Trumpism remains and must be defeated

School Magazine  – 2020-11-09

On Saturday, a perverse caricature of a President was defeated by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. It was squeaker for sure and that, alone, raises awful questions about the future, about why 70 million Americans actually liked Donald Trump despite his contempt for people, law, process and common decency. His Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos was for American schools, what a chainsaw is for a tree, proposing billions of dollars in cuts to American schools, refusing loan relief for students misled about the quality of education they paid for – she even planned to cut funding for the Special Olympics until, of all people, Donald Trump came to the rescue.

Educators across the U.S. have fought bitterly against the Trump administration along with all the other governments over generations that have tried to cut education and let it deteriorate. Strike after strike across America has had, at its core, the idea that education is inextricably entwined in the community in which it takes place.

So, it’s only natural, that educators might have something to say about the Biden/Harris victory:

In Colorado, Amy Baca-Oehlert, head of the Colorado Education Association,  said:

“The 39,000 members of the Colorado Education Association are proud to have helped elect former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris as the next president and vice president of the United States. President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris share in our values for equal opportunity for all students, regardless of their ZIP code, and an unwavering commitment to educators everywhere. After four years of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ failed leadership and policy decisions, we look forward to President-elect Biden selecting a Secretary of Education who has the best interests of students at heart.”

The National Education Association (NEA) released a statement celebrating the Biden/Harris victory highlighting the amount of work educators did to make it happen:

“Educators’ hard work to make this day a reality started long before the 2020 election cycle began. Over the last four years, NEA members have taken heroic action to stand up for their students, their profession, and their communities. Millions of educators rallied under the #RedForEd banner for school funding and educator pay equity, denounced the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education, and volunteered for pro-public education candidates. Thousands of educators ran for office and won in the 2018 midterm elections.

That activism has been front and centre for years in Chicago, where the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has battled at city and state levels for decent schools and communities. The CTU’s comments made no bones about the power of “Black and Brown grassroots organizers.”

School reprints the full statement here:


Trump will go, but Trump-ism remains, and it is Trump-ism that must be defeated

Transformation comes with a strong commitment to organizing and coalition work, and we owe Black and Brown grassroots organizers — in every city and state that went overwhelmingly blue — a great debt.

CHICAGO, Nov. 7, 2020 — The Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement today following the election of Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris to the offices of president and vice president of the United States:

Congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Their victory in this election is not only transformative for our country, but for the Black and Brown voters in Chicago — and in cities like Chicago — who took to polls and used their most powerful lever of change to help restore our country to normalcy.

It was Black enslaved laborers and indigenous peoples who rebuilt the United States following the Revolutionary War, and it is those same individuals who are rebuilding our country following four years of Donald Trump’s war on democracy.

Transformation comes with a strong commitment to organizing and coalition work, and we owe Black and Brown grassroots organizers — in every city and state that went overwhelmingly blue — a great debt. Thank you for seeing what is often unseen by operatives, pundits and party leadership. Thank you for acknowledging the complexity of choosing survival.

Thank you to Black voters, in particular, in cities like Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, and to Brown voters in Arizona and Nevada. You are formidable, and once again, you have demonstrated a commitment to a vision of America that your ancestors have died for, and that we have still not yet realized.

Thank you to the Black voters and voices in our own city who supported President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris — more than 82 percent of whom also voted yes to Fair Tax and progressive revenue. There is overwhelming support in Chicago for city, county and state budgets that tax wealthy individuals and corporations instead of laying off public workers or imposing more fees and fines on working people. Service cuts, layoffs and punitive fines are the agenda of the white supremacists and billionaires like Ken Griffin, who happily watch poor Black and Brown people suffer, and whom we unequivocally oppose.

Communities of color are the backbone of the Illinois Democratic Party, and they deserve more for their loyalty and investment. The new legislative map must assure better representation, particularly for Black Chicagoans, who have endured school closings, the loss of public housing and scant neighborhood investment at the hands of Democrats, but nonetheless, steadfastly kept Illinois blue.

Democrat leaders in our state must end their bickering over control of the party, and instead, stay focused on putting forth policies will secure the future for their most loyal constituents — the Black residents of our state.

As a union of educators, we look forward to President-elect Biden fulfilling the promises made in his education platform, which include increased funding for low-income special education students, a reduction in standardized testing and an end to charter school expansion. Our communities, which continue to be ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, also need major relief immediately.

The Black and Brown communities that rescued our country from Donald Trump are the same communities where people are disproportionately dying from COVID-19, and suffering under the economic effects of this pandemic. Their recovery will require cash payments, rental and mortgage relief, extended unemployment, and medical debt forgiveness.

Our union’s focus remains upholding the values that our educators and the communities they serve hold high and true — anti-racism, fighting for progressive revenue, criminal justice reform and strengthening public education and the public sector. Donald Trump will go, but Donald Trump-ism will remain, because that is rooted in white supremacy and discrimination, which are as old as our country itself. This is what fuels hate, fuels division and fuels big money forces like Griffin who want to close our schools and defund public education.

Unity doesn’t come because we ignore this hate; unity comes because we do the work to confront it and move our city and our country forward. Today we reflect, but tomorrow we get back to work and continue to push our leaders in fighting for the schools our students deserve.