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Liberal Justice Jackson joins a rightward-moving U.S. Supreme Court

Justice JacksonPresident Joe Biden's liberal appointee Ketanji Brown Jackson, set to hear arguments for the first time on Monday as a U.S. Supreme Court justice, joins the nation's top judicial body at a consequential time when its conservative majority has shown an increasing willingness to exert its power on a range of issues.

Jackson, the first Black woman on the court, and her eight new colleagues will consider over the next nine months a slate of important cases. These involve race-conscious admissions policies used by colleges and universities to foster student diversity, voting rights, environmental regulation, LGBT and religious rights, the power of federal agencies - and even a dispute over Andy Warhol paintings.

"Given how the docket is shaping up, there's no indication this is going to be a quiet term for Justice Jackson to join," said law professor Allison Orr Larsen of the College of William & Mary in Virginia.

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Hurricane Ian nears Florida with nearly Category 5 power

Ian hits FloridaHurricane Ian on Wednesday began lashing Florida's Gulf Coast with powerful winds and drenching rain, prompting authorities to tell residents it was too late to evacuate as the eye of the storm inched toward shore with close to Category 5 power.

At 11 a.m. ET (1500 GMT), Ian was around 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Punta Gorda, Florida, with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour (250 km per hour), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The hurricane was expected to crash into Florida at about 2 p.m. (1800 GMT) in Charlotte County, about 100 miles south of Tampa and just north of Fort Myers. The region is home to miles of sandy beaches, scores of resort hotels and numerous mobile home parks, a favorite with retirees and vacationers alike.

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Students stage walkouts across Virginia over governor's transgender school policies

Virginia Governor Youngkin

Students across Virginia protested Tuesday in response to new guidelines putting restrictions on transgender students in the state’s public schools.

Walkouts are set to take place throughout the day at more than 90 middle and high schools in the state, according to student-run advocacy group Pride Liberation Project, which organized the statewide effort. As of noon on Tuesday, students in Woodbridge, Springfield, Manassas, McLean and other Virginia cities were waving rainbow picket signs and shouting, "Trans rights are human rights!"

“Trans students are students just like everybody else. We don’t want to be out here fighting for our rights and protesting — we want to be in calculus class and learning how to drive,” said Ranger Balleisen, a transgender senior at McLean High School in Fairfax County who helped organize the protests. “But, instead, we have to be here, because they’re trying to take away our rights.”

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Hurricane Ian slams Cuba as a Category 3 storm, Florida braces for 'historic' storm surge

Today's storm tracking The latest forecasts for Hurricane Ian suggest the massive, powerful storm  ill make landfall in Florida's Sarasota County, farther south than previous predictions but still threatening devastation for much of the state, authorities said Tuesday.

Ian slammed into Cuba earlier Tuesday, a Category 3 monster pounding the island with 125-mph winds. Now approaching Florida, Ian's shift eastward has put the city of Venice in the storm’s crosshairs sometime Wednesday, although high winds and storm surge are still expected farther north into the previously targeted Tampa Bay region, state Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie said.

Hundreds of thousands of Floridians faced mandatory evacuation orders as the National Hurricane Center expanded the hurricane warning along more than 150 miles of the state's Gulf Coast. Power outages can be expected statewide, Florida Power & Light warned.

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How social-emotional learning became a frontline in the battle against CRT

SEL turned into Critical Race Theory war

It's hard to pinpoint when exactly the questions started coming in. Angelyn Nichols, an administrator for Virginia Beach City Public Schools, thinks it was sometime in early 2021.

What she does know is that no one really expected them in the first place, and no one expected them to keep coming – week after week, and now, year after year.

That's because the questions involved a decades-old teaching concept many educators thought was settled, uncontroversial territory: the idea that, in order to learn, students need to know how to manage themselves and get along with others.

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Long days, long weekends: the four-day week takes off in US schools

Schools trying out 4 day weekOn fall Fridays at Hull-Daisetta high school, in the small town of Daisetta in south-east Texas, sneakers squeak across the volleyball court as the Lady Cats run warm-up drills. Football coaches, players and cheerleaders prep for the night’s game. A local church serves lunch for the students. But there are no classes, and in the parking lot, just a handful of teachers’ cars.

Hull-Daisetta is one of a growing number of US schools – at least 1,600 in 24 states, according to a 2021 study, up from just 257 in 1999 – that have moved to a four-day schedule, giving students and teachers either Fridays or Mondays off. Students on a four-day schedule generally have longer days to make up for the time missed on their day off.

While the shorter week is upending traditional ideas about K-12 education, it is generally driven by concerns about money rather than claims it will improve student performance – and its long-term impacts on learning are still unclear. Some states that have allowed the schedule, including Minnesota, New Mexico and Oklahoma, have since moved to limit it, while others have seen a rapid expansion.

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Paul Haggis can argue Church of Scientology behind rape allegation, judge rules

Haggis, who was separately accused over the summer of sexually assaulting a woman at an Italian film festival, will be permitted to argue that church members were involved in a previous rape allegation brought by film publicist Haleigh Breest dating back to 2013. That case, stemming from a civil lawsuit pursued by Breest, is set to go to trial next month.

Haggis has claimed that the encounter with Breest was consensual and that the allegation against him came in retaliation for his decision to leave Scientology and to become a vocal critic of it.

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  • Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis will be allowed to argue that the Church of Scientology is behind a rape allegation against him, a judge in New York has ruled.

    Haggis, who was separately accused over the summer of sexually assaulting a woman at an Italian film festival, will be permitted to argue that church members were involved in a previous rape allegation brought by film publicist Haleigh Breest dating back to 2013. That case, stemming from a civil lawsuit pursued by Breest, is set to go to trial next month.

    Haggis has claimed that the encounter with Breest was consensual and that the allegation against him came in retaliation for his decision to leave Scientology and to become a vocal critic of it.

  • Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis will be allowed to argue that the Church of Scientology is behind a rape allegation against him, a judge in New York has ruled.

    Haggis, who was separately accused over the summer of sexually assaulting a woman at an Italian film festival, will be permitted to argue that church members were involved in a previous rape allegation brought by film publicist Haleigh Breest dating back to 2013. That case, stemming from a civil lawsuit pursued by Breest, is set to go to trial next month.

    Haggis has claimed that the encounter with Breest was consensual and that the allegation against him came in retaliation for his decision to leave Scientology and to become a vocal critic of it.

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