk to you a little bit about this. In October, it will be our fifth year of doing the National Constitution Bee here in Tennessee. And it is for students grades eight through 12. They get a copy of this book. And then we do a Constitution Bee like a Spelling Bee or Geography Bee. And we end up with three winners and the first place winner gets a $10,000. educational scholarship, second place, $5,000, and third place $2,500. It’s a lot of fun.

Sexton: Wow.

Leahy: I will tell you this, though, and we make this book available as a supplementary text to K12 public schools in Tennessee. Really, only one school system in the state has even expressed any interest in it. We’ve got one school system using it as a supplementary text in one course. But most of the other K12 public schools have no interest in learning about this particular supplementary text on the Constitution. Nor do they have much interest in sending their kids to have this opportunity for educational scholarships. That’s our experience with the K12 public schools in Tennessee.

Sexton: What they are teaching them is completely different from the values of America. I was in a public school and I attend some schools occasionally and in one of the classrooms I took some pictures and I’ve tried to take videos of it, but there was on the board they were teaching about Christmas in Mexico, not Christmas in America.

Leahy: Christmas in Mexico.

Sexton: Christmas in Mexico.

Leahy: Because that’s what young kids in Tennessee need to learn about. Christmas in Mexico.

Sexton: I tell organizations all the time when they talk about these diversity and inclusion programs. First of all, say it should be done away with because I say it’s not real. If I want to bring my Bible and I want to come into your organization, am I welcome? Can I have Bible study? Can I have Sunday school? No, just on the face itself it’s not real. The first book that was approved by Congress, and I’m sorry, they don’t have the year 17 something but it was the Aitken Bible. It was the first Bible printed in America and approved by Congress.

Leahy: I think that was actually like 1784 during the Confederation Congress.

Sexton: I think so. Yes. And we are when I say we, the American Bible Society, is going to put Bibles in every school to be taught. From this historical standpoint, it has all of the documents. I’ve seen the Bible’s already being printed. And we’re excited that we can put those in schools because we do have a policy, a law, state law that says that you can have these.

But as you said, Michael, people are afraid. They’re afraid to stand up for what is our right in America. And until we start standing for those rights that we have and those values like the Second Amendment, like freedom of speech, like the right to keep and bare arms, until we start standing up for those, we’re going to continue to lose them. I, for one, will not bow to the left and their tactics.

Leahy: Yeah, that’s, I think, very important. But I want to follow up with this. Isn’t it the state legislature that plays a critical role in establishing the curriculum?

Sexton: Of course it is.

Leahy: That is taught in K12 public schools?

Sexton: Of course it is. Now let me give a high five to some of my colleagues in the Education Department. I know several of them that are fighting extremely hard to try to get these policies in our schools. Believe me, you’ve got a lot of Tennessee legislators that believe in the values that made this country great. They’re wanting to get those things taught in our school rooms. They’re fighting for it all the time.

We have to push back against these big unions. And I don’t want my Republican friends that don’t understand that every time we give in to these public schools and this leftist idea that they’re taking that money and trying to defeat Republicans and conservative values. Why do we continue to do that? I tell my friends all the time in the legislature that I am a rural representative and the school systems in my area are the largest employers.

And we cannot be afraid of them. We have to embrace them. I support our teachers. They have to teach what they’re mandated. But our parents also want to have a diversity of education. I support that. And I get elected every time because I support our parents, our teachers and the public school system is failing us as it is.

Listen to the full first hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio







Jill Simonian of Prager University Talks About Their New PREP Program for Parents and Teachers and Fighting Against Critical Race Theory

Jill Simonian of Prager University Talks About Their New PREP Program for Parents and Teachers and Fighting Against Critical Race Theory


Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the Director of Outreach for PragerU Jill Simonian to the newsmakers line to talk about their new PREP curriculum for parents and teachers and critical race theory in public and private schools.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by a native of Fresno, California, and the director of outreach for Prager University. Jill Simonian. Good morning, Jill.

Simonian: Good morning, Michael. I love that you found my Fresno, California roots. I love it!

Leahy: My kid brother lives in a suburb of Fresno right now. He’s a pharmaceutical sales manager for the West Coast for somebody, and he loves it out there.

Simonian: Nice. Anytime someone mentions Fresno, I smile. I live in the Los Angeles area now, so it’s a little bit different. But I’m out here in California.

Leahy: You’re the director of outreach for Prager University, a great gig, and a great organization. Tell us what PragerU’s PREP program is about.

Simonian: PragerU, most of your audience I’m sure is familiar with PragerU and Dennis Prager and the idea of free videos and free minds. We like to promote diversity of discussion. And PragerU has just launched well, I don’t know if I could say just launched anymore because it’s been a few months, but we’ve launched a new program specifically for parents and educators called PREP. PragerU Resources for Educators and Parents.  And it’s a group that is encouraging parents and like-minded teachers to find kindred spirits in uniting to celebrate our American values, hard work, equality under God, responsibility for the individual. All of those American values that we share and we want to celebrate for our children.

Because what’s happening in our schools right now, public and private across the country is a very divisive implementation of critical race theory, gender identities, political narratives, and things that are really inappropriate for school curriculums that are being pushed, and PREP seeks to offset that by offering families, educational and entertaining videos and resources that we can share with our kids. To reinforce our American values and to unite us, that we really are one here in America through our differences. And that’s what PREP is seeking to do.

