Wednesday, February 17, 2016


President Barack Obama's latest indignity toward teachers was selecting failed former New York State Education Commissioner John King to go from Acting Secretary of Education to permanent status.  He has to be confirmed by the Senate which his support for the unpopular Common Core might preclude but my guess is they already have commitments from enough Democrats and moderate Republicans to confirm him unless something drastic changes.

I ask our loyal readers: Has Obama done anything positive when it comes to K-12 public education?

From his appointment of Arne Duncan as his first Education Secretary to the awful Race to the Top with its mandates that states have high stakes testing where they rate teachers based in part on student test scores and the Gates funded Common Core. To top all of this, he gives us John King.  No surprise that AFT President Randi Weingarten had a positive reaction to the King appointment.

Since King became acting Education Secretary, we have seen both an understanding of the harmful effects of over-testing, and a willingness to promote both the reset of federal education policy and the collaboration with educators and parents that are at the heart of the new federal education law.

The inimitable BLO Ed Scene blog summarizes the Weingarten years for us after seeing Randi's comments welcoming King.  Could Randi's public education record be worse than Obama's?  After all she is supposed to represent us.  From the B-LO EDScene:

Imagine for a second if Weingarten ever said I know I should never have involved myself with Gates. I should've kept my nose out of the Newark negotiations that led Chris Christie to declare it the most satisfying day of his life and hung Newark teachers out to dry with a merit pay contract. What if she took back the Cuomo/Hochul robocalls and admitted she'd fooled nobody and she really shouldn't have worked on behalf of a ticket that targeted teachers and described us a monopoly he planned to break up.  Then there's the Hillary endorsement and the TFA speech and as if she hadn't been busy enough she manages to squeeze out a little missive warmly welcoming the appointment of teacher basher, test and punisher John King to Arne Duncan's old cubicle. There exists such a huge body of misdeeds for Weingarten to choose from it's almost overwhelming. But Randi Weingarten is no Jacks Teller. She aint admitting squat. She's no Ragnar Lothbrock and she's not hopping out of any coffin to wreak vengeance on our behalf. Nor is she Tommy Shelby raining hellfire on our adversaries on her best day of collaborating and colluding with every ed reformer and Pearson rep under the sun. 

This blog is not only about exposing the negative.  We hope for a brighter future.  Stronger Together Caucus leader Beth Dimino reacted to the BLO EdScene piece on Facebook;

Weingarten does not represent students, teachers or public education and therefore needs to be replaced.  AFT Delegates: the election is this July...Please be there to vote for new leadership!

It's always hard to argue with Beth.

The ICEUFT blog asks: Who has been worse for public school teachers and students: Barack Obama or Randi Weingarten?

Please note that I write this as a Democrat who voted for Obama and thinks he has made some good appointments as well as pushing through and signing some decent laws. I am also someone who worked closely at times with Randi when she was UFT President.  I like Randi personally and think she can be very effective when she advocates for a school, a teacher or a cause.  I really respect that she actually responds to emails and tries to help even dissidents like me. It is the overall record we are talking about here.


Bronx ATR said...

I would have to say Randi. Her job was/is to help us. Not help those entities that want to replace us all. She wasn't voted in, had no credible credentials and pushed for that 2005 contract that completely destroyed schools and education careers in NYC. Her reward- the AFT presidency. She then placed her protégé in her former position. It seems as if everything he does is in accordance with her views (or perhaps mandates). Obama is completely different- what he does is in accordance to what he believes is right for students. If the billionaires make educational appeals and he then asks Randi, as AFT president who is representing us, for input and she agrees - how is that on Obama? His choices in Arne Duncan , Rahm, etc. we're awful - but look at Randi's choices - and they're still with us.

Anonymous said...

James read today's Newsday editorial about Randi praising King John. She has no shame in her continued support of those out to destroy public education.

NYC Educator said...

Bronx ATR,

Hard for me to believe that Obama, a very bright man, actually believes in Race to the Top and junk science ratings and all the nonsense he enabled. It's easier for me to believe he agreed to things like that as a result of massive contributions from the likes of DFER. I voted for him the first time he ran but opted for Green candidate Jill Stein the next time.

I have a really hard time voting for anyone remotely reformy anymore, which is why I don't think I'm gonna be able to vote for Hillary either.

Anonymous said...

So far it is Randi 2-1.

Anonymous said...

I thought about this question today. I think Obama has very little history with public schools, having gone to mostly private ones. I think the rich guys he hangs around with (who want to make a buck off schools) have convinced him that their way is the right way. Too bad. Like the other commenter said, he is ignorant.

Randi is ignorant too, I think. When she was interviewed a few years ago, she kept bragging how she increased teacher pay in NYC. Teachers had to work extra days for it (which the police refuse to do) and school secretaries lost their sabbatical. (How could teachers throw over a co-worker like that?) Yes, I know teachers ratified it, but this was the beginning of the end.
Randi has never really been a teacher. She thinks all teachers want is money. Dignity and respect are important too. Because Randi did not work long-term as a teacher, and deal with administrative turnovers, curriculum changes, and many, many students-who sometimes make you crazy, sometimes break your heart and sometimes make you proud- well she really doesn't understand.

Kare Lewis stands up for members, I wish Randi would too.

Anonymous said...

I blame Shanker and Feldman

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah Randi has no mind of her own. She must be channeling Al

Judith Katz said...

James...Randi may respond to your emails, but she is famous for visiting schools, telling people to email her, and guess what? never hear from her again!! And whatever happened to Jamaica H..S. because of her?

James Eterno said...

Call me crazy but I truly believe that if Randi, not Mulgrew, were still President of UFT, we would have had a little bit better chance of surviving at Jamaica.

Bronx Teacher said...

Randi has been worse. None of this happens without her on board.