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AI and the Bible in Schools – PolicySphere Morning Briefing – April 4, 2024

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#K-12 – One of our favorite facts about American history is that since before the American Revolution and continuously and uncontroversially until the 1970s every single public school in America opened the school day with a public prayer and recitation of the Our Father. It is simply a historical fact that until the 1960s it was taken for granted that America was, at least, a culturally Christian nation, and that at least some “basic” form of Christianity was part of its culture, and therefore, belonged in public schools. Today many would contend this is unconstitutional, but since Christianity was in public schools uncontroversially at the time of the drafting of the Constitution and in every state thereafter, this notion does not pass the laugh test–and yet it would be quite controversial today. At a time when even Richard Dawkins is admitting that some form of cultural Christianity is an important and necessary part of the Western heritage, the idea of putting some form of Christianity back in public schools should perhaps not seem so far-fetched. All of which is a long-winded way of saying we were quite surprised and intrigued to see this interview of Joel Penton of LifeWise Academy who has been working on an effort to put Bible education in public schools. Key quote: “We see a viable path of reinstalling Bible education for the public school system across the nation.” Fascinating, if true! More in the Washington Stand.

Of note: PolicySphere’s aim is to cover federal policy, and K-12 is ostensibly local, but as our subscribers will know, “ostensibly” is a key word here: for better or worse, the Federal government has a huge impact on education policy through its programs and mandates, and through regulation. When we see something at the local level that might become national, or that intersects with federal policy (or, sometimes, is just plain interesting), we reserve the right to cover it, even though it is not our main focus.

#K-12 – Speaking of K-12, the New York Times recently reported that post-pandemic absenteeism in schools had gone way up. “The pandemic changed families’ lives and the culture of education: ‘Our relationship with school became optional.’” Unintended consequences!

#GenderPolitics – An emerging (inadvertently) theme of this newsletter’s coverage is the Battle of the Sexes. It has become a commonplace to note that politics is fracturing along gendered lines. The genders are not doing well, and are increasingly alienated from each other, and the policy impacts are too many to count, as well as potential policy remedies. This is one of those topics that is not directly policy-related but intersects with policy in so many different ways that we still think it is of interest to our readers. In this spirit, though it has nothing ostensibly to do with policy, we would still like to flag this video by TPUSA’s Savanah Hernandez on how the right needs to talk (or rather not talk) to women. The whole thing, which is short, is worth watching, but the short version is that the style of rhetoric of many young right-wing males is unnecessarily off-putting to many women, which we believe to be accurate as a statement of fact.

#ImmigrationFox News’s Bill Melugin: “ICE says most of the 8 Venezuelan illegal alien squatters arrested by NYPD at a home in the Bronx w/ guns & drugs were previously apprehended at the TX border & were released into the U.S., & one was arrested for murder last summer in Yonkers, NY. Many of them had previous criminal charges in New York and had been released from custody.” Illegal immigrants sneaking in through the border and engaging in organized crime used to be a conservative scare story. Now it is happening. Another nightmare scenario that came true: “Feds say child pornographer exploited immigration system to smuggle in his victim.” “A case that implicates President Biden’s more relaxed approach to illegal immigrant children.” Lord have mercy.

#Life #CivilRights #FirstAmendmentDaily Wire’s Leif Le Mahieu: “Four more Christian pro-lifers face prison time and thousands of dollars in fines after being convicted in federal court of violating the FACE Act. They were targeted by the Biden admin after a peaceful protest at a Tennessee abortion facility in 2021.” Full story. The FACE Act is a Clinton-era law criminalizing obstruction in front of abortion clinics, and the Biden Administration has been weaponizing it to persecute peaceful pro-life protesters.

#Trans #LGBTQVia EPPC’s Patrick T. Brown, “a new study out of the Netherlands finds many youth who report dissatisfaction with their gender end up having those feelings resolve once they reach adulthood.” Shocking! Writeup at the Daily Mail US.

#AI – R Street’s Adam Thierer: “Policymakers Should Let Open Source Play a Role in the AI Revolution” This sounds obscure but is actually vitally important: saying open source AI is another way of saying startups, as opposed to Big Tech. There is a good case that the best way to ensure AI safety is to let a thousand flowers bloom, and open source AI models are a big part of that.

#FreeSpeech #BigTechImportant piece from Claremont’s Robert Delahunty detailing the Biden Administration’s efforts at censorship on digital platforms and how the right can fight back.

#TikTokDivestment – Also relating to Big Tech, AEI’s Daniel Lyons with the case against the TikTok divestment bill. “It’s probably unconstitutional. It’s practically unenforceable. It won’t stop China from gathering sensitive data on Americans. Other than that, it’s fine.”

#NetNeutrality #BigTech #QuoteOfTheDay – Surely the quote of the day, from former conservative FCC chair Ajit Pai: to internet activists, “net neutrality is a civic religion.” Full quote.

#RealEstate – “Each year, Americans pay about $100B in real estate commissions. A settlement offer from the National Association of Realtors could change how commissions work and therefore reverberate throughout the US economy.” Brookings has more.

#Drugs #Crime – Another example of state-level policy that may be a national bellwhether: Idaho is rolling back its syringe program for drug users and its focus on so-called “harm reduction.” Libertarians are unhappy, but traditional conservatives will be very happy.

#EVs #AmericanManufacturing – After an impressive run, Tesla has been backsliding. The main reason? China. Yes, China’s EV manufacturers are subsidized to the gill. But, apparently, they are also just really good at making cheap EVs that still represent good value for money. Here’s the report from Bloomberg News. Of course, this may just be a bump in the road (pun intended) for Tesla and few people have gotten rich betting against the fractally-resourceful Elon Musk, but the broader policy point is that, de facto, a push for EVs is a push for Chinese manufacturers and against American manufacturers.

#AmericanManufacturing #MilitaryReadiness – Speaking of, Politico’s Paul McLeary reports: “The Navy released a fact sheet late Tuesday showing that every major shipbuilding program they’re working on is delayed by years. YEARS. It’s jaw-dropping.” IFP’s Alec Stapp adds: “In 2022, China built half of the world’s ships by gross tonnage. The US built 0.2 percent.”

#HealthcareBloomberg’s Tracy Alloway: “Health insurers are tumbling after US regulators didn’t boost payments for private Medicare plans. Only once in the past 10 years have final rates not improved from regulators’ initial proposals, according to research from JPMorgan.” Story from Bloomberg News.

Chart of the Day

It’s Eclipse Week next week! This map of which Airbnb properties are fully booked next week is quite striking. (Via)

Meme of the Day

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