Whether or not we like it, adults are role models for all children, not just our own. So, since the beginning of the Trump administration, many wonder how much the new political climate has influenced what our children perceive as acceptable in academic and professional settings. A study released by the UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education and Access has some troubling results for everyone.
Over the past year, it feels natural that classrooms should have grown more belligerent, mirroring how the national discourse of politics has grown more heated and less civil. While there are many educators confirming that their classrooms have become more difficult to control as students begin to grow more confrontational, with more than half who work with large minority classrooms reporting that their students are having increasing difficulty at staying focused on their studies, other results seem more concrete.
For example, in districts and schools without leadership action, the disruption to the classrooms has been more pronounced. And more than forty percent of educators reported that their students had relied on unsubstantiated information in growing numbers over the year previously.
Predominantly White schools also show trends of becoming more hostile to minority students, including racial minorities, LGBTQ students, and religious minorities. The study even goes so far as to flag these trends as challenges to the democratic function of education as a force for leveling the playing field.
Just some few days ago, US secretary of education Betsy Devos was cornered into a wall by the Trump administration to go along with rescinding of the Bathroom Bill. Betsy had initially opposed these changes but was told to either go along with the changes or to quit. She, however, was reminded that it was the president’s responsibility to make these tough choices. Following her support, Betsy Devos was chased by protesters on the street urging her to fight as she had promised. However, before agreeing with the president, she asked for reassurance that students would be allowed to learn freely in a safe environment that is free from harassment. Betsy Devos expressed her dissatisfaction about this issue with the attorney general before being summoned to the White House.
In the White House summon, the secretary of education was quick to remind the president that they had sworn to protect American students and it was their responsibility to fulfill the promise. Betsy Devos held some earlier beliefs that the best way to protect a transgender is allowing them to use the bathroom of their choice. She further says that bathrooms are more than a place where teenagers go to answer the call of nature. Instead, Betsy Devos describes it as a place where kids can gossip and interact. Depriving kids of this right is a form of community stigmatization. This came at a time when Betsy Devos expressed her concern about the number of suicides being carried out by transgender children.
According to research conducted on American children attending public schools, the kids who receive the support of friends and families cannot suffer from depression originating from being transgender. Despite the setback, Betsy Devos continues with her dedication to changing the American education. Betsy Devos and Dick Devos make huge donations that are geared towards helping shape the American education.