Remember when I said all of Trump’s nominees would be confirmed no matter what we do? Well…
WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos on Tuesday as education secretary, approving the embattled nominee only with the help of a historic tiebreaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.
The 51-to-50 vote elevates Ms. DeVos — a wealthy donor from Michigan who has devoted much of her life to expanding educational choice through charter schools and vouchers, but has limited experience with the public school system — to be steward of the nation’s schools.
Two Republicans voted against Ms. DeVos’s confirmation, a sign that some members of President Trump’s party are willing to go against him, possibly foreshadowing difficulty on some of the president’s more contentious legislative priorities.
It was the first time that a vice president has been summoned to the Capitol to break a tie on a cabinet nomination, according to the Senate historian.
This was about as close as it could get and Senate Democrats truly fought as hard as they could. Two Republicans crossed party lines to vote with good sense and common decency and Mike Pence had to cast the tie-breaking vote to confirm DeVos. I could be really salty and find someone to put a hex on Lisa Murkowski because she was on the committee that allowed Messy Betsy’s nomination to even go to a vote. If she had voted “no” the first time, DeVos might have been cut off at the knees before reaching the Senate in full, but alas. Can’t be crying over spilled milk especially not with all these grizzlies out here threatening our children’s education.
So what does this mean for Trump’s other nominees coming up for a vote, namely Senator Ku Klux Sessions? He’ll be confirmed and we’ll have the most racist Attorney General sitting in office since Jim Crow. In the grand scheme of things, Sessions will be worse for the country than DeVos and Democrats pretty much unloaded everything they had to block Betsy With The Bad Vocabulary. I’m sure this is a shock to no one, but racism doesn’t really bother the GOP as much as incompetence directing the fate of our (white) children. DeVos making education policy when she’s so clearly ill-equipped for the job is far more offensive to Senate Republicans than a good ole’ boy setting the country’s tone for social justice because – surprise surprise – Republicans think everybody who’s not white and male complains too much anyway.
However, there might be a small silver lining here if only for the fact that Democrats seem to have developed some semblance of a backbone and are prepared to fight, obstruct, and delay as often as possible. They stayed up all night trying to convince just one more Republican to vote against DeVos so they’re really drawing a hard line in the sand with President Velveeta’s administration. I’ve never seen them this angry and if they can keep it up long enough for us to flip the Senate back, we might get through this together.
Teachers are burned out.
If you’re a teacher, here’s a little support.
A lot of my friends are teachers, especially on social media. It feels like every girl I was friends with in middle school has a classroom now and I can see their updates on Facebook. A lot of us are stressed out to a level we could’ve never predicted three years ago, but medicine and education have been hit the hardest.
If you’re a teacher and you’re frustrated or burned out, remember that you’re not alone. I don’t know that it will relieve any of the stress, but it sometimes helps to know that other people feel the same way that you do, and that you are not somehow inadequate or bad at your job because the strain is getting to you.
According to the 2021 State of the U.S. Teacher Survey conducted by the RAND Corporation, job-related stress, burnout and symptoms of depression seem to be almost universal among teachers. Of those surveyed, one in five said they weren’t coping well with job stress, one in four said they were experiencing symptoms of depression and half felt burnt out.
I wanted to show y’all a conversation I saw on Twitter this morning between two teachers. One is a new teacher (year 4) who has yet to settle herself into the profession because two of those years have been spent coping with teaching in a pandemic. The other is a 15 year veteran of the NYC school system. I thought this was insightful from both sides, so maybe you will too.
I’d like to say something peppy and inspirational here like, We’re all in this together! but I don’t like to be lying all on the internet like that. If we were all in this together, teachers would be better paid and better supported in their jobs. The government wouldn’t constantly look for ways to cut education budgets and officials at the district and state level would take more care to recognize what teachers experience in the actual classroom. So no, we’re not all in this together, but there is a robust community of other teachers that you can reach out to! Lean on each other and try to remember you have the most important job in the world — it’s okay to be stressed out by it.
Slavery did not “bring workers” to the colonies.
