Earlier today, the Senate education committee had the opportunity to listen to state education leaders and advocates regarding the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the federal law that replaced ‘No Child Left Behind’ in 2015.

The hearing, titled ‘The Every Student Succeeds Act: States Leading The Way’, covered a range of issues including educational equity, disparities in discipline for students of color, the services being provided to students with disabilities, and accountability systems.

Perhaps the one topic that got the most play in the hearing however, was the concept of using federal dollars to arm and train teachers with guns, an action President Trump floated and subsequently backed after the Parkland school shooting.

Although Trump has argued that “well-trained, gun-adept teachers and coaches” should carry firearms in schools, a plan supported by the NRA, there was little to no support for any measure of that type at today’s hearing, especially in the form of any federal funding.

Moms Demand Action, the grassroots organization founded after the devastating shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, filled many of the seats at the hearing to protest the idea of federal dollars going to put more guns in schools and got shoutouts from multiple lawmakers on the committee.

A large portion of the hearing saw saw senators on the Democratic side of the aisle use their time to raise questions and concerns about the Trump administration’s idea of bringing more guns into schools and training teachers and faculty to use them.

Some highlights from the hearing:

Senator Doug Jones, the red-state Democrat who narrowly defeated Roy Moore, called the idea of arming teachers “the dumbest idea I think I’ve ever heard.”


Senator Elizabeth Warren argued that congress shouldn’t be doing the NRA’s bidding, and called any plan to spend federal dollars to put more guns in schools “dangerous and dumb”.


Senator Chris Murphy, a junior United States Senator from Connecticut, asked the panel whether there was any evidence this type of plan would effective.


Shavar Jeffries, civil rights attorney and president of Democrats for Education Reform seemed to sum up the thoughts of the lawmakers, protesters, and panelists who argued that using federal dollars that could be going to additional services for students who need them most to bring more guns into schools just doesn’t make sense.


Watch the hearing in its entirety by clicking below:

Josh Stewart considers himself a global citizen first and foremost and is passionate about cultural exchange. He has a B.s. in Political Science and Hispanic Studies from St. John's University in Minnesota and experience as both an ESL and social studies teacher in Korea and the Philippines. He currently works a digital content Manager for Citizen Education and Education Post and enjoys both traditional and creative methods crafting messages around the desperate need to improve our education system and provide quality options to the most marginalized students and families.


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