Alabama Education Association responds to Sen. Tuberville’s remarks on teachers

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville
U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville(U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville's Office)
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 3:34 PM CDT

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville’s appearance on Donald Trump Jr.’s webcast this week is causing controversy online. Now, the Alabama Education Association is calling him out, and the senator is clarifying his remarks.

Speaking with Trump Jr. on his YouTube show “Triggered”, Tuberville said “COVID really brought it out about how bad our schools are, and how bad our teachers are in the inner cities. I don’t know how they got degrees. I don’t know whether they can read and write.” Trump Jr. interjects to support Tuberville, who continues by saying “They want a raise and less time to work, less time in school. We ruined work ethic in this country.”

The 25 second clip of the conversation shared by political activist Ron Filipowski went viral Friday morning. The Alabama Education Association issued the following statement:

Hearing Senator Tuberville’s recent statements is disheartening to the men and women who choose education as their profession and work daily in Alabama classrooms. Our teachers put their total dedication and time into ensuring students can succeed and thrive – and as a former coach at an Alabama university, he should know the rigor and steps it takes for teachers to receive their degrees and certification.

AEA and many Alabamians know who our teachers are and the work they do. Their heroic actions during the COVID-19 pandemic and what they continue to do has not gone unnoticed and are commendable. As many teachers prepare for a well-deserved summer break, we hope they do not take Senator Tuberville’s statements to heart and understand it for what it is – a political soundbite.

Senator Tuberville’s staff reached out to us to defend the comments, saying they’re being taken out of context. Here is the response from the Senator’s Communications Director:

In the interview, Coach Tuberville spoke specifically about Baltimore. 23 schools in Baltimore were recently found to have ZERO students who were proficient in math. That’s what Coach was talking about.

As for “inner city” versus suburban schools or rural schools, again there are countless examples of this problem nationwide. Chicago, for example, also had 55 schools without a single student proficient in math and 33 schools without a single student proficient in reading. Four out of five DC students are not proficient in math and two-thirds are not proficient in reading and writing. The list goes on. Coach is far from the first person to criticize inner city schools, and the critics know that.

Can the critics really say our current education system is successful?

As Coach said in the interview, one of the reasons he ran for office was because of his compassion for kids trapped in failing schools. As a Coach and a mentor unlocking opportunity for young people for 40 years, he watched a marked decline in our education system and found it deeply alarming. That’s why Coach is a strong supporter of school choice.

As he says in the interview, Coach worked with young people from all across this nation and from every background.

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