When first lady Jill Biden spoke to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) 2022 Convention in Boston last week, her remarks were notable more for political signaling than for substantive content.
Delivered with an “us-against the world” tone, the first lady rallied her troops in a nakedly partisan fashion.
Decrying hunger, gun violence and limits to abortion, Biden planted her flag in familiar territory. Her choice of words left the unmistakable sense she is quite willing to further the already uncomfortable distance between parents and educators if doing so furthers the political agenda of the left.
Her speech, delivered to a gathering of educators amid a growing public distrust of industrialized education, could scarcely have been more tone deaf.
Pandemic-driven remote learning has led to educators finding themselves under far greater scrutiny as parents become familiar with objectionable materials and programming taught to their children.
The consequent rise in parental involvement and outrage found the education establishment unprepared to substantially defend its curricula. Instead, it retreated into a bunker mentality, launching salvo after salvo of criticism against concerned parents.
Long accustomed to the compliance of school boards (with members drawn largely from their own ranks) many educators and administrators have not responded well to being challenged by parents, with some claiming greater authority over their students than even parents.
Biden brusquely dismissed the legitimate worries of millions of concerned parents, labeling opponents of radical curricula as “people who want to stop you from doing your job.” She then encouraged members to “put your shoulders back and focus on your students.”
Aside from the explicit advice to ignore parents, there followed a clear admonition to double-down on the same errors that have brought the education system into disrepute.
“Our schools are where policies become people. And educators are at the center of it all.”
And those educators are to be rewarded.
Shamelessly buying votes with tax dollars, Biden touted her husband’s promise of loan forgiveness for public servants, citing the “almost 150,000 public servants” who have already benefited from the Biden administration’s largesse.
Teachers’ unions have long been a source of both money and foot soldiers for leftist politics. Through targeted loan forgiveness programs like that highlighted by the first lady, the quid pro quo nature of the union/government relationship is grotesquely evident.
Left on the outside of this cozy arrangement are the long-suffering taxpayers of the United States, who once again must swallow the gall of financing their own ruin.