Thursday, November 17, 2016

Teaching--and blogging--in Trump's America

   I've seen this expressed several times over the past week: teachers and parents are scaring children about what will happen under this coming administration. Most recently, I saw it in this AEI blog post. Others think that any actual danger to children in schools--not from the administration, but from others--has been exaggerated, as Secretary Peyser commented, by "social media."


Larry Ferlazzo does an excellent job of taking apart the notion that children being made afraid by teachers or parents. Given the clearly expressed priorities and intentions of Mr. Trump and those in his campaign and incoming administration, fear from children about what the administration will do is, frankly, a logical reaction. It has been difficult to avoid this election; it has been nearly impossible to avoid news of the transition. Children don't only listen to parents talking directly to them; they listen to the news, see headlines, read social media, and watch television. They don't miss much. Only those who underestimate kids think that they don't know what's actually going on.

As for what is going on in schools, this post from Boston is encouraging. What they are battling against, however, is demonstrated in this report from the Cape. I could give a myraid of others. The Southern Poverty Law Foundation notes that they have had as many reports of hate crime and speech in the past week as they did in the previous six months.

Correlation isn't always causation. When the language around the treatment of women, people of color, the disabled, refugees, immigrants, gay and transgendered people, (am I missing any?) has been as explicit as it was from Mr. Trump and his surrogates, though, it is.

That's why Democrats for Education Reform issued the statement calling on Democrats (of whatever stripe) to refuse appointment in this administration:
...most pernicious, Trump gives both tacit and express endorsement to a dangerous set of racial, ethnic, religious, and gender stereotypes that assault the basic dignity of our children, causing incalculable harm not only to their sense of self, but also to their sense of belonging as accepted members of school communities and neighborhoods.
We're still waiting for any strong statement from our own Governor around this issue; as his Secretary of Education apparently feels the danger is exaggerated, I assume we won't see any leadership there, either. Thus it falls to those most close to children to do what they can to reassure them and keep them safe.

No, kids aren't being made afraid by teachers and parents. That responsibility, as with so much else, rests squarely with Mr. Trump.

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