We are educators. We have the most important job in our nation. Without us, this country does not exist. We have the task of preparing our students for success, regardless of the path that they choose. Too often, we find ourselves playing the role of parent, counselor, teacher, coach, and whatever else our kids need. Everything we do is in the best interest of our students and they always come before anything else.
Knowing this, it is no surprise that I see my fellow educators up in arms about the possible appointment of Betsy DeVos to Secretary of Education for our country. I have seen educator friends who never talk politics taking a vocal stand against her appointment. We know that she is not what is best for our schools, students, or educators.
But this nomination has little to do with schools. It has everything to do with destroying the Democratic party and delegitimizing unions and organized labor. Don’t believe me? Take the time to read this brilliant piece of investigative journalism from Jennifer Berkshire.
Do you really think that Donald Trump cares about what happens to our schools? When signing his nominations he said this of his Secretary of Education pick, “Ah, Betsy. Education. Right?” Brain flatulence? Joking? I don’t buy it.
This nomination is dominating the news cycle. Educators everywhere are lighting up the phone lines for their Senators. I cannot scroll through my Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn feeds without seeing post after post about standing up against Ms. DeVos being in charge of our schools.
This is exactly what the administration wants to happen. It is classic misdirection and pulls our attention away from what is happening elsewhere in our country. What other news stories are you following? While important, this is not the most important thing happening now. Don’t believe me?
- Trump to focus counter-extremism program solely on Islam
- This would change the focus of the program from religious extremism of all religions to focus solely on Islam. This will cast a negative light on Muslims and will result in the labeling of all Muslims as a threat. Sound familiar anyone?
- U.S.-Australia rift is possible after Trump ends call with prime minister
- Trump begins the destruction of a longstanding relationship with a major ally. He tweets out negative things about “dumb” refugee deals with Australia to start the process of phasing them out. This is the start of isolating ourselves from major connections to make Americans feel alone.
- Can Rex Tillerson live down his ties to Russia?
- Newly confirmed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has extensive ties to Vladmir Putin and Russia. He received the award of Russia’s Order of Friendship award while CEO of ExxonMobil. He served as director of Bahamas-based US-Russian oil firm. He refuses to call Vladimir Putin a war criminal, even though he clearly is. Concerned yet, or mere coincidences?
- President Bannon? Racist, Islamophobic Breitbart leader consolidates power in Trump White House
- Here are some fascist and racist quotes from Mr. Bannon. His views are dangerous on their own, but even more so for someone who sits on the National Security Council. “We are in an outright war against jihadists, Islam, Islāmic fascism. And this war is, I think, metastasizing almost far quicker than governments can handle it.” “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country.”
- Trump puts Iran “on notice”
- Adding new sanctions is never a good way to start a diplomatic relationship. Neither is having your press secretary accuse Iran of an act of war against the United States that never happened. Iran has the 4th largest oil reserve in the world and our new Secretary of State loves oil. These are the first steps to another war for oil.
- U.S. Senate panel suspends rules, backs Price, Mnuchin for Cabinet
- Senate Finance Committee Republicans pushed through nominations of Price (Health & Human Services) and Mnuchin (Treasury) because Democrats boycotted due to ethical concerns over each candidate. Price bought stock in a company and then pushed legislation to directly benefit it and his investments. Munchin is being sued for fraud and has ties to robo-signing foreclosure documents with his former company. Seems legit.
The list goes on and on and on, but I think you get the idea by now. There are so many stories in the news that it is impossible to keep up with all of them.
I am not faulting or criticizing any educator for taking a stand on this issue. I commend you for making your voice heard. This impacts all of us and the students that we serve. We rise up because we know what this can do to our schools. I have also been incredibly vocal on this topic, but we need to focus on more than just this issue.
Even if we win this battle, there is a long path ahead of us to win the war on education. Trump will nominate someone less extreme (or still try pushing her through) and they will do everything that DeVos wanted to do to our schools. That is reality.
Make no mistakes about this president and his administration. This is well-planned and organized. We are dealing with the delegitimization of media, the defamation and desecration of the Islāmic religion, the staging acts to start another war for oil, and the beginning of a fascist regime that America has never experienced.
While the DeVos nomination impacts our students in school, every other issue will impact their life outside of school. Their safety and well-being are at risk with these executive orders. The path that we are heading down is one that many have traveled in the past. We know what happens when we fail to learn from history…
There are 3.5 million public and private school educators in our country. We are plentiful. We are powerful. Contrary to what we may hear, we control the future of this country. We educate the youth of our nation and they are the future. If we are going to fully utilize the power that we possess, we must expand outside of our normal realms. We must not fear talking about these topics to our students, colleagues, friends, family, and others.
I know that many of us work in “conservative” districts where it is not acceptable to speak up, which is why we need to organize in these areas. This has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with preserving the future for our youth. Assemble, create action plans, share with teachers, administrators, and school boards. If enough speak up in an area, they cannot silence all of you. We have the power!
We will no longer sit in silence because we are afraid of politics in our schools. We will not turn a blind eye to what is occurring. We will not be told what is best for our students when we know what they need most. We will not fail our students.
We will be involved. We will prepare our students for this current reality. We will open our eyes to everything that is happening. We will do everything in our power to do what is best for the emotional, mental, and physical well-being of our students. We will be ready to stand and fight fascism, racism, and injustice everywhere, in any way we can. We ARE educators and it is our sworn duty.