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Donald Trump Jr.’s Advice to Women: “Go Teach Kindergarten”

Published in ChicagoNow, October 17, 2016

Apparently, the Trump men feel sexual harassment in the workplace is just part of the job. If women can’t take the heat, they should get out of the kitchen. Actually, the Trump guys would likely reverse that old proverb and send women back to the kitchen. Or if they want to work, they should teach kindergarten.

I can’t believe Donald Trump Jr. said, just three years ago,

“If you can’t handle some of the basic stuff that’s become a problem in the workforce today, you don’t belong in the work force. You should go maybe teach kindergarten.”

The “basic stuff” he was talking about on the Opie and Anthony radio show was sexual harassment in the workplace.

OMG. Where to start? I could do a post about Donald Trump’s sexual harassment of women and how he passed that family value on to his sons. But that’s dominated the news for over a week and (according to this weekend’s polls) has not changed things as much as Trump’s degrading comments fat-shaming women and disparaging their looks.

Instead, I want to focus on the notion that teaching kindergarten is somehow a perfect job for women who are not tough enough to compete with men like the Trumps. In fact, I want to throw out a challenge to the Trump alpha males. Try to teach kindergarten for a day. Let’s see how to easy you think it is.

Teaching young children requires several important traits that the Trump men lack. Perhaps the values taught in kindergarten are still best expressed in Robert Fulghum’s 1989 book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. I’m wondering if Donald Jr. had this poster in his college dorm room like my daughter, who is his age, did?

Since Fulghum published his book about the values that we expected kindergarten teachers to instill in their students, times have changed. Now, educators are also expected to teach their students to read, do math worksheets, and take numerous assessments. They complete a mountain of forms (accountability), assign and check homework (rigor), and answer a ton of emails (responsiveness to parents). And don’t forget, they are still working with very young children who need nurturing, support, and assistance with a multitude of tasks from using the school restrooms to managing lunch and recess to tying shoes and zipping jackets.

Not surprisingly, kindergarten teachers were outraged by Donald Junior’s assumption that theirs was an easy job for women not tough enough to make it in the boardroom and not thick-skinned enough deal with a bit of sexual aggression on the side. Some of the tweets teachers shared:

  • I suspect a class full of kindergarten kids would eat him alive.

  • As a kindergarten teacher, I can say that Donald Trump Jr. clearly failed to learn the most important lessons of kindergarten.

  • Being a kindergarten teacher isn’t something to scoff at. It takes patience, strength, compassion, and hard work to wrangle and teach tots!

Donald Trump Jr. is the parent of five young children, with at least two having completed kindergarten fairly recently. I have to wonder if he ever set foot in his children’s school, let alone in their kindergarten class. Perhaps he should volunteer for a day to see how challenging and difficult it is to be the teacher of young children.

In my community, kindergarten teachers work hard – much harder than any member of the Trump family imagines. Today’s kindergarten looks more like what first or second grade were for the parents. Yes, there may be activity stations, tables instead of individual desks, and a few puzzles and games. But make no mistake about it – this is not an easy job. Try meeting the physical and emotional needs of a class of 25 five-year-olds while also teaching them the curriculum expected for today’s kindergarteners.

As far as the Trump men go, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. So, I’m going to distill Fulghum’s kindergarten poster to three ideas:

1. Play fair.

2. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

3. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.

If Donald Trump could apply these simple rules to his campaign and his lifestyle, perhaps so many women and teachers would not be so angry.


by Laurie Levy
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