In a recent appearance on the podcast “Triggered” hosted by Donald Trump Jr., Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) sparked controversy with his remarks about the literacy and education capabilities of inner city teachers. Tuberville directed his criticism towards the public school system in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Expressing uncertainty, he questioned how teachers in the inner city obtained their degrees, referencing a report that revealed 23 schools in Baltimore City lacked any students proficient in math.
During the podcast interview, Tuberville emphasized the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the quality of education and highlighted the shortcomings of teachers in inner city schools. He stated, “The COVID really brought it out how bad our schools are and how bad our teachers are, in the inner city. Most of them in the inner city, I don’t know how they got degrees.”
Accusing Teachers Unions of Impeding Progress
Tuberville went on to place blame on teachers unions for the perceived decline in educational standards, asserting that they have “killed” the schools. Expressing doubt, he questioned the literacy and writing abilities of teachers, suggesting that they were seeking pay raises and reduced work hours. Tuberville expressed concern about the erosion of work ethic in the country, claiming that the pursuit of an easy life has become prevalent.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, academic performance in key subjects such as social studies, mathematics, and reading has witnessed a steep decline. The Nation’s Report Card, released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) earlier this year, revealed that eighth-grade students’ scores in U.S. history and civics have also dropped to levels reminiscent of the 1990s.
Contentious Statements and Controversial Views
Senator Tuberville has faced backlash in recent weeks for a series of controversial statements he made regarding abortion, the military, and white nationalism. During the podcast interview, he further claimed that some schools prioritize teaching “social justice and diversity” over essential subjects like reading and math.
Tuberville stressed the importance of literacy and writing skills, asserting that individuals who lack these skills struggle to thrive in a country like the United States. He implied that such individuals require assistance to navigate life, accusing the government of promoting dependency.
These remarks have ignited a broader debate about education standards, the role of teachers unions, and the balance between social justice initiatives and core academic subjects in the American education system.