AFSA President Logan “School Administrators must become public education ‘saviors’”

School Administrators – public school principals and top staffers – must become “saviors of free public education,” their union’s new president says.

 

In his first speech, in early August, as the new president of the American Federation of School Administrators, Ernest Logan said his members must go beyond their traditional roles to defend the nation’s public schools and their students’ “right to a quality public education.”

 

Logan issued the challenge when the union’s convention delegates, meeting at National Harbor, Md., just outside D.C., ratified his election to a 3-year term. He succeeded – and paid long tribute to the “steely strength of” – Diann Woodard, who died earlier this year.

 

But defending public schools “won’t be easy,” Logan warned. Then he aimed at forces who threaten students, teachers, unions and administrators: GOP President Donald Trump, Education Secretary and GOP big giver Elizabeth “Betsy” DeVos, and the Supreme Court.

“If you’ve been listening to” them, “you know our public schools are in peril,” Logan said. “With their words, they hint public schools might really not be so important…Maybe public schools aren’t so good for the country…Maybe there shouldn’t be such a thing as ‘separation of church and state’ and maybe religious schools should be supported by our taxes at least as much as public schools. And maybe, just maybe, getting a quality public education isn’t even a constitutional right.”

 

“The president has said, ‘Our public schools have grown up in a competition-free zone, surrounded by a very high union wall. Why aren’t we shocked at the results?’” Logan continued. “He suggests all public schools are failures and proposes to shift funding from public schools to private schools through voucher programs.” Left unsaid: Trump hates minorities, who are now most U.S. public school students.

 

“Of course, voucher schools directly take money from public schools and do not improve opportunities for disadvantaged children and are largely unaccountable to the public. And he vowed to pick his Education Secretary from a roster of pro-privatization candidates. And he sure delivered on that promise,” with DeVos.

 

“It’s no exaggeration to say every AFSA member in this room is more qualified to be the U.S. Secretary of Education than Betsy DeVos is. DeVos has zero experience in the classroom or in any area of public education.”

 

“She’s qualified for only one thing: To be a privatizer. She spent millions of dollars of personal wealth to try to dismantle public education in her home state of Michigan. Her stated goal is to do the same on the national level – divert funding from public schools to charter and private schools. She has declared public schools to be a ‘dead end.’”

“Frankly, if we stand together both as unionists and as educators, I don’t see how we can lose the battle to preserve and protect public education. By and large, families love our schools and they are going to stand with us,” Logan said, citing the teacher-led, community-led strikes in West Virginia, Arizona and other red states, all over school conditions.

 

Mobilizing students, teachers and administrators to fight for the future is key, he added. Plus a healthy dose of civic education, to teach students – and adults – about basic rights and liberties and what happens when despots rewrite history and ravage people, ranging from Jim Crow to the Holocaust. “And they sure don’t know what the labor movement is,” Logan said of the current generation.

 

“When these historical realities fade from the public mind, the crazies come creeping out: The Holocaust deniers and the slavery revisionists. Without a grasp of even our recent history, young Americans don’t know there are deadly precedents for proposing that Muslim-Americans carry identity cards and the reality that Latino children are torn from their parents and incarcerated in far-flung detention centers.”

 

“But they should know there are precedents. They should know about the Native American genocide, and the 1940s and what happened to Japanese-Americans in this country and to Jews around the world. They would be more vigilant if they knew!”

 

That’s why public schools – and the administrators who lead them – must reverse what Logan called “a lousy job of educating our children along these lines.”

 

“We are living with the legacy of that failure right now,” including the policies of Trump and DeVos and the High Court’s rulings against workers, Logan said. Instead, the principals and other school leaders must follow aims of education the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King laid out when he was still in college in 1947, Logan noted.

 

“To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education,” he said, quoting King. “Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.”

Source: PAI