Philly Principals, Stop Supporting Trump

Sharif El-Mekki
Sharif El-Mekki is the principal of Mastery Charter School–Shoemaker Campus, a neighborhood public charter school in Philadelphia that serves 750 students in grades 7-12. From 2013-2015, he was one of three principal ambassador fellows working on issues of education policy and practice with U.S. Department of Education under Secretary Arne Duncan.

I saw a post for “Philly Teachers for Trump and initially just shook my head in dismay. Many of these teachers had classrooms full of students that identified as Black, Latinx, immigrant, Muslims, etc.

But, I became far more curious when my post about this group, drew attention from people who saw a familiar name and picture:

We have given this man money to lead professional development for our schools.

The man behind this group is allegedly Charles Paslay. Over the years, Charles Paslay made a killing leading writing professional development for Philly teachers who, of course, taught Black kids. Of course, I needed to look into this. So, I called him.

I connected with Dr Charles Paslay and inquired about this group. I get that, unfortunately, often things are murky at times and one may not agree with the politics, worldview, etc. of everyone who writes curriculum being used. However, I was a little taken aback at the backlash I received from my innocent query.

Charles Paslay proudly said that it was actually his son. He told me I was “a sad man” for not respecting his son’s free speech, which in this case has to be interpreted as his son’s right to support and organize anti-Blackness while teaching in a mostly Black district. I asked him was he also a part of the Philly Teachers for Trump and he hung up on me. Go figure.

This situation is not new to us. We have police, teachers, and other public anti-servants who earn a living on the backs of Black kids despite hating them and their roots.

Needless to say, principals, if you continue to purchase Paslay’s writing materials, you’re complicit in his and his son’s madness.

What do you think?

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