10 Things in Politics: Educators scramble over CRT

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10 THINGS IN POLITICS YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

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Here's what we're talking about:


critical race theory protest

1. LESSON PLAN: The furor at school-board meetings over critical race theory — a college-level concept that isn't taught in K-12 schools — caught many in the education world by surprise. Now education leaders are pushing back against the misinformation they fear will deprive students of a fact-based education and drive even more teachers out the door.

Here's a look at what's happening:

Republicans hope the issue will help them in 2022: They have been encouraged by Glenn Youngkin's win in Virginia after he pledged to "ban" critical race theory on his first day as governor. Already, several states have passed laws limiting the teaching of race and diversity-based subjects in K-12 classes.

Education leaders are fighting back: The Learn from History national coalition launched in September to push back on misinformation about history and social studies, including the teaching of critical race theory. The group includes education associations, the American Federation of Teachers, historical associations, and charter schools.

  • Key quote: "We were being accused of teaching something," Angela Grunewald, the superintendent of Edmond Public Schools in Oklahoma, told my colleague. "I'm like, 'I don't even know what this is.'" At school-board meetings, critical race theory has become a politicized catch-all for books, resources, and teaching about race.

Read more about how educators are responding to lies about critical race theory.


2. Judge hands Trump a loss in Capitol document case: District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan denied former President Donald Trump's emergency request to block House investigators from obtaining White House records related to January 6 including Trump's daily presidential diaries, activity logs, and call logs. The Biden administration declined a request from Trump's legal team in October asking Biden to assert executive privilege over the files. In light of the decision, the National Archives and Records Administration on Friday is set to give investigators more than 1,600 pages of documents. CNN reports that Trump's lawyers plan to appeal the ruling. More on Trump's latest court loss.


Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg at the White House; Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff arrive in France

3. Democrats think Buttigieg is having a better week than Harris: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is reveling in the passage of the infrastructure bill. Vice President Kamala Harris went to France and hasn't been a central figure in the victory lap. Democratic insiders are paying close attention to the pair, who could one day find themselves fighting over a presidential nomination. Read more about why key Democrats say Harris' team is miffed about missing the victory lap.


4. Pfizer asks the FDA to allow booster shots for all adults: The drugmaker is asking federal regulators to allow COVID-19 booster shots for anyone 18 years old or older, the Associated Press reports, writing, "Pfizer is submitting early results of a booster study in 10,000 people to make its case that it's time to further expand the booster campaign." Here's how concerns about a holiday-related COVID-19 surge are affecting booster plans.


5. GOP lawmakers want to punish fellow Republicans for supporting Biden's infrastructure bill: Trump slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who supported Biden's infrastructure plan, for failing to pass an infrastructure package when Republicans were in power. Some House Republicans, PunchBowl News reports, are expected to support an effort to strip 13 colleagues of their committee assignments for backing Biden's bipartisan plan. More on the Republican infighting.


6. NASA says it will take longer to return to the moon: NASA Administrator Bill Nelson told reporters a legal fight over SpaceX's contract to build a lunar landing vehicle and the coronavirus pandemic would push the US's target date for sending astronauts back to the moon to 2025 at the earliest. The Trump administration set an aggressive goal of returning to the lunar surface by 2024 as part of a long-term plan to send astronauts to Mars. More about how China's ambitions are pushing NASA back to the moon.


Aaron Rodgers on the field before a game against the Arizona Cardinals.

7. NFL fines the Packers and Aaron Rodgers over COVID-19 violations: The NFL fined Rodgers, its reining MVP, and wide receiver Allen Lazard $14,650 each for violating the league's COVID-19 protocols, ESPN reports. The Packers organization faces its own $300,000 fine. Rodgers tested positive for the coronavirus last week. He previously told reporters he was "immunized," but it's now clear that didn't mean he was vaccinated. Rodgers said he took "full responsibility" for what he described as "comments that people might have felt were misleading." He remains defiant about not getting vaccinated. More on the news.


8. Pelosi calls for investigation into GOP lawmaker tweeting a meme video of his killing AOC: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for the House Ethics Committee and law enforcement to investigate Rep. Paul Gosar's tweet of an edited animated video in which his face was superimposed on a character who kills an opponent with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's face and swings swords at Biden's face, The Washington Post reports. Gosar defended the video saying that he didn't "espouse violence or harm towards any Member of Congress or Mr. Biden" and that the video was a "symbolic portrayal" of his views on immigration policy. Twitter flagged the video as violating its policies but did not remove the tweet from its platform. More on the fallout from just the latest controversy Gosar has found himself in.


9. Legal experts say Travis Scott is unlikely to face criminal charges over Astroworld deaths: Scott could still be held liable in civil court, but he could avoid paying damages because of Texas civil law, one expert said. Eight people died and hundreds more were injured at the sold-out concert Friday after a crowd of about 50,000 people surged toward the stage while Scott was performing. At least one family is already suing the rapper. Read more on how prosecutors would face a tough burden to prove Scott intentionally caused a riot.


Brian Williams

10. Brian Williams leaving NBC News: His departure comes after weeks of negotiations about his contract, which was winding down, several people told Insider. Williams has been the longtime anchor of MSNBC's "The 11th Hour with Brian Williams." More on the end of his nearly three decades at NBC.


Today's trivia question: General Electric announced a plan to massively restructure itself. Which future president worked for GE and is said to have dramatically changed his political views as a result of the job? Email your answer and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

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