President Donald Trump’s Southern Strategy to expand the nation’s educational system to include “white students, white parents, and white professionals” is a “racial coup,” the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Michael Steinhardt said in a report released Monday.
Steinhardt, a former senior adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, said the strategy, which would create “a massive concentration of wealth” in the south, is not only “unconstitutional,” but also a threat to the country’s racial and economic stability.
The strategy would “undermine the rights of the South to pursue a racially-balanced educational system and, to some degree, the rights and civil liberties of all Americans,” Steinhardt wrote in the report.
The plan also is not just a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but is also an assault on the constitutional rights of Americans to free speech and association.
The report follows the release of an internal report, titled “Trump’s Southern Strategic Plan,” by the White House.
The president’s plan calls for the creation of more than 6,000 new school buildings in the South, including an additional 3,000 to 4,000 classrooms.
The new schools would have more than 40 percent of the seats in them and the majority of the instructional staff, Steinhardt added.
“It is unclear what purpose, if any, these new schools serve,” the report reads.
“Their purpose is to serve as a recruiting ground for white students, predominantly white parents and white professional class members.”
Trump’s plan also calls for increasing the number of teachers from 1,200 to 3,800.
The number of “white teachers” would increase from 4 to 5 percent of all educators, according to the report, which also notes that “the vast majority of white teachers in America are black.”
A separate report from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, “Unions and the Fight for Equality in Education: The Impact of Race on Teachers,” also highlights the lack of diversity among the educators in the Southern schools.
The group surveyed teachers across the country in May and found that the average teaching load in all the districts surveyed was 43 percent white, 31 percent black and 14 percent Hispanic.
Steinhart noted in his report that in “more than half of the states surveyed, white teachers were the least represented in the profession.”
In one school district, one-third of the school teachers were white, Steinhart wrote.
The Southern Poverty Court also found that in addition to “poor teaching practices” and “poor educational outcomes,” white teachers faced a higher risk of being fired for poor performance.
“In most districts across the South,” the court wrote, “white educators face higher rates of harassment, dismissal and dismissal without notice and less access to tenure protection than their Black colleagues.”