IWF’s Kelsey Bolsar Reveals Pregnant Women’s Concerns with Employer Mandated Vaccines and Safety

IWF’s Kelsey Bolsar Reveals Pregnant Women’s Concerns with Employer Mandated Vaccines and Safety

 

Live from Music Row Wednesday 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 Independent Women’s Forum Senior Policy Analyst and a contributing writer to The Federalist Kelsey Bolsar to the newsmakers line to discuss employer vaccine mandates, safety, and pregnancy.

Leahy: On the newsmaker line. Kelsey Bolsar, who writes for The Federalist and is a senior policy analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum. She has an article out called The Cost of Vaccine Mandates for Pregnant Women. Welcome, Kelsey.

Bolsar: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

Leahy: I understand that you are a graduate a Little Ivy College called Lafayette College in Easton Pennsylvania. I have been to Easton Pennsylvania a great place.

Bolsar: Absolutely. And it’s actually experiencing quite a boom right now, which is great for the surrounding area in addition to the college.

Leahy: Why is it experiencing a boom there, by the way?

Bolsar: Oh, it’s pandemic related. Individuals who used to live in New York City year-round now have more flexibility in their workplace and are looking to move to surrounding areas that might be a bit of drive but nothing crazy from New York and Easton Pennsylvania is one of them.

Leahy: Did you have fun attending Lafayette? Was it a good program?

Bolsar: Absolutely. Lafayette College is the smallest, Division one school. I was a Division one athlete for part of my college career and made a lot of close friends, had fun competing, and learned a lot.

But of course, it is one of these small liberal arts institutions that do very much lean to the left. So I’m grateful that I did come to my senses and stayed true to myself while I was there.

Leahy: I got to hear this. I did not know that it was a Division one school. For all sports is just for a few sports?

Bolsar: All sports.

Leahy: Wow. And what sport did you compete?

Bolsar: I played lacrosse.

Leahy: Oh! My girls play lacrosse. And I’ll tell you this, I never played lacrosse in my life. But when my daughter, who’s now in her early thirties, was in high school, she said, Dad, I want to play lacrosse.

We started a lacrosse team and I coached them. And by the way, if you’re a man and you played men’s sports, it’s probably not a good idea for your first time to coach a girls team, because it’s a whole different attitude, isn’t it?

Bolsar: It is. It’s a great sport, though very popular on the east coast, still picking up steam in other states across the country, but it’s very competitive on the east coast. And competing at one of the smallest division one schools in the country certainly presented its own challenges.

But college athletics is something I recommend to anybody whose interested because it teaches you life lessons you can use both of on and off the field.

Leahy: Absolutely. Well, you’ve written about one life lesson, I suppose the cost of vaccine mandates for pregnant women. Tell us what those costs are. And why are you writing about this?

Bolsar: Absolutely. I actually wrote about this because of a personal experience. I initially was hesitant to come out with my story. I am very blessed to be expecting our second child later this year.

And I was one of the many women facing a difficult decision about whether to get vaccinated as a high-risk individual who was expecting. Of course, being pregnant puts you in that high-risk boat for COVID-19.

Unlike before, I was hopeful that I was one of these young and healthy individuals that wouldn’t face a severe case. But now I had more side effects to worry about. But also, we have no data about vaccines on women from the first trimester who have actually successfully given birth because, of course, this vaccine didn’t become available until December earliest.

And so anybody who got the vaccine who was expecting during their first trimester likely has not completed their pregnancy full term and given birth, which is kind of scary regarding the number of unknowns in terms of what these vaccines could do to the development of the child.

I want to be clear that every study that has been released thus far looks really good for pregnant women getting the vaccine. Researchers have not raised any medical concerns about women getting it at any point in their pregnancy.

But, of course, with so many unknowns with a vaccine that is still in the experimental stage, this is a very personal decision for women to make who are expecting and other Americans who have high-risk conditions that put them in the boat where they might not know exactly what could happen both short and long term if they get this vaccine.

And so in light of this being a personal decision, I was looking at the national rhetoric surrounding vaccine mandates and vaccine passports and I found it very ugly and dismissive of the very legitimate concerns and serious ways Americans are thinking through the decision of whether to get vaccinated and when.

