Teacher of the Year shares speech after off-camera White House ceremony


Mandy Manning, this year’s National Teacher of the Year, read a speech on CNN Saturday about her work with immigrant children that she delivered at an off-camera White House event in front of President Trump.

In an interview with CNN’s Van Jones, Manning read from her speech, which referenced the immigrant and refugee students she teaches, as well as her support for LGBT and other marginalized students.


Manning said her purpose is to tell her students “that they are wanted, they are enough and they matter.” In her appearance on CNN, she listed the names of her students who she says rely on America’s “policy of welcoming immigrants and promoting peace.”

“Like Sultan’s, who escaped war in his country, and understands the importance of the United States to be peacemakers,” she said.

“I am here for refugee and immigrant students,” she added, “[and] students in the Gay-Straight Alliance.”

Manning’s students come from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and elsewhere, according to her award application.

“Most of my students come to the U.S. seeking safety, but they don’t always feel safe here,” she wrote in her application. “I must help them understand current events, know their rights and provide a safe and welcoming environment.”

Trump hosted Manning, alongside other award finalists and teachers from each state, at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, but didn’t mention her role teaching immigrant students.

“Her incredible devotion has earned her the adoration — total adoration, actually — and respect of students and colleagues throughout her school district, community and the entire state,” Trump said.

She originally shared the speech at Thursday’s event, which was not open to the press, but a pooled report from The Guardian noted that Manning wore six political badges pinned to her dress at the ceremony in silent protest.

Manning also reportedly declined to clap for Trump as he entered the White House ceremony. 

As president, Trump has sought to reduce the level of refugees entering the U.S. and moved to crack down on immigrants in the country illegally, arguing it is in the interest of national security.

The president announced last year that his administration would allow no more than 45,000 refugees into the U.S. in 2018.


This article was corrected at 12:15 p.m. on 5/7/18 to change an erroneous claim stating that the White House banned Manning from presenting her speech.

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Education Immigration Mandy Manning refugees Teacher of the Year White House
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