In an interview Thursday with Donald Trump Jr., Sen. Tommy Tuberville, an Alabama Republican, questioned whether inner-city teachers were literate, adding that he didn’t “know how they got degrees.”

The senator made the comments on Trump Jr.’s podcast, motivatedas part of a far-reaching conversation the two had about the GOP’s 2024 presidential options, the FBI, and his earlier career as a football coach.

“COVID really brought out how bad our schools are and how bad our teachers are in the inner city,” Tuberville told Trump Jr. “Most of them in the inner cities, I don’t know how they got titles to be honest with you. I don’t know if they know how to read and write. They want a raise and less time at work, less time at school. We ruined the work ethic in this country.”

The couple also discussed the continued blocking of some 196 Department of Defense (DOD) military appointments, according to figures recently announced by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who announced that the DOD would implement multiple new policies aimed at filling gaps in reproductive care. for service members and their families. Tuberville has been blamed by Austin for suspending the nominations, and the senator said he would continue his position “unless the secretary rescinds or suspends his recently implemented policy facilitating taxpayer-funded abortions for the military and their families.” “.

Steven Stafford, spokesman for the senator, said news week via email Friday that Tuberville, a staunch advocate of school choice, was referring specifically to Baltimore because 23 schools in the city recently reported zero proficiency in math, according to local news station WBFF.

Stafford gave other examples that fit Tuberville’s criticism, including that Chicago is home to 55 schools without a single math-proficient student and 33 schools without a single reading-proficient student, which was reported by Fox News earlier this month. anus. Stafford also mentioned how four out of five Washington DC students are not proficient in math, and two-thirds are not proficient in reading and writing, Axios reported last year.

“The list goes on,” Stafford said. “Coach is far from the first person to criticize inner-city schools, and the critics know it. Can the critics really say that our current education system is successful? As Coach said in the interview, one of the reasons “He ran for office because of his compassion for children trapped in failing schools. As a coach and mentor opening opportunities for young people for 40 years, he saw a stark decline in our education system and found it deeply alarming.”

Amy Marlowe, executive director of the Alabama Education Association (AEA), said news week via phone that Tuberville’s comments on Thursday were “cheap political shards” and that she and other educators expected more from him considering his own experience in soccer and working with youth.

Republican senator attacks teachers: America's 'ruined' work ethic
Senator Tommy Tuberville, a Republican from Alabama, attends a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on September 14, 2022, in Washington, DC In an interview Thursday with Donald Trump Jr., Tuberville questioned whether inner-city teachers were literate, adding that he did not “know how they got the degrees.”
Drew Angerer/Getty

“It’s truly heartbreaking and incredible to know that Senator Tuberville feels the same way about the hard-working men and women in Alabama’s schools,” Marlowe said. “We have always been encouraged and hopeful that we could have a working relationship with him, considering his work with youth throughout his coaching career. But to hear that these are his thoughts on the men and women who teach in Alabama schools It’s unfortunate. It’s very disappointing.”

He also questioned whether the senator is aware of what happened in his own state, based on his comments related to the pandemic. Marlowe noted that educators from across the state worked with the governor’s office and state health officials, becoming the first state in the country to return to in-person instruction.

“It is disheartening to think that at a time when there are fewer and fewer young people entering one of the most needy professions in the country, that one of our national leaders is going on record with their private thoughts about the profession. They are no longer private “Marlowe added.

Teachers in the United States earn a median annual salary of just over $61,000, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2021. The median salary for public school teachers, according to, is $56,483 as of May 1. of 2023, with a range from $47,169 to $68,884, depending on factors including education, certifications, and years of seniority.

Meanwhile, Zip Recruiter estimates that, as of last Friday, the average inner-city teacher in the US makes $49,235 a year, or $23.67 per hour, equivalent to $946 per week or $ 4,102 per month. The highest annual inner-city teacher salary by state is Wyoming at $51,911 per year, according to the recruiter’s website, and North Carolina at the bottom at $35,640. Salaries for inner-city Alabama teachers are about $45,182.

A December 2022 report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) showed that about 96 percent of all K-12 public teachers have at least a four-year college degree, while about 56 percent had advanced degrees. . The previously existing national teacher shortage was severely exacerbated by the pandemic, further impacting educators who were already concerned about poor compensation and stress levels.

“The smear of Senator Tuberville’s teachers, teaching and knowledge is not new, but this cacophony of stereotypical and dehumanizing tropes is a new low,” said American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten. news week by email on Friday. “He could only wish he possessed the skills and knowledge that educators have, whether they work in urban Birmingham or urban Brooklyn. They are dedicated to their craft, dedicated to meeting the needs of students, and they are paid very little to put up with these deceptive insults. In fact, they earn 23.5 percent less than their colleagues in the private sector. The question I have is why would a coach who made millions off of young talent insult his colleagues simply to curry favor with another politician?

A national survey of American teachers conducted by the National Education Association (NEA) and released in February 2022 found that 55 percent of educators were considering leaving the profession early due to COVID-19.

Additionally, Tuberville was maligned by some in his own state in 2020, when he quit his job as Auburn University head football coach and still made around $5 million despite breaking contract, reported.

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