Nick Covington is a social studies teacher in Ankeny. He has been featured here before:
He spoke at Monday night’s school board meeting, expressing concern that, essentially, right-wing parents are bullies while ignoring the fact he himself as publicly vowed to teach Critical Race Theory and/or the divisive topics banned by Iowa law.
Covington spoke about an incident in Texas earlier this year where a fourth-grade teacher had a student borrow a book called “This Book Is Anti-Racist.” The parents filed a complaint with the district, but administrations declined to punish the teacher. After a new “conservative majority” took over, the board intervened and reprimanded the teacher.
He then discussed Johnston County, North Carolina, where teachers can be “disciplined or fired if they teach that American historical figures weren’t heroes or ‘undermine foundational documents,'” he said.
“White-collar vigilantism,” a term authors used to describe private individuals empowered and encouraged to go after teachers, neighbors and colleagues, is intended to chill speech, modify lesson plans and curricula and change the way teachers communicate with their students and colleagues.
“Many educators have decided that being targeted and slandered by right-wing mobs and conspiracy theorists isn’t worth the toll on their mental health,” he said. “But I am also concerned for the physical safety of every public employee as many in our community are well-practiced in anti-democratic politics.”
Covington said tomorrow (Election Day) could continue to follow the example set by Southlake, Johnston County and others in “replacing the positive relationships that make our children more humane and empathetic with conspiracism, hatred and fear that are the ratings priorities of pundits and talk-show grifters. The engine of the grievance industrial complex, who don’t care about you or your kids, only for securing our educational agenda as fuel for their divisive cultural forever war.”
“I’ve been told the easiest way to make this stop is to shut up,”he said. “Well, that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? The language of the bully. Your teachers re being bullied. My fear and the unstated fear of many of the teachers under contract at this very board, is that the bullying will not only escalate, but that it will be empowered and encouraged from the dais itself.”
Covington posted his remarks, which he altered a bit when delivering them to the school board, but you can read them here.
What’s interesting is that in all of this, Covington makes no mention of his vow to break state law. Perhaps parents would not be as frustrated with educators if educators quit pushing political agendas inside schools.
But we know Covington has pledged to push Critical Race Theory in his Iowa classroom.
And, we know that Covington said if House File 802 passed earlier this year, he planned to use it as a “curriculum checklist” in his planning for the fall.