Since 1952, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has bestowed the National Teacher of the Year award to America's most exceptional educator.
This year's recipient is Rodney Robinson—a social studies and history teacher at a juvenile detention center in Richmond, Virginia. Robinson was inspired to teach by his mother, who went to a segregated school and couldn't afford to complete her education.
Rodney Robinson, a teacher for incarcerated kids, entered the profession to honor his mom, who grew up during segre… https://t.co/NgkfQ1myc8— CNN (@CNN) 1556141412.0
The CCSSO said of Robinson in a statement:
"He creates a positive school culture by empowering his students -- many of whom have experienced trauma -- to become civically minded social advocates who use their skills and voices to affect physical and policy changes at their school and in their communities."
President Donald Trump, however, did not present Robinson with the award at the ceremony on Monday, bucking a tradition beginning with President Harry Truman. The last three Presidents presented the award every year they were in office and former President George H.W. Bush even flew by helicopter to honor 1991's recipient at the school where she taught.
The first item on Trump's schedule for the day of the ceremony was a 12:45 pm lunch with Vice President Mike Pence.
Though it isn't unprecedented for the President not to present the award, many people are speculating that Trump's snub of the event is due to Robinson's race and for his efforts in combatting the school to prison pipeline.
@politico Gee, what could be the problem for Trump? https://t.co/hQemd1cq2A— 𝚕𝚕𝚘𝚢𝚍 𝚓𝚊𝚌𝚘𝚋𝚜𝚘𝚗 👨🏻💻 (@𝚕𝚕𝚘𝚢𝚍 𝚓𝚊𝚌𝚘𝚋𝚜𝚘𝚗 👨🏻💻) 1556336654.0
@politico He doesn't want to celebrate with our National Teacher of the Year? ..... who teaches Social Studies, His… https://t.co/xJYzePaaJz— Phyllis Ann (@Phyllis Ann) 1556497836.0
@politico I bet he wouldn't skip if winner was white.— lakegirl (@lakegirl) 1556492249.0
@JuddLegum @PeteSouza 3 reasons: 1) @realDonaldTrump has just enough self-awareness to feel discomfort while in a… https://t.co/ieiDGYK4lb— In the Wilderness (@In the Wilderness) 1556496560.0
The incident came days after Trump congratulated the NFL's number two draft pick, Nick Bosa—a white man who once referred to activist and former NFL player Colin Kaepernick as a "clown." However, Trump never acknowledged the number one draft pick, Kyler Murray, who is black.
Some are suggesting that Trump is repeating this pattern by not recognizing Robinson in person.
@politico If Nick Bosa was a teacher he would’ve handed him the award 🤷🏽♂️— Stevie Evans (@Stevie Evans) 1556494843.0
@JuddLegum @behindyourback Instead, surprising no one, he'll be congratulating the Teacher of the Year runner up who's white.— 𝕿𝖊𝖆 𝖋𝖔𝖗 𝕿𝖆𝖙 (@𝕿𝖊𝖆 𝖋𝖔𝖗 𝕿𝖆𝖙) 1556494929.0
@JuddLegum I'll bet he would like to deliver the Second Place Teacher of the Year Award, tho....— Cleveland Dave (@Cleveland Dave) 1556499145.0
@politico Just like congratulating the 2nd round draft pick b/c ...you know..it was just the white time.— trey que (@trey que) 1556497703.0
Though Robinson may go unrecognized by the president, he's being lauded by those the president represents.
@politico Congrats Mister Robinson, Teacher of the Year.— Tim aka peon #4 (@Tim aka peon #4) 1556353822.0
@CNN Whole country THANK YOU for this extraordinary achievement, well deserved, you make us proud.— Gmail395 (@Gmail395) 1556144720.0
@CNN Congratulations Mr. Robinson. I bet your mom is super proud. I am too.— Kerlgirl60 (@Kerlgirl60) 1556143933.0
Here's to you, Mr. Robinson.