By Corinne Murdock |
Pastor Drew Anderson called for the Arizona Board of Education to revoke the teaching license of controversial elementary school teacher and prominent Red for Ed, Save Our Schools activist Wes Oswald. As AZ Free News reported, Oswald posted a video of himself cutting up a national school choice scarf as a “really fun craft” in honor of National School Choice Week. Anderson — lead pastor of Legacy Christian Center, chaplain of the NFL Alumni Association, and former NFL player — appeared on the Conservative Circus radio show on Monday to discuss his petition against Oswald.
Anderson’s perspective on the issue wasn’t borne out of mere opinion. The pastor explained in an Arizona Daily Independent opinion piece that he was one of the lucky few that benefited from school choice. Anderson recounted that the opportunity likely saved his life.
“Growing up, I had to attend the same K-8 government assigned schools that the rest of the black kids in my neighborhood had to go to and it was challenging to say the least. Many kids did not see graduation day and my five closest friends were either in prison or dead by the time we were 18 years old. Fortunately for me though, I was able to escape those schools and by the grace of God was able to attend an outstanding private Catholic school which led to me graduating high school, going to college on a scholarship, and ultimately living my dream and playing in the NFL,” said Anderson. “Today I am a pastor and not only do I fight to win souls for Jesus, but I also fight for children, especially minority kids, to have the same opportunity I did growing up and attend the right school to help them achieve their goals in life like I did.”
In a follow-up with Conservative Circus host James T. Harris, Anderson asserted that school choice is the key to achieving equal opportunity. He lambasted Oswald for calling himself a champion for children’s needs while opposing school choice.
“Next to anything in this modern-day era, school choice is the only way that inner city kids right now are having an opportunity to even remotely catch up or get up out of the poverty situation that they’re living in. So to see somebody that calls themselves an educator be so heinous to me is one of the most appalling things I’ve ever seen,” said Anderson. “How do you call yourself a champion for kids and you’re discriminating against kids based on your own opinion, which to me is crazy.”
In response, Harris opined that the destruction of an image of hope for so many children, especially those of color, was especially appalling.
“I think it’s a powerful image of why parents should be pulling their kids out of government-run schools or at least have the choice to put them where they want to,” said Harris.
On the topic of current teacher’s unions, Anderson added that removing choice from education could be likened to a modern-day slavery: an “educational slavery” that he asserted lends to the school-to-prison pipeline. The pastor insisted that the state could reduce the more than $30,000 it spends on prisoners by investing in the $15,000 he asserts it would cost to give students school choice.
“Back in the day, there was a union that fought hard to keep slavery because slavery was so productive for the people in the South, and right now, James T., we have what I call ‘educational slavery’ and we need to abolish educational slavery. Educational slavery is what’s funding all these private prisons, because there’s this thing called the ‘public school to prison pipeline’ that nobody wants to talk about,” said Anderson. “If I can chain you up to a public school that’s failing and a public school that’s in a bad area, then eventually I can chain you up to a wall in a prison and have you working for thirty cents a day instead of being a productive, tax-paying citizen. It’s time for us to start properly incarcerating people and it’s time for us to properly educate people. And the way you properly educate people is to give them a choice to pick whatever school’s best for them.”
Anderson noted that he’s praying for individuals like Oswald that are against school choice.
“I pray for them because most of them have no idea of what they’re even talking about because none of them are black, first of all. None of them are from the inner city, second of all. And none of them, when they say ‘save our schools,’ none of them are talking about saving our schools that over 79 percent of most minorities have voted to say that they do want school choice,” said Anderson. “I’m not against public schools at all. But what I am against is hindering people from picking what education works best for them. I’m praying for people like that because the ignorance that they spew and the ignorant view that they hold, they’re hindering kids from being properly educated.”