Many of us are nothing but grateful for this medical miracle, we are far from any of the sort of anti-vaxxers that you hear being shamed in the national media. Many of them on the left recited a few remarks made on The View.

And I kind of raised the question, the point of so many young, healthy Americans getting vaccinated right now is to protect the more vulnerable who do face more difficult decisions about whether to get vaccinated.

Why don’t our policies and our rhetoric reflect that? Vaccine mandates requiring them to go back to work, but women specifically in a very difficult position if they are expecting or if they are trying to get pregnant and have questions about the vaccine long term.

And it kind of forces them to reveal to their bosses very private fertility information that should remain private. No woman should be pressured or forced into revealing their fertility status before they are ready.

And many of these policies just push women up against the wall and set this dangerous precedent that we have no choice but to get vaccinated. And until we have irrefutable data in terms of vaccines and pregnancy, this does need to remain a choice.

And I can tell you, as someone who is expecting, it is a very difficult choice that women are thinking very seriously through regarding the pros and cons of getting vaccinated or not.

Leahy: So walk us through your own personal decision. You have one child. Are you currently expecting another child?

Bolsar: Yes. And I am only just out of my first trimester. And so for the past few weeks, while I’ve been watching the rhetoric and these policies be handed down, I was in that boat where there’s not just a little bit of data on successful outcomes in terms of women who are vaccinated later and their pregnancy and successfully given birth.

There is no data. And that’s a very difficult position to be in. And I can tell you I am getting mixed recommendations from doctors. Some of them tell me to get it at all cost, while others told me, don’t.

Most definitely hold off, at least until you’re in the first trimester and risk assess after that. So there is not a clear consensus in the medical community. And it’s important that that the lack of that consensus is better reflected on the national stage in terms of our policies.

I do believe that women who are expecting are in that group where if there are vaccine mandates, they would be able to get a medical exemption. But once again, this is forcing women to reveal their fertility status and very private information early on in their pregnancy before some are ready.

I do know there’s a number of individuals out there that are especially prominent in the Black community where women are concerned about the long-term implications of the vaccine on their fertility.

And this does not mean they’re anti-vaxxers. All this means is they want to wait a bit longer for more information to be given to them that reassures them that this vaccine will have no negative implications for their fertility.

Leahy: Kelsey Bolsar, that’s a very articulate explanation of the concerns that pregnant women have about whether or not to take the COVID-19 vaccine. We certainly wish you well with your pregnancy and look forward to more of your reporting. Kelsey, thanks so much for joining us today on The Tennessee Star Report.

Bolsar: Thank you.

Listen to the full second 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Federalist Author Jenni White Discusses the Five Ways Parents Are Responsible for Public Education Failures

The Federalist Author Jenni White Discusses the Five Ways Parents Are Responsible for Public Education Failures

 

Live from Music Row Wednesday 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 author Jenni White at The Federalist to discuss her recent piece which holds parents partially responsible for failing public education.

Leahy: We are joined by Jenni White, who has a terrific article at The Federalist. Five Ways Parents Are Responsible for Public Education Failures. Good morning, Jenni. Thanks for joining us.

White: Good morning, Michael. Thanks for having me.

Leahy: So you’re from Oklahoma, is that right?

White: Yes, sir, I am.

Leahy: And you own it. You have five kids that you home school.

White: (Chuckles) Fortunately, not anymore. I’m down to one homeschooler. I’ve finally gotten a bunch of them out of the house.

Leahy: And you own and operate a micro-farm, is that right?

White: Yes, that’s right. I get up early anyway. So that’s what you do on the farm.

Leahy: Is a micro-farm five acres or less?

White: Well, we have 10 acres, but, yes, I still designate it as that because we don’t have 200 acres.

Leahy: What do you grow? What do you have? Any animals?

White: Oh, yes, we have sheep. We have lots of birds. We have ducks and turkeys and chickens and lots of cats and dogs. People tend to leave dogs in the country someplace, and we tend to raise them up and cat.

Leahy: Do you have crops?

White: Well, we have a large garden. We don’t actually plant anything on a large-scale basis, but we just have a really big garden.

Leahy: So that keeps you pretty busy.

White: Pretty much yes. Especially right now. Although what’s going on with the weather? (Chuckles)

Leahy: Yeah, exactly. We like Oklahoma. Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida. These are states where liberty is still a possibility.

