FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2023
Campaign for Our Shared Future To Launch Educator Defense Fund
Help Desk Will Assist Educators Receiving Threats Amid Rage Over Education Policies
AUSTIN, TX - The Campaign for Our Shared Future (COSF) announced today at SXSW EDU plans to launch the Educator Defense Fund, a central rapid-response resource of support services for educators, superintendents, and school board members under attack by extremists. The help desk comes at a time when political agendas and the spread of misinformation are leading to more extreme views and threatening behaviors finding their way into schools, including violence based on race, religion, or gender.
This peddling of misinformation and fear has led to a sharp increase in threats aimed at educators and school board officials, many of whom have been intimidated and threatened in alarming numbers across the country, outside school grounds, across social platforms, and at local school board meetings. These actions also prompted the Justice Department to develop strategies addressing threats against teachers and school officials.
“Schools have become a flashpoint for politicians looking to advance their agendas, and they are using scare tactics to target teachers and school staff who are focused on preparing our students for the future,” said Heather Harding, Ed.D, Executive Director of Campaign for Our Shared Future. “These dangerous antics show radical politicians are willing to use anything to win office, including jeopardizing the safety of educators and students. COSF is uniquely positioned to connect education professionals with rapid support in response to deeply concerning developments in the field. The Educator Defense Fund will offer our educators a helping hand to oppose these attacks.”
The Fund could help educators like Kentucky's 2022 teacher of the year, Willie Carver, Jr., who quit his job citing homophobia and repeated harassment against him and LGBTQ students.
“I’ve received verbal and online attacks, including someone posting images of me and LGBTQ students on social media with homophobic comments and slurs,” Carver said. “I did not feel supported by my district in combating these attacks, nor did they approach the LGBTQ students who were harassed to address their concerns. I am grateful for COSF’s help desk to provide educators like me an opportunity to be heard, seen, and supported.”
Nina Perez, National Director for Early Learning at MomsRising, added, “Florida moms are horrified that books are being banned, our history is being censored, and educators and librarians are being threatened simply for doing their jobs. Educators should not have to worry about their jobs or their safety, and we should be working together to support, rather than fend off attacks on, our public schools. Moms and parents don’t want lawmakers to instigate culture wars designed to advance their political careers. We want lawmakers to focus on kitchen table issues like making quality child care affordable and paid family and medical leave available to all of us. We support our hard-working educators and won’t bow to the bullies who want to intimidate them.”
Once launched, COSF’s Educator Defense Fund will be available to any educator receiving injustice resulting from politically motivated actions. It will be staffed by a team of experts offering communications, legal advice, and other resources. Working with partners in the education sector, COSF seeks to create a funded infrastructure to provide targeted individuals with services and support.
The Campaign for Our Shared Future (COSF) is a non-partisan effort to support high quality K-12 education and preserve access, inclusion, and meaningful content in our schools so that every student has an opportunity to succeed and thrive. COSF is a common ground effort committed to fighting the attack on education across the country.