Biden honored a teacher who teaches students about “race, gender, and oppression” amid culture wars in the classroom 2022-04-27 14:27:58


President and First Lady Jill Biden will honor Kurt Russell, the veteran Oberlin High School teacher who was named Teacher of the Year by the nonprofit Public School Presidents Council, during a ceremony at the White House for State and National Teachers of the Year. .

The selection comes as a nationwide conservative-led effort has successfully moved forward over the past year to stifle discussions of race, gender and gender identity in the classroom.

Russell teaches elective courses in African American history as well as race, gender, and oppression — a class that the CCSSO says he developed. He is also a college basketball coach and serves as a faculty advisor for the school’s black student union.

Talking to “CBS Mornings” After being named Teacher of the Year, Russell said he deals with race in the courses he teaches “because it’s my responsibility to provide my students with a comprehensive opportunity to learn.”

He said that inclusive and diverse education begins with the school’s faculty and “within the curriculum as well, making sure that students see themselves in the curriculum…I think that’s how students get involved.”

Conservative-led efforts target schools, children, parents and teachers

In his CBS interview, Russell asserted that he knows history, not critical race theory – who admits That systemic racism is part of American society and challenges the beliefs that allow it to thrive. The Ohio teacher said he wanted to make sure his courses were “normal, not different.”
In Ohio, Russell’s home state this monthIn the US, state Republican lawmakers introduced a bill that would ban instruction regarding gender identity, sexual orientation, and critical race theory in the classroom for certain classes. Republican Governor Mike DeWine. He said He wants Ohio to be “inclusive” and “welcoming,” but he hasn’t taken a final position on the bill. Earlier this year, DeWine – who was briefly a high school teacher before attending law school – He said he opposes the critical race theory But he believed that the flaws of American history, such as slavery, should continue to be taught in schools.
Aimed at at least ten laws restriction How topics like racism, sexism and American history are taught in American schools have passed in several states and more than 100 bills have been proposed since last year, according to the PEN America group.
RecentlyThe Florida Department of Education announced that the state has rejected more than 50 math textbooks from the upcoming school year’s curriculum, citing references to critical race theory among the reasons for the rejection. The state is also among the 26 states with book bans in school districts, says PEN America. Florida lawmakers banned the teaching of critical race theory in schools in June 2021.

Florida’s efforts in particular have struck a chord in the Biden administration.

Biden took the rare step Think about what was then a bill—and is now a state law—that would outlaw certain discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom. Recently, Disney’s criticism of the so-called “Don’t Say Like Me” Act has been led by state Republicans To pass a law last week Which ends the Walt Disney Company’s autonomy status in the state.
And just last week, Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Lee signed a bill directing the state’s Department of Education to withhold some state funds from local school districts that fail or refuse to specify a student’s gender to participate in school sports. And Oklahoma Republican Governor Kevin Stitt Sign a new law which prohibits non-binary gender marks on state birth certificates.
Last month, the Texas Court of Appeals also re A temporary injunction ensuring that families seeking gender assertion sponsorship for their transgender children cannot be investigated by state authorities. In late February, Texas Governor Greg Abbott directed the Department of Family and Protective Services to conduct investigations into families seeking pro-sex surgical care and medication for their children, after the state’s attorney general issued a legal opinion arguing that it should be considered child abuse.

These actions are part of a broader effort by conservatives to make it more difficult for transgender and non-binary Americans to receive gender-confirming health care, exercise or change their birth certificates and other identification documents to match their gender identity. LGBT advocates say that allowing people to use non-binary gender tags can reduce the risk of harassment and discrimination they experience when their perceived physical appearance does not match the genders on their identity documents.

Teachers under pressure

Advocates argue that teachers in America remain under enormous pressure in the wake of the stresses of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday’s ceremony at the White House to honor teachers comes after The National Education Association has released a number of reports Clarify worrying data about staffing shortages and teacher wages. The NEA says these shortcomings across the US education system will have a direct impact on students and families.

When adjusted for inflation, American teachers bring home $2,179 less annually, on average, than they did a decade ago, according to an NEA report.

As the nation continues to deal with teacher shortagespotential teachers say they are being pushed away by low wages and high pressure, as well as the effects of the pandemic and distance learning.
The median starting salary for an American teacher during the 2020-2021 school year was $41,770 — a 4% decrease compared to the previous year. A survey by the NEA revealed that 55% of teachers are ready to leave the profession earlier than planned Teacher job satisfaction is at an all-time low.

CNN’s Chris Boyet, Paul LeBlanc, Andy Rose, Tina Burnside, Zoe Suttle, Nicole Chavez and Faith Karimi contributed to this report.