AFT’s Weingarten in a Conundrum of Her Own Making – Opinion

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Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), has made herself the lightning rod of the national teachers’ union movement, and that’s probably to the relief of the National Education Association (NEA).

While the NEA is the nation’s largest teachers’ union, its president, Becky Pringle, is not the household name Weingarten’s mouth has made her.

The legacy media love Weingarten because of her ability to express exactly what they were hoping to hear.

But anyone who talks as much as she does is likely to make unforced errors, and she’s made plenty now that she created this election cycle’s newest official constituent group — fed-up parents who want more control over their children’s education.

In reality, this latest gaffe may end up costing members of the union dearly. She will have to pay their dues dollars and our taxes to bail her out of legal peril.).

23 April, a softball-characteristic day interview MSNBC, Weingarten couldn’t resist commenting on a speech delivered a few weeks earlier at Hillsdale College by Christopher Rufo, a writer for the City JournalFellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Rufo, a journalist and investigative reporter who exposed the endemic Critical Race Theory in education has also become a prominent proponent for school choice.

In what can only be a deflection from the work she herself has done to turn the public sentiment against government schools, Weingarten accused Rufo of lying about the state of modern education to gin up anger toward teachers and, more directly, teachers’ unions. These comments echo a previous post that she had posted on Twitter.

Her words were:

“Rufo himself said, ‘To get to universal school choice, you really need to operate from a premise of universal public school distrust. To sow & grow that distrust, you have to create your own narrative frame, & have to be brutal & ruthless in pursuing it. Let’s be clear about what Rufo is saying. This isn’t about helping kids. This is about sowing distrust and chaos.”


Rufo retorted on April 25th, saying Weingarten had misrepresented his comments by mixing two quotes together. He tweeted:

“Randi combines two unrelated lines and fabricates the words ‘to sow & grow that distrust’ to make it seem sinister. In the speech, I say the opposite — the ‘teachers unions’ have created distrust.”

Rufo threatenedIf Weingarten does not admit to her fraud and makes an apology, you will need to file legal proceedings.

Presumably, he isn’t holding his breath while he waits.

It isn’t clear how her members benefit from Weingarten engaging in a war of words rather than attending to the day-to-day responsibilities of workplace representation. On the other hand, for a refreshing change, the AFT president’s latest kerfuffle has at least a passing acquaintance with education.

That isn’t always the case. Take this example:

  • At Weingarten’s insistence, the AFT adopted a resolution stating, “(T)he American Federation of Teachers stands with Planned Parenthood and the millions who depend on its healthcare services, including … safe abortions.”
  • Describing her union as a “beacon of hope on climate change,” Weingarten wrote, “In the fight for environmental justice, much of the leadership is coming from students — and their teachers couldn’t be prouder.”
  • Weingarten threatened to order a boycott of Walmart, vowing that unless the retail giant stopped selling guns and supporting candidates opposed to curtailing Second Amendment rights, “…teachers and students should reconsider doing their back-to-school shopping at your stores.”
  • Weingarten used her position in a bizarre way to promote anti-Semitic hatred. A Jew herself, she nonetheless told an Israeli publication, “American Jews are now part of the ownership class … those who are in the ownership class now want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it.”
  • Most recently, Weingarten weighed in on the Florida law that bans age-inappropriate discussions of sexual orientation and identity for Kindergarten through third grade: “It’s getting reckless and heinous, and they think it will make people hide or stop teaching – to stop teaching kids to think critically and stop teaching kids to love their neighbors and build community. I have talked to our LGBTQ+ members to be their backstop.”

Randi Weingarten views the AFT presidency as a bully pulpit that she uses to spew her radical leftist ideology. More to the point, she sees the organization’s $300 million budget as a slush fund she can use to underwrite her preferred candidates and causes.

She was a good sport about the COVID lockdown and she woke her American parents.

And now that we’re getting a more complete picture of the damage her school closures have inflicted on our nation’s children, she’s in damage-control mode.

Weingarten spoke emphatically last week about Teacher Appreciation Day in a statement.

“Teachers, together with parents and caregivers, have helped carry our kids through a tumultuous few years, working to safely reopen our classrooms so that kids and families could bounce back academically, socially and emotionally. From reading, writing and arithmetic, to building lasting relationships, teachers instill in our students a lifelong love of learning and equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to become critical thinkers and engaged citizens.”

Weingarten, unsurprisingly, glossed over her union’s role in this turmoil by insisting that students stay out of classrooms far more than is reasonable. Weingarten was caught at an AFT meeting admitting the harm done to students millions upon millions.

“Our kids are in crisis. And we had a mental health crisis before COVID … but for two years of disruption, two years of looking at the screens, two years of not having a normal kind of routine and rhythm, recovery is really tough.”

The Freedom Foundation has helped thousands of teachers and other school employees leave their unions since the COVID shutdowns began in March 2020, and thousands more will continue to drop their union membership because of Randi Weingarten’s radical policies.

The AFT alone experienced a two percent decline in membership last year because so many educators were upset about how she manipulated the situation for partisan politics, and now she’s trying to re-write the history of the past two years.

As a result of the harm she did to our schoolchildren, she must pay the price.

Jeff Rhodes serves as vice president for news and information at Freedom Foundation.

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