White: Absolutely.

Leahy: And I was very interested and intrigued by your article because it does say something about the duty parents have and the duties that they really have stopped exercising a little bit. The first of these five things that you say why parents are responsible for public education failures. The first one, parents believe it someone else’s job to educate their kids.

White: Yes. I mean, think about it. And I was that way, too. Even though I was a public school teacher. When my husband and I married we moved to a neighborhood because it had a ‘blue ribbon school’ which I found out later was kind of an erroneous designation. It’s kind of political. And we put our kids in it. And it wasn’t until then that I started noticing, even in elementary school, some of the stuff that was coming back about how Americans harmed Native Americans and about global warming. And I thought, oh, my gosh, what’s going on?

Leahy: This was back when? how long ago were you hearing about global warming from the school?

White: Oh, my gosh. That was all the way back in 2008 in my kids Elementary school.

Leahy: This is like their propaganda machines, aren’t they?

White: But it is. And I think it’s sad because parents don’t really understand. They think, just like I did when we first got started. These are great. It’s a neighborhood school. You can affect the neighborhood school. Well, I did try to affect the neighborhood school. I got on the PTA. I was on the PTA for four years, and in four years, all we managed to do the entire time was raise money selling whatever it was so we could get a computer lab.

And then after we got the computer lab, we had to get a gym. And I’m like, why don’t we get some good books? We need to get some good math books in here. What about Saxson math books? Well, they didn’t want to do that because it was all about competing with other schools and having this computer lab or a gym. And I’m thinking, guys, this isn’t what this isn’t the important thing here.

Kids need the math. I think parents are led down kind of a primrose path by educators and by school districts and by that whole kind of phenomena, I guess you could say of we’ll have a neighborhood school and our kids will walk and it’ll be great. And then they don’t really stop to think about what’s actually going on in the school.

Leahy: You said something very important at the beginning of this. You say parents have long begun to accept the brainwashing of Horace Mann that public schools were the repositories of all knowledge. Later, socialist John Dewey convinced administrators that public schools were to promote democracy by instituting social change, something parents couldn’t possibly do. Little by little, educrats began to convince parents public schools could parent and educate their children better than parents could.

White: Well, have you not heard people say, and I’ve heard this for years because I’ve been doing education research for well over a decade, and I go to talk places and parents will come up and they’ll just say, but I can’t educate my own kids. And I think, well, who tells you that you can’t educate your own kids? Well, the school and society tell you you can’t educate your own kids.

So we pay tax dollars into this institution that turns around and says, here, give me your kids. And then I’m not going to listen to anything you have to say, because I know better and you know nothing. And this is where we’ve got to put our feet down and just say, no, that’s not right. I’m the child’s parent.

If I don’t know this child better than anybody else, why am I turning that child over to somebody who doesn’t know them that well and expecting them to do as good of a job as I would in educating my child? Parents just really need to understand that just by the benefit of being that child’s parent, you’re the one that’s able to educate that child better than anybody else, whether you think so or not it’s just the truth.

Leahy: I think a lot of this has to do with time and money in this regard. When I was growing up in the 50s and the 60s, my parents I grew up in a little town in upstate New York, and the schools there weren’t trying to do social engineering. They were actually just trying to teach us how to read and write and do arithmetic.

And my parents had no worries about any indoctrination happening in those schools back in the 50s and 60s. But fast forward to today. Let’s say you have parents who are both working. What it seems to me now, the pressure, the economic pressures are if you take your kids out of public schools where now they’re being indoctrinated, one parent is going to have to stay home and there’s going to be less income in the family and they’re going to have to learn how to teach properly. I think that’s a big impediment. What are your thoughts on that?

White: In a way, I kind of disagree with you because there are ways around everything. In America, we’ve been conditioned to want and we don’t ever stop to think about need because we’re conditioned to think about want. I want the extra car. I want a bigger house. We never stop to think well, what do I actually need?

Well, there are many, many families and I’d even go so far as to say hundreds of thousands, if not millions of families that could easily downsize where they are right now and be in a smaller house. They’d still have two cars, but maybe do used cars or something so that one parent can stay home. It’s just that we choose not to do that because we don’t really want to.

