News & Politics

Wikipedia Calls Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez an 'Educator'

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY., arrives for orientation for new members of Congress, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has grabbed headlines for absurd claims like suggesting that Pentagon witchcraft can pay for single-payer health care or that Americans need to fight climate change like we fought the Nazis in World War II. Few would venture to call her an “educator” — except Wikipedia, apparently.

The online encyclopedia describes Ocasio-Cortez as “an American politician, activist, and educator.” Since Wikipedia is widely considered reliable, this result is the top search result on Google, meaning that if curious Americans were to ask their “smart” devices about Ocasio-Cortez, Siri, Google Home, Alexa, and others would give the immediate answer “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an American politician, activist, and educator.”

Google screenshot of search results for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Ocasio-Cortez is an outspoken member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and her advocacy of big government has raised questions about her economics knowledge. She has suggested that a $2 trillion tax increase (raised over 10 years) and a $3 trillion carbon tax would cover her “Medicare-for-all” single-payer health care plan, which would cost $33 trillion over ten years.

That doesn’t even scratch the surface of her big government platform, however. Ocasio-Cortez has called for government-funded tuition for all college students and a “Green New Deal” to entirely transform America’s energy industry — a transformation she has compared to the American effort against the Nazis in World War II. Her proposal to increase the top income tax rate to 70 percent would not come anywhere close to meeting those costs.

But don’t question Ocasio-Cortez. She’s an “educator,” after all.

Wikipedia keeps using that word, but I don’t think it means what Wikipedia thinks it means. The Wikipedia entry mentions the word “educator” six times, and places the congresswoman in these categories: “21st-century American educators”; “American women educators”; “Educators from New York City”; and “Hispanic and Latino American teachers.”

So, if AOC is an “educator,” whom does she educate? If she is a “teacher,” whom and what does she teach?

Buried in the Wikipedia article, readers can find the answer: “Ocasio-Cortez was also an educator at the nonprofit National Hispanic Institute. She served as its Educational Director of the 2017 Northeast Collegiate World Series, where she participated in a panel on Latino leadership.”

Indeed, the National Hispanic Institute lists AOC on its roster of “training faculty,” but it refrains from using the vaunted words “educator” and “teacher.” The roster names “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, BA, Boston University” as a … wait for it … “Community Organizer” and “Candidate for the U.S. Congress — NY 14th.”

Yes, Wikipedia considers AOC an “educator” and a “teacher” because she is a community organizer. She doesn’t teach children reading, writing, and arithmetic. She doesn’t teach college students or law students. She may not even teach Sunday School (she got the Bible’s story of Christmas wrong in a recent tweet supporting illegal immigration).

The National Hispanic Institute seems dedicated wholly to training Hispanic and Latino students for leadership, and while it gladly worked with AOC, it does not appear to have a marked liberal bias. Ocasio-Cortez’s volunteering for the organization may have been quite laudable, but it does not make her an “educator” or a “teacher” — not in the eyes of Americans who associate such titles with careers spent teaching children or adults.

It seems the Wikipedia entry is designed to give this democratic socialist more credibility than she deserves. Perhaps instead of adding the misleading title “educator,” Wikipedia editors should have stopped at “activist.”

Then again, perhaps Ocasio-Cortez is indeed educating America, showing us just how dangerous and unworkable democratic socialism really is.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.