AFT responds, and Attorney General
Last week I talked about contacting your union regarding Ben Carson as Secretary of Education. Fortunately, he has withdrawn himself for consideration (with the most bizarre rationale I’ve ever heard). I was going to focus on the Attorney General this week, for reasons I’ll explain below, but it turns out that the AFT has done me one better.
The American Federation of Teachers, in conjunction with the Southern Poverty Law Center, and dozens of other groups (including the NEA and the AFL-CIO!) have signed a letter asking Mr. Trump to denounce hate crimes and reject Steve Bannon as strategist. They also have a public petition, which I encourage you to sign.
So when you call the AFT or NEA this week, please thank them for this. Their phone numbers are at the bottom of this post.
Now, on to the Attorney General. I know some of you may be wondering why an educator (or an education blog) would care about the Attorney General.
Here’s why: Affirmative Action.
Affirmative Action is still necessary.
We do not have racial equality in this nation. We also do not have good mobility between economic classes. Improved education is one of the ways that we push for equality. Whether your parents have a college degree is one of the strongest predictors for whether you will succeed in schooling yourself. Regardless of whether you think everyone should go to college, everyone should at least have the option, because it opens doors for both people and for their children. Affirmative Action is a push for equality, not just in school demographics, but in society at large.
The current front-runner for Attorney General is Senator Jeff Sessions, whose opinion is that the KKK is ok with him. He tried to put that off as a joke. That’s not a joke. He also said, on the record, that he would not characterize grabbing women’s genitals without permission as sexual assault. This is a man who, if appointed, will help to set legal policy in our schools and universities.
It seems unlikely that Mr. Session would support Affirmative Action, which will undoubtedly come under fire in the next few years. It also seems unlikely that he would promote gender equality or women’s on-campus safety in any way.
Here’s the info from the last post. Please thank your unions for the action they’ve taken so far, and ask them to keep it up.
National Education Association: (202) 833-4000
American Federation of Teachers: (202) 879-4400