Then again, it's not every day that an agent of the establishment so beautifully provides a mantra for the resistance. To justify the silencing of Sen Elizabeth Warren's testimony against the confirmation of Sen Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell railed, "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."
I wonder if he immediately regretted those words, like I sometimes do when I justify something to my children and see that flash in their eyes that tells me that my own words will soon be used in my parental demise. Perhaps the regret came later, when he saw the immediate storm on social media where his own words were being used as a hashtag and a caption for pictures and stories of women who have stood against injustice regardless of the threatened consequences. I suppose it's entirely possible, though, that he still doesn't know or appreciate the giant that has been awakened.
As you all know, the outcry against the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education was also widespread and diverse in its voices. Unfortunately, most of the Senate held the party line and confirmed DeVos in spite of the protest. Once again, the unthinkable has become the reality. Here we are. Nevertheless, we persist.
Women and men, educators and administrators, students and parents. We will persist.
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said “Americans across the nation drove a bipartisan repudiation of the Trump-DeVos agenda for students and public education. Today’s outcome marks only the beginning of the resistance. Students, educators, parents, civil rights and special education advocates—along with millions of Americans—are speaking loud and clear: we are here to stay…we will protect public education."
The road ahead is long and bumpy, nevertheless, we persist.
Our own MNEA President Charles Smith wrote "We commit that as educators our voice will challenge any government official who places special interests over the best interests of Missouri children. We will watch Betsy DeVos and our elected representatives and we are ready to challenge any policy that harms students or threatens a quality education for every Missouri child."
In Missouri, moneyed interests back the ongoing push to divest funds from our public schools, and dilute already inadequate funding by spreading it among charter schools and voucher like programs that lack equity and accountability. This appears to be a priority for our state legislature and is clearly in keeping with the new national education "leadership." Nevertheless, we persist.
Three years ago, moneyed interests tried to mess with public education in Missouri with Amendment 3 and we rallied to protect our schools and our students. We persisted, across the lines that often divide us, and challenged that which was sure to harm students and threaten a quality education for every Missouri child. And because of our resolve and dedication, we won. We won, not just for ourselves, but for our students, our schools, and our communities.
It's time again to rally, across all the lines that tend to divide us, to watch and to challenge, and to speak out each and every time we see injustice and inequity.
Welcome to the beginning of the resistance. I'm honored to be here with you. May we continue to persist together.
Until next time, remember why you do what you do, teach with all you've got, and know that you are creating a better world, one student at a time!