President Donald Trump will not host the White House ceremony honoring 2019's National Teacher of the Year.
Teacher Rodney Robinson of Richmond, Virginia, will be honored for his outstanding dedication to education Monday at the White House, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. He was selected last week for his work with students considered to be "at risk."
For the last four years, he taught social studies and history at Virgie Binford Education Center, a school inside the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center. His passion for educating youth was inspired by his mother who was unable to receive an education due to segregation.
Trump opted out of the ceremony with the distinguished 19-year veteran educator. Instead, Education Sec. Betsy DeVos will host the event, The Washington Post reports.
"Each year, CCSSO works with the White House to coordinate a recognition event," said Paul Ferrari, the senior program director with the National Teacher of the Year Program, in a statement. "It is up to each administration to decide how to recognize the teachers, and it has varied throughout the 67-year history of the program in location and who has delivered the recognition to the National Teacher.”
CONGRATULATIONS to Rodney Robinson (@RodRobinsonRVA), the 2019 National Teacher of the Year!! Learn more about Rodney here: https://t.co/LXRI3LtnaF@VDOE_News
— CCSSO (@CCSSO) April 24, 2019
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Since 1952, when the National Teacher of the Year was first created, there have been nine instances where someone other than the president hosted the event. The latest instance is the tenth, according to Bustle.
Trump hosted the event last year without a problem. Mandy Manning, a teacher from Spokane, Washington was honored by the president. At the time, he said it was valuable to uphold the tradition set by former President Harry S. Truman.
"Every President since Harry Truman has honored the National Teacher of the Year, and I'm proud to continue this tradition with this year's recipient."
During his first year in office, Trump invited the teachers to join him in the Oval Office, breaking with the tradition of meeting in the White House's East Room or Rose Garden.
But Trump's abrupt cancellation isn't an issue for Robinson. He wanted to pay his respects to the enslaved people responsible for building the White House.
“It’s to honor the people who worked for people with little respect for them,” Robinson said. “It’s not about Trump.”
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