It cramps our style. And then we make excuses for that. And that’s just the hard truth of it, frankly. But then even parents who, even if you downsize, can’t do that because for whatever reason, there are economic troubles and they just can’t do that. One of the great things about the pandemic and there was mainly one and it was this.

So many parents realized they actually could educate their own kids. And even those parents that were working did something called educational pods where they get together with other working parents and one day one parent would educate the kids and watch the kids. And then the next day, the next parent would do it the next day.

And so that way it was kind of a Round Robin where people got to work. But they also had made sure that their kids were at-home learning. And to tell you the truth, online right now, you can find all kinds of great classical home educational literature that is just literally an Internet search away. It’s simply not hard to do anymore. Back in the 60s when people who are starting out doing this it was impossible almost. But now it’s super easy to do.

Leahy: So you talk about pods, and now you’ve probably started the history on this more than I have. I think my recollection is that public education really began in the 1850s or so with Horace Mann. Before that time in America, little communities would kind of do the pod thing like you’re talking about.

They would ban together. They’d pull a little bit of their money, they’d hire somebody to come in and teach the kids for a period of time, and the parents directly controlled what happened. Do I have that right?

White: Oh, you have it absolutely correct. And the more affluent families would hire tutors and they would do it at homes and churches. That’s one of the many things that churches had abdicated in their responsibilities and one of them was they were a repository for learning.

There would be parents who would bring their kids there and the teacher would actually teach inside the Church. And we just don’t do any of those things anymore because we would apparently much rather in debt our property to bonds to create these new buildings for public schools.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Federalist Executive Editor Joy Pullmann on Southlake Texas Battle with Critical Race Theory

Federalist Executive Editor Joy Pullmann on Southlake Texas Battle with Critical Race Theory

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 Federalist Executive Editor and Author Joy Pullmann to the newsmakers line who discussed her recent article at The Federalist exposing the defamation of conservatives running for a local Southlake Texas school board that oppose racist cultural competence plans.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line now by Joy Pullmann, executive editor of The Federalist. A great writer and author of a new article, Texas Agitators Get Dirty to Push Institutional Racism in Texas’s Number One School District. Good morning, Joy.

Pullmann: Good morning.

Leahy: It’s hard to believe that a top public school system in Southlake, Texas Carroll Independent School District is teaching that all White people are racist. I couldn’t really… is that really true? And I looked at it and I said, yeah, it is. How does this happen, Joy?

Pullmann: It seems to be, in the Texas case, really brought into the school district, which, by the way, is also a conservative school district voted, I think, almost 20 points more for Trump over Biden in the last election. And that’s a pattern going back to the last five presidential elections, Republican and Democrat. So this is not a community that really is woke.

And that was actually proven by the results of an election on Saturday for the school board we’re talking about. People who oppose the critical race theory in the school District won two school board seats with overwhelming percentages. I think the margin of victory was 10 to 15 points. Obviously, this is not coming from the local community.

This is not what the majority of parents in Southlake want for their children. And I think that’s true in a lot of places in the country. How it really came into the school district was by a number of activist administrators. So these are people using their positions that mid-level bureaucrats, basically, to impose a really extremist ideology that targets people based on their skin color.

Leahy: That’s a very important thing you said. We want to follow up on this. Mid-level administrators, it looks like they snuck in this 2018, a cultural competence action plan that included teaching children in each grade to see each other in racial terms. To be treated according to skin color. We have here in Middle Tennessee, in Williamson County, which is the affluent suburb just South of Nashville, and in Metro Nashville, Davidson County, they’re trying to put in all these cultural competence plans. Is this sort of the way that they’re trying to sneak a lot of these things in?

Pullmann: Yes. So what happened in this school district in 2018 a video went viral on social media of kids after homecoming singing along to a rap song that had a racial slur in it. And this was used as an example. I mean, really, it was kind of hijacked by people in the district that already believed that White people are inherently racist when they’re born.

To me, it sounds crazy to say that, but that literally is what this ideology teaches. And so I looked into skills that in the school administrators that teachers were being given in Southlake schools. And it literally said that it was teaching people to look at each other and divide themselves based on race. They wanted to criminalize children for obviously, nobody supports making mean racial comments to other kids.

Oh, your eyes look like this or whatever. But that’s a relatively minor kid behavior that you can address at the moment properly to teach the children what to do. As parents and teachers really need to do, communicate to children how to behave and help them grow up that way. But this school district wanted to really give those kids a criminal record for incidents like that.

