Teachers’ union once again refuses to have a mea culpa moment

American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten addressed the National Press Club last week, framing her remarks as a “defense of public education.”

But Weingarten’s dire warnings about the “existential threat” public education is under failed to acknowledge “in any meaningful way why trust [in public education] is in decline” or “her own role in damaging an essential American institution,” points out American Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Robert Pondiscio.

…[I]t is disingenuous for the head of the nation’s second largest teachers union to blame only others for the crisis of trust in public education. Weingarten correctly cited “the urgent work of helping kids recover from learning loss, from sadness, from depression, and from the other effects of the pandemic” while conveniently neglecting to mention how her union fought to keep schools closed.

As I have written here and here, the teachers’ union has refused to take responsibility for its role in unnecessarily prolonged school closures, with children once again paying the price for the union’s misplaced priorities academically, emotionally, even economically.

Weingarten continued her lecture by calling out “fear mongering” over “false claims” that Critical Race Theory is being taught in elementary and secondary schools, “disgusting, unfounded claims that teachers are grooming and indoctrinating students, and pronouncements that public schools push a ‘woke’ agenda.” (Never mind that Weingarten’s sister teacher union, the National Education Association, publicly backed promoting Critical Race Theory’s use in thousands of K-12 public schools across the country. Or that school districts have “equity” policies “grounded in Critical Race Theory.” Or that Critical Race Theory is embedded throughout Minnesota’s likely-soon-to-be-approved K-12 social studies standards. Just to name a few.)

Weingarten also dedicated several paragraphs to attacking the “school privatization movement,” calling efforts to help families access the learning environment that best meets their needs an “extremist scheme” by “a very vocal minority of Americans.” (Numerous polls show school choice and expanding education freedom is actually very popular across party lines and demographics.)

Near the beginning of her remarks she quoted Thomas Jefferson that general education was necessary to “enable every many to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom.” Well, Ms. Weingarten, the “privatization” movement is precisely that, concludes Pondiscio. “Americans judging for themselves that public education is not serving their needs.”