Two state teachers of the year skipped a White House awards ceremony meant to honor them to protest President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Education Week reported that rather than attend the Oval Office ceremony on Monday, Kentucky Teacher of the Year Jessica Dueñas and Minnesota Teacher of the Year Kelly Holstine decided to hold a press conference on Tuesday to explain why they weren’t attending.
“It’s uncomfortable for me right now to not be with my peers, but it’s the right choice,” Dueñas, a 6th-grade special education teacher at W.E.B. DuBois Academy in Louisville, Kentucky, told Ed Week. “When I’m gone someday from this earth, I feel like I’m going to be on the right side of history, for speaking up for my students and my state in this manner.”
Holstine, who described herself as an “out, gender-non-conforming lesbian” and Minnesota’s first teacher of the year from the LGBTQ community, said she could not attend due to the Trump administration’s homophobic and transphobic policies.
“I feel that the policies of this administration, and the homophobia and the transphobia and the demonizing of the LGBTQ people, is so damaging and hurtful,” she said. “And it creates an environment where other folks feel emboldened to also feel that hatred.”
Holstine explained to Ed Week that many of her students at Tokata Learning Center in Shakopee, MN, an alternative learning center, are undocumented, have family who are undocumented or are Somali refugees.
“I cannot in good conscience even implicitly support an administration that does not support my students,” Holstine said.
Dueñas revealed to the magazine that one of her parents was formerly undocumented and said the Trump administration’s family separation policy was one of the main factors in her decision to boycott the ceremony.
You can watch Dueñas and Holstine’s press conference at the American Federation of Teachers’ headquarters in DC below:
Trump revealed his impeachment strategy 21 years ago — when he defended Bill Clinton
Digging back into the archives, Politico reveals that President Donald Trump appears to be re-purposing the advice he suggested to Bill Clinton when the embattled Democratic president faced impeachment 21 years ago.
According to the report, Trump made an appearance on NBC's Hardball during the Clinton impeachment saga, where he told host Chris Matthews that Clinton needed to "go after his enemies," which has, to date, been Trump's main response to his own impeachment.
Trump brought along convicted war criminals to secretive Florida fundraiser: report
According to a report from the Miami Herald, President Donald Trump was accompanied by two convicted war criminals he recently pardoned when we held a closed-door fundraiser in Florida on Saturday night.
The report states that Trump's appearance at Republican Party of Florida's annual Statesman’s Dinner, where he helped raise $3.5 million for the state party, was held in extreme secrecy with the "1,000 attendees were required to check their cell phones into individual locked cases before they entered the unmarked ballroom."
Pentagon panicked as US troop affinity for Russia grows: report
According to a report from Voice of America, military leaders at the Pentagon are growing increasingly concerned with the popularity of Russian President Vladimir Putin within the military ranks due to the influence of Russian propaganda and Donald Trump's boosterism.
The report states, "While most Americans still see Moscow as a key U.S. adversary, new polling suggests that view is changing, most notably among the households of military members. The second annual Reagan National Defense Survey, completed in late October, found nearly half of armed services households questioned, 46%, said they viewed Russia as ally. Overall, the survey found 28% of Americans identified Russia as an ally, up from 19% the previous year."