Federal

Safe-Schools Chief Makes Rare D.C. Appearance

By Ian Quillen — March 16, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Kevin Jennings insists the rarity of a public appearance by him in Washington last week did not mean conservatives’ calls for his resignation had affected his visibility.

Instead, the federal safe-schools chief emphasizes that he’s spent most of his time reaching out to schools and districts well beyond the nation’s capital.

“I don’t speak in D.C. I’m on the road a lot,” Mr. Jennings, the assistant deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Education’s office of safe and drug-free schools, said in an interview after a pair of appearances March 8 involving the Close Up program. The four-decade-old program provides students with experiences that foster civics education.

His appearances—lunching with about 50 teachers at the National Press Club and later speaking with about 200 students—were his first Washington engagements publicized by the department since controversy over Mr. Jennings’ appointment flared last October. (“Controversy Still Swirls Around Safe-Schools Chief,” Oct. 28, 2009.)

Mr. Jennings is the founder and former leader of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. His appointment drew outrage, mainly from Republicans, after information resurfaced that, as a teacher more than two decades ago, he learned of a sexual relationship between a teenage student and an older man and did not move to disrupt it.

In his Close Up talk, Mr. Jennings implored teachers to remind students that smaller social changes make bigger ones possible, pointing to the long civil rights struggle that predated Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.

“There were decades and decades and decades of folks who came before Martin Luther King,” he said.

Mr. Jennings, who is openly gay, did not directly address gay-rights issues in his public remarks. In the interview afterward, he said that students know the outcome of the civil rights movement, but that the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people “are not a settled field, so [lecturing about] it wouldn’t have quite the same historical impact.”

A version of this article appeared in the March 17, 2010 edition of Education Week as Safe-Schools Chief Raises D.C. Profile

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How can districts build sustainable tutoring models before the money runs out?
District leaders, low on funds, must decide: broad support for all or deep interventions for few? Let's discuss maximizing tutoring resources.
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal K-12 Leaders Denounce Antisemitism But Reject That It's Rampant in Schools
Three school district leaders said they're committed to rooting out antisemitism during a hearing in Congress.
6 min read
From left, David Banks, chancellor of New York Public schools, speaks next to Karla Silvestre, President of the Montgomery Count (Md.) Board of Education, Emerson Sykes, Staff Attorney with the ACLU, and Enikia Ford Morthel, Superintendent of the Berkeley United School District, during a hearing on antisemitism in K-12 public schools, at the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, on May 8, 2024, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
From left, David Banks, chancellor of New York City schools, speaks next to Karla Silvestre, president of the Montgomery County, Md., school board; Emerson Sykes, staff attorney with the ACLU; and Enikia Ford Morthel, superintendent of the Berkeley Unified school district in Berkeley, Calif., during a hearing on antisemitism in K-12 public schools, at the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, on May 8, 2024, in Washington.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Federal Miguel Cardona in the Hot Seat: 4 Takeaways From a Contentious House Hearing
FAFSA, rising antisemitism, and Title IX dominated questioning at a U.S. House hearing with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
6 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testifies during a House Committee on Education and Workforce hearing on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, May 7, 2024, in Washington.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testifies during a House Committee on Education and Workforce hearing on Capitol Hill on May 7 in Washington.
Mariam Zuhaib/AP
Federal Arming Teachers Could Cause 'Accidents and More Tragedy,' Miguel Cardona Says
"This is not in my opinion a smart option,” the education secretary said at an EdWeek event.
4 min read
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks during Education Week’s 2024 Leadership Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Va., on May 2, 2024.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks during Education Week’s 2024 Leadership Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Va., on May 2, 2024.
Sam Mallon/Education Week
Federal Opinion Should Migrant Families Pay Tuition for Public School?
The answer must reflect an outlook that is pro-immigration, pro-compassion, and pro-law and order, writes Michael J. Petrilli.
Michael J. Petrilli
4 min read
Image of a pencil holder filled with a variety of colored pencils that match the background with international flags.
Laura Baker/Education Week via Canva