They were applying to the state for a grant to create basically this tracking and monitoring system for kids, possibly with records that would follow them for the rest of their life. So a lot of kind of crazy stuff going on, and they give it the name of something that basically everybody in the United States agrees with.

They call it anti-racism. They say it’s trying to stop mean instances and cruelties based on race. And nobody opposes that. But the sort of solutions that are provided is really extremist and most likely to really cause more trouble rather than help kids love each other and treat each other equally.

Leahy: So the opponents of this cultural competence action plan that teaches kids to look at each other based on race have put together a political action committee that has fielded candidates at the mayoral level, at the city council level, and at the school board level. The election was held on May the first.

And as you say, it was an overwhelming victory to members of the school board that opposed this critical race theory teaching were elected. What happens now? How many members of the board are there? Will this have an impact? Will they get rid of this cultural competence action plan down there?

Pullmann: Yes. That is something that I talked with the parents about when I was writing this article. I believe there are five members of the local school board. And so two obviously is not a majority, but the votes have been narrow. So two actually do make a significant swing on the support on the school board for this plan.

And as well as this plan had really divided this local community and really set people up and had people on one side accusing the other of being closet racist, while the people on the other side were saying, actually, what we oppose is racism against anybody. And it has infected the mayor, the city council, all kinds of things. It was really being divisive to people.

It was a tragedy to kind of look at that and from an outside perspective and talk about how their personal relationships. I had one dad who said he’s a volunteer sports coach for some I think kids in middle school and one of the families whose children he had coached, they were good friends. They wouldn’t talk to him anymore because they thought he was a racist for opposing this school plan. (Chuckles)

So really sad personal things going on and really based on inaccuracies. So I think that’s really unfair to do to people and to caricature them as racist when they’re not. Obviously, if that is going on that should be addressed. But when it’s not, to smear someone with something that evil it’s really a bad thing to do. It really hurts communities.

But this local community, one of the things that so, like, has going for it is that it’s the top achieving school district in the state. This is largely because of the kind of parents they have there. They have people who are former court clerks for Supreme Court justices. That’s one of the new school board candidates who was just elected. Razor-sharp, top religious liberty litigation lawyers with decades of experience.

They have the other new school board person who was elected has led hundreds of millions of dollars of budgets for local aviation complex. The type of people in Southlake are high-powered and high-achieving people. They really had the resources to put together things like you mentioned political action committee to really take this head-on and to fight extremely hard. And obviously, it looks like they’re seeing some success.

Leahy: It’s interesting about this success winning these two school board seats, opposing critical race theory is the level of resources required to win. And the high quality. These are amazing candidates. These are candidates who could be candidates for federal office easily. But how many communities out there have this level of resource? This level of a candidate to fight back against the organized system, if you will, of promoting the notions of critical race theory that is all over the United States today?

Pullmann: That’s a question that actually people are really finding out right now by trying it. (Chuckles) I think South Lake had better conditions than many people in other places do. Their average income is four times the national median. So these are high-powered people again, so they have a lawsuit going on besides this. They know how to put together a political action committee.

I consider myself an intelligent, engaged person. I don’t know how to put together a political action committee. But at the same time, critical race theory is such an extremist ideology that really has been effective for parents to just literally get copies of the training of the information provided to children. And that’s really indefensible. If you take it to a school board meeting, to a teacher, to a principal.

There is no way a rational person could think that that’s not racist. It’s just so clear. I do think the extremism of this issue really gives parents a leg to stand on. There’s been a lot of coverage about it in the media. It’s become a National thing, with President Trump banning it from federal agencies. And President Joe Biden reinstating all of that and pushing it on schools.

But you have parents all across the country waging lawsuits and showing up to their school board meetings. And they are beginning to really have some success in places besides Southlake. I just heard the news that, for example, it’s Oklahoma and Idaho the two states that just banned this from their public schools. There are half a dozen other states that are considering that.

So those are major victories happening just in the past couple of weeks that wouldn’t have happened just three months ago. The entire terrain is different because parents have been standing up. They have been going to their state legislators, to their local school boards, and making a difference. It’s obviously hard. I don’t think everyone’s going to win in every case. I do think the conditions are really good and people are standing up and having success.