The American educational system does not teach slavery (or history for that matter) in an unbiased manner.
The American educational system does not teach slavery (or history for that matter) in an unbiased manner. History is written by the victors, and with American History, white people in this country have watered down the atrocities that came with “settling” the US to such an extent that the vast majority of us do not have an accurate picture of what American slavery entailed. Here’s a perspective you were probably never taught:
…slaves, for example, were money in the antebellum South—currency and credit—which led to the enforced, systematic break-up of black families in generation after generation. There was no national currency, and little silver or gold, but there was paper tied to slaves bought on credit whose offspring were seen as a dividend that grew over time.
We were MONEY to this country – not people. We were currency, cattle, property, and economic capital – not workers. University of Houston doctoral candidate (and concerned mother) Roni Dean-Burren is one woman who, outraged over the white revisionist history of slavery in a McGraw Hill World Geography textbook, isn’t standing on the sidelines letting it happen.
Roni Dean-Burren, who taught English for more than a decade and is now a doctoral candidate at the University of Houston, pointed out that the language of “worker” suggests compensation and “immigration” suggests that people weren’t kidnapped and brought to North America against their will. She first learned about the textbook section when her son sent her a photo of the text.
Dean-Burren posted the photo on Facebook and a followup video has been seen by 1.4 million people. In response to the building outrage, McGraw Hill has moved to make edits on its website and correct the text in hardcopy for the next edition, so once again, the Internet Outrage Machine worked.
It’s important to note here that McGraw Hill is based in Texas, as are the majority of school textbook manufacturers. Texas is also the state where the board of education voted to (further) de-emphasize slavery’s severity and impact, where social studies requirements no longer make note of the KKK or Jim Crow, and where a Republican on the board of education said slavery was a side issue of the Civil War. Texas is garbage, yes, but they’ve only taken the American educational system’s watered down version of slavery and watered it down a bit more. Honestly, I can tell you more about what I remember from studying Ancient Greece in school than anything that was taught to me about slavery. Black history as a part of American history was pretty much white people brought Africans over in chains, they picked cotton for a couple of centuries and got a few whippings if they tried to run away, Lincoln freed them, there was some struggle for equal rights, and then MLK made everything OK in the 60s and we lived happily ever after. If you’re a white person who feels guilty for viewing slavery the same way, it’s not totally your fault because nobody taught you any differently.
Ned and Constance Sublette want Americans to know the truth and they’ve written a new book called The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave Breeding Industry. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m about to go find it as soon as I get off work today – not so I can just be mad at white people some more, but so I can have this knowledge to teach my children their history since nobody else is going to. The book is over 600 pages (!!!) but just from the short overview on Rawstory, I’ve learned:
*** South Carolina preferred to import slaves while Virginia opted for an elaborate breeding program (Virginia obviously came out on top since the US made importing slaves illegal long before slavery itself was outlawed)
*** The US didn’t receive nearly as many Africans as the Caribbean and South America (especially Brazil) but treatment was much harsher here.
*** Native Americans were exported in favor of taking in more African slaves.
*** The Second Amendment and many of our founding documents are a response to the fear of (by Thomas Jefferson’s own hand) slaves and freedmen rising up in revolt against whites.
*** Thomas Jefferson (the founding father modern politicians like to quote all the while not realizing (or acknowledging) he believed Africans should never be freed but instead deported) was the OG White Supremacist who, referring to Africans, wrote: “Their griefs are transient. Those numberless afflictions… are less felt, and sooner forgotten with them. In general, their existence appears to participate more of sensation than reflection.”
Where’s that in our history textbooks? Not only does our curriculum gloss over the truth, it totally omits it and instead posits these men who “built” the country as paragons of truth and righteousness who could do no wrong when they set the building blocks for the racial disparity we are STILL dealing with!
Roni Dean-Burren is my spirit because I would have done the same thing. I don’t think the public school system is ready for me when I have kids because I’m going to be a bulldog. You think being a helicopter parent is bad. I’m coming with grenades and I can’t wait to raise militant little Black babies who are not here for the bullshit.
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