Cade Brumley caves to the right

Cade Brumley caves to the right

Bowing to pressure from right-wing politicians and groups, Louisiana’s top schools official wants to delay the adoption of updated state standards for early learning because of concerns about “critical race theory.” As The Advocate’s Will Sentell reports, some activist parents are convinced, despite any evidence, that new standards for “social and emotional development” might expose young Louisianans to information about the state’s history of systemic racism: 

Libbie Sonnier, executive director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children and leader of the review committee, disputed the need for any delay on the benchmarks. “These standards simply have nothing to do with critical race theory and frankly the department leadership knows that,” Sonnier said in an email Friday. “It is unfortunate that these standards have become the target of so much misinformation, but it is even more unfortunate that the department leadership seems unwilling to stand by them,” she said.

The state Board of Education and Secondary Education will take up the standards on Tuesday. 

Child welfare agency on the brink
Reports of child abuse and neglect are soaring in Louisiana as the state agency agency responsible for children’s welfare is bleeding staff. This exodus from the Department of Children and Family Services – and its deadly consequences – has been thrust into the spotlight after numerous reports of children dying after unheeded warnings to caseworkers.’s Andrea Gallo reports on how Louisiana is failing its most vulnerable children. 

… Secretary Marketa Garner Walters says the (staffing) shortages partly explain why staffers failed to protect Mitchell (Robinson III). She said a caseworker made one visit to the family when they were not home. Before she could visit again, she got diverted onto another urgent case — one that prompted her to remove several children from another home that presented immediate danger. … “We’re rationing child protection,” said Stephen Dixon, an attorney for the national nonprofit Children’s Rights. Dixon said he has seen the rationing firsthand: He recently sent a report to the Louisiana agency about a young child living in a home without utilities and where he suspected substance abuse. Officials declined to open an investigation, saying the report did not meet its criteria. 

Suing to prevent locking up kids at Angola
The Bridge City Center for Youth in Jefferson Parish has experienced numerous escapes and other problems over the past year. But an effort to move children away from the troubled youth jail to the maximum security adult prison at Angola has prompted a federal lawsuit. As The Advocate’s James Finn reports, the reasons for the deteriorating conditions at Bridge City and the uninspiring solutions represent decades of broken promises from state juvenile justice leaders.

Some experts fear the state’s last-ditch effort to quell Bridge City’s piece of that crisis could do exactly the opposite of OJJ’s stated goal of rehabilitating youth in its care. Moving them to Angola risks increasing the youths’ chances of landing back in prison as adults, critics have said. Youth in adult facilities are more likely to die by suicide, more likely to suffer from sexual assault and trauma, and more likely to experience exacerbated mental health challenges, attorneys said in the complaint filed Friday.

Double burden for sexual assault survivors
With a maternal mortality rate of 58.1 deaths per 100,000 births, Louisiana is the most dangerous state to give birth in. The Pelican State was already a on of the toughest places to actually raise a child, and research has shown that states with abortion restrictions also do the least for kids. Tanya Rawal, vice president of social change for Sexual Trauma and Response, explains how these factors affect sexual assault survivors, especially people of color. 

That is, the current maternal mortality epidemic disproportionately impacting Black women and the current iterations of system racism that plague the maternal health system in such a way that Black women, specifically, are denied educated care can be understood as a direct result of, for example, the medical industry’s roots in the use of Black women’s bodies as experimental tools to perfect various fields, including gynecology; the belief that Black women did not experience pain and the refusal to acknowledge the pain experienced by Black women; (and) the concept that Black women were commodities and that their wombs were the property of their “owner.”

Number of the Day
-71% –
Percentage decrease in IRS audit rates for millionaires due to sharp budget cuts over the past decade. (Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities