Equity & Diversity

Ed. Deans to Trump Administration: Uphold the Role of Public Schools

By Madeline Will — January 13, 2017 2 min read
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One week before President-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office, 175 education deans from across the country have a message for his administration: Uphold the role of public education in our democracy.

Education Deans for Justice and Equity—a recently formed alliance of current and former deans of colleges and schools of education—released a “Declaration of Principles” today, in partnership with the National Education Policy Center, a non-profit research center. The deans write that they are “seriously concerned” by Trump’s rhetoric that has reportedly led to an uptick of bullying and fear in classrooms across the country.

My colleague Evie Blad spoke to a researcher who said there was no scientific evidence that bullying has increased based on election rhetoric, but teachers have reported a tense classroom environment in the wake of the divisive election.

To serve all children and provide them with the most effective opportunities to learn, the deans write, education policymakers should:

  • invest in education as a public good;
  • advocate for vulnerable and marginalized children through laws and supports that seek to close opportunity gaps and protect civil rights;
  • develop and implement policies, laws, and reform initiatives based on educational research; and
  • support and partner with colleges and schools of education when implementing education policies.

“Our children suffer when we deny that educational inequities exist and when we refuse to invest sufficient time, resources, and effort toward holistic and systemic solutions,” the deans wrote. “The U.S. educational system is plagued with oversimplified policies and reform initiatives that were developed and imposed without support of a compelling body of rigorous research, or even with a track record of failure.”

This memo is being released a few days before the confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, the President-elect’s nominee for Secretary of Education. For more on what DeVos, a prominent school choice advocate, could be asked during the hearing, see this Politics K-12 post.

For a teacher’s perspective on these issues, check out David B. Cohen’s blog post, “Will the Government Protect Student Interests?” He worries that the Trump administration will not strengthen public education, but will instead cut funding and decrease federal protection of students’ civil rights.

Source: President-elect Donald Trump shakes hands with his pick for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, during a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Dec. 9. --Paul Sancya/AP

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.