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.
Photo “Joy Pullmann” by The Heartland Institute. 

 

 

 

 

 

Federalist Executive Editor Joy Pullmann on Southlake Texas Battle with Critical Race Theory

Executive Editor at The Federalist and Author Joy Pullmann Discusses How to Fix a Anti-American Education System

 

Live from Music Row Friday 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 Federalist Executive Editor and Author Joy Pullmann to the newsmakers line to discuss her role and bringing education policy from the federal level to the states.

Leahy: We are delighted to be joined on our newsmaker line by Joy Pullmann the executive editor of The Federalist and expert on education and policy and just a fabulous writer. Joy, welcome to The Tennessee Star Report.

Pullmann: Good morning. Thank you.

Leahy: You are a Hillsdale College graduate. we have on our staff at The Tennessee Star our news site, the tennesseestar.com. A fabulous reporter named Corinne Murdock. Another Hillsdale College graduate. We think Hillsdale is great.

Pullmann: Me too.

Leahy: The one thing that will astonish our listeners, you are not only the executive editor of The Federalist but you are also the mother of six.

Pullmann: Correct.

Leahy: So it’s 5:30 in the morning. You’re spending half an hour with us. Where are the kids?

Pullmann: They’re all sleeping. (Laughter) Thank heavens. Actually one of them was just a wake up about a half an hour ago. The baby wakes up to eat at night so I’m already up. This is when I can get anything done. (Chuckles)

Leahy: Do you ever get any sleep Joy?

Pullmann: Actually my husband takes over baby time in the middle of the night so I can get some sleep.

Leahy: Oh my goodness. We’ll get into the education issue here in a little bit. Every time you write it is so clear and so concise and I think you’re probably one of the best writers on the concern in the conservative arena in the country. And I just enjoy it.

Pullmann: That’s amazing. It’s such hard work well. Every word is pain. (Chuckles)

Leahy: I know. I’ve been writing myself. I’ve been writing at Breitbart for about eight and a half years. And then we also add it to The Tennessee Star and all our outlets here. And your right to have a clear concise written language, it’s a lot of work and but you do it so beautifully and we’re delighted that you do that. Tell us also about the role as executive editor of The Federalist. I know Sean Davis who’s also part of that lives here in Nashville. We’ve not had a chance to meet in person. But what a fabulous organization. Tell me what your role as executive editor of The Federalist entails.

Pullmann: Well, I’m basically in charge of editorial so that just means that the folks who are junior editors are under my supervision and I’m responsible for making sure that we all do a good job and try to cover all the bases of news each week.

Leahy: A lot of work. You are very prolific in terms of the columns that you write. Let’s talk a little bit about education. Things have moved so fast and your schedule is so busy. I think we first talked to you a couple of months ago about coming on. But you’ve written so much in the arena of education. One of your most recent articles is No, Erasing White Authors From School Won’t Help Kids Read Better. Would you like to elaborate?

Pullmann: I started really as an education reporter and I also have experience teaching and developing curriculum. So that’s really actually the area of my focus. But I kind of feel like we’re in an all-hands-on-deck situation politically. So I’ll write about whatever I’m most angry about. (Chuckles)

Leahy: And there’s a lot to be upset about these days as the national federal government has been overtaken by people that don’t really understand America. They don’t like America and want to subjugate about 75 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump.

Pullmann: Yes, and that is I mean, to be honest, it wasn’t completely unexpected. But to watch happen what kind of some of your fears you know said could is still…look, I don’t want to project insecurity and despair but I do think we have to be realistic. This is going to be a challenging time and we are going to have really bad leadership. And so people are going to suffer. People already are suffering.

Leahy: Yeah, I agree with you completely. And also I agree with you entirely about not being of despair. And I’ve talked a lot with people here about the opportunity, I’m calling this Founders Federalism. And the general theme is conservative constitutional populist, that movement has gone through two phases and is about to go to a third in my view.

From the Tea Party movement where there were multiple leaders around the country organized around three principles of constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets. And that sort of morphed into the make America great again movement with one leader Donald Trump and added American sovereignty and free and fair trade. But kind of didn’t pay a lot of attention to fiscal responsibility.

