bad education

Teacher of the Year quits because his school has gotten too damn homophobic

Gay educator Willie Carver Jr., Kentucky’s 2022 Teacher of the Year, has officially decided to leave K-12 teaching behind.

After 17 years of teaching, Willie Carver Jr. said that he has decided to leave the classroom and take a position in student support services at the University of Kentucky due to the homophobic and conservative conditions affecting public education today.

Late last month, Carver spoke publicly about their hesitation to return to the classroom after the ‘21-’22 school year in the wake of the recent conservative focus on public school goings-on.

“If I am, every few weeks, having to stop and undergo some sort of investigation over what’s happening in my class, I’m not going to be mentally able to do this work,” Carver told EdWeek.

“Then what are my students seeing? A stressed-out, unhappy LGBTQ adult. I don’t think that’s what they need to see.”

Related: This gay high school music teacher was blackmailed and outed; his school responded horribly

Carver did note that conditions for queer people were improving for a time, recounting their experience trying to get a sign-off on their teaching license in 2010:

“An administrator pulled me into an office and said, ‘You will be crucified. No one will protect you, including me. You will not get a teaching license if you’re openly gay.’”

While Carver has come to a place of being openly gay in his professional life, he admitted that that openness faced its own kind of oppression.

Related: A teacher was fired for helping a bullied, queer teen. Now his students are raising hell.

Here in 2022, various “Don’t Say Gay” bills and debates over critical race theory impacting public education make it hard for many to teach openly and honestly.

Even past the government objections to their teaching, public teachers like Carver face inordinate challenges. Earlier this month eight (8!) different Kentucky school districts were closed on the same day due to threats of mass shootings.

As much a conservatives seem concerned with what is happening in public schools, they don’t seem to want to address the actual imminent threat of gun violence affecting U.S. schoolchildren on a regular basis.

Though Carver has decided to leave public schooling behind, his talents as an educator will undoubtedly serve the students of the University of Kentucky well.

Watch Carver testify before a House Subcommittee on behalf of queer students and teachers: