The leader of a politically powerful teachers’ union with 3 million members has blamed a ‘radicalized Supreme Court’ for rulings she says unravel abortion rights, undermine the separation of church and state and do not reflect the views or values of most Americans. .
National Education Association President Becky Pringle, whose union is the nation’s largest, said the stage was set in the 2016 election for Supreme Court rulings that “take us further away from the promise of education.” ‘America for all Americans’.
She pledged to use the political power of the union against candidates who refuse to keep schools safe but ask teachers to “take up arms”, refuse to pay teachers as professionals, feed inequalities that compromise student learning or working to “divest and destroy” public schools. .
“This November, if you hinder our progress towards a fairer nation, we will hinder your election,” she said to applause on Sunday at the union’s Representative Assembly in Chicago.
The union supported President Joe Biden in the 2020 election and counts first lady Jill Biden, a longtime educator, among its members.
Pringle spoke out against Supreme Court rulings on school prayer that “attack religious freedom,” vouchers “that threaten the right to universal public education,” and the recent ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, reversing federal abortion protections, as having a “devastating long-term impact” on basic freedoms.
“Like me, you knew these decisions were coming,” she said. “It still didn’t change the punch he delivered.”
She said educators will continue to “relentlessly fight for the right to choose” and for the rights of LGBTQ+ students and educators.
“We’ll say gay. We’ll say trans,” she said, a reference to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education, which prohibits classroom teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity in classrooms. K-3 “or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate”.
“We will use words that validate our students and their families; words that encourage them to walk in their authenticity; to love themselves fully to become who they are meant to be,” she continued, to applause. members.
Pringle said educators will continue to teach students “the true and complete history of the nation. of our foundation”.
Pringle’s remarks came as teachers grew increasingly exhausted from staffing shortages, COVID-19 battles and political pressure, and many said they were ready to quit.
National headlines in recent years have portrayed education as a battleground, with fights over face masks, controversial books and teaching about race and gender.
Congressional Republicans are putting parent involvement in education at the heart of their pitch to voters while several GOP-led states have imposed curbs on racial education.