Well, the president is no longer the president. It’s been a rocky exit for him for whatever reason. And my theory is now it’s time for those of us who live in the 35 states where freedom is still possible for leadership among state legislators and grassroots leaders and donors and governors and gubernatorial candidates to push back against the usurpations of the national federal government. particularly in the area of education. I’m just curious to see if that’s a view of the world.

Pullmann: I absolutely agree with that. I wrote an article recently that was talking about basically like we have are those of us on the right broadly we are making a retreat right? We lost a major election and with it we lost a lot of strategic power and control and the ability to have our interests heard. The Democrats right now talk a big game about unity. But all of their actions really show that they want to crush their opposition.

They’re not interested really in listening as found by the fact that their allies and Big Tech and media completely are shutting down all no discussion. All ideas, all leadership, and voice among the Americans who voted for Trump. In the name-calling thing marrying us really with the idea that we’re like these couple hundred rioters at the Capitol. Which basically all of us would never do that. We think it was horrible. It’s appalling. We love our country and the Capitol represents our country.

But I do think there are good things actually about if we can make it our strategic retreat because our country’s infrastructure of governance really is weak. And that’s been kind of typified by the fact that the Republican Party does a very poor job of really fulfilling its voters’ desires and of really meeting their needs. Their response to the coronavirus didn’t differ almost one bit from Democratic leaders’ response. They have crushed the American dreams and really the livelihood of tens of millions of Americans who are now forced into poverty because they’re banned from work.

And our kids are, over their leadership have been banned from having and in Republican states again, the education. It is really almost indistinguishable from that in a liberal state and that really is a shame because there are you know, the left uses schools basically its propaganda machines. And Republicans have overseen that happening at every level. It’s most visible to everyone in college.

But it’s absolutely happening all the way down to preschool and kindergarten. So these are some societal weaknesses and really failures of leadership. Failures of service to the American people. It is time and it’s past time to be regressed and these are things that we know how to do. But Republicans have been really swayed by their corporate donors. But the corporate donors are going away because they’re all social justice warriors now. So hopefully maybe that clarity of financial, (Chuckles) of financial pain will hopefully give us Republican leaders who actually fight for their voters as Donald Trump did. Which is why people voted for him.

Leahy: We are absolutely on the same page. And you said something very important that in Republican states Republican Governors Republican state legislators have not done enough to push back against the K-12 propaganda of the education establishment. To me Joy that represents a huge opportunity in 2021 and 2022 for state legislatures and governors in these states where freedom is still possible. Tell me your thoughts on that.

Pullmann: Well, it’s going to be really difficult when you have states basically beholden to federal money. The federal government gives about 9 or 10 cents on every dollar that’s spent on public schools. and the average American public school spends about $13,000. a kid. That’s twice as much as the typical private school to educate children and does a much poorer job.

And the federal government’s kind of 10 percent of that outlay each year on children really controls the other 90 percent. Republican lawmakers are going to have to get serious about whether they think that 10 percent is worth sacrificing. For example, just two days ago Wednesday, the same day as inauguration day, I just wrote about this yesterday.

President Biden decided that every institution that gets federal funds must basically transgender all of their private facilities and their athletics. Do Republican governors support what their constituents certainly don’t and is that in the best interests of children? It certainly is not. This is very very clear and obvious and should be an easy issue. But as we all know Republican governors are really kind of cowed by the false and the smears against people on the conservative side that somehow we are a bunch of bigots and racists and horrible people who hate.

(Commercial break)

Leahy: Joy, I want to ask you a general question and then a specific question. First, for those states where freedom is still a possibility if we want to fix a K-12 education, which is turned into the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party these days would it be your suggestion that states ought to tell the federal government you can take your ten percent of federal money and keep it. We’ll run our schools with just state and local money?

Pullmann: I mean the short answer is absolutely yes. As your listeners probably know, the federal government has no constitutional authority over education. That is the state and local matter. And in fact, still, public opinion polls show something. Three-quarters of if not more Americans really think education should primarily be a state and local matter still. So this isn’t just like some colonial relic.

This is still something Americans really believe almost all of them. The vast majority. So the federal government gets control and so Joe Biden only gets the ability to tell public schools you’ve got to put boys in girls locker rooms and girls on boys sports teams. I guess nobody wants to do that. The boys are stronger, but you get the idea. You have male coaches supervising females in the locker room as I’ve also written about that happens.