Leahy: Jill Simonian is the director of outreach for Prager University. We’ve been hearing lots of stories from parents and teachers around the country that critical race theory is permeating K-12 public education. Are you hearing those same stories at PragerU?

Simonian: Yes. Yes. Yes. It’s really disturbing. And I’m smiling, talking with you because I’m thrilled to be able to talk about this and to raise awareness and really open parents’ eyes as well as communicate with teachers who see the danger in doing this to our kids. But it really is disturbing, and it’s not funny at all. And it’s happening in some of the most expensive, elite private schools. I mean, the past few days, we’ve seen articles about the Brearley Schools and Dalton Schools in New York, but also it is permeating into public schools.

And last week, there was another piece yet out here in California from the Santa Clara County Office of Education describing the types of curriculum that they are trying to push into public school classrooms making children, and this is a quote used by the author of the article, Christopher Rufo, making children as young as kindergarten, merchants of revolution, trying to teach them that the group is more important than the individual.

It’s really trying to incite Marxist ideals. It’s really scary. And in our PREP group anyone who donates $25 a year to Prager U, automatically can become a PragerU PREP member. And what that includes is a private Facebook discussion forum. We’re on Facebook right now but we’re moving to an app in the summer. But a private discussion forum that consists of parents and teachers sharing stories from across the country because we always hear about California and New York.

But there are things happening in Middle America and some of the most rural parts where parents are writing into this discussion forum saying, I never really thought that this was going to be in my kid’s classroom. But here was the sign that was posted when I walked in. Here was the survey question that my third-grader was given. Here was the class discussion that my middle school was obligated to take part in, even though it goes against American ideals. And parents are sharing stories with teachers. And our PREP group in just a few months has amassed to 10,000 members.

Leahy: Jill Simonian with Prager University, the author of that article about the parent leaving the Bearley School because they’ve been pushing this critical race theory down the throats and he is in the studio with us Roger Simon, editor at large with The Epoch Times. Roger has a question for you.

Simon: Well, what you’re saying is terrific, and I’m a big admirer, and I’m an old friend of Dennis’s actually when I lived in LA. I fled LA. My condolences to you. You still have to live there. (Simonian chuckles) I think we ordered a find critical race theory for our audience. What it really is is the upending of Dr. Martin Luther King who famously and quite courageously told us we should judge people by their character. Critical race theory says we should judge people by their race.

Simonian: You’re absolutely right. And I’m glad you brought that up because here I am, day in and day out and I’m constantly talking about this, and I assume that people know what critical race theory is. But the reality is is that a lot of people do not know the dangers of it. And you said it exactly and perfectly. Critical race theory in schools teaches children all subjects through a lens of race.

Simon: And everything about them is dependent on race. It is a truly fascistic and reactionary idea that comes out of failed Marxism, where the Marxist originally thought everything was about money essentially. They failed with that and the working class didn’t buy it so they came up with critical race theory in Europe. It came from the Frankfurt School to America.

Leahy: Jill, let me ask you this question, what happens to teachers who raise objections to the teaching of critical race theory either in public K-12 schools or private K-12 schools?

Simonian: The pattern that we’re seeing in our PREP group and then, of course, also with articles that are sprouting up daily is that teachers who express any kind of concern or descent or just simply say hey, I don’t know about this. This seems strange to be teaching a second grader to recognize someone’s difference by the color of their skin. This is wrong. This is neo-segregation.

Any teacher who may bring this up is chastised and possibly punished. Also, I heard some cases of teachers being told by their principals or administrators this is why you’re part of the problem, and this is why we have so much work to do because you don’t understand how important this work is. And that is the most frightening thing of all.

And another note about critical race theory is one would assume that critical race theory is only prominent in history lessons or social settings. No! Critical race theory is prevalent in math now, in science, and things that were dependent on right or wrong answers. Topics that focus on facts, math, and science, are also being taught through a lens of racism, which is so absurd.

In California, there is one school district that said with math, you have to get the right answer. And they said that the pressure for students to obtain a correct answer for a math problem is rooted in fear which is rooted in racism. And if that doesn’t sound the alarm, I don’t know what else does.

Simon: I think Xi Jinping is very pleased to hear that. (Laughter) We’re raising a generation of ignorant people. That’s it.

Leahy: Tell us again now, for parents that are upset with critical race theory, I guess the options are to take their kids out of the school as the Bearley private school father did. Can a child in a K12 public school where they’re teaching this critical race theory actually get a fair education and not be ruined?

Simonian: I don’t know how to answer that question truthfully, because it really is a tough question. I don’t know if they can get a fair education. But what we as parents and teachers can do is to inoculate them to the best of our ability and to continue to speak up in the class with and continue to speak up, write letters, express concern, request one on one meetings with the teachers, administrators, principals, school districts, and school boards. We have to remember in public schools, the schools work for us. Those schools are funded by taxpayers.

Leahy: In theory. Jill Simonian Director of Outreach for Prager University. Thanks so much for joining us. Will you come back?

Simonian: I will come back! Join us at We’ve got all new kids’ videos. Check us out. You are going to enjoy them with your families.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.