The Secretary of Education is the member of the president's cabinet who oversees the nation's educational systems. Despite around 90% of U.S. kids attending public schools, the current Secretary, Betsy Devos, has exactly zero personal experience with public education. She's not a teacher or school administrator, she's never worked in a public school, she's never attended a public school, and her own children have never attended a public school.

Her appointment was extraordinarily controversial at the time, and has remained so over the past three and a half years. To say she has a contentious relationship with teachers unions and leading education groups is an understatement. Now, as schools struggle with decisions over reopening in the fall, that divide has widened. with the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) saying the administration has "zero credibility in the minds of educators and parents when it comes to this major decision."


Devos has pushed a simplistic "We need schools to reopen fully" message, with no real plan for how to do so safely in the middle of a pandemic. In fact, she's skirted questions about whether schools should follow the CDC guidelines for reopening. According to Politico, she also called one school district's spring distance learning efforts a "disaster" in addition to blasting education leaders "who won't accept risk and 'gave up and didn't try' to launch summer instruction."

A principal shared some thoughts with Devos in a video shared by Bored Teachers. The two-minute video synopsizes the heroic efforts that teachers took on when the pandemic hit and how she needs to "sit down somewhere" because she is oblivious to what really went on in the spring. It needed to be said.

Awesome Principal Defends Teachers in Response to Betsy DeVos www.youtube.com

"There's only one thing more dangerous than a bad virus, and that's a bad vaccine," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's health emergencies programme, said in March. "We have to be very, very, very careful in developing any product that we're going to inject into potentially most of the world population."

Since the beginning of the pandemic, experts have said that developing a vaccine and getting it through the necessary safety and efficacy protocols would take, at minimum, 12 to 18 months. Yet here we are, 7 months in, and Vladimir Putin has just announced that Russia has already approved a vaccine for the coronavirus.

According to the BBC, there are more than 100 vaccines in various stages of development and testing. Six of those have reached phase 3 trials, involving more widespread testing in humans. Russia's vaccine is not among those six.

Meanwhile, hundreds of U.S. doctors have signed a letter urging the FDA not to rush or politicize vaccine trials.

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It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

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Two years ago, I got off the phone after an interview and cried my eyes out. I'd just spent an hour talking to Tim Ballard, the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, an organization that helps fight child sex trafficking, and I just couldn't take it.

Ballard told me about how the training to go undercover as a child predator nearly broke him. He told me an eerie story of a trafficker who could totally compartmentalize, showing Ballard photos of kids he had for sale, then switching gears to proudly show him a photo of his own daughter on her bicycle, just as any parent would. He told me about how lucrative child trafficking is—how a child can bring in three or four times as much as a female prostitute—and how Americans are the industry's biggest consumers.

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Harassment on public transportation in New York is a disturbing part of everyday reality for women in the city. A study published by Gothamist found that 75% had experienced harassment and/or theft on public transportation, versus 47% of male participants.

This type of harassment can put women in physical danger but it also leads them to take alternative forms of transportation that are more expensive, resulting in an annual "pink tax" that average $1,200 more than what a man pays for the same services.

A video posted by "Caitlin," an art student from New York City, showed the power of standing up to those who harass women on public transportation and she hopes that it will inspire others to do the same.

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