You would think the First Lady sending books to schools would be non-controversial, but with the left, NOTHING that has to do with the Trump White House is ever good enough!
As you may recall, earlier this month was National Read a Book Day and First Lady Melania Trump donated a set of Dr. Seuss books to one school in each state.
Well, it turns out the librarian at the Cambridge, Massachusetts school that received the gift wrote an open letter to the First Lady refusing the books.
Cambridgeport Elementary School librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro took offense to how her school was chosen, (which was by “working with the Department of Education to identify schools with programs that have achieved high standards of excellence, recognized by State and National awards and Blue Ribbon Awards”) because apparently she doesn’t think excellence should be rewarded. She took the opportunity to get on her political high horse and lecture the First Lady on all the reasons why her sweet gesture was wrong.
Soeiro started off bragging about the wonders of the People’s Republic of Cambridge – social programming, responsive government, and the kids are so lucky to have a librarian with a graduate degree in library science like her!
Her letter started off by praising her city: “My school and my library are indeed award-winning. I work in a district that has plenty of resources, which contributes directly to ‘excellence.’ Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an amazing city with robust social programming, a responsive city government, free all-day kindergarten, and well-paid teachers (relatively speaking — many of us can’t afford to live in the city in which we teach).”
She even took a shot at other schools: “My students have access to a school library with over nine thousand volumes and a librarian with a graduate degree in library science. Multiple studies show that schools with professionally staffed libraries improve student performance. The American Association of School Librarians has a great infographic on these findings. Many schools around the state and country can’t compete.”
Then came the humble brag with statistics: “Yearly per-pupil spending in Cambridge is well over $20,000; our city’s values are such that given a HUGE range in the socioeconomic status of our residents, we believe that each and every child deserves the best free education possible and are working hard to make that a reality (most classrooms maintain a 60/40 split between free/reduced lunch and paid lunch). This offers our Title I school and the district a lot of privilege and room for programming and pedagogy to foster ‘high standards of excellence.'”
Oh, but not all is well in that socialist paradise – the specter of white supremacy lurks!
This part actually hurts to read: “Even so, we still struggle to close the achievement gap, retain teachers of color, and dismantle the systemic white supremacy in our institution. But hell, we test well! And in the end, it appears that data — and not children — are what matters.”
Now we get to the part where she rails against school choice and public school teacher enemy #1: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Oh, yes, the reason these cities’ schools and libraries are failing is because of an Education Secretary who’s only been in office for 9 months and not the teachers’ unions who fight against any possible reform that would help improve the education system.
The Trump hatred flows mightily though this one: “Meanwhile, school libraries around the country are being shuttered. Cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit are suffering through expansion, privatization, and school “choice” with no interest in outcomes of children, their families, their teachers, and their schools. Are those kids any less deserving of books simply because of circumstances beyond their control? Why not go out of your way to gift books to underfunded and underprivileged communities that continue to be marginalized and maligned by policies put in place by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos? Why not reflect on those “high standards of excellence” beyond only what the numbers suggest? Secretary DeVos would do well to scaffold and lift schools instead of punishing them with closures and slashed budgets.”
Interestingly, no where does she say that she’s regifting the books her school received to another “underfunded and underprivileged community.” No, she simply grandstands.
Oh, wait, but there’s more! This wacko went even further and criticized the First Lady’s choice of Dr. Seuss books because they are “a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature!”
But not only are Dr. Seuss books “cliché” (aka classics) somehow they are racist, too. No, really, she says The Cat in the Hat is racist. The “CAT” – it’s an animal, it doesn’t even have a race to be racist about!
This is just terrible: “Another fact that many people are unaware of is that Dr. Seuss’s illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes. Open one of his books (If I Ran a Zoo or And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, for example), and you’ll see the racist mockery in his art. Grace Hwang Lynch’s School Library Journal article, “Is the Cat in the Hat Racist? Read Across America Shifts Away from Dr. Seuss and Toward Diverse Books,” reports on Katie Ishizuka’s work analyzing the minstrel characteristics and trope nature of Seuss’s characters. Scholar Philip Nel’s new book, Was the Cat in the Hat Black? The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books, further explores and shines a spotlight on the systemic racism and oppression in education and literature.”
Funny how the environmentalist propaganda in books like The Lorax weren’t mentioned in this letter.
She does finally at least acknowledge that the gift was a nice gesture: “I am honored that you recognized my students and our school. I can think of no better gift for children than books; it was a wonderful gesture, if one that could have been better thought out. Books can be a powerful way to learn about and experience the world around us; they help build empathy and understanding.”
But then she went on to suggest 10 books of her own intended to give First Lady Melania “a window into the lives of the many children affected by the policies of your husband’s administration” because “you and your husband have a direct impact on these children’s lives.”
Her list includes a book about a crayon that’s supposed to indoctrinate kids into thinking gender isn’t real and another about a child whose illegal mother is detained, natch.
Meanwhile, this was nothing more than a radical lefty’s attempt at meaningless self-righteous virtue-signalling – she can’t even refuse the books for the school!
But Soeiro’s only getting a slap on the wrist for this political stunt. The school district put out a statement that said, “In this instance, the employee was not authorized to accept or reject donated books on behalf of the school or school district. We have counseled the employee on all relevant policies, including the policy against public resources being used for political purposes.”
So in the end, she gets to be all smug about her act of resistance and gain accolades from the radical Trump-hating crowd… for trying to be the Grinch who stole books away from children simply because of where they came from.
What do you think – should the librarian have tried to refuse the First Lay’s book donation? Tell us in the comments below!