Joe Biden can do that because states take federal money. So he threatens their federal money. So states just go ahead and comply. And this has been how basically all the most terrible ideas and how public schools got to be in such a mess with such really low-quality academics. Really unable to communicate character to children and so all sorts of other things that really contribute to public schools being such a lowest common denominator environment for kids.

Which is really not what you want if you want a country of excellence. So it’s really driven by the fact that the federal government controls all the schools through its little kind of token pieces of silver that it throws out to states. But states haven’t had the spine to resist it and say look, you’re more expensive. And look at the federal government and companies.

That nine to ten percent with rules upon rules upon rules. And as everyone probably is aware in your audience, these rules really are not in the best interest of children. So for example, one of the prime things the federal government does is claims to be helping special needs kids. And everyone and decent persons agree that we should take the best care possible of all kids would all kids period.

But you know especially kids with special needs. but really the federal government’s rules about helping those kids often just means that they get stuck in this bureaucratic quagmire where schools just check box, check box, check box. And once they get the paperwork in order, they ignore the child. And so that’s really not obviously the best way to actually provide the best care to a child.

So the federal government’s rules really get in the way of doing the best for kids. And they cost more than they provide. So really for all these reasons yes. It is time for states to just recognize that and take care of their own. And they’ll do it better. just like vaccine distribution. Under COVID, many states the ones governed typically by red governors have been much better at doing that than the federal government has been and many other blue States. So let them do that in every other aspect possible like education.

Leahy: So let me ask you a very specific question. We are based here in Nashville, which is the capital of Tennessee and we often have in studio and on the phone members of the Tennessee General Assembly. The state legislature. In fact yesterday we had the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Tennessee on the air here with us. They are good friends of ours.

We talk to these conservative legislators and everything that that you and I think about education they think they aren’t quite ready to take back and to tell the federal government to take that 10 percent and we’ll run the state of Tennessee. My question to you is, would you be willing to talk with and communicate with the Tennessee legislators about this idea that they should send federal money back?

Pullmann: I would actually I’ll be really happy to return to Tennessee. I’ve testified before the state legislature there a couple of years ago on education issues. Actually, I think possibly on two different bills. Parent trigger and Common Core ideas. I have some experience there. Yes. Of course, doing this requires careful planning. But you have to realize you know, what really these legislators are going to be up against is not that this is a bad idea.

It’s in fact an excellent idea. Their opposition is going to be they’re going to have to fight the bureaucracy that benefits from being able to hide among regulations and not give kids the best education possible. And then those people are very powerful. They have a lot of money and they have lots of credentials.

I think the problem with credentials is that it gives people authority that they maybe don’t deserve. There are many people who call themselves experts and go and testify in front of legislators or say I’m in charge of this that and the other. And you say, okay how many kids have you personally taught to read or because of your leadership how many children who are at risk for failing out of school or now in school? Prove that to me. Almost none of them can do that because most education ‘experts’ just manage failure.

Leahy: Absolutely. Well, I’ll tell you what. I will talk to our friends in the state legislature and we know many of them and they’re very friendly. Ironically today they’re wrapping up a special session of the Tennessee General Assembly on education. Sending the money back to the federal government that 10 percent is not on the agenda in the special session. But they come back on February ninth in a regular session. And I think it would be fantastic if we could arrange for you to come down here and testify about this idea before the appropriate committees of the Tennessee House of Representatives and the Tennessee State Senate.

Pullmann: Great. As long as I can bring my baby. (Chuckles) I have done that before. I’ll just hand him to somebody.

Leahy: I think we could we can accommodate that. How old is your baby?

Pullmann: Right now he’s eight months.

Leahy: We will handle the logistics.

Pullmann: Just sit him in a corner and he’ll chew on something. (Chuckles)

Leahy: We will handle the logistics of that. I just have to applaud you for your intellectual leadership in this area. It is time for bold action. It is not time to get along and go along if we want to save this country. We have to start with I think the about 35 states where freedom is still possible. And the way to do that is let’s take back our schools.

Pullmann: I think it’s about family and it’s not just schools, but also family welfare policy. I have a number of friends who work in the family court system. It’s an absolute mess. And if you do not have strong families and strong children, you’re not going to have a strong country.

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.
Photo “Joy Pullmann” by The Heartland Institute.