School principal delivers a straight-talk message to Education Secretary Betsy Devos

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

Courtesy of Verizon

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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