Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Elizabeth Warren: Fired From Teaching Job For Being Pregnant, Or For Lacking Qualifications? Story Appears To Change

Editor's Note:
>Ed Morrissey of Hot Air found video of Warren's 2007 interview here. [added 10/7/19]
>Collin Anderson of the Washington Free Beacon found records of county records from the Riverdale Board of Education that directly contradict Warren's claims here. [added 10/7/19]
>Warren finally responded via CBS News on Monday, October 8, 5 days after this article was published. [added 10/8/19]
>Final note: Here's my editorial take on this issue.
Original article:

    During her presidential campaign, Elizabeth Warren often emphasizes education as well as equal opportunities for women in the workplace. Warren tells of her own experience as a young public school teacher, let go from a special needs teaching job by a male principal for being "visibly pregnant." This past May, Warren put it this way when discussing her early teaching career:
“I loved it, and I would probably still be doing it today but back in the day, before unions, the principal, by the time we got to the end of the first year, I was visibly pregnant,” she said. “And the principal did what principals did in those days: they wished you luck, showed you the door, and hired someone else for the job. And there went my dream.”
   In an interview twelve years ago, however, Warren told a markedly different version of the circumstances around her termination from her teaching job. (A writer for Jacobin Magazine, Meagan Day, first noted the interview on Tuesday on Twitter. Day is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and is a Bernie Sanders supporter.)
    At UC Berkeley in 2007 as part of a series called "Conversations with History," Warren was asked about her pursuit of a career helping special needs children. Her answer at the time made no mention of losing her job due to her pregnancy. Instead, she spoke of trying to further her education because she lacked some education courses that had required her to rely on an "emergency certificate" to teach that first year. While pursuing those courses, she said she realized, "I don't think this is going to work out for me." She and her husband then decided she would stay at home for the time being. Here is her full answer in context:
"I was married at nineteen and graduated from college after I'd married, and my first year post-graduation I worked in a public school system with the children with disabilities. I did that for a year, and then that summer I didn't have the education courses, so I was on an "emergency certificate," it was called. I went back to graduate school and took a couple of courses in education and said, "I don't think this is going to work out for me." I was pregnant with my first baby, so I had a baby and stayed home for a couple of years, and I was really casting about, thinking, "What am I going to do?" My husband's view of it was, "Stay home. We have children, we'll have more children, you'll love this." And I was very restless about it."
    Not only is the male principal missing from her answer, but instead of special-needs teaching being a "dream" that ended with being let go, she expressed great uncertainty about her future, specifically in regards to teaching.
    In contrast, this past April, Warren briefly alluded to the story while speaking at Al Sharpton's National Action Network convention, saying, "Teaching special needs kids is a calling. But I finished out the year visibly pregnant and didn’t get invited back. Those were the days."
    Warren told this version of the story again later in May 2019 at Laney College in Oakland, California. The Berkeley Daily Planet reported it this way:
"Warren’s demeanor when she spoke at Laney College on Friday was natural and unassuming as she recounted her early life and her career: teaching disadvantaged children, studying law, and teaching business and banking law at the university level. Getting fired from her job teaching children by a male principal for being visibly pregnant. Running for office; winning her Senate seat."
    More recently, Warren brought up her experience at the September 12th Democratic candidates debate. Warren said:
And I made it as a special needs teacher. I still remember that first year as a special needs teacher. I could tell you what those babies looked like. I had 4- to 6-year-olds. But at the end of that first year, I was visibly pregnant. And back in the day, that meant that the principal said to me — wished me luck and hired someone else for the job.
    The earliest version of Warren's story that includes the principal explicitly dismissing her appears to be in her autobiography "A Fighting Chance" in 2014. In October 2017, when Warren spoke at the National Women's Law Center, she used words similar to those she used in her book to describe what happened:
I can still remember the first day of school as a special needs teacher. The classroom all shined up and ready to go.  There were cheerful pictures that I'd hung on the wall.  The children were all ready for a new adventure.  I loved that job. I truly loved that job. 
But by the end of the school year, I was pretty obviously pregnant. The principal did what I think a lot of principals did back then - he wished me good luck, and he didn't ask me back for the next school year, and hired someone else for the job. 
I stayed home, and I tried desperately to be a good wife and mother, but I really wanted to do something more.  So, I came up with a plan to go back to school, and this time I found a law school that was nearby.
    Prior to 2014, three profiles of Warren in 2012 (as she began to rise in national prominence) that mention her special education teaching job do not include details of why that job ended.
    The Warren campaign has not yet responded to a request for comment on how Ms. Warren reconciles the disparate versions of her story.