I've had a lot on my mind lately and while I have not been consistently writing on my blog because of the demands of my classroom, I think it is time to reflect on the travesty of having elected Trump to be the president of the United States and his nomination of Betsy DeVos as our next Secretary of Education.
I think of my classroom as a microcosm of the larger melting pot of the United States. Like in many classrooms across the United States, teachers are teaching their students about kindness and how to have a community that is welcoming, dignified, and respectful to all members. Teachers' jobs are already very demanding with budget cuts and trying to meet the needs of all learners in our classrooms. Throw on top of this a president who mocked a reporter with a disability, objectifies women with sexist and demeaning language, puts a ban on Syrian refugees from entering the United States, and sends a message to the world that this land of immigrants is no longer welcoming immigrants based on your national origin (which is illegal by the way). Indeed, navigating the the waters of kindness and inclusion have just gotten a lot harder because the water has just gotten murkier.
We are also at a point where the United States Senate may or may not confirm Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education. For those of you who are unfamiliar with DeVos, I suggest reading this article from Slate and this article from The Atlantic. Of my main objections to DeVos, which there are many, I am particularly concerned about her initial evasion of the question by Senator Tim Kaine on "equal accountability" for schools that receive public funds and then her disagreement with him that she does not believe all schools should be held equally accountable. This is very disturbing and should bring up red flags because we're basically asking for a repeat of the lack of oversight with the Detroit public charter schools, but on a national level. When she did not know the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which gives students with special needs access to the classroom as their non-disabled peers, and didn't know about using test scores to measure student growth or student proficiency, I became very concerned. The student test scores are currently being used to assess teachers and schools and if she is to be the next Secretary of Education, she should, at the very least, be informed.
These are troubling times indeed. She is woefully unqualified for the job and I hope that the Senate does not confirm her. Now is the time to contact your senator.
The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and do not reflect those of institutions, organizations, or employers associated with me, past or present.