…and teacher union command central is furious.
Last week, the Trump administration rightfully withdrew former President Obama’s guidelines regarding bathroom usage, which had called on schools nationwide to let transgender students choose “Boys” or “Girls,” depending on how they perceived themselves and not the old-fashioned way: by body parts. Additionally, Obama had threatened to remove funding from noncompliant schools. Now with a new sheriff in Washington, the matter will simply be left to the states.
Clearly this is an improvement, and I hope the states will take it further and let individual schools or districts determine how to handle the situation. Transgenderism is estimated to afflict about .3 – .6 percent of the population. So an elementary school with 500 kids will have between one and three students who consider themselves to be born in the wrong skin. Given that likelihood, why does Washington see the need to get involved? Why is the federal government telling Idaho and Utah what to do about toilet usage? Why did Obama find it necessary to threaten schools with a withdrawal of funds?
The obvious answer is that it fits the Social Justice Warrior (SJW) agenda which, all too often, is dictatorial in nature. And teacher union leaders are members in good standing in the SJW community.
So it was hardly surprising that the teacher union presidents were apoplectic over Trump’s guidelines, and resorted to their standard M.O. – hyperbole, distortions and lies. National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García insisted, “Every student matters, and every student has the right to feel safe, welcomed, and valued in our public schools. This is our legal, ethical and moral obligation. The Trump administration’s plans to reverse protections for transgender students… is dangerous, ill-advised, and unnecessary.” California Teachers Association president Eric Heins was also disturbed. “…the Trump administration’s first education action, to reverse protections for transgender students …is disheartening. To take back basic rights of transgender students at public schools nationwide sends a clear message.” And not to be outdone, American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten ridiculously claimed that reversing the guidelines “tells trans kids that it’s OK with the Trump administration and the Department of Education for them to be abused and harassed at school for being trans.”
The distortions coming from teachers union leaders are truly disingenuous. There is nothing in the new guidelines that “reverses protections” or allows for abuse or harassment. The decisions on bathroom matters will simply be left to states and local education agencies, which is where they belong.
It is bizarre that, at the same time the teacher union SJWs are trying to push us into a one-size-fits-all pot, the same bunch has decided that because national politics are increasing student fear and anxiety, the best solutions are local. At a tele-town hall last week with union faithful, NEA boss Lily Eskelsen García remarked, “We do not need to wait for a governor, state legislature, or president to make the change we need. At our buildings and our school districts, we have the most agency to make change. We are the powerful voices. Together, through our dialogue with colleagues and students, and our communities, we can make a wave of change.”
“The best solutions are local.” Hmmm. That sounds downright sensible! It seems as if the union activists and García are making a subsidiarity argument, that issues should be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. But the unionistas mean that only when local control moves the ball in a direction they consider desirable. In fact, the brand new “best solutions are local” diktat is ultimately about immigration, which of course should not be a local issue. Chicago or California cannot have its own immigration policy. A school in Dallas cannot truly legally declare itself a sanctuary campus. Immigration, like foreign policy, must be set in D.C. Period. But with something that should be locally determined, like bathroom usage, Eskelsen García and her SJW allies want big D.C. daddy to make a one-size-fits-all rule.
After the Trump administration guidelines were released, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said, “We have a responsibility to protect every student in America and ensure that they have the freedom to learn and thrive in a safe and trusted environment. I consider protecting all students, including LGBTQ students, not only a key priority for the department, but for every school in America.” She clarified her statement by criticizing the idea of “a one-size-fits-all, federal government knows best, top-down approach to issues that are best dealt with at a … local level.”
DeVos is right; students should be safe from sexual harassment. While she trusts that the states will handle the matter effectively, union honchos prefer dictatorial control from SJW command central where they have much greater influence.
With Trump and DeVos in charge, power will hopefully become more diffuse, which could make it a troubling time for dictatorial unionistas across the country.
Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.