Randi Weingarten and the Teachers Unions Should Focus on Education, not Attacking Parents
This week, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten delivered remarks titled “In Defense of Public Education.” Her remarks only made it clearer that nothing is a greater threat to our children’s education – public, private, or otherwise – than Randi Weingarten, the teachers union she directs, and the ideology she is dedicated to pushing on America’s children. If parents and concerned Americans want to fix our broken education system, we must begin by standing up to the powerful teachers unions that have destroyed it.
Incredibly, Randi Weingarten began her remarks by painting efforts to support school choice as attacks on public education meant to hinder “the urgent work of helping kids recover from learning loss, sadness, depression and other effects of the pandemic.” It’s puzzling how Ms. Weingarten managed to say this with a straight face, considering the fact that she and her cohort of activists and unions were the loudest proponents of extending the ridiculous COVID lockdowns long past the point they were necessary.
And many prominent AFT members even went so far as to deny the importance, or even existence, of lockdown learning loss: The Chicago Teachers Union called learning loss a “contrived notion,” while Weingarten herself claimed she didn’t believe in it, instead saying “kids are resilient and kids will recover.” Kids may be resilient, but using this cheap statement as an excuse to prioritize her own wealth and power at the expense of so many of our kids’ development and well-being is unacceptable.
Extending school lockdowns was never about the safety of teachers or students – it was always about powerful unions exerting their influence to gain even more power. And it was our children who suffered, as reflected in the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ recent release of the Nation’s Report Card.
How do unions use this power? It’s certainly not to make life better for America’s public school teachers. Unions routinely prioritize protecting bad teachers instead of promoting and rewarding those who deserve it. Teachers know this – that’s why a recent poll found that over 60 percent of teachers, both unionized and non-unionized, agree that unions make it more difficult to fire bad teachers. In New York City, low-performing teachers – even those accused of misconduct – are sent to “rubber rooms” where they draw a salary while doing no work whatsoever. The reason? Because AFT and people like Weingarten say that’s what the city must do to avoid a strike. This political craziness does not provide good teachers with resources and opportunities to prosper – it puts them at the same level as teachers who underperform.
These kinds of un-American policies are what’s really detrimental to our public education system; and if we care about our students and teachers, we must eliminate it.
Unions like AFT also use their political power for overtly political goals, especially through pushing toxic political ideology into our classrooms and supporting it elsewhere. If you visit the AFT’s webpage and navigate to “ Resolutions,” you will find policy statements such as “DEI and Racial Justice in Investments” and “Divest from Fossil Fuels and Reinvest in Workers and Communities.” What exactly does woke investing or green energy madness have to do with AFT’s stated purpose to serve teachers and students? Absolutely nothing. AFT is not a union primarily interested in advancing the agenda of America’s many teachers; it is a political organization that uses the hard work of teachers to advance its own radical, far-Left political agenda.
I’ve called Randi Weingarten one of the most dangerous people in the world precisely because of the power she holds over our children’s education and the already-high costs our children have paid because of her actions and those of her union. Weingarten attempted to undermine this claim in her remarks, falsely claiming that I and other parents who have criticized her union are attacking teachers, but nothing could be further from the truth.
There are so many incredible teachers across America who only want to do the job they love, and what we should all want is to reward these excellent teachers by cultivating a system in which they can prosper. What’s standing in the way of this necessary and fundamental change? Powerful unions like AFT – and if we want to fix our education system, we need to confront them.
Weingarten, along with the entrenched bureaucracy at the Department of Education, have spent decades forcing a radical, progressive agenda into the education of our children. I know America will figure out how to handle the likes of Putin and Xi Jinping, but if we don’t confront the entities within our own country that seek to poison future generations’ love and passion for America – as well as their ability to read, write, do math, and ultimately compete in an increasingly competitive global marketplace – it won’t matter how we respond to threats abroad. If we fail to conserve and honor the American miracle at home, we will lose it. In order to do this, we must stand up.