Contributed by Margaret Fortune, Founder of Fortune School
Saturday morning I found myself looking at cable news in dismay asking the question, “Why are Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of DC Public Schools and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson meeting with Donald Trump?” MSNBC reported on the meeting, showing footage of Donald Trump ushering Rhee and Johnson, both known for education reform advocacy, into his New Jersey golf course. They later emerged for a photo op, smiling and shaking hands with Trump. Trump is known to support charter schools, which I too support. He’s also known to support a total ban on Muslims entering the United States, a national Muslim registry, deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, and grabbing women by their genitals. He has appointed Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, who is known to traffic in white supremacy and anti-Semitism, as his top strategist in the West Wing of the White House. His pick for Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions was denied a federal judgeship in 1986, as reported in the Washington Post, with former colleagues testifying to a Senate committee that Sessions used the n-word and joked about the Ku Klux Klan, saying he thought they were “okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.”
A legitimate question exists about whether Latino and African American children at the heart of the education reform movement even have a place in Trump’s America. These questions exist because of what Trump has said. Right now, many teachers in classrooms across the country are coping with the fear Donald Trump has instilled in school children and their families because of what he has said he plans to do.
Trump is an authoritarian strong man. Now is the time for principled citizens and public servants to clearly set themselves apart from this madness and name it for what it is.
As an operator of charter schools that serve low-income, African American and Latino children and a former education advisor to two California governors on both sides of the aisle, I’m compelled to say, one cannot in good conscience look past Trump’s dangerous views and normalize him by taking meetings to discuss education policy or potential appointments in his Administration. To do so is to participate in what Mitt Romney soberly warned against, “marrying Trump’s imagination with real power.” We will know in the coming days if Romney, who also met with the president-elect on the same day as Rhee, will heed his own advice. The paradox for Rhee and Romney is the same. Is the allure of a cabinet position so great that they are willing set aside their values and embrace Trump to get it?
Trump is an authoritarian strong man. Now is the time for principled citizens and public servants to clearly set themselves apart from this madness and name it for what it is. Trump committed to give school choice a big bear hug, if elected. To that I say, “no thank you”. Any gains that could be made on education reform causes under a Trump department of education, pale in comparison to the damage that will be done to American democracy by his pursuit of a populist and nationalist agenda on everything else. So I need to ask again, why are Michelle Rhee and Kevin Johnson meeting with Donald Trump?
Contact Margaret Fortune via http://www.fortuneschool.us
6 total views