SC Educator, Dr. Jackson, goes to Washington to demand vote on Supreme Court nominee

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Nine civics, history, and social studies teachers, including Dr. Valerie Jackson from Beaufort, SC, went to Washington on Wednesday, May 18. They demanded that Senators do their job and provide a hearing and vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to the Supreme Court, Chief Judge Merrick Garland. They joined a White House roundtable discussion with senior Obama administration officials to discuss the confirmation process and how educators teach their students about the Supreme Court and its role in our national government.

Dr. Valerie Jackson
Dr. Valerie Jackson

“As teachers, we impart on our young students not only academic standards, but standards of civic responsibility as well” said The South Carolina Education Association President Bernadette R. Hampton. “What lesson is being sent to our citizens and our students from Senators if they refuse to do their part and accept their responsibility in quickly and judiciously deciding on Supreme Court nominees?”

“Senate leaders are teaching the wrong lesson to our students by failing to do their job and hold a hearing and a vote on a highly qualified Supreme Court nominee, Chief Judge Merrick Garland,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “It’s our job to teach our students’ lessons about the importance of the U.S. Constitution but apparently some Senators need a lesson as well. That’s why these civics, history and social studies teachers from across the country came to Washington: they are here to tell Senate Republicans to stop playing political games, stop delaying action on the Supreme Court nomination, and stop caving to the extreme voices of the Republican party. It’s time for politicians to put their constitutional duty ahead of partisan politics.”

“The meeting is an opportunity to recommit to the critical work that remains, remembering that the outcome in Brown v. Board was never inevitable,” said White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. “It was brought about by citizens from all walks of life across the country, including educators, who every day continue the important work of those who fought so hard for equality and build lasting bridges of opportunity for young people. Brown v. Board is resounding proof that – within the framework of our judicial system, and through the power of collective action – progress is possible. The anniversary of this historic Supreme Court case also reminds us of the critical role the Court plays in our system of government and how important it is that the Court is fully functioning. That’s why senators should quickly move to consider Chief Judge Garland – an eminently qualified nominee who will be an outstanding Justice.”

A dozen civics, history and social studies teachers earlier this month sent a letter to the U.S. Senate demanding a hearing and a vote on the president’s nominee. At the same time educators launched an online petition urging the Senate to do its job.

“As educators in the classroom, we believe it is our responsibility to help students learn about — and appreciate — the role citizens play in our democracy,” said Dr. Jackson in the letter. “We teach that being a good citizen requires cooperation, mutual respect, and the ability to compromise, and we hope Senator Graham and Senator Scott understand their responsibility in furthering the selection of our Supreme Court justices.”