AFT President Randi Weingarten wrote an anti-voucher op-ed in the LA Times with pro-charter advocate Jonah Edelman in which she yet again endorses charter schools.
Here is the latest smoking gun paragraph:
We believe taxpayer money should support schools that are accountable to voters, open to all, nondenominational and transparent about students’ progress. Such schools — district and charter public schools — are part of what unites us as a country.
Nobody should be in the least bit surprised that Randi supports charter schools even as they undermine public schools. Randi, after all, had the UFT open up two charter schools.
The reaction from Diane Ravitch to the Randi-Edelman piece was to call the op-ed basically good except for the above paragraph we just copied.
Then Diane lays it out there:
It is public schools that unites us as a country, not charter schools. We have seen a steady parade of scandals, frauds, abuses, waste of taxpayer dollars, exclusion of children with special needs, from the charter sector.
Charter schools should be subject to democratic control (an elected school board), should be financially transparent, and should have the same requirements for teachers as public schools. They should be required to accept all children who apply, in the order of their application. They should not be allowed to exclude ELLs and children with disabilities.
Charter schools exist to bust unions and undermine public schools. They are a form of privatization. They should not be put into the same boat as public schools because they are not public schools.
Who again is our national union president?
The reaction in the comments section on Diane's blog from our friend Mike Fiorillo is worth a close look.
Michael Fiorillo says:
Ya gotta give it to Randi: though a willing tool and enabler of privatization for two decades, she can always be counted on to sink even lower, and do even more to prostrate herself before the Overclass and its rapacious appetites.
It wasn’t enough that she has betrayed the people paying her generous salary for years, and functioned as an “asset” (re: 2009 Broad Foundation annual report) of Eli Broad’s and his ilk, but apparently she now feels compelled to publicly ally herself with an avowed enemy of public education and s*%t-heel like Jonah Edelman, who can be expected to turn up shortly on another YouTube video, smirking and bragging about how he punked the teacher’s unions yet again.
After all, Edelman knows, even if Randi doesn’t, that charter operators will have their bread buttered on both sides by Trump/De Vos, while crying crocodile tears at how awful they are. They will be very, very happy circulating her agreement that charters are “public schools.”
I’d wish shame on her, but that’s pointless since, as with Trump, it’s a waste of time to try to shame the shameless.
Or is it that, having worked tirelessly to ensure that teachers didn’t fight the metastasis of charter schools (in fact, having partnered with crooks like Steve Barr), she now feels the need to distract and misdirect them from the consequences of her malefaction? After all, it’s been obvious for quite a while that charters were the camel’s-nose-under-the-tent for vouchers. Or should have been.
Go away, Randi; just go far, far away, and remain silent for a long time while you ponder your endless duplicity and betrayals. Think of the careers destroyed by what you’ve done, and the resulting misery experienced by schoolchildren, just so you could have the self-aggrandizement of “a seat at the table” with a group of well-dressed, well-spoken pigs.
I think I might surprise some readers here but I would not go as hard on Randi as my friend Mike Fiorillo does. Harsh, yes but not that hard.
Randi is the personification of the modern Democratic Party. Just like the party, she tries to be Wall Street and Main Street simultaneously. It is a contradictory position for sure but it is very mainstream.
Since it is virtually impossible to win a general union election in the UFT, NYSUT or AFT, we have to find new ways to say that this status quo is unacceptable to rank and file public school teachers. Mike makes the case well that Randi's policies have ruined many careers and provided misery for untold number of kids but how do we turn it around?
The answer can't be to stop paying union dues when teachers need a union more now than ever.